In early 2015 while binge-watching TED talks I came across Simon Sinek who had one of THE most watched talks of all time. It was called ‘How Great Leaders Inspire Action’.
With over 28 million views I was a little surprised that for the first 5 minutes of the video the audio was pretty terrible. However it is the power of the message that resonated so well with the viewers.
He basically said that the world’s greatest corporations, or movements, or inventions, occurred because the individuals driving them were focused on their ‘Why’. They weren’t about becoming rich or famous. They were serving a particular cause.
Most companies today are profit driven, and try to dabble in the visceral side of the business as sort of an after thought. You can see it everywhere on YouTube where companies put out these emotionally captivating videos in an attempt to connect emotionally to their customers.
In order for that approach to work it must be obvious to the customer that your viral video is perfectly aligned with the purpose of your company. My two favorite examples of this are Dove and Always. See their videos below.
When you combine an emotionally touching viral video with an articulated corporate purpose, you get yourself a movement.
This new way of thinking about business gave me tremendous hope. I used to see the corporate world as this big bad entity who are going to simply use up all the resources around them in an effort to make more and more money. However, the success of Starting With Why, as Simon puts it, made me realize the real change is possible.
But as brilliant as Simon was in the discussion around corporate purpose, I didn’t find it translated as well into individual purpose.
A corporation was created by people as a thought or an idea that filled a need. It exists to make lives better. If it doesn’t make peoples lives better than why does it exist.
A person was created through billions of years of evolution. Do I really need to come up with some kind of well articulated purpose to justify my existence? I am here and that is enough.
But then you have things like depression, illness, hunger, and all other forms of suffering that make us clamor for some kind of deeper meaning.
“Life has to be given a meaning because of the obvious fact that it has no meaning.” – Henry Miller
I really prefer the word alignment, rather than the words ‘meaning’ or ‘fulfillment’. When you look for meaning, or look for fulfillment, you are looking outside of the present moment. When you are not in the now, you are in your mind, which can be a very unreliable place to be!
Alignment is when you can get blissfully lost in whatever it is you may be doing in that exact moment. For me it is when I am editing videos with wonderful content at my finger tips. I often say alignment is at the cross section of your natural skillset with the story of your life experience.
In a future blog post I am going to walk through exactly how I determined my natural skill set. Then I will talk about combining that with your life experience and making your specific world a better place. This is the approach that finally got me heading down this wonderful road.
Below I have provided a link to Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why. If ‘The Passionate Why’ should ever turn into a money making project I will definitely reference it for invaluable guidance.