07 Nov What Is My WHY & Why Do I Need It?
If like a gazillion, million other people you have taken the 18 minutes out of your life to watch Simon Sinek’s TED talk “Start with WHY” or read the countless articles on line defining your WHY, you’re probably still none the wiser.
Searching Google I’ve found formulas that state they will help you find your Why in 3 questions. I wish this was true.
These quick WHY formulas are the blogging equivalent of the’ instant skinny pill’ or the ‘eat as much cake as you want’ diet plan; they’re misleading, wishful thinking.
During my mentoring, finding my clients WHY is the first thing that I do when they ask me to help them grow their business, and it can be a time consuming labour of love, but the most pivotal thing an entrepreneur will ever do.
What is a WHY ?
Before you go looking for your WHY, it will help you to know what it is, so you’ll recognise it when you find it.
Unlike animals, which are driven simply to survive, we humans crave more from life than mere existence; we want to make a difference, to help people, for our lives to mean something.
Have you ever pondered what people will be saying about you at your funeral?
Most of us hope our mourners will be discussing how we inspired, gave great advice, and changed lives.
These people, drinking tea and eating sarnies at your wake are reminiscing over and celebrating your WHY. (Unless you’ve been a total a***hole)
Your WHY is:
- Your core purpose
- It is that special thing you have to offer to the world
- It’s the the thing that raises you above commodity level in the business world
- It’s your UAP, (unique attraction point) the thing that separates you from your competition
- It’s what drives, motivates and inspires you on a work and personal level
- It’s what keeps you going when the going is hard and you’re ready to give up
- It’s the gut feeling that helps you decide if something is right or wrong for you
- It’s your ‘yes please’ or ‘no thank you’ to opportunities, in situations and embarking on adventures
- Your Why is the unique light that shines within you, the light that attracts the people who need what you have to improve their lives
- Your WHY is your true north. It’s your compass point that holds you steady and centred on life’s bumpy old journey
Your WHY statement is a few sentences that helps verbalise what makes you tick, and how you use it to help others. From a business point of view, it’s the keystone for all your sales and marketing messages, recruitment programs, team building and leadership models.
It’s NOT your mission statement – It’s your true ethos that sits behind your mission statement and your sales and marketing messages. It’s your special sauce, that makes you different from all the others.
Ideally, your entire business ethos, culture and message hinges on your WHY.
Where does your why come from?
If we take a quick look at the human brain, and use Dr Steve Peters very helpful model from his bestselling book The Chimp Paradox, we’ll see that simplified, the human brain is divided into 3 main parts
1. The Frontal Neo Cortex – Human brain – logic and self-fulfilment
2. The Limbic – Chimp brain – emotional drives
3. The Parietal – The computer – values and beliefs
From completing literally hundreds of 1-2-1 ‘Find Your WHY’ sessions, I’ve come to the conclusion that your WHY is the sum of the idiosyncrasies of these brain parts.
I believe your core WHY is developed in early formative childhood, often in retaliation to negative events or experiences.
Your consequent life experiences consolidate that core WHY, until by adulthood, when the rational, logical neocortex of the brain is fully functioning, we feel a subliminal drive from that core WHY to use it to look for ways of self-fulfilment.
Most people feel great satisfaction when they can use their unique perspective, values and life experience to help others.
This is your WHY working!
So, the ‘Find Your WHY’ formula is:
Your childhood experiences (mostly negative) + Your Individual Values + Your personal emotional drives + Your quest for self-fulfilment and purpose = Your WHY. The reason you do what you do.
Think about all the amazing people who have used really shitty life experiences to help others.
The people feel they have a drive, a purpose, a calling to use what is inside them to help lift, soothe or inspire people who face similar adversity.
How will I know when I’ve found my WHY?
Your WHY is a strange ethereal thing, it’s not like finding a lost key or a coin under the sofa cushions.
After you’ve gone through my ‘Find Your WHY’ program, you will write your draft WHY statement, and if it’s right it will feel right. If it’s wrong it will nag at you and bother you, like a stone in your shoe. It often takes a few goes, some pondering and sitting with, but you’ll get there!
You can test your newly found WHY by asking friends and clients why they like you. How do you make them feel.
This is odd and a bit awkward, so on my ‘Find Your WHY’ program you’re given email templates to send to help you, or I’ll phone a friend for you and ask them why they like you on your behalf!
Let’s test the theory and look at my WHY statement:
What are the keywords that describe my early childhood emotions:
Bullied / Suppressed / ignored / belittled / sadness / dismissed / irrelevant / rules / dictatorship / shouting (parents) / anger / instability
What are my core values as an adult: The computer part of my brain
Autonomy / Independence / loyalty / contribution / growth / self-knowledge
What are my main emotional drives as an adult: The chimp part of my brain
- Parental: Helping / nurturing / training / supporting others
- Inquisitiveness: Interested to know how people and the world work and thinks
- Territory: Protective of my physical and psychological space
- Shelter: My need for a quiet place to retreat / safe / comfortable
When do I feel fulfilled? The human part of my brain
- When I’m encouraging others to bust loose from their self-imposed rules and restraints, be they mental, physical or emotional
- Supporting others to free themselves from fear
- Encouraging people to have fun, be creative and enjoy being alive
- Questioning authority and standard practice
- Standing up against bullying and suppressive regime’s
- Finding new, exciting ways of doing things
How would I want people to feel in my ideal world?
- Can you see my WHY showing up in my life’s adventures? (Freedom from suppression, ignoring the rules, enjoying myself)
- 3 – 12 years Convent educated / dictatorial home life (suppression)
- 12 – 16 years Comprehensive education (ignoring the rules politely and enjoying myself)
- 16 – 21 years Refusing to go to uni (rebelling and ignoring what I was meant to do – deciding to do what I loved and became a horse riding teacher – helping disabled kids do what they loved / Unhappy with the rules and regulations of British horse society )
- 21 – 24 years Breaking the laws of the land – organised crime (Ok, you’d better read my book!)
- 25 – 42 years Owning and running brothels. Fighting for sex workers rights. Helping sex worker start businesses and create exit strategies. Appear on TV to educate the public about sex work.
- 43 years Wrote best selling memoirs and opened the world’s first brothel for those with disabilities. Had a public fight and started a global debate about the legislation of sex and disabilities
- 43 – Present Mentoring people on how to break the suppressing rules of life, be themselves and have fun!
At my funeral I think people will say that I have helped them bust loose from the fear, and crippling conventions that have prevented them doing what they really want to do.
If you’d like my help to find your WHY, and grow a business that you and your customers love, then feel free to drop me an email.