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Hello, I’m Melahni Ake, founder of Everyday Leaders Professional Leadership Coaching and Consulting, and a Guest Contributor with Tomato Fish Marketing. Welcome to the second installment on our three-part blog series, Start with WHY.

In an earlier blog I began by asking the question, “Do you believe you are successful today?” I followed this up with a discussion about how we are all naturally programmed to reflect on this question. We often base our definition of success and our answer to this question on what we believe “others” want us to say. Because humans are community-oriented, we tend to gauge our accomplishments on the framework of our society. We have been trained to believe that our WHY is motivated by our choices and ultimately a responsibility we must take on.

EX: I asked my girlfriend, Mary, who just had a baby what her WHY is. She said, “My WHY is my new baby boy, to learn how to be a great parent, and to love my child so that he can have everything in life that I was never able to have.”

EX: I asked Sam, my bank President, what his WHY is. He said, “My WHY is to build wealth for my family, my customers and my community.”

EX: I asked my friend Jodi, owner of Hoosier Photo Organizer what her WHY is and she responded, “My WHY is to help people save their memories for future generations.”

Do any of these answers sound like what you would expect each of them to say?
Would you have answered this question in a similar way? What would you say?

What if I told you that while all of these are great responses, Mary, Sam and Jodi’s answers are all motivated by their personal sense of accountability? Their answers ultimately believe what they want to deliver to the world based on the specific “responsibilities” and choices they’ve made for themselves.

If Mary, Sam or Jodi were to truly experience the process of discovering and communicating their WHY (their calling or their purpose) they would ultimately LIVE their WHY and ultimately make a greater impact using their WHY, everyday.

If Mary, Sam and Jodi had a clearer process for discovering their WHY and its operating system, it would allow them to better communicate their gifts with all of their relationships, clients, and furthermore, their community. You see, the secret to your success doesn’t have anything to do with your marital status, career choice, level of education or your financial stability. It has everything to do with discovering your WHY, understanding how to communicate your WHY and how to live your WHY, everyday, to make a bigger impact in your life.

Often, we live the day-to-day without having or truly understanding our purpose or the value we deliver in the world. As kids we are told something along the lines of, “Follow your passion and your passion will unlock the keys to your financial independence and this will provide the pathway to success…” How many times have you also seen people in their 50’s, 60’s and 70’s still struggling to connect their passion or purpose to unlock the code to their true potential? They are still looking for the billboard that will map out the steps for success. My mentor, John Maxwell, always reminds me about the Law of Diminishing Returns, which says, the longer we wait to do something, the more likely we are not to do it.

Understanding your WHY is the essential first step towards providing clarity, individuality, and ultimately, the first step towards making a bigger impact in your life. With the help of Simon Sinek, WHY Institute founder, Gary Sanchez , created a predictable, 5-minute assessment process for anyone who wants to discover their WHY. What they discovered is that there are 9 WHY’s and everyone has ONE.

So are you ready to learn more about the 9 WHY’s?

Here are the Strengths for Each of the 9 WHYs:

1. CONTRIBUTE: To Contribute to a Greater Cause, Make a Difference, Add Value or Have an Impact

Characteristics. Individuals with this WHY yearn to be a part of a greater cause, something greater than themselves. You do not want to be the cause, rather to con- tribute to it in a meaningful way. You want to make a difference in the lives of others, in an organization or a cause that you believe in. You love to support others and relish the success of the greater good, the company’s growth and the victory of the team. People with this WHY seek to add value in all that they do, to do their part and to help in whatever way possible. You are often behind the scenes looking for ways to make the world better, and when you show up in a more public forum, it’s often to trumpet a message or sup- port a movement. People with this WHY are go-to people, the ones you look for when you need help with just about anything. You make reliable and committed teammates and are often found in all areas of athletics, performing arts and cause-based non-prof- its. Virtually every organization must have contributors in order to operate successfully. They act as the glue that holds everyone else together. They use their time, energy, resources and connections to add value to others.

Do you believe you have the WHY to Contribute?

