“People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.” ~ Simon Sinek

By Kent Mulkey

According to Barna Research Group, only one of every four Americans has a worldview that guides their decisions and actions. It appears that most of us know what we do, for whom we do it, and how much we get paid to do it. The one thing we don’t know is why we’re doing it.

What Do You Do?

Often when I speak to groups, I ask, “What do you do?” The answers are underwhelming: “I sell medical equipment.” “I help people downsize.” “I rent rooms at an assisted living facility.” Almost invariably I get answers that have little to do with why people get out of bed in the morning. Makes me yawn . . .

“If Joan of Arc could turn the tide of an entire war before her 18th birthday . . . you can get out of bed.” 

If you are reading this article, you likely work in the senior care arena. What you do is hard. It can be thankless. If you are in charge of hiring caregiving staff, you have a tough row to hoe. We will need an additional 1.8 million caregivers in the next decade. And it is very challenging to find people who actually care. Sadly, I have seen far too many friends and colleagues get worn down, and burnout because they never get clarity about their why.

The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said,

“He who has a why can bear almost any how.”

If you haven’t picked up a copy of Simon Sinek’s book, “Start with Why,” go get it. Here’s an exercise that you may find helpful in discovering and embracing your why:

Your why is a statement of who you are, what you are about, at your core. And you are who you are no matter what you do or where you go. 

Step 1: Ask a few of your close friends, “Why are you friends with me?” Tell them it’s an exercise you are doing and would appreciate their participation and candor in helping you answer the question.

Step 2: Listen. They may say things like, “I don’t know.” Let them keep talking. They may something like, “When I am with you I feel . . .”

Step 3: Clarify. Use your curiosity about what they have shared and ask more questions to clarify what they mean. Here’s an example: “I guess what I am saying is that when I am around you I feel calm. You accept me and always see the good in me and my life.”

Step 4: Compare. As you compare your notes from the conversations you’ve had with different friends, you will notice that they will say similar things about you.

“People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.” Simon Sinek

The old man is still snoring. Are you?