Why we do what we do!
If you haven’t heard of Simon Sinek, you are part of a group that is growing smaller by the second. Simon is an ethnologist by training who has become a global phenomenon, so much so that he was invited to address the United Nations. He also has a TED Talk with more than 23 million views. His success hinges on a few simple ideas, and he has developed a way of explaining why certain leaders and companies in the world stand out from the rest – He calls it the “Golden Circle”. As he explains it, every company in the world knows WHAT they do. Apple, for example, knows that they make computers. Some companies also know HOW they do it. Apple makes beautifully designed, user-friendly computers.
What’s most important
is the WHY. Very few people or organizations know WHY they do what they do. For Sinek, WHY refers to what your purpose, cause or belief is. “Why does your organization exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should anyone care?” he asks. According to Sinek, those that stand out are the organizations that start with the WHY and work their way out from there. In the case of Apple, they start with the idea that in everything they do, they believe in challenging the status quo and doing things differently. That is their WHY. HOW they do that is by making products that are beautiful and user friendly. WHAT they do is make great computers. This, Simon Sinek argues, is what sets them apart from all the other computer companies out there. It’s what makes Apple so successful. This is also why people like Martin Luther King Jr. and the Wright brothers were successful in their endeavors. They knew WHY they were doing the things they did, and so they attracted people who had similar beliefs, ultimately leading to their successes.
At Explore Pelee, we find Simon’s theories inspiring, and decided to take some time to reflect on why each of us do what we do.
Owning and running Explore Pelee has been a dream come true. I always wanted to work for myself and do that somewhere I wanted to live, use my education and live on a cool island!
After losing my mother at the age of 27, I didn’t know what else to do but move to Pelee Island and start fresh. Sometimes following through with those crazy ideas does get you somewhere.
I love meeting new people, I love adventure, I love exploring the outdoors and enjoying the simple things in life. And I love living in small communities where you know your neighbours, don’t have to lock your house or car. I trust people and if I need anything, it’s a phone call away. This season has been amazing with a stand-up team who ‘get it’. At times, I feel like my vision for Explore Pelee has changed to meet the needs of the industry. I started Explore Pelee with my dad’s old mountain bike from Canadian Tire and a hand painted sign that said Explore Pelee. I’d stand outside rain or shine and meet the ferry gathering up people who wanted to tour around the island. Eight seasons later, Explore Pelee has taught me a lot. I am also passionate about teaching others what I know and helping others reach their potential fulfilling lives. This one life has so much to offer, as long as you are willing to stick your head out and give it a go!
When breaking down Explore Pelee, it is simple to determine our WHAT and our HOW. WHAT: providing astounding island tours to visitors of the island and HOW: is by hiring enthusiastic, quick to learn and excitable staff. But WHY do we do what we do, and WHY are we successful in what we do? Speaking for myself, my WHY comes from the desire to provide a quality service to those who visit Pelee, and also comes from the desire to teach others about the historical and ecological value of Pelee. It is true that our staff could be working elsewhere, but it is also true that we are far more fulfilled working for Explore Pelee. We spend our days outdoors, living active lives, spending time with fantastic customers, and we have the opportunity to teach others, while also learning new things everyday. It sounds like a dream job, and quite frankly, it has been. The WHY for me becomes incredibly simple, WHY I work for Explore Pelee is because it makes me excited to go to work, and that is far more valuable then any paycheck.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a bit nutty about nature. I was that kid who had terrariums full of snails, spiders and caterpillars. I usually had a snake in my pocket and praying mantises on my shoulders. As pets I kept crawfish and other weird critters. As much as I loved the company of my animal friends, what was most exciting was the times when I could get other people excited about them as well. WHY I do what I do is to feed my passion for natural environments and getting people excited about them. I love making people happy every day and presenting them with new and exciting experiences. HOW I do this is by presenting myself as an enthusiastic, knowledgeable and reliable guide to their experience. WHAT I do is work as a guide with Explore Pelee.
There is no harder question to answer in the world than “Why?” There is always another “Why?” after you have answered the first one. It may be a troublesome problem but it has given certain people the drive and passion to do things that are outside the scope of normal people’s lives. Why move to an island that most people have never heard about? Why work long hours trying to please complete strangers? Why live on an island where the grocery store closes at 2 pm? Why live a life where dial-up internet is still a thing? I have come up with several answers to these questions, but continue to come up with more questions. However, I’ve found that my favourite answer to this question is: “Because I can.” Life is for living and the best way to this is to continue searching for new experiences, new challenges, and new adventures. That is the reason why I chose to work as a guide for Explore Pelee and live on this island. In this industry, nothing is ever the same, nothing is ever easy, but at least you can always find something that gives you the answer you are looking for.