Why, why, why

Simon Sinek.  Wearing black, stands against a contemporary art background
Image from Simon Sinek
Virgin Galactic
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 27 February 2023

It has been interesting reading the reactions to my recent blog about finding competition with yourself – thanks to everyone who commented, shared and read. I thought I’d follow up with another thought inspired by Simon Sinek.

I admire Simon because he makes me think, question my own purpose and practices, and – crucially – makes me laugh. We’ve gone on Strive Challenge adventures together, met young entrepreneurs with Virgin StartUp together, and he recently published Virgin Unite founding CEO Jean Oelwang’s wonderful book Partnering.

As he wrote in Start With Why:

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

If you don’t know the reason why you’re doing something, if you’re not really passionate about its core, you’re going to have a hard time creating something that adds value to people’s lives.

Holly Branson and Simon Sinek sitting on a sofa chatting
Image from Ben Wilkin

Having read, and long recommended, Simon’s books, his idea to focus upon your why is very familiar. But that doesn’t make it less powerful. As he told ICONIQ:

My ‘why’ is to inspire people to do the things that inspire them so that, together, each of us can change our world for the better.

We have different ways of defining our whys, but the result should be the same – to put down in words why you are doing what you doing, making what you are making, reaching for what you are reaching for.

Richard Branson with his parents Ted and Eve holding a model Virgin Atlantic plane

At Virgin, we’re proud of our brand’s purpose – changing business for good. It’s our why – the reason for being that everything else follows on from, whether airlines, banks, spacelines, health clubs or reward clubs. It’s been my why since long before I thought about the concept, when I was starting a magazine, creating an advisory centre, launching a record label.

A black and white image of the Virgin Records store front

What’s your why? And, importantly – why?