I got into another conversation about life the other day with my 8 year old. You think I would have learned by now that these usually end up with me being stumped by a question that stays with me for a long time. This one made me think about perspective and how we go through life doing what we do. The best part is that he did it with a few simple questions. He asked me:
- What I do (he knows, but wanted an in-depth description)
- Why do I have to do it (after hearing about night meetings and a lot of work)
- Do I like what I have to do
- Do I ever want to do something else
- Why (of course he asked this…he’s 8)
At the asking of his last question a number of responses lept into my head, but something made me pause. My son was asking me why I had to do something that caused me to have late nights (I had just had quite a few in a row), a lot of extra work, and I must admit some frustration at times. The pause came from my belief that we are the masters of our destiny because we have the ability to perceive and choose. I also believe it is always important to reflect on those choices and our current station in life.
So, my answer to my son, was the following:
It’s important to understand that I do not have to be a Principal. I get to be a Principal! I count myself as one of those lucky individuals who have the opportunity to help students grow and reach their dreams; support teachers that are doing the same thing; and shape the future by having a long lasting, powerful, and positive impact on the lives of so many different people! I have the luck of possible being the one who made a difference in somebody’s life and I am incredibly grateful for that opportunity. Sure it is difficult and frustrating at time, but if I look at the positive moments they far outweigh the negative. Growing is hard so there will always be bumps, losses, and outright crashes. The thing is, those make the ending so much better. Nothing beats helping someone else get to where they need to be to become the best and most successful person they can be at that moment. That’s what I get to do. If I am courageous and tenacious enough; if I am purposeful and practice integrity; if I am fair and have strong character; I can be the difference someone needs because I get to be a Principal!
My son was quiet for a moment, smiled at me, and said: “Wow Daddy! You must really like what you do! I hope my Principal feels the same way.” After melting a little at his words and hopeful look I said; “I’m sure he does buddy, I’m sure he does.” The conversation then turned to what kind of donut he wanted to get. Again, because he is 8!
Unfortunately, many of us (me included) slip into negative self talk from time to time about what we have to do in life. This coupled with a constant focus on how hard or problematic things are because of the barriers set before us each day, makes for a dangerous cycle of continuously complaining about our circumstances and falling short of our goals. So how do we change our mindset from one of deserve and requirement to one of gratitude and opportunity?
Repeat to yourself regularly (this works for me):
- Change starts with how I perceive my world.
- I don’t have to do this; I get to do this.
- Why can’t I do it? Think of how things would be if I did.
Believe these statements, change how you see and act in the world, and your world will change!
Please continue the conversation! How do you change your perception when you need to? What did I miss? Share some strategies and help us all continue to make a difference!