"Why do you care?". Just four words. Pretty simple question. But it captured all of my thoughts yesterday. This question was posed after I was venting to a friend. I was sharing some frustration about what I call "running on the hamster wheel". I feel like I just keep saying the same thing and I am not being heard, so why do I keep talking? Sounds like there should be a logical solution to that problem. Just. Stop. But I can't. Why? My answer to the question was this. "I guess I care because we can do better, because our students deserve better." If I didn't care and I didn't keep fighting the good fight, I wouldn't be me. I have learned, as of late, that I am a fighter and fighters don't quit.
This idea of starting with "why" is not a new concept. Most of us have either read or seen Simon Sinek's Ted Talk. But I think this is an extremely important concept when we are self reflecting. To me, our "why" is our purpose and our purpose is what grounds us. It is also our compass, our thermometer and our springboard. In the book Emotional Agility; Susan David writes "Walking with your why" is the art of living by your own personal set of values- the beliefs and behaviors that you hold dear and that give you meaning and satisfaction. " Whenever I feel uncertain about my path, whether it is chatter from others or chatter in my head...it always helps to focus back on my true purpose. Is what I am doing and saying aligned with that? If so, I feel more confident in moving forward, if not...time to course correct.
This idea of finding and pulling from our purpose has come up in a lot of conversations lately. I have learned that regardless of who someone is, their role, their title, their success...there is struggle and there is doubt. We are all human. In those times, people often begin to question themselves, personally. Are they making a difference? Is this worth the fight? Am I good enough? Am I on the right path? Can I do this? Why bother? This is when it is most important to refocus on our "why". If what we are doing is not aligned with our purpose, then maybe we need to rethink our line of action. But, as Dr. David writes "To make decisions that match up with the way you hope to live going forward, you have to be in touch with the things that matter to you so you can use them as signposts." When people share with me that they are at a crossroads, questioning themselves, I often take them through a series of questions to get them to hone down on their purpose. Once they are armed with that, they can "walk their why".
This blog post was inspired by many conversations as of late, but it was also inspired by a single tweet from my good friend, Tony Sinanis:
This is why I believe so much in self reflection and spelling out your purpose. So when someone asks you why you care, you...yourself know the answer. When you are "walking your why", you have YOUR signposts to help guide you in YOUR right direction.
My call to action is this: Take some time to write out your "why". I like to do this as a "Six word memoir". The reason I do that is because I believe the constraints help us to synthesize and really focus, drill down to our core. I created mine four years ago and it is displayed above my desk. I look to it often as my anchor. "One who inspires and encourages others." If I am not living that every day, I am not being me.
Mother, teacher, TOSA, GCE Level 1 & 2, Encourager of others.
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