Do you ever look at the school next door and envy all they seem to have going for them? Like, “How do the Mustangs win so many games?” Or “I wish our building looked like it was designed by Joanna Gaines!” While that type of “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality is very normal in today’s society, we are here to tell you today that what you’re doing is amazing! Your school is doing great things. You are making a difference in lives every single day! You matter.
We all have days where we struggle. We feel like what we are doing isn’t enough and everyone around you has got it going on while you are lucky to keep the boat afloat. This is something we both struggle with in our professional and personal lives. As self-described perfectionists, it’s easy to slide into the feeling of “I’m not enough.” So, let’s share some of the easy, simple, and real ways we shake these feelings.
1. Scroll your phone: Not in the way you are thinking and the way 99% of us spend at least 2 hours a day. If I’m having a rough day and feel like nothing could go my way, I spend 5 minutes scrolling the Camera Roll on my phone. In these 5 minutes, I see images of GREATNESS. Students who have qualified for the State Science Fair, selfies with teams who have represented our school proudly, images of a Veterans Day program that will bring you to tears every time, and countless other images that remind me of the amazing things we have accomplished together as a school.
2. Take a personal day: Scandalous, I know! Education is one of the few professions where people act shocked that you would put yourself first. But the reality is if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else. Now, we’re not saying take a personal day every week…but when you begin to feel that something is about to break, sometimes taking a step back and away is exactly what you need.
3. Take a stroll: Get into your classrooms! This is where the magic is happening every single day. In your classrooms you will be reminded of the amazing teachers YOU hired, the students who feel like they can do whatever they set their mind to because YOU believe in them, and the incredible learning that is taking place because YOU have empowered your teachers to take risks and show their students the world. When you spend time in these classrooms you will witness great things that are taking place in your school. Pro tip: if you are really needing some love, head into the kindergarten classroom first. You will be bombarded by hugs and compliments like “my grandpa has that shirt and I love it!”
4. Speak it out loud: Therapy has been a game-changer. People think you must have something wrong with you to see a therapist and that couldn’t be further from the truth. In therapy recently, some great advice was given. You see often we’re our own worst critics and we tell ourselves things that clearly aren’t true. Instead, what we need to do is take those thoughts captive. How do you do that? Start by speaking them out loud. Don’t allow them space to bounce around in your head. Then after speaking them aloud, speak truth to yourself about what you KNOW is true and not just the negative thoughts that may have tried to take over.
Will these 4 tips solve all your problems? Of course not. But as leaders we give all of ourselves every day to this work. Yet no matter how much of ourselves that we give, sometimes we still find ourselves thinking someone else is doing it better, has it more together, and is making more of a difference.
Some days all we need to do is stop, breathe, and see what is right in front of us. Why? Because you are needed, you are worthy, and you are enough.
What’s your favorite way to remind yourself that you are enough? Share with us on social media by tagging @TEPSAtalk and #WeLeadTX.
Todd Nesloney is TEPSA’s Director of Culture and Strategic Leadership. He is an award-winning educator, author and international speaker.
Ross Braun is a small town principal in Indiana helping his students chase big time dreams! He is passionate about climate and culture and making learning fun for his students and staff.