The Golden Circle – Why Do You Do What You Do?



Why do you do what you do?

That’s the question the Golden Circle answers.

The Golden Circle is a technique for helping you find your purpose.

Your deep and meaningful purpose.   Your purpose that makes you come alive.

A friend of mine took me through a Golden Circle workshop and it gave me a new lens on life.

Purpose on Fire

The Golden Circle is like peeling away at an onion until you get to the inner core. There you find your inspiration behind all your actions.

It’s the most naked answer to “why do you do what you do?”

But it’s more than that.  It’s your fire inside.  It’s where you find the inner strength to move mountains.  After all, how do you stoke the fire if you don’t know where it burns?

Think, Act, and Communicate Your Purpose from the Inside Out

In the Golden Circle, the why is front and center.  This is an important point because a lot of people define themselves by what they do.

Really, the why is the real driver behind who you really are.

The key to the Golden Circle is to think, act, and communicate from the inside-out.  You do this by figuring out your why and your how.

WHY and HOW Unleash Your Potential

The why is your inspiration.   It’s your burning desire.  It’s your purpose on fire.

I think of the how as your personal success pattern.  In other words, what’s worked best for YOU throughout your life?  You figure this out by traversing your life in a Ghost of Christmas past sort of a way.

It’s the ultimate hunt for the key to the combination that unleashes your best you.

WHATs are the Vehicles for Realizing Your Potential

Once you know your why and  how … the whats are vehicles.

They are vehicles for realizing your potential.

Imagine the freedom of wherever you go or whatever you do, you can live your why and how.

The trick of course, is to amplify your impact with the right whats wherever you can.

Your Purpose is Your Calling Card

What’s cool is that during the Golden Circle workshop, some key phrases surfaced for me about my purpose.

Two of my mottos for my purpose are:

  • “Exponential Results for the Underdog!”
  • “Cracking the nut on human potential!”

When I use these phrases, I’m letting the world know my calling card.

More importantly, I attract others that share the passion for helping people get more out of life.  It’s communicating from the inside out.  Think of it as me extending my hand saying let’s go kick some arse together!

My Golden Golden Circle Report

What follows is a write up of my Golden Circle report.  A lot of the content is about my motivations and approach, along with insights into my potential strengths and weaknesses.

Self-awareness is key to success and knowing really is half the battle.

My WHY (Purpose)

Here are some of the key phrases and notes about my purpose:

  • “To find the best way for any person to succeed in any situation.”
  • You believe that everyone should be able to have the best life they can, because they only get one chance to make the most of it, and to enjoy it.
  • Your cause is to improve the quality of life for as many people as you can, for as long as you can, so that even the underdog can overcome odds and feel the joy of success.
  • You do this personally by trying to be the best or making the best of what you have, and discarding what doesn’t work.
  • Your key phrase is “getting results”.

My HOW (Approach)

Here is my Golden Circle How pattern that best enables my Why (purpose) :

  • Get a new perspective – Find a different lens to view a situation or opportunity. Think about the problem and how you can cast it in a new light. Figure out what needs to alter: the situation, the people or the approach. Seek advice and ideas from people you admire. Believe it’s possible even when you don’t know how.
  • Create a framework – Find models of where it’s worked before, and reverse engineer. Look for experts who have excelled at what you want to do. Pay attention to details. Know what success looks like and create a frame for what it takes to get there.
  • Add the exponential – Figure out the best and fastest options for achieving results. Aim for the highest bar, the success that out-performs any success that has come before it. Challenge yourself to do your best, and when you cannot be the best, go for the best that you can do. Make it a race.
  • See results – Go for the results you most want. As you navigate towards success, have landmarks and signposts that reflect applied focus and demonstrated results. Model the way. Use a proxy when there’s no clear success metric.
  • Measure satisfaction – Be guided by your sense of whether it feels right. It’s a competition to get better results in ways that matter. Know enough and do enough to be both effective and happy. When it doesn’t work, discard the method and seek a new perspective.

