I had a good year last year, but am I successful? And the answer, is no. I don’t feel I am, because I am trying to build a world that doesn’t exist yet.
When you’re driving in your car, and you get a text, and your phone goes beep, we hate email, true. We love the beep, the buzz, the ding.
Man: Have you gone and talked to a company that’s been in trouble, and then spoken to their team, and then checked in on them after you’ve spoke to their leadership team, and what did that look like? Did you notice a noticeable change?
You mean, does my work?
– Simon Sinek
Simon Sinek’s Top 10 Rules For Success Vol. 2
Evan: Hello, Believe Nation! I’m Evan Carmichael, my one word is believe, and I Believe that entrepreneurs are going to solve all of the world’s major problems. So, to help you on your journey, today, we’re going to learn from author and speaker, Simon Sinek, and my take on his top 10 rules for success, volume two.
Rule number five is my personal favorite, and I’d love to know which one you guys like the best. And as always, as you’re listening, if something really resonates with you, there’s a message that really holds true to you, please leave it down in the comments below and put it in quotes so that other people can be inspired. And when you write it down, it’s much more likely to stick with yourself as well. Enjoy.
Simon Sinek’s Rules
- RULE #1: PURSUE YOUR VISION
- RULE #2: MEASURE MOMENTUM
- RULE #3: BE A GIVER
- RULE #4: LEARN FROM CREATIVE PEOPLE
- RULE #5: KNOW YOUR DESTINATION
- RULE #6: BE OPEN TO THE UNKNOWN
- RULE #7: HAVE BALANCE
- RULE #8: TURN FOLLOWERS INTO LEADERS
- RULE #9: SET UNREALISTIC GOALS
- RULE #10: TAKE ACTION
- Ask for help
- Have a purpose
RULE #1: PURSUE YOUR VISION
People are always talking about visions and missions and all this stuff. And, when people ask me, “What example should I look to, what company?” I’m like, here’s an organization with a vision, a cause. It was founded with a cause. It’s an entrepreneurial venture. America is an experiment.
It’s an entrepreneurial venture where a bunch of people got together and decided we needed to start our own country because there were certain obstacles that were getting in the way of the vision that we had of a better kind of country, a kind of company, right? And they stated it right out of the beginning, “All men are created equal,” endowed with these inalienable rights, amongst which include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
And it’s not just a competitive statement, like, “To be the best. “To be the most respected.” That’s not what it was. And I’m amazed how many companies start their visions or missions with those, that terribly egocentric language. It was an ideal. And the amazing thing is we’ve been good at it and bad at it in our history, but it’s endured for 240 plus years because we fundamentally believe that we are at our best when we’re pursuing that.
But it is an ideal. We will never achieve all people are equal, but we will die trying, and that’s the point. And it’s the same for a company, which is true vision inside a company is something that has nothing to do with your product. It is an ideal to which you will attempt to build and advance that ideal through your company with your product. You will never achieve the ideal but you’ll die trying.
And this is what gives our work meaning. This is what gives our lives purpose. The difference between a vision and a goal is the finish line. A goal is 26.2 miles. You can simply count the metrics and know when you completed your goal. A vision is having a crystal clear sense of what the finish line looks like but no idea of how far away it is.
And the reality is, you will spend your entire life never actually crossing the finish line, but the joy that every marathon you complete you feel like you’re getting closer and every milestone that you accomplish makes you feel like you’re getting closer and closer to the ideal, and this is what gives our life and our work meaning.
RULE #2: MEASURE MOMENTUM
Success is an elusive thing, right? What is it? And I think it’s very interesting that if most people kind of define success, “Well, it means you’ve made X amount of dollars,” but if you make X amount of dollars but you spend more, are you successful? Or, “Well, it means you come home happy every day.” Okay, how do you know when you’re happy? So I think success is a funny thing, which is we all seem to pursue it, but we don’t know how to measure it or actually how to define it.
So how do you pursue something that you can’t measure? Fascinating. So when people say to me, “How do you measure success?” the question we all have to ask ourselves, am I successful? I don’t know. I had a good year last year. And what does that mean? Does it mean I made a lot of money? Does it mean I was really happy? Well, I’ll let you decide. Maybe neither, maybe both. I had a good year last year, but am I successful? And the answer, is no.
