Improving All Students’ Mental Health Outcomes: Start with Why – Part II

Two years ago I wrote a Reporter article to share my why (as in Sinek, 2011) – improving mental health outcomes for all students. Since then I have participated in the National Interconnected Systems Framework (ISF) Targeted Workgroup and conducted doctoral research on this topic. My three biggest takeaways are that we need to: (a) Start with why, (b) Demystify mental health, and (c) Leverage what works.

Improving All Students’ Mental Health Outcomes: Start with Why & Remember Learning to Ride a Bike

I knew my purpose for learning to ride a bike and it was so compelling that I was going to do whatever it took to get there. Long before reading Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action (2011) or watching his “Golden Circle” TED Talk (third most viewed TED talk ever!), I learned to ride a bike because I started with my “Why” – my goal, my purpose, my motivation, my belief. We all did. We learned to ride bikes because we wanted to go someplace. We endured and triumphed over the litany of details that comprise riding a bike because we were excited about our Why. We didn’t persist in our attempts to ride our bikes just to not fall off and not get hurt; we persisted so that we could achieve our Why— independence, exploration, going someplace.
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