On the weekends, I often enjoy hiking. Sometimes I go with a friend, sometimes I drag my daughter (above) with me. If I'm lucky, I get both kids to go. Sometimes I go alone. What I have realized when I go on these hikes...it's not always about the destination, the ending. It is often just about the journey. Many times, I don't even know where I will end up (as I have found myself lost on many occasions). As I get lost, I often make new discoveries. Beautiful discoveries. I see and do things that I may never have done, otherwise.
In our lives, personally and professionally...we are all on a journey...actually, many journeys. Sometimes these journeys do have a destination, sometimes they don't. Many times, as we are traveling, our destination, our goal, changes...because we are changing.
Here is the thing that I have learned. It doesn't matter where you are on the path, as long as you are on a journey. Just keep moving forward. If you hit a setback, don't hit reverse. Don't go backwards. Instead, turn around and look backwards. Remind yourself how far you have come. Recognize the changes within yourself. Celebrate those and move forward...just keep moving forward.
In my position, I have had the opportunity to witness many educators traveling on their journeys. Journeys of learning, discovery, growth. I have been inspired by what I have seen in these teachers and administrators. The changes they have made, the risks they are willing to take. But, I have also observed many who have felt paralyzed by fear, by feeling overwhelmed, by feelings of inadequacy. I try my best to encourage them to take that leap, because I have been there. We have all been there.
Here are my thoughts when you are ready to embark on your journey:
1) Assess where you are, imagine where you want to be.
2) Decide on your journey and take that first step. One step, just one. That is usually the toughest, but It will propel you in the right direction.
3) Remember it is YOUR path, not anyone else's. It is important to remember that many different paths can lead to the same destination. And everyone is traveling on their own journeys. Do not compare yourself to anyone else.
4) BUT...It is important to include others on your journey. People to support you, to encourage you, to nudge you when needed, to help steer you back on path. You need the right people. Positive people...you do not need extra baggage on your journey that will weigh you down.
5) Find a cheerleader, a coach. Someone that is there for you, to go to when you are struggling. Someone that can lift you up when you can't do it for yourself. Someone that can celebrate with you.
6) Celebrate your small victories. Every once in awhile, reassess. Look back and recognize your accomplishments. Be proud, use those to keep pushing forward.
7) Reach out. If you need support, help...ask for it. There is no shame. We are all better together. Don't struggle alone, when you can move forward together.
The learning and growth happens when you are on that journey, whatever that looks like. Just put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward.
What is that "thing" you want to do next? What journey is on the horizon? Start on that path today...take that first step.
Mother, teacher, TOSA, GCE Level 1 & 2, Encourager of others.
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