When I career coach, one of the first things I do is aim to uncover the reasons Why people do what they do.
Recently, I led a series of career transition workshops for groups of people. I found that when the workshop participants got to the nub of Why they do What they do, it shifted something that was palpable in the person who owned the ‘Why’ and the people who in turn heard it.
People wanted to be part of that person’s Why, their story.
I have long been a fan of storytelling. But I witnessed a truly special dynamic where participants successfully crafted a story to explain their Why to the point where their fellow workshop participants were overcome with literally love and tears… all in the workplace.
When you have a well-structured Why, it is magnetic.
It makes you attractive to clients; to stakeholders; to hiring managers. It makes you a leader who people want to follow.
An awesome Why does not merely come from your head. It is not cerebral. It must be holistically mind and body. It must come from your core. Your soul. Your spirit.
Here are a couple that we workshopped recently:
1. My Dad died when I was 10. He died unnecessarily because in those days, he was unable to receive quality health care. From that day on, having seen what tragically happened to Dad and the impact that had on the rest of my family, I decided to dedicate my life to making sure people – no matter what their background or demographic or circumstances – would receive better health services.
2. As an indigenous Australian, in the space of one year, I attended 70 funerals of family and community members - most of whom were aged between 37 and 52. I was so overcome by the injustice and the inequality of services and support to indigenous Australians, that I quit my successful career as a tradesman and made a commitment that my people would never endure such suffering ever again.
Simon Sinek forged the Why movement.
To get an appreciation of the body of his work, you can watch an abridged version of his TED talk here.
In his best selling book, Start with Why, Sinek relates that only when he learned to articulate “Why” he does what he does, did his life start to turn around.
He literally stopped talking about What he did and only started talking about what he believed.
People who believed what he believed in, wanted to learn more. He said that his friends started talking about “Why”. They invited him to their apartments for informal gatherings to talk to their friends. He started to get invitations to more and more places, from more and more people — everyone who wanted to learn about the “Why”. He was magnetic.
So to craft a magnetic Why:
- What triggered you to start on your own journey?
- What stories along the way helped to reinforce that your journey was on the right path for you?
- What do you believe in?
- What have you dedicated your life to?
- What are you committed to?
- Why do you get out of bed in the morning, and why should any one care?
- What is the visceral, core reason you do what you do?
What is your Why?
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