There has been a surge recently into the exploration our “purpose” or our “why”. Companies and individuals are now using “why” to replace the outdated “mission statement” which now rarely inspires anyone to continual inspired action. So what is so different about using a “why” statement rather than a mission statement. The biggest reason is that the term “mission statement” is like the term “goal setting”, it has been thrown around without much heart, follow through or meaning, so much so it has lost its luster and credibility. The “mission statement” states what we will do for you, it talks in a linear way of goals and values, but it does not connect us the real reasons of “why” we do what we do, so it lacks meaning and outreach.
The idea of seeking our “why” was popularized by speaker and author Simon Sinek, when he created the “Golden Circle” concept. The Golden Circle showed the hierarchy of our why, how, what and how it related to human interaction. The “what” and the “how” explained processes, ideas and concepts but did not connect us in a meaningful way. Our “why” is a non-verbal place of powerful meaning where we truly meet and it is where the final decision for everything is made.
When helping other to determine their “why” I often have to get client to dig really deep to find their deeper reasons. For example, a typical response may be to a why query is “I want to get healthy so I can be a role model for my kids so I am going to start exercising everyday” which is a great place to start, but it is too shallow of a comment, meaning that it lacks any real emotional context or depth, so it is a “what” and a “how”. So I would ask “what kind of example are you currently setting and how does that make you feel”? The response might be “I am embarrassed that I let my weight get out of control and I don’t want my kids to go through that”. I might ask “how has your life been limited due to your weight and how you perceive yourself and how you think others perceive you”? Response “I feel like a failure and don’t want to go out in public, take my kids to the pool or go to social functions, I don’t want people looking at me the way I look at myself, and I don’t want my kids to have to feel this way, it’s hurts”. Doesn’t this have so much more truth to it than “I want to get healthy and be a role model”? When we dig deep and are really honest with ourselves we will find the power to move mountains, we will find the truth of our hurts and gain the strength to move far away from the defeating habits. Your “why” should make you “cry”.
C. David Gilks Your Fellow Traveler
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