Why do you do what you do?

Think deeply on this question for a moment.

Every worker and every business will have a nuanced approach to why they do the work they do. A purpose, reason for being, objective– all are part of your WHY. 

When people have a similar WHY, they can come together to effectively create and pursue a vision for the future, otherwise known as a Just Cause, a term coined by leadership expert Simon Sinek.  

Sinek believes business is an infinite game that isn’t about winning, but rather, withstanding. In order to be successful in business, we need leaders who have adopted an infinite mindset, which begins by advancing a Just Cause. 

Your WHY and your Just Cause can be mistakenly confused or used interchangeably. While both pertain to your goals and motives, they each embody different sets of ideals. Knowing the difference and being able to identify each of yours separately is necessary in order to stay in the infinite game. Below is a breakdown of some of the key differences between a WHY and a Just Cause

Your WHY

Determining your WHY requires an examination of your past and how you’ve been shaped by it. Everything that you have experienced, learned, and valued throughout your life has determined who you are as a person. According to Sinek, your WHY is your origin story and is the sum total of who you are. Once determined, your WHY is clear, objective, and constant in your life. Your WHY is your sense of self. 

You can express your WHY through your work, but your work is not your WHY. Your profession cannot be equated to who you are as a person. While assigning your entire purpose to your work may make you seem successful, it could challenge your mental health and well-being. 

Living in sync with your WHY feels like balance and flow. Happiness, joy, and confidence all come when your life aligns with your WHY, while stress and anxiety surface when you fall out of sync. 

Your Just Cause 

While a WHY comes from the past, a Just Cause is a vision for the future. Unlike a WHY that is objective, a Just Cause is subjective and can change. You can have multiple Just Causes for different aspects of your life. A Just Cause, unlike achievable goals, will never be fully attained. Sinek states, “The vision is about where you’re going, and it’s an ideal. You’ll never actually get there, but you’ll die trying, which is the point.” Your Just Cause is simply your WHY projected into the future. 

A business needs a Just Cause in order to have the loyalty and motivation of its workers. While not everyone is a visionary, you can latch onto others’ visions that you connect with. The forward-looking statement, or Just Cause, must be emotional and have a higher purpose so that people feel so connected to it that they’re willing to self-sacrifice to advance it. Businesses with a Just Cause should want to hire workers whose WHY will help support the business’s vision. 

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Understanding your WHY and determining your Just Cause is important not only for the benefit of connecting with yourself and your goals, but also so that you can be a part of something larger than your individual self. Having a strong connection with your WHY and Just Cause can help you better connect with other individuals and businesses who have the same values, and together you can work towards an idealized vision. 

For personalized guidance on how to create and pursue a vision, contact Knowted or schedule a consultation

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