Understanding the importance of WHY and other motivational leadership quotes

During an Executive Leadership workshop, I was asked what my favorite motivational leadership quote is and I never have to think a single second to answer this question. “Don’t summon your men to build a ship, instead develop their yearning for the seas.” by Antoine de Saint Exupery and I always enjoy explaining why this one is my favorite since the first time I read it.

To me, this is the best description of the importance of WHY. Long before I became a huge fan of the work by Simon Sinek, my friend and coach Roeland Westerman had already made me aware of the importance of knowing why. Knowing why, understanding why, being able to explain why, being passionate about addressing why. Don’t do things because you have to, do things because you know what you have to do them, because you know why you want to do them.

All this packed in a wonderful quote. Why do I want to do the hard work to build that ship? Why do I want others to help me building that ship? Why would others want to help me to build that ship? Because we want to sail the seas, that is why. That is why we invest our time and effort in building that ship. Not because we want to have a ship. Because we want to sail the seas. That is our motivation, that is our passion and it is driven by knowing why.

Just one quote with high impact on my development and way of thinking. There are of course much more very useful motivational leadership quotes and I made it a habit to read a quote every day. As inspiration, or motivation, of just to reaffirm my own focus on what is important. I will regularly post my favorite ones here: