Find Your Why – Your Why Gives You Purpose
1 January 2018
“Our struggles are the short-term steps we must take on our way to long-term success.” -WHY Discovery
Have you ever found yourself thinking about what your purpose in life is?
That is probably the number one important question you should be asking yourself now. It might not be a question you think about every day, but it is an essential one for you to figure out.
Whether you think you have figured out your purpose in life or not, the book I’m going to analyze today will no doubt help you to narrow down and put into comprehensive words what your ‘Why’ is in life. It did for me.
As you read on, take note that if you have already read Start With Why’ (reviewed here) then most of these examples and exercises from ‘Find Your Why’ will make complete sense. If you own ‘Find Your Why’ but haven’t read ‘Start With Why’, the exercises in ‘Find Your Why’ will be less effective in the ‘Why Discovery’ process. It’ll be much better for you to read ‘Start With Why’ first since ‘Find Your Why’ is the companion workbook to ‘Start With Why’.
SIDE NOTE: You might be wondering why these two books didn’t come out together. Simon Sinek didn’t release these books together because of all the trial and error work they had to do with the ‘Why Discovery’ process. Actually, Simon has made plenty of impacts on many companies and people when he first came out with his TED Talk then later his book, but he felt like he didn’t have a big enough reach.
That’s when he brought on David Mead and Peter Docker to his team. They were the HOW to his WHY, and started making bigger impacts on people between the release of the books. ‘Start With Why’ was released in 2009 and ‘Find Your Why’ in 2017. That’s quite a long time to wait for a companion book. I highly recommend that you read both of these within a short time of each other.
Find Your Why Primer
“When we align emotionally with customers and clients, our connection is much stronger and more meaningful than any affiliation based on features and benefits.”
It’s a good thing ‘Find Your Why’ starts out with a very short overview of the first book. Although, I don’t think it’s enough to really get you familiar with the concept of putting why first in everything you do. As I mentioned before, make sure to read the first book first.
The concept of Why is all based off of the simple concept of the Golden Circle (shown below) where individuals and companies alike should put their reason for existence above everything else, even your product.
There’s also a biological connection to the Golden Circle which Simon explains about. The part of the brain that is responsible for language is the part that controls WHAT we do.
The other parts of the brain control our feelings such as trust and loyalty. It’s also where we get the saying, ‘gut feeling’ from. This part of the brain, however, has no ability to express language. It’s where our WHY and HOW come from.
This explains why sometimes we have such a hard time explaining ‘why’ we love our significant other. It just ‘feels’ right.
As this book explains, knowing your ‘WHY’ is an essential part of your progression in life. It’s like a puzzle piece. If you know exactly what the shape of your piece looks like then you can more easily find business partners, companies, even friends where your piece fits.
Powerful Lesson #1: Knowing the concept of ‘WHY’ is the first step in seeing where you fit in this world and how you can apply your talents in the right places. From now on be aware of the people you spend the most time with and see if they match with your ‘WHY’. Before applying for a new job or creating your own company or blog, check your ‘WHY’ first.
Find Your Why: WHY Discovery For Individuals
“Leaders are the ones who have the courage to go first and open a path for others to follow.”
Now for the meat of the book. You bought this book to ‘find your why’ and this is where you will find it.
Some of the steps that Simon, David, and Peter ask you to go through can be very personal. It’s almost like a therapy session, but not. I’ve heard mixed reviews about these steps, but if you follow them to the dot, I am 100% sure you’ll be able to find what your ‘WHY’ is.
There are six steps in this process. I’ll explain each of them below.
Find Your Why: Step 1: Find a Suitable Partner
It’s best to choose a partner that you are familiar with but not too familiar. A bad example would be your spouse, brother or sister, or best friend. A good example might be a co-worker or someone from your local religious facility.
Whoever you feel comfortable with and feel like the person has the mental capabilities or background in business. It should be a person that you trust, of course, since you will be sharing stories that might end up very personal. But also a person that can push you to think below the surface and dig deep.
