Daymond John has one simple question for you
Knowing the purpose behind your business — your “why” — could unlock your next big opportunity
I meet people all the time who tell me, “I want to be a millionaire.” But why? If you make a million dollars, what are you going to do with it? And what comes next?
They don’t realize that to make that first million, and then the next million, you need to have more driving you than just wanting to be a millionaire. You need to know what you truly want in life. It’s about having a “why.”
“FUBU — For Us, By Us — wasn’t a vanity brand. It didn’t even have my name on it. It was about community. I hired the people in my neighborhood and showed how they were being undervalued.”
– Daymond John, “the People’s Shark,” Founder and CEO of FUBU
The meaning of “why”
A few years ago, I saw a TED Talk by Simon Sinek called “How Great Leaders Inspire Action.” Here’s my favorite line: “People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.”
Simple, right? But there’s a lot of power in that little distinction. Over the last decade, I’ve been thinking about how “why” isn’t just about leadership. It’s about you, what’s inside you and what drives success. When you ask yourself why and honestly answer it, you’re unlocking a code that can show you where you can go and how to get there.
What’s important about your “why” is that it:
- Gets you out of bed in the morning
- Is personal to you
- Pushes you to go further
- Drives everything you do
- Helps you get through hard times
Your “why” is the deeper meaning behind your goals. It’s the fuel that keeps you moving forward.
Finding your “why”
There are many ways to find your “why,” but in the end it’s about looking at yourself in the mirror.
I like to tell people to sit down and write their own obituary. I write mine every 10 years. It’s a little morbid, but it forces you to think about how people will remember you. Because they’re not going to be thinking about whether you have a Bugatti or what clothes you wear. They’re going to be thinking about what you meant to them.
Another way to approach your “why” is to ask your people why they’re thankful for you. The folks who know you best can see the good in you that you can’t always see. It feels nice to get those compliments, but there’s also insight there that you can use. They notice what gets you excited and when you step up. They can help you see when you’re at your best. Just make sure you tell them why you’re thankful for them, too.
Why it matters
Looking back at when I started FUBU, the “why” was there, even though I didn’t know it at the time. A friend of mine pointed it out to me not long ago. He said that FUBU — For Us, By Us — wasn’t a vanity brand. It didn’t even have my name on it. It was about community. I hired the people in my neighborhood and showed how they were being undervalued. Today I write books, conduct trainings and invest in entrepreneurs, but it’s all part of the same story. I’m in business to help people see their potential and reach their goals.
It took a process to understand my “why.” But now that I know what I’m about, I can be about it. Knowing my “why” means I don’t pursue opportunities that come from left field. I don’t go running in every direction just to make money. My “why” keeps me focused on what’s best for me and my business.
Knowing my “why” also gives me a story to tell. This is who I am. This is what I care about. This is the reason you want to work with me. It’s a story that helps me connect with people and build trust for when it’s time to make our next deal.
However you look at your “why,” it’s a step you can’t skip. You have to know your “why” if you want to shift your power to make an impression with people, make bigger and more exciting deals, and make lasting connections. So go get it. I’m telling you; it will make the long hours and hard work feel better than anything you do chasing a dollar.
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