Why “why”?

*I have included this on my blog because it talks about something that i have focused on so far with my in-depth.


“Knowing your purpose may compel you to take on challenges that will stretch you as much as they inspire you. Just as a boat under power can handle any size wave if perpendicular to it, when you’re powered by a clear purpose, there is little you cannot do.” – Margie Warrell.

My in-depth is learning how to create an online business. My mentor Jacob Gebrewald directed me towards an inspiring Ted Talk by Simon Sinnek called “Start with Why.” I took three main questions out of that ted talk: What is asking “why,” how do you find your “why”, and how does asking “why?” relate to creating an online business.

My “why” is to keep myself and the people that I love happy. I want to be able to provide financially and have free time that I can spend with my family.


The first step towards finding your “why” is to understand what that question “why” really means. When asking “why” you are looking for a destination, “how” and “what” are methods of transportation to get to that destination. For example if your destination, or your “why” was: I want to get to Surrey. Your “how” is finding the best method to get to Surrey, in this case it might be public transit. Finally “what”, in this case the best method of public transit might be the Skytrain. But what we are told in school is to find a “what”; if you look for a method of transport without having an end goal in mind, you are lacking purpose. Though Simon Sinnek put it really well why profit is not a “why”: “To clarify a “why” is not “to make a profit.” That’s a result, it’s always a result. A “why” would be something like: What’s your purpose? What’s your cause?

What’s your belief? Why does your organization exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should anyone care?”


The second step is finding your “why”.Statistically 98% of people don’t know what thier “why” is. If you want to become part of the 2% that does, there are four key things that will lead you towards your “why”. It is more than just what gets you out of bed every morning, according to Margie Warrell: “What makes you come alive? What are your innate strengths? Where do you add the greatest value? How will you measure your life?” All of these questions are ones that need to be considered carefully. Combining your areas of skills, values, and passions to set a clear goal for what you want to complete in your life. The question of “What makes you come alive?” Refers to what keeps you going in life, what keeps you motivated and gets you out of bed every morning. There is no concrete path that can lead you to the answer, you need to reflect on yourself as a person and your motives. Though it is not just what motivates you, it is important to consider how you can implement your strengths; as Margie Warrell states: “What are the things you’ve always been good at (sometimes wondering why others find it so hard?)” Everyone has these specific skills, finding your “why” involves combining your skills motivation and your morals to find a “why” that you can peruse for the rest of your life.


The third and final step is relating your “why” back to your business. As a business owner you need to have a goal in mind.  For example, deciding between being a small business owner or a big business owner? A small business owner works long hours to satisfy consumers personally. A big business owner works on making money and building an empire. Jacob Gebrewald said  “Essentially a small business owner works on a product and a big business owner works on a system”. Deciding what kind of business you want to own would be clearer if you had already developed a “why”. The reason this information is so valuable is because it is applies to everyone. Everyone should ask themselves “why”. Simon Sinek’s entire Ted Talk is directed towards business owners and entrepreneurs. The most effective method of marketing is targeting the “why” part of the brain. Technically this is called your limbic brain, the part of your brain that controls “gut decisions”. In the words of Michael S. Gazzaniga: “The limbic brain then responds emotionally and asks, “Is this my friend? Can I put my trust here?” This is the essential brand level stuff that generates loyalty”. This statement explains how if you have a clear “why” you can market your purpose to consumers in a way makes your product stand out. I think Simon Sinnek put it best “You know, sometimes you can give somebody all the facts and figures, and they say, “I know what all the facts and details say, but it just doesn’t feel right.” Why would we use that verb, it doesn’t “feel” right? Because the part of the brain that controls decision-making doesn’t control language. And the best we can muster up is, “I don’t know. It just doesn’t feel right.”


Finding your “why” should be an important step in your life. You need to start with “why” not “how” or “what” like we are taught to do in school. You’re “why” is your purpose; your end all-be all. Everything you do in life should help you get closer to your “why”.  98% of people don’t consider why they are doing things, they just know what and how they are doing them. There are four questions asked by Margie Warrell:”“What makes you come alive? What are your innate strengths? Where do you add the greatest value? How will you measure your life?” These are all questions that will assist you greatly in finding your “why”. Especially if you are considering a path into the world of business, as I am.


In-depth Update

I left off on my last post by saying that I was going to contact Jacob Gebrewold. He responded last Tuesday and we chatted for about an hour that night on the phone. We talked about my project and what I am looking to achieve. Then he asked me “why”, he wanted to know the route cause for me doing what I am doing. He said “I want you to start with “why” not “how” or “what” (paraphrased). That I need to have a ‘be all end all’ in mind when as I go through life. Instead of wanting to go into law, business, or economics; he asked me to consider why I wanted to go into a profession. Essentially he asked me what my goal in life was in our first phone conversation.

