Tag Archives: change

Change Part Two: Believe

In the last post about change, I discussed how change happens one step at a time. That one step done over and over impacts your life.. But what step do you take? I’ll answer that with another question: What do you believe?

I recently held an afternoon workshop on leading from your WHY. In one segment of the workshop I addressed how our everyday behavior is based on what we believe. We are on autopilot for most of our day. This is not a bad thing, but it is important to address because what we believe sets the standard of our autopilot. (I wrote about this idea in the post, “Default”.) For real change we will have to connect a few dots. Those dots can get deep and complex pretty quickly. So, I will try to delve into this without writing a book…

First, you have to be honest about the change you want and what you believe. This process takes time and reflection. I recommend taking time to write out your thoughts and share your insights with a close friend. This helps you be accountable for the step you choose to take, which we will discuss in a minute. Back to the process, you need to evaluate your beliefs and be honest about living up to those beliefs. This is hard. Don’t rush the process, though. When you have a clear picture of your core values, you will then be able to see what the next step is.

Second, you have to have the courage to step in the direction of your beliefs. This is the hardest thing to do in the world, (which is why it is good to have someone who will help you along the way). Too many times, external factors influence our everyday life, and we let those factors determine our steps. There are too many reasons for that to work through in a blog post, but some of the main reasons are fear, acceptance, and emotional pain, especially from the past. We all have personal hurdles that will take courage to overcome. These factors sit between what we believe and how we live our everyday life. It will take courage to step in the right direction.

Change is important.

Change is growth.

Changes takes steps, everyday.

A single step may not seem to do much until you notice, that after time, you have become the person you have always known you could be. All because you took that first step, everyday.

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Change Part One: One Step at a Time

I recently finished reading, On Looking: A Walker’s Guide to the Art of Observation, by Alexandra Horowitz. The book is centered on Alexandra taking walks with experts in different fields. She walks with a sound designer for theater, a senior scientist for the Humane Society, and many other experts that teach her (and us, the readers) about the world around her through their perspectives. It is a fascinating read. One chapter, no, one anecdote really got me thinking about the power of taking one step. And how that changes things.

As shared on page 44:

Together we climbed up a few marble steps out of the museum. Each step was irregularly concave, worn down by the foot falls of countless visitors ascending, and rounded at their  leading corners, from countless descents. This erosion is petrified human activity. Each of those steppers toed the marble and push seventeen (or so) of its molecules forward, or to the side. After millions of steps these gentle shovings change the shape of the rock from tabletop flat to soft undulance.

Below is a picture from a gazebo on the Hastings Campus of CCC.

Worm Wood steps

In the picture you can see the effects of the steps people have taken on the paint and the wood. You can see how the wood has also been worn down by each step over the years.

The marble steps, from the book, and the wooden steps, from the picture, show how a collection of single steps can affect our world. It is a circular idea. A single step doesn’t seem to make much difference. It takes a lot of steps to create enough force to change something (marble stairs), but that doesn’t happen without a single step.

Change can’t happen without you taking the first step. You won’t see the effects of that change until you have taken a lot of steps, then all of a sudden there it is. There was no single step that made the change in the marble or wooden steps, but without all those steps the stairs wouldn’t be affected.

So, if you want to make a difference in your life. If you want to change something, all it takes is a step, then another step, then another step… until the effects of those steps change your life.

The next post will look at how belief is an important part of change.

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2018 Word of the Year

Happy New Year!

As we have done for four years, each person in my family has decided on a word for the year. My word is:

Ferris Wheel with the caption, Center Word for 2018

This one is unique in the sense that it encompasses many different parts of my life, yet brings everything to a central point (yes, I know what I just did there).

I am not sure what the next year will bring. I have goals I want to achieve. But this year I am concentrating on my center. I think that this work will have a domino effect on the success of my goals. When I think about my word, obviously, a wheel comes to mind, but it is a true metaphor for what I want to accomplish. It seems like all the action is on the outskirts of a wheel. It is there that you see the movement. The turning. The center seems to not move at all, but without a strong center the wheel can not move. Ever see a wheel when the axle is off center? How it wobbles, how hard it is to control.

A strong center is needed for a wheel to move, to spin, to make progress.

I have goals to meet this year, but I am only going to make it by strengthening the center… What is your word for this year?

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Open Letter To My Younger Self

I have become a fan of The Players’ Tribune. A couple of my favorite essays are from Danny Woodhead and Ray Allen. (Not to mention the recent essay from Isaiah Thomas, but his doesn’t fit this blog theme). Danny and Ray write a letter to their younger selves. I wrote a blog similar to this idea, “Staying True To My Younger Self,” but it focused on my writing.

I’ll turn 46 in a few weeks. And this thought about what advice I would give my younger self keeps storming my heart. So, I thought I would get the idea out onto paper…

Dear Younger Me,

It is amazing to think that I am just over the halfway mark of this life. The first half seemed to take so long to happen, all the change and growth and heartache that has occurred in these 46 years is crazy to think about. But, the years seem to be gaining speed, and life is going by way too fast. The oldest son is a junior in high school and the youngest daughter just turned four. I have had five different professional positions. We have a minivan with almost 100,000 miles and still a few months to pay it off!

Be ready, you are going to need to work on a few things. This letter is going to be tough to write, I hope you understand it when you read it.

