I’ve spent most of my life as a teacher, a coach, and a mentor supporting teachers and administrators. Something is different now. I feel there is a sense of urgency to rethink the idea of “school” and what it means to be a teacher, a principal, and a student. I have also heard from people in and outside of education who felt lost and didn’t know their WHY. They said they accepted that they went down the wrong path and felt they were living someone else’s story. This made me stop and rethink my WHY. I became aware that that had happened to me. I thought I had no other choice to keep doing what I was doing, but I did. I thought of Churchill’s quote and that all of us need to live for something.
“It’s not enough to have lived. We should be determined to live for something.” ―Winston S. Churchill
Through these conversations, I realized how challenging it was to teach, how difficult it was to be a student, and how many educators had gotten lost in the WHAT and HOW that they’ve forgotten or maybe never knew their WHY.
In 2017, I started the Rethinking Learning podcast to share stories about people who inspired me. It wasn’t long before I got it. It was all about the stories. I needed to learn more. In the process, I found out that most everyone I talked with had struggled or had made choices that didn’t always work. In fact, those struggles made them stronger. At this same time, I was searching for my WHY and considered the different struggles I had and other events in my life. I had changed careers, had taken projects that were only for the money, and went in a direction that was more about the WHAT and HOW instead of the WHY.
I needed to search for my WHY. I adapted the strategies that I used during my coaching sessions and workshops to learn more about me. What did I love? What am I good at? It all came back to the stories and my love of writing. You see, I used to write poetry and short stories years before. I did co-author two books on personalized learning which I enjoyed, but that was not the kind of writing I wanted to do. I wanted to write about the stories and the WHY. To get me in the mood to write, I decided to blog, journal daily, and write a post for each podcast. The posts changed me. I realized that when I listened to the podcast I wasn’t connecting to the person as much as I wanted.
I asked my guests to share information about themselves in a Google doc so I could do research about them before our conversations. I also decided to listen closer by transcribing some of the conversations for the post. If I wanted to learn more, I reached out to the person after the podcast for more information. I know I was spending way too much time on each post, but I loved it. I loved learning about each person and collaborating with them to find pictures, links, and other resources about their lives. The stories motivated me to want to write more.
I asked different people who were on my podcast if they would like to collaborate with me by sharing some of their stories about their WHY in a book I wanted to write. 26 people said yes. I found My WHY: to write my new book, Define Your WHY. I’m really excited to share the stories and the strategies I used to define the WHY.
Go to https://barbarabray.net/define-your-why for resources, questions, and more in each chapter of my book.
“Believe in yourself, your abilities and your own potential. Never let self-doubt hold you captive. You are worthy of all that you dream of and hope for.”