What's Your Why?

April 16, 2024 Eric Hinkle

"When we help ourselves, we find moments of happiness.
 When we help others, we find lasting fulfillment.” — Simon Sinek

Entrepreneurs would rather work 16 hours a day for themselves, than 8 hours for someone else. Why would anyone do that? I'll tell you why I did. Why would you?

Whatever your reason, that's your Why. Even if you can't put it into words, yet. And it’s not to make money. Cashflow is not a purpose. It’s a result. Dig deep. Why do you get out of bed in the morning? Who needs you to? Why do you put in more hours than you should?

Why do you love your loved ones?

Hard to say, right? It just feels right. That’s because our limbic brain is responsible for our feelings. And our decision-making. But it has no capacity for language. Your ability to explain your decisions exists in a different part of the brain.

I didn't have a detailed business plan when I bought the company that became Workwise Inc. (Scaling Up Guide is a DBA of Workwise). I was able to operate that way because I don't have any partners or investors. And only a couple employees. I have enough experience to let my limbic brain run the show (ie, trust my gut) at that level. But I'm building Scaling Up Guide into a "real" business with more people on my team.  Keep reading if you are too...

Those who know Why need those who know How

As the CEO, you own your company’s Why. Everyone else needs to be inspired by your Why and know How to bring it to life. So you need to get clear on your Why. Your business is your megaphone, for better or worse. Exactly what message do you want your employees to amplify?

Your company's HOWs are the actions your team takes to bring your Why to life (eg, systems and processes). Your WHATs are the results of those actions, including everything from your culture to your marketing messages to the products you sell.

Your WHATs must be consistent with your HOWs, which must be consistent with your Why. That alignment is the only way the world will ever know what you truly believe. If you’re not consistent, they won’t believe you. And then you’re back to competing on price again.

How to influence human behavior.

You have 2 options: manipulation or inspiration. The first leverages sticks and carrots (like price) to create “transactions.” You can manipulate your customers into repeat transactions, but that’s not loyalty. Loyalty is when a customer or employee chooses you in spite of your competitors’ carrots.

People like to work with people who share their beliefs. When we can see that a company's values and beliefs are consistent with our own, most of us will go out of our way to use that company's products and services. That's inspiration.

But your customers can only see what you believe (your Why) through your products and services. And by How you do business. Try starting your sales and marketing messages with Why you do what you do. Focus on attracting and serving people who believe what you believe. Don’t try to be all things to all people.

The power of Why.

Samuel Langley was well-funded by the government and had a team of specialists to invent the first airplane. ✈️ Langley wanted to be first. He wanted to be rich and famous. That was his Why. That’s also why he failed. The Wright brothers succeeded a few days later. Just the two of them working from their little bicycle shop. They had a bigger, better Why.

Before Southwest Airlines lost their way recently, their Why was to be “the champion for the common man.” They did this by being “cheap, fun, and simple” (their How). Which resulted in their legendary culture, people, and marketing messages. And 47 profitable years in a row. Most of their major competitors went bankrupt during that same period.

Why did I work 16 hours a day?

When I left my father's business to start my first company, my wife (at the time) didn't believe I could do it, so she took off. We had 2 kids and almost $0 net worth. Yes, it was hard, but 5 years later I made my first million and never looked back.  And I've been happily re-married for 20 years. 😊

So, what was my Why? I had something to prove. To myself and my family. And, if I'm honest, my ex-wife. I helped a lot of people along the way, but that wasn't my Why at the time. I'm not proud of that, but it's the truth.

What's my Why now?

“Happiness is the joy you feel while striving to reach your potential.”

Now, my Why is all about reaching my potential by helping other people. As James Clear points out in his book, the person who learns the most in any classroom is the teacher. Stephen Covey said the same thing. That’s why I taught the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to my team 30 years ago. And why today I'm helping small business owners enjoy a 7 figure lifestyle. You can read more about my Why for Scaling Up Guide here.

👉 Inspired by Simon Sinek’s book, Start With Why.



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