One reason as to why companies fall short of being great can be summed up by Simon Sinek’s philosophy, “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Sinek draws a circle diagram to better describe his philosophy. The circle consists of three rings; the outside reads “what”, the middle reads “how”, and the inside, “why”.
Although this philosophy is intended for those to work from the inside-out, that rarely seems to be the case. What most people do, and this explains Sinek’s theory as to why these individuals do not achieve their full potential, is think of what they’re going to do, how they’re going to accomplish it, and then worry about why. The “why” is the most important factor, it explains the purpose.
In reality, those who fall victim to this majority like myself, are actually living their lives backwards and have unknowingly set themselves up for anything but greatness. After understanding the meaning behind Sinek’s concept and reflecting on my own personal life, I find this philosophy hard to live by.
I have witnessed myself struggling through classes, trying to pass, not really interested in the material itself. I decided to go to college because I assumed what the majority assumes and that is, the higher the education, the higher the salary you will be paid. But what exactly is my purpose?
When I think of Simon Sinek’s concept and relate it to my own life, I understand the importance of being passionate. I think a lot of young adults my age become pressured and ultimately confine themselves to the status-quo rather than just follow what they truly believe. I find it extremely hard to talk about myself, and I do not mean basic information that can be found on social media, I’m referring to something a lot deeper than interests and hobbies. I’m lacking passion. I’m lacking the first step to Simon Sinek’s philosophy.
I’ve always believed that as long as I can live by that, I will always keep striving for better. But with this concept, what will I ultimately achieve? There’s one vital necessity lacking in order to work towards something wicked and out of this world. Passion. My idea of passion is a driving force embedded within ourselves that, only when tapped into, can something great come about. The closest I’ve ever come to being passionate about something was when I used to compete in track.
I come from a small high school with a graduating class of about 150 students. I had the same coach for spring and winter track, along with cross country. We were a group one blue division school with a passion for achieving something great. My coach always told my teammates and I to never settle for being mediocre. This was something I silently repeated to myself everyday before I prepared for practice.
I did not care what the odds against my team or myself were, we just decided to compete despite who may be standing next to us on the line. Our work ethic on and off the track was fueled by a passion that disregarded the status-quo, the idea that small schools only have a chance to compete against other small schools and are not even considered competition against the bigger schools. I am proud to say I was apart of not only one season, but all three, that defied this common ideology.
It was only after graduation that I was really able to take the time to reflect back on all of my team’s achievements. What I realized was yes, we did have a common goal and really worked towards it knowing what our purpose was, but none of our accomplishments could have ever happened if it were not for progression.
Each chance to race was an opportunity to run better than before. We had to work with only a limited amount of girls, some competitions we had girls running the maximum number of events a runner was allowed to compete in. I’m not entirely sure that at the time I was aware of what we were really doing, but I do know the bond between my teammates and I was something that could not be penetrated.
When it came down to relays, I always ran my best times. I became so close to the girls on my team because we were so devoted to what we were doing that other kids would refer to us as a cult. I look back and realize a lot of my efforts were because of them.
I had a talent for running, a phenomenal coach, and truly devoted teammates. Out of it came something greater than what we could’ve ever expected. I set a bar for myself and wanted to reach it. I had found my passion at that point in my life. It consumed me.
I believe you know you’ve found your passion when you allow what you’re doing to change your life. You have to constantly think about it, you have to experience failure and then you have to wake up the next day getting right back into it. If you’re passionate about something, nothing can take that feeling away.
I mention my high school experience of running because I have yet to latch onto anything that has even come remotely close. I look forward to once again connecting with something that’ll not only change my life, but others around me as well.
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” If you don’t believe in yourself, chances are others will not either. Establish your driving force within, and progress from there.
The world is constantly changing, especially the world we call home in the United States. Our economy, political views, social views, business ideas, and individual beliefs are influenced by change, and more importantly those who initiate it.
The rest of the world surrounding us is influenced by its own change. Therefore, change is not the same for everyone or every country. Some accept change, and others may not, however it is evident that it has a firm grasp on how we perceive.
In our economy, people are accepting that capitalism should be replaced by controlled socialism; people like Bernie Sanders and those who follow him. Bernie Sanders is an initiator of change. He holds views that he believes will benefit the economy; views that are very different from the traditional sense of capitalism. Donald Trump, the leading Republican candidate, is obviously a change from the traditional sense of Republican/ conservative belief. Although he may hold some conservative ideas, it is clear that, as he leads the Republican polls, he is also one that initiates change in our economy and view of politics. He accepts that certain things must be subject to change, which connects the ideas of contradiction and change.
