“I imagine a world where people wake up every day inspired to go to work and return home at the end of the day feeling fulfilled by the work they do, feeling that they have contributed to something greater than themselves.”
Alright, welcome to the second day of this seven day series: #SetYourself2014
We’re going to start the work off with a hugely influential author and book, Simon Sinek’s Start with Why.
Have you ever met someone who truly LOVES what they do? Someone who gets up each morning ready to give everything they have to the world because what they have to give is so aligned with who they are and what they care about that they couldn’t imagine themselves doing anything else?
Ever ask yourself how they got to that place? Ever feel like you want to be in that place to? It’s actually a lot easier than we think. It just takes a little bit of reflection and work on developing our own personal Why Statement – a statement that summarizes what we care about, our values and the contribution we bring to the world around us. We all should have a Why Statement. It’s a reason for doing what we do; Your purpose, your passion and your belief.
Now, I could totally sit here and write out exactly what The Why is and try to explain it in a way that translates from me speaking it to me writing it (sometimes I’m better writing, other times I’m better speaking…I’m not sure what influences which) – or you should just watch his TED talk on it.
Seriously. Watch it. And then come back. I’ll wait…
How Great Leaders Inspire Action
Way better, right?!
So what stuck out for you in his talk? What really resonated with you? Tweet your points and use #SetYourself2014 so we can share with each other.
The Why is what drives us. It’s what motivates and inspires us to act. It’s the reminder we need to continue to do the kind of work that matters.
But it’s more than that. It serves us not just in our careers but also in our personal lives. It helps us make decisions, if we listen to it. We know when what we’re doing is or isn’t right. If we listen to it, it can guide us.
Having a Why Statement helps you through the tough and challenging times. For example, the “Why am I doing this?” moments that come with a crappy job that’s going to lead you to the next stage of doing something you love.
Having a Why Statement gives you confidence. It reminds you and motivates you to drive forward in the difficult moments. It reminds you when you need it the most that you made the choice you did because it makes you feel free.
It becomes your brand. It’s how you show up each day to the world around you. Like it or not, people tend to make judgments of you in one of two ways: The way they do, or the way you want them to. Your Why Statement will help people understand your motives and reasons why you do what you do.
Your Why Statement is your purpose. We all want purpose. When you create your Why it is supported by your purpose. Nothing else matters…for a while at least.
In my experience, having a Why Statement helps me stay focused on what’s really important. It helps me make decisions and to ensure that those decisions are based on something other than just chance or what I feel in the moment.
Having a Why Statement is important.
So what’s keeping you from creating and sharing your Why Statement?
Take some time this week to work on the activity below and tweet your statement using the #SetYourself2014
Also, if you want to learn more and connect with other inspiring people who are doing great work on the topic of Why, check out the inspiring work of my friend Stephen Shedletzky. Learn more about authentic work he does by going to www.inspiraction.ca and listen to him share his passion for Why.
Create Your Own Why Statement:
There are a lot of different ways that you could go about creating a Why Statement.
If you’ve got some time and a little bit of cash, I recommend going to the master himself, Simon Sinek and his Why University course. If you’re interested in developing this with a coach or you want to bring this idea to others (a class, a team, or a group), I recommend connecting with Stephen Shedletzky of InspirAction.
If not, here’s one of the ways I encourage people to start to develop their Why Statement.
Step 1: Find a nice quiet space where you can be alone and uninterrupted. Turn off your phone, any other windows you might have. It’s important that you give this process the kind of focus and attention it really deserves.
Step 2: Either on your computer or with a notebook and pen (my preference) start to write down all of the things in your life that motivate you, get you excited, and/or give you energy. Make this list as big as you can. Spend at least 10 minutes on this part. At first it might not come to you. You may list off a few small things but the point here is to really dig deep. Start to think about all of the times when you’ve felt as though you were your best; all the times when time felt like it didn’t really exist.
Step 3: After you’ve made that list, put it off to the side. Answer the following two questions:
1. When am I most happy?
2. If money didn’t matter, how would I spend my time each day?
3. What’s important to me?
Again, it’s crucial that you take some dedicated time to think about and answer these questions. Be honest, no one needs to see this but you.
Step 4: Revisit your list. After you’ve answered the above questions, go back to your list that you made in step 2. Take a look at the list and try to identify themes and anything that really sticks out for you. Listen to your gut here and think about why these things stuck out.
Step 5: Find alignment. Looking at your list and at the answers to the questions you answered, what do you notice? What sticks out? Why do you think that is? Does what you listed as motivating and exciting align with what makes you most happy or what’s important to you?
Step 6: Draft your first statement. This is the trickiest and most time-consuming part. Chances are you won’t have your finished statement the first time you try this. It’ll take a little bit of time and effort to create a statement that you feel confident and will be able to share without having to look down on a piece of paper or on your phone.
Your statement should start with something like “I believe…” or “What drives me is…”
For example, the Why Statement I most resonate with right now is “I believe in helping people be there best when it matters the most.” I’ll admit that this is not completely original. I adopted this from my time working with the Institute for Health and Human Potential because it resonated so strongly with me. I believe in helping people find the strategies and develop their skills to be better each day and to show up when it’s most important. This was something I learned personally and it’s the reason I get up each morning and do what I do (I’m particularly passionate about helping young people with this).
If there’s something you wrote down because someone else told you it should be important to you, get rid of it! Same goes for how you answered your questions. Did you answer them authentically? If not, try it again.
Over time you’ll start to figure out whether or not this statements suits you. It might right now but may change later on. It’s important that you be open to that change and see it not as a bad thing but as a sign of your own personal growth.
Over time it will become more clear. Don’t be afraid to borrow someone else’s for a little while if you’re struggling too. People might tell you not to do that– that it should be completely original. Nothing is original. Everything builds upon itself to your Why can evolve from someone else’s.
It’s not a competition, either. You don’t need to have a better Why than I do. I don’t need to have a better one than you. Purpose comes from all kinds of different sources. I may find it in the moments when I’m reading, or connecting with people I Love and care about, while you find it when you have a few minutes alone by yourself or when you’re in front of an audience.
When it comes down to it, it needs to be something you’re proud to share. Share it because you’re proud of what it says about you and you want people to know what’s important to you; because you want to connect with people in a genuine and meaningful way.
For a quick reference on the book, check out www.actionablebooks.com for the summary along with some of the most influential and life changing books in personal and professional development. This is one of those resources in your personal development toolkit that you should definitely have bookmarked and be a core of your own development.
Also, check out my first contributing summary on a really kick ass book called The ONE Thing by Gary Keller & Jay Papasan later this month.
It’s been emotional,
Matt Tod is an international speaker, leadership facilitator, writer and lover of all things Zombie-related.