What’s Your Why?

People don’t buy WHAT you do; they buy WHY you do it.  –Simon Sinek

If you haven’t checked out Simon’s TEDx video, you have to…now. The fact that it is in the top 20 TEDx videos watched is impressive on its own, but what Simon says (couldn’t resist) may seriously challenge your thinking. It has mine.

Let me ask you something…

Can you answer the question, why do you do what you do? I don’t mean what; I don’t mean how…I mean WHY.

Why do you sell cloud computing?

Why do you sell image consulting?

Why do you sell home services like plumbing repair?

Why do you sell books at Barnes and Nobles?

Why do you sell sponsorships to conferences with a cause?

Why do you sell social media marketing?

Why do you sell hotel rooms and conference space?

Why do you sell leadership programs?

Why do you sell coaching?

Why do you sell whatever the next wiz bang technology of the future is going to be?

Get the idea?

Famous leadership and motivational guru’s too numerous to name here have all preached about what they believe inspiring others is all about. Many have complicated theories, elaborate approaches or long lists of the tenets of great leadership.  But I have to say that when I listened to Simon talk about his concept of The Golden Circle, I had a serious “ah ha” moment. The concept is elegant and simple, but don’t be fooled. The concept is quite powerful, and if you, like me, really let the magic of Simon’s words sink in, I’m betting that you can’t help but be challenged to think differently also.

What is your why?

Meet someone at a networking event and ask them about their business and it is quite likely that the answer you receive focuses on “what” the company does and “how” they do it. Pretty standard and sometimes boring approach isn’t it? What’s really that inspiring about either one? What you do is merely the proof of what you believe to be important. The how…well, that’s just the process for getting it done.

Which leads to why…

Why do you do what you do? Simon suggests that using an inside out approach produces far greater results. People buy what you believe he tells us; not as much as what is accomplished or the results delivered. When you focus on the why, you realize that your goal is not about doing business with anyone with a pulse who can buy your product or service. Instead, your goal becomes one about doing business with people who believe what you believe.

There is no way that I can do the matter justice, so I want you to go and watch the video and then….come back and tell me what you think.



  1. says


    Good blog on Simon Sinek.

    I get to speak to about 1000 CEOs a year and I ask all of them “what is the client problem you solve that no one else solves and almost none of them say anything other WHAT they do. Almost never no one talks about the WHY.

    Thanks for helping remind everyone that WHY is where success starts.

    Good Job!


  2. says

    Rick – isn’t it the truth. I’ve been guilty myself. Between you sending me the video and then Kent a few weeks later, I realized how important that it was for me to view it. Been reflecting quite a bit on the WHY of what I do:).

  3. says

    I love this video and I’ve watched it about 5 times. It galvanizes some ideas that I’ve been fascinated with for a couple of years now, about why we sometimes breakthrough to do the things we’ve always talked about doing–and other times we don’t. The line between desire and behavior is really crooked…unless you have the WHY.

    Thank you so much for sharing this!

  4. says

    Thanks for weighing in with your thoughts, Veronica. Simon’s message really got my attention, and I’m realizing how many people/companies do not know their why. It would explain why success becomes elusive for some and/or inconsistent for others. Really powerful way to think about business and life.

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