I don’t feel I am, because I am trying to build a world that doesn’t exist yet. I’m trying to build a world in which 90% of people go home at the end of the day feeling fulfilled by the work that they do. So I definitely took a big step forward towards that goal, but I’m still so far away. So somebody said to me, “How do you know if you’re successful?” And the answer is if it can go by itself. And so what is more interesting to me as a measurement of success is not the markers per se.
It’s not the financial goal or the size of the house that you want to buy. Those are nice things. Go for it. But those are not measurements of success. Those are just nice things to collect along the way. For me, it’s momentum. I want to measure momentum, which is, when something is moving and you start to see it lose momentum, you’re like, “Uh-oh, give it a push,” because if you don’t give it a push it’s going to stop, and an object in stasis is much harder to get going.
It requires a lot more energy to get something started than it does to keep it going, right? And so if you don’t let it stop and you can keep it going, it still might slow down down there, but you can get it going again much easier. And for me, the opportunity is to get the ball rolling faster and faster and faster and faster and faster and bigger and bigger and bigger. It’s like a snowball. And my responsibility is, because it’s not rolling downhill yet, it’s not on automatic yet, I need to still keep it going and find that critical mass where it can go And at the point it can go by itself without me, then I will find something else to do.
And that may not happen in my lifetime. I think we must all stop measuring promotions, salaries, and these things, but rather measure the momentum of your career. Does my career have momentum? Can I see it moving in the right direction? Can I see it gathering mass? Can I see that it’s becoming easier for me to keep the momentum, it’s becoming easier for me to grow the size of this thing, it’s requiring less effort? That’s the thing we need to measure. That’s the thing that we need to be cognizant of, which is the momentum of our careers, not just the markers that we think define our success.
RULE #3: BE A GIVER
I did a little experiment with a homeless person. Not like on them. It’s not like electrodes. With them, voluntarily helped me. Because the whole idea of giving, right? You’ve all walked down the street and you’ve all seen someone begging, and you either have or haven’t thrown a few pennies in their cup. When you do, you feel good. You bought that feeling. That is a legitimate commercial transaction.
Commercial transactions are defined as the exchange of consideration. There was an exchange of consideration here. You gave money. You got the feeling of goodwill. You paid for that feeling. If you didn’t give money, you either feel nothing or you feel bad. You can’t feel good by not giving. You pay for that feeling. So now the question is, how is that person encouraging us to give? The joke is, they act like every corporation in the world.
They talk about themselves. “Me, me, me, me, me, me, me.” Right? They sit there with their little outdoor advertising, little sign, right? And it says, “I’m homeless. “I’m hungry. “I’ve got 12 kids. “I’m a veteran. “God bless.” They got it all in there, trying to appeal to somebody, the religious vote, the veteran vote, child sympathizers, surround yourself with lots of pets, go for that one, too. Right?
All in an attempt to get something from someone. Takers, not givers, right? All about me. Well, what do corporations do? “We’ve added more RAM. “We’ve added more ROM. “We’ve added more speed. “This one is number one. “We’re the biggest. We’re the best. “We’ve been around since 1969. “We’re better than them. “We’re faster than them.
“We’re more efficient than that one. “Me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me.” And so even if we buy their product, guess what? We don’t really feel much. So I did this little experiment. I found a nice homeless lady on the streets of New York who was willing to help out.
And I learned that with her sign, which was pretty typical, “I’m homeless, I’m hungry, blah, blah, blah,” she makes between 20 and 30 dollars a day for a day’s worth of work, eight to 10 hours of sitting there selling goodwill. Eight to 10 hours, she’ll make 20 to 30 dollars. 30 dollars is considered a good day.
I changed her sign, and the new sign made her 40 dollars in two hours. And then she left. It’s one of the reasons she’s homeless, is ’cause she’s decided that she only needs 20 to 30 dollars a day to live. If she’d stayed, she would’ve made $150. The point is, she made 40 bucks in two hours. What did the sign say? The sign said, “If you only give once a month, “please think of me next time.” It has nothing to do with the taker.
It has everything to do with the giver. And what are the objections people give when they don’t give? “I can’t give to everyone. “How do I know that they really need it?” And so I addressed both those concerns. “I know you can’t give to everyone, “so if you only give once a month, my cause is legitimate. “I will still be here when you’re ready to give.” 40 bucks, two hours. Make it about them, not about you.
