“Start with Why” said Simon Sinek. “People are inspired by a sense of purpose (a why) and this should come first when communicating with your audience, even before what, and definitely before how.
They don’t care what you do, they care why you do it” he insists.
Simon Sinek’s approach really made sense to me for a long time. I felt I understood the concept pretty deeply. I helped my clients anchor their businesses in a strong sense of purpose, standing for something more than simply what they offered and sold. Some of the key questions I have them contemplate to hone in on their unique and personal why include:
- What’s the core issue in the world you feel passionate about and believe you can offer a solution to?
- Who do you feel most needs this solution?
- Why do you feel called to provide this solution?
- What experiences have you had around this core issue that would help you connect with your potential clients with empathy?
I know that answering these questions and sharing your perspective opens the possibility of a strong connection with your audience, who can feel moved, inspired and enthused by the reasons behind your business focus. When you share your story well, your audience feels seen, heard and understood. It differentiates you and connects through empathy.
I thought I already understood the power of Why.
But then I met Dan Reynolds.
I was on a flight from New Zealand to Australia watched a documentary. Within 90 minutes I finally really understood the power of this philosophy. I want to share my experience, as it might help you deepen your understanding of or commitment to embodying this concept.
The Loveloud Festival and Foundation
Dan Reynolds is a musician, the lead singer of the hugely successful band Imagine Dragons. He’s also a devout Mormon from Salt Lake City.
Dan became aware of a huge issue of teen suicide in the LGBTQ community within Utah initially through his wife when two of her female friends decided they couldn’t come to their wedding because of the Mormon Church’s stance on their own. At first Dan felt this was an issue that didn’t really encroach on his life. But then he dug a little deeper and discovered that Utah’s suicide rate among young adults ages 10 to 17 had more than doubled from 2011 to 2015 and had grown at an annual clip nearly four times faster than the national average.
The figures shocked him, especially as a new Father.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that while being gay is not a sin, acting on it is. It opposes gay marriage, and in 2015 put forth a policy that labeled same-sex Mormon couples “apostates” and barred their offspring from religious rituals such as baptism until they turn 18.
A study by the Family Acceptance Project concluded that “lesbian, gay and bisexual youth who come from highly rejecting families are 8.4 times as likely to have attempted suicide as peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection.” (source: The Salt Lake Tribune).
The more Dan explored and learned, the more moved he became and he decided to utilise his visibility and social influence to make a difference.
In 2017, the inaugural LoveLoud Festival was launched, a concert event to raise awareness, support and money for at-risk lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youths.
It’s not always easy
Dan met immense resistance to staging the event and initial strong push back from his church when he spoke openly about his beliefs and reasons for taking action. But he remained hyper clear on his why and his passion, clarity, and certainty moved, inspired and motivated many others to get involved.
Almost 20,000 people came to the inaugural event, the first ever open display of love and support for the LGBTQ community in the state of Utah.
In addition to the music, there were speeches from family who had lost children to suicide and from young teens explaining how they felt and what this event meant to them.
It was stunning, heart wrenching and uplifting all at once.
But what else?
Until I watched the documentary I’d only been vaguely aware of Imagine Dragons and I’d certainly never heard of Dan.
But once I’d watched the documentary, connected to his heart and shed tears alongside him when the young people and families shared their pain and hope, I was a fan. I’ve since downloaded his music, liked his Facebook page, want to support the LoveLoud Foundation and would definitely consider going to a concert if Imagine Dragons come to Sydney!
In other words, connecting to Dan’s why rapidly connected me to his band, which is essentially his business. I became a fan, a follower, a customer, a client in a heartbeat.
Are you sharing your why?
In a sea of people, places and things, in a busy, crowded world, authentically sharing what you stand for, believe in and want for your clients can provide the emotional glue that connects you to your people – your Most Aligned Clients, the people you are here to serve and support.
It also connects you to your business heart, keeping you anchored, inspired and resolute on the hard days when things are tough.
What’s my why?
My why serves as my compass. I have a burning desire is to ensure that women understand the value of their experience and ideas and the contribution they can make, to not allow fear, comparison, a lack of self-belief, addictions or concern about other peoples opinions keep them stuck in a situation, job or business that doesn’t align with their values and strengths. I’m providing what I needed when I was in pain, stuck, disillusioned and uncertain of how to make the changes I needed to make personally, and professionally.
And so I’m here to share the stories, facilitate the conversations and provide the guidance and support that inspires women to create and grow their Next Chapters so they can become the women they’ve always been meant to be.
That’s my why.
How about you?