Know Your Why

January 25, 2022
Written by: Wendy Mann, CAE, CREW Network CEO

Leadership expert and author Simon Sinek started a movement with his book “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.” His theory is that when a leader knows their “why” and leads with it in mind, they will inspire action and earn the trust of others, advancing the purpose, mission, or outcome for their company. Your "why" is the purpose, cause, or belief behind what you are doing. 

How do you find your "why?" I say, start with "WHY NOT?"

Why not try that new fitness program? Why not take that road trip with your friends? Why not take on the project your boss has offered you? Why not go for that promotion? Why not learn a new language? Why not learn clogging? Why not take up golf?

I believe that we learn our "why" by experiencing many things. Each experience gives us new insight into what thrills or bores us, or what we are passionate about. Every time you are offered an opportunity to experience something new, you gain perspective and insight that you didn’t have before—so why not? Say yes. 

Maybe we need both "why" and "why not?" Knowing your "why" helps guide your decision-making because you have defined what matters to you. You know what you are passionate about and what motivates you. 

Think of it like building commercial real estate—your "why" is the framework. It's the build-out that gives you the strong beams, the right floor plates and foundation—the purpose or belief behind what you are doing. Your "why not" may be the fancy glass windows, the special marble in the entrance, the giant screen in the lobby and all the extras you put into the building to make it shine—why not make it a unique experience? 

Start with "why not" to experience whatever comes your way and find your "why"—what makes you passionate and purposeful. You will become the inspirational leader that Sinek believes we can all be. 



Wendy Mann, CAE

Wendy Mann is the chief executive officer of Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network and president of the CREW Network Foundation.

Twitter: @crew_wendym

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