How I Found My “Why” and Why it’s Important to Find Yours

Posted: October 23, 2014 in Blog/Life
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

nietzsche_3Do you have a why? Why do you want to do what you do?  My why found me five years ago…

It was five years ago today, at the age of 24, I was sitting next to my mother as she lay on her deathbed dying of cancer and I watched as she took her last breath.  As I sat there, staring blankly at her now soulless body, my mind was flooded with so many thoughts and emotions.  Most importantly, at that moment, I truly realized just how short life can be and I now had a deep desire and a “why” to do something great with my life. 

She is why I want to go after my dreams.  She is why I want to inspire others to go after theirs and she is why I want to work to improve myself each and every day, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

The last words I spoke to my mother were “I promise I’ll make you proud.”  At that time, I did not know how I was going to do that, and for the next few years following that day, I had a hard time finding a true passion that I could focus my energy on.  I struggled with life; battling anxiety, depression, and a continuously frustrating inability to seemingly get going and a fear that I wouldn’t be able to live up to that promise that I had made.

However, after rediscovering my passion for golf and writing, and starting this blog in May of last year, it has given me the means to keep my promise to my mother.  I can pursue my passions and dreams in life, but more importantly it has given me a platform to help and inspire others to realize theirs and do the same.  In the end, if I don’t capture all my personal dreams in life, but my blogs succeed in helping others to reach their goals in their respective passions…then I know my mother would be proud.

I know a lot of you who follow my blog already have your own “why” for reaching your dreams.  But if you don’t, I urge you to find one, and you don’t need a personal or family tragedy to find it.  Your why can simple just be you, it doesn’t need to involve anybody other than yourself.

I’m reminded of a speech I heard Les Brown give where he talked about this idea, and it’s been a motivator for me as well.  He said imagine if you will, being on your deathbed, and standing around your bed are the dreams given to you by life.  The ideas that you never acted on…the talents, the gifts, the abilities that you never used, and there they are standing around your bed looking at you with large angry eyes saying “We came to you, and only you could have given us life, and now we must die with you forever.” 

If you died this very moment, what would die with you?  What dreams, what ideas, what talents, what greatness that you showed up to bring?  Don’t allow the fear of failure or the attractiveness of playing it safe in life to draw you in.  Life is short, start now on your dreams so in the end you’ll never have to ask yourself “what if?”  What if I had thrown my whole self at my dreams?

So I ask again, what is your why? Why do you want to do what you do?  I’d love to hear about them in the comments below, so please share!

I try to look back at the death of my mother in as much positive light as I can.  She was a very special woman, and I’m grateful to have gotten 24 years with her.  She gave me the gift of life not once, but twice.  Once when she gave birth to me and once the day she died…

I Love You Mom and Thank You!

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Comments
  1. cperrington says:

    You share a lot of the same ideas that I do in my blog: bestpracticelife.wordpress.com. I even reference the same Les Brown speech. A traumatic experience can be exactly what we need to jolt us into action. When we find our passion, it’s incredible how much more we can accomplish than we ever thought. Congrats on the blog and your golf achievements. However, I have a feeling your mother was proud of you well before you accomplished either.

  2. arlynsmith says:

    AWESOME! That was great. You’re mom lives through you. She just had an impact on me 🙂

  3. nikibayard says:

    inspirational, thank you

  4. I congratulate you on the love you show your mother. Your post is very inspiring. I can’t imagine anyone reading this and not getting inspired. I like the way you did the best you could to keep your word to your mum even though she was not around any more. You are just a man of integrity wanting to keep a promise you made. People like you are the kind of people the world needs to be an excellent place for all to enjoy. If I do what I do, it is because I know the one who created me has put in me a great talent for moving people to bring out the best in them so that they can live the best lives and offer the best to the world. If I were to die today I would die a happy man that the seed of an excellent world that I have sown through my blog will be picked up by the wonderful people of the world and it will make a difference in the world some day. Let me mention that I am greatly attracted by anything that comes from you. You see you are inspiring me in a special way.

  5. My family is my “why”. like you I want them to be proud of me and want them to live a life full of joy and inspiration. thank you for the post Matt.

