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I support people to do what they love and be their best so that they make a real difference in the world. That’s who I am when I am at my best. That’s my why.

Everyone has a why.  When we articulate our purpose and take steps each and every day to live and be that purpose, our lives change dramatically.  No longer is our job or business just something that we do.  There is a fire or passion within us because we know why we get out of bed in the morning and how we can be of service to others.

When we are in service to self only, we may experience moments of happiness.  Happiness is a dopamine hit. It’s the feeling we get when we buy a new home, have dinner with a good friend, hug someone we love and so on.  Happiness is real and yet it is fleeting.

Fulfillment A life-changing event happened when I was seventeen years old. I felt and experienced for the first time in my life that I could make an actual difference in the world. I could give and receive selflessly, having no agenda other than to help and be of service, and that changed me.

The experience opened the doors of my heart to a new way of being. This may sound dramatic and huge, even though the actual story may not seem like much to you. What happens on the outside is not always indicative of what it feels like on the inside. We give meaning to all kinds of things in our lives, and those meanings can support and uplift us or drag us down and keep us small.

It was a strange day weather wise. All of a sudden, it became very dark, still and quiet outside. It was a hot summer’s day, and nothing like this had ever happened before. I can remember standing next to my mother and looking outside through sliding glass doors that lead to the side of our back yard. We were oblivious to the dangers of being next to so much glass in such a moment.

is an oxytocin hit. It’s the high we feel when we help others, when we make a difference in someone else’s life, often in what appears to be small ways.  It can be as simple as sharing a smile or as daring as rescuing children from a burning home.  Fulfillment runs deep and is long lasting. It is a deep, heartfelt experience that does not leave us.

We can all remember moments when we selflessly helped someone else, and how that made us feel. When I was seventeen, a massive tornado hit my hometown. My house was spared, but homes a few blocks away were partially gone or leveled.

I remember going for a walk and knocking on a random home's door that had lost its roof, and asking the middle-aged woman who opened the door if she needed some help. She did. We spent the day packing dishes and other valuables into boxes. 

This small experience was profound for me. For the first time, I felt like something I had done really mattered. I felt the joy of giving. My heart felt open and full. A seemingly small experience of selfless service opened me up in a profound way to acceptance, unconditional love and belonging.

Knowing our why is about service to other, and that opens us up to the abundance of the Universe.

Knowing and living our What, individually and collectively in business or as a part of any organization or group opens us up to being fulfilled and feeling successful. We can appear to be successful to the outside world without feeling successful inside.

Knowing and living our why and the organization’s / group's / team's / company's why that we are a part of opens us up to feeling successful and living a rich and fulling life.   We feel successful when we know and live our why, when we know that 'it's not all about me; it's about the difference that I make in the world by being here'.

We can each become our own purpose expert and model that for others, helping them find and live their own unique why.  Imagine how that would change the world!

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There’s a fundamental difference between achievement and success, and we need both to feel content.

Our achievements are what we do, the goals we reach, the projects we complete, the awards we win and the accolades we receive. Our achievements are clearly defined and measurable. Achievement comes when we pursue and attain what we want. Achievements are milestones that indicate we are on the right path. They are tangible.

Success is very different. Success is not about what we do, it’s about why. Success is a state of Being, an intangible feeling that can be difficult to describe. Success comes when we wake up every morning knowing why we do what we do. People who are successful but don’t feel successful have lost that deep personal connection between what they do and why they are doing it. They know what they do and how they do it, but they no longer know why.

It’s a mistake to make what we achieve our final destination. That's why so many people with wealth and fame feel disconnected and depressed. Remember why you started on your journey in the first place.  Martin Luther King's why is freedom and justice for all.  My why is to inspire people to do the things that inspire them with more abundance, contentment, and success.

What's your why?  If you know it, great.  If you've 'lost it', it's still there. Take some time to ponder and remember why you started what you're doing, your driving impetus, your reason for being.


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How important are symbols like company logos? Do they have meaning? 

Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial.  President Lincoln and the Lincoln Memorial represent freedom and justice for all. They are in alignment with Dr. King's Why as a leader of the civil rights movement. That’s powerful.

