It almost sounds a little strange, “Why did you start your family?”… but the answer though, is more important than the answer to, “Why did you start your business?” Now, the question in a business context is far more common, and most would more quickly realize its great importance, but think about the question again in connection with your family.
It is the why that keeps you motivated. It is the why that silences naysayers, that gets you up in the morning, that pushes you through obstacles instead of jumping ship. It is the why that keeps your head from turning to look at every shiny thing. The why is what says its worth getting up and trying again. It is only the worthy why that when achieved brings happiness, peace and satisfaction to your soul.
Without the why, you will wander and, at best, be mediocre. When adversity comes, what will you hold onto? When you don’t know why you do what you do, you have no identity. That means you are missing the part of you that can be trusted, admired and… loved.
“Start with Why” is a wonderful movement by Simon Sinek. Please take a moment and watch Simon’s excellent TED Talk explaining the importance of discovering your why. You’ll love it, and it has over 2.6 MILLION views! Also, take some time to browse around the Start with Why site and listen to the free podcast if you get the chance, but definitely write down your why statement. This exercise is very motivating and empowering. I didn’t pay for the discovery course. I have no idea if it is even any good. If you do happen to take it, let me know what you think, because I am curious about it. I felt from the videos and the podcast episodes, I was able to understand the concept enough to discover my why.
It took me about two weeks to finally be happy enough with verbalizing my why. I thought about the patterns of success and joy in my life, and I was able to discover that my why is “to help others find success so that more people win.” I know personally that this is right for me because every time I read it, I feel energy. This statement is nice and simple, but I could talk about what it means to me all day long. It doesn’t describe what I do, it won’t change if I change jobs, and if achieved, the world will be a better place. These are some of the clues to know you’ve hit your why.
Moving on, one of Simon’s inspiring quotes that stands out to me is, “Working hard for what we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion.” I’m tired of hearing people at work say they’re staying late because they don’t want to go home. That home is more stressful… Like that will solve the problem. If home is stressful, then discover your why so that the hard work you are putting in is exciting and full of passion. The results are profound. It will change everything.
A business will not succeed if it doesn’t clearly understand and live its why. You won’t either. Neither will your family.
Take the challenge to discover your why and your family’s why. My family is working on ours right now. I’ll be sure to write about our experience after we settle on it.
Update – 5/5/14
We were able to come up with our family why statement! Our family why is “to create a team empowered to overcome all things so that we can be together forever.” This statement really connected with our family’s love for teamwork and strong foundation of faith.
Update – 5/17/14
My wife just finished her awesome why statement! Her why is “to quietly uplift others so that life is sweeter.” I have an amazing wife.