Kenny: This week we’re talking about the importance of finding your why, why you should find your why in essence. Andrew, why is your ‘why’ so important?
Andrew: Well, to put it most simply, finding your why means knowing what you desire. You must have desire if you want to achieve anything in life. It’s really that simple. If there’s nothing you desire Kenny, then you literally have no reason to get out of bed in the morning. In fact, many cases of depression are a result of a person not having any desires. There’s no reason to act. No motivation to tackle problems. No inspiration to toil for yourself or for others. No reason to even get out of bed.
Number one, if you want to achieve anything in life, your business or anything else, you must have desire and that means finding your why.
Now I once heard this great quote and I tried to find the source but I couldn’t find it today when I was looking but the quote goes something like this, “There are only two problems in life, not knowing what you want and not knowing how to get it.” And of these two problems the first one is much more difficult because if you don’t clearly know what you want, what you desire, then you’re never going to know your ‘why’ for doing anything.
Your ‘why’ is what turns a list of goals on a piece of paper into a list of accomplishments in the real world and nothing else can do that, nothing.
I just finished reading a magnificent book by Matthew Michalewicz called, “Life in Half a Second”. It’s a fantastic book. I highly recommend everybody listening to this, go out and read it. He doesn’t unveil any previously unknown secrets of the universe but what he does do and do extremely well is distill down the five elements required for success in any endeavor. He has a lot of science behind it and he turns it into a quick, fun, insightful read with a lot of clear actions to help you get moving. Definitely read that book but let me summarize just a key part of it here.
The five elements or doors as he calls them, for success are goals, desire, belief, knowledge and action. He equates taking action with overcoming fear; so goals, desire, belief, knowledge and action.
Obviously you need clear goals in order to succeed in anything. He gives a couple of great stats. Only 16% of people have goals. Only 3% of people write down their goals. Only 1% of people review the goals that they wrote. Right away, 99% of people are just not set up well for success.
And as Matthew says, if you don’t know your goals, then how can anyone or any book help you, because help you to do what exactly if you don’t know what your goals are. You’ve got to have goals.
Number 2, you must believe that you can reach your goals. Without self-belief you will end up sabotaging things yourself. We see that all the time. You must have the knowledge required to reach your goals. You need to learn what to do and how to do it. Without knowledge, your goals are just a nonfunctioning wish list. You need to learn to overcome your fears in order to take action.
The author, Matthew, goes into great detail in these topics and makes it very easy for you to succeed if you want to follow his advice.
The most important door, in my mind, of those 5 is the one that’s most difficult for many people to really know and obtain and that’s desire. That’s our why. Strong desire crystallizes your goals for you. Strong desire helps you move out of toxic environments and overcome your limiting beliefs. Strong desire spurs you to invest in yourself to gain the knowledge that you need. Strong desire is what will overcome your fear of taking action. Without desire, without knowing your ‘why’, the rest doesn’t even matter.
Here’s an example to make this more relatable. Let’s say, I set a goal to buy a shiny new red Ferrari by the end of next year. That’s a very clear goal. So I earn a check mark for that.
I believe I can achieve that goal. I have saved money before for large purchases and I’m sure I can do it again. I can also leverage my existing savings if I have to. So the belief is there, check.
I don’t know how to buy a Ferrari because I don’t know where the nearest dealership is but that’s an easy problem to solve. So the knowledge piece won’t be an issue, check.
I don’t think overcoming fear is going to be difficult. Maybe there is some fear that I’m more likely to get into an accident because I’ll be tempted to drive the Ferrari too fast or that I might get more tickets or that some of my friends might think that I’m overly extravagant and irresponsible, but those are minor fears that again, can easily be overcome to allow action, check. Going through 4 out of 5 doors for success here is a piece of cake.
There’s just one problem. I have no desire to own a red Ferrari, or any Ferrari, or any car for that matter. In the past, I’ve been perfectly happy driving functional Toyotas, Nissans and Mazdas. To me a car is transportation, not a status symbol. It doesn’t affect my self-image.
