We started working together a few months ago when he decided he wanted to take the message he had shared in a TEDx talk and spread his message via the written word. Aside from our work on the mechanics of setting goals and getting published, we have spent most of our time helping him bring his voice, the one no one else has, to the surface. He’s worked super hard to understand why he is driven to write on the subjects he does and to bring himself into his stories where it warrants, so that he can engage with his readers on subjects that matter dearly to him. And he’s rocking it.
He’s rocking it because he has found his voice and is learning how to use it. Bravely. Without apology. Honestly.
Man, do I love working with people like him!
I spoke with a retail brand today, a company that is seeking guidance on how to best communicate their story, especially with their retailers. They know that the distance between the buy and when the product arrives in store is great and that much can be lost in the translation. I suggested to them that the answer is to understand that all learning comes in layers. Learning is most effective when it has a strategy behind it with multiple layers and is not a random white paper that arrives when change is in the air or without some thought as to ‘why.’
I’m a huge believer in answering the question, ‘why?’ before determining how and what. Why do you want to write? Start a company? Sell your product? Why do you do what you do?
Until you uncover your why, telling the story of you and your business might feel choppy or disjointed.
The journey from ‘why’ to story has no set time frame-it might be a sprint or it might feel like a marathon, but when one isn’t seduced by shortcuts and is willing to put in the work, the foundation is significant, so stable that it would be a supreme challenge to knock it down.
Here’s an example of Apple’s why (from Simon Sinek’s TED talk transcript “Start with Why”:
“Here’s how Apple actually communicates – Everything we do we believe in challenging the status quo, we believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use, and user friendly.”
Your why is not your ‘how’ or your ‘what.’ Your why is also not about making money or becoming famous – your why is your core belief system or essence, the thing that makes you run, the thing that drives you, the thing you must share with your staff and customers. It is what makes the right ‘others’ fall in love with you or your brand.
In our culture, identifying these nuances in life and business can be readily dismissed in lieu of the formulation of a business plan or logo design. But your why is where your story starts. Just like your home or place of business must have a solid foundation to support the structure that will rest upon it, so does your business or professional direction. Your why is what supports good decision making and movement towards your goals, goals that reflect your personal belief system.
I will be delivering a workshop in Boulder in January, “Getting to Why,” that guides participants through the discovery of their why so that they can begin their story from a solid foundation. I am also available to work privately with individuals or in small groups (up to three) either virtually or live. Email me for more information on this process and to be added to that email chain.