The flag is a symbol. We follow the flag into battle. We plant the flag on the moon. The flag symbolizes freedom, justice, and equality. The flag stirs nationalism and a deep feeling of belonging to something greater than ourselves.

Symbols help us make tangible that which is intangible. Symbols have meaning because we infuse them with meaning. The meaning lives on in our minds and hearts. When the purpose, cause or belief behind a symbol is clear, it can command great power.

Many companies have logos, but few convert them into meaningful symbols. The reason is simple. They are poor at communicating what they believe, their why for being in business. Their logos may serve as icons to identify the company, but that’s very different from being an emotionally charged symbol.

To say that a logo stands for quality, service and integrity just reinforces its status as a logo. These qualities are about the company and not about the cause.

Harley Davidson’s bar and shield has become a symbol of freedom, the spirit of the open road, an alternative to mainstream sensibilities, a fantasy, and a way of life. Harley Davidson represents adventure, independence, individuality and living life with all your senses. The essence of the Harley lifestyle is to dress up in black leather and ride your Harley to the horizon, commanding the world to see you as an outlaw instead of the mild-mannered citizen you are the rest of the week.

Everything Harley says and does supports its why.  It's why filters through the company and comes to life in everything that comes out of it.  Because of Harley's clarity, discipline, and consistency, we can feel what its logo means.

It’s not the company that determines a logo's meaning. It’s you and me, as outsiders. It’s the marketplace. We decide based on what we see and hear. When we can clearly and consistently tell you what a company believes, only then does its logo start to have meaning and develop a persona of its own. 

When that happens, people buy our products and services because of what it says about them.  We only need to compete with ourselves to be the best we can be and to deliver the best product or service possible consistent with our Why for being in business. 

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Every organization has a why – the purpose, cause or belief that defines it.  A why is discovered. It’s not a branding or marketing exercise. A why is about who we are.  Every team or tribe within an organization has a nested why – the purpose, cause of belief that defines it within the larger organization.

A tribe at its best is not just a group of people who work together, it’s a group of people who trust each other and have a common purpose and goals.  A tribe is a place where we feel we belong.

For CEOs, everyone who works within the organization is their tribe.  For directors of divisions, the people who work in their division are the members of their tribe.  For leaders and members of teams, their teams are their tribes.

The nested why helps teams and groups to identify with the people they work with every day. It helps them understand and feel their unique contribution to the whole, while serving the organization’s overarching why.  Within each tribe are people who have their own unique why – their individual why.

The goal is for everyone to work for a company in which they

fit the culture.

share the values.

believe in the vision.

work on a team or tribe in which they feel valued and valuable.

Why focus on intangibles like purpose, cause, and belief?  What’s the benefit for organizations and tribes to know their why? It's simple. When organizations and tribes understand their why, their leaders, directors, team members and staff experience what they do and how they do it on a deeply personal, emotional level.  Being a part of the organization says something positive about who they are. They feel like they belong to something greater than themselves.

Knowing why helps to

foster creativity, innovation, and success.

create a culture in which everyone enjoys coming to work.

support people individually and collectively to be and do their best.

If an organization was a tree:

Its roots and trunk would be its origin and foundation.

Its branches would be the divisions and departments.

The nests on the branches would be its teams or tribes.

Each nest would be a family of birds that belong together.

When employees know their why, they can find the right tree and the right nest. When tribes know their why, they can attract the right birds to their nests: people who will work together most effectively to contribute to the company’s higher purpose and cause. When organizations know their why, they can attract the right birds.

Knowing why is critical to long-term success and is one of the key ingredients missing from most organizations today. Knowing why is like finding the hidden treasure in a painting of a corporate jungle.  Like the children's picture game "Where's Elmo?", discovering why helps to uncover hidden talents and the best in everyone around us.

To the leadership of some companies, "Where's Elmo?" or discovering why may seem frivolous and a waste of time. But, to leaders with vision and foresight, discovering why is a door opener to greater abundance, contentment, and success.