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Start With Why
Simon Sinek wrote the book "Start with Why." It discusses businesses and advertising and how the proper use of "the Golden Circle" makes all the difference. If you can learn the same strategy and apply it in your daily tasks and goals, you too can see incredible differences in your achievements. We often work from the outside in: WHAT do I want to happen? Then we decide: HOW can I make that happen? But we rarely spend time considering the most important question of all: WHY is any of this important to me? When if we Start with Why, we can let action grow out of passion. And that produces the most astounding and consistent results! To learn how to find your Why and see where that can go, check out today's Excel Still More episode.
Okay, so I'm super excited to share with you the "Start with Why" principle today. I'm almost apologetic that it's taken this long. It's episode 24 and we're just now going to talk about "Start with Why", a book written by a man named Simon Sinek. I highly recommend the book. The book is largely targeted toward businesses and business development, advertising and stuff like that, but I was like five pages into that book a couple of years ago when I recognized how valuable these principles are for myself and for how I decide what I'm going to do and how I'm going to do it and most importantly today, why I'm doing it at all. What's the motivation? I think you're going to find this really valuable. Maybe there is some benefit that we are this far into the series because by now you've probably done a lot of planning. Maybe you're writing things down in the morning, maybe you've made lists of things that you want to get better in.
Maybe you're going along with the fourfold excellence and you're writing down things about your faith or your fitness or friendships or finance, and you're really engaged in all of that. Well, there's a little secret sauce behind all of that. Something that goes on internally, something that you find within yourself that tends to drive all of that action and all of those rewards, and probably just calling it "Start with Why" is the easiest way for you to remember it. So here's the basic design. Simon talks about what he references as the golden circle. Now what I really want you to imagine today are three circles, a small one in the middle, and then a little larger one around that. And then an outside larger one. Almost like you're looking at a target for a bow and arrow or something. Right there in the middle is the word "Why" in the second circle is the word "How" and the outer circle is the word "What".
So "Why" in the middle then "How" then "What"? Now the argument that he makes, and I see the truth of this in my own life very, very clearly, is that we work typically from the outside in. Let me explain. Our first thing is what do we want? What is the outcome that we desire? What are the results that are important to us? So maybe in business somebody says, here's what I want. I want to have a successful business. I want to be financially independent. That's my goal. So then from there you move in on to the how, all right, how am I going to do that? Maybe you decide to go to college or research something. Maybe you invest money into some project. You are now doing something because you've identified what you want the outcome to be. Now there in the middle and sometimes overlooked is this little word "Why."
Why are you doing any of this? What is your motivation? What's driving you? What is fundamentally on fire inside of you that's causing you to do the thing to get the result? Now, typically people don't even think about that. They think, well, what do you mean? I mean, I don't need to talk about the why. I already told you I want to have a successful business and be financially independent. No, you told me what you want the outcome to be and it looks great. I want to know why are you interested in that and maybe they'll say, well, I guess I don't have a why yet, but since I know what I want and I now understand how to get it, then that passion, that burning, that real satisfaction within me is surely to come at the end. Well, sometimes it does. Sometimes it doesn't.
Sometimes even though you know what you want and how to get it, it never comes to fruition. Does that sound familiar to anybody here? We're going to give some examples today. I was thinking about fitness a little bit. I know what I want. I want to weigh 175 pounds and be able to run a 26 minute 5K. I know what I want and it sounds great and I know how to do it. I have to get rid of the sugar and the carbs like I've done here in 2019 and have to get on a regular running schedule and stick with it. But I have to tell you, I've had that what and how figured out for years and yet it didn't amount to much. Some years it didn't amount to anything. Other years it fizzled out. Do you know why? Because I had not identified my purpose.
What is this really all about? Why is this important to me? Beyond just seeing the results. So you either lose your passion and give up before you get there or you actually do get to the what, but it doesn't mean as much to you. You thought it was going to and you go buy a case of Cheezits. So here's Simon's point. He says, forget about the how and the what for a minute. It'll work itself out. You need to start with why? Why is this important to me at all? What do I feel? What do I care about? What do I value? Fundamentally, that's never going to go away. It's a part of who I am from the inside and once I've really got that fire going inside of me, or at least kindled it together: now how do I express that? How do I take all these things that matter and put it into actual action?
