20 September 2011

Re-Invent Yourself

I spent the day at the 8th Annual International Women's Conference in Waikiki. It was amazing. There were speakers from all over the world. All women. All leaders in their fields. Truly amazing and inspiring. I am still processing everything I heard but feel the need to discuss some things immediately.

One thing that everyone talked about and espoused as the one way to guarantee success was hard work. All of them said that anything worth having is worth working for. One talked about the 10,000 hour principle from the Outliers, which basically says that if you want to master something you need to do it for 10,000 hours. Someone figured it out and the Beatles played for 10,000 hours before they became famous. Bill Gates programmed for 10,000 hours before he started Microsoft. 10,000 hours seems to be the magic number. I've heard this before, hell I've told my class it, but for some reason it resonated with me today. I don't give things enough time. I don't give near 10,000 hours.

The other thing that really struck me was the last speaker. She said you should reinvent yourself to keep your passion. You may reinvent yourself for a variety of reasons; divorce, fired, empty nest, etc. Or for no other reason then it's time. This struck me. She also had stories of women who had reinvented themselves and most of them were not for any great reason. One woman decided she was tired of being overweight and entered a beauty contest to keep her on track. She won. Another took a vacation at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and ended up selling her house and moving to Utah to work there full time. This really hit me hard. This was very close to home. I have reinvented myself a couple of times over my life. The latest one was when I quit the lab and starting teaching. When I did that I felt good about. Really good. I was never so positive of a decision in my life. I had secretly wanted to be a teacher for a long time and really felt that the time was right. I was confident deep down in my soul that I was doing the right thing. Part of the reason I felt that way was because of where I was. I had been working out for a couple of years, I was in the best shape of my life, and I felt awesome. All those things played into me feeling so completely confident in my decision to become a teacher. Once I actually started teaching the wheels started coming off the bus. Teaching is hard, hard work. Harder than I thought it would be. And I had stopped working out so much due to injuries and school consuming a whole lot of my time. I started to lose confidence in myself. I started to doubt that I could do this. And I started to think I had gotten in over my head. I lost my faith. The more I doubted myself the more things went wrong. I felt like a horrible teacher and I became a horrible teacher.

So, what is the take home message from all this? Well, it's time to finish my reinvention. I wanted to be a teacher, and I still do, but I want to be an awesome teacher. I want to be an excellent teacher. I want to be a nationally certified teacher. I want to be the absolute best I can be. Time to get my dreams back on track. Time to take control of my life again. I can't change everything immediately but I can start making little changes right now. Starting with working out. It is not an option. Working out helps keep me focused and confident so it is non-negotiable. That is step #1. Step #2 is to get myself organized. That starts on Thursday morning and it begins with this room.

I feel good about this. There are a whole lot of things I need to do but one step at a time. I need to get things in order before I can continue on my journey. So it begins again but I have a greater understanding of things this time. I know not only what I need to do but why and it makes a whole lot more sense to me now.

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