“So, what do you do?”
We all ask it, when we meet someone new. Usually, we are asking about a job: where do you work to earn money, what do you do there? For me the answer is, I work for the church, as a publisher, as the Executor Director of a media agency. That’s really an unsatisfying answer; there’s plenty of other stuff that I “do” which matters to me: I do the dishes, fix meals, I spend time with my family or doing chores. I ride my bike. Sit with friends. Watch the sunset from my deck. I travel.
At a deeper level, and more important to me, however, is the question of “why” I do what I do. A few months ago I asked MennoMedia staff to think about this, after I saw a TED talk by Simon Sinek, called “How Great Leaders Inspire Action.” His talk was simple and profound at the same time. I highly recommend it—it can change your life.
He said that the difference between success and failure—between great and mediocre companies or organizations—was that the great ones know why they do what they do. Most organizations or businesses can say what they do or how they do it. What differentiates the truly great, however, is the why: What’s your purpose, your cause, your belief? Why does your organization exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning and why should anyone care? “The why,” Sinek said, “is what inspires.”
I thought about that why this morning as I looked over the newly released Mennonite Girls Can Cook Celebrations. For me, the why of what I do is in this book. I do what I do so that we can all celebrate life, faith, community and family, the things which I think give us the greatest satisfaction and which form a foundation for everything. For me (known as a “foodie” by some) eating is not mostly about feeding my body, or nutrition. Eating is a meal, a way to celebrate the joys of taste, of creation, of togetherness. In our home we try and prepare meals together; we sit down at the table together; we take time to celebrate being together. That is really what life is about.
The ten women who produced this book, and their outstanding blog, are to be thanked for this marvelous contribution to the joys of eating, of celebrating, of families and of communities. This is why I do what I do—and I hope it brings joy and purpose to the lives of its readers. Cheers!