The fact of the matter is 100% of customers are people, and 100% of clients are people, and 100% of employees are people. I don’t care how good your product is. I don’t care how good your marketing is. I don’t care how good your design is. If you don’t understand people, you don’t understand business. We are social animals, we are human beings, and our survival depends on our ability to form trusting relationships.
Do you ever watch Deadliest Catch on the Discovery Channel? I was flipping through channels one night, and Deadliest Catch came on. And on this episode, just random, they were in a huge storm. Now, for those of you who don’t know Deadliest Catch, they take these crab fishing boats out in the Bering Sea, which is like terrible, and they put cameras on them, and we watch.
The reason that’s, I guess, significant is because these crab fishermen have, I think, one of the top five deadliest jobs in the world. I don’t know what the exact number is, but dozens of fishermen die every year doing this. We apparently find that entertaining, which it actually is. So they have cameras only on five or six of the ships even though there are many, many, many ships that go out fishing every season.
And they don’t really come into proximity with each other because the ocean is huge. And they usually sabotage each other and give each other false information ’cause they’re all competitors. They’re all looking to get the crabs and make sure that they find them and somebody else doesn’t. It’s business, right? It’s just business. It’s okay. We all do the same thing in our own companies.
And in this one episode, this big, huge storm was so violent that they had to bring all the pots, which are the big cages that they catch the crabs in, they had to bring all the pots back on the boat and wait out the storm. And just be dumb luck, one of the boats that had cameras on it was in proximity of a boat that didn’t have cameras on it.
And so they filmed, they had secured all their puts on the deck, and so they started filming the other boat. And they filmed a guy climbing on the outside of the cage, securing the pots. And all of a sudden, a huge wave hits the side of the boat and the guy is not there anymore. And the people on the boat with the cameras start screaming, “Man overboard, man overboard, man overboard.” And they turn their boat towards where they think he might be.
He’s a stranger, they don’t know him, they don’t know the crew members of the other boat, and yet they react, and they turn towards him. And they find him in the drink. And for those of you who don’t understand how dangerous this is, the water is so cold if you’re in the water for, I think that it’s a minute or a minute 30, hypothermia will set in and you’d die.
And they come upon him, and he’s screaming, “Don’t let me die, don’t let me die.” And they pull him aboard, not out of the woods yet, they strip off his clothes because it’s wet and cold, and they wrap blankets around him to prevent hypothermia from setting in. And he survives. And it’s overwhelming. And the captain comes down, and this is all, you can go watch it on TV.
The captain comes down and he hugs this stranger, this young man, his competitor, he hugs this guy as if he’s his own son. I lost it. Everybody is crying. And you realize what happened here was a human interaction, and the reason that they risked their own lives to help this other person even though they spend every other day trying to get ahead and sabotage is because at the end of the day, they’re all crab fishermen, and they know something about each other, and they know something about the risk that they all take to do this.
And when push comes to shove, they will put themselves out there to help each other for no other reason than they get it. They’re one and the same. I will promise you that every single member of that crew that day went home with a feeling of fulfillment. I promise you that every single person on that crew that day felt more good in their hearts and in their jobs than the richest day that they’ve ever pulled in.
My question is, what are you doing to help the person next to you? Don’t you want to wake up and go to work for the only reason that you can do something good for someone else? Wouldn’t you want them to do that for you?
RULE #4: LEARN FROM CREATIVE PEOPLE
I’m a lover of creative people, and so any sort of expression of how you see the world and with different terminology is fascinating to me. And so even though I myself am a photographer, so I have that visual aspect, I’m a huge fan of modern dance and spend a lot of time with dancers and in the dance world and have tried my hand at choreographer just to see. I’m not good, but I like the idea of trying it.
So for me, it’s about perspective, which is when you hang out with dancers and you learn to dance a little bit or you learn to choreograph a little bit or you learn to paint a little bit, I’m not a painter, but I painted a painting recently, it’s like chaos theory. Everything is connected. We conveniently divide up our lives, like, “Here’s my personal life. “Here’s my professional life. “Here’s my social life. “I’m looking to find balance.”
It’s just you, and all the same things apply. And so if you’re good here, you can apply what you learn here to there. And so when you learn how things interconnect and people interconnect and how human relationships work and presence. You want to learn about presence, take a dance class. You learn all about how to present yourself and be forwards.
