How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Ted Talk Reflection

During my first semester in my LDR 100L class, I was tasked with reading Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why. I worked with a group of other students from my class to dive deeper into the novel and discover why the WHY was so important. For our presentation, we focused on this concept mainly from a business perspective. If you would like to read about my initial response to the concept, click here.

Now fast forward now. In my LDR 200L class, we have been tasked with something similar, but with a twist. Our entire class watched Sinek’s TED talk about Starting With Why, and how Great Leaders Inspire Action (click on the link to watch the video for yourself). Now, instead of looking at it from a business perspective, we got a little more introspective. What is our WHY? Whats our purpose for doing all of the things that we do? What are our WHAT’s and our HOW’s that are helping us with our WHY’s? As you can imagine, this was very stressful for a group of 50 college freshman. Many of us have no idea where we are headed in life; discovering our why was going to be a challenge.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I seem to change my major on a bi-weekly basis. So, trying to narrow down a ‘WHY’ for the things that I do was going to be a struggle…or so I thought. Upon watching the video and talking with my classmates, Sinek’s message began to click. These great leaders (MLK, Apple, the Wright Brothers) did not base their WHY on the things they did, but rather based the things they did on their WHY. They found their passion and THEN went and did something about it. This is an idea that I can definitely learn from.

I may not have the slightest clue what I want my major to be, or what I want to do once I graduate. However, I know what I am passionate about. I know that I want to help people, and make sure they are safe and happy wherever they are. This is my WHY, the center of everything I will do.  Now I just have to discover my WHAT and HOW. It may take some time, but I have plenty of that.

Another lesson that I will take away from this TED talk is to look for the WHY in others and not just the WHAT. If I am looking at where I want to work in the future, I should look at WHY they do certain things, and not WHAT they are doing in general. I recently applied for an internship at Quicken Loans. I do not have much interest in going into mortgage planning (my major changes frequently, though, so maybe I’ll change my mind) but I was captivated by the overall message of what they were doing. Their company is so much more than just one little thing; they are deeply involved in their community, and they genuinely want to help those around them and create a great work environment for their employees. This can be compared to how Sinek described Apple. It is not their products that are important, but their message and brand. After watching this video, I have begun to look for this aspect more in life in general.



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