For those who do not want to settle and would like to rekindle
the passion in your calling, I suggest a three-step model.
At the conclusion of a recent presentation on non-cognitive factors of student success, a young instructor approached me to continue the conversation. While my topic was, ostensibly, about inspiring students to take responsibility for their learning, this instructor wanted to talk about what he needed to do for his teaching success. Although teaching for less than a decade, he shared that he felt like he was just going through the motions each day in class. He needed a jolt—a jump start to regain the passion for his teaching.
Our conversation at the foot of the stage carried over to lunch where a few of his colleagues joined us. To me it was obvious that they loved their calling (teaching) but they were tired and searching. Rather than thrive, they were simply attempting to survive.
While I have had similar discussions with colleagues in all parts of the nation, two things jumped out as I listened on this particular day.
- These dedicated educators were aware that they needed to make adjustments. What they were doing was no longer working for them—or their students.
- The fact that they initiated this conversation and wanted to change indicated that they cared. They knew there was a better way—and they were inspired to find it.
In his book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes “flow as the state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter.” When people are in the flow they are doing whatever they are doing for its own sake; time is lost; the experience is joyful in and of itself.
My lunch colleagues on that particular day appeared to have lost the flow; they were going through the motions—and they did not like that. I thought about people with whom I have worked over the years who either were not aware they needed to make changes; or they were aware but did not care to make the changes. They simply settled.
For those who do not want to settle and would like to rekindle the passion in your calling, I suggest a three-step model—captured in three questions:
- Are you AWARE? Do you recognize the signs that you have lost (or are losing) passion for what you do each day? In a recent interview (Success Magazine, July 2013), life coach Martha Beck suggests that you write a list of what you have to do this week. Then be aware of how your body responds to each item on the list. Negative feelings? Positive feelings? Neutral feelings? The young instructor above was noticeably aware of the negative feelings he had come to experience each day in the classroom. Not because of his students; not because he despised his calling. Rather, he was losing energy because of his approach to his calling. He was aware that he had lost touch with what mattered in his delivery. He had lost the connection—and he wanted to get it back.
- Do you CARE to make an adjustment? Do you want to create a new reality? Once you become aware of the need for change, what are you prepared to do about it? Start small. Establish a plan. What is one thing you can either add to or subtract from the situation? Beck suggests that you eliminate one thing from your list of to-dos that brings on negative feelings—and replace it with something more positive. Do this regularly.
- What will you DARE to do? It’s one thing to say that you will do such and such. It’s quite another to actually do it. What one step can you do today that will help you rekindle the passion?
So, here is your homework. Identify something that you are aware that you need to change or adjust in order to regain your flow. Ask yourself if you care enough to make the adjustment. If you do, dare to take a step.
Video recommendation for the week:
This week’s video suggestion looks at how we can turn problems into solutions.
Enjoy your week—and H.T.R.B. as needed!
On July 15, I will offer my next webinar. The topic: Fostering Civility and Nurturing an Attitude of Gratitude. Take advantage of this complementary offering. Click here to register now for the webinar. Or go to my website for registration information.
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©2013. Steve Piscitelli