The Healthy Educator podcast contains short episodes to get your mind ready to show up as the best version of yourself for your family and students. You will learn how to better manage yourself, your day, and your overall outlook as an educator! You deserve to be the hero in your story and I am here to help you on that journey. Make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any updates!
We have heard the war cry of connection pretty consistently for a while now. If we can all learn that connection is a choice of the involved parties our power to control the connections in our lives returns in a dramatic fashion. If you desire the benefits of personal and professional connections then it’s time to start choosing to be connected!
I remember clear back to a year ago when everything went crazy and schools shut down and everyone started becoming increasingly aware of connection
This has even gotten to where it is a great buzz word
I wonder if we all understand how much choice we have in the amount of connection we either do or do not have
There are many different levels of connection, true but if we desire to be more connected to our loved ones, or our students, or our co workers, then we really can make that choice
As crazy as it sounds even if someone is acting a very hard to deal with way, we can choose to feel connected to them, choose to see that they might be struggling
If this is a struggle for you then start with someone you usually feel connected with and figure out what thoughts you have about that person that are driving that connection
Once we understand that it is our thoughts driving the feeling then we can begin to transfer these feelings to those we have a bit more difficulty with.
The benefits are well documented about why connection is so important when it comes to our mental and emotional health so why would we choose disconnection?
There is such a unique power that comes from our ability to choose in our relationships of all kinds. And once we tap into that power of connection all of our lives become more full and we are able to accomplish more in our lives.
If you find yourself disconnected from everyone and are struggling to gain traction then come work with me!
Stress is really just an emotional vibration in our body and if we will allow it to fully process our body will release it and it will pass. When we try to resist the emotion we get stuck and all of the physical, mental, and emotional problems that come with stress are manifest. It is time we learn to allow these cycles to finish out and quit controlling our lives!
We all have had a double dose of stress this past year and really for the bulk of our career in education
What if we started to understand that this response is just an emotional reaction in the body?
If we are able to strip away a lot of the drama that goes with our stress response then we start to see it in its true light.
In its true light we are able to allow the physiological processes to work their course and the stress response will pass a lot more naturally for all of us.
There are so many ways to help the physiological process of this in our bodies but the one thing that makes all of this worse is resisting!
All of the issues that come with the stress response only happen if we get stuck in resistance, not allowing the the body to process the emotion
If we allow ourselves to feel the pressure and let it pass then our body grows from the pressure without all the drama. We are able to lean into the growth opportunities and even get to where we use these for our benefit rather than allowing them to be detrimental.
If you are struggling with stress drama in your life come work with me!
In our work in education people are rarely going to accomplish everything at the same pace. We need to understand how to control what we can control and keep helping everyone around us that might not have showed up to the party yet. This perspective really helps hold off frustration while still showing up for all those around us in the best way possible!
So much of our lives seem outside of our control this year and one way we tend to manage this is to expect everyone to be on our pace and our timeframe.
The trouble is this rarely happens in our lives, especially in education
When this happens we can either dig in our heels and leave those behind that have shown up yet, or we can strive to move on serving those that are moving on and then realizing that those who aren’t up to speed really just haven’t showed up yet.
They most likely are on their way to understanding but not everyone learns the same, has the same bandwidth, or background to expect everyone to be on the same page
If we expect this to be the case it puts us in a great position to help both camps in a better way instead of being frustrated and stuck in the middle.
This applies to your students, new changes in the school, etc.
Remember everyone is coming, some more slowly than others, but they are coming!
If you are struggling with anything in this circumstance come work with me!
In this episode we are going to talk about why we should accept change even when it's not welcome!
It has been said that the only constant is change. We are much better served to accept the change and see what growth can come rather than fighting against all change in our lives. This is a tough process for our brains because they want to be efficient. The growth that is available if we are willing to accept rather than reject the change is worth the discomfort in the process.
Last week we talked about feedback and how valuable that is in our learning process about ourselves and our students.
Once we are able to settle in on the fact that we need to be willing to accept and give feedback we can start to process change on a different level.
The only constant is change! We are much better served to accept change and see what growth can come rather than fighting against all the change.
Our brains really don’t love this very much, this is not always efficient. Even though change can be hard to accept and down right unwelcome we will always grow more if we are willing to accept change and lean into it rather than resist all change.
This does require us to process what the change actually means and not just follow blindly if we want to truly grow though.
There is a neat concept of clean pain and dirty pain taught by Brooke Castillo and Jody moore. This is basically understanding that there is clean pain we feel when we are processing through tough emotions and we need to not run from it. But when we are self imposing and resisting all necessary feelings and change it can lead to a lot of dirty pain that doesn’t take us anywhere!
