The Why of It All


You may have come across Simon Sinek on You Tube talking about the Why of your business.  The idea of coming up with a Why is profound especially if you are setting up a home business. But, it is nothing new.  It’s been around since the 1980’s.

There have been many definitions of the Why.  Some call it business philosophy, others call it core values.  The most popular definition is mission statement.  Some even confuse mission statement with vision statement.  Some simply integrate vision and mission.  The thing is, if you know your purpose, you have your Why.

Sinek is right in saying that telling your customers what you believe, and who you are differentiates you from those who simply sell their products without even knowing why they do it.  He insists that you should begin with a Why. And, he is right.


Many mission statements begin with core values.  Core values define your charism.  Your charism is what makes you unique.  For example, from all the millions of online businesses on the web, what makes you different and why should people buy from you?

Your charism essentially dictates your Why.  In fact, your unique charism should impel you towards your mission.  It’s like, if you have a perfect sense of  symmetry and balance, unconsciously you will have the urge to paint.  Or, if you have a gift of speech, it’s more than likely you will become an inspirational speaker.

I’ve known people who answered the call of mission very late in life.  Doctors who became singers.  Engineers who became priests.  Priests who left the priesthood and raised a family. Why? It’s because you cannot deny who you are.  Charism is an inherent gift.

So, what has it got to do with going into business?  While the transition maybe hard,  what your business is, eventually becomes who you are. Your core values will be infused into and become integrated with how you conduct your business.  Who you are and what you stand for are translated into how you deal with your customers and how you do business with them.

So, the mission answers the – the why of your existence, and it also answers the purpose of your business. The Why, is simply the urge to satisfy the need to know who you are, and what you intend to do with who you are.


There’s a story that happened sometime in the early nineties about a sugar producing business. A group of sugar cane producers who owned a sugar central had for many years been producing refined sugar that was exported to other countries.

Their families have owned their sugar plantations for generations and grew up with the sugar cane culture ingrained in their genes. So, what they were doing was absolutely consistent with who they were – sugar cane producers.

Then, sometime in the late 80’s they began diversifying into fish canning. A little bit off the mark but still workable. The corporate planning group simply did a little rework of their corporate philosophy from producing world-class quality refined sugar to world-class quality food. Sugar and fish are both food. The philosophy was now to produce quality food, from produce quality refined sugar. Oh, yes, the canned sardines were exported too. World class.

Then, some wise guy in the engineering department came up with the idea of going into construction. They have all the brains. Civil engineers, mechanical engineers – people who work in the mill. The engineers have clout because it was they who actually run the show in the sugar mill.

So, the top brass decided to go into the construction business, and poured millions into it. They went into construction full blast; roads, bridges, buildings. The company even built the gym of the university from where I graduated. The venture collapsed. Hundreds of millions were lost. Why?

The thing with mission is that you have to be true to it. You have to be true to your calling. It’s like a screw driver. You use it to drive screws right? But some people used it as a cold chisel. The screw driver handle won’t be able to withstand the hammering. It will be damaged severely. The same thing with mission. It cannot be misused.

So, you will have noticed the disparity between food and construction. Going into the construction business was a misuse of the Why. Even if they try to rework the mission it would be a hit or miss because the owners know next to nothing about construction. It was not in their blood, so to speak.

The Holy Grail of Internet Marketing

The Holy Grail of Internet Marketing: Or, What Makes the Best at Home Business?

What has the Holy Grail got to do with running an online home business? Keep reading and find out.

In the Medieval Ages, at the time when King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table were the go-to guys when there’s trouble in the country- side, strength, courage, and skill in swordplay were the order of the day.

And so, it was that when people needed help they call on the knights to do the job. The knights after all, were the ones with all the qualities of a hero.

But, amid all the chivalry and the saving of damsels in distress, there were the decadence and the ever-growing moral decay. At that time, life in the courts of royalty was marked by debauchery, and excess. Poets made a lucrative living by writing about such life, and people just loved reading their works. Such literature was called the Romances.

In these poems, often recited by troubadours, beautiful ladies married to ugly ogres of a husband, and running off with a dashing knight were extolled as exemplary. The knight in shining armor comes and deposes the ogre husband.

You will recall the love triangle of King Arthur, Guinevere, and Launcelot. But, King Arthur was not an ogre. He was a just king. Loved by his subjects. Aye, there’s the rub. But, that’s another story.

