How to Find Your Why: Taking Simon Sinek’s Advice

At the beginning of the year, Kirsty Mclardy, Livingston James’ Head of Research, took lead on the LJG Knowledge Academy; an informal forum where employees join a 30 minute session once a week to discuss a topic that allows for professional and personal development, focusing on areas that are not necessarily linked to your standard ‘on the job’ learning. Topics covered thus far have included personality type definition and analysis, and deeper dives into purpose and motivations. 

Purpose has been a critical focus for Livingston James Group for several years now, both internally and when working closely with our clients and candidates. This Forbes article is helpful in explaining why we need purpose. Art Brief, an organisational psychologist at the University of Utah, has spent his career studying the moral dimensions of organisational life and suggests that “if you realise meaning in your work, you tend to be more satisfied in your life.” The same article also suggests that employees who feel that what they do matters, are also likely to be more resilient than their colleagues.

Below, Kirsty explores recent learnings from our latest learning module on Simon Sinek’s book, ‘Start With Why’.


Start with Why

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”.

This simple statement is repeated by Sinek throughout this book and many of his other works, including an excellent Ted Talk, but what does it mean? Sinek argues that great leaders and organisations are driven by a clear and compelling “why” – the fundamental reason behind their existence and actions. He argues that consumers are motivated to buy products or services, not because of the product or service itself, but by the underlying purpose and values the company represents.

For organisations, the advice is clear and simple: know your purpose and ensure you are able to communicate it to your customers. We have discussed in detail in previous articles how Livingston James Group defined its purpose, which has since become an intrinsic part of our discussions, processes and actions in the office for some time.

However, the book also provides a valuable framework for individuals to apply to their own lives and careers, which was something everyone took away to ponder further. Some of the areas that I would encourage individuals (especially our candidates) to consider,  include the following.

1. Discover Your Why: Take the time to reflect on your personal motivations and values. Ask yourself why you do what you do, beyond just the superficial reasons. Understanding your own Why will provide clarity and a sense of purpose in your career.

2. Align Your Career with Your Why: Evaluate your current organisation, role or career path and assess how well these align with your Why. Does your organisation’s Why resonate with you? Are you genuinely passionate about the work you do? If not, explore opportunities that might allow you to pursue your purpose, and align your career choices accordingly.

3. Communicate Your Why: When networking or interviewing for job opportunities, clearly communicate your Why to potential employers or colleagues. Articulate the underlying purpose and values that drive you day to day and explain how they align with the organisation’s purpose or the role you are seeking. This will help you connect with like-minded individuals and organisations.

4. Lead with Your Why: Whether you are in a leadership position or not, you can lead by example by embodying your Why in your work. Let your purpose guide your decisions, actions, and interactions with others.

5. Continuously Evolve: As you grow and gain new experiences, your Why may evolve as well. Embrace this evolution and regularly reassess your Why to ensure it remains aligned with your values and aspirations. It may be that you need to adapt your career choices and goals over time to stay true to your purpose.


A clear understanding of purpose is as important for an individual as it is for an organisation, so ask yourself, what is your Why? And does your organisation and role reflect this? If not, it could be an indication that it is time to consider a new path…

At Livingston James Group, our purpose is to support our clients and candidates to realise their potential. If you are a candidate considering your next career move, or an organisation struggling to define your purpose, please get in touch with Kirsty Mclardy, Head of Research, at [email protected].

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