How well do you understand why you 'do what you do' in different situations?

I am often asked this question.

“So, Shannon, why do you ‘do what you do’?”

As soon as I figure out that the asker is referring to my work with MentorCONNECT, and not my odd jogging gait or my thoroughly unexceptional (and sometimes scary) culinary skills, I quickly answer:

“Because recovered people matter.”

There is a lot more to it than that, of course – and there is quite a bit of passion, personal recovery ideology, and even a smidgen or two of verifiable common sense behind these four words.

But I can answer so quickly because I have made (and continue to make) a study of myself – my motivations, my decisions, my interactions, my choices, my preferences, my aversions, and everything in between.

It is important to know why we do what we do.

In this process, for myself at least, I have found my mentors to be an absolutely irreplaceable and invaluable set of eyes and ears, pointing out undercurrents and subtexts and (sometimes) the glaringly obvious to me, and in so doing helping me gain a better understanding of my work, myself and my world.

It is because of my mentors and their observations that MentorCONNECT exists today. No way would I have come up with that idea all on my own – nor would I have ever found the courage or insight to create a community that could stand on its own two feet with room enough to grow.

When we don’t understand our own motivations, our choices, our values and preferences, it feels like being blown about by the four winds. Or at least that is always how it has felt for me personally. I spent years watching myself, shaking my head, getting frustrated, thinking, “Why did you DO that?!” I would yell at myself (internally and sometimes also out loud). Sometimes I still do.

But today, because I know myself so much better than I did then, I know when to yell and when to speak kindly to myself. I understand at least the basic foundational guiding principles of Life According to Shannon, and I endeavor to live by them and continue to deepen my understanding of them as best I can.

I often don’t understand other people, but I also have to remind myself that what they do, how they act, what they say and how they live is really none of my business. The Secret Life of Other People will always remain just that to me – a secret.

My life, however, doesn’t have to.

Today’s Takeaway: Why do you ‘do what you do’? Why do you do the things that you love and admire about yourself and your life? Why do you do the things that make you feel the opposite? How well do you truly understand your motivations, what makes you tick, what moves you? How might your life transform as you continue to make a study of yourself, with curiosity and compassion, as you live each day?