First, forgive them. Everyone. Do it now because if you don’t, each day adds weight to your heart and it becomes harder to forgive. In fact I still haven’t. I can’t seem to let go of the pain and disappointment and the what ifs. Ironically, part of the problem is the work you will do to create a better life for yourself and your family. I’m not father or husband of the year, but the dinner table is often filled with laughter. There are hugs and bedtime stories. Movie nights with too much candy and simple moments of joy that take my breath away. But I haven’t forgiven certain people. You know who I mean, so forgive them as soon as you can. You can still live your own life without them, but your heart won’t be burden with the weight of anger and pain.

Second, I hope you read this in time, but don’t quit football. Don’t make that mistake. It will be your greatest regret.  Also, write more, push to become the writer you have always dreamed of since elementary school.  I’ve learned that the door of opportunity only stays open for so long before it closes. And when you choose to close that door, it can get locked and you have to let a dream die. Football. Other dreams can still be achieved. Writing. But you have to find an unlocked window to climb through. And sometimes that window is on the forty third floor. You have to struggle more than if you would have truly pursue your goals when the door was open.

Third, tell people thank you and that you love them. Let them in. Not everyone. But the people who are helping you, sometimes believing in you when you are not. You might think you will have time, but you won’t. Mr. Holt will pass away before you can tell him thank you for believing in you. There are others, like the Hudsons, Scott, and Mrs. Lane, who you will take for granted while you grow up. Let them know you are grateful, today. “Thank you,” might be the hardest thing to say in life because it reveals how you were affected by someone else.  For that moment you allowed someone into your life with an open heart and you are letting them know that by saying thank you.

And finally, stay true to who you are. I know you will do this at times, you will make hard choices because deep down you listened to the quiet but strong voice. Other times you will feel lost and hurt and wonder why life is so dark. That happens when you lose your focus, when you let others decide your future. Your path will be clearer if you continue to make choices that align with who you are (and what your goals are).

You are going to make it. At the halfway mark of life you will be amazed at how far you’ve come (and that you have driven two minivans as a dad). It won’t be easy, but I hope you take my advice so that when you arrive here you would have experienced more joy than heartache. But even if you don’t take my advice, you will look ahead to the second half of your life and you will know, even though the years are speeding up, that they will be filled with love.

                                                                                             Sincerely

                                                                                              You at 45

P.S. Remember this song?

 

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Part I: Definition

Title with dictionary page

There are 97 words for Love in Sanskrit. Each revealing a specific kind of love, like passion or motherly. In the English language we  tend to use the word Love to mean lots of different things. We have 22 definitions according to Dictionary.com of the word Love.

For this series I think it is important to create a definition to work from for the deeper and more abstract ideas I will share in future posts. Now, this has not been easy. I wanted a direct and clear definition that would allow me to expand my answer. So after many edits and rewrites I have decided to use the following definition for the bases of this series.


Love: the choice to care about a person, thing or idea, and to act accordingly.


I understand that your definition might be different. And I know this does not encompass all the possible ways that our society uses the word Love. But it is a good definition to build my answer for the upcoming posts.

Let me spend a moment explaining my definition.

Choice

First, there is a magical aspect of love, especially romantic love, but I will write about that later. For this definition choice is the first component. Love is more than feelings. We can choose our actions, our words, and the way we interact with this life.

Care

As an English teacher I knew not to use the word in the definition, so I decided on the word care. This is an umbrella word that allows me to be specific with examples but will transfer well to other examples for you, the reader. I might care about a person’s development, or care about my goals, or care that my child is afraid of the storm.

To Act

Here is the crutch of it all. To act. To practice what I preach. Not easy, but that is for a future post in this series. For now, the most important aspect of this definition is the action, whether it is in thought, belief, or physical behavior, action is important.

Now that I have developed a working definition, the next post will start to specifically answer the question: Why Love?

Share your definition of Love in the comment section or on Twitter with me.

 

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Road Closed

RoadClosedLife doesn’t always give us a sign like the one above. Life will provide us with events that make us feel like we cannot go any further down a certain path. That everything has changed. That the road is closed. Yet, any road closing will have an alternate route, sometimes just a city block, other times it can be miles. But after sometime we are back on our familiar path heading for our destination. Don’t let a change in your path keep you from reaching your goals. Even though alternate routes usually take longer, they can have beautiful scenery. And you will make it to your destination, just maybe not as you planned.

 

 

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Different Road

Designed at PicLit.com

Routine isn’t bad.  It provides a sense of security and understanding on how life works.  My children do better when we keep to a routine.  Even in my classroom, I noticed when I arranged my desk in rows there were less issues to deal with.  The sun comes up, the sun goes down; nature has its routine.

But all routines have a beginning and an end.  As my kids grow their routines change.  The desks in my room had to move to fit different lessons.  The time when the sun rises and sun sets change everyday.

When do we change?

Why don’t we change?

The first iPad sold on September 17, 2010 (just two years ago).  In the ESU 10 area we have at least eight schools with 1-to-1 iPad programs this year and at least another five looking at going to 1-to-1 programs next year.  Not to mention all the schools that have iPad labs. iPads are just an example of the rapid shift happening right now in our world. There is change happening in schools, but we are still driving on the same road.

We have been on this road for so long that we don’t even consider pulling over at a rest stop. We put the school on cruise control and head toward graduation.  Even if there is construction, or a bad storm, we have always arrived at our destination.

Courtesy of Flickr user Jared Zimmerman.

 

But there are many roads we can take.  And reasons to take them.  The first step to change is recognizing that the road we are on may not be the best one for us.

Because I am afraid the kids are sleeping in the back to pass the time…

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