One of KHC’s favorite posts from 2015:
If you’ve not seen it, check out Simon Sinek’s YouTube video titled “Start with Why” regarding leadership and branding. His premise is that people do business with other people because of “why” they do it, not “what” they do.
At the Central Exchange’s Leadership Lyceum focused on personal branding, we were encouraged to use the same structure – start with the “why” – for our own personal brand. To me, it’s deeper than a personal brand. You can’t fake the “why,” or if you do, it becomes inauthentic.
Have you thought about your personal “why?” When folks are making transitions from their primary career to the “next thing,” they are encouraged to find their purpose. For some, this exercise becomes a burden. They find it too broad and overarching. Perhaps a different approach is to think of purpose as your personal “why.” It was easier for me to describe my “why” than to describe my purpose for being. For those of you struggling with your purpose, instead ponder your personal “why.” You may find this easier.
Our “why” at KHC Wealth Management is in helping people in Making Life Count!®, balancing living well today while planning to meet future goals and dreams. As an individual, the Leadership Lyceum encouraged me to articulate my personal “why.”
It’s probably taken me a few years of thinking and action to be able to crystalize my “why.” My “why” is to lead a balanced life of fun and challenge – to do something productive, help others and have fun doing so. I chose to leave an executive role at Sprint in 2004. Since then, when I see former peers from Sprint who are still there and doing great, I sometimes wonder “what’s wrong with me that I couldn’t stick it out?” Then I realized I left because I was no longer having fun. Plus, the challenges, while constant, were often basically the same or a variation of pervious challenges. So while there was constant change, I still felt a bit stagnant and didn’t’ see it improving. This may sound like a crazy reason to transition out of a great career, but I was able to do so because I had been a consistent saver, I had been paid well, and I had a financial planning team at KHC that helped me along the way. I had the financial wherewithal to take a bit of a risk.
I set out to find a new challenge. Going to work at another large corporation seemed like more of the same and left me wondering if I would be any happier. I kept coming back to my “why” – that I always liked helping others develop and grow in their jobs and careers – the coaching element of being a leader. Experiencing working within a small company also seemed like a new and different challenge, and it sure has been!
Today, I’m living my personal “why” and it feels right. Do you know your personal “why?” If not, spend some time reflecting on what; a) is truly important to you and b) what motivates you. Another perspective is to consider your legacy – how do you want to be remembered? What are you doing when you are fully engaged, feel fulfilled, like you are contributing and making a difference? Describe these things. Start a journal. Then ask yourself – “why do I do the things I do? What do I want my guiding principles to be?” Stay away from “purpose” – only 20% of people have only one thing they identify as their purpose.
Spend some time figuring out your personal “why.” Then make changes in your life to “just do it” – as one famous company would say. Live your personal “why” – your life will likely be happier and more fulfilled!