If I meet anyone – then, right there, right then, right after we exchange names and shake hands, an exchange of questions unfolds: “Hi Mark, what do you do?” and “Hi _____, please tell me what you do?”
Common courtesy, one of those first things we do when meeting people socially. Meeting people in a business context is a variation – because we usually know identities before we greet (i.e., salesman meets customer, doctor meets patient, customer meets clerk) but those greetings rarely go beyond superficially inane time consuming small talk. Hopefully some rapport building …
After greetings – discussing ‘what’ we do, or ‘what’ the transaction, problem or service might be, we describe out ‘what’ – as in what it is we do, how much we know about that and make our case for buying that ‘what’ from me, or following the ‘what’ of advice given, pitching someone on buying that ‘what’ being offered.
But where is the why?
When we ask people why they do things – they tend to start off explaining the ‘how’ they got doing what they do, and move into the ‘how’ they do what they do. These are often fascinating discussions and highly educational for both parties in the conversation, but almost always never explain the ‘why?’
What is your why?
Not your what. Don’t tell me what. Don’t tell me how – though I’ll bet I’ll be fascinated to know and I’ll listen intently – but first, tell me why?
This takes thinking. Don’t answer right away – and no need to answer me and there is no requirement to answer the next time some stranger, or friend, or family member asks you ‘why?’, but for your own understanding, answer that question to yourself. By yourself. For yourself.
It’s not the ultimate ‘search for meaning’, but if we are ever to have a chance of solving that riddle that has perplexed mankind since our beginning, we should start with why.
PLAN ON WORKING OVERTIME Great column today Mark. I view it like I'd played 9 holes at 50. I'm now in the 12th fairway, even par, KO, Calgary, AB
END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT The only "world as we know it" exists in the experience we call now. Even the "world we knew" a few seconds ago only exists in our (faulty) memories. The world ends and begins with every fleeting moment, BT, Calgary, AB