I was desperately seeking success, but first I had to learn an important lesson.
One of the first mistakes that prevent most people from achieving any real level of success in their lives, is by not identifying “WHY” they want success in the first place.
What is the deep motivation behind your ambition, besides the obvious financial gain?
I learned the “why” is far more important than the how because it’s our “whys” that determine the strength of our desire, and the ultimate drive to achieve our goals. Without a big enough ‘why’ our chances of success are significantly reduced.
Just the other day, one of my clients, an aspiring entrepreneur, asked me “How do I start an online business that makes money?”
My singular advice was simple, “Don’t start with HOW, start with WHY… why do you want it?”
IT CAN NOT BE… “JUST TO MAKE MONEY”
Money alone, for the most part isn’t a strong enough driving force. You can’t start with “how”. You must start with a powerful “why”. Do you want to be wealthy so you can buy a nice home? That’s great. But why?… what’s deep underlying motivation?.
For instance, many people want to be wealthy so they can have ‘Time Freedom’, to be able to focus more time on a personal passion or goal, and that’s their powerful why. Others want to be rich to realize dozens of their ideas or to protect and provide for their family. No matter which “why”, it must be so powerful and strong that it motivates you to focus every day.
If you want to be successful in either life or business, you don’t want to start with WHAT, you must start with WHY!
One of the reasons you need a strong “Why” is because it’s easy to start a business, but very hard to grow it and make it successful, or perhaps to pursue a goal or a grand dream.
The fact is it’ll be immensely difficult, and it will take you much longer than you think too, as you’ll have to do it over a sustained period of time. So if you don’t have a deep-seated driving factor, when it gets difficult, you’ll quit. But if your “why” is genuine, when you experience really tough times you’ll persevere, because your heart is in it.
AN EXAMPLE OF A POWERFUL WHY:
WHAT?: I want to earn three million dollars within the next 5 years.
HOW?: By starting and scaling an online business, that solves the problems and challenges of my global audience and clients.
WHY?: As a foster child, my drive is to be financially free so I can have the ‘time freedom’ to dedicate more of my time and resources to helping underprivileged children from broken homes and difficult backgrounds.
“Your REASON for your Success must be BIGGER THAN YOU, for it to have Power”
Think of something you care deeply about. Often it’s an emotional pain point, you want to solve for others, (We’ll come to that later).
One inspiring example of a powerful “why” is in F.Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, which explores the opulence and moneyed greed of members of the upper-class society in the glitzy 1920’s jazz age. Fitzgerald does a sober job of transparently demonstrating the emptiness and moral vacuum created by the decadence and wealth of capitalism.
The central character Jay Gatsby, is a tragic example of achieving massive success, yet failing to achieve his primary goal. However, the takeaway lesson is he had a universally strong “WHY”, (which was to win back the love of his life, Daisy Buchanan). It was his “why” that made him a success.
His HOW was to achieve the American dream, that is, in starting from nothing and becoming rich, successful and respected, which he hoped would be the ticket to regaining her love.
He achieves the HOW in spectacular fashion, despite the early barrier to entry of being born to extremely poor parents and surroundings. Yet despite impressively accomplishing the American dream, he ends up failing to achieve his primary dream of winning back his true love, Daisy.
And therein lies another lesson. There is an underlying tragedy to pursuing money first, and waiting till you have “enough” before you go after your dreams. It presupposes that money is the only way to achieve your dreams.
In Gatsby’s case, he worked extremely hard, was by all measure a very disciplined individual, with a very singular drive and commitment to his goals, with all the right values you would attribute to a normal American dream success story, but it was to fulfill a dream that wasn’t even his.
Money was never his dream, that was America’s dream. His dream (WHY) was Daisy, and he ends up dying trying. The takeaway lesson here is, make sure your dream is really your own personal dream, and not somebody else’s, focus on what YOU really want, and WHY you want it.
THE GOLDEN CIRCLE
Simon Sinek wrote the book Start With Why , that introduces us to the ‘Golden Circle’ and the concept of why you should always start with “why”.
Only when you have a strong “WHY” should you find the answers to the questions “HOW” and “WHAT”. The general idea is that you have to find your powerful why that gives your life a deeper meaning and makes everything else secondary.
A powerful “why” gets you motivated to succeed, and a motivated person is personally invested and most often than not, stays the course to the end.
It’s much better to work when you feel that the work is your calling, rather than just an incentive.
