Simon Sinek - Why His 'Millennials' Interview Went Viral
By Kris Deichler, Associate Partner & Mentorship Coach, Lighthouse International
"You have an entire generation that's growing up with lower self-esteem than previous generations."
~ Simon Sinek
The 'Millennial' generation is officially made up of those born between 1982 and 2002. In other words, anyone in their early teens up to their early thirties today. According to recent statistics they are, in the US alone; the largest and most educated generation in history (approx 85-90 million). They're also 40% of unemployed workers according to US Census data. Of this, PEW Research says they are:
“The first in [the] modern era to have higher levels of student loan debt, poverty and unemployment, and lower levels of wealth and personal income than any other generation at the same stage of life.”
Simon Sinek is a speaker, consultant and author of the 2009 book, Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action. However, he's quickly becoming even better known for an interview about Millennials and the Work Place (included below if you haven't seen it), which has since gone viral around the world... Why is that? Why do people value this so much that they then want to share it - and indeed how can this help us in our lives, careers and business relationships?
Master People & Become a Master Communicator
The answer, in this case, is that he astutely understands and can communicate to one critical thing...people!! In this case, the millennial generation. Because he's so curious about the human condition, his work has caused him to take a deep interest in people and this then led him to research and understand people's thought patterns and behaviours. It's because he's begun to master and understand people so well, that he's able to explain why they feel the way they do - better than they probably could themselves.
Here's a quote from his interview ... any of us might relate to:
"We're growing up in a Facebook, Instagram world... We're good at showing people that life is AMAZING - even though I'm depressed! So everybody sounds tough and everybody sounds like they've got it all figured out, and indeed the reality is that there is very little toughness ... and most people don't have it figured out."
Why Understanding People Is So Powerful
The principle of empathic communication is all about ensuring we understand others as accurately as possible - in order to communicate with them in ways they will relate to, feel open about and understand easily.
Just ask yourself, when you feel someone has genuinely understood you and the way you feel about something ... don't you really feel more open and willing to speak to them about things you normally wouldn't? When someone describes something you strongly relate to in your own experience, don't you feel drawn to them?
The answers to both of these questions are most likely going to be yes, and the reason for that is - when we feel someone understands us, we become less guarded, less sceptical of their motives and much more likely to value their opinions. In other words, we start to trust them more.
If we want to build trust, stronger relationships and positive influence with people; whether it's our partner, family, friends, the team at work, or a client; the more we learn to understand them, to get inside their world and learn all about them, the better. The more you can understand people's hopes, dreams, fears and challenges, the more you'll be able to understand and describe their world back to them, and the more they will want to know you.
We Have To Care!
"No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care"
~ Theodore Roosevelt
It's so important to point out that empathic communication is not a technique or a manipulation tool. It's about being human and treating other people in a human way. The key element of this is care. If people don't feel you genuinely care about them and their situation, they won't really listen. They need to feel they matter to us and that's something that comes through from Mr Sinek's interview, as there's a feeling he cares about the people he's speaking about. And most importantly, I expect they feel cared for, valued and not criticised or judged.
Think about these things and how they might apply to your life too. How does this relate to you if you're trying to find the right partner, progress your career, lead your team or business better, reach your clients more effectively, or just connect with people on a better level?
Why Empathy Goes Viral
So why did this video go viral? Because of these key elements all coming together. People watching this feel understood, they feel it expresses how they feel inside, but don't know how to express themselves. They feel this can communicate who they are to others and helps them to connect with them more easily - and we're all seeking that feeling of connection.
A Question For Millennials...
"There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you."
~ J.K. Rowling
While it's great that Mr Sinek has been able to articulate the reasons why some of us might be facing the challenges we are today - is that now going to become an excuse we can blame our situation on? Does what he shares in his interview (below) mean those of us this applies to are now powerless to change or improve their situation?