Simon Sinek how what why

Simon Sinek how what why

Simon Sinek how what why

So a lot of people write in and ask the difference between the question "why" and the WHY, as we talk about it, like start with WHY. The WHY is a purpose, cause, or belief, the underlying reason why we are motivated to do something. The reason a company exists, the reason why we're passionate for something. The question "why" aims to get at and assert the same thing in a generic sense, like why do you do something, what's the underlying reason for that?

That's why I called the WHY, "the WHY."

Another reason why I called the WHY "the WHY" is because when I would ask people, "What comes first: vision or mission?" People would debate it. There's no standardized definition of vision or mission. So people who believe mission came first, I asked them, "So what's the definition of mission?" They said, "It's why we get out of bed in the morning. "People who believed vision comes first would say," Well, it's why our company exists." And whether it's brand or purpose, all these things, everybody gave me the same definition: why. So that's why I called it the WHY.

The WHY Gives Us Context 

A good example of what a WHY sounds like I'll tell you a story I did some work with the Disney Imagines these are the people who build all the rides, design all the parades, all the shows, the boats, everything like that. Everything that's not a movie or merchandising basically the Imagines invents it, build it, design it. And I was giving a talk about the WHY and the Golden Circle to the Imagines and somebody asked the same question which is "Can you give us an example of what a WHY looks like or sounds like?" So I picked a random person in the audience and I asked him to give me a specific story that helps me understand, that really captures what he loves about being an Imagine. And he told a story you have to appreciate that he told over the course of seven minutes maybe basically of how he was the lead engineer on a ride and he went to I should preempt with, I should tell you this that he didn't know this and I found out later that his nickname at the office was "ice chips" because he was cold and everything well he's an engineer so everything was exact and just sort of not the most emotional guy so they called him Ice Chips this was his nickname behind his back. So I called on Ice Chips by accident and he told the story of how there was a new ride that was opening that he was the lead engineer and he saw a guy in a wheelchair and his daughter heading towards the ride to try it out for the first time and one of the things that occurred to him was that anywhere else in the world people see a guy in a wheelchair with his daughter. Only at Disneyland the only thing people see is a father and his daughter going to Disneyland. And he says that's what it means to him to work for this organization. That it's about parents and children and family and brothers and sisters and boyfriends and girlfriends and husbands and wives and every combination of family that we can come up with and that's all there is just those relationships. And that's why everything was so exact to him. And in an instant we're all crying and it was a beautiful story but in an instant everybody understood why he was always so hard about everything because to him those were the stakes. They had to make things that made people feel that they were just a father and a daughter that nothing else mattered. It was pretty amazing. And it gave everybody context everybody fell in love with him that day.  

The Impact of Finding Your WHY 

What is the impact of finding your WHY? So, I can tell you what I went through which is what set me on the journey to sharing the message of the WHY and helping people find theirs. A WHY is like a compass direction it tells you where you're going. We can live our lives by accident which is kind of like getting in a ship and just sailing or just getting in a car and just driving. You'll absolutely see some amazing things you'll stumble upon some amazing experiences but you don't really have a sense of where you're going any sort of direction. In other words what's it all for? What the WHY does is it provides a path. It provides a map or a compass. So you will still have some of those amazing experiences but now they have value and worth and they're taking you towards something else it's a journey toward something. When I learned my WHY I had a tremendous calm come over me. My confidence grew. A sense that my life had more meaning than I thought it had before. And I had now the choice a new way of viewing decisions a filter through which to make decisions. Now I ask myself does this help advance my WHY or not? Does this help me stay on the path that I'm supposed to be on? Or is this going to be a random adventure? So the WHY provides focus, direction, meaning and confidence.  

What is Courage? 

Courage is an external thing. So I have met people who literally have courage. What we would call courage. They have put their lives on the line, they have thrown themselves into harms way in order to save the life of someone else. They have done something that we would consider mad, that violates all tenets of survival ... so that someone else will survive. Courage.  Real courage. And I've talked to them and I always say, "Why did you do it?" You've got a wife, you've got kids. Why would you do that? And they all give me the same answer. Every time. "Because they would have done it for me." "Because someone else would have done the same for me." It is the absolute confidence that the person to the left and the person to the right would do the same for me that gives them the courage to do amazing things. 

Money is Fuel 

Money is fuel. And fuel is very important. I think money is, there's nothing wrong with money. It's just we have to understand the purpose of money. So the company is the car and money is the fuel. So I don't care how amazing your just cause is and how wonderful your culture is. If you have no money you don't go anywhere. You might have bought the most beautiful car ... You got no gas, you got nowhere to go. The purpose of a car is not to buy gas. The purpose of a company is not to make money, the purpose of a car is to go somewhere and fuel helps you get there. The purpose of a company is to accomplish something, to advance a greater cause, to contribute to society. And money will help you get there. Very necessary, very important but it's not the reason we bought the car in the first place.  

Finite vs. Infinite 

Goals I've become very interested in the idea of playing in games that have no finish lines. Some games have finish lines, baseball, and football. Getting a part is a finish line. You audition, there's a beginning, middle and end. There's rehearsal and practice. There's showing up for the audition and you either win or you lose, and then it's over. That is finite. But one's career is infinite. There's no end. It's like our lives are finite but life is infinite. People come and people go but life continues. Theater. Actors come and actors go but theater continues. It's infinite. You don't win theater. You win a part. But what happens once you get the part? The finite game is over. Now you enter the infinite game, you have to be able to convert. And the reason this is important, and I've seen this unfortunately so many times, from a young age all you wanted to do was get to Broadway. And then you get to Broadway, and then what? You've devoted your entire life to one finite goal and when you get there, the immediate response is depression because I spent 15 years of my life for this one thing and I got it and now I don't know what to do next. Like what do, get to Broadway again?! It doesn't have the same ambition. It doesn't have the same passion, that you've devoted, you're from Fargo, North Dakota and that's all you wanted to do is get out of Fargo and make it to Broadway and you made it. It doesn't have the same kind of passion. And this is because these are finite goals. 

