Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A Word to Live By

A new year is here, and so is the time for resolutions and other nonsense, I suppose.  I actually stopped making resolutions a few years ago after reading the book One Word That Will Change Your Life.  The concept was to pick a word that you would anchor your actions around for the year rather than making specific resolutions.  

I read the book, but didn’t actually put it to practice until late 2014.  After my husband died unexpectedly, I decided that I was going to say “YES” for a year.  I thought...my worst fear has already happened...and I survived, so why not just say yes to the things that I would normally hesitate about, analyze, or just be too lazy to do.  So, November of 2014-2015 was quite an adventure.  I went on road trips, got invited to concerts, went to the Academy of Country Music Awards, flew to San Francisco and had lunch with a drag queen, hired a personal trainer, got a dog, and ultimately ended up meeting an incredible man who asked me to marry him on top of the Empire State Building.  I said yes.  A month later, we went to Vegas and well....when in Vegas…
2016 was my year of FORWARD.  New marriage, new house, new car, new dog, new places to visit...new adventures.  Letting go of some old things...momentos, crutches, security blankets, habits, fears….

What I have learned about picking a word is that you begin to realize when things you are doing don’t align with your word.  When I did things that were holding me back last year, it irritated me...it wasn’t FORWARD.  When I was clinging to something because it was comfortable, it became uncomfortable because it wasn’t FORWARD.  When something would occur that made me revert back to old ways, I noticed it...because it wasn’t FORWARD.

Words are powerful.  They can build and slay.  (not the Beyonce kind of slay...well, or maybe that, too) When we change our words, we can change our minds.  Think about it.  Even in education...teachers are now called facilitators or designers.  Classrooms are learning spaces.  Students are learners.  While these phrases and terms can be euphemisms, they can also be powerful agents of mind shifts.  The way we talk to ourselves and our students matter. The words we use matter.  The most powerful word we might ever use is the (as the book Mindset explains)...is YET. What if teachers adopted that word for the year.  “My students aren’t reading on grade level...yet.”....”I can’t get all of the curriculum covered...yet.”....”I don’t understand why we have to do this...yet.”  Yet has possibility.  It is a synonym for opportunity.  

So, what about 2017?  What will your word be?  Mine is BUILD.  I know what aligns with build.  If it creates, advances, assists, enhances, furthers, improves, amplifies, boosts, develops, grows, makes, or expands something or someone...it BUILDs.  If it does the opposite...destroys, disconnects, disengages, divides, or separates...then it does NOT BUILD.  Simple.  

I can’t wait to see what will be BUILT in 2017!