When you push yourself to find yourself, you may be surprised by what you discover.
It is too easy to stay the same and not change. I went through a period where I was comfortable but not happy. I look back at my life and wonder why I continued doing something I didn’t want to do for so long when I wanted to be a teacher. I believed the wrong story. I stayed in a profession because my guidance counselor told me I would be good at it. I went in that direction, even though I didn’t listen to my heart. I was doing a disservice to myself and others because I didn’t put my heart into my work. When I finally figured it out, I knew that I had to change, move out of my comfort zone, and be the teacher I always wanted to be.
Now over 30 years later, I’ve been an educator, author, podcast host, story weaver, and advocate for educators. I’ve realized since listening to stories from educators that I was not alone. Many of us go down a path that we may not have chosen for ourselves. From the stories I heard, I realized some of the choices we’ve made in our lives have challenged us. I’ve also had other inspirational folks (scientists, filmmakers, students, retirees, and others) on my podcast where I learned everyone has a story or experience that either may have traumatized them or where they struggled with the decisions they made.
I coach and mentor educators and others who are struggling in their jobs or who may not be sure what to do next in their lives. I listen to amazing stories on my podcast, yet too many have told me they didn’t feel valued or listened to. Many teachers shared that they had no time to think or catch their breath during the day. When I asked them if they had talked to their administrator, some were afraid to let them know how they felt. I asked some if they wanted to look for a different job or place to work. Many told me that they wouldn’t leave because of the kids.
I told them that the kids need you to be happy and not struggling. If you move to a new school, they have kids there that need you too. However, no matter where you are, they need you to be strong, brave, and passionate about what you do.
Promise me to remember that you are braver than you believe,
stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. ~A.A. Milne