The masses may see our "what" - our actions, choices, behaviors, career moves, literal moves, etc... Our lives are on display for the world that our good works (those we are designed to do already (Ephesians 1) may lead those who see them to glorify God our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16). Many can know and through relationship learn our "how's" - how we do life, how we pursue the Lord, how we make choices, etc.. But it is the few - and the most select few - that should get to our "why." Only those who truly belong there may see it and know it. Of course, in the living this out, the circle is more complex and more like a gradient on its journey to "why." But to make it within the "why" circle at all should be very select. The gradient, then, grows more rigid within the that place. It grows more like that of Jesus' immediate community: the 12, the three, the beloved one, and the One who He only did what He saw doing. And each of those should be most wisely chosen. Your heart should be guarded in such a way that the to best we can, no person slips into a deeper spot in the circle if they are not created for it. The ones you share your why with are both necessary and the ones your must have the most trust with. Vulnerability is crucial and key to community and family, but getting to the deepest depths of vulnerability comes hand-in-hand with the greatest depths of trust. Within that layout, I would argue that over the stages of life, the 12 may change in time, moving really in either direction. However with any move inward in the circle, each move should be understood and should come with the level of trust that is right for that vulnerability.
As far as the talk goes in regard to leadership, his model is brilliant. He explains that companies such as Apple or others like it are so successful because their marketing presents the "why" of the company and/ or product, so people buy into the "why" and will therefore purchase all of the "what" of the company. In the case of Apple, Sinek explains, the company has marketed their why as, "Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo; we believe in thinking differently. [HOW] The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly. [WHAT] We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?... People don't buy what you do; they buy WHY you do it." Therefore, companies that market the "what" will find that every product requires its own separate marketing that will fully sell the product because the brand is not what they are purchasing anymore. Those companies will struggle with versatility or one hit wonders. The old standard of business and marketing made the what available to all, the how available to many and the why accessible to few. When reversed, the the "why" is shared, marketed and sold to all, the products are desirable by all because people trust and believe in the why enough to trust them wherever the company or movement may lead them.
However, when considering people, if what the world says about our needing to be desired and known by the word is true, then we would want to see a similar model. We would market our "why," which we often see attempted. The why of an individual is "why I am the way that I am" quite literally. It should be noted, the world has a part of it right, every individual is to be known, but known by who? Who could ever truly know us through and through? But we are known; we are living for an audience of One - the God on high, who is waiting to be known. But He already knows us. He is who we "market our lives to," and He already knows the "why" because He made it. So where our desire to be known gets perverted is right in that issue - when we try to market ourselves to the world and not to the One who has already bought us - hook, line and sinker. Therefore, may I be so bold as to posit that our lives should not follow the new business blueprint but the old. When we attempt to sell our why to the world, our heart gets hurt when not received or purchased by the world. Because rather than our actions and our "whats" not being accepted, it is our very essence that has been denied. It is the core of who we are.
So in this vein, we see that our why should be held dearly close to us. However, our God is a relational God who made us to be in community - where He could have had Adam alone to Himself, He made Eve because He recognized the value of relationships and community. It is a part of our very make-up and DNA to need people. So, in this inside-out, upside-down Kingdom, we live for the audience of One in the community of many. Our challenge then is to grow in our understanding first of all, of what our personal "why" is so that we may then learn how to guard it; how to preserve it for the One who made and paid the price for it.
And this is where I would argue we take a second look at Simon Sinek's circle, and consider the value of preserving the why, the why I am the way I am and the deepest reasons and motivations of what I am doing.
- WHAT - all
- HOW - many
- WHY - 12 (close community, likely co-ed; often determined by seasons), 5 (close friends, could be co-ed; often can outlast seasons), 3 (BEST friends, only co-ed through intimate relationships; often life long), 1 (your spouse, only after marriage; never to be replaced or supplemented), THE 1 (God alone; never to be shared or replaced)
- From WHAT to HOW or HOW to WHAT
- From HOW to 12 or 12 to HOW
- From 12 to 5 or 5 to 12
- From 5 to 3 or 3 to 5
- From 3 to 1 (No reverse)
- 1 is never exchanged
- The 1 is NEVER replaced or shared
So despite that the world will tell us that we can never have people around us or that we can never be known if we do not put all of ourselves on display (sometimes quite literally through the fashions and exploitations media presents us with), we are in fact ALREADY known. We are known so deeply that we have not even discovered the depths of ourselves that are known. It is the One who knows us who is waiting, patiently, graciously, beautifully waiting for us to know Him. For us to explore His depths and give Him the place in our heart that we all too often look to give to the world. And as we do, as we yield our hearts, our whys to Him, we will discover ourselves - why we are the way we are, and join in the greatest romance ever, where we are perfectly known and perfectly safe from the betrayal of our essence not being desired. Beloved, you are desired. You are known. The King is waiting for you to give Him the place He has already purchased because He has desired you since before the creation of the world. And He is right there, right now, sitting with you, ready to share more of your heart with you, and to receive more of His in return.