As the conversation went on he said that, he didn’t think he had the time to mentor me but would still be able to help me out with the project and even help me find a mentor. As he continued to help me find my “why”, he directed me towards a ted talk called ‘Start with why’ by Simon Sinek and his book by the same title.

Over the next week I watched the ted talk and looked into the book, though I have not yet purchased it. I talked to him again last Saturday and seeing that I had done what he asked he decided that it was worth his time to mentor me for this project. He has assigned me numerous books to read and we have agreed to meet every Saturday. I am really excited to work with Jacob over these next six months!

Thus far in my project I have not had to disagree or differ with anything that Jacob has said. Though we have only talked twice everything seems to make sense to me. But it took some thought to understand; many people in the past have tried to get me to read leadership books, or think about where I want to go with my life. But I have never really taken them seriously, I would just kind of shrug it off and lose interest. But so far in the in-depth project has been different. I assume that it is because of his passion on the subject. Actually I remember him saying something about this he said: “The only information that you can guarantee as practical is something that someone has applied that caused a specific result. It also cannot be specific to them”. I think this applies to this situation, Jacob has personally applied the knowledge in the leadership books.

There are going to be times when I do disagree with something Jacob sais over the next 5 months and I think it is important that I know how to appropriately differ in any situation. I think it is important for me to be able to word any disagreement in a positive and constructive way. I need to think about how I can disagree while keeping an open conversation and an open mind. I would say something along the lines of “I am curious to know your reasoning behind that”. I think this is good because it gets the other person to help me understand what they mean without shooting down their idea.

So far my in-depth is going really well. I have arranged to meet with Jacob this Sunday to talk about some strategies of building my connections to business personnel. I feel that we have had very similar opinions over our last two conversations and the things that he has taught me I have agreed with. But there will inevitably be times when I do not agree with something that he sais and will have to find a way to express that without shooting down any ideas. I think that is a very important skill to have in any given situation. Not just for my in-depth.

Leadership Day 2

Challenge questions:

Question 1. “How do you deal best with tension in stressful situation?” When I get stressed I find it works to remind myself that if I don’t finish its okay. But at the same time I fortunately do not get stressed as much as others. I find unless I am getting buried under homework I can keep my stress level down.

Question 2. “What should you do when you find yourself following a leader who is ineffective? How do you continue to add value?” As stated in the book there are 5 super important steps to add value to gain ineffective leader:

  • develop a solid relationship
  • identify and improve on your leaders strengths,
  • commit yourself to adding value to your leader’s strengths,

It is important to thoroughly complete these first 3 steps before moving onto to step four

  • Get permission to develop a game plan to complement your leader’s weaknesses
  • Expose your leader to good leadership resources
  • Continue to add value to your leader

If you effectively complete these six steps as mentioned in the book the 360 degree leader you will hopefully be able to improve his or her leadership capabilities.

Question 3. “How can you determine what “hat” you need to wear in a given situation?” I think the first step is to analyse who you would be reporting to and who would be reporting to you. It is important as John said to see if you need to wear a hat of a leader or a follower. I think you needs to look at who is around you and look at who is going to take control of the situation. If nobody else is going to take the lead then you need to; on the flip side if there is a specific person that is a strong leader and has taken charge in the situation then you can follow.

Question 4. “What ideas, products, or services provided by your committee/ quad are so important that you would allow someone else to take credit for them even though you contributed?” I think the leader of a project should be the one to get most of the credit but it is important that if the leader takes the credit they give some credit to the people who got them there. If you help someone reach their goals it is still their goal you can’t take credit for them reaching their goal but you deserve some credit for helping them along the way.

Question 5. “List some of the advantages and disadvantages of being out front.” Something that can be both an advantage and a disadvantage is that you are the figure head of your group, if something goes terribly wrong you are the person that will have to answer for the failure. If something goes wonderfully you are still the figure head and you will be the one given most of the credit. Obviously the failure or success of your group is not entirely based on you, you cannot do it alone. There are other people who deserve some credit for the result but ultimately it is your decision making that changes the outcome of the group.

Question 6. “How can you clearly and positively communicate the vison of the organisation/trip to those around you?” You need to have close relationships with your team members to make sure that everyone’s ideas are carefully considered. As the leader you need to establish a vision and make sure that everyone on your team is working towards the same vison. This will be vital to working efficiently and getting the best final product possible.

Question 7. “In what ways have I experienced the influence challenge?”

