Start With Why – An in depth look at the Golden Circle – Part 1: Motivation

Start with Why

An In-Depth Look at the Golden Circle

Part 1: Motivation

 

A popular new theory in leadership and business is Simon Sinek’s model of motivation, the Golden Circle. This model looks at what makes an organization and its leaders successful by re-framing motivation. Sinek created a simple illustration to make his model come to life. The Golden Circle’s outer ring focuses on WHAT, the ring inside that is about HOW, and at the core, is WHY. We will start with WHY.

Sinek started asking, “why do we do the things we do?” So what is it that really motivates us? He suggests that we must start with WHY, and if we don’t, the WHAT we are doing and HOW we are doing it aren’t as effective.

 Start with Why

 

Start with Why

“When most organizations or people think, act or communicate they do so from the outside in, from WHAT to WHY. And for good reason — they go from clearest thing to the fuzziest thing. We say WHAT we do, we sometimes say HOW we do it, but we rarely say WHY we do WHAT we do.”

“When communicating from the inside out, however, the WHY is offered as the reason to buy and the WHATs serve as the tangible proof of that belief.”

 

Understanding Motivation

Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation

How Feelings Can Be Motivating

Lack of Motivation

Finding Your Whys

My Why

 

Understanding Motivation

What is motivation? And how do we understand it?

Borrowing a definition from Verywellmind, “The term motivation refers to factors that activate, direct, and sustain goal-directed behavior… Motives are the ‘whys’ of behaviour—the needs or wants that drive behaviour and explain what we do. We don’t actually observe a motive; rather, we infer that one exists based on the behavior we observe.” (Nevid, 2013).

Motivation is the reason we move into action. It pushes us to get out of bed, to go to work. It helps us decide how we spend our time and what our priorities are. Can you identify the fuel to your fire? What is at the core of your reasons for action? What is your Why? If you don’t have one, start with why. After that reason, what gets you to actually take action?

Broadly speaking, motivation can come from two different sources.

 

Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation

How do we become motivated? What is it that we are seeking once we complete something? In some cases we may be doing something for money, other times we are doing it for pure enjoyment. This is the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation is when outside factors influence our behaviour; we are doing something for fame, money, acknowledgement, appearance, etc. Intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, is finding motivation internally: we are doing something for interest, curiosity, enjoyment, etc.

Now, discussion could be had about whether one person is always motivated the same way—by internal or external factors. Perhaps there is a layer of complexity, that the circumstances determine whether money or enjoyment will push you to action.

To really understand the ‘start with why’ concept, understand motivation and WHY we do things, a look at feelings is key.

How Feelings Can Be Motivating

Even if you know what motivates you and you follow through, are you really doing the things you want to be doing? Danielle LaPorte’s work may add something very interesting to this discussion. She talks about digging into how you want to feel—today, this week, the month, and for your life. In her book, The Desire Map, she asks her readers to put together their ‘Core Desired Feelings’ to inform the decisions they make.

I find this particularly interesting because even if we understand what motivates us, we may not be aware of the feelings or emotions that they are creating. What if we could articulate the way we want to feel in combination with understanding our WHY? How powerful would it be to be motivated by the positive emotions we create from doing something?

 

Lack of Motivation

What if you start with why and can’t even muster up the motivation to do anything? Lack of motivation can be a downward spiral of negative thinking that prevents us from doing things we wish we were. An interesting article, called Lack of Motivation? Here are Seven Causes and Seven Cures lays out seven reasons we may become unmotivated:

  1. Self-Dictatorship
  2. Overwhelm
  3. Chronic People Pleasing
  4. Task Focus
  5. Motivation by Disaster
  6. Self-Deprivation Attachments
  7. Contentment

 

The most interesting to note is the ‘self-deprivation attachments’, which explains how sometimes we avoid accomplishing tasks because the feeling of lack and discouragement is more familiar. It is important to be able to recognize our inner dialogue that is framing our beliefs about motivation so that we can shift them.

 

Finding Your Whys

Start with Why. Think of your WHY statement as your purpose, a personal mission statement. Having a strong WHY statement is important. It will become a source of inspiration for when things get tough.

Why do you go to work? Why do you volunteer? Why do you learn a new skill or hobby?

Is it possible to have multiple WHY’s? Of course! Now, a long list of WHY’s may get a bit cumbersome, but narrowing everything down to one mission statement may feel daunting. So start with a few, keep them clear and powerful.

Want to find your WHY? Simon Sinek offers a free exercise to ‘test your WHY’ with a friend here.

 

My Why

It took me a few years to fully understand what motivated me. For a long time my motivation was more extrinsic because I wasn’t aware of how I wanted to feel. I was often in search of goals that resulted in money, status, or recognition; I let my choices be influenced by the approval of others.

However, over the years I have become more intrinsically motivated. I make decisions with an understanding of the feeling I am seeking or the purpose that is driving me. Decisions I have made and experiences I have chosen are because of the desire to feel positive, caring, giving, etc. I’ve developed a strong sense of purpose, I’ve created a WHY that inspires me to achieve my short- and long-term goals.

Take the time to slow down and discover what it is that motivates you. What is your WHY? What mission statement would inspire you to be more present with everything you do? Start with Why and see how things change for you.

Start with Why is what lead me to start Sprout. I realized that I was most satisfied and happy when I was helping other people with their financial situations and problems. I loved the feeling of seeing that “Ah Hah” moment when someone finally understood what I was explaining or the concept that they needed to apply. Later on seeing that person or family doing better, being happier and on track to hit their financial goals was my ultimate ‘Why.’

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe”― Simon Sinek

I hope you use the resources above and find your Why. Feel free to share any thoughts or comments below. If you’re too shy to post feel free to message me on any of our social media profiles and I promise to get back to you. 

 

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