What's Your Why??
Have you heard that before? What’s your WHY? Why do you feel like doing some things and dread doing others? My young son helped give me some clarity in the most unlikely way!
Motivation. Motivation drives us – or not.
I recall when my first grader, C, decided he wasn't going to school one morning years ago. He wouldn’t get dressed. He told me his knee hurt. He hated school. He said the work there was too hard. When he makes a decision, that’s it. I asked him if I could give him a hug, he nodded yes. I let him cry and wondered how I was going to shift his mindset. Dad came to the rescue and managed to get him dressed, not in his school uniform, but in regular clothes (thankfully, today was pirate day!). He thought he was going to the ‘office’ to hang out (we’ve obviously made the Fridge-to-go office WAY TOO much fun for him in the past!). Getting into the car he asked me if he was actually going to the office. I said no, we’re going to school buddy because that’s your job. Then came the total meltdown but at least he was in the car and strapped in.
C kicked the seat in front of him, cried, moaned and let me know the world was ending. I put on the radio loud and thought about how to reach him. I decided to help him get this pain out faster so I did what he least expected. I told him that I hated school too. All the teachers were mean. All my friends were mean. There was nothing good about school. He listened to me with big eyes and told me to stop it – he was confused. I said c’mon tell me, aren’t the teachers mean? He said stop it. Ok but your friends are mean I said. Stop it he said. Then I asked him if we could yell together. He said no. I asked if I could yell for him and he didn’t say anything. I stuck out my tongue and said waahhhhh really loud. I did it again and again. It felt good actually. Then I shifted and asked if I could hold his hand and he nodded yes. Then I told C about the time I was in Year 1 and we’d just moved so I was starting a new school and was scared. A week before school started I was at the park and a large boy picked on me and was a real bully – you know the type who says ‘What are you looking at?’ He probably didn’t say much more but I was scared. The first day of school as I held my mother’s leg and looked at my new class – I saw him. This mean boy in my class! I cried and held on to her leg for dear life. She thought I was scared of going to school and tried to peel my fingers off her leg. Hell no, there was no way I was going in that class! I didn’t have the words to tell my mother the real reason I was upset. I told Cruz we don’t always have the words to express what we’re trying to say or we feel and that’s ok. The words come.
Then I cranked up Katy Perry in the car and we rocked to Teenage Dream. C’s foot started tapping and I went crazy singing, dancing and tickling him. Maybe people next to me thought I was crazy, but I didn’t care. My little boy needed me. He finally let go and we both laughed and laughed and giggled. Phew, thankfully I didn’t have a car accident! Music and movement can fix anything!
I told C that I need to go and do my job. I said that my job – as the Fridge-to-go lady (my kids made this title up) – is making sure parents know about our lunch bags and know how magical they are. I said these special bags let parents put yummy and healthy food for their kids inside to stay fresh so that their kids will have so much energy, they will feel awesome and will do amazing things. I said all these kids needed me and so I had to go do my job. I said his older brother’s job was to go to school, try hard, listen to what he’s learning and then go to soccer training and give 150% because that’s the only way to be. I told C his job was to go to school and do his best. His very best. That’s all. No more. No less. He pinky promised me (very important) that he would try super hard to do his job and gave me the biggest hug ever.
[I had a quick word to his teacher that he was distressed and she was beautiful and said she would have a private special talk with him to make sure he was happy and secure. She rocks. I also mentioned that we knew it was pirate day and that his costume was on under his clothes and he was in disguise. She thought this was very clever.]
I walked away with my head held high, smiling at everyone and feeling so happy. C helped me work out my WHY. I don’t sell a freaking lunch bag. I sell magic that gives beautiful kids energy to dream and grow and be anything they want. This was an awesome day.
Thanks Simon Sinek for your book aptly named 'Find Your Why?'.
That's my why – what's yours?