Find Your Why Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: Find Your Why is an actionable guide to discover your mission in life, figure out how you can live it on a daily basis and share it with the world.

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In 2017, Simon Sinek did it again. After giving one of the world’s most popular TED talks in 2009, he once more held a speech that rocked the world. Talking to Tom Bilyeu, he broke down ‘the millennial question’ and addressed four reasons why young generations struggle so much with building a satisfying life. The result? 35 million views and, probably, a new book for him to write.

The book we’re looking at today, Find Your Why, acts more as a practical follow-up, a workbook, if you will, to his previous bestseller, Start With Why. It adds more context and actionable exercises to help individuals and businesses find their WHY and ensure they implement it at work.

Here are my 3 main takeaways:

  1. You can find your WHY by going through events from your past that had a big impact on you.
  2. Knowing HOW you work will allow you to live your WHY as best as possible.
  3. After you’ve figured out your purpose in life, share it whenever you get a chance.

Are you ready for some much needed, but practical soul-searching? Let’s do this!

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Lesson 1: Recount stories from your past to find your WHY.

Once, Simon sat next to a man on a plane, who had been living his WHY for over 20 years. Guess what that man’s company did? They produced steel. Super boring, right? How could someone be passionate about cold metal?

Well, as it turned out, the man’s business was focused on low carbon emissions and making products that were easy to recycle. His WHY was to keep the environment clean for future generations. That’s pretty powerful and it doesn’t matter whether you apply it to steel tubing, cool apps or knitting socks – if your business becomes large enough, the impact will be big!

After Simon first found his own WHY – to help others wake up inspired to go to work in the morning – he sat down with others to walk them through the process. The most important part of that process was always for the person to recount old stories. Most of us can point back to childhood and find lots of buried passions, but even recent stories matter a lot, as long as they had a big impact on us.

If you want to do this for yourself, go through 10-12 stories with a friend or someone who asks you lots of questions along the way, and you should get a lot closer to your purpose.

Lesson 2: Use your HOWs to be efficient in implementing your WHY.

We all have a WHY, and while finding it isn’t always easy, it’s only the first step. After all, you want to live your WHY, not just know it. This is where your HOWs come into play. They are the attitudes and behaviors that enable you to do your best work.

Your HOWs include both very specific habits and more general points of view. Whether you’re a night owl or an early riser belongs into the first category, for example, while being good at marketing goes into the second. Knowing the former helps you move towards a job or style of work that supports those habits. The latter helps you make important decisions.

For example, if it’s easy for you to market things, get traction on new projects, and capture some early sales, what you should work on next needn’t always be what’s most profitable. Instead, you can focus more on ethics and selling what you really want, because you can generate word of mouth quickly with a lot of different products.

But how do you identify your HOWs? Just like past stories help you identify your purpose, past behavior can give you a good idea of how you should best go about living it. Take some time to think about how you work, write down the daily routines that allowed you to perform best in the past and which high-level skills you’ve accumulated so far.

With your HOWs in hand, living your WHY becomes a lot easier.

Lesson 3: Once you have your WHY, practice sharing it as much as possible.

If you know your WHY and do a good job at keeping it front and center in your life, you’re already ahead of most people in life on your journey towards happiness. That’s why part of your responsibility once you have it is to share your WHY as much as you can.

There are several good reasons to do so:

  1. It will inspire others to start searching for their own WHY.
  2. It might turn a lame conversation into a fascinating experience.
  3. It’s the perfect answer to “What do you do?”
  4. It’ll help you refine your mission statement constantly.

What’s more, if your WHY is a bold claim or something that makes people roll their eyes, like “I want to help humans fly like birds,” this is a chance to double down on your commitment and back up your words with actions. Lastly, it’ll help you work better with others and pinpoint when something doesn’t feel right.

So, craft a short, one-sentence WHY and write it down somewhere!

Find Your Why Review

If you liked Simon’s last book, Find Your Why is a good addendum. It’s practical, so if you liked the message, but felt stuck in applying it to your own life, this may be the solution. Besides outlining the process for individuals, the book also includes ideas for team workshops and businesses, which rounds it all out nicely.

Who would I recommend the Find Your Why summary to?

The 17 year old high school senior, who’s about to make a big life decision, the 34 year old on his fifth job, and anyone who struggles with answering the question “what do you do?”

Last Updated on August 12, 2022

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Niklas Göke

Niklas Göke is an author and writer whose work has attracted tens of millions of readers to date. He is also the founder and CEO of Four Minute Books, a collection of over 1,000 free book summaries teaching readers 3 valuable lessons in just 4 minutes each. Born and raised in Germany, Nik also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration & Engineering from KIT Karlsruhe and a Master’s Degree in Management & Technology from the Technical University of Munich. He lives in Munich and enjoys a great slice of salami pizza almost as much as reading — or writing — the next book — or book summary, of course!