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I’m reading Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” – I’ve seen Simon in his TED talk – which I strongly recommend. The premise is simple – start any examination of purpose or message by asking “why” – instead of “how” or “what”.

I just got off the phone with a potential new client looking for direction on her website re-design. She is being burned by unqualified developers who have lead her down a garden path and dumped her out the other end with a crummy looking site. In reviewing the work I realized that what was wrong wasn’t so much the web design itself but the core brand message. Everyone on this project forgot to ask “Why?” – Why do you do what you do? Why do you get excited about your job, your clients, your projects? Why should I work with you? Why do you care?

I stopped her in the middle of our conversation and asked her that – “why do you do what you do?” – and I got a long pause. Which was a real surprise as she strikes me as a person who would really be connected fundamentally to her practice.

The conversation that ensued was illuminating. I won’t go into it. I have a question for you – reader – and myself: “Why do you do what you do?”

I’m a designer, photographer, marketing strategist, etc…. – that’s my “what”. My “WHY” – fundamentally – is that I love taking on the challenge of transforming how my clients are seen by the world and by themselves. I love bringing passion, story, drama, beauty and clarity through images and words to the world. I love that moment when my clients see themselves in a whole new light – fully realized and expressed in a way that they simply couldn’t articulate or get to themselves.

What’s your WHY? Let me know.


(photo – Kevin Sprague – from the marketing for Joanne Ackerman’s “The Taster” at Shakespeare & Company a few years back)