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The library of essays of Proakatemia

Remarkable things are achieved when we are inspired

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Remarkable things are achieved when we are inspired


Martin Luther King, Steve Jobs and Wright Brothers have something in common; they all started with why. These are just few examples of great leaders who inspired others to take action. But what is this ‘why’? In his book Start with why (2009) Simon Sinek codes it for everyone to understand. Even we understand what why as a word means, in organizations and communities it often gets fuzzy and people just take action not knowing why.


We always hear stories of companies that are successful and create something great but more often we hear stories of companies or organizations that fail. How is it possible when they are given the access to same resources and have a same chance to be successful? According to Sinek there is different ways to follow the golden circle which sets the difference between successful leaders and organizations. The golden circle consists of what, how, why – why being inside of the circle. Organizations often start with what – everyone knows inside of organization what they do, some know how they do it and very few know why they do what they do. And here is the difference of very successful organization or community; they start with why and they make sure everyone knows what the why is. They do not only make sure their employees know why they do what they do, they make sure their customers know it as well. When doing business customers don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it.


There’s a pattern with great companies and leaders which is the opposite to others – they start with why. How is it possible that we often forget something so simple as starting with why? In everything we do, was it inside our organization, in our community or in our personal life, we should know why. Nowadays we tend to forget it. We live so busy life and under so many authorities that tell us what we are supposed to do and what goals we are supposed to achieve that we might lose the why. For example, many might wake up in the morning to go to work not being sure why. Or they might think they know: they think they have to work to get money to live. Profit is always a result and why is the purpose, cause and belief. It is the reason why an organization exists but often the managers might not know it little less the employees.


During our studies we are often said what we are supposed to do. We are told to read books and do assignments because that is just what we have to. Often we don’t understand why we do it, we just do it. When asked from the teachers why, they might not know the reason, they just teach us what they are told to teach. If the teachers would have told us why we should do it and what are the benefits we get when reading a certain book or doing an assignment we might see unnecessary, I am sure people would have been more motivated to achieve these goals – not because we have to, because we want to. When doing it this way and starting from the inner circle the results would change for better.


Taking Dr. Martin Luther King as an example: over 250 000 people came to listen his speech. No one showed up for him, they showed for themselves – it was what they believed about America. Dr. King shared what he believed and the listeners brought the cause to live. People who believed what Dr. King believed joined him, took his cause and made it their own and spread it to others. Martin Luther King gave a speech called I have a dream not I have a plan. If he would have started with what and given a speech I have a plan the results would not have been so remarkable.


There are leaders and those who lead. Leaders hold a position of power or authority. Those who lead inspire us whether they are individuals or organizations. We don’t follow for them, we follow them for ourselves. We don’t follow because we have to, we follow because we want to. Those who start with why have the ability to inspire us or to find others that inspire them.


When we surround ourselves with people who believe what we believe, something remarkable happens and trust emerges. Trust is a feeling that comes from common believes and values. Trust is the base for everything when talking about relationships, smaller communities or big organizations. When we surround ourselves with people with the same believes and with the same why, we are more likely to take risks, we are more confident to experiment which requires failure as well and we are confident to explore because there is trust. We believe there is someone inside our organization who trusts us and who we trust, we believe there is someone who will have our back and help us when we fall. When I mirror this to the organizations I have worked in or to communities I have been part of, I understand better why some of them worked better than others or why I wanted to leave and why I really wanted to be a part of. If we as individuals do not know why we do what we do, how we can aim for better results or achieve success or happiness. Finding inspiration and happiness requires to be among people who believe what we believe.


We need to have people around us who inspire us for better results or to have others we can inspire. When reading about the golden circle and when knowing your why, it is clear why others are more successful or why some communities get better results. It all goes down to trust and common believes. Knowing the why should be clear for everyone, if it is not clear in your job or community, maybe you are not in the right place where you could aim for the best possible results. Or maybe it is because there is no leader who makes sure everyone knows why we do what we do in an organization. A good leader reminds us day after day why we do what we do so it doesn’t go to fuzz and we do not lose it.


Often when we do something not sure why, our stress levels go higher and we lose our passion. We need leaders to remind us why we do it not just someone to tell what to do. When we are passionate about what we do it shows to others and inspires them as well. When having the common believes and doing things according to why instead of what, not only organizations can reach something remarkable but individuals as well. This is what makes the difference with people who are leaders and those who lead us – people who lead helps the rest to find their own inspiration and their why. If it would be the other way and authorities would lead us from outside in of the golden circle how they achieve anything remarkable when they cannot get the people loyal? It is challenging to get people to believe in the dream ­– was it a great product you want to sell to customers or was it a change you want to see in the community – and that is where a great leader steps in.


  • Joonas Koivumaa

    At current time I would also add Elon Musk to that list. Good essay Nora anyhow. Lot of thinking around the main question in this book “Why?”. I would highly recommend you the book “Find Your Why” also from Sinek. It was a practical book for individuals, teams and organization to find their why. Keep up the good work and remember you can never reflect too much in these essays.

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