For those of you who feel like a lot of your life is happening to you currently you can find some relief by working with a coach to see change for what it really is and lean into the valuable parts.
I can be that coach for you! Come sign up at The Healthy Educator!
In this episode we talk about important our ability to give and accept feedback is to our growth.
The way we currently see and respond to feedback is one of the most powerful weapons we have at our disposal in education. The way we personally grow, growth in our relationships, growth for our students and families, and growth for education at large is dependent on our ability to see and accept feedback in its true light!
Most of us have had an uncomfortable time of receiving or giving feedback. I have started to learn more about and question why?
If we really look at the role of education our power in teaching really comes from our ability to offer correct and powerful feedback.
The way we currently see and respond to feedback is one of the most powerful weapons we have at our disposal!
The way we personally grow, growth in our relationships, growth for our students and families, and growth for education is dependent on our ability to see and accept feedback!
If you have found yourself not really open to feedback then it is time to check yourself because you have simultaneously cut off any potential for growth in your life!
Not all feedback is accurate or useful, but we still need to consider it for what it could be. If we always throw the baby out with the bath water then just because of our discomfort or pride we also will not grow!
What gets in our way? Pride mostly, sometimes nervousness/anxiety, or our inability to to accept that we might be part of a problem. We usually see this in our self deception tendencies on a regular basis.
If you are struggling with the idea that you need to accept feedback come talk with me.
If you are struggling with the idea that you need to give feedback come talk with me!
I am happy to give you some feedback that just might change your life!
In this episode we talk about the value of coaching and how to unlock this potential in those around us.
The true essence of coaching is the power to show an individual their true self. Once we see our true selves a coach can show us the path to walk in order to reach our goals. Ultimately, we have to think the right thoughts, walk the right path, and control ourselves enough to reach the destination. The outside perspective of our coach simply unlocks the gate and helps us get out of our own way!
I have had some great conversations about the role of coaching in many different aspects.
I have coached many athletes and teachers and students. In all of these interactions my job was to provide information that hopefully the individuals could use to help themselves become better.
The true essence of coaching is not in the ability to give the information. Information is cheap, the essence is our ability as a coach to show an individual their true potential and help them get out of their own way so they can act on their own to bring out the best in their lives.
The coach is never able to act in place of or for the individual.
I have had so many times where we have given the correct information and knowledge to an individual and they did not use the information to bring about meaningful change in their life. This could have been on the field, court, classroom, in training sessions, etc.
Why any of us chooses to act in the way we know will bring about the results we desire is an extremely personal thing.
In our roles in education it can be so easy to not see things as they really are and a coach can help us to see ourselves in all our power and glory!
I want to be your coach! Come chat with me and see what we can accomplish together!
In this episode we talk about why negativity is so powerful in our lives and how important it is to start controlling our brains better!
Our brains are wired to constantly be looking out for our best interest in life. It turns out that this amazing feature registers negative information as a threat way more common than it needs to. This unconscious bias towards negative information brings a unique power to make our lives extremely negative! We have to make an intentional choice to see this information in its true light and choose positive pathways instead!
We have the most amazing tool at our disposal in our brains! They are so good at keeping us alive and happy most of the time.
Unfortunately in this process our brains are wired to always be on the lookout for threats that might harm us. Usually these threats are negative things in our lives.
Because of this hard wiring we tend to see any negative information as a threat and it registers as a much bigger deal than it needs to.
When we are inundated with negative information all the time our brains become hypersensitive to this type of input.
Once we get on this train in our brain we start to focus on negative information all of the time and it starts to influence all other areas of our life!
If we aren’t careful this information will start to take over and we only see the negative in our lives!
We are going to have to make an intentional choice to see all information in its true light if we really hope to gain a more positive outlook in today’s environment.
This is absolutely possible and worth it! I can help you distinguish your thoughts if you are struggling with negative thoughts in your life!
In this episode we talk about our choices to feed the drama in the world or disconnect from it and learn to grow from our circumstances instead.
It really seems like the entire world is in a crazy commotion sometimes and everyone’s emotions are very close to the surface. As educators we have the choice to buy into the drama and add to it at school or to see these struggles as a normal and necessary part of life and growth. If we are willing to choose the growth path everything gets better. If we choose the drama path everything continues, what do you think?
I am quite confident that we are all sick of the current circumstance and we are at a critical junction.
Especially when the world seems to be losing it, we need to understand things for what they really are.