See, I'm starting in the middle of the golden circle. I've identified the "Why" and now I'll go out and I'll start working on the how and then there will be results. The what will come, the results will happen. He uses Apple as an example. He said they didn't start with a phone. They started with this idea of a community bound together by technology and they worked on really sharing their vision. Then they went out and did the how, they put in the hard work and at the end they said, behold, here's a phone. And people lined up around entire city blocks to purchase it. They had conveyed their heart, their why and everything else followed. If you can learn how to do this, then in many cases the how and the what won't change. You will still know how to put that into action and you'll still have these products, these outcomes, but because you've got heart behind it and you have real reason, you're going to find that it's a completely different thing to help with that.
Before we get to the application at the end, I want to give you several things to think about. We'll go back through some of the examples and applications in this series and we'll see how it looks when you start with why, but I think the best thing we could do now is if I talk to you about scripture a little bit and the way the Gospel worked and how this helps us in our faith. Do you remember the story in Acts chapter two? In Acts two you had all these Jews gathered in Jerusalem for the day of Pentecost. In that text there is the why followed by the how, the expression of the why lead to a magnificent product that came out of that. Unfortunately, oftentimes when we teach salvation in Acts two, we get it completely in reverse. We start with: let me tell you what, here's the product.
You're going to have your sins forgiven. This is about you being forgiven. This is about you being filled with the Holy Spirit. This is about you being added to the church. Those are the what's at the end of the chapter. You are forgiven. You have the gift of the Holy Spirit and you're added to the church. We try to get people excited about the what, the outcome. Then we say, okay, let's back up then. Let me tell you how, if you're interested in the what I need to tell you the how, which is you need to believe in Jesus as the son of God, repent of the sins in your life and be baptized. And look for some people that's enough. They say, I'm in, let's do it. But I have had so many Bible studies with people where I tried to get them excited about what can come out of it and then I told them exactly how to do it and we walked away and they never did any of that.
Do you know why? Because I made the mistake of starting with the outside of the circle, working our way in. That's not what Peter did. Peter did not even preach action in his sermon. He didn't tell them how to do it or what they'd get. He spent the entire sermon in Acts two infusing them with purpose, with heart, with passion for Christ. He said, I want to tell you about Jesus. Jesus is a miracle worker. Jesus is the fulfillment of prophecy. Jesus was raised from the dead. Jesus gave us the power to do the works that you're seeing here today on Pentecost. Jesus is Lord and Christ. What Peter wanted to do was put that in their hearts. Your purpose is to embrace Jesus. Your purpose is to know him and treasure him and be in connection with him. If you get someone entirely in love with Jesus, completely convinced of his lordship and rule, they are going to want to know how to express that.
That's what I believe in, I feel. How do I express it? Well, that's what they said in the text. They said, what must we do to be saved? We've got it now what do we do? He said, here's what you do: if you really feel that, if you're driven, if you know your why, then you believe repent and be baptized. And they did. And as an outcome of all of that, everything I mentioned before took place. Their sins were forgiven. They received the gift of the Holy Spirit. They were added. And by the way, because they started with why, it never went away. Having Jesus as Lord and Christ in their hearts, what they ended up doing was a lot more than just being baptized. They join those local churches. They became active. Many of them sacrifice their lives. How they expressed the Lordship of Jesus grew into many wonderful different ways and many what's for the Father.
Well, it changed the world and it's still changing the world. Let me give you another example, and I've just all out started preaching here, so bear with me. I'll give you a couple of practical things for you at the end. But think about how often preachers preach on church attendance. We're trying to get people to come, right? We know how important it is to God and what it can mean for them. And so we're telling them, starting from the outside in, here's what you need to do. What you need to do is be at worship. What you need to do is not forsake the assembly. What you need to do is have your kids in Bible class and then after we've told them, this is what God wants from you, then we back up a little bit. We move in and we say, this is how you do it.