How it All Began

Going back, one such poet was a Frenchman by the name of Chretién de Troyes. He wrote four poems about King Arthur’s court. It was on his fifth poem that he had a change of heart. He obviously saw that the land was going down the road to perdition. He began writing about the old Celtic legend of the “graal”.

In the Celtic lore, the graal was a cauldron that had amazing power. It cooked and served up the most delicious food, and you could have as much as you want. Such lore could only be inspired by great hunger in that era.

The graal in Celtic lore was an earthen pot. In de Troyes’ version, the “graal” became the grail, and in his effort to bring about a moral turn-around, he made it look like the grail was holy.

He didn’t really say it was holy, but people who read it would see it as such. And so, the seed of the legend of the Holy Grail was sown.

A Pot Made of Clay Turned into a Cup Made of Gold

In his book about the grail, the hero was Perceval, or Percival. The title was “Perceval: The Story of the Grail.” Perceval was a sinner, but he was privileged to see a procession at the center of which was a young maiden holding aloft the grail.

As far as my memory serves me, the particular line from that book went something like –“she was holding a grail so bright, the candles paled and lost their brilliance, like the stars and the moon when the sun rises. The grail was made of pure gold and set into it were precious stones of many kinds; the most precious in the earth or the sea.”

This spectacular sight which very much resembled a Eucharistic procession, brought about Perceval’s epiphany. Unfortunately, before he could finish his work, de Troyes died.

This would have ended everything. But, de Troyes was a superstar during his time. His readers were left hanging, so other writers picked up where he left off and embellished his theme. It was in this embellishments that the name “Holy Grail” came into full fruition.

The Legend Continues and How You Can Use it to Your Advantage

De Troyes was no longer around to say how he would have ended his story. But, by this time, the grail had become something of an elusive artifact that brought power to whoever possessed it. So, it became the object of endless quests.

At some point, it was even thought that the grail was the cup from which Jesus drank the wine of the New Covenant during the Last Supper. This was far-fetched because in a supper shared by poor fishermen, carpenters, and shepherds gold tableware wouldn’t exist.

The point of all this is – if you could come up with something; an idea, or a theme, that would answer man’s craving for love, power, wealth or immortality and present it before him he would create images of it in his mind until it becomes so overpoweringly desirable he would strive actively to seek it, to acquire it. That’s what happened in the case of the Holy Grail.

The influence of the grail was so powerful that it invaded our thinking for hundreds of years. So powerful in fact that many believed it actually exists. Even now, many embark on adventures to look for it. Probably inspired by Hollywood.

In this day and age a grail is anything that is worth striving for. It has become synonymous with something of great value which is the equivalent of what we now call “a game changer.”

The Modern Grail

So now, in the era of the internet if you could answer anyone’s “burning need of the moment,” you would have done him a great service. It would be you who solved his problem. In his desire to fill his “burning need of the moment,” he will most probably end-up in your platform where your product or service is waiting for him. That is – if your website is a direct reflection of what he desires.

How would you do that? There are no pat answers to that question. But, if you are sincerely honest with your content, if they embody your values, your Why, and your core principles, you could not go wrong.

If you write content around your key phrases, and you put your heart into it, the people reading them would intuitively sense it. And, you will have friends for as long as you are in the web business.

There is now a double coincidence of needs that are satisfied. The need of your customer, and yours. You filled his need, but at the same time you satisfied your need to serve your purpose; your need to answer your Why.

Consider this, every Apple computer, iPhone, and iPad in the hands of consumers reflect the value put into it by the founder, Steve Jobs. You see a Tesla on the road and you see the quality, and the dream that’s at the core of everything the founder Elon Musk does.

The Holy Grail of the Moment

So, you have given your customer his Holy Grail of the moment. And, you also have your Holy Grail of the moment. The Holy Grail is what each of us create at our moment of great need. To a hungry, homeless person the grail is plateful of food.

There’s this story of a desert traveler whose camel ran off and left him. His food and water ran out. While he was trudging along, he saw a satchel lying on the sand.

He eagerly picked it up and trembling with anticipation, thinking of food, he opened it to see pearls. He exclaimed in dismay –“Alas! Here are only pearls.” Only pearls. Some other time, those pearls would really mean something. But, his need of the moment, his Holy Grail was food.

The Holy Grail that the knights sought and what some people in the current age still seek was figment of a poet’s imagination. But, you can make it real. It’s more than likely that your Holy Grail is already inside of you. Make your Holy Grail real and present in your online home business. Share it with your customers.