If you haven’t heard of Start With Why, by Simon Sinek, this is the kind of book that should be required reading as a business major in every college. It’s absolutely essential if you are going to ever be an entrepreneur, or have started to think about what you might do if you were. The idea of doing what you wanted for the sheer passion of it used to be a luxury. Some would argue that it still is. Simon says differently (just try to argue with his stonemason example.) I think that while we may have more time to consider it (I totally recognize my privilege) the idea could apply to anyone, anywhere and is within our human rights to consider.

For teams – Or Not

While Simon Sinek’s book talks for the most part about working with teams, I found this book really helpful as a soloprenuer. Obviously, I don’t work in a vacuum. I work with people on other teams and I want to one day lead or manage a team of my own. More importantly, I work with YOU, clients that are important to me and need to know and understand why I do what I do.

Start With Why helped me see how I need to communicate clearly and the gaps in my messaging to future and current clients. I also realized how I need to surround myself with the people that can fill in the gaps for my “dreamer/visionary” type, those that can help communicate and execute the HOW of all the WHY. While I am very goal and list oriented, my strengths lie in the passion and articulation of the WHY behind my goals. I am, as I say, a “doer” but I am also very, very much a dreamer.

Are you on our own, or do you consider yourself part of a team? How do you think would Start With Why apply to you?

Lists and plans are a way to keep me on track and organized (so yes, I suppose I’ve grown to love them for what they are). I suppose it’s a way to start to put the goals into action – but I don’t always know the action steps. To quote one of my favorite small biz ladies, Elise Blaha Cripe of the Get To Work Book I use these tools (including her planner) to Just Start. If I had a team and I could delegate the starting for most new projects – I TOTALLY WOULD.

What would you delegate if you could? What is your core passion business activity?

I think sometimes I have a split business personality. I can fully and deeply dive into a plan/schedule/checklist one day, and completely ignore it the next day. I’ve heard some categorize this as being a “rebel”. Really, it doesn’t scare me or bother me, I just know it for what it is: I’m just-about-equal parts big picture and nitty-gritty.

I’ve realized that my energy for planning and dedication to lists wanes eventually (or is more like a wave). I believe that we all go back to who we truly are. We are pulled into the strongest current of the river, no matter how long we’ve been “good” and resisted the current that lies deep within us.

Do you ever feel like this? That there are actually multiple conflicting business or work or creative personalities within you, depending on the day?

Warning: View Changes Ahead

Simon gives some great examples of businesses, people, and movements (past and present) who both start with their WHY and those that have failed to start with why. So if you are “case study” kind of person, you’ll really dig the format he uses. You’ll start to see the companies, ads, marketing messages, and as Simon puts it “manipulations” around you for what they really are. You’ll finally understand your need to buy a certain product, or why you are pulled to a particular local restaurant – even when a shiny new one opens up.

In what ways do you think the lens of your life would change, if you added the “WHY” question to it?

Broader Applications

The funny thing was, as I was reading this book I kept drawing parallels to parenting decisions. Specifics would enter my mind about why I’ve made a particular decision and how it factored into my parenting WHY.

In fact, I couldn’t help but think about all my WHY’s with regard to life in general while reading this book. After all, the concept of starting with WHY you do what you do can really be applied to anything – from who’s in your circle of friends, to what’s on your dinner table tonight, to how you choose to parent your child.

If you haven’t thought about the reasons WHY (I’m doing this capitalizing thing because Simon does it in his book – you get used to it 😉 about ⅕ of the way into this book you’ll start to examine it. Don’t be surprised if you start to think about WHY you are doing everything.

The Book Pairing:

While Start With Why will give you all kinds of reasons to rethink what your doing (or how to better share what you are doing with your team), I really like Austin Kleon’s “Show Your Work” if you already know WHY you’re doing it, but need help sharing it. Yes, Simon Sinek has his own follow up workbook, “Find Your Why” (which I am just diving into, so stay tuned) BUT if you are like me and an entrepreneur who has a pretty strong grip on your WHY but just need some help sharing it (or showing it), Show Your Work is an excellent follow up book for you. Sign up for Austin’s email list too, he’s got a great one!

The Snack/Drink Pairing:

Something that has a reason for being… amiright?

My pick would be to read these books in the morning (for a little inspiration to start off your day!) while sipping a local coffee that you love. I happen to adore Strictly Organic coffee, which we brew every morning at home and drink with only Organic Valley half and half. They are certified Organic and fair trade – both of which align with my WHY.

I’m not paid to say any of this – it’s just what I really, actually believe and do.
What do you believe and do? What is your why?