  6. I am sorry for your loss. Your attitude is awesome. It reminds me of this:
    “Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy shit…what a ride!”

    ― Hunter S. Thompson

  7. Reblogged this on sdbeagletwins and commented:
    Our Brother Matt is an amazing guy and he just made the best post ever about our Mother and how her death was the motivator to be best man he can be and to go after his dreams. Definitely left us in tears, we love him so please check out his blog it’s awesome :). We miss you everyday Mom <3!

  8. We love this Matt! You are such an amazing writer, Mom would be so proud of you :). We know she is smiling from heaven at all of the good you are putting into this world. We love you Brother!!

  9. hey matt…thanks so much for reading and liking my latest ramblings…just taking some time now and reading through your blog…great writing! to answer your question…my why is actually myself…having gone through some things this year made me realize how short life definitely is…my mother’s words resonate with me – through struggle comes opportunity…and my favourite – through failure comes learning…thanks again and keep on writing for your ‘why’…danielle…

    • Your mother is a very bright person! “Through failure comes learning” Yup, failure is the cornerstone of success and if you want to be successful you must not get discouraged when you fail, but use it as a learning opportunity for the next time.

  10. kcg1974 says:

    Such a beautiful writer you are. Crying with tears, I am at the gift of words you have just given your mother in Heaven. My own died of cancer too, and I have posts written of her. I haven’t read them in a while but your writing brought that rush of feelings and emotions back to me in a flood that was needed. Thank you.

  11. Earl L. Breon, Jr. says:

    Great post. I’ve never heard the Les Brown speech but I will go look it up. I was formally introduced to the concept of why by Simon Sinek’s work.

    I love the story of your mother. Mine about my grandfather is very similar. Greatness inspires greatness and we have both been blessed by great people in our lives.

    • Thank you, Les Brown is an amazing speaker and motivator. I don’t think it’s possible to not be inspired by his words, I certainly encourage you to find some of his speeches on YouTube.
      I’m glad your grandfather can be a motivator for you, good luck on your journey Earl!

  12. It’s true, you only have one life and nothing can stop your destination, I believe this. You may slow down or take a little detour but I believe that we all have certain abilities, talents and dreams that are supposed to be fulfilled in our life. We owe it to the rest of the world because every time one of us succeeds it encourages the rest to keep on trying because it can be done.

    • Couldn’t agree more! The simple fact of seeing other people accomplish their dreams makes your mind and heart know deep down that if they can have their dreams than it’s possible you can too! No matter the odds, it’s possible

  13. I really love this post. I dream of finishing my novel and now I have even more motivation to make it happen. All the best to you, Matt. I will be following your journey.

  14. Gail says:

    Your story made me cry, but maybe I needed that. Thank you and thank you for liking my post.

  15. yangandwild says:

    I’m sure your Mom was already proud of you even before your success. Thanks for this inspiring story.Way to go Matt! 🙂

  16. Jazz says:

    what a strong last line – binding all that you wrote before it…

    a long time ago i learned (through family deaths like yours) that one moment you have life and the very next moment, you don’t …but life seems to continue, even if it means watching it for a bit…

    you’re so right about finding the ‘why’ …sometimes that’s such a challenge … if not the ‘why’ – then learning to live the ‘how’ is a good place to start.
    thank you for such a good entry…

  17. Your mom was beautiful. Bless your sweet heart.

  18. Shibu Mathews says:

    Hi, this is a beautiful and moving tribute to your mother. You have truly inspired me about finding the why in my life. Thank you for such a nice thought-provoking post. Your mom will surely be proud of you and I think she always was even when she was there with you 🙂

  19. Thanks for liking an article on my blog,I do appreciate. Your blog is great.

  20. cherylfoston says:

    Thanks for reading my blog. It is appreciated! I like what you are doing with your blog!