You’re going to take an acting class and learn how to present your speech. People say, “Simon, how did you learn this?” It’s like, I’m exposed to all of this. So the tools I’ve learned have just mainly been different perspectives on how other people use their creative talents to see the world, and if I can get little pieces of those, they help me in many, many different ways.
RULE #5: KNOW YOUR DESTINATION
Imagine we’re standing in a big empty room, and we’re standing in one corner and I gave you simple instruction. I want you to go to that corner in a straight line. Right? Off you go. No big deal, right? Without telling you, I slip a chair in front of you. What do you do? You go around the chair. Now you just disobeyed what I told you to do. I told you to go to that corner in a straight line.
But this is the amazing thing about human beings, which is when we’re given a clear destination, we use our own creativity and our own sense of innovation and our own problem solving abilities to overcome obstacles to get to the destination. In other words, the destination is more important than the route. We’re flexible about the route. We’re obsessed with the destination. Reset.
We’re standing in the corner together and I give you a simple instruction. Go somewhere in this room in a straight line. And you say to me, “Well, where do you want me to go?” I’m like, “I don’t know. “You’re smart. Figure it out. “Go in a straight line.” And so you pick a point and you start walking, and without telling you, I put a chair in front of you. What do you do? You come to a grinding halt.
I say, “What did you stop for?” You go, “Well, you put a chair in front of me.” Or, you’ll make a sudden turn and go in another direction. And this is the problem. It’s the same obstacle. The difference is, when you have a clear destination, the obstacles become easy to overcome. When you don’t have a clear destination, you keep coming to a grinding halt.
And what we do in our companies is we’re counting the steps we’re taking along the route, but we’re never looking at the destination. So a company says, “Made a million dollars this year. “We were only planning on making 800,000. “We took 10 steps. “We were only planning on taking eight.” Where are you going? “No clue.” We count the steps. And so the point is that people want to feel that the effort that they’re exerting actually are moving somewhere.
And so successful measurement, successful recognition, is not just for the steps you take. It’s not just for the effort. It’s that the effort you exerted moved us closer to where we’re trying to get to, and that get to should be some crazy ideal. My ideal is to live in a world in which the vast majority of people wake up every single morning inspired to go to work and fulfilled by the work that they do.
And the couple of measurements that I use are if the book is selling. And by the way, people ask me, “How many have you sold?” I have no clue. I’ve never asked the publisher because I don’t care. I really don’t care how many I’ve sold. What I care about is the Amazon rankings and that those are going steady or up and not plummeting, because that means other people, ’cause I don’t have a publicist, I don’t have a marketing strategy on purpose.
I didn’t hire one of those companies to sell the book for me. And the reason is because I’m not interested in book sales. I’m interested in spreading an idea. And so I just use that as a metric to help me understand, “Am I marching in,” because the more I preach, is it resonating? And so you have a couple of these imperfect measurements that help you understand, are you going along the way? So it’s not just, “Great effort. “Look what you achieved,” because that’s what we’re doing now. “Our goal is to increase top line revenues by $50 million.”
For what reason? Which is we have to know the destination, and then we say, “Amazing. “You took us that much closer.” If we go to the right, it’s because we were overcoming an obstacle. If we hadn’t gone to the right, we would’ve been stuck forever. Thank you. It’s not always straight lines, it’s not always straight lines, but it’s in one direction. She’s pulling the cane out.
RULE #6: BE OPEN TO THE UNKNOWN
Rarely are we instant experts. You may have a particular gift or affinity towards something but you still get better. People would pay me high compliments when I started speaking, and then people who have seen me a year or two later say that I’m even better, and I feel it.
Why is that?
Because you learn more. I think that hubris is dangerous. I think to think that you’re an expert at anything is a foolish pursuit. You’re never as good as you could be. There’s always room for improvement. There’s always room to get better. That doesn’t mean you have to listen to all the advice. Just not necessarily does everybody know best. But to believe that you can be better and to believe that you can offer more is a constant pursuit.
I used to think being a public speaker meant being poised and presenting in a way that was compelling and speaking at the right pace. And that’s a part of it, but I have been taking more risks lately doing things that are very unstructured and very uncomfortable. And I will now do, like if I have an hour to speak, I’d rather speak for 20 minutes and do 40 minutes worth of questions.
And who knows how that’s going to go? And that, to me, is the best. So I’m a better speaker because now I’m way more open to the unknown, where a few years ago, that would’ve scared me.
