"Find your Why” by Simon Sinek, David Mead & Peter Docker
We will be very surprised if you haven’t heard this author’s name Simon Sinek is a great example of how it is possible for someone to carve a niche and become known worldwide, simply by tapping into what you are most passionate about and have the ability to create content that actually matter to people. Simon Sinek is known for his work “Start with Why” that helps people to uncover their passion. Very often in diplomacy and international relations, we have a loose knowledge of why we want to join this competitive and demanding field.
By writing the book “Start with Why”, the author Simon Sinek started a movement to inspire people to do things that inspire them. Knowing why you want to do what you want to do is so important in creating a solid foundation for yourself. By thinking at a very early stage why you have decided to take a particular career decision, you are reminded of your purpose and motivation. Even if you are in the middle or senior level of your career, thinking back on why you chose this career for yourself will remind you of your original goals and aspirations. It will open your eyes as to whether you have strayed far from your original vision or spark an interest in pursuing something new.
The intent to looking into your true purpose is packaged very nicely in the book “Find Your Why: A Practical Guide to Discovering Purpose for you and your Team” written by Simon Sinek plus two accompanying colleagues, David Mead and Peter Docker. This book is being recommended as part of further reading to support Chapter 2 “Fitting a Global Profession” of the “Diplomatic Planner”. Nothing more frustrating than figuring out halfway through your training that you have made a mistake and wasted months in the wrong field. The time and money you could have saved if you thought carefully about the options that lay before you and how the choice you make can drive you in different directions is all in your power. You have the power to choose so choose carefully. At the end of the day, it is your precious time that you will be investing. Forget about the money. Money can be accumulated but you will never get your time back.
Throughout his book, Sinek and his colleagues provide strategies and exercises that you can use to discover your most powerful motivation and reasons for getting up in the morning. What are you most passionate about? Seriously, what are you REALLY passionate about? Then ask yourself WHY. Why, why, why, until you are blue in the face with the real answer. Of course, sometimes, discovering this answer may be difficult and frustrating but the great thing about this book is that it offers a guided sense of direction and purpose. This easy-to-follow guide starts with discovering your personal Why, and then expands to articulating your organisation’s Why, and I will explain why the latter is just as important and looking at your personal Why.
A little history lesson. The word inspire comes from the Latin that means “to breathe life into.” When you are working toward things that inspire you, it literally makes you feel more alive. What makes you come alive isn’t something like taking a dream holiday or watching your team win at a sport. It’s so much bigger than that. The feeling that what you do matters, and matters to you the most. This Why is something bigger than you, it’s about connecting with what you are passionate about, knowing that when you focus your attention on things that keeps you on your toes.
The authors recommend that in order to unlock your Why, you need to start by looking into your past. Your past has golden secrets that can really help you to discover how your Why started and how this remains relevant to this day. In Chapter 4 of the Diplomatic Planner, I dedicated an entire chapter to help you assess and analyse your past from your internal social influences to your external environmental influences. A great way to find out what you are passionate about is to work through what Sinek calls the ‘golden circle’. Think of a dart board with three circles. The outer ring on the edge of the board symbolises the “What We Do” analysis. The middle ring illustrates the “How We Do It” analysis that helps to bring the Why to life. The ring in the very middle of the board illustrates the “Why we do it” assessment. Ask yourself each of those questions starting from the very outer edge of the dart board. So first, ask yourself: “Why do I do what I do?” Next, ask yourself, “How do I do what I do?”. Finally, ask yourself: “Why do I do it?” Simple, but powerful.
Once you discover your Why, it is important to share it. This can be something as simple as a Why statement like an organisational mission statement. The more you give a voice to your intentions, the more likely you will follow through with it. Think about the mission statement of an organisation. If the mission statement is weak, then why would you consider working for them? Why would you be passionate to work for them? Why would you give them any of your valuable time if you can’t see the purpose and intention behind their mission? If your Why statement is something like “helping people become the best versions of themselves” you will need to back it up with actionable steps of HOW you will help them with this. Sinek goes through practical steps on how to uncover all of these strategies in his book.
“Find Your Why” is recommended for the purposes of the Diplomatic Planner. The Diplomatic Planner is a 12-month career development for diplomacy and internationals for professionals looking to explore or grow their expertise in the field. Both books are available for purchase via Amazon. For further recommendations, insights, case studies and practicable worksheets, please join the Grassroot Diplomat Online Academy via: www.grassrootdiplomat.org/register