Why start with the why

written byJosh Babcock

December 23rd, 2019, Stacie and her husband George are hosting the Smith annual Christmas Eve party at their house for the first time this year. Stacie is doing the big day before clean and starts the movie Lion King for her 6-year-old daughter Pearl so she can be undistracted. After an hour, Stacie realizes she forgets to buy the frosting ingredients for the Christmas cookies. So Stacie says to Pearl, hunny can you get dressed? We are going to the store. The movie is in the thick of it. Simba is about to return to pride rock to face his Uncle Scar.

Let’s pause here

Her daughter is probably going to be pretty unexcited to go and might even have a bad attitude while she is at the store. Now, how about the mom says to her daughter, hunny we are baking your favorite cookies today for the party tomorrow. Can you get dressed because we need to go to the store to get the ingredients? I’m sure she will be running down the stairs to put her shoes on.

What was the difference here…she started with the why. We all tend to think about how and what we are going to do to accomplish tasks but we skip right over the WHY. It sounds simple right because it is. But it truly makes the difference for any role you are in. Mom, Dad, employee, entrepreneur, student, athlete, fill in the blank.

What is the why/how/what in this example?

Inside out thinking

Why: Your Purpose - Think baking cookies

How: Your Values - Think teamwork, communication, trust

What: Your Process - Think going to the store to buy ingredients, baking the cookies

Now, some natural tendencies that we have if you don’t start with the why:

  1. Our work is less inspired
  2. Attitude
  3. Purpose behind your work
  4. More likely to quit

One practical step in your everyday life is asking why before you start doing something! Then move on to the how and what.

The process is still crucial

Now I just want to be clear, I’m not saying the process isn’t important because it’s probably more important in the long run. The Why is the X factor it’s what sets people apart.

Habit 2 in the book The 7 habits of highly effective people is “Begin with the end in mind”. Or another way to look at it is when you start something if you could not fail what would your ideal end goal look like? Or what does success look like for me here? When you start running a race, don’t you want to know where the finish line is?

The WHY guy

Simon Sinek is pretty much the WHY guy, yes he is the guy from the image above. He wrote the book Start with the why and then he has a Ted talk called How great leaders inspire action. Honestly, just listening to Ted talk will get the gist of the book. It’s got like 23 million views, it’s incredible. He shares stories about Apple, the Right brothers, Martin Luther King jr., and how they were different. They inspired and motivated others by clearly communicating their purpose or belief. Also, known as the why.

Once you create this habit, the small stuff will happen so fast and naturally. I get to help my child with his math homework. Why am I doing this because I love my child dearly and I want him to help him become studious to the best of his abilities. Did you catch the subtle shift with stating “I get to” vs “I have to”? Just changing that one word with make a world of difference in your mindset.

If you are picking up your child from school…start with the why.

Thinking of an idea for a new start-up…start with the why.

Having friends over for dinner…start with the why.

Calling your grandma…start with the why.