In fact, right now while I’m living with my family in Osaka, Japan, we don’t even own a car. We don’t need a car. Owning a car here would be more cost and more trouble than it’s worth. I don’t want a car at all. Therefore, I have no desire whatsoever to buy a red Ferrari. I have no ‘why’ for doing it. Therefore, I’m never going to do what it takes to make it happen even though all the other pieces are in place.
You might ask, so Andrew, then why would you even set it as a goal in the first place to buy a Ferrari? Honestly there are many reasons. Maybe growing up, I grew up with the idea that owning a red Ferrari was acquainted with success. That’s how you get the feeling of, I finally arrived. Maybe my Hollywood idols always drove red Ferraris. Maybe my wife, kids or friends thinking that if I buy a red Ferrari, that would just be fantastic.
There are always lots of external reasons that can lead us to set goals that we don’t really desire. That’s a huge problem because if we lack desire, if we lack a strong ‘why’ then our list of goals never becomes more than a list of failures.
How does all this relate to us as consultants who are trying to run successful businesses? I will say that knowing your ‘why’ in business is absolutely fundamental. If you don’t have a strong ‘why’, a desire, a ‘why’ for starting a business, there’s little chance you’ll ever start it. If you don’t have a strong ‘why’ for being a consultant then, you’ll never be able to sell your value as a consultant. If you don’t have a strong ‘why’ for serving a particular type of client then it’s unlikely you’ll serve that client any better than anyone else can. If you don’t have a strong ‘why’ for using your particular process then you won’t be able to sell others on using it either. If you don’t have a strong ‘why’ for growing your business to six-figures, seven-figures or eight-figures, then there’s no way you’ll ever do so.
You can have clear goals on paper. You can have strong self-belief. You can have oodles of knowledge and you can be the greatest action-taker the world has ever seen. But if you don’t have a strong ‘why’, then why even get out of bed in the morning?
I hope with all that Kenny that I’ve presented a pretty good case for why you need a ‘why’. What are your thoughts about that?
Kenny: First of all I think that book sounds like a really good book so I’m going to definitely have a peek at that.
Andrew: And that again was “Life in Half A Second”.
Kenny: That is by?
Andrew: Matthew Michelwitz.
Kenny: Great stuff. Well, I’m going to go little bit more into the why of the ‘why’ and then possibly, Andrew, you and I could possibly debate a little bit of how we can find that ‘why’. I think one thing when I’ve looked at my why before and I’ve done it with a coach for instance, if someone is coaching me, they’ll generally dig deeper and deeper.
So I might say my ‘why’ is to, I want to earn extra money, that’s my goal. Why do you want to earn extra money? Well, I want to have more freedom, to have choices. Why do you want that? And then keep digging down and digging deeper and deeper into it.
What I want to do know is just to talk about a very well-known author called Simon Sinek. His book is “Start With Why”. You can actually see a great TED talk he did that’s had I think 25 million views now. It’s titled, “How great leaders inspire action”. I’m going to quote quite a bit from that TED talk today. I’ve kind of taken some of the best bits of it because it’s really important.
He talks about what he calls the golden circle, which is basically made from three different side circles. The outside circle is the ‘what’, which is still important. The second circle is the ‘how’ and the most important one is in the middle and that is the ‘why’.
Most leaders and businesses and even marketers, they communicate from the outside in. They start on the outside with the ‘what’, and then the ‘how’. A lot of the time they completely miss the why out of the equation which is the most important part. You can see it in communication everywhere.
For example if Apple, let’s look at Apple and he used Apple as an example. I think they’re a great example because they have a very strong ‘why’. But if they didn’t, communication from Apple might be something like “We make great computers.” So that’s your what. “They’re beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly,” there’s your how. And then ignore everything else, and say, “Want to buy one?”
That for me, and in his example when he used, that it’s just not inspiring stuff. Yet businesses do it out there all the time. You see consultants doing it out there all the time. They’re talking about the ‘what’ and the ‘how’. They’re talking about what they do for clients. They get them great results and all of that kind of stuff which is great, but then they’re missing out on the ‘why’. More importantly they’re starting from the outside in.
Let’s look at how Apple really do stand out and how they focus by starting from the inside out. I’ll give you the same example again. Starting with the ‘why’, everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently.
