Start with Why

About a year ago, I had run across Simon Sinek’s talk about leading others by focusing on the “why” rather than the “what” or the “how”. People will align with your “why” — if your “why” is worthy and can be communicated concisely.

Rambling thoughts, try to pull together.

Shifts in communication, feelings of helplessness, anxiety and depression — all whole we’re living in an age of abundance. The contrast strikes me.

I still have this silly notion that I can change the world, but I now know I have to change myself first.

For more than a year now, I’ve struggled with how to shape without being grouchy.

I’ve been thinking about my personal “Why”. This and how I might boil it down to make it concise. I sort of knew it wasn’t going to be just one thing, and I struggled to simplify this down. This list goes to 11.

There were themes that ran through my thoughts:

  • Growth isn’t just movement toward a destination. Growth happens in how we handle the choices. Growth is the development of skill in recognizing and making those choices: The Journey is the Destination
  • Growth can be upward, but not a line. Maybe a spiral because there are cycles: failure and success, joy and sorrow, hope and despair. These ups and downs are opportunties to step back, observe where we are, and decide what is meaningful.
  • There are other cycles: Helping and being helped; teaching and being taught; pausing and moving forward. These cycles are the drills we repeat as we develop and grow.
  • Pausing to reflect whether or not we can do better — and reflect on what “better” means
  • Thrive: not just materially, but emotionally, socially, and spiritually as well.

I wasn’t sure how to write these down. And I’m still writing the story of my own experience.

To write down my purpose, my reasons for creating Angel Factories, I followed a pattern provided by Simon Sinek in his book “Start with Why“: To <take some action>, so that <I find some benefit>. These are my “why’s”:

  1. To walk deliberately, so that I can know my path.
  2. To know my path, so that I can see my choices.
  3. To see my choices, so that I’m sure to follow my dreams.
  4. To follow my dreams, so that I can find my soul purpose.
  5. To find my soul purpose, so that I can engage with what is real.
  6. To engage what is real, so that I know what is meaningful.
  7. To share what is meaningful, so that I bind myself to loved ones and our community.
  8. To serve my loved ones and our community, so that we thrive.
  9. To thrive, so that we have enough to help others.
  10. To help others, so that we become angels.
  11. To become an angel, so that I can walk deliberately along my path.

The “Why’s” form a cycle. At any given point in your life, you may find yourself in one spot or another. It doesn’t matter where we start; we always come back around to where we started, but with more experiences under our belt, and more suited to deliberately walking our path.

Tighter loop (maybe a diagram?):

  1. Step back to Observe (space between the thought and the reaction)
  2. Choose Angel Work (orient yourself)
  3. Live as an Angel (deliberate, abundant, in alignment with your soul)

Skill Progression 

As our knowledge and skill progress, we move from Student to Teacher. This describes five levels of knowledge and skill recognized by Angel Factories.

  1. Awareness
  2. Proficiency
  3. Capacity to Train others
  4. Leadership
  5. Angel

Characteristics of Awareness

  • Able to recognize, name, classify and describe the significant relationships.
  • Able to participate in discussions
  • Knowledge is gained by reading and listening rather than acting out and practicing


  • Able to perform a skill repeatably and with confidence
  • After repetition, able to perform without thinking about the steps
  • Sometimes able to perform without being able to explain the exact steps

Capacity to Train others

  • Able to break down the steps for others to follow
  • Able to assess current skill level of others and map out a plan to improve
  • Able to offer praise and encouragement


  • Able to identify latent needs that haven’t yet been recognized
  • Able to communicate the utility in meeting the need


  • Supports personal growth in others
  • Brings to bear Inter-disciplinary knowledge and experience
  • Inspires both by words and deeds

Earning your Wings

Capture of the levels and example activities.

  • Each Angel Factory has a set of Badges it awards.
  • Each Badge has a Path
  • Each Path has a set of Levels that follow this sequence
    • Awareness
    • Competency
    • Capacity to train
    • Leadership

A simple example: Cooking Breakfast Badge

  • Awareness Level
    • Eaten variety of prepared breakfasts
    • Read recipes
    • Watched others prepare breakfast
  • Competency Level
    • Followed recipes to prepare breakfast
    • Obtained ingredient lists
    • Assembled kitchen implements to prepare and serve the meal
  • Teaching Level
    • Helped others follow recipe
    • Organized team to prepare different parts of a meal
  • Leadership
    • Create and share new recipes
    • Use Breakfast for other purposes
    • Spread new ideas about Breakfast or old ideas in new ways
    • New methods for disabled people to prepare their own breakfast.

Leadership Tips

SMART Goals – Time Management Training From