We can choose to feed the drama and add to it in our classrooms and schools
Or we can disconnect from the drama and just see our lives as a great growth opportunity regardless of what happens
If we are willing to choose the growth path then everything in our world gets better
This starts with us personally, then our families, and then all those we influence in our careers as educators.
We can choose to keep the drama going and feed the narrative, but the understanding that the choice is ours is key here!
Time to choose to grow and move on with our next phase of life!
In this episode we talk about the difference between a student centered focus and a teacher centered focus in our educational world.
A consistent theme we see in education is the difference between a teacher centered focus and a student centered focus. Teacher centered educators worry how everything relates too and affects them. Student centered educators worry about how everything relates too and affects the students they serve. One brings about an increase in student learning. One brings about bitterness and entitlement. Which camp do you reside in?
Our educational world right now is in a difficult transition and one unfortunate thing I have seen is more teacher centered focus
We obviously have to look out for ourselves and I believe that we need to make sure to address ourselves before our students, but where is our focus?
Once we are at school and working to bring about student learning are we more focused on what each new idea is going to do to us or are we focusing on how to implement things to bring about what is best for our students?
Is my decision best for me or best for my students?
This doesn’t always have to be either/or, usually I would encourage us to think of this as an “And” opportunity.
The choice is always yours how you want to approach this and we will always ebb and flow but student centered focus is always going to serve us better when it comes to whether our career feeds us or depletes us.
Time to choose, what is it going to be?
We need to stop during our days and think a little deeper about our where our focus is. Think through our simple interactions first and then see if our thought patterns throughout life are similar. Once we define this we can start to analyze whether our focus is really giving us what we want in life!
Have you ever taken time to have checkpoints during your day to see where your true focus really is?
This practice can really help to gain the clarity you are looking for in your life.
I recommend starting with your very simplest interactions first and then you will gain the control over your focus necessary to expand this practice to your deeper thoughts and processes.
We start to understand that wherever our focus lies our attention almost certainly follows.
The things that have our attention will drive the majority of our results in our lives.
On one end of the spectrum if we are focused on extremely negative thoughts in our lives that will gain our attention and drive negative results in all areas of our lives.
If we can start to choose a more positive approach to our focus then the positive things in our lives will gain our attention and they will grow as well.
One of the cool things about the positive things gaining our attention is the more we are able to see and focus on positivity the better our lives become.
We still have hardships and growth patterns but in the more positive mindset we are in a much better position to make the changes necessary to become better.
When we are in a more negative mindset we are much less likely to see growth opportunities and actually grow.
So where is your focus taking you? If you are not getting the most out of your life and could use a redirect then you need to come work with me!
When are faced with the myriad of life decisions we need to start asking why a lot more often. We fall into automatic patterns way too easily when making decisions. We need to start making more decisions with our eyes wide open and be willing to deal with the consequences.
When was the last time you stopped to question why you were doing things the way you are?
I have seen studies showing upwards of 40,000 decisions is a single day and we have had several podcasts on decision making and decision fatigue.
When we keep up this frantic pace it really becomes hard to even process any of our decisions at a very high level.
The automatic patterns we create in our minds to be more efficient create a problem when we never stop to ask why and redirect our brains
If we can get in a pattern of questioning everything we can slow our brain down and actually start processing whether our decisions are taking us to the places we desire in life.
This process is vitally important in our personal lives as well as our educational lives.
If you haven’t been in this practice of questioning then it is time to start now!
Take control of your decisions and start making those decisions with eyes wide open to bring about the life you can live with!
As leaders in education we need to become firmly grounded in yourself. Never be afraid to stand up for what you think is right. Believe in your abilities, believe in your decisions, make your decisions correct once you make them. You are the hero in your story and it’s time we act like it!
It is time we start believing in yourself as a leader in education! We need to start making our decisions with power and then working our tails off to make those decisions right instead of questioning everything we decide!
It is totally normal for our brains to want to question but we can address those concerns of our brains with confidence and resilience rather than giving up on the decision
Right now we are often faced with tough decisions and it is going to be vital that we as leaders are willing to stand up for what we believe in and make decisions that match.
This is a lifelong process of learning to believe in yourself and your abilities but the output is the possibility of becoming firmly grounded in yourself!
Once you become firmly grounded in yourself you are in a much better position to drive the changes you need in education because you aren’t worried about everything outside of you so much!
This new sense of confidence will drive a much higher level of success in everything in your life!
Are you struggling to become firmly grounded in yourself? I’ve got you on this one!
