What’s your Why: But really, what is it?

WARNING* If you don’t want to think about your future or your existence…I’ll forgive you for turning around now. I got a little philosophical on this one.

It’s only because, yes you guessed it, I’m reading a new book – this one is finally about my career and applies to my work. To be honest, I’ve found it so useful when thinking about my life in general. Wade and Hope King have reached thousands after writing their book “Wild Cards” about the profession of teaching and how to challenge ourselves as teachers creatively. It discusses being a wild card in someone’s life and the importance that has on students and teachers alike. Given the reviews and some recent questions I’ve had in my line of work, I took to the book to learn a little about the classroom and ways to be creative within it.

But – What I’ve actually been taking away is far different than the discussion of why I was a teacher and work in schools. Wade and Hope urge readers to consider their “Why” for many reasons, but mostly to point out that “There’s a huge problem with not knowing your purpose. As a teacher, your WHY drives your students’ educational WHY. Your job is to provide those kids with their own reason and purpose for sitting in a classroom from kindergarten through twelfth grade—again, other than the fact that they have to be there. If you don’t know your own purpose as an educator, how can you pass along a sense of purpose to your students?”

So – true, and I could provide you with my “why” for when I entered the classroom, and someday also why I left it to work as a Professional Development Instructor with Technology.

But beyond my purpose for working in High School Education, the concept of “What is my Why” has been getting to me. Of course we can have a “why” for careers, but can we have one for life? For our way of living? Given that it is National Suicide Awareness month I feel the need to tread lightly but also to acknowledge that this discussion of “why” is so utterly important to our existence, and to discuss.

I’ve been going to church for a year now, and “purpose” is something that is evolving the deeper I get into the study of religions and His word. But this concept boils down to even less than that.

It’s asking, Lauren: Why do you get up everyday? Why do you smile at strangers? Why do you do load after load of laundry that when you think about it, will literally never end as long as you live? Why do you prefer to get to work thirty minutes early? Or stay an hour late? Why do you run from gas station, to coffee drive through, to work, to gym, to grocery store, to bed, to repeat? Why?

The obvious answer:

Because I don’t know anything other than being alive – so duh. It’s instinct, and science, and programmed.
If I stopped, I would become a waste of space, a mushroom in field, a bored amoeba.

The not so obvious answer:

The Backstory: This year I have made a lot of promises to myself that I am working on keeping, but let me tell you friends, some of them are hard. They’ve sounded like: find more time to live with margin, stop spending money on selfish ridiculous things, do not stress and overwork yourself for recognition or advancement, find what truly lets you live a content lifestyle, learn to not control everything, stop comparing yourself to others.

These are hard things, that require work and sacrifice. They require saying goodbye to relationships that are toxic, to jobs that hurt our soul, to habits that we’ve known our whole lives. But these goals and these promises are all deeply connected to a “Why”.

I have undergone some serious self-work my friends, and the whole time I started to implement this work, it was because I had started to understand this elusive purpose(s) we are often chasing. It has to be plural in my case because I am the most complex person in terms of reasoning, ever.

So when I looked at my goals and my changes and my hopes for the future here is what I could determine.

WHY AM I LIVING MY LIFE THIS WAY? WHY DO I TRY? WHY AM I HERE? WHAT IS MY PURPOSE? WHAT IS MY REASON?

1. I feel driven by senses of wrong or right. I have always had to do good, spread goodness, and feel good through that process. I am making these goals and decisions because my moral compass has told me parts of my past were wrong and I am now working to listen to that part of living my soul craves. I am living my life this way, because it feels right to me.

2. I try hard. All the time, unless you ask Josh about how hard I try to do Laundry or actually – put it away. That’s a different discussion. Everything else I try so hard – it’s probably too hard. Even in social interactions and with friendships, and family, and at work and everywhere. Because. I rather try and fail than wait idly by and fail. My purpose on this planet feels urgent, and I tend to rush and push in every way possible, but that is because I am trying to make a difference, to make an impact, to do good, to leave good. I try because I am afraid of what the world will look like if I don’t. I have a sense of duty that contributes to this need for effort in everything, and it is burned into my existence.

3. My purpose you ask? Well actually you didn’t, but I am getting somewhere. I am here to fail. Ding, ding, ding –this is the hardest one for me. I am here to mess up and mix up and continue to fail, hopefully humbly. In order to show the people I am trying to lead that it is not at all about succeeding, but about putting in the work. So, I am here to fail royally. There is literally no way the things I want for this world will be completed by the time I die, whenever that will be. So I am here to fail, and to try hard at it and to leave that effort as a legacy. I am here to have the hard conversations, the intense relationships, the awkward scenarios (my speciality), and the passionate discussions – whether it’s around work, around family, around friends, around my town, around anything. I am here to fail and fail again, and until I have inspired someone to pick up their own hopes for the world and fail, I have truly not fulfilled my purpose.

That last part, about the failing, that’s what ties back to my career path. You know, being an educator educating educators – it requires encouraging teachers to try something new and fail. It’s why I am here.

So Why does my Why matter to your Why? Ha. I don’t know, you tell me. What’s your Why? What’s your purpose? Why are you here?

I thought about what drives me, what gives me purpose, and how I feel about that. And maybe I did make it too complex, like I make everything. But I feel confident the dots connect, and the pieces of the puzzle match up.

I am here to use my sense of wrong or right to try so hard to change this world, even if I fail miserably, so that when I am done I can rest knowing I was here – I tried – I impacted and moved.

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