But really, the only role of the partner is to take notes, listen, ask valid questions to help you tell your stories, and interpreting the stories to help you find the golden threads and reoccurring themes throughout your stories.
Having that second set of eyes, ears, and perspective in the ‘WHY Discovery’ process is essential in finding your own WHY.
Find Your Why: Step 2: Gather Stories and Share Them
This is where you get to share your stories and the partner you had handpicked gets to ask questions to help you dig deeper into your stories and possibly think of others you had totally forgotten about. It’s very important to pick the best time and place to do this exercise.
Time: Make sure to have several hours available for both of you and your partner. It’s best to do this in one sitting.
Place: Make sure to be in a place that doesn’t have any distractions, noise, or other people around. After all, you will be sharing deep and personal stories. You wouldn’t want to be crying in front of a total stranger in public, would you?
Before you and your partner meet, there are a few things you should prepare.
- Take notes on the most specific impactful stories in your life from the time you were born all the way up to a second ago. Any story could have potential in discovering your WHY whether they’re good or bad. Have your notes prepared so you can tell them during your ‘WHY Discovery’ sharing session. More stories will emerge as you tell the ones you’ve already taken notes for.
Useful note-taking method to show the importance of stories.
- It’s not just about the experiences, it’s also about the people in your life who have helped shape who you are today, so make sure to include a few stories about the impactful (positive or negative) people in your life.
- Let your partner read the ‘Partner Section’ of the book a few days beforehand (pages 43-53).
Find Your Why: Step 3: Identify Themes
After taking a few hours to share all your stories, it’s now time for your partner to go through their notes to find the recurring ideas, words, phrases, and feelings that all came from your stories.
You may ask, ‘Why is the partner the only one looking at the notes? Why can’t I?’. It’s because the partner has more of an objective point of view. Your partner is most likely hearing these stories for the first time so their mind is free from personal history, insecurities or ego. Themes will be a lot more obvious to them.
After your partner sorts through all of the stories and circles the connecting themes, you must now pick the top two themes that inspire you the most. Pick the top two themes that jump off the page, the ones that you love the most and embody who you are.
Those two themes will be used to form your Why Statement. All the rest will become your HOWs.
Find Your Why: Step 4: Draft and Refine a Why Statement
Some might consider this part to be the hardest part, not the most emotional, but hard because you want your WHY to be crystal clear so you and everyone else can understand it.
I wrote down my first WHY statement, looked at it, and thought, ‘This is crap!’ and rewrote it over and over again, refining it until it ‘felt’ right. And even then I still thought about it over and over to make sure the wording was clear and powerful enough to be understood and make an impact on other people’s lives. It took me three weeks to feel comfortable enough with my own WHY statement. I actually feel comfortable enough to tattoo my WHY on my body! Now that’s commitment.
For you, it might be instant, or for others, it might take longer, but according to Simon, that’s okay. You should take as long as you need in refining your WHY statement as many times as you want. You’ve already internalized your WHY, it’s just tricky putting it into the right words.
The format of the WHY statement should look like this, but of course, you may change the arrangement to however you’d like in the future as long as it stays true to your WHY.
One way to check to see if other people think your WHY fits with who you are is to talk about your WHY with other people, especially your best friends. Don’t go right in and start by telling the person your WHY. Instead, ask them why they became friends. Dig deep by asking what about yourself makes a good friend. Most likely your friend’s answer will be similar to your WHY statement. Do this several times with several different people.
Find Your Why: Step 5: State Your HOWs
HOWs are the actions we take when we are at our natural best to bring our WHY to life. Your HOW is what makes you completely unique.
Now is where the remaining themes your partner circled during the ‘WHY Discovery’ process are used. Take those remaining themes and choose four or five of the top ones that ‘feel’ right. The book goes on to explain how to actually choose the four or five themes and structure them in sentences so that they will be able to help you guide your WHY.
