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I swear to you I did not wake up one morning and say to myself, “You are going to begin making pierogi until you have fed the entire northern hemisphere.”

Yet, almost magically, the pierogi is changing my life.

It is energizing my days, as I get home from my day job and change into my pierogi-making uniform (usually a t-shirt and yoga pants) to begin to make the dough. I get two batches of dough going at a time, so it has had time to get ready for the rolling. It is a kind of zen thing. The dough and I are one, joined by the rolling pin, encouraged by the music I have on in the background.

But why on earth am I doing this?

the golden circle

I have a full-time job. I also am in the last gasp of finishing my doctoral dissertation, the thing that should be consuming my every waking moment outside of the employment that helps keep our household in good stead.

I have a family –- including a rambunctious pup in need of training –- and a house that needs the usual routine cleaning. I also do enjoy regular sleep. What is this pierogi gig that is driving me to organize my time even more, so I can get back to the dough and the fillings that become such a hot commodity for those who truly know what a good pierogi tastes like?

The “Why” is a great question. It needs to be tended.

Simon Sinek is an author and inspirational speaker who most people recognize by his intriguing concept of getting to the “Why” of what we do. He suggests the concept of the Golden Circle, that has an outer layer of “What.” The What is the easiest to identify, and for some of us, it is the automatic thing that constructs our days.

What do we do?

I am a writer. I write. It happens that my writing (the one I make my living from, currently) is twisted into editing, strategizing, creating and supporting the creation of “writing” that promotes the company I work for and its products.

But I keep it simple, I write.

Some people teach. Some care for others as nurses, doctors, therapists, whatever. Some build houses or sell cars or clean buildings. You get the idea. What do we do? That’s the first question to start scratching the surface.

Yet, that doesn’t help me with the ‘Why of Pierogi,’ so I looked at Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle again. The next layer asks me another question: How? How do I do what I do?

That’s a question for another time, but ponder that one if you wish. For me, “how” includes a keen awareness of the full experience including who is part of it, how do I feel in it, what are the difficulties and the payoffs. It’s not just the mechanics, though that is the point of the How circle.

The goal is to get to the Why. That innermost circle that is the most revealing, and some would say, the most important.

Why? Why do you do what you do? What is your purpose?

Maybe I am just easily persuaded. I hate to say that, because it makes me sound like a pushover. And I’m pretty sure there are at least a handful of people who would challenge that statement, knowing how stubborn I am by nature.

But when it comes to trying new things or testing my abilities, I don’t blink. I go.

The beauty of that is, I am usually surprised by the experience and all that it reveals about myself, what I don’t know, what else there is to embrace in this life.

So why? Why am I making pierogi like the world will go hungry without them?

starting 3

I think I need to keep going to figure it out.

Recently, I read an article that challenged Sinek’s theory that “the Why” is the most important thing. It suggested we should get to “the Who” first.

Who are we? Do you know who you are?

To use an Oprah phrase, it was an “aha moment” for me. I may have answered this question though, when I answered the “What do you do?” question. I write. Hence, I am a writer.

Maybe this Pierogi Adventure is giving me a two-fer, two W’s for the price of one. My Why and my Who are blended into a perfect combination of who I am and why I would offer to make potentially a thousand pierogi for anyone who raised their hand at the offer.

Okay, a thousand pierogi might be an inflated number. It will feel like a thousand by the time I finish but it is all worth it. The sincere appreciation and enthusiasm I am receiving is priceless, for making something that it meaningful to me and my family. It is connected to so many beautiful memories, that this experience now becomes a part of all that.

All I can say is “Wow.”

Next up: Don’t Call Them Customers

©2018 By Marianne V. Heffernan

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