  21. Lynnclaire says:

    Matt, I’ve just nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award… I’ve shared my thoughts here… http://wp.me/p4IghC-ll

  22. […] the thoughts you shared that got my attention were those communicated in your most recent post as you courageously share about your love for your mom and how her death put the big questions […]

  23. Rasma R says:

    Now you got me misty eyed. My mom gave me the love of life and also to go on and live and continue to love and remember. It was my dad who gave me the creativity to write poetry but I know it would be mom to cheer me on in my endeavors. I greatly miss both of them I know your mom is always looking after you and ever beside you. Take a look at the brightest star at night and think of your mom smiling down at you and radiating her love. God bless.

  24. agilly11 says:

    I have never heard of the speech by Les Brown before–it sent chills up my spine to think of your dreams in that way and things in life you may be missing out on but have not realized it yet. I believe it is a lot easier to live a happier and more fulfilling life when you have an idea of what your “why” is. I encourage everyone to keep looking and to not give up until they find it. Great post! Will be looking forward to more blogs from you!

    • I know, every time I hear that idea from Les Brown it gives me chills as well, I just love it. Thanks for your encouragement, I enjoy your writing and I’ll be following along as well. I hope we can continue to inspire each other and others to live their best lives, God bless!

  25. uponward says:

    This resonates a lot with me. 2 years ago I stopped going through the motions for a paycheck and started living…today I find myself with the unique opportunity to write my own project descriptions and tube get paid to execute them! It is truly amazing what can happen when you follow your gut, your intuition and live out your dreams. Keep it going brotha!

  26. Wonder Woman says:

    Reblogged this on Redefining Wonder Woman and commented:
    Inspiring story.

  27. Boy! You really asked a poignant question. Why? It forced me to really focus on the answer, and the gist of it is, it is really the only thing I’ve ever done for myself. I spent my whole life being a caregiver to my mother, my brother, and then my own nuclear family. I’ve always had a thirst for knowledge and bettering myself, but put it all on the back-burner to take care of others. With the internet came the fulfillment of finding knowledge (my kids refer to me as the “I’ll just Google it” Mom). But now that they are grown, and my mom, too, has died four years ago, I am allowing myself to take care of me. If I didn’t have such a supportive family, I know I wouldn’t do it. My husband is my biggest fan, so I’m very blessed. So glad you found me.

    • Awesome Kelly! Just from this post, I can tell you’re such an amazing and caring spirit! I think it is great you are now taking the time to do you, I wish you continued success in achieving your dreams and goals, I’ll be following along and I hope my blog can give you some encouragement and inspiration to keep reaching…thanks so much!

  28. I too lost my mother to cancer, my writing was never a hidden thing from her, infact, we shared so much that we would often make eachother cry with scripts and or poems. I know that my own blog is not only for me to release my pain in a constructive way, it is there like yours, to help people deal with or make sense of the madness this world and life throw at us, to make all things possible with an encouraging view of the flipside of each coin toss. Thanks for following me, it’s a privilege to share so much through words, when we cannot share in actions. My why’s are my daughters, without them I simply words behind a screen!

    • Wow awesome, thank you! I think it is amazing that you and your mother shared the same intense passion of writing, I’m sure it adds an even deeper and special meaning to your word. I’m sorry you lost your mother in much the same way as I did, but I think we both can say we are making our mothers proud one day at a time. Thanks for sharing your “why” of your family. I’ll be following along, keep up the great work, I hope you continue to drop in and maybe I can inspire and encourage you a little.

  29. I sent a link to this blog post to my son, who is choosing where to go to college and what he wants to do in his future. I love the part about those angry eyes staring at my deathbed! Maybe not “love it” as much as feel inspired by it. I love that you are sharing your enthusiasm for following your dreams and finding your passion. Sometimes I feel like I’ve waited so long to do that! And like you said, I may never have notoriety, money or fame because I pursue my dream (mine is writing), but when my blog reaches someone or makes someone smile, I find great satisfaction in that!

    • Thanks, I hope your son enjoys it! Remember, you’re never too old to start on your dreams, so don’t get discouraged in following yours and yes I think doing something just for the money or fame is backwards. If you do something because you truly love and enjoy it and throw your whole self into it eventually you will start doing it at a higher and higher level and then the popularity or money may come as a result. but yea it shouldn’t be the main motivating factor in pursuing your dreams or else you’re cheating yourself and others out of the best you have, you should do it because you love and enjoy it!