2. TRUST: To Create Relationships Based on Trust

Characteristics. If you have this WHY, trust means everything to you. You believe that trust is the driving characteristic behind all that you stand for and you will work hard to create it. When the relationship is based upon trust, the sky’s the limit for you. You will go to great lengths to demonstrate that you are trustworthy and do such things as becoming an expert in a given field or with respect to a particular subject so that you can demonstrate your expertise and thereby establish that you can be trusted. You will look to do things properly and correctly because that is what a trusted person would do. You want others to know that you can be counted on and will go the extra mile to demonstrate that with your actions, your words and your deeds. Many people with your WHY enjoy numbers, because numbers don’t lie, and endeavors such as gardening or sculpture that are predictable. While people with other WHYs may get annoyed by a violation of their trust, to you it’s like a knife in the gut (again, the feeling of “life and death”). Like those individuals whose WHY is to contribute, you have a very noble WHY and work hard to be known as an individual who can be counted on. You build loyal and lasting friendships and relationships

Do you believe you have the WHY of Trust?

3. MAKE SENSE: To Make Sense Out of Things

Characteristics. If this is your WHY, you are driven to solve problems and resolve challenging or complex situations. You have an uncanny ability to take in lots of data and information, observe situations and circumstances around you and sort through them to create order. You consider factors, problems and concepts and organize them into solutions that are sensible and easy to implement. It’s not even that you enjoy problem-solving necessarily— you simply can’t help yourself. This is the lens through which you view the world. Interestingly, it’s not necessary for you to share your solutions on a continuous basis. It is sufficient that you, yourself, have solved the problem or resolved the complexity of the situation. Often, you are viewed as an expert because of your unique ability to find solutions quickly. You also have a gift for articulating a solution and summarizing it clearly in understandable language for your own benefit and the benefit of others. You believe that many people are stuck and that if they could make sense out of their situation, they could find a simple solution and move forward. You help them understand and see their way through.

Do you believe you have the WHY of Make Sense?

4. BETTER WAY: To Find a Better Way and Share it

Characteristics. You are the ultimate innovator. You constantly seek better ways to do everything from the most mundane task of brushing your teeth to improving the rocket fuel that powers the space shuttle. You can’t stop yourself. You take virtually anything and want to improve it and share your improvement with the world. You invent things and take what has already been invented and make that better, too. You constantly ask yourself the questions: “What if we tried this differently? What if we did it this another way?” You contribute to the world with better processes, better systems and operate under the motto, “Often pleased, never satisfied.” You are excellent at associating and taking from one industry or discipline and applying it to another always with the aim of improving something. You generally operate with a high level of energy because after all, that too, is a better way.

Do you believe you have the WHY of Better Way?

5. RIGHT WAY: To Do Things the Right Way

Characteristics.If you have this WHY, you believe that there is a proper and correct way to do things and that things should be done right. There is no point skimping on details or cutting corners. To achieve success you must follow procedures and systems that have been developed and shown to work over time and adjusted and corrected on numerous occasions to produce the right outcome. You know that if you create structures and processes that work, the right results will follow. You believe in clarity, simplicity and operations that run smoothly because they have been tested. You generally show up on time because that’s the right thing to do and appreciate it when others respect a set schedule. You embrace order and instill this ideology in all facets of your life, including both personal and business. . You recognize that different departments in a business have different needs — yet, there is always a “right way” to get things done even if it’s not your way, and you believe a necessary part of true leadership is to bring that mindset out in others.

Do you believe you have the WHY of the Right Way?

6. CHALLENGE: To Think Different and Challenge the Status Quo

Characteristics. If this is your WHY, then you live outside the box. You do not believe in the norm or following rules or drawing inside the lines. It’s far more natural for you to rebel against the stereotypical or classical way of doing things. You aggressively seek unique ways of approaching the world and finding solutions that no one else has considered. You like to create and innovate, especially in “game-changing” ways. You have eccentric friends and eclectic tastes and a large variety of both. You may have diverse interests with little in common with each other. As an entrepreneur, you prefer to create a new market versus serving an existing market. You love to be different, think differently and challenge virtually anyone or anything that is too conventional. People with your WHY often accomplish amazing feats. When you say you want to change the world, you actually mean it. Pushing the envelope comes naturally to you.

