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)


We’re building a world where everyone lives without regretting:

  • Spending too many hours working and not enough time with family and friends,
  • Caught up in daily existence and not keeping in touch with friends,
  • Feeling guilty and not letting ourselves be happy,
  • Paying too much attention to what others think and not finding the courage to express our true selves,
  • Living as others expect instead of living a life true to your own dreams.

Why, How, What – Working Page

Using this page to organize the different thoughts and beliefs regarding a WHY.


  • “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”  — Henry David Thoreau, Walden


Following the Template – To ___, so that ___

  • To get ourselves “back to the garden”, so we don’t wait until it’s too late.
  • To listen carefully for the tiny voices of our souls, so that we recognize that voice in others.
  • To get our souls free, so that we may live a life true to who we are.
  • To replace unquestioned pedestals with those of our choosing so that we can live a life true to our own dreams
  • To create new sources of people power, so that we value what counts.
  • To tap into the latent power of people, so that we value what counts.


To learn about my path, so that I can be aware of the choices I can make.

To be aware of the choices I can make, so that I can guide my life story.

To guide my life story, so that I can find my soul purpose.

To find my soul purpose, so that I can engage.

To engage, so that I can connect with my loved ones and our community.

To connect with my loved ones and our community, so that we thrive.

To thrive, so that we have enough to help others.

To help others, so that we become angels.



Angel Factories? Are we building Angels?

This should turn into a story about how we came to be Angel Factories. The Long Answer below is a good place to start.

Shortest Answer

Yes and No.

Kind of Short Answer

We’re encouraging the development of people, organizations and communities who provide leadership toward “higher goals” — but higher goals which are not necessarily specific to any particular religious doctrine.

Long answer

Spring 2011, the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition hosted 500 cyclists of all ages on a bicycle tour of the newborn BeltLine. To enjoyably and safely escort several hundred riders through Atlanta’s urban and hilly motorscape, about 40 capable volunteers were trained to lead. Those ride leaders were called “Bike Angels”.

The bike part was knowing the routes, obeying bike-appropriate traffic rules, and keeping the group together.

The angel part was more ethereal, but had the following qualities:

  • Leads by example
  • Offers positive and uplifting encouragement
  • Watches over and directly intervenes only if necessary
  • Opens the doors to happiness, if not love

These angel qualities are latent in all of us.  Angel Factories recognize, develop, and bring forth those latent qualities.


We Believe in …

  • Morals over Laws
  • Inspiration over Persuasion
  • Experience over Possessions
  • Value over Money
  • Relationships over Networks
  • Health over Productivity
  • Love over Fear
  • Listening over Explaining
  • Journeys over Destinations
  • Responsibility over Blame
  • Kindness over Might
  • Ideas over Things
  • Gratitude over Acquisition
  • Sport over Competition
  • Playfulness over Ambition
  • Action over Selling
  • Engagement over Posturing
  • Only Us over Us vs. Them
  • One for All and All for One
  • We believe we need to count what counts, because not everything that can be counted counts.
  • We believe living without regret is the compass by which to judge what we value most
  • We believe in the power of our supportive relationships to help us thrive
  • We believe in teamwork; the whole is greater than the sum of the parts
  • We believe in growth; the journey is the destination
  • We believe in light; inspiration is good stress, fear is bad stress
  • We believe what you put in determines what you get out
  • We believe to bring love, health, and happiness into your world, you will become love, health, and happiness.
  • We believe there are many paths to follow and that while we can learn from the paths of others, we must choose our own path
  • We believe in purpose; start with why, and the rest will follow.
  • We believe in experience over possessions.
  • We believe money is only a tool, and never a goal.
  • We believe you get what you measure


These are some ideas under consideration.

  • We believe in Inspiration over Fear
  • We believe in accepting responsibility over blame
  • We believe in gratitude; noticing what you have instead of dwelling what you don’t have helps us see our bounty and allows us to take a stance of giving
  • We believe in becoming the change we want to see in the world; our stories are about transformation, and that starts with personal transformation.
  • We believe in action over talk; although action starts with an idea, that idea must spread, but it’s the action that delivers the why (rough)
  • We believe in giving 100% effort to whatever you do; whatever you choose to do, do with all your might.
  • We believe the individual is both the reason and the means of happiness
  • “When they go low, we go high” brings attention to an adversarial stance that isn’t necessary, but Higher Purpose is good.
  • Some Keys:
    • There are many paths; the paths make a Map
    • The Journey is the Destination
    • Light: Inspiration over Fear