And they move on to the ‘how’. The way we challenge the status quo is by making products that are beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly.
And then they move on to the ‘what’. We just happened to make great computers, want to buy one? Totally different isn’t it, because they’re starting with the ‘why’.
We all know Steve Jobs had a massive ‘why’. He wanted to zag when everyone else was zigging. He wanted to be totally different, that’s what Apple is. They’ve got a very strong ‘why’ around them and that’s what makes them so attractive.
He says that people don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.
I created a little quote from this from myself. I might put it on Facebook, who knows. “People who don’t stand for something won’t make their true impact on anything,” quote by Kenny Goodman. You heard it here first.
Andrew: I love it Kenny.
Kenny: Another quote he said as well, which is, “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.” And Sinek says the reason all of this is so powerful is because of biology, not psychology but actual biology.
He says the newer part of the brain, the homo sapiens neocortex, again on the outside in thinking, corresponds with the ‘what’ level, the rationale, the analytic part. The language part is what that’s really about. The middle two parts of the brain, the limbic brain, corresponds with feeling, trust and loyalty. They have no capacity for language.
So if you’re operating from the inside out, from the ‘why’, you’re talking to the part of the brain that controls behavior. This is the really important part if you want people to join you and become your biggest fans.
Andrew: That’s really clear in the Apple case. When they started with the iPhone for example, it was obvious. If you wanted a smartphone, this brand new breed of a phone, you needed to get an iPhone. But these days, there are so many companies that produce almost exactly the same thing, same functions, same usability. There are just small differences between them nowadays, but still Apple commands this incredible loyalty, this incredible following.
Largely it’s because of the way they appeal to a person’s desire for something more to this, to what you’re describing before, to create something beautiful and challenge the status quo and think differently. You end up, it’s always true, most often true, that we make decisions based on emotion, based on the deeper part of your brain you’re talking about an then go ahead and justify those decisions with the higher order brain functions.
That’s the case here too. There are so many people who will buy an Apple phone just because of that feeling that Apple has produced and then come up with a dozen reasons, logical reasons for why they had to get the Apple phone over any other, which don’t make any sense. But it just works that way because we’re feeding that inner emotional beast and letting our logical brain have its time too.
Kenny: That’s right, that’s absolutely right. I know going through this exercise of preparing for this podcast and stuff, it does make me ask more questions about my ‘why’, about my – I’m redesigning my website at the moment. Why do I want to redesign it? How do I want it to portray? What’s my ‘About us’ page going to be like? What’s my ‘why’, because I think my about us page should be around my ‘why’. I’m thinking about rewording that just after working around this podcast today.
How would you look at finding your ‘why’? Because I know that’s what people are going to be asking.
Andrew: Yeah and I’ve also recently been going through another round of goal setting which I do every year, a couple of years. Usually when I start that, I start by thinking about my life as far into the future as I can, what I want to be doing and have achieved in 10 years, 20 years, 50 years and kind of work backwards from that because I think if you have a pretty clear view of how you want to be living then and how you want your life to look and feel, and how you want to feel about yourself and the things you’ve done, that is a very powerful ‘why’. That gives you a lot of desire to then work backwards to the present day and figure out what can I start doing now that could get me there because I really want to get there.
And I know if I don’t figure out the way to get there and take the steps necessary to get there, it’s not just going to happen by accident.
So once you can really visualize what it is that you want in your life, it doesn’t have to be that far away, 5 years, 3 years, next year, that I think gives you a lot of the desire that you need, a lot of the why power that you need to then figure out what are the right goals, what are the right next steps, what you should be doing right now in your life and business to move towards that.
Kenny: Brilliant. I thought about process that I was thinking about as you said it. I think I’m going to go through that process again and think a little bit further into the future as well. I think you should allow yourself to do that, to get that feeling of why you want that. Then you can get really crystal clear on the steps that you need to take to get there.
I think the ‘why’, I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s the hardest part, but it’s the part that for some reason our natural inclination is to push over that part. I think after doing this process today, I’m going take a serious look at that and give it the time it deserves to really get to the bottom of it so that I feel totally connected with my ‘why’ and everything that I do and everything within my business is connected with that ‘why’.
