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Pandemic: An Ideal Time to Explore WHO, WHAT & WHY With Your Kids

The Big Idea

For many, the slower pace and the time away from after school activities occurring during the pandemic offer an environment that is conducive to reflection, discovery, and thoughtful decision making. It offers a chance to escape the day-to-day pressures of performance and achievement, and gives us and our kids a chance to think about ourselves in the context of a bigger picture.

You can use this time to look inside as well as out. In order to build the mindset and EQ that foster leading well, being well, and doing well, it is essential for kids to be given time, space and guidance to tune into how they’re innately Wired, their emerging Interests, and how they can apply both to address the Needs they discover in their world.

How You Can Take Action

1. Approach your time together during this break from regular routines as a path to being first, then doing . Consider WHO you are before WHAT you do. When we go in the direction from being to doing, the experience provides the context for WHY, which has proven to be profoundly important but lacking in youth and young adults today. The research is clear: WHY creates the connection to meaning, which fosters happiness and well being - for us and for our kids.

2. In conversation, as you eat, hike, and gather, take a look inside too and explore

  • What makes you, your spouse, each of your kids tick?

  • What interests or excites each of you? What lights up your kids' eyes?

  • What are your super powers - the ones you already know, the ones you and they are discovering, the ones you see in each other?

  • Where do you each feel a sense of connection and meaning?

  • How are each of you wired to make a contribution that matters to you and to others? For your kids, it's in the small ways of family and school - and it will grow and evolve as they grow and evolve.

  • Model for your kids how you can map the connection between Wiring, Interests, and Needs using the WIN Map.


Make a game of it. Have fun. And embed this approach, these discussions, and this frame into your daily lives.

3. Help your kids synthesize what you’re hearing and they're learning about themselves to provide context. Ask questions and then listen intently to their answers.

“Every time you talk about history, you come alive. I can see how excited you are. What is it you find most engaging?" If need be, you might prompt with a question or two like: "Is knowing the history of things and places and events interesting to you? Are you interested in making connections between the past and what you see happening in the world today? Does it feel different to learn about history in a museum than in class? Let's think of ways to spend more time connecting to history.”

Share Your WIN Map

You can also share your WIN Map conversationally with your kids to model the process, the path, to finding your way to a sense of purpose in the life you live and the work you do. Here's an example:

"I’m Wired to connect and also to teach. I’m energized when I’m meeting new people and connecting with my friends and my family. And I'm effective at sharing information so others can benefit from knowing it.

My Interests includes kids. I care about them and their well being.

I can do what I’m good at and what I love by being a parent to you and by being a teacher - both fulfill Needs I see in the world. I feel energized and a deep sense of purpose in the work I do. The path I'm on is meaningful to me, to you, and to my students."


Only out of our greater insight into WHO we are can we find a sense of meaning in WHAT we do. Connecting these dots provides the WHY - for us and for our kids.

The slower pace of life right now can provide an ideal environment for reflection and discovery about who you each are.

Next, apply what you've learned about WHO and WHY to assess WHAT you'll do in your lives as a family and individually day to day - and what you'll stop doing - when you return to a more familiar routine. What you'll stop doing provides the space to go deep into the things you'll do that matter most. Letting go of what doesn't align with what's most important in the Strategic Vision of your life provides breathing room, peace of mind, and well being - which are essential to thriving and prospering in our increasingly competitive world.

Can't wait to hear how it goes.

Take care.

For more guidance, check out START's new WIN Map Journal for Students available from Amazon.

The processes and tools included in the WIN Map Journal equip students with the mindset and skill set they need to address the prevalent challenges they face in today's high pressure, high stakes world.

The Challenge: Everyone is born with a natural curiosity about the world, the courage to explore, and the desire to connect and contribute to people, pastimes, and projects we care about. But in our fast paced, success driven culture, this natural curiosity, courage, and desire to connect and contribute gets pushed aside and then lost, often by the third grade. As a result, well-being and preparedness fall.

The Opportunity: When we have the time, space, and guidance to explore, tune into, and then take note of who we are (our Wiring), what we care about (our Interests), and where we can apply our Wiring in an area of Interest to address a Need in the world (W.I.N.), we position ourselves to take the lead in our own lives and work and to navigate our path with purpose and joy. Developing a connection to a sense of purpose—our why—is the secret to living a satisfying, meaningful, and productive life.

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