Identify Your Why: It Will Keep You Going and Going Like the Energizer Battery

If you’ve been following me lately, you may be wondering “where in the world is Sonya’s energy coming from?” I wake up daily fully charged like my I-phone after being on the charger all night. I stay so charged that I do not drink caffeinated coffee because I wake up on “ten.” The waiters at my favorite breakfast spot always get tickled when I say that to them. 

I’m on fire, and I cannot seem to shake this desire that I have to make a significant impact on the field of education. I am having a ton of fun, it is a lot of work, and yet I am really serious about it. 

Like you I go to work each day and I have a great deal of professional and personal obligations, and yet I cannot seem to get enough of addressing the topic related to improving the academic achievement levels and emotional well-being of some of America’s most vulnerable students and their families. 

What is keeping me going is my Why. My Why is to restore hope in our schools and in our communities. My Why keeps me going even on days when I am a bit unclear as to what the ultimate outcome of my tireless efforts will be. 

I recently came across a message from a fellow podcaster in which he states, “as a leader, your Why defines your purpose, your Why defines your organization’s culture and your Why defines your messaging.” I embrace this line of thinking.

My challenge to you is to gather key members of your organization together and have them write down their “Why.” Second, engage in the process of outlining commonalities and stark differences in their Why statements and then discuss. Next, revisit your mission statement for the purpose of determining the extent to which your mission statement aligns with your Why.

Let me tell you why this is so important. It is important because far too often we create mission statements and then they stay in place for 5 and sometimes even as long as 10 years. The problem with that is the mission statement itself can serve as counterproductive in supporting your efforts toward creating equitable learning experiences for all students.

When you allow your team to talk about their Why you (1) learn more about the people on your team (2) they develop a deep sense of connection to their inner feelings and (3) they feel a deeper sense of commitment to the mission of your organization. 

When you connect the mission to the Why of the people in the organization it is much more difficult for them to stray away from it because the “statement” is connected to what they truly believe. It is what will keep them going and going like the Energizer battery. It’s what will keep them on task even when you are not looking. 

Please do keep me posted relevant to how this activity works out for you by posting your experience in the comments section of my website at sonyawhitaker.com.  

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