I am sitting here at the GoodLife in Toronto Airport on my 12 hour layover to Cuba. I am heading to Cuba to play for Team Canada at the Pan Am Championships for the third year in a row.
And as I am sitting here (I have already worked out twice) I start listening to Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” talk. Simon is a very famous author and speaker and I have heard many of his things, but I found this one to be particularly striking.
If you haven’t heard it- check it out https://youtu.be/u4ZoJKF_VuA.
The main premise of the talk is that really successful companies don’t sell a product- they sell a belief system. They focus less on what they do, and more on why they do it. Simon brings to life several examples of companies (Apple) and people (Martin Luther King Jr., Wright Brothers) who have changed the world because of their commitment to a “why.”
I think this is especially true in the world of sport. I think back to all of the people I have met across this journey; the ones that I would continue extremely successful are the one who know why they play. Some people play for the money (a select few) and notoriety that comes with being a world class athlete. Some play exclusively as a link to network or get into school or to qualify for a single event. Some play to feed their own ego, and some play just for fun.
I would argue that each of these reasons for playing has its own merits, and one should not be judged better than the others. For example, I don’t think it is necessarily wrong to play for money nor is it wrong to play for fun. I think the important part is that you remain intimately connected to why you play. If your only reason for playing is money, but you are outside that top 10 players who are making a good living off the sport, you will become disillusioned and have to quit. Perhaps there is a more efficient way of making money than Badminton? Furthermore, if you only play to have fun but you hate loosing you will also become disillusioned when you realize that it takes more losses than anything to be successful. Perhaps there is a better way to have fun?
The people I know who have had the best careers know exactly why they play. And they do it so much that their “why” becomes “who” they are.
In fact, I would like to think that knowing why I play has been a big part of my success. I play because I love Badminton. I love waking up and pushing my limits and seeing myself improve a little more each and every single day. I am obsessed with growth, and sport is a platform that feeds growth like nothing else in life. I love the process of learning and growing in sport, and I hope I always have that in my life.
Start With Why.
Thanks Simon Sinek.