Hoda Kotb explains how she found her 'why'

Mika Brzezinski talks to the "TODAY" host about her new book, “I Really Needed This Today,” a compilation of inspirational quotes from figures who have impacted her life.
Image: Hoda Kotb
Hoda Kotb Peter Kramer / NBC

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By Halley Bondy

Early in the morning before going to work, “TODAY” host Hoda Kotb posts three inspirational quotes to her Instagram page.

It began as a small, cathartic habit. Then, she noticed that the practice was resonating with her 1.4 million followers.

“One of the consistent responses people have on Instagram is ‘oh I needed that today,’” said Kotb in an interview with Know Your Value founder Mika Brzezinski. “Sometimes you can’t articulate your feelings in the way you want ... sometimes you need someone else to put words to your emotions.”

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Thanks to the positive feedback, Kotb decided to publish a book of inspirational quotes called “I Really Needed This Today: Words to Live By,” which came out this week. In it, Kotb compiled quotes from famous authors and figures.

Brzezinski shared some of her favorite quotes from the book during an informal conversation with Kotb. Some included “It’s a lot easier to be angry at someone, than it is to tell them you’re hurt” by Tom Gates and “The two most important days in your life are the day you were born…and the day you find out why" from Ernest T. Campbell.

Brzezinski asked Kotb about the day she found out “why.”

Kotb said her “why” was the first time she held her daughter Haley. Kotb and her boyfriend Joel Schiffman adopted Haley two years ago when Kotb was 52 years old. The couple recently adopted a second child, Hope Catherine. “I think I really became who I was supposed to be then,” said Kotb.

“Life is starting,” noted Brzezinski.

Another quote in the book is from author Mitch Albom: “When you look into your mother’s eyes, you know that is the purest love you can find on this earth."

Brzezinski noted, “You must love that, looking into your daughter’s eyes, knowing she feels that.” Kotb agreed, remembering a time when she took Haley out of her crib and laid her down on the bed.

“She looked at me. For some reason, I just was staring at her. We didn’t’ say anything, and it was eye lock. And a tear came down. I still remember Haley touching it and saying ‘that’s wet, that’s wet.’ And she looked at me like she was trying to heal me. And I just thought, “I don’t’ know what’s purer in love than this.”

“I Really Needed This Today: Words to Live By” is available now.