Before you declare what it is that you do, I want to know why you do it. What is the purpose? Why does it excite you? What is your “Why?” These are the most important questions when it comes to your professional undertakings. These are the intrinsic reasons that clients and partners come to you, so without the why, how, and what of your business, there’s a wide stretch of opportunities that you could be missing.
Simon Sinek’s TED talk, “How great leaders inspire action,” has been viewed nearly 40 million times. In it, he talks about the way in which some of the most inspiring leaders and organizations in history think, act, and communicate: The Golden Circle. In this circle is the “What,” the “How,” and the “Why.” Sinek suggests that most people and organizations in the world today begin with the “What” of their work, moving next to the “How,” and finally, addressing the “Why.” Alternatively, he suggests that we as leaders and business people must begin with our “Why.” “What’s your purpose? What’s your cause? What’s your belief? Why does your organization exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should anyone care?” he asks.
He argues that people don’t buy what you do, but rather, they buy why you do it. Using Apple as an example, he articulates their message:
Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?Simon Sinek on Apple's sales strategy
While arguably most businesses and organizations aim to sell themselves beginning with what they are selling, Apple has made a name for itself as a global technology leader not by asserting its supply of computers, cell phones, and tablets; Rather, they begin with their “Why.”
For many of us, the conversation or pitch begins with what we offer. Instead, try starting with “We believe in X.” From there, “How we do X is as follows.” Finally, “This is what we do.” I’ll use myself as an example. I believe in the necessity of loving ourselves and I feel that my purpose is to help others along the path of self-love. Using my own growing experiences as a guide, I am determined to change the conversation about how we think about ourselves and our worth, both professionally and personally. The way I champion self-love is by asking my clients to look at themselves, helping them to brand themselves in order to reach their desired clients and professional goals. Finally, what do I do? I take pictures.
Watch Sinek’s TED talk. Map out your own “Why,” “How,” and “What”? Are you moving from the inside of the Golden Circle out? Are you beginning with your “Why”? As Sinek wisely puts it, “The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.”