Focusing on the Why

I’ve been thinking a lot lately. I’m guessing that’s what this blog will be; my thoughts out there in the world.

We spend so much time in our lives working in a win/lose situation where someone wins, and someone loses. Everyone wants to know what they stand to gain or benefit from before they are willing to listen before they are willing to move forward. This isn’t to say that it’s not important to know the end state of investing our time, energy, or money. It’s just to say that we are, in a sense, programmed to look at the benefits to ourselves in most situations. The thing is, many times we fail to see how what we do may affect others in a negative way or we don’t care as long as we are getting what we want. We spend time competing, rather than trying to see how we can all win.

Simon Sinek’s book, Infinite Game, asks us to focus on win/win. It reminds us that there is more to anything in life than just winning. Is that the real focus of any company? Most companies start out trying to provide a service or good to the world. Generally, a quality service or good. Along the way, their vision gets clouded by success and profit. They start focusing on the bottom line and forget what was most important. The Infinite Game is a game that is played for the long haul. It’s about doing something because it is good to do. It’s about helping the world, standing for something bigger than us. Because not doing it is a loss for those around you. The Infinite Game reminds us that “why” matters. Focusing on the wrong things can cause us to fail.

When a vision is clear, it’s much easier to get people motivated, including ourselves. Knowing why you do what you do can drive success in many aspects of life. It’s not about money, what makes that money so important to you? It’s not about success, what does success really mean to you? What does it look like? Is it a nice car, a boat on your own dock, kids that come home for Christmas? If we focus on success or profit rather than the why behind it, it can be easy to fail since we aren’t focusing on the real goal.

This Infinite Game mindset closely relates to creating a win/win in the sense that if we know why we are doing something, we generally quit competing. If success means a happy family, you spend less time at work while being more productive and more time at home creating that happy family. Win/win. If you started your business because you wanted to share your talents with the world, maybe the money isn’t all that important since sharing your talents with the world was why you started anyway. And isn’t that a much better reason to do something? Just to be a part of something that means so much to you, that drives your inner happiness. The money will come when we are truly passionate about what we do.

Metrics don’t really matter in the long run. Yeah, they tell us if we are hitting certain marks to be profitable. What they don’t do is measure our compassion, our hearts, our relationships. Metrics don’t keep employees from being loyal to a company or a friend from deciding to distance themselves from you. Businesses that lose focus on what’s really important to them will soon fail. People who lose focus on what’s really important will soon fail. How can we be of service to each other? To the world around us. Whether in business or in our personal lives, when we focus on the why, our goals tend to be clearer and more attractive to us as well as to others. This affects everyone. It makes happier people, more successful businesses, stronger families, and stronger communities.

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