What Is My Why?
Firstly, if you are an entrepreneur, make sure you grab your copy of my free “What is My Why” Business Workbook here!
When I first began my business in 2009 the world of entrepreneurship had a vastly different outlook. It was mostly about making money. And faxing people. You were pretty cool if you had a fax machine (yes I totally had one).
Over the last decade I have observed the entrepreneurial world step up its game. It just had to. We went from a local marketplace to a global marketplace with competitors vying for our client and customer’s attention. We had to get clever. We had to be unique. We had to stand apart.
But you can’t do this while you’re solely focused on making money. You have to make an impact. You have to anchor in something more powerful.
And so in 2011 when I first stumbled upon Simon Sinek and his powerful Start With Why theory and subsequent book, I knew this was part of the missing link.
In order to be chosen over your competitors, you need to stand out. You need to be the obvious choice. In fact, for your business to not just survive, but THRIVE, you need to stand out. BUT in order to build an AUTHENTIC brand that stands out – we need to do some authenticity work first.
The effects of your WHY can trickle down into every area of your business. Your WHY is an important tool in to use in your brand, and to get a fulfilling, impactful business that you LOVE.. but I’ll explain this a little later on.
Finding out your WHY can be a tough task, so I’ve attempted to break it down into bite-sized steps. I have clients the ponder this for weeks and months before arriving at their WHY. It’s not something that you should rush – but is such a valuable process from both a personal and business perspective.
Step 1: Watch the TedX Talk
Simon Sinek is the author of Start With Why, and his amazing TED talk is about how great leaders inspire action. It is 18 minutes long, but an extremely good use of your time. All my clients love it and often thank me for showing it to them! I’m sure you will too.
Step 2: Discover Your WHY
Take a look at The Golden Circle diagram (pictured below). What is your WHY? Your WHY will have nothing to do with WHAT you do or HOW you do it, rather it has a ripple effect on both. Your WHY will be wrapped up in emotion and stories and events in your life.
Your WHY can also be stepped back further and further – mostly occurring in your childhood. At first you might be saying “I like makeup”, ask yourself WHY you like makeup, “because I feel pretty with makeup on”, ask yourself why you feel pretty with makeup on and you’ll discover a memory or emotion from long ago. For this example we’ll agree that your WHY is that you love feeling empowered and empowering others. It may take some pushing and soul-searching, but keep asking yourself WHY until you can’t go any further.
Regardless of your HOW or WHAT, your WHY can translate across industries. Think about Richard Branson, he is a multi-industry entrepreneur – from planes to mobile phone networks. Yet his brand remains intact despite of what he is doing. Why is that? His WHY remains the same, but his HOW and WHAT changes. He owns fun brands with spunk that delivers. He removes the fluff so you pay for the stuff you want and gets rid of the stuff you don’t. I’d love to know his why!
Step 3: What is your HOW and WHAT?
What is your HOW? Using our example, HOW you feel empowered is through the use of makeup.
What is your WHAT? Notice your WHAT is the last step in this process. This will be your business, or occupation. Using our example, WHAT you do will flow out from both your WHY and HOW. In this case it could be a blog about makeup, or an online store selling makeup.
Step 4: Get to the Heart
Which emotions does your WHY tap into? Emotions are powerful motivators! List them out.
Step 5: Get Useful
Understanding your WHY is great in itself, but what’s the purpose of understanding it? As a Brand Strategy Coach, knowing WHY my clients do what they do is so important for creating brand strategy and carving rich brand stories. It helps me understand the emotion that is driving them.
Simon Sinek says (and I completely agree!) that we are attracted to others that believe what we believe. For example if you believe wearing the colour pink is a way of life, you’ll naturally attract other people (through social media, websites etc) that believe the same thing as you go about life. You’re wearing your heart and belief systems on your sleeve.
Knowing your WHY (eg. feeling empowered and therefore empowering others) help your Brand Strategy Coach to form a rich brand story that will attract people that believe the same thing. Using our example, if your brand is properly executed you’ll naturally attract people who love to empower or need be empowered.
PS. Entrepreneur or biz owner? Download your FREE Copy of these steps with a BONUS WORKBOOK here.
What is your why? Have you discovered it yet? Share it below if you feel comfortable doing so!