No, this isn’t another “find your why” post.
Simon Sinek made the question “why?” popular like it was never before. People working as employees in corporations needed that type of question to get motivated.
Employees were only provided with “how.” Their managers figured out the process for them and all they had to do was to carry out well-defined processes. Over time that type of work could demotivate employees. Knowing why they did what they did could motivate the employees.
Entrepreneurs need a different type of motivation to go through their dips when their enthusiasm fades and to stay in the game until the payoff day.
Entrepreneurs Don’t Need Why. They Know Why.
Entrepreneurs are a different breed as I discuss in the post Entrepreneurs Beware of the Employee Mindset. They have different goals and needs.
The question “why” isn’t that relevant to entrepreneurs. They already have their “why” to start with. Some of them are motivated by money and the lifestyle and the things they could afford with it.
Some of them are motivated by power and some of them by freedom. Some of them are motivated by seeing their ideas realized in the world and some of them by getting things done. The more things they get done, the more motivated they get.
Entrepreneurs Need to Know What.
The question “what?” is more relevant to entrepreneurs, because they don’t have a boss telling them what to do and how to do it. They have to figure it out by themselves.
If you’re an entrepreneur, you might think you have an answer to the question “what,” but do you really have one? Do you really know where you are going to in the long term? Do you really have crystal clear goals?
If you have them, the answers to those questions might be more than enough to motivate you. If you don’t have them, no “why” could save you.
What, Why, How Are Connected to Each Other.
Let’s say you have a long term goal and you ask the question “how am I going to achieve my long term goal?” The answer becomes your short term “what.” Or in other words, “what is my short term goal?”
When you look at your why, or “why you’re doing what you’re doing,” you realize that, you do it, because it serves your long term goal.
The “why” of your short term goals are the “what” of your long term goals. The “how” of your long term goals are the “what” of your short term goals.
Once you know your “what,” you can figure out your “how.” If you want to start a content marketing business, you can decide on your medium, by figuring out what your project, who your target audience, and what your talents are.
Knowing your what can help you eliminate everything that doesn’t serve your what.
What Questions Result in Action, Why Questions in Philosophizing.
I like the “what” question much more than the “why” question. The “why” question results in endless philosophizing. The “what” question on the other hand results in crystal clear action plans. That is what we need as entrepreneurs.
How to Get Obsessed with Your Work like a Gambling Addict?
When I look at my own work, nothing motivates me as much as weekly goals and daily action plans. My weekly goal is 10% follower and subscriber growth.
I know that my weekly goal serves my long term goal. As long as I can accomplish my weekly goal, I’m good in the long term.
However, having a short term goal like a weekly goal is way more motivating than having a longer term goal. It is something close to me, yet slightly out of my reach. I have to reach out to it. I have to extend myself.
My weekly goal isn’t fully under my control. That’s what excites me. That partially within my control, partially outside of my control gets my juices flowing. It’s like a game of chance that also requires skill, like poker.
Every day, I come up with an action plan to realize that weekly goal. That action plan consists of steps that are completely under my control to reach a goal that is slightly outside of my control, but so close.
If I focused on a long term goal, I wouldn’t be this motivated. It’s the fact that the target is just in front of me that motivates me so much.
If your goal is too far in the future, break it down by asking yourself “what do I need to accomplish this week to realize my long term goal?”
Make sure your weekly goal is slightly outside of your control. You can work towards it, but you can’t determine the result 100% by yourself.
That would motivate you much more than philosophizing on your why for hours.
Software developer with a Ph.D. and 15 years of experience. I write daily on personal development and life lessons. Sign up to my email newsletter to receive a weekly overview of my latest content on personal development and life lessons.