A friendly reminder to start with your Why, not your What

We all know about the importance of starting with our “Why,” right? I’ve been talking with local businesses lately, and it’s reminded me how prevalent it still is, as we promote our work, to start with “What,” move to “How,” and buried somewhere there may be a “Why.” Here’s an unfortunate example of that: What: X has a restaurant where she serves top-quality farm-to-table food. How: She sources all of her ingredients locally and organically wherever possible, and prepares them all from scratch in an elegant setting. Why: (and this is a direct quote from her) “Because that niche is really profitable right now.” Even though she – naturally – never published that anywhere, virtually everyone who patronized that business could feel that ‘Why’ intuitively, without ever having been told in writing. The restaurant had a polished style, sky-high prices far above the responsibly-sourced standard, select table visits from the owner (depending on your status in the community), and it churned out lots of waste unnecessarily. Service was formal and stiff, portions were tiny and artfully arranged. The food was quite wonderful. Note the use of the past tense ‘was’. A real shame. A more compelling “Why”—more than just “because I can make a lot of money on it” might have built lots of grassroots support in my community, which is a thoughtful one. For you, this morning, two versions of Simon Sinek’s groundbreaking TED talk “Start with Why.” There’s a full 18-minute version, followed below by an edited version (just 5 minutes) if you’re in a hurry. Suggestion? Go ahead and turn on the longer version and let it play in the background as you go about your tasks. It’s a message that can percolate in even if not watching the video.



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