This is part of a series of posts from nominees for our LifeChanger of the Year educator recognition program. We meet scores of fascinating LifeChangers every year who have interesting perspectives to share about children, education and life.
Change is hard. Many of us do all that we can to avoid it. We are comfortable with our daily routines and feel safe within the confines of our “normal”. We know what to expect. We know who we can count on and who counts on us. We have a sense of purpose and belonging. Even if we are not happy, we are content.
But, what if another opportunity begins to interest us… What if we are confronted with something new and exciting? Will we be brave enough to take a shot, to face something different? Each of us must answer this question many times over the course of a lifetime. Are we ready for change?
Without change, we cannot grow. Without taking that next step, we will never know who we are truly meant to be. Taking risks requires a little courage and a lot of faith. Often when we look back at those big moments, they do not seem quite so big anymore. We have to take captive our fear, and channel it into excitement about the possibilities that lie ahead. It comes down to a choice – let anxiety and apprehension win or go for it!
When we decide to “go for it” one of two things will happen. We could hear “yes”. “We choose you.” “You are the one we want for this position.” Joy, excitement, anticipation, and uncertainty are a few of the emotions we will feel – with our minds spinning out of control with ideas and plans. We will be stepping out of our comfort zone, and into the exhilarating unknown.
However, what happens when we are told “no”? What about when we take the risk, but the door does not open? Someone else is chosen for the role we wanted to play, and we are left with our heart exposed and our pride bruised. It is so tempting to become angry and resentful. Putting ourselves out there is hard, and it hurts when we are rejected; yet, this is when true character is developed. We have the chance to become bitter or better. It is difficult, but we can accept that it is not the right time and use this experience to learn and grow from. We can acknowledge that the future is so much bigger than we are, and that our purpose lies somewhere else for now.
Those of us who have felt the pain of the “no” before, and were willing to move past it for the good of everyone else, can usually see the “why” as we move forward. Our empathy towards others grows and we can see each emotion as an occasion to learn. We can show others how one person’s reaction can affect the mindset of all in a positive and productive way.
I am facing a new beginning. I was recently named the principal of Juban Parc Elementary School in Denham Springs, La. I feel very blessed to have this opportunity, and I think it is just a little sweeter, because of the road I have taken to get here. Throughout my career, several doors closed that could have created frustration, fear, and self-doubt. But, as we tell our students, life is about choices. By choosing to look at the “no” as an opportunity to grow, I was able to see the good in the decision. Looking back now, I can see so clearly the reasons why I needed to wait. I have also learned that my life is not about me. It is about those that I serve. I am so thankful for the lessons I have learned through being told no. It has made me more sensitive to the needs of others, and has allowed me to care more deeply about each person that is placed along my path.
Take the time to listen, to reflect, and to learn from each yes or no opportunity. Our lives are beautifully orchestrated, and though it is hard, there can be joy through the waiting.
Learn more about Lauren Kennedy, a finalist for the 2018 LifeChanger of the Year grand prize, on her LifeChanger of the Year profile.