There's a lot of studies that have been done with athletes who have finite goals. To become the greatest X in the world. So Andre Agassi was one of these athletes. He wanted to become the greatest tennis player that ever lived. So guess what? Everyone in his life he would view them through, how do you help me get to that? Everything was how does this help me get to that? Everything was a transaction, how do you help me move to there, and then you know what happens? He achieved it, he became the greatest tennis player in the world and you know what happened immediately after? Depression. Michael Phelps set out to become the most medaled Olympian in history Do you know what? He achieved it. You know what happened immediately after? Depression. They spend their whole life working for one goal. Though most will never get it, the few that do, don't know what to do next because their goals were finite. Their goals were finite. And so there are finite components to your career but your career should be infinite. So yes, of course you have to win the finite game. You have to get the part. But immediately when you get the part now you convert to infinite.  

Artistic Integrity 

If you choose to be the kind of artist that stands for something, that you want to be yourself and bring yourself into everything that you do, you will get fewer parts, you will. The parts you get will move you in a way that most artists will not get moved. Or you can bend and manipulate yourself a little bit and sort of be a little bit more of what they want and play their role and even though you don't really buy into it it's a part and I want to be an actor I want to be a performer I'm going to do what they want. You will absolutely get more parts without a doubt. You will arguably have a "better career" but will you be profoundly moved as an artist? The odds are lower. I can't say never, it's just the odds are lower. It's not better or worse. It is simply the decision on how you choose to manage or lead your own career.  

Change your narrative 

So I wanted to prove that all marketing is the same thing. No matter what you're selling, it was always the same thing. And good marketing talked about the buyer. And bad marketing talked about the seller. Make sense? "I" versus "you." So to illustrate my point I wanted to prove that what the homeless do and what Microsoft does is the same thing. So if you think about what the homeless do there is advertising. They sit there with a little sign that says, "I'm homeless, I'm hungry, I've got six kids, I'm a veteran ..." trying to appeal to everybody. That's called a little billboard. Microsoft has a billboard that says, "More memory, bigger screen ..." all the rest of it. More RAM, more ROM. And what the homeless are selling is goodwill. So if you walk past a homeless person and you put money in their cup, you feel good. If you give them nothing, you either feel nothing or feel bad. You paid for that feeling. There was an exchange of consideration. I sold you goodwill, you paid for it, and you got it. They're selling goodwill, that's what they're doing. 

They're selling the feeling of goodwill. So I found a homeless person who was willing to help me and her sign was pretty typical and I found out that she makes between twenty and thirty dollars a day selling goodwill. And she works an eight to ten-hour day. Thirty dollars is considered a good day, selling goodwill. And like I said, her sign was pretty typical. So I asked her if I could change her sign and we did. And the sign that I gave her, she made forty dollars in two hours. The sign that I gave her said, "If you only give once a month, please think of me next time." It wasn't about the seller, it was about the giver. What are the reasons people say they don't give? How do I know that they're genuine, I can't give to everyone. So I simply answered the questions. If you can only give once a month, please think of me next time. I know you can't give to everybody, I'm legit. That's all. Now here's the point I was going to make. She could have made one hundred and fifty dollars that day. But after she made her forty dollars in two hours, she left. Because one of the reasons she's homeless, or we could surmise that one of the reasons she's homeless is she's decided that she needs twenty or thirty dollars to live per day. So once she had it, she moved on. That's a narrative. So she'll stay there because she didn't sit longer. That's a narrative. So there's a wonderful little trick you can use with your narrative. Just add the word 'yet' at the end. I'm not famous, yet. I'm not that talented, yet. I'm not good at auditions, I need to get better at auditions, I suck at auditions, for now. You can just add a couple of words of hope or opportunity, or the potential for future, or some sort of infinite component that will profoundly change your narrative.  

Nervous vs. Excited 

I was also watching the Olympics and I realized this when I was watching the London Olympics and I was annoyed by how all the journalists asked all the athletes the same stupid question literally, every one ... "Were you nervous?" or "Are you nervous?" whether it was before or after the event. Every single time. And every single time all the athletes gave the exact same answer ... "No, I was excited." "No, I'm excited." Every single time. These elite athletes had learned to interpret body stimulus ... what are the signs of nervousness? Your heart races, you visualize the future, your hands get clammy. What is the stimulus for excitement? Your heart races, you visualize the future, your hands get clammy. They had learned to interpret what their body was telling them not as nerves but as excitement. And the reason the journalists said, "Were you nervous?" is because they would be nervous. Athletes would never say that to each other. They'd say, "That was exciting!" 

So I tried it. I did a little test on myself. I'm on a plane, we start hitting some really bad turbulence. I go and then I say to myself, literally out loud, "This is exciting!" And I was fine. And I was fine. So I do it a lot now. When I find myself getting nervous I say to myself, "This is so exciting" and I'll explain the reason to myself why. So, like an actor you don't get nervous when you go on stage anymore but occasionally you do. So I get to go on stage a lot and I don't really get nervous much anymore but I was going to present to 3,000 chiefs of police right in the middle of all this police brutality hullabaloo and I got really nervous because the stakes were really high and I was literally getting nervous backstage and I said to myself, "This is so exciting. I have an opportunity to talk to a group of people who can actually affect change in this country. This is really exciting." Now I could have said the same thing, "I'm so nervous, I'm about to talk to people who could ... " but the interpretation was excitement. Just change the narrative. It works brilliantly well.  

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