Indulging the Melodramatic Nature Within Me
A few weeks ago, I spoke to a friend with whom I had not spoken in quite a while. We spoke about all things life. We spoke about his girl, his job, his recent job changes. We spoke about my kid, my wife, and my job, too. In the middle of us talking, he asked if I was still inspired to do the work I did. I said yes, but I wondered why he would even ask. I also wondered what the answer was.
A few days later, someone I saw at a conference mentioned that they loved my Twitter game (their words, not mine), but mentioned that I hadn’t written recently and that he wished I had. I went back into my account and noticed that I had not written since February. And while hiatuses were not uncommon for me, this one felt bigger; it felt like it happened because I hadn’t the inspiration to actually type.
It was not that I didn’t have something to say, I just didn’t feel like actually saying anything. And that is abnormal for me.
I felt a little like this coal. I was still burning, but I felt darker than before and more lonely. The embers were still there, but they were burning lower; their light was dying with every passing day. Is this sentiment more than a little hyperbolic? Yes. But it is so for a reason. I have never been someone who didn’t want to move forward and spark myself to newer, better things. What I am, also, is someone who refuses to lose, and as such, I want to just reach out to any like me. I needed my fire relit, and I am hoping to help you should you need that.
Don’t Listen to Wayne’s World
Many of us know these guys. I remember watching the SNL episodes with my
family and dying of laughter. Every time they bowed down and proclaimed they were not worthy, I would giggle like a small child. No one said my sense of humor was advanced…
However, the lessons learned from Wayne and Garth here are twofold. First, even when beaten down, tired, and ready to quit over the last few years, I survived when I found time to laugh. Whether at myself, a stupid movie, or over a few beers with friends, that release was a godsend.
Also, the other lesson is to have a mantra. You ARE worthy, and whatever you have to tell yourself, do it. For me? It took a long time to figure out. But eventually I settled on this:
You will never be outworked or outpaced, even if no one sees it.
I strove to make that true and it kept me grounded.
Don’t Get Caught Up in the Blame Game
Fun fact. I did. I blamed a lot of people for my unhappiness. I blamed my boss, I blamed a co-worker who I found to be disingenuous. I blamed a peer that I felt was mean to me.
You know how many of those “sources of anguish” actually mattered? Zero. None. Those things existed, and they were frustrating, but I let them extinguish my drive. Some people can get past things like that. I couldn’t.
But here is the big shift. I CAN get past those. I have spent the last two years focusing on helping to build a new school. I barely took a vacation last summer. I spent every spare moment thinking about work. My entire professional life was geared towards something else, while not dedicating much to my professional growth. That is a shift I will make, and it is one you, too, can make. If you exert control over the things you should and can, your flame gets fanned by you. That ownership is powerful.
Simply put, you get to choose who you want by your side. Lot’s of people say that they build their PLN or their tribe. Those are fine. I prefer these guys…
You see, dogs are awesome. But beyond that, they are the perfect metaphor. They are the first to put each other in their place and remind each other when the line has been crossed. They are also the first to protect each other. Furthermore, they also engage in play with each other.
As a metaphor, dogs work because in the case of putting each other in their place, your tribe needs to do the same. Simply stated, when you act like an idiot, someone needs to call you an idiot. That someone, however, needs to be the people who protect you…like dogs. And the play part of the metaphor? Well, who better than your tribe to bounce your hairbrained ideas off of to make the world a better place?
So whether it is a tribe, a herd, a murder (hehehe), or a flock, find your people because, in the words of Rudyard Kipling, “The strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.”
Relight the Fire
Look, teaching is hard. And if we aren’t careful, we burn out quickly. And, to be honest, I wrote this because I felt like I had to. This is a cathartic piece for me. But after the last two years, I needed it. It may be pedantic or uninspired or maybe even a bit wandering. But I needed it.
And if I needed it, maybe someone else may need it, too, and to be reminded as my friends have reminded me that we are more than, not less than.
I do not know what happens next. I, at this moment, am unsure of where I am working next year. But, frankly, I do not care. Bring it on.