Simon Sinek teaches leaders and organizations how to inspire people. From members of Congress to foreign ambassadors, from small business to corporations like Microsoft and American Express, from Hollywood to the UN to the Pentagon, those who want to know how to inspire people want to learn about The Golden Circle and the power of WHY.
“Have you finished that report I need?” my boss asked me.
“I’m nearly done with it. I’ll give it to you by end of day tomorrow,” I replied.
The report wasn’t late and he would indeed get it by the end of the following day. The problem was that I wasn’t being honest. I said I was nearly done, when in fact I’d barely started.
It was just a harmless little white lie that came out almost like a reflex, like an involuntary response. I didn’t say it to mislead my boss; I said it so I wouldn’t look like a fool in front of him. It was self-preservation. There’s no harm in that… is there?
Being honest is tougher to do than most people think. With no intention of misleading people, we tell little white lies nearly every day. Sometimes we tell a little fib to protect ourselves, like the example above, and sometimes we do it to be polite or to avoid offending someone. For example, your friend comes up to you at his wedding and asks: “Isn’t this the best wedding ever?” In reality, the food was bland, the band sucked and there was construction going on next door. But we still say: “Yes! It’s excellent.” Which, by any standard, is a complete lie.
The people in the world who make a real impact are always completely honest -- always. People may disagree with them, they may not be liked, but they are always respected for telling the truth. Simon Cowell, for example, is the only honest voice on American Idol. What he lacks is social grace. Love him or hate him, we respect him for his honesty.
Take this test: For the next 48 hours try being honest 100% of the time. If you find yourself in a position in which you may offend someone with the truth, then answer a different question. For example, if you find yourself at a bad wedding and you’re asked if you’re enjoying it, respond with one thing you did enjoy. “It was so special to see you finally get married,” for example.
I took the test and the impact of being honest surprised me. I had a meeting with a senior staffer for a highly regarded member of congress and she asked me a pointed question: “Did you do any research on the congressman before this meeting?” Had I not taken the pledge to tell no lies, I would have replied “a little,” to not look like a complete buffoon. Instead, I replied honestly: “I didn’t.” No excuses, just the honest answer. At which point she said: “OK, so let me give you some background then.”
Her question wasn’t meant to test me. She asked so she could establish a baseline for how much I knew. Because I was being honest with her, she told me everything I needed to know, which she wouldn’t have done had I told a little harmless lie. Being honest helped me.
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Everyone knows WHAT they do. Some know HOW they do it. But very few know WHY they do what they do. Only those who know WHY are ones who lead. Discover your Why at WHY University.