You know, you schedule your time differently, you make some priority choices, you commit to doing your Bible class lesson, you know, whatever. We get strategic and then at the end we kind of tag on at the end, you know, here's why you need to do it because God is God and worship is the ability to take your gratitude to the third level. And God's people are dependent upon your strength to borrow for their own in their times of weakness. And you know, we say all of that and then what happens? I mean, I've been preaching 19 years, the Sunday night after I preach on assembling on Sunday is like notoriously low. It's kind of like, no, nobody tells me when to go to church. And that's not always true and I've made that joke a lot. But sometimes you do see that. Here's the problem, we're preaching it from the outside in.
We have to start with why. Let me have you picture it this way. What if an entire congregation of people who are subject to leadership and they know the meeting times during the week, we don't harp on that. But what if we got that whole group to start with Why. To identify why the Christian family matters and why they're so important? And what this means to us and how this feels to Jesus and what worship sounds like to the ears of the Creator. And we got them just on fire for what it means to be involved with God's people in this crucial work. And we got them to imagine the effect that it would have on their children and how much of a difference it would make in their future. And we just really got them emotionally engaged. "I know exactly why this is important."
Then we said, okay, here's how you take that passion and here's how you get moving with it. And we teach the same as you know, prioritization and doing your Bible lesson. And then we don't even preach the what. We wouldn't even need to say be at worship Sunday night. We could stop talking about what altogether because the why would drive the how and the results. The results would speak for themselves. Okay, so as we get to these last few minutes, let me remind you of the last episode: Try Three Times. You were encouraged to write down or make a mental note of one thing in each of the four categories that we've been talking about. One thing you want to do better in your faith, one thing you want to do better with your finances, one thing in your friendships and also one thing that connects to your fitness or your health.
If you have not listened to episode 23 I'm encouraging you to do that. These two can work well together except this time, let's get to the heart of the issue. Let's say my fitness goal for this next month is to eat better and cut out a couple of things that don't belong so I know what to do and if you ask me how to do that, I could tell you, I mean it has to do with what you bring home from the grocery store and whether or not you go out to eat. Got It. But what if I start with why on that? What if I just sit down and decide before I even engage in this dietary change or this exercise regiment, I want to figure out why this is important to me to begin with and so I identify how important it is to me to be able to go outside and enjoy time with my kids and I envisioned what it will be like 10 or 15 years from now. Lord, willing to get to spend time doing things outdoors with my wife. I see good health. I want that. That matters to me, its important to me and I get driven inside. Haven't even done anything yet, but I'm driven by the value of this. I got my why it's locked down. I can see it now if you ask me how to do it, the how is going to grow out of the passion and what: the losing the weight, the running further, it'll take care of itself.
You can do this in any of these categories. You can do it with Bible reading, but with a little less focus on what you're going to do in reading or how you're going to do it. Hit the pause button on that and determine why you would want to do it to begin with. What makes that important? What has God said? What is He trying to show you? What does he promised you? Get excited about that and then watch how it all comes together. I was thinking about things like finance where you have to tell yourself no and maybe pay off the credit card instead of buying something else or make some disciplinary changes. Hey, you can watch Dave Ramsey all you want. You can listen to guys and read books. You know how to do it and you know what it looks like and you're pretty excited about what it would look like to be debt free. But until you start with why and you really understand what that means to you and to your family and what doors that opens up and how that would feel to be in control until you really get that fire started, well and all that how and what stuff just floats around comes in and comes out and you won't have consistency. But when you do this right, the fire does not go out. Those basic core values for why this matters. They're never going to change. They'll always be there. They promote the how, the how takes care of the what.
So listen, be bold, be courageous, pray big things, set huge goals. Be Wise Small, but head in great directions. But if you haven't been able to find that real desire within you to push further, to do better; maybe it's time, not to throw out the goals. Maybe it's just time to start with why.
Kris Emerson, a loving husband, father of four, and gospel preacher, takes a few minutes to go over some important life changing and spirituals insights.
- How can Simon Sinek's book "Start with Why" help you reach your goals
- Why do people who know what they want often times comes short of it
- How does the Golden Circle help us see goal achievement in a new way
- How do you find your passion and then use that passion to do great things
- What are the limits to your production if you are driven by clear purpose