A lot of entrepreneurs focus on the “how” and the “what” of their business, but they do not focus on the power of why they are doing it. If you have not read Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why, I strongly suggest it.
According to Sinek, the first thing that great leaders should do is figure out why they do what they do: What is your purpose, your belief, your cause? His main point is that people don’t buy WHAT you do—they buy WHY you do it. If you set your goal to do business with people who believe what you believe in, then you are on your way to success. Sinek’s “why” is to “inspire people to do the things that inspire them.”
The power of “why”
A good example of a successful “why” is Dr. Martin Luther King and his famous speech, “I Have a Dream.” In 1963, there was no way to communicate to everyone who wanted to join the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom when the talk would be and at what time it would start. But because people supported Dr. King and his belief that civil rights are important, they figured it out, and more than 200,000 people showed up on the right day and at the right time. Because of his passion, the audience believed in him, and it became a memorable turning point in the civil rights movement.
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Understanding your “why”
You have to actively think about and search for your “why.” Most people don’t do this. A great sign that you have found it for that specific season of your life is if you cannot stop thinking about it. It gets you up in the morning, and it is the last thing you think about at night.
Sometimes your “why” is a “who.” Maybe you are driven to get up because you have little children at home who adore you and whom you adore, and you want to give them the best life possible. Or you have a parent who is sick, and you want to make sure you are there to help them, so you get up early and stay up late to accomplish your “why.”
I will be very honest. I struggled with the concept of my “why” for a long time.
I would go to a lot of groups and sit in many meetings in which the leaders would talk about their “why” and tell us that we needed to have one. I struggled because I thought the “whys” I had were too generic, like “I want to provide for my family” or “I want to make a difference.”
Remember, this is just my personal philosophy, but I now believe that your “why” is unlocked by being disciplined and doing what you are supposed to do.
It will be hard to find the power of “why” if you are not doing what you’re supposed to do or doing the things in your life that aren’t as important (watching TV all the time, playing video games, surfing the internet, being on social media nonstop, etc.). I’m not saying you cannot do those things. What I am saying is that if you can discipline yourself, it will bring clarity to your life, and your “why” will be that much easier to grab onto.
“Who” + “what” = “why”
I found my “why” when I combined the “who” of my life with the “what” of my life. Let me explain.
The “who” in my life is my family, specifically my wife and daughter. The “what” in my life for a long time was real estate investing. And after more than 10,000 hours of giving my life to that “what,” I wanted to give back and bring value to real estate investors.
The “who” and “what” when blended in my life is stated as my “why”: I want to help stressed-out entrepreneurs who are frustrated with not knowing their numbers and not making a profit by cleaning up their books, interpreting their numbers for them, and implementing a system to increase and prioritize their profits. I want to enable them to be less stressed, confident in their numbers, and make the profit they need to accomplish their vision and provide for their family to have the best life possible.
This is what gets me up in the morning and keeps me up at night. This is what keeps me going when situations and circumstances get difficult. This is what helps me keep growing when I want to relax. This is what helps me learn a new system to protect and grow my profit.
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Your “why” changes over time
I would also like to present my thoughts on your “why.” I believe your “why” changes throughout a lifetime.
You might be saying, “What do you mean it changes? Once I discover my ‘why,’ isn’t it always my ‘why’?”
In different seasons of life and business, a person’s “why” will evolve, develop, and mature. For example, when it comes to having children, your life will be different after you have them than it was before, giving you a new “why.”
The sooner you understand the power of “why” and its importance, the sooner you will have the key to true, lasting success for yourself and your business.
If you are stressed, anxious, or afraid, are you prone to take action in business or your personal life? Of course not.
What I am trying to get across here is best said by the legendary character Forrest Gump: “Lieutenant Dan got me invested in some kind of fruit company. So then I got a call from him, saying we don’t have to worry about money no more. And I said, that’s good! One less thing.”
I don’t want one of your big worries and fears in life to be about the business you have worked hard to build and create not being profitable and not staying open. I want to help this be “one less thing” you have to worry about.
If you genuinely want to reach your “why” and stay on the journey, you will need to remove as many barriers and obstacles to that path as you can, and one of the big obstacles is not being a profitable business. Profit truly does unlock your “why.”
Making a profit gives you the key to focus on what you really want to focus on. If you’re always worried and stressed about cash flow and profitability, then I think it’s a safe bet to say you’re not thinking about your “why” during those times, except for being discouraged that you’re not doing a good job of reaching for your “why.”
The power of profit and knowing numbers helps you laser in on the things in your life that truly matter. If you don’t have to worry that you will fail, you can focus on your family, the parts of your business that need attention, and growing yourself—not worrying if you will still be in business the following Monday.
Another way to view the power of “why” is to look at your company’s vision and mission statements. The vision is why the company was created, the founder’s intent. The mission is how the company and its employees will achieve that future.
Instead of focusing on making a profit, remember why you are in business and try your best to stick to it. You have to trust in yourself, your passion, and your beliefs to help steer you in the right direction. And so, here it is again…
“Why do you do what you do?”