First Ask Yourself Why?

by Dr. Jim Loehr

Our change process at the Human Performance Institute is simple yet powerful. It's captured fundamentally in the three words: Purpose, Truth, Action. All of our programs at the Institute begin with purpose, which involves examining the "why" behind our desire to change. Opening the door to "why" eventually takes us to our core values, beliefs and, most importantly, to our grand purpose for living, something we call Ultimate Mission. Linking desired change to our deepest values and beliefs provides extraordinary determination, persistence and dedication to the cause. Exploring purpose also helps drive clarity in who we truly want to be in life, the role of character and the importance of being our best selves.

Once we're clear on who we want to be (purpose), the second step in successful change is confronting the truth about who we really are now. The tension or dissonance that rises up between the two provides the impetus and energy for Action, which is the final step in successful change.

Simon Sinek agrees with the pre-eminent position that we give to purpose. Sinek, who produced one of the most watched TED Talks of all time, contends that we achieve so much more from life when we begin everything important by exploring the "why" behind doing it. In his book, "Start with Why", Sinek contends that reflection on "why" can inspire us to courageously move forward in life or can stop us dead in our tracks when we're pursuing a misguided path. The secret to being successful and getting things done in life, he contends, is aligning our behavior with our most noble "why" in life. When we lead with our core values, our motivation to fight through the challenges of life becomes transformed. The lesson here is simple: begin everything with knowing the honest why!


Simon Sinek, "Why", TED Talk