This post holds a special place in my heart because it has to do with a two characteristics I hold very near to my heart…courage and commitment. I chose these for topics for two reasons. First, I have taken the past few weeks away from blogging. Second, the new school year just started and what better topic to talk about than overcoming fears and having the courage to commit.
I cannot believe that we have already completed the first week of school. The most inspiring aspect of this is that as I walk the halls and get into the classrooms I see the teachers embracing the two aspects of education I believe in; relationships and positively modeling continuous improvement. I truly believe that is because we are all committed to building relationships with students and parents. Relationships built on trust and respect so that real challenges may be successfully faced as we all continue to improve ourselves. Commitment like this takes courage. It is not always easy, but in the end it is always worth it. How many times have you faced a situation where you were unsure, anxious, or even scared? No matter those feelings it is incredibly important to start in the direction you planned because if you can start, you can finish. Each step forward gets a little easier. You just have to be willing to commit to your goal. I truly hope to help people understand the importance of committing to being the best version of themselves possible. Perfection is a fools errand, but continuous improvement and elevating yourself each day is what creates long lasting success.
I have a mantra that helps me look at every situation with an enduring perspective. I constantly say it so that others may use it to help guide their thoughts and actions.
Be Purposeful: Without purpose, everyone strays from their course. Life is about choices, decisions, and consequences. The often clouded road forward becomes a lot clearer when we are guided by a purpose. In fact, it comes down to a simple question. Is the decision I am making right now moving me closer or further away from my goals? The answer tells you what to do. This isn’t always easy. So be clear about your goals, set a plan, and then share them with everyone you can. This makes you accountable and accept responsibility for achieving them.
Act With Integrity: There is the easy way and then there is the right way. We need to be responsible for our decisions and actions. We all make an impact. The difference is what kind of impact are we each making on those around us. Make it positive. A person with integrity moves through life by doing what is right rather than what is easy. Those who are dishonest, take shortcuts, and do not put in the effort ultimately fail. Too often we get caught up in the “short-term game.” News flash: life is a long-term game. Strive for that by treating people and situations properly. Trust me…this will make you a winner in the end due to increased levels of support and trust when needed.
Build Your Character: Life is not always sunshine and rainbows, but remember that both of those come out after some of the worst storms. Character is something you build through courage and commitment. In fact, you cannot truly have courage until you have failed and decided to renew your efforts; pressing on until success is achieved. It is easy to keep moving toward a goal when you keep succeeding. Research shows that students who struggle, but persist through high school often fare better in college than those who breezed through. The simple answer is that they didn’t know how to deal with adversity and could not persist. When I think of character I am often reminded of the freshmen college wrestlers that joined our team when I wrestled. They had great records in high school and were sure they were going to beat their opponent who had about 6 wins and 8 losses. What they didn’t realize was that their opponents character was forged in adversity. They often found out very quickly the power of character, courage, and commitment.
None of this matters unless you have a plan, goal, or ideal to which you are committed. I shared the following in my weekly newsletter to students:
I ask a simple task that requires thought and courage; to be both honest and commit. Take a few moments to answer these questions about last year and the future:
- What did you accomplish and of what are you most proud?
- What did you leave unfinished?
- What were you passionate about?
- What inspires you now?
- What do you want to achieve?
- How will you be successful?
Take the time, answer these questions, and set some goals. We all finish whatever journey we are on (high school, job, career) at some point. The question is; how do you want to finish? What are you committed to?
My youngest son often reminds me of the many different perspectives on life, but he mostly reminds me to bite off more than you can chew…then start chewing. Most importantly, look for support from those close to you. They just need to know how to help by understanding what you need. The greatest struggles yield the greatest results. We all need to get positive, be positive, and stay positive about our abilities because in the end we are only as miserable as we want to be. Adjust your attitude and perspective; be purposeful and build your character; and you will find success.