Find Your Why: A Practical Guide to Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team

Find Your Why: A Practical Guide to Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team

by Simon Sinek

Find Your Why is a book that will help you discover your purpose and your tribe's mission. It will also help you understand the powerful principles that drive the world's most influential leaders and organizations. By learning how to connect your work with a sense of purpose, you'll be more empowered to make impactful decisions, more inspired to take action, and able to transform your organization into a mission-driven powerhouse that attracts individuals who support your cause.

Summary Notes

Find and Follow Your WHY

Have you ever wondered how legendary leaders like Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King Jr., and the Wright brothers were able to achieve things that others couldn't? Well, simply by finding and following their "why." This is supported by Simon Sinek's Golden Circle model.

According to Simon, every person and organization operates on three levels: what they do, how they do it, and why they do it. And while it might seem like money is what drives us all, it's actually just a result, not a motivator. To truly understand what drives us, we need to delve deeper and find our purpose, cause, or belief.

That's where the Golden Circle comes in. This model helps us figure out our "why" and how to pursue it. You start by asking yourself your "why" or your purpose, cause, or belief. Then you move on to "what" you do and whether it's aligned with your "why." Finally, you determine "how" you do or accomplish your "why."

Starting with your “why” allows you to tap into something much deeper and more emotionally impactful than just the facts and figures. And when customers feel like a company's values align with their own, they're much more likely to stick around, even if another firm offers a better price.

But it's not just a theory - the Golden Circle actually maps perfectly to how our brains work. The outer layer of the circle, the "what," corresponds to the neocortex, the analytical and rational part of our brain. The middle two layers, the "why" and "how," correspond to the limbic system, which is responsible for our behavior and decision-making, as well as our emotions, such as trust and loyalty.

This concept of starting with "why" is also essential in the hiring process. Take the example of a straight-A student named Emily. When she was interviewed for a job at a big corporation, she talked about her passion for helping people be the best versions of themselves. And that's exactly what caught the interviewers' attention. Simon Sinek himself even offered her the job!

The "why" is a powerful tool that has countless applications, from acing interviews to inspiring teams, guiding ventures, directing organizations, and even shaping marketing campaigns. In essence, it serves as a guide in making the right decisions in many areas and industries.

Actions to take

Discover Your Purpose in Life

Finding your purpose in life can be a journey, but it's a journey worth taking. It's about discovering what makes you feel alive, what ignites your passion, and what you're naturally good at. It's about finding your "why" and using it as a guiding light for your decisions and actions.

The idea behind the theory of purpose is that everyone has a unique purpose - something deeply meaningful and fulfilling that can drive motivation and direction. Discovering your "why" will add a new level of excitement and passion to your work.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, an employee, a leader of a team or a division, or someone trying to find the purpose for your entire organization, discovering the "why" is the secret to achieving long-term, fulfilling success.

For entrepreneurs, it helps communicate what sets their company apart to employees and clients. For employees, it helps renew their passion and connect them to their company's purpose. For teams and divisions within an organization, it helps bring everyone together, connecting them in a deeper, more meaningful way to the difference the organization makes in the world.

Lastly, to find your organization's purpose, it may help to start with the founder's "why." It can also be discovered through engaging with the people within the organization to identify their collective "why" based on the best elements of the existing culture.

Actions to take

Find Your Personal WHY

We all have a unique "why" - a purpose that drives us to do what we do. It is the origin story of who we are and what we stand for.

To uncover our true "why," we need to dig deeper into our stories and experiences to find the underlying meaning and reasons why they are significant. It is important to go beyond the facts and connect with our feelings toward them.

When expressing your why, it may help to use the "To [contribution] so that [impact]" format. For example, "To inspire people to do the things that inspire them so that, together, we can change our world."

Uncovering your “why” requires exploring your life story and identifying the meaningful themes that emerge. And the best way to do that is by having a curious partner who is willing to listen and help you along the way. It's even better if they don't know you too well, as they will have a fresh perspective on your journey.

Actions to take

Unite Around a Common Set of Values and Beliefs

Simon Sinek introduced the Tribe Approach as a way to cultivate a sense of community and collaboration within groups. The approach is centered on the concept of tribes - small groups of individuals who share a common objective and work together to achieve it. The belief is that by coming together, the group can produce results that surpass the accomplishments of any individual working alone.

A tribe can be any group of people bound by shared values and beliefs, ranging from an entire organization to a small team. The defining feature of a tribe is a sense of belonging among its members. Sinek employs the "Nested WHYs" concept to further explain the idea behind tribes. Nested WHYs should only be used if they truly enhance the connection of individuals to the organization's purpose and their role in it. A Nested WHY always supports the company's primary purpose and never contradicts it.

Actions to take

Engage With Your Tribe

A successful business or individual relies on engaging their tribe - a group of individuals with a shared interest who are connected to one another. To achieve success, it's crucial to comprehend the tribe's needs and wants and provide a product or service that aligns with them.

The theory of tribal engagement is based on the idea that people are more likely to support a product or service if they feel connected to it. By engaging with the tribe, businesses, and individuals can create a sense of belonging and trust, which will ultimately lead to success.

Actions to take

Document the HOWs to Execute Your Plans Successfully

John was a thriving entrepreneur with a brilliant business idea. However, before launching, he realized the importance of mapping out his plans in detail. He began by documenting his HOWs - his goals, objectives, and strategies, along with his vision for the business, mission statement, and the steps necessary to achieve his goals. He also listed out the resources he required to make his business a success. Armed with his HOWs, John confidently launched his business.

A clear vision and mission statement are pivotal for any business. It outlines the purpose and direction of the business and outlines the steps required to reach its goals. Moreover, it helps identify the necessary resources to ensure success. Having a well-defined plan helps keep the business on track and ensures the attainability of its goals.

Like John, Sinek also applies his HOWs as a filter to determine whether a new project or opportunity will allow him to live his WHY as fully as possible. When approached to create an organization that prioritized people, he asked questions to determine its alignment with his beliefs. Upon discovering that the project's timeline and complexity were not a good fit for both parties, he introduced the leader to more suitable contacts.

Using HOWs as filters allows Simon Sinek to partner with individuals and organizations that align with his values. It also helps him identify potential issues in advance and talk about them in a shared language.

Actions to take

Share Your Why to Inspire Others and Bring It to Life

Knowing your "why" is only the first step. To take ownership of it and make it part of your identity, you need to be comfortable sharing it with others. This means not just talking about it but also taking actions that align with your "why." This doesn't only build trust and loyalty but also encourages growth with those around you.

Actions to take

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