“The more people you inspire the more people will inspire you.”
“The primary ingredient for progress is optimism. The unwavering belief that something can be better drives the human race forward.”
“When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.”
Simon Sinek, American author and inspirational speaker
Simon Sinek has said and written many important things about purpose, leadership, and motivation that require our critical thinking because they push us beyond the current status quo in our life and work. Too often, many operate from fear and scarcity thinking and behaving. When my company brings forward defining an organizational AND a personal, individual WHY or purpose, there is often resistance, fear, and a lack of understanding about why WHY matters more than ever. They tend to want to avoid WHY because they have not been taught to believe in their power, or know how to trust and guide it. There is nothing that matters more than WHY, collectively and individually. WHY is the internal motivation and inspiration for realizing meaning, choices, competence, and progress.
The reason your WHY and that of any organization in which you affiliate (including churches, schools, political parties, sports teams, etc.) is so important, is that your WHY is what drives you, inspires you and helps you to be and remain emotionally invested so you want to contribute. Your WHY is the highest priority because it shifts you from being reactive to being proactive and reminds you that YOU are in charge of your thoughts, feelings, and actions, no matter what. Your WHY is what you choose to cause in and for yourself and others, connecting you to what matters most about your life. Your WHY is representative of who you are at your best and nurtures what Sinek says is your “primary ingredient for progress: optimism”.
All authentic WHY’s are complementary, collaborative, optimistic, and cooperative. WHY keeps us looking UP to strength and courage rather than DOWN to fear, limiting ideas, and internal and external struggles. Your business WHY and your personal WHY are key to your competitive advantage, your relationships, and all your best experiences and those of people around you (including your family and community). This is why your WHY matters so much.
Now more than ever, we are in a time in our history, work, and life, in which there is much fear. Our climate, politics, economics, health, wealth, global and local conflict, and even the future of work in relationship to AI and more, alarm and frighten many. In the face of upheaval and change, a crucial question is: how do we foster optimism, that most important ingredient for progress? Without finding a WHY to look up to instead of fear and limiting ideas, people become discouraged, feel ineffective, and struggle.
What helps my organization get through every day is our WHY: creating a world in which all people love their lives. Because this is such a conscious thought, we notice when our words, thoughts, feelings, and actions align (or do NOT) with this optimistic way of choosing. This informs all we focus on and do. We choose to adjust to that which inspires us and all we meet, so we stop struggling, and instead contribute avidly to support progress and holistic success.
Focusing on an optimistic WHY helps everyone move forward with courage. Are you ready to strengthen your culture and people so they are focused on an optimistic WHY and learn to leverage core values (behaviors and ways of being) to sustain it? Are you ready for visions (expressions of your WHY) that bring about unexpected achievements? Call us if you are. WHY matters more than ever and we help all you lead to define and actualize it in word and deed. YOU and your WHY matter more than ever!
This article was published in the column The Extraordinary Workplace in the St. Louis Small Business Monthly, August 2023