Why do you do what you do? This is a great question to reflect on, especially at the start of a new year. After all, at this time of the year, most of us feel like we’re starting a new pursuit or at least new goals. Answering “why” will help our perspective on the challenges and opportunities that are awaiting us this year.
It’s been well over 10 years since Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why became a business pop culture phenomenon. And for great reason! It asks us to go beyond the surface for both companies and individuals to understand their purpose, cause or belief. It’s the reason why a company really exists and why we as humans get up in the morning.
Sinek writes, “The WHY provides context for everything else… whether in leadership, decision-making or communication, starting with why has a profound and long-lasting impact on the result.”
Some of you reading this are starting to smile because you feel like you’ve found your big why. Others of you might be feeling a little discouraged because yet again someone is talking about the importance of a big why and you don’t know yours.
Regardless of whether you have a strong relationship with your why or you have not investigated it yet, it’s critical to connect the dots to what we are actually doing and why we’re doing it. You can do this quickly and easily.
When I’m coaching clients, I commonly ask them to connect to the purpose of taking on a challenge or going after an opportunity. I notice the light bulb moment when they make the connection, because the pursuit becomes more real and visceral to them.
Here’s a 3-step framework to use to connect the dots to a greater purpose. I call the steps: the set-up, the insight, the challenge:
“What does success look like in business?” “Making $1 million”
“What’s important about that for you?” “Taking care of my family.”
“For what purpose?” “So I can be a great parent for my kids.”
“How does making $1 million in business make you a great parent for your kids?” “I can afford help to get more time to spend with family while still creating fun family experiences and investing for my kids future.”
When you work through this framework, you’re able to clearly see how the effort you put into success in any endeavor translates into something more important to you. The Challenge part of the framework allows you to find proof that it works. The connected dots come full circle to the work it takes to achieve success.
So, why do you do what you do? Is it simply to achieve or do you do it for something more purposeful and powerful to you? When you connect what you do to something more meaningful, it increases your chances of success and the grit it takes to make it happen.