“Regardless of WHAT we do in our lives, our WHY—our driving purpose, cause or belief—never changes.”

– Simon Sinek

A self-proclaimed unshakable optimist, Simon Oliver Sinek is a British-American author and leadership speaker & coach who believes in a bright future and our ability to build it together. 

I had first stumbled upon Simon’s work through his über popular TEDx talk ‘Start With Why’ back in 2009. In the poignant 20 min ‘presentation’, Simon shared the powerful idea of The Golden Circle: Why great leaders are able to inspire action – through understanding the ‘why’.

Since then, he had also written a New York Times Best Seller book of the same title where he illustrates that the leaders who have had the greatest influence all think, act, and communicate the same way.

And often, it’s the exact opposite of what everyone else is doing and/or has done.

An impeccable storyteller, I’ve read all but one of Simon’s insightful books and am fascinated with his ability to break down seemingly complex ideas & concepts into simplified yet actionable principles that we can reflect on and better our lives on a daily basis.

He’s an inspiration for all of those who seek to live a fulfilling and meaningful life by making positive contributions to the people around us, our communities, and the world at large. 

With that, below are some of my favorite words of wisdom uttered by the great man himself. May they inspire you as much they’ve inspired me. Enjoy!

On Work, Career & Leadership

“Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something we love is called passion.”

“If we manipulate people, they will give us exactly what we pay for. If we inspire people, they will give us more than we ask for.”

“Leadership is neither a rank nor a title. It is a choice. The choice to provide care and protection for those for whom we are responsible.”

“Great leaders must have two things: a vision of the world that does not yet exist and the ability to communicate that vision clearly.”

“The true value of a leader is not measured by the work they do. A leader’s true value is measured by the work they inspire others to do.”

“If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood, sweat, and tears.”

“Great leaders are willing to sacrifice the numbers to save the people. Poor leaders sacrifice the people to save the numbers.”

“Leadership is not a journey to rise in the ranks. Leadership is a journey to help those around us rise.”

“We imagine a world in which the vast majority of people wake up every day inspired, feel safe wherever they are and end the day fulfilled by the work they do.”

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it, and what you do simply serves as the proof of what you believe.”

“When we know why we do what we do, everything falls into place. When we don’t, we have to push things into place.”

On Life, Love & Everything Else

“Dream big. Start small. But most of all, start.”

“We have to dream. How else will we make a future that does not yet exist?”

“Martin Luther King gave the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, not the ‘I Have a Plan’ speech.”

“Always plan for the fact that no plan ever goes according to plan.”

“Safe is good for sidewalks and swimming pools but life requires risk if we are to get anywhere.”

“If we want to achieve anything in this world, we have to get used to the idea that not everyone will like us.”

“If everything goes right, we get a good experience. If everything goes wrong, we get a good story.”

“Putting yourself first is not selfish. Quite the opposite. You must put your happiness and health first before you can be of help to anyone else.”

“Hearing is listening to what is said. Listening is hearing what isn’t said.”

“Life is beautiful not because of the things we see or do. Life is beautiful because of the people we meet.”

“That’s the problem with love; we only know when we’ve found it because it “just feels right.”

“My favorite definition of love is giving someone the power to destroy us and trusting they won’t use it.”

“True love is when two people think they have the better half of the deal.” 

“The mind can be convinced but the heart must be won.”

“You are authentic when everything you say and everything you do you ACTUALLY believe.”

“The primary ingredient for progress is optimism. That unwavering belief that something can be better, drives the human race forward.”

“Don’t give to get. Give to inspire others to give.”

“Reality does its thing… so why help it? Be an idealist, see what happens…”

Read More: The Mark of a Truly Great Leader

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