When The Going Gets Tough, Try to Thrive, Instead of Just Survive

As I shared in my previous blog post, I have been feeling better than ever in 2021. Using my #oneword2021, I have been working hard every day to embrace my “TRANSFORM” mindset. But even with that being said, I am realistic enough to know that life is not without struggle, especially as we approach the year mark since COVID 19 changed our worlds. A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend FETC 2021 virtually. Being able to access an event like that from the comfort of my home was amazing, but what was even more amazing was one of the keynotes I attended. Jill Siler, author of Thrive Through the Five presented an astounding keynote and I thought now was the perfect time to share some of my takeaways here. In her keynote, she shared her Five Tips to Thrive through the 5% of the hard times we face in education.

  1. Recognize that failure is part of it

Her first tip focused on the idea that failure is a part of our journey, not the end of our journey. Many people look at failure as a bad thing, but Jill Siler does not. As she shared in the quote to the right, it is something we endure on the road to make us great. Earlier this year, when I read Dr. Brandon Beck’s book Unlocking Unlimited Potential, he looked at challenges as opportunities. Both of these educators are not alone in this perception. This idea is also reflected in Limitless Mind by Jo Boaler. In her book. she explains that the brain needs to be pushed to do difficult things, work on the edge of understanding, make mistakes and then correct them. When you look at failure as a learning opportunity, it changes your viewpoint completely and builds perseverance. Reflection is the key to learn from failure!

2. Reclaim action in the face of fear

Her second tip is to act in the face of fear. Having doubts or being nervous about something is not a reason to remain stagnant. Much like failure, fear is not a roadblock, but something to work through. She shares in the midst of fear, you need to expect it and understand how fear can make you stronger.

I understand this concept all too well. For most of my life, if I was afraid or doubted myself, I would not continue on. During the past year plus, I have acknowledged the fear but believed in myself enough to act. Currently, I am taking Lindsay Titus’ Ignite Your Legacy course. In our first week in this course, we discussed how discomfort is an appetizer for growth. We need to go past that initial feeling of discomfort, knowing that it is short lived and the other side is a magical place. I am now embracing that mindset more and more and it has transformed my life. Now, I embrace reaching beyond my previous expectations.

3. Reconceptualize balance and embrace self care

Her third tip is to understand that balance does not happen overnight, it is a process that we need to develop. A few weeks ago, Lindsay Titus of Define You University echoed this idea in a post, she shared how she stopped trying to balance her life and discovered the ability to blend. When she did that, everything changed for her. Both of these amazing educators share the idea that you can’t say yes to everything, but you can and should say yes to yourself. Way too often, we are way too hard on ourselves, we need to be kinder to ourselves. We can’t do everything- that’s okay- we need to give ourselves grace and time to grow and learn along our journeys.

4. Realize our actions matter

Her fourth tip is that our actions matter. What we do has an impact on those people who surround us. We need to look at decisions from multiple perspectives, lead with empathy, and make decisions based on a total picture. As I read Limitless Mind, Jo Boaler also echoed this idea what approached with a situation, we need to ask others how they see it and how they would approach it. We need to listen before we speak. This is often easier said than done. If we listen to other points of view, then as leaders, we can make decisions that keep these perspectives in mind.

5. Reveal Your Heart and Lead with Love

Her fifth tip is to reveal your heart and lead with love. In times like these, there are so many considerations in place. But leaders need to take care of their people: their staff, their students, and themselves. In this tip, she shares the vulnerability that leaders need to include in their practice. Education is not an objective step by step process, our decisions impact everyone around us and we need to be transparent in our actions and lead with a caring heart.

I hope keeping these tips in mind will help you as you navigate struggles and challenges, or the 5% that Jill Siler says we need to not just survive, but thrive through these times. Challenges are never easy, but if we approach them with a limitless mind, a freedom of mind and spirit, and understand that times of struggle help us grow, then they can become opportunities for growth.

An elementary school edtech coach in Northern VA, mom of 4, dog mom, wife, blogger and writer. http://www.tannenbaumtech.com

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