For example, Bernie Sanders would like to bring socialist ideas to a purely capitalist country- is this change or contradiction? Donald Trump is changing the way that people understand politics through control of the media. He is contradicting the idea of professionalism, and how our presidential candidates represent themselves and their parties. He, quite literally, has every Republican candidate battling against him because his views are contradictory to traditional conservatism. But people follow him, and they believe in him. Now how do contradiction and change tie into each other, and our topic of a Level 5 leader? And what defines a level 5 leader?
A level 5 leader is the perfect contradiction. They are one who accepts change, but also holds views that must remain to benefit everyone. They are one who lives their life both professionally and personally. They are one who produces ideas that primarily benefit their own predicament, but does so in order to benefit those around them. This sounds like a positive contradiction, but contradiction has always been viewed in a negative light.
Chuck Blakeman discusses a change in how businesses can be run in a Tedx MileHigh lecture. The change he talks about is from an industrial point of view to what he calls “participation.” Many people may find this change contradictory to the idea of capitalism that we, as an economy, so desperately follow. For example, leaders are defined by how well their ideas benefit everyone within and outside the company; not by position or title that has been given. “Participation,” Chuck says, is not having standard work hours, but working when it is needed to benefit the business. Work becomes a group process, not an individual job. The “Participation” business not only uses a Level 5 leader to its full potential, but does well in training others to become leaders themselves.
Standard leaders of corporations today resort to traditional hierarchies of leadership with strictly defined jobs for individuals. Blakeman initiates change in his lecture by innovating the way that people can work to not only benefit the company by reaching optimal output through groups, but also by redefining how an individual can become a leader inside and outside of the workplace.
In conclusion, change and contradiction have never been simple. Implementing laws in politics is an annual, if not a decadal process. Our economy is structured by traditional business, businesses that have been failing us as an economy. Other, thriving businesses, like Apple and Google, have begun changing the idea of a workplace, however the traditional sense of work remains. Many of these businesses go into bankruptcy due to bad leadership. The idea of a Level 5 leader explains that it does not take one individual to lead a group, but it takes one individual to teach how others can lead groups of their own.
As we become more capable of leadership as individuals, our economy and population will more strongly represent the leader-esque nation we have chosen to become, and continue to be.
The story of our company, VentureStorm, dates back to winter break sophomore year – and it’s been quite the experience to say the least.
I really want to share the ride we’ve been on these past few years. There have been plenty of struggles, success, and everything in between; but by the time you’re done reading this, I hope I’ve inspired you to at least attempt something outside the status quo and to accomplish something magnificent.
I guess I’ll start with that – the desire to be different and not just follow the norm. There’s something that never made sense to me about dedicating nearly two decades of your life on education, only to utilize your knowledge and expertise by working for someone else and growing their wealth. That’s one of my inspirations behind both wanting to be an entrepreneur and growing VentureStorm (but we’ll get to that in a minute). Being an entrepreneur, there are no ceilings. Being an entrepreneur allows you to take something you are passionate about and build a business around it, innovate an industry or product, and hopefully change the world. Of course there’s the realization of risk and failure, but if you’re a young student without a spouse and kids, without a mortgage, without anything to lose – does the risk really outweigh the possible rewards?
The story all begins a few years back while taking an online entrepreneurship course over winter break. We came up with an awesome concept for a music discovery mobile app, and the passion behind the idea really began to grow. We ended up writing an extensive business plan, creating screenshots, and buying the web domain as we began to seriously pursue the venture; however, none of us had experience in developing a mobile application at the time, and our motivation began to wither.
We spent months exhausting our networks for a viable developer to work on our app with little to no success. Being involved with several entrepreneurship programs at the University of Maryland, we witnessed countless other aspiring entrepreneurs fail to bring their idea to life due to a lack of technical skills as well. There is an abundance of entrepreneurs with great ideas and distinguished backgrounds in business, marketing, psychology, etc.; however, often times they lack the necessary programming and development skills to bring their venture to life.
There is also an abundance of talented student developers hungry to build astonishing mobile and web applications – but the disconnect between the two parties is bewildering.
VentureStorm is a web application that connects aspiring entrepreneurs to talented student developers within proximity. Think of it as a combination between a freelance marketplace and matchmaking site to find a technical co-founder (if that’s what you’re looking for). Our platform allows entrepreneurs in need of technical assistance to post their project or current venture free of charge, and specify what they are looking for. VentureStorm also provides opportunities for student developers to apply what they learn in the classroom and gain real-world experience, build their resume, earn money/equity, and co-found technical startups while in college.
