I recently watched an insightful TED Talk video called Start With Why, which challenges leaders to find their unique Why statement—the purpose, cause or belief that inspires them to do what they do. The video left me reflecting on my particular journey through my career.
I started working at New Benefits as a mere 19-year-old. I was a starry-eyed young adult with little experience but plenty of ambition. It wasn’t long before I crossed paths with New Benefits’ President, Terry Ray. She quickly took me under her wing, providing a wealth of business knowledge and advice, and became one of my dearest and most-respected friends and my mentor. She saw something in me I couldn’t yet see myself—my Why—and it wasn’t until much later I realized how fortunate I was for such a rare opportunity.
Terry believed in me and helped me define my purpose. And as the years have passed and my experience has grown, my Why has also evolved. And it turns out, unlike many who have a full-time job, for me it was never about the money. Of course I need money, but I don’t work for money.
In every interview I conduct, I always get asked the same question, “Why do you like working here?” My answer is simple: the people. I believe in our CEO. I believe in the company. And, conversely, they believe in me.
My Why is further reinforced when I get to witness the “lightbulb” moment of a new hire, when their training finally clicks. When a former bartender without business experience embraces the challenges presented to him (as painful as they may be) and flourishes wearing numerous hats in the organization. When a team unifies to support a colleague or department in need of help; not because they have to, because they want to.
My Why is part of who I am both at work and at home and drives me in every aspect of my life. Today, I lead and motivate others to succeed, hoping that they, too, will discover their own Why.
As a leader or an individual contributor, I challenge you to find your Why. Start by asking yourself these questions:
- Why do I get up in the morning?
- Why should I care?
- Why am I here?
At the end of the day, if you don’t have a sense of purpose, what’s the point? Inspired individuals know why they do what they do is more important than what they do and how they do it. (Pause) Reread the previous sentence again and let it sink in. Believing in what you do and why you do it is the backbone of your own success.
Stay tuned later this week to learn more about my Why. (Specifically, why I’m mad about mentors.)
– Dulce Bozeman, EVP
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