The first time I heard of the book Start with Why was in eCommerce class in University. We watched Simon Sinek’s ‘Ted Talk’ (with over 34 Million views)- and it was so intriguing that I needed to know more.
Simon’s mantra, in a nutshell, is: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” This could be a self-help mantra, and In fact, I put it right in my own arsenal.
He explains that people and businesses never start with their “Why”- which is their reason for doing literally everything. They keep selling WHAT they do (for people this could be therapy, medication, their job, time off, etc.). Emotions trump reason every time. When we make a decision based on a strong WHY, we own it, even if it’s why you would start therapy, begin medication, or set healthy boundaries with toxic people. Explaining WHY is more valuable than explaining “WHAT, when we seek to be understood.
For example, saying “I work for a mental health startup” is radically different than adding my “Why” for context, which is: I work for a mental health startup because I have Bipolar Two and my sister has Borderline Personality Disorder. I like to help people by sharing my resources and experiences with others.”
It works with dancing too. “I listen to Electro-Pop music” versus “I love Electro-Pop music because I grew up learning choreography and went on tour as a dancer. It’s my favorite outlet and a true form of therapy for me. It allows me to forget everything else and focus on strictly expressing myself.”
Once people can develop some context, it will lend itself to a better understanding. Almost no-one leads with WHY and that’s why this book is a best seller and the 3rd most popular TED TALK presentation of all time with 34 million views.
It even works when discussing mental health medication. “I take medication for Bipolar Two” versus “I thrive when I can manage my mood swings so that I can be my true self, maintain productivity, have healthier relationships while working at a fulfilling job that helps others to locate mental health resources.”
People need to start saying WHY they do things, eventually followed by HOW they do things until finally revealing what it is they actually do. It’s a simple way to clarify communication.
Despite “Start with Why” being marketed as a business book, it radiates self-help. For example, it offers holistic solutions to employers: Simon Sinek insists that companies hire people for their cause, not their craft, to watch their business bloom. Imagine how radically different interviews and company cultures would be if they implemented this mantra.
Simon Sinek has written a book that transcends the niche that he wrote it for and everyone would benefit from delving deep into the pages of Start with Why. I sure did, and I’m a better person for it.
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This post was created with the help of Grammarly.