How helping a client find her why led to finding mine.
I first viewed Simon Sinek’s “Start with WHY” TED talk, https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action, at some point in 2009. At the time, I was running three inter-related small businesses all under one roof. Although we collectively promoted and followed a uniform set of company values and structures across all three, each company was an entity unto itself, with dedicated teams and slightly differing mandates. As the leader, it was my responsibility to continually find, refine and effectively communicate the “glue”, the common threads that kept the entire group aligned, fulfilled and paddling in the same direction. This was an imperative not only for me as a leader but for us as a company and for each of us individually.
Simon Sinek’s Start with WHY became that glue. It became the aha moment for the entire team, our differentiator as a service provider. Customers didn’t care what we were doing, lots of people provided similar service, but they did care why we were doing it and why that made us different. As we engaged deeper into the process, we made a wonderful discovery – we could find a WHY that was collectively shared across the entire team of all three companies. It was a magic moment for us. Start with WHY became our compass. It was the rallying point we leaned on to service our customers better, expand our reach and support our growth.
For me personally, it became an inspired call-to-action. Why did I get up every day and do what I do? Why did I care? Why did my team care? Important questions to explore. Essential answers to uncover for my growth as a leader and more significantly as a human being.
Fast forward almost 9 years. All 3 companies have been sold, old chapters finished and a new path, journey unfolding ahead. How best for me to define for myself and for others what’s next? Why am I doing what I am doing now?
There is a wonderful quote from Rumi that reads, “What you seek is seeking you” and aptly describes what happened next. A new client, in the process of making shifts in her own business world, showed up to a meeting, placed a copy of “Finding Your Why” in front of me and asked, “Will you help?”
‘Finding your Why’ the follow up written by Simon Sinek and released in 2017 is the “practical guide to discovering your purpose,” either as an individual or a team. As is written in the forward, “Fulfillment is a right, not a privilege.” A perfectly written description, something I believe in deeply and count among my most cherished personal values.
I could not have been more excited to be the partner in my client’s WHY journey. I’m a people person by nature, innately curious about life and humanity and love to connect with others in meaningful ways. The Finding Your Why process checked all those boxes. I was a willing and enthusiastic participant.
Three sessions and multiple pages of notes later, my client had her WHY. A profound moment allowing her to move forward in her journey with direction and clarity. It was also a profound, fulfilling moment for me. Through helping another, I found the “glue”, the thread that seamlessly, effortlessly integrated everything I was doing, had been doing and planned to do moving forward. I discovered my own WHY of this chapter of my life.
“To empower people to become the best versions of themselves in a safe, non-judgmental environment, so that together, we can support others in creating their unique path inspiring them to lead their most fulfilling life.”
This statement serves as the litmus test for everything I do or don’t do. Before I undertake anything, I ask myself, does this fit? Does this align with my WHY statement? Does it serve my purpose? My WHY keeps me aligned with me, with my core, my internal being. It leads my commitment not only to myself but to others. It defines the person I want to be.
And now, as part of my business coaching practice, I want to help others do the same. I want to be the partner that helps people explore and find their WHY. I want everyone to have the benefit of that personal compass, of that guiding statement that supports them through the wins, challenges and changes that are part of our everyday lives, business and personal.
One of my favorite quotes, attributed to both William Shakespeare & Pablo Picasso, reads: “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away”
Knowing your WHY answers both sides of that statement. It provides the path.
Are you ready for the journey?
Connect with us if you would like to arrange your “Finding your Why” sessions.