Just recently, while attending my class in Organizational Behavior in Sport Management I was exposed to my favorite TED Talk once again. Simon Sinek speaks passionately in his TED Talk called “Start With Why”.
He makes you question everything you have ever learned about what you are doing and why you are doing it. All my life I thought I knew “what” I was doing. When people asked me I proudly exclaimed I was going to high school to attend college, and I would ultimately be the next owner of the Ferris family company.
It was not until I viewed this TED Talk back in my senior year of high school that I realized I could not explain why I was planning to take over Ferris Brothers Inc. When I viewed it again just recently, I was reassured as to why I was sitting in Professor Belzer’s classroom.
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”, Sinek says repeatedly. If I wanted to go to college for Sports Management, I had to make my family understand why I was doing it in order for them to support my trek down the path never followed. So maybe I had not invented the next best piece of technology or crafted a detailed business plan for my own company; I still felt the need to make my family buy why I would go to school for Sport Management. Sinek says you must make others believe in why you are doing something in order for them to follow you.
Then one day, once I truly understood for myself, I decided to tell them why. I chose to be a sport management major because I spent my childhood watching my brother play ice hockey. In the midst of my youth, my parents divorced, turning my brother’s life and mine upside down. The only time my family acted as a unit was at my brother’s hockey games.
Never once did I think about the miserable divorce or the awkward silence in my house when my mom was not home to cook dinner at night. Watching my brother play sports brought excitement back into our lives. I looked forward to spending my weekends in the bitter cold ice rink with the love of both parents to keep me warm.
Becoming a Sport Management major would help me to create the same undeniably exciting experience that I had. A sporting event has the power to distract you from real life. It even has the power to turn someone who has never watched sports into the happiest fan in the crowd. The overwhelming energy of the players, the coaches, and the crowd is contagious. Most importantly, sports help you to accept that you cannot always have control over the outcome of a situation.
It’s interesting to note that people ask “what” you are going to school for, never bothering to dig deeper and ask why you planned to dedicate your studies to that field. Asking why reveals so much more about the type of woman I am, the background I came from, what influenced my life. Once someone hears “I am a Sport Management Major,” it is automatically assumed I am going to be the next Jerry McGuire.
They fail to understand my desire to cater to the fans instead of the players. They fail to understand the wonder a game can bring to an entire crowd of strangers, each facing their own struggles outside of the excitement.
The hardest part of deciding how my future career would look was finding out why I was doing it. The second hardest part what getting my family to understand.
If you are interested in learning more about the Start With Why Movement and how they inspire others to do what inspires them, see their website here.