- Kathryn Johnson, MA
The Importance of 'Why'
“Am I in the right career?”
This is something we all ask ourselves from time to time, some more than others. There’s a great saying that “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” Doubt can lead to many poor decisions and when I heard Simon Sinek’s TED talk on “Starting with Why”, it made me change the way I look at my career choices.
Known for being a leadership guru, Simon Sinek asks people to focus on why you are choosing a particular career or business move first before focusing on marketing. You need to have a clear ‘why’ of why you care about this work before you can offer your services. Sinek’s key message is that “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
So how do you communicate your ‘why’? When we know why we doing things, we feel a sense of purpose. And when we have purpose, we will go above and beyond to support it. No matter how hard we try, emotions trump reason every time.
Starting out as a Virtual Assistant [insert applicable career], I had no idea of where to start. I didn’t necessarily choose to become a VA. I was put in the role when an opportunity allowed me to branch out from stay-at-home mom life with the flexibility of working from home. When I meet with potential clients, I start by telling them my ‘why’ and the level of engagement was always higher. My ‘why’ is that struggle of the mom-work balance with a mix of military life. My family will always come before my work but my work reminds me to take care of me. When I’ve had a successful day with clients it translates into a more successful day with my family.
Your ‘why’ matters to your clients. Yes, your services have to line up with their needs. But if you only focus on the laundry list of skills you lose sight of the bigger picture.
With your ‘why’ identified, you can move on to your ‘what’. Your services are your ‘what’.
Most VAs don’t know how to do everything when they start – no one does. Focus on what you do know. These items will be what your clients hire you for. Essentially every client seeking a VA needs someone to help manage them. It could be tasks like managing their calendar, updating spreadsheets, preparing blogs, or creating social media posts. Use your marketable skills that you already have to make your entrance into the VA field as easy as you can.
When you lead your career with your ‘why’ you are building your business around a cause. And when you have a good cause, you will attract the people who support your ‘why’.
About the Author
Kathryn founded KJ Virtual Assistance in 2016 on the sole principle that you should love the work you do. When reflecting on past positions, there was a prominent trend in administrative roles ranking amongst her favorite. From her time in the Operations Department at the University of Miami to assisting her College Chaplain, the various aspects of a support role have always fulfilled her. Learn more about Kathryn.