Start With Why: A book review.
I asked for the book for Christmas - Simon Sinek's 'Start With Why'. A colleague of mine had recommended it, and my family had been asking me again and again what I wanted as a gift for the holidays, so it only made sense to mention the book.
I was originally put off by its subtitle: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. I am not much of a leader and this sounded very corporate, very business-y, and very much not my kind of thing. "No, no" my colleague assured me, "forget that part! This book is life changing - I promise you it's worth the read".
Skip ahead a few months and Christmas Day came and so did the book (thank you Mama xo). Just like someone salivating ready to devour an entire Margarita pizza, I was metaphorically salivating, albeit skeptical, and ready to devour this book. I took a look at it and judging from its thickness, figured it would only take me a few days to get through at most. Two weeks later and I was still trudging through its muddy pages: I was not enjoying this book.
It was repetitive and it focused solely on large corporate businesses as I had feared it would. Normally at this point in mine and a books relationship, I would've ended it. Sayonara. Goodbye. Astalavista baby. But ... something kept me reading. Maybe it was the niggling question in my mind that kept whispering "well if you're so smart, what is your why?" and not surprisingly, I didn't have an answer.
So there it was: I was hovering over a book I really didn't like, hoping to find some fragment of an answer to 'why am I here?' buried within its pages, like a bully who still needs the smart kid they pick on to finish their homework for them.
By the time I finally reached the last page I felt like screaming Hallelujah from the rooftops. A few chapters into the book, it was clear as day to me that Simon Sinek is a far better speaker than he is a writer, but - and this is an important but - BUT none of that actually matters. WHOA. Wait for a second, I've just gone on and on about how boring and repetitive this book was and now I am saying none of that matters? Correct! And here's why:
In a world so busy and obsessed with 'WHAT', Simon Sinek reignites the simple, single, important truth of the 'WHY'. He goes against the grain and argues that WHAT you do really doesn't matter, so much as it is WHY you do it that does. It seems like such an easy, almost commonsensical concept, and that is because it is but Simon demonstrates again and again why 'WHY' matters so darn much.
Hey, maybe there was something to all of that repetitiveness in the book after all. Reading the book didn't get me the answers I was looking for, I didn't find my 'WHY'. Instead, it gave me something far more important: it gave me the tools I needed to find the answers for myself, to CREATE my 'WHY' - kinda like the whole 'teach a man to fish' proverb.
If you are wanting to follow in the footsteps of Simon Sinek and create your own 'WHY' statement, here are the basic questions you'll need to answer:
* WHAT is your PURPOSE?
* WHAT is your MISSION?
* WHAT is your VISION?
1. WHAT is your PURPOSE?
In order for me to answer this question, I had to ask myself another: If Heaven exists what would I want to hear God say when I arrive at the pearly white gates? And for me the answer was simple, I would want him/her to say "You have loved well, and you have been well loved" and there I had it, my purpose! My purpose is what I want to do and I want to spend my time here on this earth spreading every little bit of love I have to give. What do you feel called to do? What to you want to give back?
2. WHAT is your MISSION?
Now with your purpose in tow, and a bounce in your step, you are off to the races, or more aptly put: it is time to tackle your MISSION. A MISSION states how you plan to fulfill your purpose: I will fulfill my purpose of spreading love and light by practicing radical candor and asking myself 'how can I help this person?' in every situation. How can you achieve your purpose? What small actions can you take every day to get a little closer to what you want to do?
3. WHAT is your VISION?
Last but not least, it is time to figure out what your VISION is. A VISION statement is the why of your 'WHY': I want to fulfill my purpose to teach that through small acts of love one person really can make a difference to create a better tomorrow for all. Why do you want to fulfill your purpose? Why is it important?
And there you have it! If you string your PURPOSE, your MISSION and your VISION statements together you have your 'WHY'.
So let me ask you, what is your 'WHY'?