The How of Your Life is the Essence of your Special Sauce.

Aaron McHugh

What you accomplish is less important than how you accomplish it.

Our Reward System is a Mess.

In our world today, we are rewarded and revered for What we accomplish.  But I believe the world has it all wrong.

Follow me as we scrutinize our lonely metric of empire building, wealth generation and conquest oriented success system.

The What of your life is easy to size-up.

  • You built a consulting practice from scratch.
  • You stood up a software company.
  • You made partner in your firm.
  • Your book sold a gazillion copies.
  • You started a non-profit for orphans in Swaziland.
  • You run a Fortune 1000 company.

But How you went about your What is only evaluated after you are gone.

If you are one of the greats, the How of your life will be detailed in a PBS documentary or New York Times best seller.

Most of us will not be personified in film and print after we are gone.

What will the lasting effect of your How be?

North Korea and the United States both maintain peace in their countries.

How this is accomplished evokes condemnation and admiration.

Donald Trump and Walt Disney both generate(d) a lot of wealth and were/are considered massively successful, the What of their life.

Which will change history for good?

Who would you follow?

Will The Apprentice reruns be played throughout every home in America fifty years from now?

A forefront example is Steve Jobs.

His What was on the cover of magazines affirming our beliefs about greatness and genius.

And now that he is gone, the How of his life is being unpacked.

How he erected the tower of Apple was not always as worthy of admiration.

Let me suggest to you, What you accomplish fails in comparison to how you accomplish it.

How you navigate life, family, and work is more important than what you accomplish.

Your How is difficult to copy, reproduce or fabricate.

Your How is actually your competitive differentiation, your special sauce, your art.

When you fuse What and How together it’s like the joining of atomic particles.

You engage a mushroom cloud of power, influence and goodness.  

Disregarding one or the other will leave you in want eventually.

Focus on your How today.

Your What will be of greater value if you focus on How.

  • Brad Barnes

    Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy reading your posts. You have a great perspective on life – thanks for sharing!

    • aarondmchugh

      Thanks Brad. Really appreciate that. I am glad that you are encouraged. I push the send button and try and remind myself that I am doing it for myself. And it is always good to know that it is beneficial to good men like you.

  • jonpdale

    Such a good reminder. “How” we do what we do is so much more important than “what” we do.

    If we’ll figure out our unique “how”, the right “what” will present itself.

    Lots of food for thought here. Thanks Aaron.

  • Jon-I do have to remind myself of this truth. There are a lot of accomplishments I’d like to add to my list. And “how” is increasingly more important to me. And yet the tension of desiring to accomplish more still exists. As you say, figuring out our unique “how” aligns the opportunity for “what” to present itself. Aaron

  • Jesse Moore

    Thanks Aaron. Good thoughts. Definitely something to keep in mind as we pursue our goals

    • Thanks Jesse. I love Walt Disney and how he shaped an industry. And love Steve Jobs for What he accomplished. And my guess is he would have changed some of How he went about it.
      Good luck on your endeavors.

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  • jodyberkey

    Yes, I absolutely agree with focusing on the How. It’s not an easier path, but it is more fulfilling and one in which we can be proud. In the end, that’s what matters more.

    • Yeah. the number of xxxx’s I’ve met with a pile of money but no friends is more than the few good men and women I’ve met who shaped a corner of the world for good. I’ll choose a smaller swatch of influence if it means I can do it well.

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  • Coleman Housefield

    This is so helpful. Thanks Aaron!

    • Thanks Coleman. Really glad you found it helpful.