Why We Want To Inspire | By River Grey


“If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything,” as the adage famously states. Standing in your beliefs and having a clear voice as to why you do what you do is visceral and of the utmost importance to you as a successful person. We trust those with whom we have common morals or beliefs.  We get behind those dreamers who have a clear voice, sometimes at our own risk, because we are drawn to their words and their energy. They inspire us. People don’t buy what you do, they buy WHY you do it.

Think of a person that has inspired you over the years.

Now think of what that person stood for, what were their values? You may find you have a strong connection with this individual even when they didn’t perform at their best because your core values align with theirs. You’re willing to stick by them during their highs and lows.

Think of a business that has inspired you. You can apply the same methodology behind the individual with whom you felt inspiration and a business that moved you with it’s values and beliefs. You stand by these companies and their products, maybe when they’re not performing as well as they have in the past. This is because we do business with people we trust.

It’s so important for a company to have a core value and code of ethics which they operate by. Not only do you preach this value but you live by it. Consistency is key and actions will always speak louder than words.

You’re not going to say you’re a vegetarian and then go hunting deer.

Nor are you going to say you support green energy but you leave all the lights on in your house.

Everything you say and do, you have to actually put into practice. This authenticity moves people and makes them want to do business with you. Having that strong sense of why you exist is inspiring.

Knowing Why

Your WHY is your mission statement. Anybody can tell you what they do and how they do it but WHY do they do it? There’s something that inspires us all to get into a job, or politics, or the arts. For me, it’s always been a need to start healthy conversations and get people talking and thinking outside the box.

Think about why you’re in your current career. Often times we find ourselves complacent in what we do for a living. It’s not that we don't love our jobs, they’ve just become mundane and robotic.

A wonderful way to reboot your mental hard drive is to remind yourself of WHY you’re in your current position. Maybe you’ll realize you don’t have a reason anymore and you’re looking for something greater. Maybe you’ll recall all the reasons you pursued this career in the first place and feel reinvigorated and this will spark you to work harder.

Knowing your “why” is the foundation for a solid, long lasting business.

Your Product Must Align With Your Why

Inspiration has a palpable energy that makes other’s take note. It makes people want to rally behind you because they believe in why you do all that you do. Smart businesses use inspiration to sell products because it appeals to your morals and values. However there are many companies that will use manipulative tactics to get you to buy into their product. Whether with large cash back rebates or buy one phone, get one free, or celebrity endorsements that don’t quite match up. In 2017, Pepsi hired Kendall Jenner to promote their soda with a social justice ad. When you think Kendall Jenner, I can 100% guarantee you don’t associate her with social issues that face our country. Yet that’s what Pepsi presented to us in their ad campaign. If you’re going to use a face to promote your product, use a face that represents what your product stands for.

In 2018, Nike rolled out their newest ad campaign featuring Colin Kapernick. “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything,” Kaepernick says in the ad. Many perceived this not only as a bold move but commercial suicide for Nike. Kapernick stirred emotion over the previous years when he knelt or sat down for the National Anthem in protest of black lives being lost at the hands of police brutality. His convictions were so strong that ultimately it cost him his football career. Kapernick’s iron-clad conviction sparked debate but more importantly moved people of all races so much that Nike made him the face of their brand. Nike made this calculated move because their core values, or their “why,” aligned with that of Kapernick’s “why.”

In effect, the 18-34 year old age group ran out and purchased Nike products in solidarity of Colin Kapernick’s beliefs. This daring move for Nike that paid off big time. By mid September 2018, their stock was trading at $83.47, which was an all-time high for the company.

In contrast, Sprint made their 2016 ad campaign smearing another large cellular company. They hired Verizon’s old “can you hear me now guy” to market why you should switch your cell phone provider to Sprint.

This ad does not inspire and it does not align with Sprint’s mission statement. It’s just a cheap shot at a competitor which comes off as tedious and uncreative. At the end of the day this does not benefit Sprint. They may be cheaper but they have less cell phone towers which makes their service harder to rely on. Sprint banked on a manipulation of comparing price to gain customers however, Verizon, while more expensive, has a larger number of cell towers across the country, thus giving them the lead in cell phone service. Strong-arming your viewers into buying your product is a quick fix.

While it might garner a surge in new clientele, the second you let them down, they will leave you.

If you inspire your buyers and they stand by your brand, they’ll continue to stick with your company through thick and thin because you built a brand that’s inspirational.

Like Minds Do Business With Like Minds

I recall applying for my first full time job as a bank teller, when I was 19. Previously I had been employed by Walgreens and had no experience in banking what-so-ever. I showed up to the interview dressed accordingly but I did not remove my tongue piercing that I had at the time. For the most part is a huge faux pas for any professional job interview. However I was still hired. So why did my manager at the time take a chance on a teenager with no banking experience and a visible tongue piercing?

I was kind, outgoing, cared about putting positive energy into the world, and had a strong willingness to learn. Fortunately for me, these core values aligned perfectly with that of my hiring manager, Danielle.

When I asked why she hired me with no experience she replied, “I can teach anyone to do this job but I can’t teach everyone to be nice.”

I wasn’t hired because of my education or experience; I was hired because I shared in a passion for why I do what I do.

People want to work with people who have similar beliefs. Trust is so important and if your foundation is rooted in a common value than trust can exist right off the bat. This is true in relationships, in hiring the right staff, and in building a business.

So ask yourself “what is your why?”

Ask what your purpose, your cause or you belief is.  

Why does your company exist? Why does your product breath?

These questions will give you the solid ground you’re looking to launch yourself from and will prove to make you extremely successful.