Simon Sinek helps Dover Airmen find their “why”
By Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne, 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 06, 2018
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. --
Simon Sinek visited Dover Air Force Base Feb. 1-2, 2018, to speak with the Airmen and learn more about the Air Force.
During his stay, Sinek spoke with Airmen in multiple venues including a base all call. He also toured the Department of Defense’s largest aerial port and the C-5 Isochronal Inspection Dock, which was his first time seeing and spending time with Airmen at these locations. The Airmen showed him what they do on a daily basis and some unique roles they fill at Dover AFB. On his final day, he observed an aerial refueling training mission from aboard a 9th Airlift Squadron C-5M Super Galaxy.
Sinek was invited to Dover AFB by his long-time friend, Lt. Col. Charles Throckmorton, 436th Operations Group deputy commander.
“Most of you have already Googled Simon, or you’ve already heard of him, right?” Throckmorton asked as he introduced Sinek during the all call. “I can tell you there is no one more devoted to taking care of, and telling the story of, Airmen and the United States military than Simon Sinek, and that’s why we wanted him here. We wanted him here to hear your story, and we wanted him here to listen and to give advice.”
Sinek spoke about his experiences, covering topics such as leadership and followership, customer service and finding the “why.” The topics were specific to the military experience, and each session ended with a lengthy question and answer period.
“My journey started about 12 years ago,” Sinek said during the all call. “I had what superficially looked like a good life. I owned my own small business. I had good clients. I made a decent living – wasn’t getting rich, but I was working for myself. Superficially, my life was good, except I lost my passion, and I didn’t want to wake up and do it again. I was embarrassed by that, because superficially, my life was good. I didn’t admit to anybody that I was actually pretending I was happier, more in control, more successful than I actually felt.
“It turns out that takes a lot of energy. If you lack passion, that sucks it out of you even more. It became more and more difficult and more and more lonely. It wasn’t until a dear friend of mine came to me concerned about me that I had the courage to admit that I was struggling, and that admission took a huge weight off my shoulders and gave me the mind space to now find a solution I wasn’t able to prior.
“That’s when I discovered that every single one of us, every single organization on this planet functions on three levels: what we do, how we do it and why we do it. We all know what we do, that’s your job. Some of us know how we do it, the thing that you think makes you stand out. Very few of us can clearly articulate why we do what we do. I realized that was missing for me. I became obsessed with finding my why and it worked. I found my why and it restored my passion to levels I’d never experienced.”
Along with the “why,” Sinek explained that leadership and followership are extremely important to customer service and worker satisfaction.
“You can be a leader at any rank … you always have the option to be the leader you wish you had,” Sinek said. “We become better pilots, better accountants and better maintainers when we commit ourselves to seeing others grow. Magically, some of them will push us to see us grow too. Isn’t that what it’s all for?”
At the end of Sinek’s message and a question and answer period, Col. Ethan Griffin, 436th Airlift Wing commander thanked Sinek for spending time with them.
“Mr. Sinek, on behalf of the entire team, I really want to thank you so much for being here,” Griffin said. “If you drop a stone into a pool, there’s a ripple and that ripple continues to affect. I think what we really appreciate that you’ve done for us today is getting us thinking. Getting us thinking about infinite life and where we fit, both in our professional and our personal lives. I think all of us will take the opportunity to keep thinking about this and share this with our friends and families and continue to make that ripple go along.”