Simon Sinek is one of those rare people who find fulfillment at work. According to his numbers, only 10 percent of us do. In a recent interview on Big Think, he says everything changed for him when he stopped focusing on what and how and started focusing on why. He says, “By why, I mean what’s your purpose? What’s your cause? What’s your belief?” Sinek has written a book about it called Start With Why and approaches his concept from a business leadership perspective.
Now, I haven’t read the book yet, but I am always picking up ideas and tips for self-improvement. And most of that improvement focuses on what and how. How to parent, what to fix for healthy eating, how to stop slicing the ball, what kind of yarn is best for knitting socks, how to improve communications, what to write that sells. But, Sinek reminds me that the why behind all these things is what really matters.
Well, maybe it really doesn’t matter why I want to use a particular kind of sock yarn, but what I believe about being a spouse, parent and writer does.
Particularly now, I am defining the why for myself. Why did I stop working to pursue this dream of writing? Why do I want to write? Those are questions I ask myself almost every day. Certainly on days when I’m stuck on a difficult plot point or have re-read my previous chapter and wonder “what was I thinking?”
But my why is that I believe there is truth in fiction. There are stories that must be told to help us better understand ourselves. And I believe I have a unique way of telling these stories to a new audience. And even in light of the news that comes out everyday about how publishing is dying and nobody can make a living at it, I believe in it enough for now to go on. To write another chapter.
What and How are my tools. Why is the reason to keep at it.
So, what is your why? Think about it, and then share your why in the post’s comments or with a coworker or friend. Stick it on your mirror or computer screen as a reminder and as inspiration to get you through the tough times.