Andrew: Honestly Kenny, I do think the ‘why’ is the hardest part because I think that so many people never figure out their ‘why’. They never figure out their desires that really driving their decisions.
Just take simple things like, so many kids grow up feeling okay, so I need to graduate from high school. Then I need to graduate from college. Then I need to buy a big house. I need to buy a car, then I need to get a family and everything will be great. But that is certainly not true for everybody.
Do you ever stop and ask why? Why do I need to do all that? Is that really what I want? Is that really going to be consistent with my values and what I want my life to be like?
I’ll share with you, I haven’t even prepared this for today, but I’ll share with you that there was a time I guess about 8 years into my corporal life when I was sitting down and going through some 3 or 5-year goal planning exercise that I got from some book or another that I’ve long forgotten about. But it was encouraging me to visualize and think ahead to the future and what I want.
Going through that exercise, I just realized in very stark terms that everything I’ve done up until that point was really somebody else’s ‘why’. It was my parents and teachers saying, Andrew, you’re great at this. You should do this. You should go to college. You should go to MIT, you should be an engineer. Your whole future will be set.
And I’ve been following that entire plan that I never came up with. It was other people who had put that together for me, in part because as a kid you just don’t know. You don’t know what you want to do. You don’t know how to figure it out. You need guidance. You need help.
But at some point you do realize, this is my life. This is my life and no one else is going to live it. No one else is going to suffer through it, just me. All these things I’m doing, I don’t think it’s what I really want.
That was actually the moment, Kenny, I remember that was in 2006 that I started down the path of trying to figure out how to get out of the corporate world and build my own business because the more I thought about it, the more I realized that was what I wanted. Why, because I wanted to be my own boss. I wanted to decide what I want to spend my time doing and build my life that way.
To get to that point, it took going through the exercise of really being honest about why I’ve been doing everything up until that point in my life and realizing honestly, as I imagined, I took the time to try to imagine my life being like one of my great friends at the company who had been there for 20 years and was a couple of levels more senior than me. When I imagined me being him in 10 years’ time, Kenny, I literally started crying.
This is no exaggeration I broke down in tears in my home, alone, when I was doing this thinking, oh my gosh, I love this guy. I adore him, but if I were him in 10 years, oh my god. Once I got that, my ‘why’ became more and more clear and it was only a matter of time before I got out of the corporate world.
Kenny: Good on you. That’s really clear. If you’re thinking of how do I find my ‘why’, then go through some of those processes that Andrew has just talked about there. Now let’s move over to questions from clients. It’s my turn this week.
Andrew: Kenny, just before we do this, something that you said before actually we should go back to because I think this is another great tip for how to do this. This is where you can, unless there’s someone else to help you.
Let’s say you go through this exercise and come up with things you want to achieve 1 year, 3 years, 10 years down the road. You write them down. Share that with somebody and tell them to just keep asking you why.
So in 10 years, you want to run your own business and have them ask you why. You have to answer that question and then they ask you why again. And you have to answer that question again and you’re going to feel annoyed. It’s kind of like, “Stop asking me why.”
But this is so important to really get down to what is it that’s driving all of this, because if you really understand at the fundamental level what is making you feel that all these layers are correct for you, then you can really I think harness that power, and get much more clarity and move in the right direction for you.
Kenny: Totally. Don’t try and answer this in someone else’s voice, someone else’s language with someone else’s values and all the rest of it all, who you think you should be seen as being. If you know your ‘why’ is, generally you want to be able to get more rest, sleep and just be more selfish or whatever it might be then just delve down deep into your authenticity, is what I’m trying to say because it can be very easy to say, “My ‘why’ is I want to help people and contribute to the world,” and all that kind of stuff. I think most people have that innately in them anyway.
Try and get to those really deep, authentic parts of you even if it sounds a little bit selfish. Just get it down, get it on paper because you’ll know that it’s right because it will feel right for you.
