The Power of WHY

coaching communication influence marketing music why May 09, 2024

Most people don’t think about this, but one of the hazards of putting kids through music lessons is… they might actually like it.

In fact I’ll never forget the look on my parents’ faces years ago when I said I wanted to become a music major in college. They looked at each other and said, “What have we done?”

Nowadays, I get my kicks through singing in a choir and this past week our conductor taught me a critical lesson on influence.

At rehearsal, we were preparing a new piece of music that begins with the men singing acapella (Translation: by ourselves, with no organ to back us up). That means if we make any mistake… YOU would definitely hear it.

Normally, our conductor would spend a minute or two tweaking tough sections and helping us be prepared. But for some reason… this time he was especially strict.

“Not quite there.”

“I need you to be higher.”

“That vowel isn’t placed correctly- and it brings the pitch down. You can do better!”

(See if you can find me. HINT: I’m the white guy in a suit…)

He was REALLY hammering us to get this ONE section *just* right. And I have to admit: It was starting to be a little frustrating. I wondered: “Why is he being so hard? Why is he being so demanding?”

After some time, he paused rehearsal and said, “Just so you know, the reason WHY I’m being so particular on this piece is because a dear colleague in Florida will be listening today and he has invited several other leaders and their church congregations to listen as well. This piece means a great deal to him- and I want it to be special.”

In that moment, a remarkable change swept over the choir- and especially me. I felt my frustration vanish. All of a sudden, I wanted to make this piece as good as it could be. I had a clear change of attitude, emotion, and motivation… all because I knew his WHY.

What does this have to do with influence?

Simon Sinek famously said, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it…”

In other words, in a world where everyone else has comparable “WHATs” and “HOWs”, he or she that communicates a more compelling “WHY”… will stand out.

WHY do you serve people the way you do?

WHY are you applying to this particular job?

WHY did you get started in this business?

Everyone has to answer these kinds of simple questions, but frankly, few people answer them well. They get either stuck merely rehashing WHAT they do and HOW they do it, or repeat well worn “Achievement Mindset” language (as explained in my book, “The Influence Mindset.”) The result? They sound just like everyone else.

But what if we raised the game even higher?

While its important for YOU to know your WHY, do you explain it in such a way that others can explain your WHY for you?

This last week I was working with a dear friend and colleague on branding language for an upcoming product launch, and in the middle of our conversation she said, “Yeah- I know I need to be able to explain this to a 5th grader.”

To which I nudged, “How can you explain it so well that a 5th grader can teach it to another 5th grader?”

Knowing and communicating your WHY is important. But explaining it so well (and often) that OTHER people can communicate it for you? That is powerful.

So here are some questions to consider:

1. How is your WHY unique compared to others?

2. Can your friends, family, and colleagues explain WHY you do what you do?

3. Can your former clients or customers communicate your WHY to others?

Your brand is only as strong as someone’s ability to share it with another. What do you want them to say?

And if these thoughts have nudged you to be more clear on your WHY… Then that will be music to my ears. (Here’s a behind the scenes look…)

If you want to better drill in to your WHY (and how to communicate it), be sure to get your own copy of “The Influence Mindset.” (Link Here)

  • Christian

CHRISTIAN HANSEN has gone behind the scenes in some of the biggest organizations in the world to find out the reasons why some people get chosen and why others don’t. As the #1 bestselling and LinkedIn Top Ten ranked author of “The Influence Mindset: The Art & Science of Getting People to Choose You” Christian helps teams and organizations who want increase their earning potential by standing out from the crowd and influencing people to choose them. With degrees from Brigham Young University and The London School of Economics, he’s helped thousands of individuals position and sell themselves. A fan of international communication, history, and choral music, he currently lives in Utah with his wife. Reach him at:

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