In my opinion, this part was not nearly as hard as articulating the WHY statement. Again it all has to do with your ‘gut feeling’. Your final list of HOWs should nearly complete your whole circle, binding it, and twining it all together. Your WHY is what represents who you are.
After writing down your HOWs you should feel a sense of strength and satisfaction, and at this time you should be able to get out there and ‘Live Your Why’.
Find Your Why: Step 6: State Your WHATs
Of course, having your WHAT is a must. For me, my WHAT is public speaking, and this blog you’re reading now.
Your WHAT is the service or product you sell. Simple as that.
Powerful Lesson #2: Anyone can have the same WHY but each why is unique to each person from HOW they implement and spread their WHY. So it doesn’t matter whether you have the same Why as someone else since each and every one of us is unique.
Why Discovery for Groups
“A team is not a group of people who work together. A team is a group of people who trust each other.”
This is very similar to the individual ‘WHY Discovery’ process but just with a large number of people and at an office. People still share stories but this time it’s about the company they work at. The stories should still be personal experiences. The stories are all compiled and themes sorted through and picked. Just like the individual process, it’s just different since there are many people instead of just one.
I can’t say too much about this part personally because I didn’t experience it. I can imagine it working out very well in many companies though. So if you want to look into it more, please buy the book.
Powerful Lesson #3: Even huge groups of people can come together and decide on one true purpose for their company. The power of purpose can reverberate down through all the employees when a company has strong values.
Find Your Why: Other Thoughts
A lot of time and thought went into making this book which I dearly appreciate. There are minute flaws which most can be looked over because overall the book is efficient with its goal in mind. I truly helped me find my why.
There are three other sections of the book which I want to quickly write about before I give you your call to action. I found these sections to have useful information for the partner of the individual ‘WHY Discovery’ process, and facilitator of the group ‘WHY Discovery process, as well as the appendix sections.
The tips given in this section are very clear and help the partner to ask the right questions and shut their own mouth when he/she needs to. It is the partner’s job to detect when there is more to be told through the emotions that are seen in not just the language but also the physical emotions that are expressed.
This is similar to the partner section but involves more direction since the facilitator has to deal with more people. His/Her job is to keep the session going in the right direction and staying within the budgeted time limit. I highly recommend the facilitator to follow these steps closely.
FAQ: Here, the book goes through several example questions about what a WHY should be. The real examples are taken from Simon, Peter, and David’s personal clients’ ‘WHY Discovery’ processes over the past few years. Some of the questions I had never thought about before but are valid questions to think about.
Partner and Facilitator Tips
These are extra tips for you to be the best partner in the individual ‘WHY Discovery’ process or the facilitator in the group ‘WHY Discovery’ process. There are very useful example questions you can adapt to the person or people you are helping discover their purpose.
Find Your Why: Final Thoughts
There’s no doubt in my mind that ‘Find Your Why‘ has helped me to find my why and most likely will for you too. It’s a well written and easy to read book and has applicable strategies to help you find your why.
However, if I could improve just one thing about this book, it would be to add more visual examples of how to go through the ‘WHY Discovery’ process. There are a few sketches, but I felt like it wasn’t enough. I’d also like to see more than just a few stories of people who have actually experienced the ‘WHY Discovery’ process.
To me, adding these few things would bring more life to the book rather than just saying, ‘Here are the steps, now get out there.’ There needs to be more ways we can get involved in spreading Simon Sinek’s vision. I’m sure we could always contact him at http://startwithwhy.com but there must be more than that.
He does encourage us to ‘Live Our Why’ and ‘Share Our Why’ at the end of the book and that’s all in good, but I ask myself, ‘Why don’t we all try and get other people to discover their WHY too?’. We can’t force anyone to do something they don’t want to, but if we can help other people to realize there’s more in life than just their day-to-day job, actually show them, then I think we should all help Simon Sinek out with his mission little by little. I know I will.
Call To Action
First of all, if you find value in my analysis of ‘Find Your Why’ then please comment and share this post on your favorite social media.
Lastly, always remember to share the knowledge you’ve learned with the people you care most about.