Simon Sinek talks about starting with why. It is the most relevant question you can ask yourself. Why am I currently doing this? Why do I do what I do?
There are books, blogs and videos you can refer to about this but start by just asking yourself this question. Keep it simple for a start. Imagine you are meeting yourself for the first time and telling yourself about you – education and career. You tell yourself what you have done, what you are doing and what you still want to do. Then yourself turns to you and asks, “why?”.
In this moment, try avoiding answering with what sits on the surface.
Dig deep when you answer this question about why, but understand this – there is no right or wrong answer. There is only an observation. This is only for you, for now. This is by no means a question designed to criticize your choices, to doubt your past or present choices or to induce any sense of failure or success. It is merely to observe your current state and future trajectory.
When you dig deep, answer this question and observe your answer – you will know if something needs to be done after that.
So, if you are starting a business, ask yourself why. Is it because you heard the money is good? Is it because it solves a real-world problem? Is it because a friend had the idea and it seemed good enough to join as a business partner? Is it because you are one of a few people with a specific skill or product? Are you bringing something new or different to the market or an industry? Are you commercializing a hobby or a passion?
There are three reasons I ask myself whyin my businesses –
- My time is limited; this allows me to prioritise the effort and the energy I will put into it
- I can gauge how much value I bring to the table for my customers. If I am doing this just because the money seemed good, I am obviously not there because my customer is the first priority
- Longevity – How long do I plan on doing this? Am I building something for the longer term or do I have a 3-5 year exit strategy?
I reiterate – this exercise is merely to understand your position on the field and the role you are playing, not to create doubt, not to criticize your decisions but to understand why you will get up every morning to go back, why you will put the amount of energy in that you will, and why you are trading your time for this venture. There is no right or wrong answer, merely an observation for yourself. If something needs to be done after you have answered this question, you will know…