The word WHY is written in bold letters on my whiteboard for me to see every morning I walk into my office. It allows me to quickly remember why I’m doing what I’m doing, and if ever I feel like I’m having a bad day, I take a minute and ask myself that special question: what is my why?
As my business has grown, my why has evolved and grown as well. Although I have added to my why throughout the year, I never forget all the reasons I do what I do. When I brought Plan A to British Columbia, it was to change my career path. I was having a hard time deciding what I wanted to be when I “grew up”, and my existing business was no longer giving me a purpose. I knew I had to do something different, and for some internal crazy reason, I reached out to Sheri Tomchick, President of Plan A, not even realizing what I was getting myself into. Fast forward a few months, and I was starting a new business. At that time my why became to help the community, the seniors and how I could help change the situation in LTC for the better. The more I hired staff and spoke to potential partners, the more I realized that my why was highly needed.
I grew at a crazy speed—hiring, meeting partners and reaching out to the community—all the while focusing on my why. Every time I met a potential new employee, I would feel sadness. All of them just wanted to be respected and treated like a human being by their employer. This is when my why evolved to making my staff feel appreciated and cared for. I worked so hard for months making sure my staff and my partners were happy and that they all felt I would take care of them no matter what. I valued and focused on that why so much that I lost a why that I should have added to the list at the forefront; my family.
The whole year had passed with so much success and growth, but we never celebrated because I was too busy. My family would be in the background watching me grow and supporting me along the way, and also saying things like “mommy can’t go, she’s busy working”. I would just push that ‘ouch’ aside and keep going. Until one day, I looked around and my family was having fun and connecting without me. Despite all the success, I felt defeated.
We had a family vacation planned just before Christmas and I never even took the time to get excited. I packed the day before and off we went. At this point, I felt I would go on the trip, go through the motions of being involved and realize how far away I was from the bond I once had with my family. On the plane, I told myself to actually leave work behind this time, enjoy the time with them, and see what happens. Well, I did it. I trusted my staff to take care of everything, I sent very few emails all week, and maybe called the office twice. My family was my focus, and to my surprise, the bond was still there…and it was stronger than ever. My family didn’t push me aside, they were there all along—I just didn’t see it. My family vacation was the best part of all my successes last year, as I realized that my WHY was mainly for my family. Of course, it is still to help the community and the seniors in Long Term Care homes, but at the end of the day, it’s also to allow me to be a wife and mother to my family.
We will all have a different WHY in life, and like mine, it will grow and evolve throughout the process, but I urge you all to take a minute, reflect on yours and don’t lose focus. Take time to celebrate your success with the people who want to celebrate with you and who are always there to cheer you on.
I will end my blog on this note, as I’m leaving now to go skating with my daughters’ class because my WHY is what matters most today.
~ Natalie Fournier, Owner/Operator, Plan A Kamloops & Plan A Okanagan