It is not WHAT I do, or HOW I do what I do that differentiates me, it is WHY I do what I do that differentiates me.

I remember going to my very first Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS) workshop in March of 2011. It was a cold, wet and all-around miserable looking Saturday morning. The workshop was being held in a meeting room at the YWCA building on Howe Street right in the heart of downtown Vancouver.

I had no idea what to expect as I introduced myself to several of the early arrivals there who greeted me with such enthusiasm that I soon forgot all about Mother Nature who was still busy throwing water and wind at the windows outside.  The guest speaker that day was from Montreal. He entered the room dressed in a pirate costume and waving a fake sword around and engaged the audience in a guessing game to discover which character he was playing.

No one was having much luck guessing just from the costume so the speaker gave us a line from the movie that the character appeared in.

“My name is Enigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

Instantly, lots of people in the CAPS audience knew the character he was playing. The film was Rob Reiner’s The Princess Bride and the character that he was playing (Enigo Montoya) is seen throughout the movie on a passionate quest….a quest to find the man responsible for killing his father when he a young boy. Regardless of the unbelievable script and the memorable personalities in the movie, it is a beautiful film that I hope you have seen or at least will do so now.

The fact that this chap is on a mission is made clear to us on numerous occasions throughout the length of the film. He was so determined and you knew precisely what it was that drove him….why he was on that mission. Why was it that we all remember the character so clearly? It is simply because he was crystal clear about his purpose in life. “My name is Enigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

The speaker then asked us about ourselves. He asked us to think about WHY it was that we did what we do? What is it that sets you apart from others and that people will remember?

What is my WHY?

I sat there and thought about it as he had asked.

And then I  realized that my WHY had started way back at high school when I had met my high school bully David. I realized that he is the reason that I am committed to ensuring that people feel safe wherever they are.

He is the reason that I joined the Metropolitan Police in the first place and he is certainly the reason that I am devoted to the mission of teaching respect wherever I go.

And to think that I discovered that on a wet, rainy day in Vancouver at my very first experience of CAPS.