Do You Remember Why You Do What You Do?

Do You Remember Why You Do What You Do?

Last week, in my desire to get organized, I created a calendar of blog topics for the entire year.

According to my trusty dusty calendar (mostly dusty because I haven’t used it), this blog’s topic was going to be all about one of the most frequent questions that people ask me.

“How do I get my staff on board with changes?”

I really thought the calendar would help keep me on track, and on schedule.

But alas it’s one week into my life changing blog schedule and I’m off topic.

Because I got distracted by a spontaneous thought.

why-300x225WHY DO YOU DO IT?

For some odd reason as I was making my coffee this morning, I started thinking about why I do this work that I do.

Did you ever do that? (Not get distracted by bright shiny things…we all do that!)

But did you ever stop to reflect WHY you are doing the work you do?

Was it a conscious decision? Or did you fall into it?

Most people in long -term care have a great story about how they decided to get into long-term care or how they fell into it.

Stories that will make you rethink the awful things that we sometimes assume about staff. Things like, “They’re only in it for the paycheck.”


What if you took a moment to ask a staff member a simple question?

“What brought you into this work?”

Ask them during “rounds” or in the break-room or start a meeting with just that one question.

What could you learn about the individuals you work with every day?

How would they feel knowing that you wanted to learn something about them as a person?

Most staff members DO want more than a paycheck, and very often they came to the work that they do for a reason that is meaningful to them.


Asking the one simple question above helps to connect them with that reason that they may have long forgotten about. It lets them know you care, and study after study shows when employees know you care, they are more apt to be engaged in their work.

“If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money,” Simon Sinek said in his great TED talk on how great leaders inspire action. “But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears.”

You’re engaged with your work because of your deeper belief. If you reconnect your staff with their deeper believe, they will be more engaged. And guess what magically happens when people are engaged in their work? They get “on board” with changes.

Look at that!  This week’s topic was getting your staff on board so maybe I’m not so far off my blog schedule after all!


Sometimes, even those of us who have found our true calling and are truly, deeply dedicated to our work get distracted from our bigger WHY—and it’s not always by something bright and shiny!

Sometimes regulations and red tape can distract us. Sometimes the little day-to-day tasks and emergencies we are faced with can pile up in our minds and on our to do lists and distract us from our larger purpose.

So now I invite you to take a step back from what you do, and think about why you do it. See if you can crystalize your why into just a few words. Then, you’ll have your answer ready when you’ve asked one of your staff, “What brought you into this work?” and they turn the question around on you.

P.S. Want to know my big why? The short version: to transform the resident and staff experience.

The long version: In college I worked as a nursing assistant and horrified by what I saw, became determined to change the world of aging services. I honestly didn’t plan to start my business. Instead, I felt a call to share my gift for transforming the resident and staff experience in a different way (that builds on each organization’s uniqueness). It’s been full speed ahead the last couple of years and the best part is I get to work with kindred spirits that have the same determination as I do!


Sign up today to know when we release a new article


Ultimate Recruitment: 65 Ways for Attracting, Onboarding & Keeping the Best

Empower your workforce with 65 tips on attracting, onboarding, and retaining the best talent at your organization. Simply enter your email address and name to claim your free download.