You probably have some regrets as an educator.
I know I do.
Not only as an educator, but as a wife, mom, and friend too. Being an educator, a great one, is so complicated that sometimes it’s hard to know what to focus on.
So why is it that so many of us keep making mistakes at work and at home?
So often, I think I'm moving forward crushing my priorities...
and then guilt sets in, again.
I guilt myself because I didn't spend enough time with my kids, I guilt myself because I didn't stay late at work, and on and on it goes. Guilt, guilt , guilt.
You and I can break free from the guilt cycle by focusing on what truly matters. And remembering to take one step forward toward what truly matters one second, one minute, one hour, and one day at a time.
Challenges come and challenges go in life and education leadership. The difference between great educators and not so great educators is often how their character responds to crisis and everyday stress.
Great educators adopt practices and attitudes that lead to much fewer regrets. And they make strategic investments and decisions along the way that other educators don’t.
In the midst of it all, there are some things you can do as an educator that you’ll just never regret.
STRONG educators and people omit negative from their lives. They focus on positive responses and outcomes with no regrets.
While I haven’t gotten every situation right in education (far from it), I took some time to make a list of 21 things I’ve never regretted doing as an educator and that keep me STRONG for life. I bet when you do them too, you won't have any regrets.
And when you and I keep doing them, we’ll have far fewer regrets moving forward.
“We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past. But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future.” – Steve Maraboli
21 Things you won't regret doing:
1. THROWING YOUR HEART INTO WHATEVER YOU DO
Passion and enthusiasm are contagious. I've never heard anyone say at the end of their day, "Boy, I wish I wasn't excited about that lesson." Quite the contrary. When you and I are having fun, our learners are too. When you throw your heart into what you do, you change lives. You build unwavering relationships.
No one ever ends their life or day, saying, "Wow! I loved going through the motions each day." No way!
Instead, "They may say, "I wished I'd given it more." Put your heart and passion into all you do and have no regrets.
2. TAKING THE HIGH ROAD
It’s easy to get pulled down into mud…arguing, jostling and getting caught up in accusations that lead nowhere good.
Take the high road.
Be kind. Don’t fight back. Prepare to be misunderstood. Forgive.
Focus on understanding others more than being understood. (Sure, communicate clearly. But what I mean is to invest in listening more than talking.)
The high road isn’t the easy road, but it’s the best road.
You simply never regret taking it.
3. SAYING YOU’RE SORRY
Stay humble and admit your mistakes
A sincere apologize goes a long way. It never leads to regret.
4. BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS WITH LEARNERS
You will never regret investing time into building bridges and relationships.
5. PUSHING THROUGH YOUR FEARS
Fear is a factor. Fear is truly inevitable in life. It takes many different shapes and affects each educator divergently. The struggle is real, but struggle makes you stronger when you push through.
Great educators push through their fears.
6. SMILING MORE
You’ll never regret smiling more.
I've noticed how simply smiling causes others to relax and smile back.
A smile is free and it brightens the day.
7. SAYING AN ENCOURAGING WORD
No one I know ever said, "Stop encouraging me."
Encouragement costs you nothing but it means everything to the person you’re encouraging.
8. SAYING THANK YOU
Genuine appreciation goes a long way. Think about the happy people you know in your life. They are filled with gratitude. They take time to thank.
9. HELPING SOMEONE WHO CAN’T HELP YOU BACK
Your true character shines brightest when you help someone who can't help you back. In fact, let's take that a step farther. Help someone who can't help you back, and do it anonymously. You will be filled with a sense of joy.
10. FINDING A FEW GREAT MENTORS
Being an educator can be a lonely journey, but it doesn’t have to be.
Finding mentors is something no great educator regrets.
I seek experience from those who are a step or two ahead of me in my journey. I look for those who do what I aspire to do, and I get to know them. I talk with them and soak up their expertise.
11. DEVELOPING SOME REPLENISHING RELATIONSHIPS
Teaching and leading in education is draining. I intentionally hang out with friends who are not in the education field. Their relationships give me a different spin on life. Their friendship is uplifting, encouraging, and usually stretches me to become a better person.
Above all, after I'm in their presence, I have an extra pep in my step. I'm replenished. It's a mutual relationship of edification instead of extraction. You'll never regret having friends who replenish you.
12. DECIDING AHEAD OF TIME WHAT YOUR PRIORITIES WILL BE
I am amazed at how often I have to re-establish priorities in my life.
Deciding ahead of time what you will do and not do helps with boundaries. Knowing your priorities also helps you know what to schedule and not schedule. I schedule my priorities rather than prioritizing my schedule.
If you don’t do this, you will never have enough time and always be disappointed with the results you’re getting.