RULE #7: HAVE BALANCE
Dopamine is the feeling that you’ve found something you’re looking for, that you accomplished something you set out to accomplish. So you know that feeling you get when you cross something off your to do list? That’s dopamine. It feels awesome. When you have a goal to hit and you achieve that goal, you’re like, “Yes!” You feel like you won something, right? That’s dopamine.
The whole purpose of dopamine is to make sure that we get stuff done. The historical reason for dopamine, we would never eat if we only waited ’till we got hungry, because there’s no guarantee that we would find food. So dopamine exists to help us go looking for food. We get dopamine when we eat, which is one of the reasons we like eating.
And so when you see something that reminds you of something that feels good, we want to do the behavior that helps us get that feeling, right? So let’s say you’re out there going for a walk and you see an apple tree in the distance. You get a small hit of dopamine. And then what it does is it focuses us on our goals, and then we start walking towards the apple tree.
And as the apple tree starts to get a little bigger, we feel like we’re making progress, you get another little shot of dopamine and another little shot of dopamine until you get to the tree and you’re like, “Yes!” This is why we’re told you must write down your goals. Your goals must be tangible. There’s a biological reason for that. We’re very, very visually-oriented animals. You have to be able to see the goal for it to biologically stay focused. If you don’t write down your goals, if you can’t see your goals, it’s very hard to get motivated to get inspired.
For example, think about corporate visions. A corporate vision has to be something we can see. That’s why it’s called a vision. You can see it, right? To be the biggest, most respected, to be the fastest growing are not visions. They’re nothing, right? What does that even look like? Respected by whom, your mother? Yourself, your friends, your shareholders? Who knows? What’s the metric? Don’t know. It’s amorphous. It doesn’t motivate us. Just like I can’t tell you, “You’ll get a bonus if you achieve more.”
You’re going to ask me, “How much more?” I’m going to say, “More.” It doesn’t work. You need a tangible goal. You need a tangible goal, right? Here’s a great vision. Martin Luther King. “I have a dream that one day “little black children and little white children “play on the playground together and hold hands together.” We can imagine that.
We can set our sights on that. And every time we achieve a goal and achieve a metric and achieve a milestone that makes us feel like we’re making progress to the vision we can see, we keep going and going and going until we achieve something remarkable. You have to be able to see it. Dopamine. Like I said, dopamine is the feeling you get when you set out to find something you’re looking for, as well.
Talked about the to do list. I came home from a trip just a couple days ago and I had a bunch of errands to run, and I wrote down a little list of things I had to do and off I went. And as I was walking past, I think it was the dry cleaners, I don’t remember, I was walking past something, I remember, “Ooh, I have to do that,” and I hadn’t written it down on my to do list.
So I went in and finished what I needed to do, and then when I came out I then wrote it to on my to do list and then crossed it out. ‘Cause I wanted the dopamine. It feels good. Dopamine comes with a warning. Dopamine is highly, highly, highly addictive. Here are some other things that release dopamine. Alcohol, nicotine, gambling, your cell phone.
Oh, you think I’m joking? We’ve all been told that if you wake up in the morning and you crave a drink, you might be an alcoholic. Well, if you wake up in the morning and the first thing you do is check your phone before you even get out of bed, might be an addict. If you walk from room to room in your own apartment holding your telephone, you might be an addict.
When you’re driving in your car and you get a text and your phone goes beep, we hate email, true. We love the beep, the buzz, the ding. Right? You’ll be there in 10 minutes, and yet you have to look at it right now. You might be an addict. And even if you read it and it says, “Are you free for dinner next Thursday?” and you have to reply immediately, you can’t wait the 10 minutes, you might be an addict.
And for all you Gen Ys out there who like to think that you’re better at multitasking because you grew up with the technology, then why do you keep crashing your cars when you’re texting? You’re not better at multitasking. You’re better at getting distracted. In fact, if you look at the statistics, ADD and ADHD, diagnoses of ADD and ADHD have risen 66% in the past 10 years.
ADD and ADHD is a frontal lobe disorder. Are you telling me out of nowhere 66% of our youth have a frontal lobe problem? Where did that come from? No, it’s a misdiagnosis. What are the symptoms of a dopamine addiction to technology? Distractibility, inability to get things done, easily distracted, shortness of attention. It’s all the same thing.