  30. Ketan Bhatt says:

    I hope I find my WHY before something hits me! Very well written.

  31. What an inspiring post! I believe my why is to start and run a not for profit for people whom I can help empower through various resources. The part of your blog you shared regarding Les Brown’s speech was powerful, the thought of that story really helped motivate me to think about my gifts and ideas that I am not using or haven’t given life to. I really want to, my prayer will be about how to. Thanks for sharing this testimony it is a blessing.

    Be Blessed!

    LaTrice

  32. Thanks for the visit and subscription. I see some great posts about golf here but this one is obviously much deeper. Great entry. Site looks awesome and will be following. I’m a poor golfer (shoot around 100) but I have a lot of fun when I play, so also looking forward to reading about your golfing. Thanks again and keep up the great work!

  33. Very touching! Thank you for sharing.

  34. Sabrina says:

    I echo the words so many have already left here. What you wrote is an inspiration. I find that many people have a difficult time conveying their sentiment in words, but you did just that. I truly believe that we should honor our parents in life and in death. We are the love that they’ve left behind for the world. Keep on keeping on! I’m not into golf, but I’m sure I’ll learn a few things from your blog. 😉
    Thanks!

  35. “He said imagine if you will, being on your deathbed and standing around your bed are the dreams given to you by life……” Wow what a thought and what a wake up! Thank you for sharing,
    Maria

  36. This is awesome. Nice piece, may her soul rest perfect peace

  37. Tiffany says:

    I believe the first moment your mother held you in her arms, she was proud of you! I’m sorry you lost your mother at such a young age. I, too, said goodbye to my mother because of cancer. This post really resonated with me. I have been appreciating life as well and trying to make a difference. I admire your strength and being so positive! It’s wonderful how you are “Leading by Example”!

  38. daydreamer254 says:

    So sorry for your loss, but I’m glad that you were able to/trying to turn a negative into a positive. Very inspiring post! Wishing you nothing but a great and fulfilling life.

  39. I had my dream of providing for my family as an artist emerge after facing illness and death almost 4 years ago. I am reminded of this quote:

    Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are. ~Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha

    I would have never imagined I could have so much happiness from living my dream, and I am hopeful about continuing to find new avenues of expressing myself to the world, and encouraging others along the way.

    Thank you for pursuing your dreams and passions. We need more people like you in the world.

  40. tdmitchell says:

    Thank you for sharing. My sister has stage 4 triple negative breast cancer metasticized to the liver. Every day is precious. Your words meant a great deal to me. Her son is just 25 years old. Her son’s best friend just lost his father to prostate cancer. Beautifully written. Touching.

  41. joewoutersz says:

    The Les Brown comments really struck me! I always seem to have a line on my todo sheet for goals, but the reality is I spend far too little time dreaming about the future and untapped actions that need to be awakened. Joe

  42. jenpdxor says:

    Thank you for the great reminder!

  43. Great Post. Keep Going Man. Keep Going. Thanks for sharing.

  44. mitchteemley says:

    Truly touching words, Matt. Your mom sounds like a wonderful woman! So glad you found your why. If you get a moment, here’s an account of how I found my “Why”: http://mitchteemley.com/2014/09/02/why-i-believe-part-one/ Blessings till it hurts!

  45. cynvoy says:

    Thanks so much for visiting my blog and giving me the chance to discover this post. Your words have touched me today. I have been an avid blog FOLLOWER for a couple of years and have always wondered and admired what bloggers can do for people but have been too scared to try myself. Thanks for the encouragement.

  46. eurobrat says:

    My blogging is actually a big part of my why…I love to write!

  47. A poignant post. Nice.

  48. writenow365 says:

    Hi. This is a great post. As a mom of two sons I found especially touching. My mom is suffering from stage 3 cancer right now. I am trying to make my dreams come true. Thanks for liking my post at learningtocry.wordpress.com
    S. Norton

  49. What a beautiful photo! reminds of the so many photos I take with my toddler these days. I hope to make him proud of me some day. Wishing you all the best with your endeavor!

