Remember your why
One of my favourite books in the world is Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek. Have you read it? If not, run out and buy it now. Hang on, no one does that any more – just google it and some online bookstore will have it to you in days.
I’ve been thinking about my ‘why’ a lot lately. Perhaps it’s cos I received this cool message from a friend of mine recently:
“Emma, Too funny, that you don’t think you can sell yourself. You are inspiring just by being.
So, here’s what I think is missing (she says bravely and perhaps foolishly, based on a 10 minute speech and reading a series of blogs you’ve predominantly written about your perceptions of others or other situations) – You talk about “what” you’ve done, and “how” you’ve done it, but not “why” you’ve done it. The “why” is in your eyes and your heart and in your reputation as a leader and a businesswoman. It’s clear. And your “why” is generous and all about others. You just have to articulate that story up front.”
I was also thinking about my ‘why’ over lunch with a girlfriend yesterday. She has a business that posts annual revenues of $35 million+ and one of her goals is to reach $100 million. When I asked her why that was important she was very clear. She has several why’s but one of the main reasons is that as a woman in business, she feels she will never be fully respected by men until she can show that massive number. Now, a lot of people would argue that her achievements are already impressive and why must she strive for that number, but as a fellow woman in business, I totally got it.
A few years back I entered some awards for women in business. In one of my interviews, the judges were two guys and you want to know how one of them started the interview? Like this: “So, chicks in business – tell us about that?” with a huge smirk on his face (he did actually scoff as he said it) like I was running some backyard show that was not for real and not to be taken seriously. Needless to say it totally threw me off and I struggled to get back on track, knowing that he thought what I did was some silly little activity, rather than a multi-million dollar business that has an impact on hundreds of thousands of people each year like it is.
Like my friend, I’m also clear on my why, and I’ve surprised myself that it’s taken me so long to articulate it here. Why I do what I do at Business Chicks is because I want to be a light for other women. I want to show them that anything’s possible, whether that be in business, with their financial independence and success, in philanthropy, in childbirth, whatever … I want to lift them up and celebrate their achievements. I want them to be rich beyond their wildest dreams, to be powerful in their careers and businesses, to be great mothers, to be great friends, daughters, sisters … I want to challenge people’s thinking on issues and give people the confidence to have courage, be brave, be different, give back, leave a legacy, have skin in the game, back themselves, fail lots, and get up and try again.
And why do I want that for others? Perhaps selfishly, it’s because it’s what I want for myself.
What’s your why?