Being a Change Agent

  • Based on your Golden Circle, it’s apparent that you are comfortable with change, and that you are good at helping to improve efficiency, transform processes or guide people through transitions as a way of making progress, overcoming challenges or finding success.
  • Agents of change are people who intentionally or indirectly cause or accelerate social, cultural, or behavioral change.

My Cautions

  • For you, goodness and happiness are not a single state, but a series of continuous evolutions. You don’t impose limits and you don’t believe in limits. As a result, you are forever on a quest to find the best way to make the most of whatever you have in a given situation.
  • With this kind of philosophy, you need to choose situations carefully, because it’s possible that when you do get into an environment that isn’t good for your physical, mental and spiritual well-being – your tendency to persist, overcome and succeed may be at some cost. Like taking on jobs you shouldn’t do.
  • Or, the more likely scenario is that you will reframe the area where you can achieve success within the same bad environment instead of choosing a new environment. There’s nothing wrong with riding out the storm in a shelter, except that shelters can also keep you trapped in one place.
  • Be conscious that you set a very high bar for yourself. Don’t ever miss out on the things you deserve in life because you somehow feel someone else is better and deserves them more.
  • Remember to have a balance and order in the way you achieve your Why. Always heed your last how: it’s not enough to be effective – you also need to be happy.

My Motto

  • The phrase you used most frequently in your workshop was “getting results”.
  • It’s clear that results are your personal currency, and they have more value to you when you can see and experience them as abundance or fulfillment in your life, and in the lives of others.  Since it helps to find a very simple way to relate to your Why – get a motto or quote that says something about what you believe in.

Consider the Following for Personal Mottos

  • Cracking the nut on human effectiveness!
  • Use what strength you have for the power of good
  • “People who soar are those who refuse to sit back, sigh and wish things would change. They neither complain of their lot nor passively dream of some distant ship coming in. Rather, they visualize in their minds that they are not quitters; they will not allow life’s circumstances to push them down and hold them under.” – Unknown
  • “What the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve.” –    Napoleon Hill, American author
  • “You can bring into your life more power, more wealth, more health, more happiness, and more joy by learning to contact and release the hidden power of your subconscious mind.” – Dr. Joseph Murphy

My Relationships

  • You do well in relationships with people who are high achievers, who can get rapid results and who thrive on change. You enjoy people who are open to learning and exploring new paradigms. You like people who are genuine, and who want to build deeper connections.
  • You do your best work in results-oriented environments, where there are new ways to challenge yourself and grow – whether its by achieving the best metrics or growing as an individual through experience.
  • You’re comfortable being the outsider who has to find a way in; that’s just another challenge for you.
  • You enjoy proving that labels don’t fit, and you don’t like people who “judge books by the cover” – but you do like proving them wrong!

My Whats

Your What’s are all the things you do that prove your Why – the phrases you choose to convey your intentions, the strength and success of your relationships, decisions that you make in all your spheres of life, the professional services you offer or results that you achieve at work – these are all What activities.

How To Make My Why (Purpose) More Real

Here is a checklist of things you can do right now to make your Why instantly more real to you:

  • Choose or create a motto that describes your attitude to life.
  • If you had to write a billboard to promote yourself in ten words or less, what would it say?
  • Write down the names of three people who “get you” and say why.
  • What role do you play in the lives of your friends and colleagues?
  • Look back at times in your life when you didn’t get the results you expected, and see how these experiences map to your Why and How pattern.

