The choices we make, shape who we are. They also shape those around us. You may not even realize the circle of influence that you have. There is a ripple effect of your choices and your actions. Whether you affect your students in your classroom, your colleagues at work, your friends or your family, you have an effect. Just thinking about this, seems like a heavy weight to place on one’s shoulders. Does this idea change who we choose to be?
For me, the biggest choice I make everyday, is to be authentic. To be true to myself. It is unfair to myself and others around me, to be anything different. Sometimes I find myself apologizing for this. Yesterday I heard myself saying “I’m sorry, I can only be me”. What was I apologizing for? I followed it up with “Why be anything different?”. I would like to think that I am the same person, regardless of the situation or the people around.
Here is how I look at it. To me, being myself is tiring enough. Trying to put on an act, to be someone different; would be completely exhausting. I don’t see the point. I have tried...I have tried to act against myself, to protect myself. For me, it didn’t work, on the contrary, I just ended up hurting myself.
So, how does this tie into leadership? One thing I have learned from various experiences; being on both sides of the leadership line...BE AUTHENTIC! And not just be authentic in what you say, but in what you do, how you act, how you interact. Do what you say, say what you do and follow through. Build authentic, trusting relationships. This does not mean you have to let people in on every nook and cranny of your life. It just means, to let your actions and your decisions stem from your core values.
I have witnessed people try to wear different masks in different arenas, with different players. What I have seen...after a while those masks get all mixed up and the facade comes crumbling down. So I ask…”Why be anything different?”. By being authentic, it shows that you are human, people can connect.
As a classroom teacher, you are tasked with having a significant influence over your students. I felt that I owed it to my students to be authentic. I made mistakes...a lot. It was important for my students to see this, and see how to work through this. I have failed...I have fumbled...I have laughed and I have cried. These are all things that show our students that we are NOT superhuman, we are just like them.
But as much as I believe in being authentic, I know it is not easy. When you are authentic, you open yourself up to being vulnerable and that is scary. You may get burned and you may get hurt, but that is when you make that choice. YOU choose who shows up, everyday. For me, I say “You be you, and I will be me...why be anything different?”
Mother, teacher, TOSA, GCE Level 1 & 2, Encourager of others.
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