If you’ve ever studied or listened to anyone talk about entrepreneurship and business, you have most likely at some point been told to identify “your why”. “What’s your why” they will tell you, or “get clear on your why”. Why do you want to accomplish what you are seeking to accomplish, why do you want to make a certain amount of money, why do you want to be in a certain niche and on and on. Over the years I have spent countless hours, journaling sessions, meditations and conversations on identifying the specifics of my why.
Make no mistake, I fully agree on the importance of being clear on all the reasons why, because the bottom line is, if you don’t know the why, then what the heck is the point? But after years of dissecting and analyzing my why, and hearing over and over from the people I admire how important identifying the “why” is, I had an awakening that opened an entirely untapped purpose for my vision.
While climbing the stair master at the gym searching the internet for some spiritual and mental nutrients, a suggested video popped up. As content from someone I regularly follow, I was surprised I hadn’t seen this one before and decided it would be a good listen whilst sweating it out on the stairs.
Initially the video began like many others, speaking of having success and then having a realization of the fact that along the way to achieving all the things you dream of, you either lose the why, or you come to realize, you never identified it in the first place and all along all you had was a nebulous ideal of success. The video began to speak specifically about the impact this particular business was making on people, their community and their followers.
As I climbed, I realized, all this time I had been focusing so intricately on the details of “My Why” I had forgotten an equally and arguably more important piece; “The Who”. I had spent so much time focusing on detailing “the why” that somewhere along the way “The Who” got lost in the sauce. You can imagine the revelation of disconnect I had when I realized that so much of my why was to make an impact, to add value, to empower and inspire, but I hadn’t identified “the who”. And without “the who” there is no impact to make, no value to add, and no one to empower or inspire.
I began to think about everything down to my trivial social media posts. There were so many elements of my business that I would consciously do for “the why” of my success, all while entirely ignoring WHO I was doing it for.
I knew “why” it was important to create content for social media. And “why” it was important to do the tasks I wasn’t inspired to do. I knew “why” I was working so hard to create a company, to create time freedom and financial freedom for myself and my team. And “why” I should be willing to work harder than anyone else.
Knowing that I should be posting social media content because It will increase my engagement but the whole time worrying more about the judgement of others or people who know me, rather than who it would help, who would enjoy it and relate to it. Creating music, and programs and services to create cashflow for the business, ignoring who it would empower, inspire, and who’s career and life it could change.
So often I had heard business people and entrepreneur’s talk about the vital importance of adding value not just making money. But I could never fully grasp the concept of that because my sole focus was on the why. And from a profits standpoint, it never made much sense to me why I should give away free content, products or services when my business needed to make a profit.
I realized that is an unattainable concept if you are not equally focused on “the who”.
The fact of the matter is that having a “why” is the blood to the life of your business. It is a driving force that keeps you motivated, clear, and focused on the end goal. But the who is even greater. It gives your product, or company or business purpose. It requires emotional engagement, personal investment, and a clear understanding of who. Who your customers are that you will impact, who your listeners or clients or fans or followers are. Not just why your business needs them, but WHO are they really. They are not numbers or dollar signs or bars on a graph. They are fathers and mothers using your product to make their job as parents or home owners easier, they are young entrepreneurs who need your coaching to learn from your experience, they are fans who follow you because they admire your confidence and self love and your content helps them push a little harder. Yes, the why is the blood to your business, but the who is quite literally the heart. And without the heart to pump life into the veins of your business, all you have is a bag of cold, sticky red stuff.