Tonight after a nice dinner al fresco (I hear that means eating outside), my girlfriend asked me to take her for a drive around a few nice neighborhoods to soak up every last minute of the weekend.
During our drive, we (and when I say “we” I mean she) made chit chat about our dream houses, how we’d raise our kids, the art scene in town and her newest thing… Asking me for my “WHY.”
The night before, I had given her a book I had read years ago by Simon Sinek called “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” to read when she couldn’t sleep. So, really, I did it to myself.
If you don’t remember who exactly Sinek is, he’s the guy whose inspirational TED Talk has been watched by more than 28 million people and is the third most popular TED video of all time. He represents a movement to help people find inspiration in their career and, like a virus, spread that inspiration to all of their coworkers, colleagues and customers.
The book opens with fundamental questions: Why exactly is one person more influential than another? Why precisely is one organization more profitable than others? How do some create better loyalty than others? The answer resonated worldwide. His answer to these questions lies in one thing, and that thing is to start with understand the WHY behind any given product, service or idea before trying to discover the WHAT or HOW.
I had handed the book to my girlfriend because I thought she might have a few takeaways for her charity work as well as a startup idea she’s been tossing around. She blew through the book in a matter of hours and decided it was her new quest in life to discover all of my “WHYs.”
Q1: What’s your WHY for the National Guard?
A1: There’s a couple of things. I enjoy the responsibility making executive level decisions and the leadership opportunities the Guard brings. Plus I really enjoy being a part of a group.
Q2: What’s your WHY for working in finance at TrueNorth (Wealth Management)?
A2: Even though I didn’t come from a home that was money savvy, personal finance came naturally to me in school. I realized financial planning was something I enjoyed and was passionate about. When I was offered a position at TrueNorth, I was excited to work next to industry leaders who could teach me. I took the job because I knew I would continue to learn.
Q3: What’s your WHY for starting CoreTegic Capital?
A3: I feel like our generation is being left behind when it comes to financial planning and I got tired of telling people in my generation that it’s cost prohibitive for me to help them out. They had the courage to come to me and ask for help and I got tired of telling them they didn’t fit our program yet because they didn’t have a net worth of a million dollars or more. I wanted to work with them, but I couldn’t. And I’m just not okay with that. So I decided to change it and start helping people our age out.
My girlfriend got quiet and I thought the conversation was over. And then she hit me with the grand finale…
Q4: What’s your WHY for me?
I’ll leave that response for your imagination. I will tell you, however, that I made it through my response alive and was able to say something sweet enough to keep her content (it was something about her cute nose).
All in all, it was a relaxful night out before we rolled into Monday. But our exchange got me thinking… Upon reading that book, my girlfriend had been inspired to identify all of the WHYs in her life and mine. It’s something we all could do every once in awhile to check in to make sure we are on the right path.
WHY do you want a financial plan? WHY are you saving? WHY do you want to plan for the future?
And, more importantly, WHY AREN’T you starting now?