I never tire of the inspiration TED provides. This nonprofit, founded in 1984 at a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged covers a myriad of topics. One of the more inspirational lectures I have heard came in 2009 from Simon Sinek, entitled How great leaders inspire action. Several times during his 17 minute presentation, Sinek reminds us that “people don’t buy what you do, but why you do it.”
His message is clear and the examples he cites (Apple, Martin Luther King and the Wright Brothers) makes his argument most compelling. Summarizing, he contends that all businesses knows what they do, working from the outside in. When asked “how” they do it, the message becomes a little blurry and when asked “why”, the message becomes blurrier still. Businesses that inspire, he says, work from the inside out. Knowing why you are in business is the first question the business owner must answer. The “how” and the “what” that follow become much clearer once this introspection is made.
And while your “why” may not change the world like the Wright brothers did, it makes sense to answer basic questions as to why you are in business. Here is my short list:
Do you enjoy what you do?
Do you feel fulfilled in your chosen work, or are you living the expectations of your parents, friends and society and general? If your decision is based on financial promise in favor of your inner passions, the personal debt service you pay may be high. Think about it.
Will what you do make a difference?
You might build a better mousetrap, but in the end will the world really care? While we live in a Microsoft world, 100 years from now society might have a better vision of all that Bill Gates did for the planet he lived in than his impact on technology.
Will you smile when you look back on your life?
The late Steven Covey, in his highly acclaimed book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People asks his reader to visualize what might be said at their funeral. How do you want to be remembered? If you enjoy what you do and make a difference in the process, the retrospective period in your life will be rich indeed.
I admit that my list is somewhat esoteric, but I believe that knowing why you do why you do what you do is job one. The how and the why will naturally follow.
If you have any questions or would like to learn more, please reach out to Genesis HR Solutions at AskUs@genesishrsolutions.com or 800-367-8367.
Genesis HR Solutions is the premier PEO provider for Massachusetts based businesses.