You have probably heard this question before – What is your WHY? – but I wanted to revisit the idea today.

A very large part of my WHY started 18 years ago today when I gave birth to my son Kyle.  I can’t believe he is now legally an adult.  This sweet little baby has grown into an amazing young man and I am incredibly proud that he calls me “mom”.

There are always choices to be made in life – from little ones like what to have for lunch to big one like what to choose as your profession.  My son has been a big consideration in how my career has played out – always behind the WHY of my decisions.

Before he was born, I was a sales rep for a college textbook publisher.  My territory was the state of Maryland and I was on the road, heading to a different college or university each day.  I think about 30% of my time involved overnight travel.

After he was born I had to decide if I wanted to keep doing what I was doing or if I wanted to change paths to be home more.  My husband at the time was offered a job transfer and we moved to Oregon.  That helped me make the decision – pretty hard to work a Maryland territory from Oregon so we decided I would stay home with our son.

Being around for my son became the WHY behind the next 18 years of decision making.

I tried some home based businesses – things that would be flexible and allow me to be home and still make some money and fulfill the need for me to have something that was “mine” outside of laundry and legos.  I did cake decorating, tried a few multi-level marketing companies but never found that great fit.  It was ok because for 13 years, we moved every 3-4 years for my husband’s job changes.  I’m pretty good at buying and selling houses and moving a family!

Then in 2004 there was the “fork in the road” decision that you may have heard about before.  I was getting divorced and had to decide between trying to build an art business or getting a traditional job.  Both were scary but the WHY’s in favor of going for my own business outweighed the perceived security of having a boss and benefits.

In 2004 my key WHY’s included:

  • I wanted to be at home – even if I was working – with my son after school, during the summer, etc.
  • I also liked the idea of combining my business experience with my creative side – the idea of making a living from art seemed too good to be true.
  • I wanted flexibility in my time – I wanted to work on my schedule and not have to worry about doctor’s appointments, sick days or play days interfering with my job performance.

My son is now entering his senior year of high school and who knows where he will decide to go to college.  I guess he will be a much smaller part of my WHY I do what I do in coming years.  I feel like a nostalgic, rambling mother but I guess the point I want to make is this – know what your WHY is for the big decisions in life and also, make sure they aren’t all about someone else.  If everything I did was for my son, I’d be feeling very afraid of this next stage of life.  But because my WHY’s have been equally for me as a person and me as a mom, I think I’m going to be ok. 🙂 (I think… please have tissues ready.)

So what are your WHYs?

Here’s to your creative success and knowing why you are doing what you do!

– Tara Reed

P.S.  The photo with the guitar was just taken by Lindsey Lyon of Lindsey Lyon Photography.  If you need family photos, senior photos, baby photos and more and live in the Portland, Oregon area, check her out at