Why to Start With Why

Jann Freed Leading Comments

For the next few weeks, I am going to be blogging about the power of purpose.  These posts are for anyone and everyone who wants to live a life fulfilled–filled with meaningful moments.  The opposite is living a life filled with meaningless moments. 

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to hear Simon Sinek in person.  For Christmas, my sons gave me a trip to New York City to visit a son and a ticket for Simon Sinek in Conversation at the 92Y.  Sinek is described as a “visionary thinker with a rare intellect” and I would agree with that.  For several years now, Sinek has been emailing me daily with his Notes to Inspire and most of time I wish I had thought of his simple, direct, yet powerful statements of how to lead with wisdom.

Sinek set the world on fire with his book Start With Why:  How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.  Then he popularized the concept of “Why” in his first TED Talk in 2009–the third most watched talk of all time on TED.com.  After listening to him in conversation for 90 minutes, my conclusion was that Simon Sinek:

  • is a quick thinker who makes complex concepts seem easier to understand.
  • can provide practical examples of how to apply his concepts beyond leadership and the workplace.
  • is charismatic and easy to listen to because he does not lecture, scream, and not overly dramatic–but a calming influence.
  • is passionate about what he believes and
  • is well read and constantly learning and growing.

I left the conversation realizing Sinek’s concept is appropriate for every person at every age.  We all benefit from knowing our purpose –why we want to get up in the morning.  Interestingly, Sinek talked more about why finding your “Why” was important to living fulfilled more than to working.  He talked about legacy work (important for positive aging) without mentioning legacy:

  • Find a way to outlive yourself.  People are better when they contribute to something bigger than themselves.
  • Think about how you want people to think about you at the end of life.
  • “Why” gives you focus.
  • Ask others what value you provide in their life.  Try to condense to 10 words or less.
  • Share your “Why” with others.

In the next few weeks, I am going to be sharing more about what I learned from Simon Sinek and from reading his books Start With Why and Find Your Why.  I have always said, leaders need to create an environment where people want to work.  Sinek says it this way:

“For those who hold a leadership position, creating an environment in which the people in your charge feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves is your responsibility as a leader.” 

What is your “Why?” 

Stay tuned and we are going to explore this together.

Simon, Me, Mac (son) and Jess (fiancée) So happy together!