What’s Your Why?

Why? That’s a deep, powerful question that can apply to almost anything. Kids ask why the sky is blue. Sports fans ask why the coach called a certain play. Citizens ask why politicians make the choices they do. You get the point. I’d like to focus the question on you. What’s your why? Or put another way, why do you do what you do?

I’m intrigued by the question of why having reread Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why. I encourage you to take a look at Simon sharing some thoughts on this in one of his Ted talk presentations.

Sinek builds a case that most companies lose sight of this important concept but great companies know their why and it becomes their culture. Apple, Costco, Southwest Air and Harley Davidson are a few of the great companies he refers to in the book. His perspective reminded me of Steven Covey’s idea of a personal mission statement. Covey’s idea applies to individuals because too often people go through life not knowing why they do what they do. This post isn’t about the value of a personal mission statement but if you’d like to learn more about that, read this article.

With Influence PEOPLE, my why is to help people achieve professional success and personal happiness. When it comes to professional success much of that depends on getting others to say yes to you.

That yes could be tied to a new product, procedure, strategy or any number of other initiatives in which people need to be onboard. Whatever it may be, business leaders, managers and salespeople need to get people doing what they need them to do.

On a personal level, I’m a firm believer that your home life will be much more peaceful and happy if family members willingly do what you want. Wouldn’t it be nice if your kids did their homework or chores with less resistance? Wouldn’t it be great if your spouse more willingly did what you asked? Both could lead to less stress and more happiness.

I believe professional success and personal happiness can be achieved with a lot less effort than you might imagine. If you understand how people typically think and behave and you’re willing to adjust your communication accordingly you’ll move more people to voluntarily do what you want. A big part of that communication change comes by ethically and correctly using the principles of influence.

The principles of influence are psychological triggers that are scientifically proven to move more people to a yes response. Think of it this way, if you knew the best way to hear “Yes” more consistently, wouldn’t you communicate that way more often? It would be foolish not to.

When I speak on this topic the word audience members use most often to describe me is passionate. They can tell I passionately believe what I’m saying. And I do because I’ve seen it work firsthand at home and the office. I’ve also heard from others. Here are a couple of examples:

“Brian Ahearn’s communication and teaching of Dr. Cialdini’s principles of persuasion into business applications specifically for our industry were extremely relevant and applicable in both of my work and personal life.”
– Greg Wilkerson, Sr. Vice President, Frost Insurance

“The class was so powerful for me personally, that it has extended past any particular work situation or sales situation. It has influenced almost every aspect of my life.”
– Christian Fanetti, Sr., Vice President, Consumers First Insurance

So let’s circle back to you. What is your why when you head to work each day? If it’s just a paycheck you’ll never put as much time and effort into your work as you would if you passionately believed what you do makes a difference.

Even if you don’t love the daily grind, can you see how the end results of your efforts and your organization make a difference for others?

I can’t answer your why for you. Nobody can. But taking time to really reflect might make the difference for you. Wouldn’t it be great to go to work each day with a little more energy, excitement and passion? It’s possible if you know your why and believe in it.

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