If you have not read Start with Why by Simon Sinek, I highly recommend. To be honest, anything by Simon Sinek is totally worth your time, but this is the one I am currently reading. He discusses it with much more grace, but the general idea is that if you lead with why instead of what you will have better results. He is discussing it in terms of business and using examples of companies with clear vision like Apple and Southwest Airlines, but it seriously has gotten me thinking about what my why is. Why am taking the path I am taking and why do I want to reach people.
It is about the lightbulb moments. When I was a teacher, people used to talk about this. They would say “you know the moment when you are explaining a concept to a student and you see that they have understood it.” It is like a light bulb comes on in the space above their head and you just know that something has clicked. Well, if I am being honest, that never happened to me when I was a teacher. Not one damn time did I ever have an experience where I was explaining something to a student and they went “oh, I totally get it now!” To be fair, the class I taught was Child Development. Not that the class is less than any other class (I think everyone should take it to learn about the human experience) but when you are talking about the development of a baby and how they usually crawl before they walk, no one’s mind is blown. Everyone kind of knows that already, or at least can logically discern that it works that way. I spent 12 freaking years in public education and I never got that moment. We had a lot of wonderful experiences, I made great connections with students, created memories and relationships and did come close to that light bulb moment as a coach when an athlete would nail a new skill, but, as my Grandpa would say-almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. I started to believe that this light bulb thing would never happen. It is kind of like that runner’s high that people keep telling me about (which I still cannot be convinced is a real thing, but I keep running trying to find it). Even in my final hours as a teacher, I reflected on the fact that I had never experienced that. The whole thing was kind of disappointing.
Then, I became a therapist (I became a therapist while I was still teaching, but that is neither here nor there). And guess what? Lightbulb moments happen every single day of my life now. Or at least every single day that I work. The difference here is that I am not necessarily explaining some random state standard, I am helping people make connections in their lives between their past experiences, their future hopes, their needs and their behaviors. Having awareness is half the battle and sitting next to another person as they realize that they are sabotaging their own happiness because they don’t really believe that they deserve to be happy…. well, that is the epitome of a light bulb moment.
The light bulb moments I experience as a therapist probably involve tears more often than in education, but that is it. That is how I get to my why. Through my own work in therapy, I have some awareness of the origin of my why (that will be a different blog post, I think) but seeing those light bulb moments have helped me to recognize that It is my ultimate belief that we all have the right, and the ability, to build a life that we love to live. I think that the things that have happened in this life are not always fair, or pleasant and are often not even our fault. AND, it is our responsibility to work through them so that we can thrive as opposed to survive. My specialty is adolescents because my hope is that I can help someone work through all that junk while they are young and pliable and can live the majority of their life on their own terms.
It is this why that has lead me to share my musings about this bru-tiful journey in this blog and perhaps a book one day (or a podcast!). It is my hope that my words will help people to create their own journey that is just as lovely.