I have no idea what purpose this post will serve, but I’m writing it anyway.
I am exhausted. Flat out, running on fumes, people looking at me saying, “Ryan, are you OK?” exhausted. The wax from the candle is pooling on both sides of me and I’m wondering, “How long is this f#(&ing candle?!” I mean, thank G_d for stamina. Thank deity for experience. Thank (fill in the blank) for concerted effort.
I wrote an email today to an angry parent… I don’t even know how I did it. I couldn’t string two words together verbally, but somehow crafted a considerate, diplomatic, eerily professional email. I normally re-read communications a minimum of ten times. After the last few months of consistent blogs, I’ve noticed in the last two weeks that I have less editing to do when I write now. I don’t think I re-read the email more than twice. Just to be certain I wasn’t losing my mind (at least not in email form), I screened it through two coworkers. Both were impressed, so I hit send.
What’s my takeaway?
Sustained effort over time
I’ve already mentioned that change is incremental, but what I appreciated most in that moment was whoa, I’ve mastered this. I’ve had the pleasant surprise — day after day, over the last four weeks, becoming increasingly exhausted, losing more and more of my gloss and shine — of discovering how much of my profession I have mastered. I am a coach; I am a teacher; I am an administrator; I am so much more than just this supposed pile of gelatinous sighs in the corner of the room. I am monstrously large and powerful, demonstrably capable and skilled, and oh my g_d, did I just string together a series of compliments about myself?! Holy crap!
I have built components into the framework of who I am that remain after I have been emptied (literally exhausted). That is so cool…
That makes me think of a sermon I once heard from a televangelist.
“Ryan, you watch televangelists?!”
Look, spirituality is spirituality. If you’re not preaching hate, you might have something valuable to say… and more often than not, religious traditions agree… and there was nothing else to watch, so…
Anyway, I’m watching this sermon and the preacher says, “So everyday this pilot reads the Bible, prays, loves his family and fears his God. One day, his plane starts to crash. Does he panic? No, the Word of the Lord starts pouring out!”
Granted, I’m condensing a ten minute sermon into four sentences, and there was way more lead up, but you get the idea. It’s the same when coding or eating or ANY such thing: garbage in, garbage out. Before watching that sermon, I had often said, “Who you are on a bad day is who you are.” I’ve heard so many people excuse or deflect, “Well, I’m/you’re just having a bad day.”
Garbage in, garbage out.
How you conduct yourself on a good day develops habits of mind, essentially training you for the bad days. Don’t take that for granted.
Let’s be clear: I’m not saying I’m at my best. I most certainly am not. I’m not a shining angel, rockstar, gift to all who meet me**. And I’m sure as hell not better than you.
I’m just maybe better at this than you.
Maybe not. You’re pretty awesome, after all.
Anyway, consider, what you do every day builds your essential structure. Don’t take your good days for granted. On your worst day, you can still be awesome.
Cuz you are awesome.
So, yeah, on to the next thing… Hoping to get considerably more sleep soon… Gonna go do my best impression of the Little Train that Could at a meeting tonight.
“I think I can I think I can I think I can.”
** OK, maybe I am God’s gift, but for that matter, so are you! Though that’s definitely a topic for another time…