Do You Know Your Why?

“Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life?

Or do you want to work with me and put a dent in the universe?”

Those are the words by late Apple CEO, Steve Jobs when he went out to recruit then Pepsi Co. president John Sculley to work with him at Apple.

And what a powerful question it is!

How many of us have ever truly taken the time to ponder why we do what we do, or want to do before we do it?

Know Your Why – Sir Ernest Shackleton

I came across the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton a few months ago from an audio CD by Orrin Woodward, founder of LIFE Leadership.

I then did some research online and read Earnest Shackleton’s ad a few times…

And I’m like (chuckles) “HOW did he get anybody to agree to this…?”

According to WGBH

Already a celebrated polar explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton coordinated the British Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition with the goal of accomplishing the first crossing of the Antarctic continent, a feat he considered to be the last great polar journey of the “Heroic Age of Exploration.”

In December 1914, Shackleton set sail with his 27-man crew, many of whom, it is said, had responded to the following recruitment notice: “Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages. Bitter cold. Long months of complete darkness. Constant danger. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success. —Ernest Shackleton.”

Now THAT is one heck of a recruiting notice…

Talking about KNOWING THEIR WHY.

I could just imagine 27-men stuck up their hands, yelling and screaming –

“Wooohoooo…. Sign me up!”

What Ernest Shackleton was recruiting for was crystal clear, and honour and recognition were obviously the payoffs that 27-man crew were looking for.

This story serves as a such a powerful lesson for all of us as to why we do what we do.

In the world of entrepreneurship, much focus has been placed on creating results… particularly financial results. However, too many people put all their mental and emotional energy on getting to that result and neglected to think about what’s going to truly give them to fuel to keep running toward the goal once they run into obstacles.

Making money is the result, but it is not the REASON for starting a business.

And these people often times condemn, complain and criticize their circumstances, the business opportunity their investing into, the lack of support, etc.

They are missing the point.

Over the years, I’ve seen many people who focus solely on making money that eventually fell for anything.

If you are in business, you must know why you are doing it.

And when you know why, your men, your women, your organization will buy into your authenticity.

And you  will go out and do something great in an age of mediocrity.