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Why Your Why is Key to Your Creative Process

This week we're going to look into why your why is key to your creative process. I came upon a TED Talk by a man named Simon Sinek and he created something called the Golden Circle. Well, he would say he didn't create it, but he codified it - whatever that means, I don't have any idea. But I wanted to take some time because it made quite an impact on my life.

So I took a piece of that from his TED talk and I'd like to like to spend some time on that today. “As it turns out all the great and inspiring leaders and organizations in the world, whether it's Apple or Martin Luther King or the Wright brothers, they all think, act, and communicate the exact same way and it's the complete opposite to everyone else. All I did was codify it, that's probably the world's simplest idea - I call it the Golden Circle: why, how, what. This little idea explains why some organizations and some leaders are able to inspire where others aren’t.”

Before I go on I just wanted to say when I discovered this process: the why and the how and the what, it started to change my whole thinking of how I created and really even how I did life. So let’s keep going… “Let me define the terms really quickly. Every single person, every single organization on the planet knows what they do 100 percent. Some know how they do it, whether you call it your differentiating value proposition or your proprietary process or your USP. But very, very few people or organizations know why they do what they do. And by why I don't mean to make a profit - that’s a result, it's always a result. By why I mean what's your purpose, what’s your cause, what's your belief, why does your organization exist?”

That hit me because for so many years of my life I was driven by a result, I wanted the product, I wanted to to focus on the product. And when Simon brought this to my awareness, it just opened up something that I wanted to go hunt for, and so I did, I went on a hunt. And I contacted a good friend, Gary Cockroft. Gary has been a counselor for many years, he's now a life coach and he has an amazing skill of listening. You can find him at I believe you can also find him on Facebook at Pathways. Gary was the guy that helped me discover my why. Now he didn't have the language of the Golden Circle, but he had already been doing that for years so it was a really easy process to work with him.

Let's continue with Mr. Sinek, “The inspired leaders and the inspired organizations, regardless of their size, regardless of their industry, all think, act, and communicate from the inside out. Let me give you an example: I use Apple because they're easy to understand and everybody gets it. If Apple were like everyone else, a marketing message from them might sound like this: we make great computers, they’re beautifully designed, simple to use, and user-friendly. Want to buy one? Meh. And that's how most of us communicate, that's how most marketing is done, that's how most sales are done and that's how most of us communicate interpersonally. We say what we do, we say how we're different or how we’re better, and we expect some sort of behavior: a purchase, a vote, something like that. Here's our new law firm: we have the best lawyers with the biggest clients, we always perform for our clients, do business with us. Here's our new car: it gets great gas mileage, it has leather seats, buy our car. But it’s uninspiring.”

So you know he's talking from a marketing sales perspective, I get that right, so the language is slightly different for creatives. But still, there's something - he even says it - interpersonal that this affects. And I wanted to learn how to move from constantly being outside, looking at the outside result, to live from the inside. And that’s what Gary helped me do. And it just makes sense to me, doesn't it to you? I mean when we know why we do what we do. And you can say, well it's to make money, no that's a result. I love that.

So let's go back to Simon, “Here's how Apple actually communicates. Everything we do we believe in challenging the status quo, we believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use, and user friendly. We just happen to make great computers, want to buy one? Totally different right? You're ready to buy a computer from me and all I did was reverse the order of the information. What it proves to us is that people don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it. The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have, the goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.”

Wow, so right away I just want to put this up because it's so powerful, just so simple. “People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Well, as a musician personally and as a writer - I do some writing, I've written a few books - there is the presence of your art form or your creativity, whether you're a mathematician or an accountant or whatever you are, you are creative. So there is something to what we produce that draws attention, that's a part of it, but there's something deeper. Simon put it this way, “The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have, the goal is to do business with those who believe what you believe.” There's a heart issue behind it, a deeper resonance in our soul and our spirit, whatever you want to call it. I kind of rewrote that for us more creative types in that the goal is not to create for everybody who likes what you create, the goal is to create for those who believe what you believe. And I think what I'm getting at is that it’s the atmosphere that you create - art, music, writing, anything creative - creates this atmosphere. People say that to me all the time about my music: there are sometimes very peaceful or very calming moments that they enjoy. So it’s the whole idea that people buy not what you do, but why you do it.

So let's go back to Simon just for another minute: “From the outside in (what - how - why), yes people can understand vast amounts of complicated information like features and benefits and facts and figures, it just doesn't drive behavior. When we communicate from the inside out (why - how - what), we’re talking directly to the part of the brain that controls behavior. And then we allow people to rationalize it with the tangible things we say and do. This is where gut decisions come from. Sometimes you can give somebody all the facts and your figures. And they say, ‘I know what all the facts and details say but it just doesn't feel right.’ Why would we use that verb - it doesn't feel right? Because the part of the brain that controls decision-making, doesn't control language and the best we can muster up is, ‘I don't know, it just doesn't feel right.’”

So again, that gut feeling that he’s talking about to me is that thing that you can put two pieces of artwork on a wall and they can be of exact same quality or talent or whatever you want to call it, but something draws you to one more than the other. And that to me is the why: that's so true. And that’s what I wanted to do, and that's why I went after my why because I wanted to have my music speak life. So I created my why - you want to know what my why is? My why is to create heartfelt life-giving moments for you and me. Whether it's in my music, my writing, or L’aventure, it’s to be able to speak life. And it started for me by understanding that I wanted a genuine or a real authentic voice in whatever I was doing, being me, just authenticating that. But I didn't like the language “authenticate, real or genuine,” it felt very used, overused maybe. And so Gary helped me come up with these words "heartfelt and life-giving”, but not just for me, but for you too. And that's even L’aventure, I want you to walk away going, “I gained something today.” And I think all creatives have that desire, that hope and desire that when someone partakes in their creation that they'll have something life-giving for them.

Please know your talents, gifts, and pursuits are needed in this world! Here’s to you. ~ Byronthere are

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