Andrew: This is the time to be selfish. There’s no other time like when you’re doing this exercise. You just reminded me, Kenny, in a recent podcast, we talked about Mike Seddon, a very famous and successful marketer who had been diagnosed with cancer and had only a short time to live. He gave a final webinar and one of the things he said, which you just reminded me of, if people are asking him, obviously looking back over his life, w9hat he learned, if he had any regrets. One thing he said was, I wish I allowed myself much sooner to just be me.
I think a lot of us feel that way. Getting back to when my parents and teachers basically prescribing my life for me, I wasn’t just being me. At some point, you’ve got to let yourself just be you. Figure out what you need, what you want to be in this world and give yourself permission to be that and do that.
Kenny: Absolutely because success looks different to different people. Ask yourself, what does success look like for me? How will I feel? Success for one person might be financial wealth. For another person, it might be recognition. For another person it might just be have a happy, healthy family. For another person, it might be all three of those.
Just find out, ask yourself what does success truly look like for me and that might help you get there as well. Remember that was one of Mike’s questions as well.
Andrew: That’s right. For some people, it might be that red Ferrari, but not for me.
Kenny: Yeah, absolutely. Great. Thanks for that Andrew. Now questions from clients, I had a very simple yet fairly profound question this week that really does relate to this. It wasn’t actually this week but it was the week before. One of my clients said what are the most important traits clients must have for you to choose to work with them?
Now I understand that I’m a business coach, first and foremost, so I do get a little bit more choice in who I work with. I get a fair amount of people applying to work with me, which might be different for you. If you’re a business consultant, for example then you might not get the absolute choice that I have of working with people. If you need a client, you need the money, then sometimes you do have to take on clients that you normally wouldn’t want to take on. I fully understand that.
But my answer to this great question was first of all, most people when they look at their potential clients, their prospects, they look at the ‘what’ of the client. That might be the size of the business, the job types and all of that kind of stuff. It’s still fairly important. You don’t want to take a client who can’t afford you, for example.
But again, I think we should be looking at the ‘why’ of that client. What’s their ‘why’? Why are they doing what they are doing? This will really tip you to see what their values are and whether they are lined with your ‘why’, with your values.
If you can do this, if you can really delve deeper into this, first of all you’ll be able to communicate with them a lot better because you’ll really know where they’re aiming for and how you can help them get to where they’re getting to.
But it’ll really bond you, bond the relationship with you if you both have ‘whys’ that match each of those values. It will give you a much better chance to success and longevity. You might want to look at this before you commit to working with a client, before you commit your time in working with a client especially if you have the choice of clients.
You may wish to develop some casual questions, because you might not be in the position where you can interview your clients to make the decision whether they’re going to come on board with you or not as I do. I interview all of my clients, but you might not be in that position. So you might want to develop some casual questions that will help you filter what type of person they are and you can find that out by finding out their ‘why’. Why are they doing what they are doing? What’s their end goal? That will uncover a lot for you.
Also, you may have other questions especially for me when I’m coaching people, I have questions that… I’ll give you an example of an important question. I ask them where they are financially right now on their monthly income and where they want to get to. Then the important question that follows that is, why do you think you’re not in that position yet?
If they answer and their answer is aligned with my values, so if they take responsibility for it, then they’ll get a tick. If, however, they blame everything else, the world and the economy and everything else, for me that’s not aligned with my values. That will be a really big red mark next to them. They’ll have to do quite a lot to get back and align with me again.
Andrew: That’s a great example. I think in that case it also tells you that if they run into challenges and working with you, then they’re probably just going to blame you because they’re not taking responsibility. That’s not somebody you want to work with.
Kenny: Absolutely. As a business coach, that does happen from time to time, very rarely, but it does. You usually have taken that type of person on, maybe because you want to build your client list up or maybe you actually just need the money. As you get better what you do and your reputation grows, then you can actually start filtering these people out.
That’s a question from a client, which is fairly relevant with what we’re doing this week. So what’s your tip of the week, this week, Andrew?
Andrew: As this week’s tip I want to give you a better way to think about regrets. This ties in a little bit to what we mentioned before, but from a different angle. This idea also comes from that same book “Life in Half a Second”.
What stops many of us from taking action is fear of regret. We’re afraid that if we take action and we make a mistake, or we fail, then we’re going to regret it. The pain of that regret will just be overwhelming. The fear of encountering that pain prevents us from even trying.
