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Finding Your Why

Jan 4 / Todd Houston

Much has been written in the business and self-help literature about finding your “why” or passion. Simon Sinek, a famous business guru, has espoused the need for everyone to find their “why.” Sinek also says that companies must also have a clearly defined “why” – if there’s any hope of success.

For most of my life, I’ve had a clear understanding of my “why.” In high school and through my undergraduate, I knew I was meant to be a photojournalist. I loved photography and writing. At the time, I thought that I’d work for National Geographic down the line. I was clear about my purpose, and nothing was going to stop me. I never seriously considered doing anything else, but that started to change.

Growing up, I had a cousin who was deaf. After getting to know him, I became fascinated with deafness and learned American Sign Language. My interest remained through my studies, but I didn’t see it as a potential profession.

Once I started working for various newspapers, I became disenchanted with journalism. I began asking myself, “If I didn’t do this, what could I do?”. Through a series of coincidences, I found myself assigned to several stories that dealt with hearing loss or deafness. I think it was the universe saying, “This is your new path; embrace it.”

Eventually, I completed a master’s and Ph.D. degree in Speech-Language Pathology. My career has allowed me to serve young children with hearing loss and their families in many different ways. I’ve also spent most of my career in academia, and I’m proud of the many graduate students who have gone onto stellar careers.

While academia and clinical education have been exciting for me, I have wondered if there’s something different that I should be doing. These initial feelings led me to work with my co-founders to get the 3C Digital Media Network launched.

I realized that I needed a creative outlet, although I still struggled with my “why.” What exactly was I passionate about? What would excite me when I got out of bed each day? I still found myself struggling to answer those questions.

Sinek formulates the “why” statement as: [ To_________, so that __________. ]

That is, if you can fill in the blanks, you may well be on your way to discovering your true passion.

I found myself trying to find a unifying “why” statement that linked my academic career with my work with 3C. I found myself torn between these two professional roles. I was living in “passion limbo” – unsure of how to view the work that I was doing. Admittedly, these feelings led me to experience some depression and my motivation for both roles deteriorated.

I decided to revisit the “why” statement after contemplating my professional and personal goals. A couple of months later, I finally arrived at a “why” statement that captured my dual professional roles. Here it is:

"To connect people to new ideas and learning experiences so that they can improve their lives and become their best selves.”

I’ve decided to revisit my “why” statement periodically. While I don’t think it will change dramatically, I’ve learned that our passions change as we have more experience and that’s okay. 

In my heart, I enjoy teaching and interacting with those who are open to learning new information. Whether I’m on campus as a professor or working for 3C, I know that I can fulfill my passion.

What about you? Do you have a “why” statement? If you don’t, give it a try. It may take several attempts, but you could discover a new passion or at the very least get more personal clarity. As you finalize your “why” statement, I hope you will reach out to me at todd@3cdigitalmedianetwork.com and let me know how it goes. I’d enjoy hearing about your “why.”

Additionally, I’d like you to consider how 3C might fit into your passion. Do you want to write more? Maybe you can write a blog for our platform. You may be a great conversationalist, so consider working with us to develop a new podcast. Want to teach and help others develop new skills? Consider creating a series of webinars or courses with us. Whatever you determine your passion to be, I hope we can find a way to help.
As we start 2022, there is so much to be excited about.

We will continue to grow 3C with content from a new cohort of outstanding creators and thought leaders. So think about joining us and bringing your passions to life!

Connect, Communicate, and Collaborate. That IS the 3C way!

~ Todd Houston

Photos courtesy of Canva.

You’ve certainly experienced loneliness, right?. But did you know about its long-term effects?

Former surgeon general, Vivek Murthy, claims that: 

"People who struggle with loneliness end up living shorting lives…are at an increased risk for heart disease, depression, dementia, anxiety, and a host of other conditions.”

Now that statement makes you stop and think, “I don’t want that.” Now to clarify, loneliness isn’t inherently wrong; each one of us needs time alone. It also is not entirely based on how big or small your social network encompasses. Instead, loneliness becomes an issue when it turns into something more chronic.

Professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University, Julianne Holt- Lunstad, defines loneliness as

"…the discrepancy between our actual level of social connection and our desired level of connection.”

You see, what’s haunting about loneliness is that it shows no prejudice based on race, class, or gender. Anyone can feel lonely, even if it seems like they would be the last person to experience it.


The idea of loneliness can heavily impact not just a person’s physical health but mental health too. Support systems feel like they’re breaking down. All you feel is isolation. Self-preservation takes over.


The point of learning about the effects of loneliness shouldn’t make you dismayed. Instead, it should inform you to protect yourself against chronic loneliness better and assist others when they could feel lonely. Loneliness indicates that we should be connecting with others to live in a community.


Think about what community means or looks like to you:
  • What does community look like to me? In-person? Digital?
  • What are some communities that I could be a part of based on shared interests?


Try to identify what friends you connect with most:

  • Which friends do you connect with the most? Why?
  • Should I start making a weekly or monthly time to hang out more with this friend?


Or you could start making new connections at the park, an event, at school. Anywhere. On the flip side, give people grace when they might be feeling lonely. Their distance and bad behavior may be symptoms of a more significant issue they are internalizing. Better yet, ask them if they need help with anything. You could brighten their day.

If you or someone else you know ever starts feeling loneliness in the worst way, breathe. Realize that often it’s a temporary phase that can be resolved by leaning on old connections or creating new ones. Of course, dealing with loneliness is a personal process. Take your time.

There is no shame in feeling lonely. However, we should remember to do our best to avoid the type of loneliness that affects physical and mental health because there is so much more life to live.

Connect, Communicate, and Collaborate. That is the 3C way!

Thanks for reading,

~Katheryn

Note: This article is a summary and review of a piece done by Freakonomics Podcast. The source can be found here: https://freakonomics.com/podcast/loneliness/.

 

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About the blogger

K. Todd Houston, PhD, CCC-SLP, LSLS Cert. AVT

Todd is currently a Professor of Speech-Language Pathology at The University of Akron.

In a career that has spanned nearly 30 years, Dr. Houston has been a photojournalist, an Executive Director/CEO of an international non-profit organization, a clinician, published author, researcher, and an academic. This professional journey has shaped a world-view that embraces diversity and supports engagement across cultures.

Dr. Houston has a passion for ensuring that others have an opportunity to fully express themselves.

Combining his journalism background with more than two decades of focused work with children and adults impacted by hearing loss, Dr. Houston has co-created a company that is committed to producing a range of content that informs and inspires.

Through the 3C Digital Media Network, Dr. Houston will bring together a diverse array of voices who can tell their stories and inspire others to be their very best selves.

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