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Start With Why

Updated: Dec 2, 2021

Why do you get out of bed in the morning? For me, it is the hardest ten steps of the day to make it to my coffee maker. My warm bed tempts me to sleep another ten minutes... at least if my toddler isn't cannonballing onto my head or the baby isn't eating my hair...

My why, the reason I can jump out of bed with exhilaration, is usually building something up. Particularly, I love transforming something into the greatest version of itself. Whether it is a furniture flip, a swim lesson with my toddler, or a meeting with a new consulting client, I get such

I think for many business owners, there is a greater why than just earning a living. After all, we could just work a 9 to 5 and leave a lot of stress on the table. So many of the business owners I meet are passionate about their company. They can't wait to tell you about it. It is their baby! Their masterpiece!

However, there is a flipside. They are often exhausted, stressed out, and out of time for their other loves in life: Family, friends, hobbies, and peace. I have seen the burn out. I have seen the vast resource of potential left on the table because they just don't have the time or energy to utilize it.

I recently read the book "Start with Why" by Simon Sinek. He was a marketer who noticed that marketing campaigns didn't always work, regardless of how much money was spent. He realized that the companies and leaders who navigated with why they started could outperform their competitors. Sinek gives the example of Apple who often dominates whatever new market they go into. He labels their "Why" as challenging the status quo. If you look at their track record, they repeatedly stir up markets by trying something totally new. People flock to their new ideas without reservation. Sinek labels this as a why company. People don't need to know the latest phone specs, or the cost comparison to the android version. They know that Apple is always pushing for the next big thing. And to so many people, that is part of their why! They align with Apple's goals and so they jump right in!

This alignment is what Sinek describes as finding your tribe. He posits that we have an evolutionary function in our brains that is constantly assessing if people are safe (i.e. part of our "tribe"). This comes from the decision-making portion of our brain. It is assessing others' motives, and it gives us those famous gut feelings that we struggle to explain.

Sinek recommends displaying our authentic why to our customers, and those who align with our message will flock to us. He advised avoiding manipulation tactics to draw in those who don't align using rebates, price discounts, and flashy ads. These customers are costly to attain, and never loyal.

This book helps clarify your message and brand as you seek out who your ideal customer is. Starting with why helps you be a better manager, salesperson, risk-taker, leader, communicator, and more. After reading, I can now pursue my ideal clients and know how I will treat each of those clients.

Take some time over the holidays and think about why you went into business in the first place. What is it that gets you to your coffee maker?

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