Why are some people inspirational?

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Why do some people and companies inspire loyalty and dedication from employees and customers? What’s different about them?

Simon Sinek argues in a TED talk that has been watched over 35 million times that it’s because such companies have a pattern of thinking that is inside out.

Many of us can easily say what we do.

That’s our profession, our job, our position in a family – we might be doctors, consultants, accountants, husbands, wives, parents and so on.

In particular, when it comes to work – we can point to the roles we have as what we do.

We also usually know how we do things.

We may have some extent of control and autonomy over the work we do and so design how we work, or we operate in a way set out by someone else.

In either case, we still know how to do something.

Where many of us struggle is in explaining why we do something.

Why are we in this particular profession? Why are we in a particular relationship?

Are we there because it’s something we truly believe in or is it just something we have ended up doing?

Many people make the mistake of thinking that companies exist to make a profit.

That’s wrong – companies make a profit by creating value for customers – profits are a result of good work and not the motivation for good work.

Sinek argues that if we know why we do something – if we have a sense of purpose and belief and mission – then others are more likely to buy into that than there are to buy into any particular product that we try to sell.

Take Apple, for example. Apple was infused by a zen-like focus by Steve Jobs on creating products that could change the world.

Jobs said nearly 40 years ago that “We’re gambling on our vision, and we would rather do that than make “me too” products. Let some other companies do that. For us, it’s always the next dream.”

That vision turned Apple into one of the most uniquely successful companies in history.

Again, from Jobs “you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path and that will make all the difference.

Interestingly – the why is not something that we can logically justify – it’s something that we need to believe in.

It is a matter of faith and and trust – a feeling of having a higher purpose – and perhaps it’s not surprising that people that radiate a sense of purpose and mission inspire us more.

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