“We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.” – Marie Curie
By now most of you have probably seem Simon Sinek’s talk about Why. It’s one of my favorites, but it’s not a “feel good” kind of talk. I don’t mean that it makes me feel bad (it doesn’t), or that understanding your Why doesn’t make you feel good (it does). What I mean is that it isn’t one of those talks that you sit & listen, feel warm and fuzzy afterwards, and then go on about your day. It’s one of those talks that throws down a huge challenge for every organization and every leader on earth.
If understanding your Why is so critical to success, then surely we can all state ours without hesitation. Right? The silence you’re hearing is the same silence I hear when I ask leaders why their organization exists. Usually people mumble something about money or profit or happiness, but that’s about it.
I’m afraid that most organizations – most individuals too, for that matter – don’t really know why they exist. They function, sometimes at a reasonably high level, without ever really knowing their Why. Sometimes they’re almost like businesses on autopilot. Why do we do this? Because that’s what we do, or because we’ve always done it, or because my parents did it and they guilted me into doing it, etc.
Here’s your assignment for the week. Take 30 minutes and think about why your business exists. Not what it does, or how it does it, but why. What’s the reason for your existence? If your business ceased to exist, what would the world lose?
Here’s your bonus assignment. Take another 30 minutes – by yourself – and think about why you matter to the organization. What’s your purpose in the business? Not what you do on a daily basis, or how you perform specific tasks, but what is it you are actually providing.
As organizations and as people, just doing stuff will never be enough for us to reach our peak. We have to understand the Why for our businesses and ourselves. If you don’t know it now, it’s worth your time to figure it out. Don’t wait.