So we misdiagnose things. It’s this. It’s the addictive quality of dopamine. We can also get addicted to performance in our companies when all they do is give us numbers to hit, numbers to hit, numbers to hit, and a bonus you get, and a bonus you get, and a bonus you get. All they’re doing is they’re feeding us with dopamine, and we can’t help ourselves.
All we do is want more, more, more. And it’s no surprise that the banks destroyed the economy, because one of the things we know about a dopamine addict is they will do anything to get another hit, sometimes at the sacrifice of their own resources and their own relationships. Ask any alcoholic, gambling addict, or drug addict.
Ask them how their relationships are doing and if they’ve squandered any of their resources. It’s an addiction. Dopamine is dangerous if it is unbalanced. It is hugely helpful when in a comfortable and balanced system, but when unbalanced, it’s dangerous and it’s destructive.
RULE #8: TURN FOLLOWERS INTO LEADERS
There’s a brilliant leader by the name of David Marquet who wrote a book called the Turn the Ship Around. And he had an experience as a submarine captain on the USS Santa Fe where he realized that, as he much as he knew about submarining, he’d been a submariner his whole career, that put on this new submarine, he learned the hard way that he actually didn’t know how the submarine worked.
He made an order that nobody knew how to do it because that didn’t exist on that sub. And so he realized he had no choice but to trust his people. And he went through this transformation as a leader of telling everybody what to do to allowing people to tell him what should be done. And I’ve learned a lot from him and I highly recommend his book.
And I’ve really learned that, which is at the top of the organization, as David says, the people have all the authority, the leaders have all the authority, but at the bottom, they have all the context. And so you can’t just push all the context up.
You have to push the authority down. And so the responsibility of leadership is to train people, make sure that they have the skillset, help build their confidence that they have the confidence to do what needs to be done, they have to have competence and confidence, and that’s your job. That’s the only job of the leader. It makes you like a parent.
Make sure they have competence and confidence. Make sure your kids get schooling and make sure that they believe in themselves, and then leave ’em. So I’ve done the same thing. Instead of showing people how I would do it, I want them to learn how it’s done and feel good about themselves, and then just however they do it is how they do it.
And the result is remarkable. People feel better about coming to work. They feel like they have something to contribute. They feel more valuable as opposed to just being told, “This is how I would do it,” or, “I’m going to do it this way,” or, “Do it my way.” So yeah. Completely changing my understanding of my job as more like a parent than a manager has had a remarkable impact.
RULE #9: SET UNREALISTIC GOALS
It’s easy to pull things back. It’s very hard to ramp things up. And I’d rather start with something that’s too big and pull it back into reality than start with something that’s so easy that you can’t really get it up.
For example, don’t set your goals realistically. Set them entirely unrealistically. Shoot for 80 and be disappointed when you hit 70 as opposed to shooting for 20 and being ecstatic when you hit 21. “We beat our goal!” Yeah, but it was a low goal. I think to be frustrated and achieving something rather than ecstatic and achieving less is a better way to live, not to mention you achieve more.
I’m a great believer in the greater good. Those things are so big they’re ridiculous. My goal is 100 year goal. It’s called world peace. So daunting. But that’s the idea. If I fail, and I certainly won’t achieve it in my lifetime, I’d like to think that what I’ll contribute towards that ridiculous, idealistic, nonsense goal will be more than if I say, “If I can just be happy by myself in my little house.” That’s nice and all, but I like the idea of contributing to your neighbor, as well.
RULE #10: TAKE ACTION
Man: You speak to businesses and companies and leadership teams and employees and stuff. Without mentioning names, I don’t want to put you on the spot, but have you gone and talked to a company that’s been in trouble and then spoken to their team and then checked in on them after you’ve spoken to their leadership team, and what did that look like? Did you notice a noticeable change? Did they come to you and tell you that, “This has helped our organization out “and our culture is much improved because of it?”
You mean does my work? I mean – sure. Here’s the problem with my stuff. You got to do it, and I’m not anybody’s like mom or dad. I’m not going to do it for you, and I have a very laissez-faire approach to it. I once had a client, this was a bunch of years ago, that said, “What guarantee do I have “that your stuff will work?” To which my answer was, “None.” I’ve given you a tool.
It’s like a hammer. You can use it broadly or narrowly. You can build a table. You can build a house. It’s the same tool. You can use it for marketing. You can use it to completely revitalize your entire culture. Even though I’m going to sell you the most beautiful hammer, I’m not going to guarantee the structural integrity of the house. Right? It’s your business.
