Thursday, March 2, 2017

Start With Who

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There is a guy named Simon Sinek, who has written a well known book, called "Start with Why". He has also given a Ted Talk, and has a website with his name on it, and is probably making millions of dollars off of being Simon Sinek.

On Tuesday, 13 people read my blog.

So, I probably don't have any business acting like I know more than Simon Sinek.

But, I don't think we should "Start with Why", I think we should Start with Who. 

Sinek's book focuses largely on the idea that we should, as businesses, leaders, and even as individuals, focus on why it is that we are doing the thing or things we are doing. He (intelligently) states that it is critical for us to have a well developed and strong why to guide our decisions and to help us refocus when things get challenging or when we get disoriented. Having a why to return to, can help us continue on when we may not enjoy what we are currently doing, when we are dealing with a difficult customer, employee, or parent, or when we are trying to make difficult decisions.

Obviously, those are are all really good points, and Sinek has a fancy website and a best selling book to prove that people agree with him.

And I don't disagree that those things are important. I just think there is something more important. And I think it's MUCH more important.

I think we should start with WHO.

When we determine who we are (self-awareness), who we want to be, and we we are willing to commit to becoming, it allows us to have a greater sense of direction than simply stating why we are doing something.

And, having a strong sense of who, will allow us to create a clearer and more purposeful why .

The other thing that I believe, is that our why can change, not only from situation to situation, but within the same job, or within the same season of life. Some days we may be getting out of bed excited to go to work because we are excited about what is taking place that day. Other days, we may have to remind ourselves that payday is right around the corner, and that, today, we are doing the important work of providing for our families. We may choose different things for different reasons. So it's difficult to always have one central why.

Sometimes, we may have more than why, and sometimes, we may have a why that we may not be totally comfortable sharing. Sometimes, it IS about the money.

Sinek would argue (and he would win, because he has done a Ted Talk, and he has a great sounding name) that we should have a deep and meaningful why that allows us to be "feel inspired and inspire others".

I think that has more to do with who we are than why we are doing something. I've mentioned this before, but the phrase that I've latched on to in regards to this belief, is the idea of being Deeply Rooted.

I'd like to share an excerpt from the book I'm working on, Live a Rich Life.
I hope it offers some encouragement on how to examine and articulate your who. 

You may find yourself in the dark sometimes, and not be certain why you are doing something during a particular season of life. This usually occurs to me about the time I'm settling student disputes that involve comments like, "He said when he grows up he is going to have more muscles than me" or reminding a student that going knuckle deep in his nose during class is generally unacceptable. 


You can always know your who. Your roots can and should be constant. And to me, who you are and who you want to become, is the most important thing you have to guide you along in this life.

Thank you for reading.

Think about the things that you believe deeply in.
Think about the person that you want to become.
Think about those that you care most about, and how you want them to see you.
Think about what you want to guide you in the challenging times.
Where and how will you root yourself?

Once your roots are determined, get to work strengthening them.
Bamboo, a viciously strong plant, spends much of its early life growing down, not up. As it appears dormant, it is actually spreading out a network of near impenetrable roots.
When the bamboo is ready, it shoots up, and grows rapidly, and soon spreads like wildfire.
But not until the roots are ready.

Get yourself ready.
A time will come when you will have a tough decision to make. A season of life will present significant challenges to you and your family. Your faith will be examined. Your roots will be tested.
A time will come when you are called to do something special. You will have an opportunity to chase the lion. A big moment will beckon. You will need to stand tall in that moment. And you can’t do that, not fully, without being deeply rooted.

Consider these action steps:

1. Provide yourself with some time to think about your roots.

Think about the things that you believe deeply in.
Think about the person that you want to become.
Think about those who you care most about, and how you want them to see you.
Think about what you want to guide you in your most challenging times.
Where and how will you root yourself?

2. Start putting these down on paper.
My encouragement would be to identify 3-5 key areas of importance for your life. For me, that was relationships, faith, family, and my personal character/journey.
Yours should be yours. After you decide, even if that is loosely, what those areas are, write them down.
Consider just going with a word association/word splash process on this. Just start writing, and see where it leads you

3. Look for patterns or words and themes that jump out to you from each section.
You may find that you can consolidate your main categories, or that you need to add a category.
Either way, take your word splash and form some short sentences, phrases, or reminders from each main topic.
Write these down in a concise, easy to reflect upon manner.

4. Once you have your roots written out. Start to seek out ways to develop them further.
This doesn’t need to be a burden, like one more thing to do.
Though I would argue that this is one of the most important things you can invest in, as I believe that it directly affects everything else you do.
That being your pace, find some ways to develop your roots. Find people to listen to online, talk to at the coffee shop, read books and articles, scripture, or observe people who you admire with similar roots.

Seek to nurture and develop your roots. With a little bit of looking, there are ways all around you to support this important and foundational area in your life.
Much Love,

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