As a student there have been times where I wasn’t sure if I could lead students that were older than me and certainly not adults. For the reason that, I don’t think that they will take me seriously. I think that the biggest hurdle for being a successful leader as a student. While you can lead people who are younger or even the same age, believing in your ability to communicate with and to effectively lead people who are in higher positons is vital. To be that leader you need to be trustworthy, consistent, you need to be respected, and you need to care. I think caring is the biggest one on that list because if you have a personal connection to what you are trying to get others to believe in it will be much easier to convince others to follow you.

Leadership Questions

Leadership questions

Myth 1.1. I am not at the top of anything but I still consider myself a leader. I personally feel that is does not matter if you are “at the top” to be a good leader. I do feel that it is important to have a good leader “at the top” and it may even be easier to be a leader if you are “at the top”. But there is never a situation where you can’t lead just because you do not have a following. What you have to do in that situation is ‘create’ a following; share your ideas and get others on board.

Myth 2.4. I think the two biggest components of being a good leader are: truly believe the message that you are trying to implement and being good with people. If you do not truly believe what you are trying to make others believe you will not be able to effectively convince others. Being good with people helps in so many situations but leadership even more so; if you are unable to effectively communicate with other people you will be an ineffective leader.

Myth 3.1. I question authority; it is flaw I realise that it is but it is just something that I do. So there are times that people that I should look up to that I don’t agree with. Most commonly it is teachers that don’t understand my learning style, but I know it is not just gifted learners who question authority. On the other hand I certainly follow people that don’t have an official leadership title. The best example of this is peers; there are many people both in and outside of TALONS of whom I have great respect and look up to all of the time.

Myth 4.3. I always will consider other people’s opinions. Whether I accept or reject the opinion comes down to if I believe in the opinion. If it is morally right then I will agree with the opinion. There are always people who will agree and disagree with any opinion but it depends on the specific person.

Myth 5.1. The leader in any group always answers to the members of the group. Like in a democratic government, the leader tries to meet the wants and needs of the people they represent. Though they may not talk to one specific person, they still have a “boss”. In almost all cases of being the head of anything, a person or group of people give you a title and you need to prove to those people that you are capable of doing the job. In this case your job is to represent the people who put you in power.

Myth 6.2 I am capable of many things. I would say at this point of my life “reaching my full potential” would be staying happy. As long as I am happy I think I am successful. As a 14 year old I don’t know who I want to be when I am older. It is something that I need to have more experience on for sure. Donald Glover said “I am what I am: everything I wanna be”. I agree with this quote because my personal definition of success changes every day.

Myth 7.1 Regardless of where you are going to be in life you can still be a leader. You can be unemployed and homeless and still be a leader. Being a CEO has nothing to do with being a leader. In fact you have a much greater chance of being a CEO if you can lead effectively. If you never learn how to be a leader you will never be put in a position of leadership. Regardless where you are in the hierarchy you find yourself in, there is always somewhere you can lead. If you are looking for someone to give a “leadership position” you are looking for someone that is already a leader, not somebody who still needs to learn.


In Depth Intro post

My In Depth project of starting an online business is will be a project that will end in one of three ways: I become a billionaire, I am forced to file for bankruptcy, or it never ends up making it onto the internet. This year for my In Depth I am going to make a plan that would carefully show the steps of making an online business. I am not actually starting the business for two reasons: I don’t know if I am biting off more than I can chew trying to get the entire business model planned out, and I don’t have the $100,00 + to get the business of the ground.

What I have so far for a plan, is to create a business where artists would make their music available for purchase on my website and customers would be able to go through and buy their music from my site. I realise that there is already lots of competition, monster companies like Apple and Sony, but I have a twist that makes my company superior. Unlike with other major companies, with mine the artist will receive 100% of the profits generated by sales. Apple and Sony only gives the artist as little as 10% of the profits. At first this would not be profitable for me as the host but as my website picks up momentum I would charge other companies for advertising on the webpage to make a profit.

I think the biggest thing I need for this project is someone who knows what they are doing, I have contacted Jacob Gebrewold hoping he can mentor me or recommend someone else who can. Because this is something that I have never done before and have little knowledge on the subject I want to have someone who has successfully ran an online business. Another thing that is difficult about starting a business is that you can’t practice; there is no 100% guarantee the market will buy your product regardless of how skilled you are and how much money you invest into the business.

I am not sure how much work this is going to end up being, I want to talk to a business professional first and get their input. It is for that reason that I don’t yet know how much I am actually going to end up completing. It may be that I have a plan to complete the entire website and even start a Kickstarter fund to get the site up and running, or that I only plan out one aspect of the company. That will be decided as I continue on in the project.