Have you ever wondered why you keep striving for more in life? From taking the first baby steps to running down the stairs until you grow up to join the hustle, it NEVER seems like an end…
You swim through college and, whoosh…you step right into practical life without knowing why you were sent to Earth…!
That was until now because this blog will change your life for good.
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Inspired by Find Your Why by Simon Sinek, David Mead, and Peter Docker, we will tell you the secrets of a fulfilling life.
It all starts with the Golden Circle.
Every person and organization operates on 3 levels:
And yet, here’s the bitter reality: most of us can articulate what we do and how we do it. The hard part is finding the why. And that’s because we think, act, and communicate from the outside in:
In comparison, influential people think, act, and communicate from the inside out:
Your WHY is the compass to guide your decisions in all areas, from finding an ideal job or career to hiring the right fit in an organization. When all 3 levels align from the inside out, you can start living your WHY and perform at your natural best.
- At an organizational level, your WHY helps you connect deeper and more emotionally to build trust and loyalty.
- At a personal level, your WHY helps you find the right work, teams, and organizations to gain a deep and lasting sense of fulfillment.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Find and Live Your Why
There are 3 key steps to discovering your WHY but the specific steps are different for individuals and teams.
Step 1 – Gather and Share Stories
Your WHY is not an aspiration. It describes who you are when you’re at your natural best.
You can find your one specific WHY by finding clues in the defining events and moments from the past.
- For individuals, it’s rooted down in the late teens, which shape who you become.
- For tribes, the collective WHY is discovered within the founder’s origin story and tribe members’ stories.
Step 2 – Identify Themes
As you filter out stories and share them, themes start to surface. A few will stand out and resonate with you to provide the foundation of your WHY statement.
Step 3 – Draft and Refine Your Why Statement
Your WHY statement must be clear, simple, impact-oriented, actionable, affirmative, and expressed with words that resonate with you.
According to the authors of the book Find Your Why, you can use this structure for your 1-sentence WHY statement:
“To —– so that —–.”
The first blank describes your contribution, and the second describes your impact.
How to Find Your Why as an Individual?
As an individual, Simon Sinek identifies his WHY like this:
“To inspire people to do the things that inspire them so that, together, we can change our world.”
Here’s how you can find yours:
Step 1 – Find Your Partner
Your partner helps by taking notes as you share your stories. They will also ask questions and uncover insights from your stories.
Remember that a partner doesn’t have to know you well, but they must be objective and someone you’re comfortable sharing personal information with.
Step 2 – Get Your Partner Up to Speed
The easiest way to do that is by:
- Showing them Sinek’s TED Talk video
- Getting them to read the partner section of the book ‘Find Your Why.’
Step 3 – Choose a Time & Place
Meet your partner in person.
Pick a place where you can focus and share your personal information comfortably.
Pro-tip: make sure you have 3 hours to finish the process in 1 sitting.
Step 4 – Gather Your Stories
Your goal should be to gather as many stories as possible without overthinking. After that, select more or less 5 stories that made the greatest impact on your life.
Your stories can be about people or experiences that shape who you are today. For example, it can be about the day you came up with an award-winning idea or a meaningful conversation with a mentor.
Step 5 – Share Your Stories
Start by sharing the top 3 most impactful stories on your list. Be as specific as possible.
Remember to highlight the visceral details to bring out the emotions leading to your WHY. These details include:
- What you saw
- What happened
- What people said that made you respond or feel a certain way
The more details you share, the more accurate your WHY statement will be.
Step 6 – Identify Your Themes
This is where your partner will take the lead in identifying the recurring themes emerging from your stories. You don’t have to self-analyze as you’re too involved to see things objectively.
Once your partner lists all the themes, ask them to highlight 1-2 themes that seem the most significant.
Finally, jointly choose the one theme that best captures your contribution and impact.
Step 7 – Draft & Refine Your Why
Your initial WHY statement draft will be generic, and you’ll need time to find the right words.
For example, one of the co-authors of the book ‘Find Your Why,’ David Mead, refined his statement from “To propel positive change so that people can live a more fulfilled life” to this:
“To propel people forward so they can make their mark on the world.”
How to Find Your Why as a Team?
A team or tribe is a group built around common values and beliefs. It can be a small team or an entire organization, with each person having multiple tribes.
The crux is this: a tribe is where you feel you belong.
Organizations usually have smaller teams with their sub-cultures. The WHYs of these sub-groups serve the organization’s overarching WHY. Together, they help avoid organizational failure[H1] .
For example, the founder Sinek and company share the same WHY at Start with Why.
The other authors, Docker and Mead, have WHYs that complement the company’s.
The WHY discovery goal is not to invent a new purpose, inspire people, or create a marketing tagline.
The goal is to uncover the tribe’s existing WHY.
You can use two approaches to find the tribe’s WHY:
- Start with the founder’s personal WHY discovery if they’re still with the organization. If the organization has more than one founder, start with the visionary.
- Use the Tribe Approach if the founder isn’t around.
The Tribe Approach includes the following steps:
Step 1 – Find Your Facilitator
Your facilitator prepares for and leads the tribe WHY discovery workshop.
The facilitator doesn’t have to be professional, but they should be trusted by the tribe, objective, curious, and skillful to run a workshop.
Step 2 – Prepare for the Workshop
Once the facilitator gets selected, they will have to perform a few tasks. These include:
- Inviting participants
- Scheduling enough time (at least 4 hours)
- Finding the right place
- Setting up a room
Step 3 – Run the Why Discovery Workshop
The WHY discovery shop comprises 3 main parts:
- Context – where the leader will explain the WHY concept, explain the goals and significance of the workshop, and seek participants’ full support.
- WHY discovery – which takes up to 2.5 hours with 3 conversations.
The participants are divided into 3 teams, and the conversations revolve around:
- The human difference where people will tell specific stories when they felt proud of working for the organization.
- What’s our contribution where people within the 3 teams revisit each story and identify the specific contributions of the organization to others’ lives.
- What’s our impact where teams focus on the people in their stories.
- WHY statement – explains the drafted statement by each team.
Bring Your Why to Life with Your HOWs
Once you’ve identified your WHY and jotted down the statement, it’s time to bring it to life. To do that, you must know your WHYs.
Take inspiration from Docker, whose WHY is “to enable people to be extraordinary so that they can do extraordinary things.”
His HOWs include:
- Make it simple
- See the wider context
- Embrace new ideas
- Build relationships
- Push the boundaries
Your HOWs are your strengths. These are the ingredients you need to be at your best.
Remember not to mix values with HOWs. For instance, integrity is a value, and actionable words like ‘always tell the truth’ are the HOW.
The process for articulating your HOWs is the same for individuals and tribes.
Lastly, keep your WHY alive by observing symptoms threatening its stability.
For an organization, a decrease in passion, engagement, and productivity lead to the WHY dying. However, you can use storytelling as a tool to pass on and preserve your WHY.
In a nutshell, the book Find Your WHY serves as a DIY guide to discovering a purpose for you and your team.
With this guide, anyone from an individual to an organization can find their WHY to live a purposeful life.