On a long flight last week I rewatched the one-and-only Kevin Starr’s online workshop on “Design for Impact at Scale” (which is part of the insane – and free – curriculum of the Fitzroy Academy). Which reminded me of being in Boulder, Colorado, mentoring startups at Unchartered (née Unreasonable Institute) alongside Kevin and experience him asking, again and again, one of the most powerful questions you can ask any founder:
“Why are you doing what you are doing?”
Typically not satisfied with the first answer he got, he kept probing: “No really, why are you doing what you are doing?” Ask this question a couple of times, and you get to the real reasons why a person chose to embark on their journey.
Once you understand deeply what drives you, it becomes a beacon; guiding you and your company toward the future, you seek to create.
It is remarkable how many people I find who cannot answer this question satisfactorily. Many of us have a story we like to tell – to others and ourselves. Moreover, all too often it is the “Disney” version of our story. Squeaky clean and tailored toward an audience.
Become brutally clear about your motivations; don’t BS yourself and connect why you are on your journey. And fear not – if you are into this game to “just” make money (when seemingly everybody else is in it to “change the world”), it is perfectly fine. Don’t judge yourself. However, do become clear about your motivations and drivers – and design your life around it.