13. CHASING YOUR DREAMS
At the end of life, no one ever said, "I wish I hadn't followed my dreams." You are put on this planet for a purpose that only you can do. Go after your dreams! The world needs you.
14. DISCOVERING WHAT FUELS AND DRAINS YOU
Ever wonder why some days you go home feeling excited and other days you go home exhausted—and yet you worked the same number of hours?
Some activities drain you and others fuel you. Yes, there are some activities you can't escape that drain you, but you can counterbalance them with activities that revive.
Figuring out what fuels you and what drains you helps you determine where to invest time.
Great educators spend more time on the things that energize them and less on the things that drain them. It's the R in STRONG- revive. Do more of what revives you.
15. INVESTING IN YOUR PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
Conferences, coaching, books, courses and development programs are investments rather than expenses.
The best educators never hesitate to invest in their personal development.
Becoming better at life and leading learners is never an expense, it’s an investment.
16. BEING IN THE PRESENT MOMENT WITH FAMILY
I intentionally plan uninterrupted family time. My kids are grown up now, but we all commit to Sunday dinners around a table laughing and sharing our lives. These are memories I will never regret.
17. DEVELOPING A HOBBY YOU LOVE
Hobbies change throughout life as the seasons of your life change, I've noticed. But one thing remains, everyone needs a hobby to remain sane.
When my children were small I did crafts and scrapbooking. Running half marathons used to be my thing. Then, I was a group exercise instructor and kickboxing became my thing. Now, as I age and my energy wanes, I find gardening brings serenity.
Gardening is a hobby that allows me to take my mind off of work and all my dreams and desires. Instead, I plot and plan where to plant plants as I pluck weeds and groom the garden.
No matter where you are in life, choose what fits you. Choose something that allows you to escape education. You'll never regret having a hobby. It's healthy.
18. CELEBRATING YOUR WINS
We all know success breeds success. We also know that what we fix our thoughts on, our actions follow. That is why I subscribe to celebrating every little step forward I take.
When you celebrate, you focus on progress instead of failure. With every celebration, you ascend instead of descend.
19. GETTING TO BED ON TIME
Sleep is an educator's secret weapon. Eight hours is the average recommended sleep for all educators to repair and replenish their bodies and brains. Sleep is essential for everyone but especially educators who make countless decisions daily and are mentally and physically drained at the end of the day.
Sleep lifts a negative mindset to a sunny situation. Proper sleep gives you a positive perspective.
Educators who are fully rested are more creative and always bring more to learners and school culture than their tired counterparts.
Protect your rest. Get eight hours uninterrupted sleep. You'll never regrets the results.
20. EATING BETTER
Food is fuel. When I eat whole foods, I have more energy. Eating better isn't about a diet. It's about fueling your body with the best food for performance and endurance. Think about how sugar effects your car when it's put in the gas tank.
Your car won't run. For me, the same is true with too much sugar and processed foods. My body won't cease like a car engine, but it will spit and sputter. I'm not as effective. I have more energy, mental clarity, and alertness when I eat better. You won't regret eating better and feeling better. Ever.
21. MOVING YOUR BODY
Moving your body is proven to make you feel better. It enhances mental health. When you feel better, you think better, and when you think better, you perform better.
Movement leads to a positive, productive, healthy cycle. It not only enhances your body but your brain too.
Motion is lotion.
It seems counterintuitive, but the reality is that when you move, you feel better. Motion is lotion for sore joints and arthritis. When you move, your joints get lubricated, and you feel better.
You can move by walking, swimming, biking, jogging, dancing, rolling, or doing interval training just to name a few ideas.
Most of the productive educators I know take their health and working out somewhat seriously. Also, age isn't an excuse. I'm an over 50 grandma who is more on fire than ever to move my body. Why?
I've got grandchildren I've got to keep up with.
You won't ever regret making movement a part of your routine.
“Don’t live your life regretting yesterday. Live your life so tomorrow you won’t regret today.” – Catherine Pulsifer
I know when you do at least one or all of these 21 things you'll live with no regrets.
I believe in you.
You make a difference!
Source: Post inspired by https://careynieuwhof.com/
Get inspiration and posts just like this delivered to your inbox. (Never spam. Always written for you.) (Scroll down to "Inspire Me".) Can't wait to have you in our community. Are you tired of not having enough time for your priorities. Do feel like you'll never get it all done?
Take Back Your Time with three action steps. Access your free downloadable here.
Learn more about being STRONG & how to cultivate life-changing relationships with families and students in my upcoming book. I share personal student stories and strategies for cultivating culture and community rooted in relationships. It's centered around amplifying all students' potential and unshakeable relationships that raise student achievement. Coming out 2021.