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Ultimate Success Starts with Knowing YOUR WHY

Updated: Apr 21, 2023

Ultimate Success Starts with Knowing YOUR WHY


One of my favourite quotes from Mark Twain reads, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why." Once you know your “WHY”, it will provide a pathway of HOW to do what you need to do to keep thriving both personally and professionally.

I’ve always been fascinated to deeply understand the exact moment that inspired monumental change within the lives of people. If asked, we all can pinpoint certain experiences of our lives that changed our circumstances and thereby the trajectory of our life journey in a moment. Our podcast, “The Hot Switch” shares stories of how thought leaders of industry and A-Listers in show business use their personal insight of their “WHY” to help them move through challenges to continue to find ways to thrive every day no matter what obstacles seem to be stopping them.

7 Tips to Set Yourself Up for Continued Success:

1. Be Curious about Every Aspect of your business and the people you work with.

2. Discover How to Create a Buoyant and Fun Environment to work within.

3. Learn How to Belly Laugh at Yourself.

4. Be Humble and Hungry to Learn Every Day.

5. Stay Present and Informed at all times.

6. Expect to Change and Course Correct Every Day.

7. Consistently Acknowledge and Thank the people within your circle of influence.

What you do today creates your future; your tomorrow. Every connection, every action and reaction play a part in affecting, in real time, your reputation. How you respond and leverage these moments determines your journey. Many people have the opportunity to make changes to the things that are not working, but the truth is, not everyone shows up to take the required steps to make it happen.

Knowing our Why dictates How to go about our everyday business:

Most people know English award-winning actor, Sir Derek Jacobi. Known for playing the greatest leading roles in the most important and beautiful theatres in the world. The Royal Shakespeare Company production of Cyrano de Bergerac was brought to Broadway where he played the title role. On opening night, Mr. Jacobi was scheduled to be interviewed by an entertainment reporter for a national newspaper directly after the show. When Mr. Jacobi and the reporter sat down for their interview, the reporter couldn’t help but notice his frail frame as slowly sat down to chat. The first two minutes were interrupted by an incessant cough and nose blowing. Derek the actor had a terrible cold and could hardly speak. The reporter shared that he was sitting in the second row and didn’t notice any signs of him being sick.

“How did you do your performance? Couldn’t you have cancelled the show?”, the reporter asked. Mr. Jacobi replied without hesitation, “My dear boy, the audience didn’t pay tickets to see Derek Jacobi with a cold; they came to see Cyrano de Bergerac”.


How we respond to challenges and obstacles dictates our longevity in business and our ultimate success:

Kathy Ireland, Chair, CEO and Chief Designer of kathy ireland® Worldwide (kiWW®), is a fashion and home industry icon, whose unprecedented, American entrepreneurial success, inspired the term, Model-Preneur. She was my very first guest, an auspicious occasion for me. Kathy’s significant ‘Hot Switch’ moment happened over the last few years. It was the lesson she thought she had learned with all of the experience she and her team had, to: “not put all of your eggs into one basket”. She continued sharing this story that too many of us repeat and never truly change. One of her manufacturing companies who depended solely on one supplier, went bankrupt, much to the surprise of Kathy and her experienced team. This supplier provided the core of many of their raw materials, leaving this part of her business frozen. With deadlines to meet for her customers’, this circumstance was heart-breaking. Kathy went on to share that it didn’t matter that they were all veterans with years of experience. Things happen and no one is to blame about the situation. Our assignment now was to quickly figure out how to adjust our actions to ensure that our customers still received what we guaranteed we would deliver.


Within a few short weeks, their leadership team switched a number of vital aspects to that business, including working with more suppliers and their customers with total transparency. Before too long, they were moving in a much more enhanced direction that ultimately provided better service and more product options to their customers, “…a great lesson learned that will only help in our future endeavours” Kathy noted. As we were talking, I couldn’t help notice that there was absolutely no defeat or disappointment attached to this story. This is how world-class professionals deal with unexpected matters. They don’t waste time and valuable emotions, pointing fingers or folding in the towel. They continue to work. It was refreshing to hear a leader of industry share the reality that - we all face challenges, no matter how successful we have proven to be. Today is all that matters.

The lesson learned here is, not to fear impediments, or that moment when the unthinkable can occur, but to steel ourselves and have the courage to be fluid in the face of challenge.

It is not the situation that will define us; it’s how we respond to the situation that will tell the real story about who we are and will lead us to finding out our WHY.

-Alli Mang


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