Today I published a guest post on my friend Joe Byerly’s blog From the Green Notebook. Joe and his team write about leadership, Stoicism, books, writing, and other aspects of the well-lived life… generally within a military context.
In earlier episodes of the From the Green Notebook podcast, hosts Joe Byerly and Jacob Gawronski concluded each interview by asking their guests a question made famous by Simon Sinek: “What’s your why?”
It’s a great question because it reveals so much about an individual’s character, values, and motivations. If Sinek is correct, why is the most important question a leader can ask, because everything else builds on that foundation. A clear why motivates strong leaders, creates and sustains powerful visions, inspires teams, and compels followers. We often spin our wheels trying to answer what or how questions, but why takes us a level deeper, to the source from which all other questions flow.
Recently, after catching up on the podcast—on a solitary drive through rural Alabama after a glorious day reconnecting with nature—I switched off the stereo and contemplated how I would answer the question. After some consideration, I had to admit an uncomfortable truth: I don’t know my why. Not right now, anyway.
I suspect I’m not the only one, so I’d like to share a few thoughts on how I got here—and how we navigate these seasons when our why is no longer clear.