Simon Senik has a brilliant TED Talk, How great leaders inspire action.

In it, he talks about why Apple is so successful and innovative:

“Year after year, after year, Apple is more innovative than all their competition. And yet, they’re just a computer company. They’re just like everyone else. They have the same access to the same talent, the same agencies, the same consultants, the same media. Then why is it that they seem to have something different?” ~ Simon Senik

Simon believes that Apple is so successful because Steve Jobs invested time figuring out the building block “why” of his business first.

He claims that inspired leaders and their organizations—regardless of the size of business or type of industry—all think, act and communicate from the inside out.

They have clarity not only on what their business will sell, but why they do what they do, why their product has value, why they get out of bed in the morning.

As Simon notes in in his talk: “People don’t love what you do, they buy why you do it.”

Apple’s why: “Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently.”

Apple’s how: “The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly.”

Apple’s what: Computers, iPads, IPods.

I had been familiar with Simon’s talk in the past but I dove into his message in detail recently as it was included in CareerHearted’s foundation course.

I developed my passion and purpose statement and I also got incredibly clear on my own why, how and what.

I had always thought that my what was a writer and therefore my why often felt like it was to simply write.

But my why isn’t to write—at all.

My why is to empower people to live their truths and be authentic.

That’s it: simple, direct and to the point.

I had written pages and pages trying to simplify and get to the core of my life’s work—but when it was sitting on the paper of my branding book and looking me in the face, I felt like I’d just won the clarity lottery.

Humans are obsessed with knowing “why,” and we often don’t get all of the answers we seek.

Well, I tacked my why on the ass and it feels great.

My how is transparency.

Transparency is how I walk the talk of my business.

My five second elevator speech sounds like this: “I empower people to live their truths and be authentic. Transparency is how I walk my talk and inspire people to do the same.”

It doesn’t matter if I’m writing about sexuality and shame, gender equality, or drawbacks in business—I do it with truth and transparency every single time.

In executing all aspects of my work with transparency, my intention is to carry out my why—to empower people to live their truths and be authentic right back.

My how is the intention and passion that gives direction to my why, my purpose.

Transparency, vulnerability and empathy eradicate shame and connect us; they offer us space to breathe into who we are and let go of who we are not.

Before seeing my own why and how so clearly, I felt a little lost with my business. I had branched out from writing articles and poetry to everything from copyediting, biographies, wedding vows, public speaking, social media content, mentoring, and workshops.

I wondered whether (one on one) mentoring was stepping out of alignment with my life’s work, since I knew that my life’s work and purpose was to write.

I now realize that there are many, many extensions of my why that I execute as whats: mentoring, public speaking, facilitating workshops, copyediting etc.

That list will continue to grow and change and adapt as I grow, too.

Understanding Simon’s theory and taking the CareerHearted course helped me to identify with my brand. Solidifying my own why, how and what has created mounds of clarity, relief and focus–in both my heart and my business.

I’m now more open and receptive to different opportunities because I know that as long as they align with my why, they are all part of my life’s work.