Why do you do what you do? Why do you invest in your research? Your teaching? Your service?
Over a decade ago, in his Ted Talk, Simon Sinek asked the “why?” question, and I’ve been pondering it ever since.
In relation to my academic career, I found myself asking these very questions as I wrote a post for AACSB about volunteering. They are essential questions to ask ourselves regularly. I suspect for you, like me, it’s not for the recognition. Sure, the recognition is nice. Sometimes it validates that what we do is of value. But we do it because we believe it makes a difference. The impact you are making is real. It is tangible. That’s why you do what you do.
He who has a WHY can endure any HOW. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
Separating our WHY from our HOW is important. I have to remind myself about this regularly when the daily tasks become overwhelming. I need to reflect on my why when I find myself too caught up on the how’s. We all need to return to our why regularly or get burned out.
You may have noticed that the higher education landscape has changed significantly. It’s not what it once was. We face new challenges daily. Our “how” has changed, but our “why” has not. When each of us better connects with our “why,” it will be easier to work out the “how.”
When you think about your why, you immediately think about the number of students you impact each semester. Now, think about it over your career. That doesn’t just apply to faculty, either. Think about Sabrina and Chris. Throughout their careers, how many students have they assisted? How many faculty have they enabled to do their research, teaching, and service? It’s powerful. It’s humbling when you think about it. We are all part of something bigger than ourselves.
Thank you for your investment in teaching, research, and service. Thank you for investing in the many conversations that will lead to a clearer vision for the School of Business and help us better connect with our why.
As summer winds down, I would encourage each of us to reflect and reconnect with our why. It will make the year ahead even better.
YOU make a difference.
Ponder this …