That's a book. More specifically, it's a book that I just finished reading. Simon Sinek is well known around the world as both an inspirational leadership consultant and also one of the most viewed TED speakers of all time. If you haven't seen the video, I highly recommend it. In a nutshell, Sinek argues that the most successful companies and people are those who start with exactly why they are doing something. Once you know the why, the details of how and what you do to bring that to life are exactly that...details.
While the book wasn't totally new to me (I'd seen the video), it struck a chord in combination with a few other things that came to my attention recently. I've been taking part in a course by the Live Your Legend team and that forced me to look at what I do. A number of friends and people I know (or know of) are busily involved in setting up their own businesses and I see their posts in social media. I've been offered work as a solo trainer and also a greater involvement with Maxman Consultants, the training company who I work for part time. Two things in particular stood out for me recently.
- Someone posted a picture on Facebook that shows how to make a million dollars as an entrepreneur. It basically said "sell a $10 product to 100,000 people, sell a $100 product to 10,000 people, sell a $400 product to 2500 people." and so on. The person who posted it (another entrepreneur) wrote underneath "Challenge accepted."
- One students on a recent training course I ran recently gave me feedback on how he found the course. He was very positive in what he said, which was nice, but the end of the email left me smiling for the rest of the day. Those are his exact words, no grammar or substance editing included.
"Once again, Peter, thank you for everything. Your performance lifted me from bottom back up. It brought new wave of energy to my office :-)"
The second one is why I am inspired to do things that help others improve and communicate better. All parts that are less exciting to me, but essential, in the business of training people as an entrepreneur (e.g. selling myself, preparing material, travel, accounting, invoicing, online activities etc.) are a small price to pay for that special moment. When I stand in front of the people who've given me their energy and their time, which they can never have again, I'm humbled.
If people have given me something so valuable, I have to give them nothing less than the best of me. This is the fire that pushes me to keep doing what I do and get better at what I do. When I stand in front of people and we're speaking, learning and motivating one another, that's when I feel really alive. Moreover, it truly feels like the right thing to do and when we're together, interacting, it's the place where magic happens and people grow. As individuals and a group we become something more than we were before.
Making a million dollars, whether or not it ever happens, is relatively incidental. It's a side effect of being passionately good at something for me. I'm not going to say no to earning well, nor am I going to claim that money does not motivate me to take, or avoid, certain opportunities. Simply put, money is not my why, even if it's good. Prestige is not my why, even if it's good. Being a guru or expert trainer is not my why, even if it's good. That's not to say any of these are bad whys, simply that they're not mine.
My why is making others more effective communicators, more successful and happier in life.
What is your why? What passionately drives you? What lies underneath everything that you do, or want to do?
I'd love to hear your thoughts.