  50. Emma says:

    The simple ‘why’ is the underlying meaning that we all need to be able to embrace life and feel complete. So simple yet so misunderstood. Your journey is amazing and inspirational 🙂

  51. Emma says:

    Reblogged this on creativeword and commented:
    A simple concept yet misunderstood and stepped over by so many. The ‘why’ connects strongly with our individual meaning and our own instinct to live, love and continue to walk.

    To know ourselves, first we must understand ourselves. The rest will follow 🙂

  52. This was beautifully written and a wonderful tribute to your mother. I agree that we all have to find our passion and follow it. So glad that you find yours. Best of luck and thank you for visiting Tovarysh.

  53. […] How I Found My “Why” and Why it’s Important to Find Yours. […]

  54. I’ve done just about every dream of doing that I have had. There are two that remain unfulfilled. I’m working on them now. One is to have my own lifestyle magazine. The other is to be able to earn a very comfortable living from what I write and publish. I’m working to use blogging and vlogging on YouTube as the avenue to accomplish them both. YouTube seems to be a very young demographic, even so I hope I can find a nitch so as to write, publish and create quality video. Thank you for looking me up. It’s awesome and inspirational to see that people are figuring out that quality of life is where it’s at. Your sisters comments of affirmation of what you’ve accomplished must make you proud. I’m proud of you and look forward to getting to know you more through your writing. Smile! – Ciecie

  55. I don’t care about golf. Or, at least, I didn’t. Then I saw this post. Your deep conviction to your dreams have caught my eye. It is a very rare thing, truly, to know the “why” that gives meaning to your “who.” Your story with your mother is truly touching and adds a deeply human element to what you’re saying. You’re not chasing a golf dream to become Arnold Palmer. You’re trying to be you, and make your mother proud of the life she’s given you twice. I still don’t care for the statistics of golf but perhaps that will change.

    One of the marks of a great story teller is the ability to take material one doesn’t care about to teach something, but have them stay along for the lesson by having them invested in the characters. I don’t know you, but I’m looking forward to see your dreams coming closer day by day. What you’re doing with all the breaths you have left brings honor to her last. Make her proud.

    God speed,
    -Red Herk

  56. rft3 says:

    You have a nice outlook about life. While playing sports is important (fun, healthy, discipline, sense of accomplishment), it’s good that you also view helping others through your writing as an achievement.

    I remember seeing Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield as a live talk, and he said that having a certain goal in your mind is necessary, however, it will never be a direct path. Instead, there will be changes in the journey and it can lead to different (good / bad) things; it’s part of the journey while we reach for a certain ‘place’ in life.

  57. Conor Neill says:

    Keep the journey going, you are an inspiration to me right now. Victor Frankl’s “Man’s search for meaning” was a life-changer for me.

  58. This is really beautiful – thank you for sharing your story. ❤

  59. Truely wonderful. I don’t know how you found my blog but I’m so happy you did so that I could read your words. 🙂

  60. I do believe in life that wisdom comes when we get perspective right. Your post does that. Thanks for sharing it with the world.

  61. Glad I found you blog this evening. Your mother would be so proud of you, I am certain. I love your positive and affirming thoughts – what a nice blog you have created. Thanks for liking my recent post and I hope to read los more from you, too

  62. Lora Bailey says:

    Amazing insight, amazing talent and amazing wisdom. No doubt about it. Your mom is very, very proud. You and your mom provided me with my “why” tonight. Thank you. 😉

  63. leahxnicole18 says:

    It’s amazing how much we can learn about ourselves through pain and suffering. This is inspirational and your love for your mother is beautiful. I’m sure she was proud of you before, and she definitely is now. 🙂

  64. Love your reasons for starting your blog. The tribute to your Mom is inspiring. I am a mom of two young adults and I can guarantee you that your Mom is ALREADY PROUD (regardless of the success of your blog)!!

