My mother told me a long time ago, “Do not compare your insides to someone else’s outside.” The meaning behind this advice can commonly be seen through the way many of us experience social media. We look at the images that others put out there of a seemingly “perfect life” and compare our reality to that. Some will capture this sentiment by saying, “Never compare someone else’s highlight reel with your behind the scenes footage.” For that reason, I rarely aimlessly scroll through Facebook. If I am not careful I find that after scrolling through everyone’s beautiful Easter pictures or family hiking outings, I come to the conclusion that everyone has it all together and I am a complete failure as a mother. Obviously, my perspective is flawed, but sometimes it is difficult to tell yourself that in the moment.
I think professionally, I have the tendency to compare myself with my own expectations of what I should accomplish in a day compared to what really happens. At the end of the day, instead of focusing on the positives of what I did get done, I compare my reality to the Twitter or Facebook image I have crafted of myself in my mind of how I want to be. I think it’s great to have a vision of where I want to be, but not when it causes me to reject the learning and progress I am making each day.
This week was a tough one for me. It seemed like I couldn’t gain any traction with anything I was trying to get accomplished. I would try to solve a problem and think it was settled and something else would be presented that made it persist. I couldn’t get resolution. I REALLY wanted to cross some things off my list and they would NOT go away! I wanted to get some of these issues that weren’t related to my mission and vision taken care of, so that I could focus on what was “really important.”
I think I am in need of change in perspective on several levels. First, my language as I write this is in need of an adjustment. Lots of “I,” and “my.” It’s not all about me! In my quest for what “I” want to accomplish I am missing out on what “we” have done. I need to remind myself that I am here to serve and support my colleagues as we work to support “our” mission. THAT is the work—not my to-do list. Second, I need to focus on our accomplishments for the week instead of comparing myself to some warped view I have of the way I should be. This week we had our first PLC meetings, we had a “flipped” staff meeting, I had the opportunity to speak to some state legislators, I got to see some great instruction through walkthroughs, and I went on a school visit with a team of teachers. That’s all good stuff and a pretty amazing week!
One of the neatest things that happened this week was the way several staff members rallied around one of our own, first to help a struggling student, and then again when a staff member’s room needed a lot of help. People forgot their own agendas and did what was needed when it was needed. That was a beautiful expression of love, teamwork, and compassion. That’s what we are about at our school and team. I can learn a valuable lesson from them.