This is a very common thought process but it ignores much more powerful type of regret. That’s the regret that we feel from having never tried at all.
In fact, this is well known by psychologists and it’s well-studied. If there is something important that you want to do and you take a risk to do it and you fail, then yes, you may regret taking that risk, but you’re only going to regret it for a short while.
However, if there’s something important that you want to do and you never even tried to do it, then you are going to feel that regret for the rest of your life because you will never know what might have been. Think about that.
This is why I now run my own business because after 14 years of working for a large high-tech company in Silicon Valley, I knew what I would regret the most. Yes, I could try to run my own business and fail, in fact my first one did and that might hurt for a while. It did. But if I never tried, if I never tested myself, if I never took the risk, if I just kept working in that cubicle and serving at the pleasure of others, I knew I would regret it for the rest of my life.
The next time you feel fear about taking a risk, ask yourself which will I regret more, trying and failing or not trying at all?
Kenny: It will eat you alive, not trying at all and that’s happened to me and some of the decisions I’ve done and chose not to do something in life.
One of those was I had the choice when I was young to go traveling for a year and I never did it. It’s one of those, I’m talking about it now 20 years later. It’s one of those that kind of eat you alive.
My wife’s great. She’s done all the travelling thing. She travelled for years. She lived in France for a long time. She’s totally fluent in French. She’s done the whole world over and she says, don’t worry we’ll do it when the kids get a little bit older. We’ll go and travel together.
Andrew: I hope you do. It might take away some of that regret.
Kenny: Exactly. Now inspiration for the week, I read a blog post by James Clear on jamesclear.com. I know that you’re a fan of James Clear as well, Andrew. I think the title of the post, I didn’t make a note of it. I think it was something like the Paper Clip Method. I thought that sounds interesting, and I read the article. It was all about visual clues, visual cues, I should say, using visual aid, visual cues to remind you to do something.
The Paper Clip Method or theory comes from a guy, I think he was in Canada I think he was a stock broker. What he would do is he’d have a little tray of staples and then he’d have an empty tray where staples could go into. He would have 120 staples in one tray and 0 on the other tray.
Every time he made an outbound telephone call, a prospecting mission, he would move one staple out of the full staple into the empty staple. He wouldn’t leave his desk until he had done all 120 of those. He became very successful just by sheer volume.
I think when you’re do that kind of volume you get better at what you’re doing as well. I think his skill increased and the whole shebang.
I just thought that it was very simple and I’ve started implementing it. I’ve actually got 2 trays of staples and I have 10 in one and 10 in the other. I move them out of the trays and then into the trays.
I have one for push-ups. So every time I do 10 push-ups, I move one staple. And I have another for squats in my office. I make sure that I do 100 push-ups and 100 squats before I leave my office every day. The visual cue works really well. I found that very simple, yet inspiring.
Andrew: That’s fantastic. Yeah, we respond so well to visual cues. That’s a great little trick to play on human psychology.
Kenny: Absolutely. The fact that he did it for telephone calls. He wouldn’t even go to his lunch until he’d done the 120. I just thought, sheer gut determination just to move those staples out of one and into the other, amazing. So what have we got for next week?
Andrew: Well, next week we’re going to come back to a nuts and bolts implementation topic and that is how to not overwhelm and lose your website visitors. I recently published a blog post on this very important topic.
Far too many business websites act like filing cabinets rather than as lead generation tools. I can assure you that in 2015, no website visitor is going to take the time to rummage through your filing cabinet to figure out why they should do business with you.
This is a very common problem but it’s also readily fixed and we’ll show you how to fix it next week.
Kenny: Brilliant. I look forward to doing that. I look forward to going through the process. Now that is what we’ll be covering next week.
Again, if you have any ideas that you want us to talk about then get yourself over to magneticconsultant.com. There’s a contact button there. Myself and Andrew, we respond to everything personally and we look forward to your feedback.
Another great show there, thanks for listening and remember that you can always go to magneticconsultant.com to subscribe to us. There’s a button there that will take you to iTunes to subscribe.