Do you believe you have the WHY of Challenge?

7. MASTERY: To Seek Mastery

Characteristics. People with your WHY have an insatiable thirst for knowledge. You seek information over a broad variety of topics and never at superficial level. You will often pick a specific subject and begin to learn it for the sheer joy and curiosity of knowing something new. You gather and retain substantial knowledge in multiple areas, many of them seemingly unrelated. You are typically viewed as an “expert” in numerous disciplines by others although you, yourself, will insist that you have yet to truly master anything. You find pure enjoyment in the sheer act of immersing yourself in something new. You are fearless when it comes to new subjects or ideas, yet cautious with the expression of your thoughts. Everything deserves to be fully thought-out and examined from multiple perspectives. You love to peel back the layers of the onion and go deeper, unearth the nuances and subtle differences in a given subject. Many around you have deep respect for you as a mega-brain.

Do you believe you have the WHY of Mastery?

8. CLARITY: To Create Clarity

Characteristics.People with your WHY are masters in communication. You seek to be fully understood at all times. It is important for you to know that people “get” what you are saying and you generally employ numerous methods to express a given point. You will use analogies and metaphors to share your views in interesting and unique manners. Individuals that share your WHY often suffered in a dysfunctional communication environment during their upbringing and now seek to make up for that with extraordinary clarity, both spoken and written. You feel successful when you know with confidence that your message has been fully understood and received and have a tremendous command over language—generally superior to most others.

Do you believe you have the WHY of Clarify?

9. SIMPLIFY: To Simplify

Characteristics. If this is your WHY, then you are one of the fabulous people that make everyone else’s life better. You have the unique gift of reducing the number of steps required for almost any task. If most of us believe that a procedure requires eight sequential actions, you see how to do it in six. You constantly look for ways of simplify- ing—from recipes to business systems to how you organize your garage. You feel successful when you eliminate complexity and remove unnecessary elements in a process. You streamline things for the benefit of all and break things down into their simplest form. You operate from a perspective that the world is a better place when kept simple and as a result, constantly find ways to help the rest of us improve efficiencies, save time and reduce aggravation.

Do you believe you have the WHY of Simplify?

I hope that you are gaining a little more insight into the power of your WHY and the reason this is the essential first step towards owning your natural gifts. Fully living your WHY will not only help you meet your life’s potential, but help you make a bigger impact on the world!

Next month’s installment in this series, Live Your WHY will help you to understand the specific challenges for each of the 9 WHYs and, how to overcome them, for everyday success. You will also learn about the owner of Hoosier Photo Organizer, Jodi Bondy, as well as my own WHY Daily Operating System and how this has impacted our ability to serve our clients in a bigger way.

Take Your WHY Assessment and Discover Your WHY today, use this link and apply the code BLOG to receive 50% off through September 2021.

In 2016, I was experiencing a lack of clarity myself. I was successful in my career, yet unfulfilled in my life and looking back now I can say, 100% of this was because I had not yet discovered my WHY. This is the year I joined the John Maxwell Team as a Leadership Coach, Speaker and Trainer. I was passionate about the development of others around me and I knew that in order to add value to my teams and customers I needed to invest in my own personal development. In 2020 I joined the WHY Institute which helped me gain clarity around my purpose and guided me towards better avenues to help myself and my clients make a bigger impact on the world. Take the WHY Team Leadership Challenge and Live Your WHY as an Everyday Leader — find out more about one and two-day workshops for corporations, entrepreneurs, nonprofits and even family retreats!

Excited to learn more… check out these resources:

  1. Everyday Leaders 50in50 Podcast:
  2. Everyday Leaders Melahni Ake You Tube Page
  4. Start with WHY WORKSHOP


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