CHALLENGE Update @ 6 weeks- 2/7/2020

Forty- two days ago, I began my #oneword2020 journey. The first twenty one days of my journey seemed relatively easy. The new habits I was forming were working and I felt great. Last week though, I hit a snag. All of the sudden, I couldn't keep up with my pace and something had to give.

Last Saturday, as my dog and I walked, I was listening to Brene Brown's book, Dare to Lead. In the chapter I was listening to she was describing how sometimes when people feel "tired, " some times, they are lonely. This struck me as I walked. It made me think about how last Thursday, during the #masterychat when we were asked who are the five people we spend the most time with, I paused. Sure, I spend a lot of time with my husband- but does sleeping count? My kids are super busy and not always around. At work, as a tech coach, every day is different. I share an office with the librarian, but I rarely sit in there. Between ten hours of teaching on the master schedule and coteaching in grades 4-6, I am always on the go, but never with the same people. When I returned, I shared my thoughts with my husband and by doing so, I felt lightened. This week, I was mindful of pursuing connection as I worked.

So I entered this week with grace on my mind. I still maintained my habits but with a lighter heart. After all, it is all about balance- taking it one day at a time and being kinder to myself along the way. After all, I have accomplished a lot in forty-two days.

This past Saturday, I celebrated my blog's first birthday. The fact that I have been blogging for over a year is so exciting and yet feels unreal. Each week in 2020, I have posted at least one blog, sometimes more. It does so much for me as I reflect, but it also thrills me to see others read and respond to my posts.

In addition, I have continued to reflect on my goals daily. I truly believe one of the reasons I have made so made strides is because of this regular practice. I love using my journal and have even started using it for bullet journaling to keep me focused.

I also planned to CHALLENGE myself by applying to present at conferences. On January 28, I presented 2 sessions on Empowering Student Voice with tech tools as part of the SBTS2SBTS conference. It was great sharing and connecting with colleagues. While there, a colleague, Mike Abrams mentioned Techpalooza, an upcoming free conference in Danville, VA in June, and suggested that I apply to present there.

After spending a lot of time prepping descriptions and getting feedback from some colleagues, I decided to put myself out there yesterday and sent in three proposal submissions. Imagine my delight when a few hours later, the organizer asked me if I would be willing to do multiple sessions. Wow- so now, I am presenting all three sessions there and one session on Pear Deck twice!

Eating healthy and mindfully was my next CHALLENGE. The first four weeks, I was doing great. But during Week 5, healthy eating became a struggle. I would come home so tired and seek comfort in the pantry. But as we all know, that doesn't work.

As I ended the week, I knew that I needed to get myself together. I took a step back and this past week, I went back to simply tracking my food and giving myself grace. So far, so good- I feel much better this week. In addition, I have lost over 8 pounds so far!

I am so proud of how I have kept this CHALLENGE up. With only three exceptions, Brisket, my dog, and I have walked every day. Starting my day with a walk in the fresh air has been so helpful. It definitely helps get my mind in a great place to start each day. Some days, it is definitely easier than others to get up. But I never regret it afterwards. Knowing that I get this time for myself each day starts every day with an accomplishment.

My morning reading time has become so precious. I have read so many amazing books since beginning this new habits. They have broadened my horizons and made me consider new perspectives. They have truly CHALLENGED my thinking. Here are the last four books that I have read:

  1. Social LEADia by Jennifer Casa Todd: This book has quickly become one of my favorites. I love how it promotes empowering our students with what they CAN DO, versus what they CANNOT DO. As I begin my student tech crew, these are valuable lessons for me to consider.

  2. Master The Media by Julie Smith: This book made me reflect on how media affects us all in new ways. It really made me consider both how and why I consume media and how these habits affect me.

  3. Creatively Productive by Lisa Johnson: This book is full of so many great ideas. So far this year, the biggest suggestion I have implemented is adding bullet journaling. I can't wait to add more suggestions in the coming year.

4. The Secret Solution by Todd Whittaker, Sam Miller and Ryan Donlan: I loved this story as a fictional principal found his way to the leadership style that best fit him. After reading Start Right Now, it gave me a window into how leadership manifests in our schools today.

Taking risks is never easy, but it is so necessary. I am so proud of CHALLENGING myself to take all of the risks that I have taken over the past forty-two days.

  1. I am now working on a draft of my book. I am so excited how it is coming together and hope to have a draft completed to submit this year, hopefully for Dave Burgess Publishing.

  2. My first blog post for Teach Better will be published in March. I plan to work on another one for April this month as well.

  3. My first audio blog was released on Teacher Blogs. Recording my blog seemed scary, but I am so glad that I did it.

Have you set up a #oneword2020? Are you making progress on it? Reflecting on my cumulative progress every few weeks helps me to see my overall growth in a way that daily journaling does not. I cannot wait to see what develops in the next twenty-one days. CHALLENGE yourself and pursue your goals- it is totally worth it!