Every day we have the opportunity to write our own stories.
We can allow the events and circumstances of our lives to narrate the story or we can take the pen in our hand and seize the opportunity to author our story from the inside-out.
But each of us will encounter periods in our life where we feel insignificant and wonder if our story will actually impact anyone or make a difference in the world.
So here’s a challenge for us to reflect on as classroom leaders:
Describe a period in your life when you felt insignificant, but, as you reflect back in hindsight, this period was vital regarding your personal growth and development. What lessons did you learn from this period you can revisit and apply to your life right now?
This challenge comes from our fundamental of success of Enjoying the Journey.
A Period of Insignificance
We are not alone in feeling insignificant and we can extract lessons from the story of a famous person who used a period of insignificance in her life to grow. Then, we can apply those lessons to our own lives so we can become stronger leaders for our students.
The person whose period of insignificance we want to look at had a dream to be a writer. She came up with a story for a book, but soon after beginning to write the story her mother died. Subsequently, she spiraled into a deep depression while grieving for her mother and completely stopped working on the story.
Eventually, she took a job teaching in another country with the intention of escaping her troubles and creating a fresh start. She also hoped to gain more downtime to work on her story again.
After moving to the new country she fell in love, got married, and had a child. But the marriage quickly ended and she returned to her home country as a single parent, without a job, and barely any progress made on her book.
Remove Everything Which is Not Essential
This person later said about this period of her life, “By every usual standard I was the biggest failure I knew.”
But she didn’t stop. She had something she wanted to accomplish. When seemingly everything else was stripped away from her, she focused solely on that one thing.
Although she described her situation as being as poor as possible in modern times without actually being homeless, eventually she did finish the book. The book was then rejected by at least 12 publishers before someone took a chance on it. She later said failure can be important because it can help us remove everything which is not essential.
She started doing less and she started becoming more during this period of insignificance.
Although we can now look back on this person’s situation and connect the dots to where they are today, there were no guarantees at the time.
There are never guarantees of what external results we will produce.
So what should we do? We should Enjoy the Journey.
That’s what this person did. She realized even though she considered herself a failure and she didn’t have many of the things we often think we need for success, she still had her idea. She still had a passion to write and a desire to tell a story.
Increase Capacity to Add Value
Have you figured it out yet? Do you know whose story I’m describing? It’s JK Rowling, the author of the massively successful Harry Potter series of books and subsequent movies and everything else that goes along with it.
Now when we say JK Rowling was Enjoying the Journey do we mean she was running around hooting and hollering, jumping, and clicking her heels? No! What we mean is she eliminated all the nonsense and the fluff. She focused on what truly mattered. And she stayed true to herself and her idea…the spark she had within her.
She did less of what didn’t matter.
She became more by increasing her capacity to add value to the lives of others.
Not only did she add value to peoples’ lives with tremendously entertaining stories, but she wrote a life story that we can take lessons from and use as a compass to become more successful classroom leaders.
So how about you?
Is there a period of your life when you felt insignificant, but this period was actually vital in regards to your personal growth and development? What lessons did you learn from your period of insignificance you can apply to your life right now?
JK Rowling said, “Had I really succeeded at anything else I may never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena where I truly belonged. I was set free because my greatest fear had been realized and I was still alive and I still had a daughter whom I adored. And I had an old typewriter and a big idea…
…and so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”
Enjoy the Journey of Teaching for Impact
So why wasn’t JK Rowling successful earlier in her life? We can’t be sure and it doesn’t really matter. But we can extract some lessons from her story.
Maybe you are in the middle of an insignificant period of your life. Stay true to yourself and the spark within you and…Enjoy the Journey.
Perhaps you are wildly successful and feel like you’re on top of the world. Stay true to who you are and the spark inside you and…Enjoy the Journey.
We can’t control the results and we can’t always predict why things work at certain times. But when we focus on Enjoying the Journey as we write our own story, we will produce more than results.
We will produce an impact.
And when we are doing something as important as teaching young people, our impact on others is much more powerful and will last longer than any external results we produce.
By doing less and becoming more we are able to focus on what truly matters…Enjoying the Journey of teaching for impact and making a difference in the lives of our students.