Know your “Why”

Blog Post by: Jessica Mathews

I am assistant coaching my 12 year old daughter’s volleyball team, and her head coach is big on facilitating a growth mindset and team bonding. We have been talking to our girls about what makes them want to play volleyball and what makes them try hard; their “why.” 

Over the last decade and a half of being in the nonprofit world, speaking at events, and engaging with community members, I was often asked, “what is your ‘why?’” Although a very simple question, I always found it hard to answer, because there are so many answers and they can change.

After reflecting on this simple, yet complex question, I was able to find my “why” varies from day to day, and role to role. My “why” is constantly evolving and changing, sometimes drastically and sometimes minimally, but it all comes down to one thing… making a difference. My “why” in my work life is making a difference in the organizations and clients we serve. My “why” for my daughter is being a role model to my 12 year old and setting a good example for her. My “why” in coaching volleyball is teaching these young girls the skills they need to be successful as a friend, a teammate, and an athlete. My “why” for my family is creating a home where everyone feels loved, supported and valued.

I take the opportunity to reflect on each of these “whys” when I can, but especially in times of stress. Burnout can come rapidly when planning events and in seasons of constantly being busy, but it’s how we overcome the burnout that makes a difference. Finding your “why” can encourage you in times of stress, tiredness, and despair to continue to push on towards your true reason for doing what you do. 

What is your “why?” What are you striving for? These are more than just goals. These single or multiple reasons are what motivates us to do better and be better. If you are feeling burnt out or unmotivated, take a few moments to dig deep and think about your “why.” And then share with a family member, friend or coworker. With support, encouragement, and frequent self-reflections, you can be successful in fulfilling your “why.”

We teach our children about learning their “why,” but we need to remind ourselves. So, what is your “why?”