Know Your Why

Mark Seely's gift to me: A Wordle of my blog

Mark Seely’s gift to me: A Wordle of my blog

This morning I had another world-class call with Skip and Barney. I could populate a year’s worth of posts from our conversations. I treasure these two men. They feed me and keep me connected to a deep, rich river of curiosity and questioning. They challenge my thinking and shake my perceptions.

We meet weekly on a conference line to discuss Skip’s upcoming book, Emails To A Young Entrepreneur. It is a remarkable book and since Skip is the consummate student of life, our calls, although on the surface are about the book, in truth dive into matters of essence and heart and meaning-making.

Skip told a story of working with student-entrepreneurs. He provided them with an experiential process that helped them see, if only for a moment, that their business is different than their product. This might seem like an easy concept to grasp; a Big Mac is not the business of McDonalds, however entrepreneurs and small business owners consistently confuse their idea, their product, with the business. It’s a confusion that leads down the path to ruin (in the world of education, the parallel is to confuse test scores with learning).

In our business-product conversation, Barney offered this phrase that I love: the energy of “why” is different than the energy of “how.” How I make art is a remarkably different question than why I make art. How I do business is a remarkably different question than why I do business. How I walk this earth is a remarkably different question than why I walk this earth. Peter Block, in his book, The Answer To How Is Yes, reflects that in a lifetime spent helping businesses grow and fulfill their potential, that not once did the organization start with the question “Why?” They were invested in “how” and, therefore, blind to the actions that might help. They were frozen with the notion that “how” was something they needed to know before they took action. In fact, what they  needed to know prior to action was “why?”

The north star of action is always found in the question, “Why?” How is a matter of taking steps without knowing the end (just like life). Know your why. Take a step. Live in the life-giving energy of why, take a step and call it “how.”

Go here to get my latest book, The Seer: The Mind of the Entrepreneur, Artist, Visionary, title_pageSeeker, Learner, Leader, Creator…You.

Go Here for hard copies

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