How to find your WHY

find your WHY Zilvold Coaching & Training
11 min read

Summary: Review of the book “Find your Why” by Simon Sinek. Through discovering and living your WHY, you can find more fulfillment and passion in your work.

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I am sure you’re great in what you do like making calculations or designing structures. Perhaps you’re a specialist in consulting, with Excel sheets, databases or AutoCAD. You have an expertise in your field of work. And you do this with a great deal of commitment, precision or joy.

The question is: Why do you do this?

This article is a review of Simon Sinek’s last book “Find your Why”. It’s a practical guide for discovering purpose for you and your team.

In his TED talk, Simon explains the Golden Circle of WHAT, HOW and WHY.

The Golden Circle

WHAT are the things you actually do every day, the products or services you deliver. Your designs, your applications, your advises or your devices (instruments).

HOW is related to how you deliver WHAT. Do you do this with great care and precision? Have you included all the possible parameters in your calculation? Your HOW’s are your values and are closely related to your character strengths. They help you to be your natural best.

What is your WHY?

And then there’s WHY. WHY is the reason for your actions. It’s your contribution and the effect thereof. WHY answers the question to why you do things and why you come out of bed each morning. Your WHY is your purpose, who you are, your cause, what you stand for or your belief.

After his previous book “Start With WHY” a lot of people asked Simon how to find their WHY. That’s a reason why he wrote the new book “Find your Why” he encourages everyone and every organization to discover their own WHY.

How do you discover your WHY?

Your WHY is not something you want to become but it is something you are now. It is formed in your late teens. Your WHY can be found in the experiences you’ve had in your life and have shaped you in the person you are today. It’s centered in the themes of your past. These are your stories and if you look closely at them you can find this silver line of your unique WHY.

Most of us are aware of what and how they do the things they do. This is related to the neo-cortex (outside part) of your brain which is where the analytical and rational thought is and what can easily be expressed in words. Your WHY originates in the central part of your brain. The limbic part. These are your feelings and your emotions (like trust, safety, happiness and honesty). They are more difficult to express, but as you tell your stories with detail, you can discover this intangible gut feeling.

Simon’s WHY: To inspire people to do the things that inspire them so that, together, we can change the world.

A WHY should be actionable. As stated before, it includes a contribution you make and its impact [to the world]. Perhaps you have a similar sentence as the one of Simon, that states your own WHY. This is not a problem. The difference is that your feelings and emotions are other of those of Simon. That makes each WHY unique.

Your WHY gives you a purpose and a fulfillment in life. This is different from finding joy or happiness. These are temporal and will pass away over time. At present, you are not so excited about a successful project as you were at the time when you completed it. But you will be excited about doing the things which are in line with your WHY, even when they do not bring you joy or happiness now. For example, you might be fulfilled when you see the building you helped to design. Even when you despised all those additional requests by your client and the changes in specifications. Your WHY is much more sustainable.

Oh, and your WHY can not to be make money. Money is a result. The question then should be what you wish to accomplish with your money? There are many rich people who are unhappy because they don’t know their WHY.

By living your WHY, you will live a more fulfilled life with passion in your work. All your actions, your words will be in line with your WHY. This will be more effective and will protect you from bad decisions that may cause you to be unhappy, broke or even sick.  Living your WHY will attract people who believe what you believe and who recognize the value you give them in their own life.

Recently, I spoke to someone who knew his WHY. I was very excited about this. He was not. He did not reach the goals he wanted to accomplish. Perhaps his WHY was not refined enough or anchored with his feelings. The trick is to live your WHY everyday by doing something simple which is in line with your WHY and with what you say. This requires a certain state of consciousness, a state of being awake. It’s like learning to ride a bicycle. In the beginning you’ll fall often and then it becomes something natural. So, tell your WHY to many people and live it. Then you’ll attract the people with similar WHY’s because you’re authentic.

This is also the case for (large) companies. If they have a clear WHY, it will be easier to find people who fit the organization. In the book“Find your Why”, Simon explains that an organization can have ‘nested’ WHY’s. The WHY’s of different departments/divisions, for example. It’s important that those ‘nested’ WHY’s are aligned with the WHY of the company. Imagine the departments and their WHY’s being the branches of a tree. The stem of the tree is the WHY of the whole organization. Again, the WHY of a company is different from what it aspires to be or what their core values are.WHY is who you are at your natural best.

For whom else is this book and what are the benefits?

Entrepreneurs

As an entrepreneur, you’re able to communicate what is unique about your company to your customers and employees [in a pitch or on your website] when you know your WHY. As stated above, when you know your WHY, it will be easier to hire the people who ‘fit’ your company. They believe what you believe. This is a stronger motivator than money. Furthermore, by knowing your WHY, you know what projects and products you should launch and what not. It will help you with your marketing and perhaps most important of all, it will help a company to effectively streamline internal processes for your employees.

Individual employees

By knowing your WHY you’ll be more passionate and connected with your work. Should you discover that your WHY is different than that of your company, it will be easier for you to choose your next job. A job at a company more in line with your own WHY.

People belonging to teams/departments/divisions of a company

If your team knows their own WHY, they will have a better understanding of their contribution to the whole company. It will help connect people in a more powerful, meaningful way to the impact of the company in the world.

Why should you read this book?

This book gives you a clear and practical road map on how to discover your WHY. The basis are the themes, the feelings and the emotions in the stories of your past that have shaped you in what you are today. It helps you to draft your WHY and to refine it.

Next to finding your own WHY, this book is for people who would like to serve as a facilitator for others in discovering their unique WHY. It is both for individuals and ‘tribes’ (a group of people who come together around a common set of values and beliefs, according to Simon).

The book is well written with ample examples of individuals and companies and their journey to finding their WHY. It includes tips and templates for facilitators.

I’ve found many repetitions in the book but this is because you can read certain chapters apart from the rest of the book.  For me it’s a reminder of why Simon has written this book (the context) and it is well in line with Simon’s HOW’s. One of them is to keep things simple. This book is a great demonstration of this.

Take action now!

Want to discover your own WHY and start to live with more purpose, fulfillment and passion in your work or organization? Let me help you with this journey! When you live your WHY, you grow and others around you will grow as well! You can start to collect stories by using my template of the lifeline. Contact me now and I will give you the details so you can start living your WHY as soon as possible.

=> For more information on the Individual discover your WHY journey, click here.

=> For more information on the discover your WHY journey for organizations, click here.

What has helped you most from this article? Let me know in the comment box below. I look forward to read from you!

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