Last year at this time I was knee deep in training, longing for snow, and thinking about the year had passed. Beyond that, I’m not sure what I thought. This year as I went through the same year end closure, I decided to document my thoughts.
Take-away’s from last year could be a mile wide and a mile deep. Here are a few highlights.
Raise it up!
Some of this was tough for me. I’m not the loud, outgoing type. Truly–I am more the behind the scenes quiet one. I don’t want to ruffle feathers, don’t want the spot light. This truly showed me that you don’t need to be the verbal crazy one. More can be done by listening sometimes.
This entire year was about elevating things. Thoughts, effort, work, strength, etc…
I had the ability to elevate my training for triathlon. As the school year ended I was invited to join the NEA Raise your Hand Day. Our school union has strong leadership. I never saw how I could be a benefit and hence never became too deeply involved. This conference demonstrated the importance of all teachers continually advocating for their profession, colleagues and teachers by having a seat at the table. Oddly enough, my involvement in the SLTA since that conference has increased. I now oversee the webpage, have teachers nominate others and highlight work that we do out of the classroom.
Raising awareness came from my involvement as a Medtronic Global Hero. Even the things that you think aren’t important, such as your health, are key to let people know about. Most won’t attack you, they will support you. They will share in your challenges and understand more about why you pursue things like you pursue them.
Raising my hand was following closely by raising my voice. Becoming involved with the New York Ed Voice teachers connected me with a network of teachers who value, design and promote educational change that benefits students in New York. More importantly–it highlighted one of the key issues: we as teachers need to share our stories. The stories of what is happening in our classrooms and why it is important. The stories of successful students whose lives will be more productive because of education–isn’t that what its all about?
In the end–it is up to you to raise your hand, raise your voice and raise awareness about all that matters in your life. No one will do it for you.
This one seems obvious–pace is key. This year I learned this across all disciplines; work, life and fun. It is natural for someone like me to go hard. To dump myself into everything all in all. But to accomplish anything you need to pace yourself.
In a race, determine what you can do comfortably and gradually push yourself to go beyond that. Comparing my bike in Haines City where I went all out in the first 20 miles and then struggled to finish because of cramps. I found the marathon where I started slow and progressively got faster to be a much better experience. Know the distance and ease in.
In terms of work and family, proceed with little bits. The quality of grading is better when I proceed in small batches. Short bits are easier to handle than long days.
All have purpose
There is always a purpose. Looking at my events I realize that biggest mistakes have resulted in the most valuable lessons. Pace yourself, pay attention to the small details. Don’t get caught up in the event. There are bigger pictures and items at play.
I think about my races–going to hard and getting cramps. My insulin pump falling off. At the time, terrible events. I was embarrassed, in pain, and sick. In hindsight-they have reminded me to pay attention to the small details. I’m glad I learned those lessons when I did. And now–I won’t forget them.
I’ve come to appreciate people doing things because they can. I remember a women saying to me before a ski race, ‘I’m doing this for you’. I looked her square in the eye and said “I proud of you for doing this. But, you need to do it for YOU–not me”. Needless to say in the end she was psyched to have done the race. And we were psyched to have her.
I made me realize that we all have fears and concerns about how we are perceived. And often, we don’t do things based on how we will be perceived. As humans we need to learn to get over that and take risks. Don’t let fear or embarrassment dictate your actions. You should dictate your actions.
That’s why I love the challenge of triathlon, running and ski racing. As a colleague once said to me, I don’t enter because I’m going to win, I enter to be apart of it. I know people who won’t enter things because they won’t win. I used to be a bit like that. But it is quite freeing being able to enter events and taking pride with the results.
And it bleeds into work and life too. Be out there with it. Proceed with the courage of a lion, the heart of the tinman, and the spirit of a five-year old. Do what moves you!