What Is Your Why?

Simon Sinek reminds us to ask why before we start our work toward any goal.

The other day when I wrote, “Are Your Goals Really Yours?” I recommended that before you take on any goal, you ask yourself, “Why do I want to achieve this goal?” You need to be able to address that question honestly, clearly and specifically to ensure it’s something you (not your parents or your friends or society) really want and will diligently work toward.

I didn’t realize just how significant that question was or how it could be applied to broader contexts until I stumbled upon an interview with Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why, on First30Days. (Note: I used to be a writer for First30days.)

In the interview, Simon discusses the importance of asking “why?” for all of our actions. Why are we in our current jobs? Why do we choose a cheese Danish to eat for breakfast instead of oatmeal with fruit?

Listen to the interview here, and learn more about Simon here.

Instead of asking “what?” all the time – as in, “What am I going to do next? What am I going to eat for dinner? What do I want to watch on TV?” – we should be asking “why?” This simple switch gives your life instant purpose and direction.

I tried this theory myself and found it to be wonderful – I felt as if I were 5 years old again. I was questioning everything I did. (Granted, I don’t think I could have carried on this experiment for more than a day; it was exhausting.)

–Why was I working on one project at work over another?
Because that one was the highest priority. I efficiently finished my work day.
–Why was I making dinner?
Because I wanted to put healthy, nutritious food in my body, and making food tends to be better for you than buying pre-made foods. Lo and behold, I ate a healthy dinner.
–Why was I watching TV?
Because I was distracting myself. I realized I’d rather be working on improving Tenacious Me. So, I turned off the television and turned on the computer. I was inspired to work on my labor of love.

Now, imagine if you took this exercise one step further and asked, “Why am I here?” (without getting into religious or evolutionary perspectives – no need to get too philosophical or existential here!) Put another way, “Why do you do what you do?”

Simon Sinek would answer that he does what he does to inspire others to do what inspires them.

So, why did you create or set the goals you did? Are you still working on them? Why or why not?

Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share it with others and/or leave me your thoughts. I’d love to hear why you liked it (or why not). Thanks!

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This entry was posted in Goals, Happiness Goals, Life Lessons, Productivity Goals and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to What Is Your Why?

  1. This is awesome! I’ve been questioning “why” a lot myself lately. But now I’m going to go one step further and try to ask myself “why” all day tomorrow. I’m not sure that my responses to “why” will be all that helpful, but I may just find that, like you, if I ask myself “why,” I might actually do what I truly want to do and not just do what’s comfortable.

  2. Laura Lee Bloor says:

    It’s definitely a fun experiment. Be prepared that asking why all day may leave you exhausted — I know I was, anyway. Let me know how it goes!

  3. I will! So far the hardest part has been REMEMBERING to ask!

  4. Eric says:

    I believe this one word could solve a lot of problems in the world. Having a why is the most important thing in your life – or it should be. The why behind everything you do determines exactly what you’ll do because it’s exactly what you want to do.

    If there’s no why or not a strong enough why… Why is that? lol

    Good post here.

  5. Emily says:

    What a good post. I think most of us don’t ask “why” because we are purposely avoiding the meaning behind our acts. It’s much easier to just do things. Asking why has the potential to be Pandora’s box. You never know what you’ll find. Maybe it’s out of fear that we never stop to think “why.” Why not be fearless? 🙂

  6. Laura Lee Bloor says:

    Thank you so much, Eric! You make some excellent follow-up points. In all fairness, it does get exhausting asking why all the time. I don’t know how little kids handle it!

  7. Laura Lee Bloor says:

    Thanks, Emily. That is such a good point about “why” having the potential to be Pandora’s box. It can be a gateway to addressing a lot of issues we may rather not face. Sometimes we can be our biggest roadblocks to achieving our big, crazy goals. It’s all about getting past the fears and doubts and doing it anyway!

  8. Simon Sinek says:

    Laura –

    Eighty percent of people don’t love their jobs – my goal is to reverse that statistic, but, if that is to become a reality, we have to work together. It’s because of people like you that I know that goal will become a reality.

    Thank you for being a part of this movement to inspire people to do the things that inspire them. The more people that know about the Why, the more likely we will reach our goal – a world in which 80% of people LOVE what they do.

    Once you know Why…everything just falls into place.

    Again, thank you for helping to share the Why.

    – Simon

  9. Laura Lee Bloor says:

    Thanks for your thoughts, Simon! I agree that once you know your Why, it makes life a lot less complicated. It takes away a lot of excuses, which can also be daunting.

    I still believe it’s possible to love your job, which is why I’m happy to help in any way I can. Thanks for being such a huge inspiration to me and many others!

  10. Pingback: Why Do You Want To Write?

  11. Pingback: Do You Feel Energized or Zapped? « Tenacious Lee

  12. Laura Lee Bloor says:

    Thanks, Mike!

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