  65. chloetbisme says:

    I loved this article! It was so inspiring. I recently started to work and reflect on myself and I think that finding your meaning and passions is so important. It allows you to really be the person you want to be 🙂

  66. Marmottan says:

    It is truly unfair to lose a parent so early. Whether you reach your goal or not – I sincerely hope you do – believe a mother when I tell you that the fact you try is what she would want for you. Striving gives life meaning, and that is the ultimate we want for our sons. Knowing you have a goal is the important bit, and you had time to give her that. Play well – I look forward to reading that you have got there, or that you never give up trying!

  67. mtetar says:

    Great Post continue to be a Blessing because you are Blessed. Thank you for stopping by my blog. I look forward to sharing. Blessings Always, Mtetar

  68. ~~~S Wave~~~ says:

    Beautiful. Thank you for sharing this with all of us. Looking forward to staying connected.
    ~~~S Wave~~~

  69. Steve Perrin says:

    I am very moved by your last words to your dying mother. Now all you have to do is live up to them, which you seem to be doing in fine style. In her name, you are watching over yourself. That’s the discovery of a lifetime. I have a feeling you’ll stick with it. Thanks for sharing. –Steve

  70. davekheath says:

    What a touching and moving story. I have found and lost my why. But I have jsut began to look for it again. Thank you for sharing.

  71. leamuse says:

    You were most fortunate indeed!

  72. LibbyWrites says:

    What a great post! And a bit of connection as I lost my mom on October 24th seven years ago. I launched my blog on October 24th of this year in memory of her – seven posts for seven days honoring the seven years it has been since she passed. She was my “why” for starting my blog. Thanks for sharing!

  73. Levon says:

    There is no one like a mother. Sounds like you had a good one. Love your post.

  74. akeem54 says:

    May her soul rest in peace.

  75. I’m very sure your mother is proud of you;
    I’m sure this post has inspired quite a number of people
    to start or continue in the “why” of life–I am
    of the latter.

    One of my “whys” of life is about using Literature to inspire others.
    Stirring up the identity of their purpose in them.

    Here’s something short your post inspired me to write:

    you have so much passion and
    energy going on, yet no action;
    go back to that first thought of:
    “This is what I what to do!”

  76. I’m very sure your mother is proud of you;
    I’m sure this post has inspired quite a number of people
    to start or continue in the “why” of life–I am
    of the latter.

    One of my “whys” of life is about using Literature to inspire others.
    Stirring up the identity of their purpose in them.

    Here’s something short your post inspired me to write:

    you have so much passion and
    energy going on, yet no action;
    go back to that first thought of:
    “This is what I want to do!”

  77. anchorrock4 says:

    Thanks for the post. Obviously I do not want my talents and gifts and ideas to go with me. Thanks again for the motivation.

  78. jwuollife says:

    Great post….unfortunately, I get bored quickly so frequently have a new ‘why’ in my life.
    Travel safe 🙂

  79. […] How I Found My “Why” and Why it’s Important to Find Yours […]

  80. roach59 says:

    WOW!!! This post just moved me beyond belief. I’m working on my second book and have been slack about it. I just mentioned to someone 2 days ago that this is an assignment that I’ve been given and one that I have yet to complete. You just helped me to get back in gear…. Thanks!!!

  81. chowitt86 says:

    Inspirational post, I’m sure your mother will be so proud of you.
    Everyone needs a reason why and this is totally inspired myself to rethink my own personal reason “why” 🙂

  82. reelia says:

    very touching and really similar to my upcoming blog post… am just proud of yu and sorry or your lost!!and thanks for sharing keep on fighting !!

  83. roach59 says:

    Reblogged this on studiotj and commented:
    I read this a couple of days ago and it keeps running through my heart and mind. Hopefully it does not take such tragedy to motivate you to action. For me, just reading this post has motivated me to re-commit to several goals that I have been procrastinating on. Let me know if this one motivates you like it has me.

  84. rittyann says:

    how i found my why….very inspiring ur mom is really proud of u were ever she is….i hv found my why too. fanx fr following my blog

  85. May She rest in peace.
    Good Work Man.
    Real motivation Stuff 🙂

  86. neakris29 says:

    Great post. Thank you for the inspiration. I am very glad you found your answer on “why?”, hopefully I will find my answers too someday. Looking forward to read more of your writing.

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