MY TAKE ON "START WITH WHY"
I’m consistently surprised how many people don’t put much emphasis or importance on personal development and growth. High achieving individuals are always thinking about ways to improve and maximize their potential. According to socio-economist Randell Bell, Ph.D., “Those who read seven or more books per year are more than 122% more likely to be millionaires as opposed to those who never read or only read one to three books.” Take for example, Bill Gates, who reads 50 books a year, or Warren Buffett, who spends as much as 80% of his day reading.
I absolutely love to learn, and one of my favorite ways to do that is by reading a good book. As a result, I’m often asked for book recommendations. So, to help put you on the path to greater personal and professional achievement, I’m going to start including a post each month that is dedicated to highlighting some of my favorite books.
What better place to begin than with Simon Sinek’s book, Start With Why. I was introduced to this book by a good friend a few years back, and I can honestly say it completely changed the way I look at almost everything. The overarching premise is people don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it. Sinek talks about the fact that almost every person or organization can tell you WHAT they do; many can even explain HOW they are different or better; but very few can clearly articulate WHY you should even care. He goes on to explain that all inspiring leaders and companies, regardless of size or industry, think, act and communicate exactly alike. And it’s the complete opposite of everyone else. They start with WHY.
Although this premise may seem fairly obvious and straight forward, the fact is most organizations, leaders, and individuals don’t think or even communicate in this manner. When looking at this concept as it relates to business, most companies talk about themselves based on the service they offer and/or the product they sell, which when you think about it, is uninspiring. Their true value lies in the benefit they provide…their purpose for existing. Early in my sales career I heard a great analogy. When someone walks into a Home Depot or Lowes and buys a ¼ inch drill bit; they don’t actually want the drill bit. They want the ¼ inch hole. Companies, almost exclusively, talk about what their product or service is (drill bit) and rarely about the benefit or value they provide (¼ inch hole).
The importance of understanding WHY reaches well beyond the application of just selling a product or service. It’s also a critical component of leadership, trust, innovation, as well as finding and maintaining success and achievement. A clear sense of purpose can not only serve to motivate and energize you personally but can inspire and draw others to want to be a part of that purpose.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to check out this book, I highly recommend you pick one up at your earliest convenience. If you have read it, I encourage you to take some time and go back through it again. I’ve read it three times and continue to find amazing little nuggets that will help me on my journey to unleash and maximize my full potential.