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White Sand and Stone


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  • Writer's pictureBrian Spear

The power of WHY is in our biology.

Simon Sinek is a British-American author and inspirational speaker. In 2009, he wrote a powerful book titled "Start with Why". This book was written to inspire people to do be more inspired at work, and thus inspire their customers and colleagues. And it has since created a whole movement around people inspired to finding their why.

In this book, Sinek's main message is that people aren't necessarily inspired by WHAT you do, but WHY you do it. (That's a complete over simplification, but a thesis point nonetheless). He compares stand out leaders like Martin Luther King Jr, The Wright Brothers, and Steve Jobs. They each had little in common, but were profound in their impact to inspire and motivate people; because they had started with WHY.

Sinek clearly breaks down the similar way in which leaders of great influence think, act, and communicate. He calls this the Golden Circle, and is a simple framework for leaders to build organizations, lead movements, and inspire others. It goes a little something like this: The Golden Circle.

On the outer circle is WHAT you do. This is the information on the specific things people contribute to the marketplace, the products you sell or the services you offer. In the next ring is HOW you do it. This is in reference to the condition and quality of the product or service, more specifically what sets you or your organization apart from the others. Lastly, at the center of the circle is WHY, your purpose, cause or belief. It's the very reason your organization exists.

Very few organization know WHY they do what they do, and its a powerful leadership tool to be able to define and communicate WHY you do what you do to your colleagues and clients. Knowing this WHY is what separates excellent organizations from good organizations. Excellent leaders of impact from good leaders.

This Golden Circle, as laid out above, also resembles a simplified cross section of our brains. At the center of our brain is the limbic system, which holds our relational capacities and our ability (or inability) to relate to others. This is where we feel connected. This is where our impact on other people resides, from one brain to the next.

On the outer portion of our brain is the neocortex, filled with the operating sequences of our who's and what's of the world. The rational part of the brain. The It's of our world and how they are all related. This part of the brain allows us the ability to rationalize and communicate.

So when leaders speak from a place of knowing their WHY, they are effectively building trust from one brain to the next, our limbic brains, which then inspires others to take action based on this WHY. This is literally the wonders of our biology, being able to understand how we relate on a deep level and be able to understand how we inspire others, based on these principles.

If you haven't already seen Simon's powerful TEDx talk from 2009, I have that linked for you here. I highly recommend! With over 56 million views, I'm sure others can agree this is a pivotal talk on pin pointing HOW we can inspire others because deep down ,we all have a WHY that needs finding.

I hope you've enjoyed this article and found value as it applies to your everyday life.

Stay tuned for more articles and insights.


Brian Spear

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