It always seems we are seeking massive change in our lives. We need to understand that change for change sake is not always valuable. We need to make sure we are becoming more effective in our pursuit. Become more effective, don’t just change all the time!
Contentment seems to be an elusive idea for most of us
If we are into personal development at all it seems like we are always seeking growth and massive change in our lives.
This can be such a valuable tool if we use it correctly. I have often found myself or those around me however making change just for change sakes. If this is a needed change than it can so valuable, but not always!
We need to make sure that our direction for change is actually leading to more effectiveness.
Our brains love to seek new and exciting things, novel things. The shiny object syndrome is a very powerful buffer.
If at our core though we are not becoming more effective and striving for positive results then the change is usually going to fall flat and won’t be sustainable for very long.
We need to build in checkpoints throughout the change cycle to see if this change is leading us to where we would like to go.
The precursor to this checkpoint is our absolute clarity about where we are going in the first place.
I am all for change but lets make sure this is driving us to more effectiveness in the process or we will end up burned out, battered and broken, and more stuck than when we started.
Come work with me if you need help getting started!
Everything we observe in life is laced with our own version of a story. This is only a problem when we think these observations are absolute truths. When we can separate the observation from the story in our heads we start to gain true control over the outcomes!
Our brains are tricky when it comes to circumstances, we really think the way we see things happen are the absolute truth
If we really slow our brain processes down we can start to process the neutrality of our circumstances
Everything we see is automatically laced with our own version of a story if we don’t intentionally bring it back to neutrality
If we really want to start to gain some control over the outcomes in our lives we are going to need to start separating our observations from the thoughts in our head that create a beautifully crafted story.
Once we start separating these points we can start to use more useful thoughts to drive the feelings we need to drive the actions desirable for the outcomes and results we desire.
This is a slow and intentional process throughout our lives but the easiest way I have found to get it started is to start questioning. Start getting curious about the picture you are painting and see if there is possibly another option you aren’t considering
This feeling/actions of curiosity can really start to open up some windows into how we currently see the world.
If this concept or anything else I teach you has you wondering or questioning then come chat with me and see if we can help.
We are often faced with the choice to become resourceful in our current circumstance or complain about how we don’t have the resources we desire. Complaining does nothing but bring your emotional state down. Becoming resourceful gives you purpose and progression towards your goals. What are you going to choose?
The broad landscape of education is totally different than it was 6 months ago and there is a very good chance budgets have been cut in your area.
In all aspects of our lives we have a tendency to look outward for solutions to all of our problems
This creates a lack of control sometimes if we don’t have the resources we desire
Sometimes this leads to us complaining about the lack of resources
There is no benefit to complaining! We only get caught up in the victim/villain cycle and it doesn’t help anything
If we focus on being resourceful instead of complaining we take our control back.
This brings about a new focus on our goals and how can we make things work rather than focusing on why they won’t work.
This mindset is going to serve us so much better in all aspects of our lives
We see this a lot in education with technology, salary, programs, etc.
We are going to need to get crystal clear on where we are going so that we can start getting resourceful and get ourselves there!
In our personal life we need to stop using resources as an excuse for why we aren’t where we want to be in life. Start getting resourceful and accomplish whatever you want in life!
I am here to help you on that journey, come sign up to work with me!
In this episode we talk about how important of a time in education it is to buckle down and get to work rather than complaining about everything.
It is time to really stop and think about the privilege you have to work in education. Focus on all of the positive aspects of your career and what you have been blessed with. When we are able to shift our minds to this place we begin to realize that education doesn’t owe you anything! You are responsible for all aspects of your life. It is time to take control back and start creating the life you want without looking for a scapegoat!
In this episode we talk about the current stage of change we find ourselves in. It is so easy to get caught in the hurry and want everything to advance faster than is realistic.
We are blessed to be in the midst of one of the biggest changes in the history of education! When you find yourself becoming frustrated it might serve you well to remember the process of change and how much time this scale of change really takes. We need to face the reality that we are in the infant stages of our current environment and keep nose to the grind!
In this episode we talk about how to create the checkpoints necessary to help us see the early warning signs of burnout in educators.
We need to develop a system and checkpoint process to recognize the psychological and physiological changes that take place in each of us when we are moving towards burnout. This checkpoint will allow us to course correct early in the process and prevent an entire career of burnout!
In this episode we talk about how important it is for us as leaders to create a compelling vision that will draw those around us to engage in the work we need to get done!
