“The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.”
- Simon Sinek, Start with Why
Early last year I came across one sentence that turned out to be the single most profound business concept and tool of 2011 (and perhaps my lifetime).
It caused me to fully rebrand and reposition Live Your Legend as well as my investment business.
I believe it has everything to do with why Live Your Legend has experienced the rapid growth and success it has. It’s only fitting that I share this with you as the closing to our “Monetize Your Passion Online” series.
The man who taught me this lesson was Simon Sinek.
In 2009 he wrote a book called Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. Within a few years that book, and the concept behind it, literally swept across the world. Simon Sinek is now considered one of the preeminent thinkers both on leadership strategy and passionate work around the world.
He often speaks upwards of 20-25 times a month and does much of his work with the United States Military.
He’s been invited to do work with groups like Microsoft, Dell, SAP, Intel, Chanel, various government groups and Members of the United States Congress. He’s also presented his ideas to the Ambassadors of Bahrain and Iraq, at the United Nations and to the senior leadership of the United States Air Force.
This guys’ the real deal.
Simon stumbled upon a concept that literally changes everything. Whether it’s building a business, leading a movement or connecting with a loved one.
My friend Jesse Jacobs, founder of Samovar Tea Lounge in San Francisco, first turned me onto Simon’s work (Jesse built his very successful chain of tea houses based on this core idea). I then happened to cross Simon’s path on the boat at Summit Series (by chance, we sat next to each other at Richard Branson’s keynote).
I’m now fortunate to call him a friend.
Maybe because our Why’s are quite similar…
His goal is simple “To help build a world in which the vast majority of people go home everyday feeling fulfilled by their work”.
And I’m especially grateful that he took a few minutes out of his totally insane speaking and travel schedule to relay the concept that completely changed my business.
If you’ve been a part of our community at Live Your Legend for any duration, you’ve likely heard me reference him more than a few times. In fact the first module of Live Off Your Passion is all about his Start with Why concept.
I credit him with a great deal.
Get ready to have your world turned upside down (in a very good way). If you decided to learn and implement only one concept this year, I’d suggest it be what Simon shares in this video.
If you’re reading this in email, you need to click here to watch the video on Live Your Legend.
Here are some highlights from the interview:
- 2:25 – People don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it – the single most powerful business principle (possibly of all time)
- 4:19 – Why Simon does what he does & why 90% of the world doesn’t like their work
- 5:05 – How passionate work (or lack thereof) effects raising children
- 6:32 – The massive benefits of starting with Why
- 7:06 – Why so few people and businesses start with Why
- 9:16 – How to blow your own business up before someone else does
- 9:42 – What separates truly great leaders and CEO’s
- 10:42 – Prioritizing vision over profit & how the right Why can magnify the bottom line
- 11:48 – The process for identifying you and your company’s Why
- 13:15 – The difference between Passion and Why
- 15:05 – Can a person’s Why change over time?
- 16:20 – Simon explains Richard Branson’s, Steve Jobs’ and Bill Gates’ Why’s
- 17:20 – Using modern technology to communicate your Why
- 18:47 – Why Simon agreed to do this interview totally for free
- 19:25 – How do you get others to believe in your Why?
- 19:45 – Why starting a business is supposedly ‘stupid’
- 20:25 – The fate a company faces when they put profit over Why
- 21:05 – Why the U.S. Marine Corps is such a remarkable & powerful organization
- 22:15 – A window into Navy Seals training and why the most unsuspecting trainees succeed (and why shoo-ins fail)
- 23:40 – Why the standard business reward and bonus program is completely backwards
- 24:10 – When inheriting a team, how do you get them to align with you on the same Why?
- 25:25 – How do you turn people into leaders & how is loyalty created?
Some Tools for Understanding Your Why – Why University
Simon has also provided a ridiculous amount of totally free and uncopyrighted videos and contents on his site, Start With Why.
On top of that, Simon has distilled his core concepts into an online course he calls the Why Discovery Course. If you want to take it a step further and make this stuff a part of your world, I highly recommend you check it out. It’s full of videos, exercises and stories to help you nail your Why, and is currently being used by individuals and companies all over the world.
I recently completed Why University and it lead my business partner and me to come up with the most powerful positioning and point of differentiation for our investment business since we started it nearly four years ago.
I also highly recommend you watch Simon’s 18-minute TED Talk: How Great Leaders Inspire Action. It’s gotten over 3.9 million views (at least 12 of those are mine).
Here’s to doing work we love and inspiring others to do the same.
Thanks for doing what you do Simon.
p.s. You have questions for Simon? Leave them in the comments below.