Why I Love “Start With Why”

If you haven’t yet read “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” by Simon Sinek, then you are missing one of the primary contributions you should have in your library.  I’d put it up there with “How to Win Friends & Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. I remember when I first read this book it blew my mind.  When you follow your purpose in life, everything falls into place.  It’s about understanding what sits behind that gut instinct.  A company I worked for applied the principles of Simon Sinek to their whole brand and marketing.  The impact it had was phenomenal!  They could not keep up with the overwhelming response to their business.  Sales sky rocketed.  To get a taste for what his methodology is all about, watch the video or read my summary below (but watching the video is better!).

Who is Simon Sinek?

Simon Sinek created a simple methodology that explains what makes inspiring people or organizations so successful and influential. He started out as a student in anthropology.  His fascination with people transformed into a career of compelling people to do what inspires them. It started when he began helping his friends and their friends to find their “why” — at first charging just $100.  His Book, “Start With Why” started out as an easy method to distribute his message.

The Basic Message

It doesn’t matter if you’re selling a product or an idea, you need to find a method to communicate with people in a way that reaches them at a deeper, almost subconscious level. Simon’s message in a nutshell is:

 People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

 If we invoke passion and unity of thinking, then we are more convincing with our facts and figures. Sinek say that the goal is not just to sell to people who need what you have, the goal is to sell to people who believe what you believe.  (Or not to hire people who need a job, rather, hire people who believe what you believe). He cites examples of Apple ideology that helped them to build a financial empire.

Interestingly, the ideas are also grounded in biology (not psychology) Sinek says, if you look at a cross-section of the human brain, from the top, it is broken up into three specific areas.

Our newest brain or homosapien brain, corresponds with the “what”.  What are you doing?  This part of the brain is responsible for all of our analytical and rational language or thought.

Our limbic brains make up the middle two sections, and our limbic brains are responsible for all human behavior, all decision-making and it has no capacity for language.  It’s also responsible for all of our feelings, like loyalty and trust.

So, from the outside, people can understand complicated information, like facts and figures or benefits and features. But it just doesn’t drive behaviour.  When we can communicate from the inside out, we’re talking directly to the part of the brain that controls behaviour.  It is only then that we can we assist people to rationalize the information with the tangible things we say or the tangible things we do.

Despite giving someone all the facts and figures they can still say, “I know what all the facts, but it just doesn’t feel right.”  This is where the gut instinct comes from.


The Law of Diffusion of Innovation

simon sinekAll of us can sit on this scale at various times or in various places.  What this law tells us, is that if you want acceptance of an idea from the mass-market, it doesn’t happen until you have a tipping point.  The system tips when you have between 15% and 18% market penetration.  The early adopters make decision based on what they believe, whereas the early majority won’t make a buying decision until someone else has (the early adopters).   The early adopters make decide to buy something because it re-affirms what they believe.  They want to be first to believe in an idea.

*SPOILER ALERT! – I Love How He Closes

He’s such an inspiring speaker (although I have heard some of these sayings come from the mouths of others).


There are leaders and there are those who lead. Leaders hold a position of power or authority, but those who lead inspire us.

Sinek say, it doesn’t matter if they are individuals or big companies, we follow people who lead, not because we have to, but because we want to. We follow those who lead, not for them, but for ourselves.

Anyone who focuses on the their “why” first, will inspire others or find others who inspire them.

If you find that you are feeling frustrated because you’re not getting anywhere, if you feel stressed, anxious or depressed because you have big ideas but you don’t know where to make the first step, or why you haven’t, then I’d like to assist you.  Through my stress management coaching, I help people to get total alignment with their values, purpose, vision and mission in life, whether it be personally or for their small business. If you’d like to find out more or learn how you can sample this experience for free, send me an email.  I’d love to hear from you.


About the Author: 

The Time TamerBarbara Clifford (The Time Tamer) is a Productivity & Time Management Expert based in Alice Springs, Australia.  She has spent over 20 years working in time precious industries such as film, hospitality and marketing.  She has always had a burning passion to create order out of chaos. Seeking knowledge around systems, processes, gadgets, apps and stationary for whatever will organise the working world.   Barbara is sought after like a beacon in a sea of chaos to provide professional clarity in the business environment and to simply GET THINGS ORGANISED.  She is currently studying to be a certified Stress Management Practitioner. Barbara’s professional experience has included contracts with small business, Not For Profits, Aboriginal Organisations, Media, Marketing, Aged Care and Health Services

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[…] Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” by Simon Sinek.  (Never heard of him?  Read more here).  Basically his theory is “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”. For you […]


[…] Simon Sinek wrote a brilliant book called “Start With Why”.   I remember when I first read this book it blew my mind.  When you follow your purpose in life, everything falls into place.  It’s about understanding what sits behind that gut instinct. When you can tap into your purpose, when you have a clear reason for doing something, it’s obviously going to be more motivating to do it. Sinek actually shows how businesses can inspire their entire organisation into action or shift their marketing approach to inspire their customer’s to buy. It’s fascinating. (Read more: What I learnt from… Read more »