|It starts with me...|
It's not you, it's me. And I don't mean that in the cliched, "It's actually really you" way. It really is me...I've always imagined that I was fairly articulate, a good communicator. Although I was slow to begin reading and writing in elementary school, once I caught on, I quickly developed a deep appreciation for the intricacies of language. I am mindful of the incredible power of words- their ability to shift perceptions and transform thinking. I've always felt that clear, transparent communication is essential to building trusting, collaborative relationships. So needless to say, it's been a bit of eye opener to realize that I actually kind of suck at it. Ok, "suck" might be a bit strong... Let's just say, it's an area of growth for me.
Fortunately, I have some incredibly wise mentors in my life. I've written in previous posts how these individuals have helped me to find my edge, and to move past it into new understanding and learning. They push me to examine and question my own thinking, to consider my motivations for doing what I do. They encourage, support and challenge me every day. And they're not afraid to tell me when I'm wrong...
So here's where the "it's me" part comes in. In conversation with a couple of these wise individuals over this past week, I've come to realize that in every scenario where I've felt frustrated, or ineffective in my interactions with others, the common denominator was me. I may have felt like I was communicating effectively, but if there was confusion or concern as a result, I failed to communicate effectively. I may have felt like I was showing compassion and care in my interactions with others, but if there was anxiety or upset as a result, I failed to demonstrate compassion and care. I may have felt like I was providing opportunities for growth and learning, but if that resulted in disengagement or unease, then I failed to provide opportunities for growth and learning. I have been reminded that it really doesn't matter what I feel like I'm doing, what matters is others' perception and understanding of what I'm doing... I know "failed" is a strong word. But I see it as an absolutely necessary realization, an opportunity to reflect, to re-evaluate and to grow.
By identifying myself as the "common denominator", I am gradually moving towards a better understanding of what I need to do to move forward, and to support the continued growth and learning of staff and students in my school community. By identifying myself as the common denominator, I have been reminded that it starts with me.