May 31

The Power of Why and Your Story


The Power of Why and Your Story

By Deborah Johnson

May 31, 2022

Cal Newport, podcast, Power of why, purpose, Simon Sinek, start with why, your story

Power of Why

Simon Sinek wrote the popular book Start With Why which has been widely received and welcomed and the power of why should not be ignored. When embarking on a career, your what may be to make a living. To survive in today’s world, that is usually a necessary element of a person’s life. The power of why is something that grows, inspires and even drives creativity. It’s usually based upon an event or an element of life that is already in motion.

In Cal Newport’s book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You, he makes the case that passion grows with experience and expertise. If you decide to move to a foreign country and feed the hungry, that is a noble idea. However, do you know the language? How will you work to support yourself in a way to raise funds to pay for the food? What experience do you have to sustain this idea?

Your experience and expertise are a valuable element to your story and contributes to how your purpose unfolds. Here we will explore some of the common steps in discovering and expanding on our purpose and how our why morphs throughout our life.

Women at Halftime by Deborah Johnson The Power of Why and Your Story 6-28-22
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Discover a Need

Upon graduation from high school or college, usually our first need is to get a job. I had declined several teaching positions after getting my degree, but then I wanted to purchase a new car, thus I needed a steady paycheck. I didn’t take my first teaching job to make a difference in the lives of middle-school kids. It was to pay off my car! That was actually an admirable purpose at the time, especially as paying off debt creates financial freedom for other areas of life.

There are different stages of need we all face in our lives and businesses and a need-based purpose for your own life is just as admirable as an outwardly-based purpose when you have more freedom to give to others. In fact, as you create more freedom in your own life, you will be able to be more creative in pursuing a dream or passion to be able to give more.

Start With What You Know

At some point most people figure out not only what they can do really well, but how they can do it a little bit different than everyone else. When this occurs, you become more than just a commodity. Uniqueness became a necessity for many businesses after experiencing a couple years of shutdowns. There were those that went back to what they knew would work because they needed to make a living. This was especially true for some entrepreneurs.

This is where the question how comes in. How are you different and what can you do to break through? We saw many of our favorite restaurants survive because they changed how they delivered food. Their what was the same with the recipes we loved. Uber and Lyft started delivering food when people were sequestered in their homes. In fact Uber generated more revenue from food delivery than from its ride hailing platform in 2021 with Uber Eats at 45% of total revenues. Their mobility revenue had declined 68% in the second quarter of 2020 and focusing on food delivery paid off.

The entrepreneurial journey is one that can get stuck in the gig economy. When the gigs suddenly stopped, going back to the basics of what we knew generated income and became a necessity for many. The how may change, but that may also lead to a deeper and stronger why. Uber Eats was fulfilling a need, and they did it with their independent drivers by expanding their services.

Your Why Happens While Moving

When embarking on my performing career, I was always told that it’s easier for an agent to book an artist that was already moving. It was a good reminder that momentum builds upon momentum. But to create momentum, you need to start. It’s why I opened up the Learn Music Again Facebook group. It’s an easy ramp for those who want to get back to their piano to start playing again. The principle was to get people moving. On my end, an online group is an easy way to build connections and trust for those who would benefit from my sheet music and online courses, even though it’s not presently the main emphasis of my business. But with a huge background in music, it’s something I can offer. It becomes a part of my story, and what makes me unique.

Bank on Your Skills-Deborah Johnson

As you look at the story of your life, evaluate your skills and experience along with where you’ve been. That will at the very least help define your uniqueness. There is no single way of doing life or business, even though it looks like there should be from those we see on social media touting their influence. When my husband Greg started his financial business, he focused first on selling insurance as he was good at sales. This was to basically to put food on the table. He then branched out and discovered he was really good at asking questions and building trust. Thus, his clientele increased as he successfully found products that suited those clients and they prospered.

Use Your Story

Your why may become clearer as you are actively working and doing life. It also applies to other areas, not just a career. We are drawn to products that have a story. Jessica Alba co-founded The Honest Company because she wanted hypoallergenic and non-toxic products safe for her own children. She was dissatisfied with products already on the market after the birth of her first child. Her personal story built trust and the products are now used world-wide.

Tsarina the Musical is based on a fascinating story of a ruler totally unprepared to lead, falling in love with a princess from what ended up being Russia’s opponent in war. It takes place during the historical time of the last Tsar of Imperialistic Russia. This is a story I felt needed to be told, though in a fictionally-enhanced based musical. However, the reason for putting together a brief historical course to accompany the musical will help actors and directors understand the depth of the characters and the true conflict of the era. That purpose or why the course was important drove the creation of that product.

Your Deeper Messaging

The deeper messaging of the focus of my business came about while I was already speaking and helping others get unstuck. Uncovering the reasons behind my getting stuck helped to create a stronger transformational message. It’s a good reminder for you to not to discount your story but to continue to explore the power of why as you are driven to a particular area. You are unique and as you are moving, you will uncover a deeper message and even develop your passion as you are doing life. For further exploration, see What is a Roundabout?

Your experience and expertise are valuable elements to your story and contributes to how your purpose unfolds.

deborah johnson

Thought Leader, Keynote Speaker, Author

If you are interested in growing and learning, check out our online courses here: Online Learning

1,169 words

Deborah Johnson

About the author

DEBORAH JOHNSON, M.A., creator of Hero Mountain® and former president of Los Angeles National Speakers Association, is an international award-winning music artist, author, speaker and National Media Commentator. She also hosts the popular podcast "Women at Halftime." Deborah provides tools to create your ideal lifestyle and work at mid-career or during the halftime of life, getting unstuck. You can live your second half fulfilled, focused and free! Up for multiple GRAMMY Awards and spending over 20 years in the entertainment industry, she's an expert on how to constantly reinvent yourself in a gig-economy. She is also the recipient of the Women's Economic Forum Exceptional Women of Excellence Award. Deborah is the author of multiple books, over twenty albums and musicals and speaks and performs in both live and virtual events.

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