This video popped up on my Newsfeed today. Give it a watch. It’s pretty powerful.
What would you write on the board?
Everything I’d write has to do with my career. It’s hard to call them regrets, because I wouldn’t change any of the decisions I’ve made. I don’t regret what I did in supporting my husband. I love where we are now, and so much of that is because of the sacrifices we’ve both made over the years. But I do wish that I’d been able to do some things that just haven’t worked out for me yet.
I wish things had gone differently with my career, but there’s a lot that I’m proud of, too. I’m proud how much I did accomplish, despite never staying one place very long. I’m proud of the skills I developed along the way (mostly out of necessity) that have made me the teacher that I am. I am thankful for all the people who have vouched for me, supported me, and encouraged me, many of whom I would not have met if my career had gone as planned.
But if I leave things where they are now, I will have regrets. I will regret that I never stuck around a single school long enough to watch students grow from silly kids to new adults. I will regret not going for my Master’s degree. I will regret never bringing my dreams of strengths based education to fruition and seeing what kind of difference that could make.
Did you notice in the video? All the words that followed “not” and “never”?
Saying. Following. Applying. Being. Speaking. Going. Getting. Pursuing.
Verbs. Actions. Things people didn’t do. Risks they didn’t take. There’s no real magic formula to stepping out of the comfort zone. You just do it. You make the phone calls and fill out applications and get the ball rolling however possible. It might be uncomfortable. It might be frightening. And you might fail.
That’s what makes it so scary, right? But that’s also what makes it worth it! Success doesn’t mean anything if failure isn’t possible. There’s very little pride in the safe and easy path.
There’s something final about the word “regret”, like all we have is the past. Unless we’re talking deathbed regrets, there’s still the future. We can look ahead and plan, and then act on those plans. I want to get my Master’s degree. I want to become certified to teach AP classes. And most importantly, I want to bring strengths-based education to the classroom and see if all the ideas I’ve been mulling over for years actually have some merit. I’m not in a position to do any of those things yet, but they are on my radar.
Of course, it’s easy to say all that while sitting on my couch watching my daughter crawl around on the floor. It’s easy to say “when I have a job again,” “when I can put away some money,” “when I’m in a position to pitch ideas to other people and garner some support,” etc. I may not be in a position to send in grad school applications right away, but the more baby steps I take now, the more likely it is that I’ll actually act on these dreams later. So I read up on programs and schools. I explore the Gallup website to see what it would take to become a Strengths Coach. I gather information so that I’m prepared to act later.
Fight complacency. Step out of your comfort zone. No one who wrote on that chalkboard said they regretted pursuing a dream. Instead, they regretted complacency. So whatever it is, just do it!