As children, one of our favourite questions was why. We were curious, we were interested and we were trying to make sense of the world around us. We learnt very quickly that in order to understand, we needed to ask why.
As we grow older, we grow wiser and so we forget to ask that simple why question. We simply accept that things just are the way they are.
When it comes to careers, asking yourself why is the only way to drive your career in the direction you truly desire.
It is important to ask yourself - Why do I get out of bed and go to work every single day?
Last week I had the pleasure of seeing social entrepreneur Daniel Flynn talk about how he started his social enterprise Thankyou (recently rebranded from Thankyou Water). His energy, passion and authenticity inspired every single person in that room who left feeling charged and ready to seize the day. Daniel shared his why, his vision and his purpose. He encouraged all of us to think about our own why; the reasons that motivate us to do what we do.
If you are clear on your why then you are clear on your message. If you are clear on your message then people will follow in your journey.
Daniel has a clear why. In 2008, he learned more about the world water crisis and the fact that 900 million people in our world don’t have access to safe drinking water. Of course he already knew that there were people in this world without access to water. But it was in that moment that he decided to make a commitment to the cause. With persistence and dedication, his social enterprise was born.
Thankyou is a consumer movement that exists to empower the everyday Australian to change the world through a simple choice to buy his brand of bottled water. The sole purpose of Thankyou is to fund safe water projects in developing nations. After five years, Thankyou has funded 100 projects in over eight different countries, to assist over 56,000 people with safe water solutions.
Daniel’s why is also the foundation from which his formidable Thankyou team has been built. And most importantly, Thankyou continues to grow at an exponential rate, reaching out to consumers who want to share in Daniel’s why and join the Thankyou cause..
“I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy, I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.” – Art Williams.
Daniel’s journey to launch and build Thankyou has been long, stressful, disappointing, exhausting, difficult and risky. Faced with over $250,000 of start-up expenses (and less than $1000 in his pocket), he was constantly told that he was trying to achieve the impossible.
How can anyone withstand these pressures if they don’t have a driving purpose that will foster resilience and an insatiable desire to continue when it’s all just too hard? Daniel told us about so many moments when he just wanted to give up. What do you do when your first product launch is a product recall? (Relaunch of course) What if you are faced with competitors with millions of dollars to spare and sophisticated marketing teams? (It’s obvious – convince two helicopter teams to fly over your clients’ head offices with your banner in tow). How do you convince the powerful Buyers at Coles and Woolworths to stock your product? (Naturally, you launch a national social media campaign on YouTube to create social pressure). The obstacles were high but somehow, Daniel rose higher. With a clear vision and purpose, he had the resilience to keep going. Without his why, it is likely Daniel would have given up. Doing what you truly love is going to be hard but if you know your why then you know it will be worth it.
If you have a clear why then anything is possible
Daniel does not believe in impossibility. In fact he has a strong belief that impossibility is only someone’s opinion, not a fact. He is passionate about inspiring others to dream big and do what many believe is impossible. His ways of communicating his message and creating social pressure to encourage large corporations to collaborate are unconventional and (some would say) risky – but taking risks paid off. You can get a view of one of ThankYou’s social media campaign in this video and you can’t help but smile to yourself. If you have a clear why, then anything is possible.
Most importantly, knowing your why is the difference between feeling alive and merely surviving day to day.
Want to learn more about how building your personal brand, discovering your ‘why’ and connecting with others can boost your career? Join us for our Personal Branding Masterclass at the Australian Institute of Management on 12 September here in Melbourne. Enrolment is limited and spaces are filling fast so don’t miss your chance to take your career to the next level!