I met with one of my high school friends who wanted to discuss possible new career opportunities for him in 2017. As we reviewed his behavioral assessment results I asked him several questions including what drives and motivates him.  He responded that he wanted to make more money to better provide for his family.  As an entrepreneur with a family of my own, I clearly understood where he was coming from. However, money is not a career or business strategy, it is a result of a great strategy.

The best thing you can do to help someone with their personal or business planning is ask a lot of questions, so I continued by asking him what his top passions are in life. Or as Simon Sinek calls it, your “Why” in his book “Start with Why”.  In other words, what is your calling in life? What inspires you? As I asked these questions you could see his energy and passion increase as he sat on the edge of his chair. After 45 minutes of passionate brainstorming we put together next steps for him to define his “Why” and his plan to achieve it.   One of those action plans was to watch Sinek’s inspirational “Start with Why” ted.com video on you tube.

From my experience, the happiest and most successful people wrap their life, career and their business around their WHY. The power comes in first understanding your “Why”.   Once you understand it you can develop and execute the plan to make it a reality.

About ten years ago, I completed my personal plan by designing my life map.   Although I did not call it my “Why” at the time, I defined my professional “Why” which is to educate and inspire business leaders on “why” and “how” to differentiate their business through strategy and talent. In other words, how to stop selling vanilla ice cream! That led to my new book titled Stop Selling Vanilla Ice Cream which is centered on my “Why.”

What is ironic to me is that my “Why” is to help leaders define the “Why” for their organizations. The Stop Selling Vanilla Ice Cream process helps organizations define their “Why” which leads to why a customer will do business with them versus their competition. The process then helps them create the strategies and tactics to actualize their “Why” in their organization and in many cases, their lives as well.

Many people know what they do, very few know why.  In 2017, I challenge you to define your “Why”. Plan a weekend away to complete your personal plan or life map. Then, as a leader, define the “Why” of your organization, department or area of responsibility.   Gaining understanding of your “Why” and a plan to achieve it will lead to unprecedented happiness and prosperity in your life.

Don’t let outside forces determine your level of success. Be inspired to accept personal responsibility for your own success and happiness. This is the perfect time of year to look back and learn, but more importantly how to move forward by defining your “Why” and how you can make it a reality in your business and life. The tools and templates to make it happen are available to you at www.stopsellingvanillaicecream.com and www.startwithwhy.com.   I wish you the best of success in 2017. Remember, Those Who Plan – PROFIT!