I recently had the opportunity to attend an half-day branding workshop geared towards helping startups formulate their mission statement. I learned more than I ever imagined, and I was mentally exhausted because of the tremendous amount of soul searching involved in developing a company mission statement.
By the end of the day, I took away two things: 1) I learned that some companies achieve things that completely exceed our expectations and defy all of our assumptions for what’s possible because they start with their “why;” 2) I could leverage the information and apply the same philosophy to my own life and solidify my purpose and manifest further personal growth and abundance.
To prepare for the workshop, I was instructed to watch Simon Sinek’s YouTube Video “Start with Why.” Sinek points out that all organizations and careers operate on three levels of a golden circle:
1. WHAT they do (result/product)
2. HOW they do it (process)
3. WHY they do it (core belief or purpose/motivation)
Most companies communicate their ideas starting from the most concrete element: what they want to do. Then they explain how they’re going to achieve that. Finally, they try to explain why they actually do what they do.
Sinek suggests that the greatest leaders and brands inspire themselves as well as other people to take action, buy their products, or champion their cause by clarifying, understanding, and communicating their purpose—their WHY—first and foremost. In this fashion, leaders sell their vision (rather than their product) by emotionally connecting with others. By starting with why, leaders are accessing the brain’s limbic system that controls behavior like trust and loyalty, and that’s what eventually makes their pitch so effective.
Sinek uses Apple as an example:
Imagine if Apple created a marketing message that started with “what.”
“We make great computers. They’re user friendly, beautifully designed, and easy to use. Want to buy one?”
Ok, nothing special, right? Here’s what a real marketing message from Apple might actually look like by starting with “why.”
”With everything we do, we aim to challenge the status quo. We aim to think differently. Our products are user-friendly, beautifully designed, and easy to use. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?”
See the difference? So, apply the “know your why” philosophy to your own life. Your mission and vision has a fundamental role in shaping who you are as an individual. It reminds you of what to focus on when you wake up every morning, it affects how you carry yourself and forms the basis of your day to day thoughts and choices.
Sinek’s book, Find Your Why, actually shows you how to find your why. Your why statement is the most effective possible way in which you can articulate your why (your purpose).
It should be:
- A single sentence
- Simple and clear
- Focused on how you’ll contribute to others
- Expressed in affirmative language that resonate with you
- Evergreen—Applicable to everything you do both personally and professionally
In the book, Sinek explains that your why statement is “a statement of your value at work as much as it is the reason your friends love you. We don’t have a professional WHY and personal WHY. We are who we are wherever we are. Your contribution is not a product or a service. It’s the thing around which everything you do— the decisions you make, the tasks you perform, the products you sell— aligns to bring about the impact you envision.”
Sinek provides a simple format to draft your WHY Statement: TO ____ SO THAT ____. The first blank represents your contribution — the contribution you make to the lives of others through your WHY. The second blank represents the impact of your contribution. Sinek’s why statement: “To inspire people to do the things that inspire them so that, together, we can change our world.”
I’ve never really had an actual mission statement of my own, but I’ve always had a desire to help others in some fashion. Because of the workshop, I’ve generated my why statement according to Sinek’s format.
- My why statement or what motivates me: “To inspire others to discover their inner strengths so that they can achieve their goals and live well.” This statement is universal and applies to my relationships with my family, friends, co-workers, blogging audience, patients, etc.
- How do I realize my why? I form connections through my day to day interactions with people, in person, via social media platforms and my website and I share my selfcare strategies as a wife, mom, friend, artist, patient and physician to manage life.
- What is the result (outcome) of my why? Individuals are equipped with the tools and strategies to feel more empowered to find personal growth.
Making the decision to live your life with purpose, and then finding said purpose can have a profound effect on your life.
It Gives Your Life Meaning :
When you decide on your life’s purpose, it gives what you do a lot of meaning. Every step along the way, and all the work you do towards reaching your goals, serves to bring you one step closer. It becomes much easier to get things done, when they are done with purpose and with a firm goal in mind.
It Creates a Value System:
Living with purpose also helps you define and set a system of core values that will guide you throughout the coming years. You don’t have to waste time and energy each day trying to figure out if what you’re doing is right or worth doing. As long as it aligns with your purpose, you know you’re on the right track. That gives you a lot of confidence in what you are doing.
It Increases Your Feeling of Self Worth:
When you are living with purpose and working towards a worthwhile goal, you take a lot of pride in what you do. With each passing day, and each small step that you reach towards that goal, your sense of self-worth will also increase.
It Leads to Fulfillment and Happiness:
Living a life with purpose, that’s meaningful and gives you a sense of self-worth and confidence leads to happiness. I challenge you to create a purpose for yourself. Give yourself 4 weeks, and at the end, you’ll notice that you are not only more confident, but also more fulfilled. The true secret to a happy life is being completely fulfilled by the life you’re living.
What truly matters is how meaningful, helpful, and purposeful what we do is. Don’t be surprised to notice a measurable increase in your overall happiness in your journey towards a purpose driven life.
Now, don’t get me wrong–I don’t live in a world with rose-tinted glasses. I still can get really annoyed, pissed or upset when things go array. My point is, when times are rough, knowing your why can help talk you back down from the ledge and anchors you back to center.
It’s also important to keep in mind that your life purpose may change overtime as a result of more life experiences. Your mission today may be different 10 years from now. As you change, your priorities may too.
Call to Action: If you don’t have a why, formulate it so that you can start your path to abundance. If you do have a why, does it truly reflect your authentic self?
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