You want to ignore all my stuff, ignore it. I don’t care. If your business collapses, you know what happens to me? Nothing. I don’t mean to be cold about it. Of course I want the people I work with to do well, but it’s not mine, it’s theirs, and I take no emotional responsibility for the decisions they make.
So yes, there are many people that I’ve had the pleasure of working with, some who worked for dysfunctional organizations, that went on the hard journey of completely changing the way they lead and completely revitalizing their culture, and it has great success. It’s not because of me. It’s because of them. At the same time, there are many who came and were like, “What an amazing speech,” and did nothing. “Thanks, that was great.”
And of course it’s going to fail. So I think that we have too much, especially in the consulting world or the design world, everybody is so paternalistic about it. And designers are famous for this. They get so personally offended when the client chooses the wrong thing. “God, they’re such idiots! “Don’t they know we’re trying to help them?” Or who cares? It’s their freaking business.
That’s what you find. I’ve had that. Instead of arguing with somebody for them to pick the right choice, ’cause we genuinely want to help them, what I have found is if you push the accountability down to them, ’cause when we argue, we’re taking accountability. “This is better. “This will help you.” We’re taking responsibility, accountability. But if we say, “Look. “We’ve been doing this a bunch of years. “We know more about design than you do. “I’m telling you, “for every reason that I can outline for you, “why this will help you more, “but if you don’t want to do it, that’s fine. “It’s your business. “Do what you want.” The minute you switch the accountability and put it all on them, amazingly, they’re much more open to your opinion. Because now they’re responsible.
Thank you guys so much for watching. I made this video because Anita asked me to. And if there’s someone you’d like me to profile in the next top 10, check out the link in the description and go and cast your vote.
I’d also love to know, what was your favorite message from this video? What did you learn from this video that you’re going to immediately apply somehow in your life or in you’re business? Please leave it down in the comments below. I’m really curious to find out.
I also want to give a quick shoutout to the YouTube channel Obtain Eudaimonia. Thank you so much for picking up a copy of my book, Your One Word, doing that animated review, and posting it to your channel. I really, really, really appreciate the support and I’m so glad that you enjoyed the book.
Narrator: His book explains the secret of how one word can transform you and your business.
So thank you guys again for watching. I believe in you. I hope you continue to believe in yourself and whatever your one word is. Much love. I’ll see you soon.
The greatest measure of human progress is working together. None of us can solve complex problems by ourselves. None of us can lift a heavy weight by ourselves. We can’t build big things by ourselves. But when we learn to cooperate and trust each other and share what we know with others, we work together and we can solve the most complex problems, build the most remarkable things, and lift he heaviest of weights. So definitely, cooperation and trust.
Ask for help
What I learned is that I don’t have to know all the answers, and if I don’t, I don’t have to pretend that I do. The opportunity to ask others for help and admit when we don’t know things and even admit when we make mistakes means that people will rush to our aid and will be there to help us. If we claim we know what the answer is, if we hide the mistakes we make, then people will think things are fine, and so they’ll leave us alone. And it’s not that people don’t want to help us. It’s that they don’t know when they can.
Have a purpose
I wake up every single morning with a very clear sense of purpose. It’s to inspire people to do what inspires them so together we can change our world. And I have a very clear vision of the world I want to live in. I would like to live in a world in which the vast majority of people wake up every single morning inspired to go to work, they feel safe when they’re there, and they come home at the end of the day fulfilled by the work that they do.
And I’ve committed all of my work, and it doesn’t matter what form it takes, whether it’s speaking or writing or teaching or advising or it doesn’t even matter what form it takes, in some way, shape, or form to help advance that vision and move closer and closer to it. My friends are my allies.
We’re part of an army that are trying to build this world together. That’s why I come to conferences like this. It gives me a bully pulpit to share that vision with the hope that some of the companies in the room will start to change the way they at least view what they’re doing and change the way they do things.
Because I’m just a preacher. That’s all I am. Unless companies actually affect the change, my vision will never come to life. So well I know that. So it’s going to take a lot of us, and we all play a different part. We all play pieces of a jigsaw puzzle out of which I am just one piece.
You might also like
More from Simon Sinek
Today, we're going to talk about how you can create a massive action plan. Good morning, believe nation. My name …