As many of you know, I have made it my mission to help people better understand what it takes to become a “thought leader”. One of the thought leaders that inspires me is Simon Sinek, a self-built thought leader whose motivational “Start With Why” axiom has enjoyed great celebrity. Not only does Simon Sinek motivate people towards success, he does so by telling us how other thought leaders inspire people to act. Here’s a link to one of his recent youtube videos that I’ve summarized below. I’ll be curious to find out if any of his words of wisdom inspire you. Let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Go after what you want, but don’t deny others access to it
One of the first general rules for any person is to go after what you want. Obviously, if you don’t try, you can’t achieve. But, for Sinek, this includes not getting in anyone else’s way. Achievement shouldn’t be focused on what you can take from others, but what you can achieve and bring to others.
- Interpret what you’re feeling differently
Sinek says the best athletes are the ones who’ve interpreted their feelings differently. Rather than see fear as an obstacle to a challenge, those who interpret that feeling as excitement, rather than fear are more apt to move ahead. By changing your interpretation of what your body and mind are feeling, you are essentially telling yourself to go at full speed, rather than be cautious and hold back. This doesn’t just work in the fear sense, but with other feelings that you’re having that may be holding you back.
- Take accountability for your actions
With great success comes great failure and by being accountable to this, you’ll make yourself an even better leader. Sinek believes in a balanced equation of taking credit and holding yourself accountable. Sometimes you are the problem and by recognizing this, you are truly on your way to success.
- Set your goals to beat only yourself
Finite players play to beat all of those around them. Infinite players play to beat only themselves. In order to be successful you only need to be playing the game to become a better version of who you were yesterday. Once you make yourself the competition, you are ensuring you can stay in the game longer and enjoy it more.
- Stack the deck
When you surround yourself with those who believe what you believe, you essentially stack the deck, Sinek says. Rather than work with people who put you last or even in the middle, work with the people who put you first. While the ones who put you first could be “bit players”, they will help you gain strength because they’ll support you and you’ll support them.
- Be the last to speak
One of the most important skills any successful leader can have is the ability to speak last. Many leaders employ the tactic of stating facts and then listening to arguments. By letting others speak first, you are doing two things: 1) allowing everyone to feel like they have contributed and 2) lets you make an informed opinion after hearing what others have to say.
- Be authentic
The things you say and do matter and it makes you who you are. If you aren’t being honest about who you are, by coveting a look or a vision that is someone else’s, it will show. Many people and organizations tell people what they want to hear, rather than speak what they believe. The unfortunate side effect of this is that when you get found out, you get branded as a liar. If you put something out there that is truly authentic, you will attract others who share your beliefs. Sinek says that once people give themselves up, strange things start to happen.
- Feel passionate
To Sinek, passion is not an actionable word, it is a feeling. You feel passion when you are engaged in something you love – something you love so much that you’d do it for free if you weren’t already paid for it. Your career should always follow what you feel passionate about because it is one of the best ways to realize success.
- Communicate from the inside out
The main tenet from the Start With Why movement, thinking from the inside out consists of thinking about why you are doing something before thinking about how and what. You want people to believe in you because you’ve got a reason for why you are doing something. Apple computers is a great example of a company that thinks from the inside out. They believe in thinking differently and attract those that feel the same. From there they create innovative and beautiful products (the how) and make great computers (the what). Rather than figuring out how to make great computers, they’ve figured out why they do what they do and then create the what (the great computers).
- Follow your beliefs
Sinek believes Martin Luther King Jr. started with why and took his “dreams” to make a cause and inspired others to follow him. Because he followed his beliefs, he attracted others with the same beliefs and made something big out of it. Follow your beliefs and the rest will come.