Knowing Your “Why”


It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of Simon Sinek, and in particular his epic “Start With Why” TED talk. Long before stumbling upon him and his content, I came to learn a big life lesson about starting with “why”, and how it’s directly linked to entrepreneurship, innovation and adaptation.

Anybody who knows me today, knows that I’m all about promoting and exposing the real face of Israel to the world, and about the future of my people – the Jewish people. Almost everything I do is linked to this “why”. Ask me what am I going to do 15 years from now, and how – I don’t know. But, it will probably have something to do with this “why” of mine. I am in love with this “why”.

However, in the beginning, that’s not how I thought about it. Ask me 10 years ago, and I would tell you I wanted to become an ambassador, a diplomat. That’s what I saw in front of me. I wanted to represent, promote and “sell” Israel, and I wanted it to be written on my business card. Everything I did back then, which is today part of my own business, was for me simply a practice, before becoming an ambassador.

After failing twice to get into cadet course and become an ambassador, I had a pretty big career crisis. I kind-of lost my professional way.

But then, something interesting happened.

I separated the “what” and “how” from the “why”, and focused on my “why”. Becoming an ambassador was a mere “what”, or “how”. Not a “why”. And once I focused on my “why” – I found other ways to pursue my passion and execute. I allowed for the “what” and the “how” to change, in a pragmatic way. That’s where my innovation and entrepreneurship sources stem from. That’s when, and how, my business was born.

I came to learn some lessons from this. Here are some of them:

  1. For long-term success, you must know your “why”.
  2. Separate your “why” from the “what” and the “how”. It will allow them to change as needed. That’s where innovation emerges from.
  3. What’s true for businesses and brands is also true for individuals, for we are all business units in the on-demand economy of today’s world of work.
  4. When you’re focused on your “why”, you realize that this is not a sprint, but a marathon.
  5. So, obviously, you become patient.
  6. This affects the way you behave and do business – the “how”, just like so many great thought leaders say, such as Gary Vaynerchuk.
  7. As you focus on your “why” and communicate it to the world, suddenly you start forming a community around you. You allow others who share this “why” to discover you.
  8. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, freelancer, or employee – this changes the way you perceive your career. Which is, of course, not just a random set of jobs, but a story you write throughout your entire life.
  9. This then changes the way you interact with your boss, your team members, colleagues, customers, partners, etc.
  10. And that change increases your chances for long-term success. You become a mission-driven individual.

In upcoming posts, I’ll share some actual examples for how this played out for me, throughout my journey.

“When you know your Why, you can allow the What and the How to Change.” Assaf Luxembourg’s TelAvivTalk: Succeeding in Your Workplace in the New World of Work

About the Author
Assaf is passionate about promoting business in and with Israel, helping and mentoring entrepreneurs, advising young professionals with career planning and self-fulfillment, and more. Assaf acts as a brand ambassador of Israel as 'Start-Up Nation', speaking to thousands of businessmen, investors, entrepreneurs, young professionals, students and others, both in Israel and around the world. Assaf also works as a business development and marketing consultant to Israeli start-ups and others.
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