One sure way to block success is by running away from a belief, idea, thought or feeling you have about yourself. For instance, if you’ve ever thought:
I’m a bad leader
I’m going to be “found out” as a fraud
Other people are doing a better job
I’m a bad teacher
You know what I’m talking about. But I want you to know you’re not alone.
For over 25 years of teaching, I’ve had the thought “I’m a bad teacher” rear it’s ugly head. I’ve noticed it happens when
- I get a negative evaluation
- My learning session didn’t run as well as I’d hoped
- I am stepping out of my comfort zone and trying new things
I used to try to run away from it (over prepare, try to be perfect, try to be really nice). But running away is exhausting.
Plus, whatever we resist will persist until we pay attention.
Paying attention means embracing, being curious, or examining the thought when it emerges.
It takes courage to investigate the dark. But that’s where you’ll find your wisdom.
When I embrace “I’m a bad teacher“:
1. I reflect – One gift is it helps me not become complacent. It causes me to think through all my sessions, materials and learning strategies. It helps me make changes and continue to find ways for improving.
2. I’m kind to myself – It can be scary standing in front of a group of people. I still get nervous on occasion. When it emerges, I’m reminded to practice self-care and kindness. If a child is scared it’s best to offer comfort and kindness rather than tell the child not to be scared. The thought reminds me to do the same for me.
3. I look at the bigger picture – Embracing “I’m a bad teacher” allows me to look at the bigger picture and trust what is taught is not always learned at the same time. Sometimes people who don’t like the work have come back years later to let me know how much they learned. Plus, not everyone will connect to every teacher.
I want to remind you that your “shadow beliefs” often happen when you:
- Take on a new leadership role
- Step into your first classroom
- Try something new
- Are navigating change
It’s nothing personal: it often means you’re growing.
My hope for you is that you continue to have the courage to embrace the self-beliefs you find uncomfortable. And in so doing, find your wisdom.
PS: For the record, I think you are spectacular!
A question for you:
What negative thoughts have you had that turned into wisdom? What was the belief and how did you see it as a gift for you?