There are so many brilliant yet simple ideas which, who knows, may go on to revolutionize an entire industry (think Uber). Unfortunately many of these ideas, remain just that – ideas. Imagine the amazing things we could accomplish if more of these ideas entered the market as successful ventures. Imagine being able to pursue your own venture and co-found technical startups, rather than building a resume to pursue the ideas of others.
I have been unbelievably lucky to come across several others that share the same passion and entrepreneurial vision as myself, and even luckier to currently call them my teammates/business partners. Over the past few years we have transformed VentureStorm from a side project into a scalable business with thousands of users relying on our platform to build their venture.
Personally I have grown tremendously through my experiences working with VentureStorm. You could register for every entrepreneurship class on campus, but nothing truly prepares you for the reality of just getting out there and doing it.
From learning how to code, to understanding the legal necessities of creating a business, networking with people in all sorts of industries, leveraging new technologies to build our platform, marketing and creating a brand, traveling and sponsoring events around the country, public speaking, and even writing blog pieces like the one you’re reading right now; the experiences and skills I’ve obtained are invaluable.
So whether you are a student developer looking to gain experience, make some money, and potentially be a technical co-founder for the next big startup, or you’re an ambitious entrepreneur looking to change the world; maybe VentureStorm can help you achieve your dreams. Just know the only thing standing in between your dreams and your reality is you.
We are proud to partner with Wellspring Living and The Make It Zero campaign in the fight against child-sex trafficking. We would also like to thank MELT for spearheading this effort. From Atlanta to Africa, poverty is a reality for too many people. We are also proud to work with Fresh For All and Philabundance in helping to spread awareness that hunger is still a problem in our world today, but it does not have to be. Check out their website to see how you can help stop hunger, in Pennsylvania and around the world.
My name is Jess, and I work at the largest hunger relief organization in the Greater Philadelphia region, Philabundance. Philabundance was created in 1984 and its mission is to drive hunger from our communities today and ultimately ending hunger forever. There are three quarters of a million people in our 9-county service area within New Jersey and Pennsylvania who face hunger every day.
I moved to Philadelphia from the Poconos in 2005 to attend Temple University, where I majored in Urban and Environmental studies. In college, I interned for the Farmers Market Program at non-profit The Food Trust, where I realized I wanted to pursue a career in the nonprofit world, specifically related to food. Upon graduation I landed the Fresh For All Coordinator position at Philabundance and in 2010 was promoted to FFA manager!
Fresh For All (FFA), one of Philabundance’s programs, is similar to a traveling farmers market which is set up at the same location every week at the same time so local residents can rely on the availability of food, specifically fresh produce, vegetables and fruit. In 2015, FFA distributed over 1.2 million pounds of food and served more than 6,000 households in PA and NJ.
Volunteers are integral in the success of our day to day operations and their hard work cannot be praised enough. One volunteer in particular, Genevieve, has always stuck with me. Genevieve is 63 years old and was laid off from her retail job. To help make ends meet, she volunteered every week (rain or shine, year-round!) and also received a portion of her weekly fruits and vegetables from us.
It inspires me that folks in the community who may not be able to give financially are willing to give so much in other ways. Because of FFA, Genevieve was able to receive food from the program as well as enrich her community through her volunteer work. She eventually discontinued her service to Philabundance to attend a culinary training program and is now employed as a cook at one of our member agencies.
The first time I went out to one of the eight Fresh For All locations, I was taken aback by the number of people in need of our services. It is one thing to try to understand the income disparity and need in our region on a conceptual level, but to see it in action was an eye-opener. It makes coming to work a lot easier each day knowing that the work we do is helping to relieve the burden of food insecurity in our area.
We have begun to serve a large number of immigrant populations including Asian and South Asian communities. We are currently working on providing our materials in additional languages to be able to serve all clients with dignity and respect.
FFA offers volunteer opportunities allowing a hands-on and interactive experience with communities benefiting from the program. Volunteers are needed to help set up and distribute produce, among other tasks.
If you are interested in volunteering for Fresh For All or are bi-lingual and speak Cantonese, Mandarin or Spanish, and would like to use your skills translating for clients at our Fresh For All distribution sites, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how to get involved. Or if you’re in need of food, visit our website at www.philabundance.org for more information about FFA sites, or for the food hotline.