As the world mourns the loss of comic, actor, philanthropist and cultural icon Robin Williams, many struggle to understand chronic depression and the depths to which that tunnel of darkness can go while others continue their own descent and wonder if ever they’ll emerge from that tunnel of loneliness.
I have found that some of life’s most difficult moments can be not only the external challenges that present themselves, often when unanticipated, but also the lingering uncertainties in life – those things for which we have no answer but require our ability to surrender to a larger plan outside of ourselves for which we do not have enough information in order, hopefully, to gain the Life we desire.
That all elusive why. Why? How often have any of us asked ourselves why, either as a child asking why the sky is blue or as an adult in the midst of a crisis?
It is that answer, perhaps, sometimes, that can provide such comfort, the motivation to move forward, but that is sometimes so hard to clarify for ourselves.
Yet, if we can do so, if we can identify, at least for a moment, what is our raison d’etre, at least according to Simon Sinek, that can truly make the difference. That can be the singular difference between success and failure.
Sinek who has one of the top watched TED Talks of all time and has honed the Why-How-What golden circle of leadership gives a plethora of examples of how knowing our own personal vision, that reason we get out of bed each morning drives us towards success and inspires others along the road.
He points to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. as a famous example of how personal mission can create movements. The reverend, Sinek reminds us, did not share an “I Have a Plan” speech. The great leader, instead, shared his dream.
Sinek also gave the example of Samuel Pierpont Langley, who was given $50,000 in the early part of the 1900s from the United States government to develop a flying machine. He had access to the best talent and resources at the time and the market conditions were perfect.
However, the legacy of air flight does not rest with the Naval Academy instructor.
Instead, it rests with two Ohio brothers, who had little resources, gathered whatever help they could to pursue a dream.
Sinek said Langley’s desire was for riches and to become famous. He was driven by the what – the end result of creating the flying machine.
The Wright brothers, however, had a vision of transforming the world in a positive way and that drove them until a monumental moment on a windy hill in Kitty Hawk, N.C. that has been forever imprinted in the historical legend, all because they were propelled by their heart.
May we all be so lucky.