That’s the premise of one of my favorite books, Start With Why, by Simon Sinek. In this book, Simon talks about how great leaders inspire action. He explains how the most innovative and influential people and organizations have an uncanny ability to articulate the why of their existence.
For example, Martin Luther King didn’t give a ten-page presentation on the changes he envisioned with statistics on why it was a good idea. Instead, he got on stage and said, “I believe in a world . . . ” He shared his driving belief, the reason he got out of bed, and the change he wished to see in the world.
Apple didn’t say “we make great computers.” They said, “we challenge the status quo and believe in thinking differently.” Dell, on the other hand, talked about making great computers. Now which brand has built a cult following?
Zappos talks about a belief that happiness can be used as a model both in business, and in life. What other shoe company does this?
To explain the companies that are functioning at their highest ability, Simon developed a Why/How/What “Golden Circle” (pictured above) which is based on the biology of human decision making as it relates to how people interact with brands and organizations.
No one cares what you do. They care why you do it.
So how does this apply to your life or business?
Yesterday, a close friend approached me for direction on the style/fashion business he’s building. For his own clarity, he was attempting to map out his Why/How/What. Within 30 seconds of chatting with him, I realized he didn’t actually understand what “why” “how” and “what” mean.
Here’s the advice I gave him, which might assist you in evaluating your own ability to create influence and impact in everything that you do:
Why: A belief that drives you. The reason you get out of bed in the morning.
For example: my why is to inspire and enable people to unleash their full potential so that together, we change the world.
How: The actions you take. The things you do to realize your Why.
For example, my Hows are to:
1) challenge conformity and ignore what’s expected
2) focus on positive long-term behavioral change (to change the world, I must first change myself)
3) see the good and opportunity in everything
4) experiment to see what sticks
5) candidly share everything
What: The tangible things that you can see and touch. The outcomes that prove your Why and How.
For example, my Whats are:
1) Hey Amber Rae: I write. I experiment. I reflect.
2) Revolution.is: I tell stories of remarkable people living unconventional lives.
3) Passion Experiment: I work with high-potential people one-on-one to overcome obstacles and make positive change.
What we do will evolve and grow and change over time. Why and how we do things will remain consistent, guiding the things we create to realize our full potential.
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