Have you ever noticed how often you are asked what you do, usually followed by a where question. When was the last time you were asked why you do what you do? It is a question that goes beyond a conversation about your employment or daily activity. It can be a very challenging question as it cuts to the core of who we are and what beliefs inform what we do. It is a question that may require time to consider and it needs time to have the answer heard. My observation is that when we are making pivotal changes in life we are asked the why question before the what or where questions.
When you ask me why we are going to Nicaragua, it is a little confronting. I often wonder what answer you will feel more comfortable with. Is it that you think we should be doing this out of an altruistic zeal of putting aside our life in Australia to help those who are ‘in need’? Or would you feel more comfortable if you heard that this move will address a personal deep unmet internal need within us.
Which camp are you? Should it be all about them or all about us? Or is there a third option?
During the week I watched the presentation by Emma Watson who is the ambassador for the United Nations Woman for Gender Equality campaign He For She. This campaign proposes that gender equality is not only a women’s issue, it is a human rights issues. It is not he versus she but rather he for she. Woman’s equality is depended on a paradigm that seeks equality for all. I think this model reflects the thinking of why Mart and I do what we do.
It is not a question of all about them or all about us. It is an understanding that we are interdependent. While there are those in the world who cannot live in safety and peace, participating in the celebration of all that life has to offer then we feel we cannot truly celebrate all that life has to offer. Our celebration of life is dependent on all celebrating life. Our experiencing of safety and peace is dependent on all being able to experience safety and peace. This has underpinned our work in Australia and we take this now to Nicaragua. So the why for us going to Nicaragua is no different to the why behind our work in Australia, only the context is changing.
I am rarely asked why I do what I do in Australia, and I rarely ask others why they do what they do. I wonder how rich our conversations would be if we started asking people why they do what they do.
So I have spilled my beans in answer to your question of why. Now it’s your turn. Why do you do what you do?