Monday, August 22, 2011

Discovering My Why

One of the main reasons I decided to start a blog was in order to help discover my "why"--my personal philosophy, the thing which drives me in life.  (In fact, the title of this post was something I had considered as the title of my blog at one point.)  After all, a blog is pretty much a glorified (and public) diary.  At this point, I mostly write for myself; I anticipate that most of what I say is mundane drivel and additional internet white noise to everyone else.  But it's okay if I'm boring if I'm only writing for myself anyway, right?  Okay, I'll admit that I'm a bit narcissistic and I like it when people click--or even better, comment.  But ultimately, I really am writing for me--to put my thoughts down, observe my patterns, and maybe get some feedback from family, friends and random internet strangers as I try fumble along on this journey.


About a year ago, someone turned me on to TED talks.  TED promotes "Ideas Worth Spreading" through "riveting talks  by remarkable people, free to the world."  Sometimes I sit and listen to various TED talks while I'm cooking or working on the computer.  


One of the most influential TED talks I've watched to date is Simon Sinek's 2009 talk on "How Great Leaders Inspire Action."




After I listened to this talk, I purchased Mr. Sinek's book (called "Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.")  The book reinforces concepts and examples in the talk (Apple, Tivo, Martin Luther King Jr, The Wright Brothers) and expands on them with additional examples (Southwest Airlines among others).  He goes into detail about "Why" vs. "How" people--the visionary CEO (Steve Jobs) and the person who can implement the structure needed in order to put the plan in place (Steve Wozniak.)  He also goes more into detail about the biological connection between the brain (neocortex vs. limbic brain) and decision making (what you know vs. what you feel.)  The book is thought-provoking but still accessible and easy to read.  


Once I saw the presentation and read the TED talk, I started seeing the idea of "Start With Why" everywhere--from the poster the superintendent left in a classroom at my school to the committees I sat on in school.  I'd think (and ask), how are we supposed to define a policy before we decide the reason for its existence?


I also began to reflect (as I often do) on my own life.  What is my "why"?  What is the purpose/cause/belief that connects the way I approach my activities and interests and relationships?  Why IS it that I'm drawn to music/yoga/administration/food?  How do my beliefs affect the choices I make in my life and how do the choices I make in my life affect my beliefs?  What can I do to go from being a leader to one who leads?  


I don't think there's a very "neat" way to organize this kind of thing; and honestly, I usually come up with my best ideas after a messy, chaotic brainstorming session.  So, I'm just going to list the things that come to mind and let them sit--because this kind of self-discovery is not going to happen in one blog post.


In fact, now that I think about it, I'm going to make my brainstorming on a page and update it periodically.  Find it here: Discovering My Why




Thanks for reading, everyone.  Have a great week!

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