PP 043: Which is Coming First? Your Why or Your What?


Do you know your Why? Are you putting it before your What? In this episode, I share the importance of putting your Why first when making personal and professional decisions.

.@thekimsutton share's her WHY and her WHAT, and how she realized personally the huge difference between them. Join her at https://thekimsutton.wpengine.com/pp043/ #PositiveProductivityPodcast #WhyVSWhatClick To Tweet



Simon Sinek Ted Talk


Episode Transcription


Welcome back to another episode of Positive Productivity!


I’m going to make an assumption about you, and it may be a little bit unfair. However, I’m going to assume that you’ve probably heard the question asked, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”


I’m not asking you which came first, the chicken or the egg, but I am going to ask you what is coming first: your “why”, or your “what”?


I am greatly inspired by Simon Sinek and his Why University. And if you haven’t seen the video before, I’m going to put in the show notes – which you can find at TheKimSutton.com/P043, for Episode 43. I’m going to put a link in the show notes for Simon Sinek’s TED Talk from September 2009, which is called “How Great Leaders Inspire Action”.


One of the big topics that he discusses during this TED Talk is about how Apple puts the “why” before the “what”. Yes, they are a computer company like so many other computer companies, but what makes them stand out?


I don’t want to take all my time during this podcast episode to discuss Simon’s TED Talk. Really, if you haven’t seen it you should head on over there and watch it. But I’ve realized that regardless of whether or not you are an entrepreneur, you may be looking at the “what” before you’re looking at your “why”.


One of my greatest examples of this is that in 2004, I was working as an interior designer for a farm in Greenwich, Connecticut. Now I loved “what” I was doing. I loved interior design at that time, I had clients who had huge budgets. And by huge, I mean I was finding carpet for the corporate offices that cost hundreds of dollars per square foot – yes, per square foot.


Even though I loved being an interior designer, I couldn’t say that interior design was my “why”. Creating spaces that made people feel good, it really didn’t do anything for me. And unfortunately, because my “what” was coming before my “why”, there were more than a couple of days that I actually broke down in tears on my way to work.


At this time, I was living in Mount Vernon, New York. I did not have a car, and I had my oldest son, who’s now 14 – he wasn’t even two. And we would have to get up before the sun rose to get on a bus, to go to the train station, to get the train up to Greenwich, Connecticut, where we would have to get on another bus to get him to the daycare center. Then, I would have to get on my third bus of the day to get back down to my office. So door-to-door, my commute was two hours, during much of which I was carrying a very big almost-two-year-old.


When you know your “why” and it comes before your “what”, it’s a lot easier to make decisions, even those that require spending two hours commuting with a heavy two-year-old. And these decisions won’t break your spirit in the process.


Simon Sinek says, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” Chances are, if interior design had been my “why”, then my enthusiasm would have helped me find a position I loved with a much shorter commute. Looking back and reflecting on interviews during that time, I’m amazed I even had a job.


And leaders, the “why” shouldn’t only apply to you. When you’re thinking about adding team members to your business, you should also be using the measurement of a “why” when you are looking at prospects. As a leader in your organization, if you know that a prospect is coming in with a great “why”, and isn’t only after the money, then it allows you to make a lot better hiring decision.


I am personally looking to bring on a team member, too, right now – and I have to say, I am willing to spend more money on somebody who I know is in sync with my “why” then with somebody who’s not. If they are only coming to me because they need to earn a wage, then I really don’t have an interest. I want to make sure that whoever joins my company will be in it for the long run.


If you’re out there looking for a job, and you go to an interview, and you are bland, and you don’t have any energy, and really the only reason that you’re there is because of the paycheck – then I want you to think about that. Why are you submitting résumés to companies when you’re not passionate about what they’re doing? Your “why” could even be that you just want to make people happy on a daily basis. So if you’re putting in an application at McDonald’s, you could say that you want to dress up in a Ronald McDonald costume and make people smile.


It took me a long time in my business – and I’m talking three years, plus – to realize what my “why” was. As soon as I realized that my “why” wasn’t about making money, major shifts began to happen. As soon as I figured out my “why”, the “who”, “what”, “where”, and “how” began to line themselves up, and a plan was able to be made.


So what’s coming first in your life right now? Is it your “why” or your “what”? When your “why” is not the driving force, it’s a lot easier to be sucked into Chronic Idea Disorder. Chronic Idea Disorder – if you haven’t already heard me speaking about it – is when you get a constant influx of ideas, and you’re jumping from one project to the next. And chances are, you never finish one of them. But it’s a lot easier to be swept into Chronic Idea Disorder when you don’t have your “why” determined.


I was discussing this with my husband this weekend, and I was talking to him about how, earlier on in my business, I was digging a whole bunch of shallow holes with plastic spoons – instead of digging into one with a backhoe. Once I figured out my “why”, I was really able to dig in – and that is what I’m doing now with the Positive Productivity Podcast.


So what’s your “why”? Where do you want to dig in?


If you have any questions about how to figure out your “why” and want more information about Chronic Idea Disorder, I invite you to check out the coaching page on my website, at TheKimSutton.com/Coaching. Until the next episode, I hope you have a positive and productive day.