Summing Up My Why (Purpose)

I find the best way possible for anyone to achieve more where they are:

  • I look at the situation through a different lens
  • I come up with a simple and easy framework that will make it easier
  • I figure out the small tweaks that will make it even better
  • I identify that things that will signal success
  • I do it and decide if it feels right

Key Take Aways

I’m all about “getting results” and my personal passion is cracking the nut on human potential and helping people be their best in any situation.  Here’s my key take aways:

  • Think, act, and communicate from the inside out.  This is the heart of the Golden Circle.
  • What you don’t know can hurt you.  It’s easy to have your ladder up against the wrong wall, chase the wrong dreams, or live your life in a way that works against your own grain.  When you know what you’re about, you can set yourself up for success in your actions and paths through life.
  • Know why you do what you do.  Rather than focus on your what’s, focus on your why — the why behind what you do.  When you get knocked down, it’s easier to get up when you have your motivation to lean on.
  • Know your how.  Your how is your personal success pattern for results.
  • Know thyself.  Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is your key to success.
  • Success leaves clues.  You can use the clues from your past experiences, to build awareness of what works for you.

Additional Resources

Check these out for more on the Golden Circle

Video interview with Simon Sinek about the Golden Circle

Simon Sinek’s blog

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  1. I have used a very similar but nameless process in my life – but it is great to see it presented in such a structured way. “Think, act and communicate” from the inside out is a very powerful tool.
    I also <3 your Key TakeAways in your posts – they are really useful for me – like a quick reread – it really helps in message retention 🙂

  2. My favorite is “Think, act, and communicate from the inside out”. It means to me that my personal values is what matters most.
    Loved that a lot!

  3. Very very wonderful, i like mostly this one:”Think, act, and communicate from the inside out” and taking example : “how do you stoke the fire if you don’t know where it burns” is meaningful.

    Thanks Meier.

  4. This workshop sounds fascinating. I love the concept of creating a personal motto that describes my attitude for life. I also love the concept of focusing on the why instead of the what. When I meet new people, they often ask what I do. I think I’ll shake things up and ask them why they do!

  5. If you had to write a billboard to promote yourself in ten words or less, what would it say?

    Here are my ten.

    Inspiring, Encouraging & Coaching the Leap to Self-Employed Freedom.

    Good read, I’ve subscribed and I’m happy I visited.

  6. Hi

    Love this focus on “why” and not “what”.

    I really don’t agree with the culture of “what one does” i.e. work, identifies you. When I meet someone for the first time and they ask “What do you do?” I reply something along the lines of “In what area of life?”
    Someone else I know says straight off:
    “What’s the most amazing thing that has happened in your life in the last month?” I think that floors some people!

    Thank you for sharing so much of yourself.


  7. @ Maya

    Good point! — I think it’s the structure that makes it powerful.

    @ Alik

    It’s what drives you. Knowing why you do what you do, helps you pick better paths.

    @ dungdx

    It’s all about the fire inside. It’s the fire that makes things happen.

    @ Stacey

    “why they do” — I like that.

    @ Tom

    Thanks for stopping by!
    Good question. I think it would be – Be YOUR Best!

    @ Juliet

    “Why” is a definitie wake up call.

  8. Hi J.D.,

    Thank you for pointing me toward this post. I love the “why” concept. It minds me of how little kids will keep asking “why”. It’s almost like they already know “the secret”, but we think their persistence in continually asking is silly.

    The idea of having a motto is awesome. I’m going to have to work on creating one as it sounds like a great way to keep us on track.

  9. @ Barbara — I think kids drive from the heart — they know when they don’t want to do something, so “why” is really “why should I?” … and logic alone is never enough — it’s got to connect to values and emotion. Yeah, they know the secret 😉 I can definitely say it’s a lens I use for myself pretty much all the time. It’s the fastest way I know to get back on track, remember my strengths, and figure out what’s off. Thank you.

  10. Actually the badge has it wrong – (I understand why but felt I had to say this) You need to think and act, form every decision from the outside-in, not inside-out. Outside-in thinking is associated with the customer outcomes, the why. Inside-out thinking is associated with looking at the work in front of you and not why its being done….

    I’d like to adjust the badge and issue something similar… for my industry… Where can I get this version of the badge?

  11. @ Ian — Inside-out starts with why. You can read more at The Need for Why. I don’t know where the badges get created.

  12. […] as many people as I can, as long as I can.  It’s that simple.  But here is an elaboration on why do I do what I do, for […]

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