Apple is a perfect example. Their slogan “Think Different” talks about their WHY, and their “why” is challenging the status quo. The HOW comes next with user-friendly and beautifully designed products. Finally, their WHAT, are computers, smartphones, and various other vertically integrated devices.
The important thing is that as an entrepreneur, manager, or any individual, must base all their decisions from inside out, of the Golden circle.
Everything you do must resonate more with WHY, than with WHAT or HOW, because no matter how good the “what” is, it can’t compete with the emotional “why”.
Also, if you have a powerful “why”, you have no problem in distinguishing yourself from others, to be different and offer unique value. If you have a powerful “why”, you can definitely innovate more, you can be more authentic and imaginative than your competition, and therefore there’s no need for imitation.
A powerful “why” also brings the power to really lead people using charisma, people don’t follow you only because they have to, but because they want to.
As Simon explains, charisma has nothing to do with energy but comes from a strong and clear “why”. It comes from a strong inspiring belief in an ideal, bigger than yourself.
Energy, on the other hand, comes from a good night’s sleep. Energy can excite others, but only charisma can really inspire people. You have to win hearts before you can win minds.
3 REASONS WHY YOUR “WHY” IS IMPORTANT:
1. IT MOTIVATES YOU AND GIVES YOU PURPOSE
Knowing why you do what you do is crucial. Otherwise, we would all just be aimlessly wandering about without any real sense of purpose or end goals in mind.
2. IT HELPS YOU IN DECISION MAKING
When your “why” is kept at the forefront of all that you do, making decisions becomes a lot easier. It helps you to remember your values so that when it comes time to make decisions, you are doing what’s best for you.
3. IT DRIVES YOU WHEN TIMES GET TOUGH
It can be easy to lose sight of why we work so hard to try to make our dreams happen if we don’t keep the “why” in mind as we go through those tough times. If you’re having a bad day or feel like you’ve lost your sense of purpose in doing what you do, keep reminding yourself of why you got started in the first place.
Here are the benefits of having a powerful why:
- You feel more alive and valuable
- You have no problem with prioritizing tasks
- You can connect more easily and communicate with people much more passionately
- You enjoy the work you do
- You can innovate and be creative much more easily
- You can really have an impact on the world and change it
- You can inspire other people to work with you
- You are a more charismatic and energetic person and probably happier as well
SO WHAT IS YOUR POWERFUL “WHY”?
- Finding your powerful “why” shouldn’t be that hard. First, think about your life vision
- Think about who you want to become, or where you came from
- What pain have you felt that you want to alleviate in others
- What do you want to experience in life
- What kind of a legacy you want to leave behind
Evoking Emotion to find your “Why”
When you think about something you want to achieve (vision) and you feel your emotion getting engaged (why) you’re on the right track.
Usually, you get emotional about things connected to your childhood or important moments that had changed your life or thinking. Maybe you understand something that others don’t, maybe you want to change the world or create a masterpiece so people would understand you better.
If you write down your powerful why and it makes you cry, you’ve hit the sweet spot!. Until that happens, you should learn more about yourself, about who you are, and what your values are.
Asking yourself this might actually reveal that you don’t currently have a “why”. And that’s okay. It just means that you have given yourself an opportunity to reevaluate your goals a bit and perhaps create a plan of action to live more purposefully and become more fulfilled by the things that you do.
If you do find yourself being able to pinpoint your “why”s, I encourage you to try to keep them at the back of your mind. Especially on days that you need extra motivation to keep on keepin’ on!
“You can have anything you want if you want it badly enough. You can be anything you want to be, do anything you set out to accomplish if you hold to that desire with singleness of purpose.”
– ABRAHAM LINCOLN
The Powerful Invisible Force behind all Success
Personally, I have come to the conclusion that your WHY is your power. It is the drive, the fuel, the passion that propels you, and your business forward.
It can never be damaged, broken or taken away from you. But above all, it is your responsibility to nurture that why with every word you speak, every step you take and every decision you make.
The important thing to know is that your “why” is vital to your future success. People with compelling enough ‘whys’ and total belief often succeed and achieve the impossible.
There’s gonna be times that you’re not motivated to do what you have to do. But, if you have a strong enough “why”, you will keep fighting for what you want!
So I encourage you to find your WHY – and tap into your limitless potential.
Author | Speaker | Coach
Founder, Success Mentors Academy™
Creator, 7-Step Online Business Blueprint
“A Year From Now You’ll Wish You’d Started Today!” – Karan Lamb