Monday, January 8, 2018

Know Your Why

I’ll be honest. With the busyness of bringing the fall semester to a close, all I had on my mind was doing nothing during the winter holiday. Can you actually do nothing? After all, do is a verb – an action word. How was I going to accomplish doing nothing? I knew that a mental break was needed in order to re-energize and come back ready to push through for the spring semester.  

I was successful for a few days…doing nothing…and as someone who is always doing something, the art of doing nothing felt awkward, but pretty good. That doesn’t mean that the laundry list of things to do on my Google Keep was not still at the forefront of my thinking. It sure was, but when the thoughts surfaced, I consciously chose to dismiss them. I felt so compelled to do nothing, that I didn’t even want to exert my thinking about my #OneWord2018. Yes, PRAY, kept me focused in 2016, and HEALTH reminded me of the need to take better care of myself in 2017, but I was fine with 2018 ringing in without putting that all too often pressure I place on my shoulders with identifying that word that I would commit to.

COMMIT – in decorating my son’s room on one of my do nothing days, I posted a series of positive sports affirmations on the walls. One read – When you feel like quitting remember why you started. Something drew me back to the room and back to that sign several times, and I thought of the word COMMIT. My friends and family and certainly my staff would probably say that COMMIT is not something I need to work on. Indeed, I’m a pretty committed person; but the problem actually lies in over-committing. I over-commit to work and career, but fail to commit to what satisfies the person, not the principal. 

I don’t commit to family, stay connected to loved ones, make time for my physical, spiritual and emotional health, and I could keep going. So do I need to COMMIT in 2018? Something about the word stings; I already feel the pressure, for once I say I’ll commit to something, and for one reason or another it doesn’t get done, then the word that I perseverate on is failure. When you feel like you’ve failed, you’re usually not even willing to continue trying. Been there; done that!

There was the sign again…this time, what drew me into it was When you feel like quitting remember WHY you started. WHY – knowing your why impacts your what and your how. It's not the why as in why me, but the why that makes you think about every decision that you make, no matter how great or small, and ensure that you are making decisions that fulfill your purpose and feeds your soul. So while I am not committing to going to church every week, on those Sundays I am contemplating whether to go to church or not, I am going to remind myself WHY I need to feed myself spiritually, and regularly. While I am not committing to going to the gym X number of days per week, on the days when I think I can go tomorrow, I am going to think about WHY I need to be more physically active to model good habits for my kids and let that drive the what I do and the how I do it. While I am not committing to spending a certain number of hours with my kids and husband each week, I am going to pay attention to WHY a work-life healthy ratio will help to build relationships with those who matter most in my life. 

A recent visit to my old stomping ground in Brooklyn, NY, highlighted WHY staying connected to your loved ones is important, despite the busyness that comes with everyday life. By not paying attention to the WHY, you do not live with intentionality and purpose. Small moments lead to big memories but only when you live your WHY. As the hum drum of everyday life sets in, and the novelty of a new year fades, I am going to continually let my WHY guide my thoughts and actions.

So here I am, not committing to anything in 2018 but looking forward to letting my WHY lead the way. I hope yours does as well.

I encourage you to begin your journey of knowing your why by perusing Start With Why.


  1. Great blog post Onica! You inspire me!

  2. LOVE your thinking! Thank you so much for sharing!!! :)

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  5. Nice post and yes "commit" is a BIG word. It ties in with discipline. I'm definitely with you in terms of being committed to those who we love and the things we cherish.

    Thanks for being a great positive role model:)

  6. Thanks for taking the time to read and share your feedback.