We Know What You Do, But What Do You Believe?
After I learned my why, I literally stopped telling people what I did and only started telling them what I believed.
Simon O. Sinek is an author best known for popularizing the concept of "the golden circle" and to "Start With Why," described by TED as "a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question "Why?"'. He joined the RAND Corporation in 2010 as an adjunct staff member, where he advises on matters of military innovation and planning. His first TEDx Talk on "How Great Leaders Inspire Action" is the 3rd most viewed video on TED.com. His 2009 book on the same subject, Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action (2009) delves into what he says is a naturally occurring pattern, grounded in the biology of human decision-making, that explains why we are inspired by some people, leaders, messages and organizations over others.
He has commented for The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Houston Chronicle, FastCompany, CMO Magazine, NPR, and BusinessWeek, and is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, BrandWeek, and IncBizNet.
I’ve always been a pretty happy-go-lucky guy. But about five years ago, I reached a point in my career where my passion was gone. I stopped loving what I was doing and I even got to the point where I didn’t even like it anymore and for a happy person, just being unhappy was bad enough. And it was the closest I’ve ever been, if I wasn’t completely depressed, and what was hard is when I would ask people for advice or I’d look for advice, it actually made it worse because everything I would hear was everything I was doing wrong.
And people would say things to me like, “Do what you’re passionate about,” or “Do what you love.” It’s like, I know that. I’m doing the same thing that I was doing before and I don’t love it anymore.
And it was this point in my life that I made this discovery, this thing called, the ‘Why’. And what I learned is that every single organization on the planet, even our own careers, functions on three levels. What we do, how we do it and why we do it. And we all know what we do, these jobs we have. Some of us know how we do it. These are the things that we think make us different or special compared to everyone else. But very few of us can clearly articulate why we do what we do. And I don’t mean to earn a living or provide for your family as a result.
By why, I mean what’s your purpose? What’s your cause? What’s your belief? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? Why should anyone care? And I realize that I could easily say what I did and I could easily say how I did it, and this is what I would do in meetings, but I couldn’t tell you why. And I became absolutely obsessed with this question, with this idea to the point where I learned how to figure out a “why.” And after I learned my why, I literally stopped telling people what I did and only started telling them what I believed. And not only was my passion restored, but my career and my life changed dramatically and took on an entirely new path with vastly more meaning.
In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.
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