Do You Know Your WHY?

“Start with why, and then ask how?”  These wise words from Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why, help us to understand a fundamental error with many businesses today.  Most business owners know what they are doing, such as the day-to-day operations that come with the territory of running a business.  Fewer know exactly how they are going to execute their vision, and most don’t know ‘why’ they are doing it.  Sinek describes your ‘why’ as the purpose of going into business.  It should be the thing that gets you up in the morning with a motivated attitude.  He further explains that when selling products, “people don’t’ buy what you do, they buy ‘why’ you do it”.

From the time we were kids, we have always been curious about the ‘why’.  Picture a 4-year old little boy or girl who constantly is asking the follow-up question of ‘why’ to everything.   When questions are answered, it makes it easier for our brain to understand the cause and effect relationships of the world.  When those relationships line up with our value system, we gain passion.  If you are selling a product or service, your customers should feel more like they are supporting a cause.  If they feel this way, you are well on your way to a successful business.  If this is not the case, then perhaps it is time to go back to the drawing board.

Finding Your Why

When trying to find your ‘why’, first consult your strengths.  Once you have a list of things you excel at, analyze the tasks you do not charge for.  Performing these tasks may guide you towards your passion or help you to see the potential of monetizing.   The maybe the foundation for a new business idea or an expansion of your current business.

Finding you are ‘why’ is no easy task.  It can be tempting to use other peoples’ whys who are already established and well on their way.  This method will eventually fail, as it is lacking an element of genuineness.  Author Steve Pavlina shares an exercise with readers that he states will help discover your why.  He suggests getting a piece of paper and asks yourself, “What’s my purpose in life?”  Write down as many answers as you can think of.  When you finally write a statement that makes you cry, then you have found your purpose in life.  And once you find your purpose, everything else in the business and in life gets a whole lot easier.

Put It To The Test

So how can you put this to the test?  Consider interviewing your friends.  Your ‘why’ statement is who you truly are no matter where you go or what you do.  Sinek breaks down a way to discovering your ‘why’ by conducting a Friends Exercise.  It contains 5 steps to gaining perspective about yourself and help you put words to you ‘why’.   The breakdown of the steps consists of:

  1. Make a list of three to five of your closest friends
  2. Ask those people, “Why are you friends with me?”
  3. Listen
  4. Clarify
  5. Compare

For more information on these 5 Steps, visit Sinek’s website for tools and valuable information on how to identify what you are truly meant to do.

When You Find It

Once you truly define your ‘why’, you will find more purpose.  You will feel you have found a cause to believe in and inspires you every day.  The benefits of know your ‘why’ will also give you a filter to make better choices in all areas of your life.  Not to mention, you will find a greater sense of gratification.

To discovering your WHY,

Back Office Betties

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