38 Terrific Quotes from Start with Why

Simon Sinek is a bestselling author known for creating his powerful model for inspirational leadership. His book, ‘Start with Why,’ goes over how to inspire action. Here is a look at some terrific quotes from ‘Start with Why’ that will help to encourage a positive change to your leadership abilities.

“All organizations start with WHY, but only the great ones keep their WHY clear year after year. Those who forget WHY they were founded show up to the race every day to outdo someone else instead of to outdo themselves. The pursuit, for those who lose sight of WHY they are running the race, is for the medal or to beat someone else.”

“As anyone who starts a business knows, it is a fantastic race. There is a statistic that hangs over your head – over 90 percent of all new businesses fail in the first three years. For anyone with even a bit of competitive spirit in them, especially for someone who defines himself or herself as an entrepreneur, these overwhelming odds of failure are not intimidating, they only add fuel to the fire. The foolishness of thinking that you’re a part of the small minority of those who actually will make it past three years and defy the odds is part of what makes entrepreneurs who they are, driven by passion and completely irrational.”

“Average companies give their people something to work on. In contrast, the most innovative organizations give their people something to work toward.”

“Being the leader means you hold the highest rank, either by earning it, good fortune or navigating internal politics. Leading, however, means that others willingly follow you—not because they have to, not because they are paid to, but because they want to.”

“But no matter how inspiring a dream maybe, a dream that cannot come to life stays a dream.”

“Charisma has nothing to do with energy; it comes from a clarity of WHY. It comes from absolute conviction in an ideal bigger than oneself. Energy, in contrast, comes from a good night’s sleep or lots of caffeine. Energy can excite. But only charisma can inspire. Charisma commands loyalty. Energy does not.”


“Every company, organization or group with the ability to inspire starts with a person or small group of people who were inspired to do something bigger than themselves. Gaining clarity of WHY, ironically, is not the hard part. It is the discipline to trust one’s gut, to stay true to one’s purpose, cause or beliefs. Remaining completely in balance and authentic is the most difficult part.”

“Finding WHY is a process of discovery, not invention.”

“For great leaders, The Golden Circle is in balance. They are in pursuit of WHY, they hold themselves accountable to HOW they do it and WHAT they do serves as the tangible proof of what they believe.”

“Great companies don’t hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them.”

“Great leaders and great organizations are good at seeing what most of us can’t see. They are good at giving us things we would never think of asking for.”

“Great leaders are those who trust their gut. They are those who understand the art before the science. They win hearts before minds. They are the ones who start with WHY.”

“Henry Ford summed it up best. “If I had asked people what they wanted,he said, “they would have said a faster horse.”

“If the leader of the organization can’t clearly articulate WHY the organization exists in terms beyond its products or services, then how does he expect the employees to know WHY to come to work?”

“If they had started their sales pitch with WHY the product existed in the first place, the product itself would have become the proof of the higher cause—proof of WHY.”

“Instead of asking, “WHAT should we do to compete?the questions must be asked, “WHY did we start doing WHAT we’re doing in the first place, and WHAT can we do to bring our cause to life considering all the technologies and market opportunities available today?”

“Leadership is the ability to rally people not for a single event, but for years.”

“Leadership requires two things: a vision of the world that does not yet exist and the ability to communicate it.”

“Our need to belong is not rational, but it is a constant that exists across all people in all cultures.”

“Our visions are the world we imagine, the tangible results of what the world would look like if we spent every day in pursuit of our WHY.”

“Put bluntly, the struggle that so many companies have to differentiate or communicate their true value to the outside world is not a business problem, it’s a biology problem. And just like a person struggling to put her emotions into words, we rely on metaphors, imagery and analogies in an attempt to communicate how we feel. Absent the proper language to share our deep emotions, our purpose, cause or belief, we tell stories. We use symbols. We create tangible things for those who believe what we believe to point to and say, “That’s why I’m inspired.” If done properly, that’s what marketing, branding and products and services become; a way for organizations to communicate to the outside world. Communicate clearly and you shall be understood.”

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

“Some in management positions operate as if they are in a tree of monkeys. They make sure that everyone at the top of the tree looking down sees only smiles. But all too often, those at the bottom looking up see only asses.”

“Studies show that over 80 percent of Americans do not have their dream job. If more knew how to build organizations that inspire, we could live in a world in which that statistic was the reverse – a world in which over 80 percent of people loved their jobs. People who love going to work are more productive and more creative. They go home happier and have happier families. They treat their colleagues and clients and customers better. Inspired employees make for stronger companies and stronger economies.”

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

“The role of a leader is not to come up with all the great ideas. The role of a leader is to create an environment in which great ideas can happen.”

“There are leaders and there are those who lead. Leaders hold a position of power or influence. Those who lead inspire us.”

“There are many ways to motivate people to do things, but loyalty comes from the ability to inspire people.”

“There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it.”

“This is important because our behavior is affected by our assumptions or our perceived truths. We make decisions based on what we think we know.”

“two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it.”

“We are drawn to leaders and organizations that are good at communicating what they believe. Their ability to make us feel like we belong, to make us feel special, safe and not alone is part of what gives them the ability to inspire us.”

“We say WHAT we do, we sometimes say HOW we do it, but we rarely say WHY we do WHAT we do.”

“When people know WHY you do WHAT you do, they are willing to give you credit for everything that could serve as proof of WHY.”

“When they are unclear about your WHY, WHAT you do has no context.”

“When you compete against everyone else, no one wants to help you. But when you compete against yourself, everyone wants to help you.”

“When you start with WHY, those who believe what you believe are drawn to you for very personal reasons. It is those who share your values and beliefs, not the quality of your products, that will cause the system to tip.”

“You don’t hire for skills, you hire for attitude. You can always teach skills.”

Simon Sinek appears at this Tedx Talk where he discusses how to start with why. In order to be a successful leader, you must first be able to inspire action.

Here are the secret tactics I used to build my website traffic to over 2 million monthly visitors and grow my email list to over 100,000 subscribers:
9 Secrets to Increasing Website Visitors and Email Subscribers