All leaders are familiar with the process of goals and we work tirelessly to get our teams to accomplish their goals. For so many of us our goals are framed in such a way that we are practically pushing every person we work with to try and accomplish them. As valuable as goals can be if you want a more viable buy in from those you work with, check your vision! Remember that goals are great to push us to success, but our properly framed vision pulls all of those on our teams to success!
In this episode we talk about how to create the conditions for change in our roles in education.
Do you ever find yourself frustrated that so many things in education seem exactly the same as they have been for decades? If this is the case then you probably need to focus on your environment and culture. It is vital that you have created the best conditions for change in whatever environment you currently work. If we fail to create fertile ground for change then we are very unlikely to actually see anything change for the better.
This work really starts with us as educational leaders and whether we can create a vision compelling enough to draw everyone in!
In this episode we talk about how to develop our own personal life essentials.
We love the idea of essential standards when it comes to education. The most important things our students really need to learn is a vital identifier when planning our curriculum in education. This process is exactly what we need to do for our personal lives. What are your personal life essentials? What are the few areas, activities and practices that if mastered will lead you to the life you really desire? If you haven’t ever defined your personal essentials then the time is now!
In this episode we will be talking about how to focus on the things we can personally control in order to bring about change.
I remember working with a wise old man who gave me the great advice that in order to truly change the world I first had to change my world. I probably was appreciative but didn’t really understand the magnitude of what he was telling me.
The whole world is obsessed lately with changing how our world works. The only real way for this to happen is for each and every person to maintain the focus necessary to change their world. The massively focused approach on things we can actually control will allow our minds and systems in which we reside to truly change!
See, most of us are very good at seeing all of the things outside of our control and wanting them to change and be better but they are too far outside our reach.
If we could get each person to harness this focus of all the things they can actually control then and only then can we get education, our lives, and ultimately the rest of the world to change.
We also are much more effective at changing ourselves and allowing others to follow suit when they are ready than we ever will be trying to change others to fit our mold.
The fringe benefit of focusing on the things we can truly control is that now the world of our mind starts to really change and we see things differently. So before you know it, we actually have changed the world!
Come join us on this journey at The Healthy Educator, together we can learn to focus on the things over which we have control and bring about that change everyone is so desperately seeking!
In this episode we are going to talk about how to gain leverage for the changes you seek in your life.
Right now you are back full swing into the new school year and whether you are teaching, coaching, working as an administrator, or an aide, you all have had to come up with so many ideas for change in the past six months!
This is very much the equivalent of pounding that square peg into the round hole and trying to make the best of a tough circumstance. This has also been the most fertile ground for change we have seen in education in a long time.
We all seem to have a million ideas for how our lives could be so much better. Whether we are striving to change our personal lives, our families, or our schools we must remember that the leverage point for change is always in the future! We cannot gain the leverage we need looking backwards. Learn from the past but always be looking forward if you are looking to change!
So stop right now and see where your focus is. If you desire for things to be better than they have been previously then you must be looking for a point in the future to springboard off of.
Goals do a great job at helping us map out this future focus.
Vision does an amazing job at pulling us towards that brighter future.
Mission is who we are and what we are striving to be, in the future.
So what does your future hold? Where are you looking to jump from? Do you have this articulated out? If you need help figuring out the path to walk I can help you! You are going to have to walk the path but I can help you gain the leverage you need to get where you want to go. Come work with me at The Healthy Educator!
In this episode we are going to talk about how to pivot from our expectations and turn them into growth opportunities.
If there is anything consistent in our world right now it is inconsistency!
Even the best planners in the world are faced with a very different world right now than we ever could have imagined. It is always our natural tendency to enter every situation we encounter with a certain set of expectations. Sometimes this can be a very positive thing because we tend to show up as the version of ourselves we have set up in our mind a lot more than not.
This is where the idea of “no one rises from low expectations” comes from and is valuable.
The struggle comes when things do not go as planned and we are forced to change trajectory. Some of us allow this to totally derail the circumstance. This often leads to many more emotional struggles and issues causing a domino effect across our lives.
The key is really to plan on things going a little off course so we can react, pivot, and adjust into the unknown. This process is served so much better by an increase in planning, not throwing out all expectations completely.
In my experience we are much better prepared to pivot and change direction with an increase in planning and looking for the growth opportunities rather than avoiding them.
If you feel like you are struggling to find the growth opportunities in your life then you need to come work with me! Come sign up for a mini session with me to see how to get the most out of this experience we call life!
In this episode we are going to talk about the daily character tests in education and why they matter.
I love the idea that we actually teach who we are to our students and colleagues through how we conduct ourselves in all of the little things.
You have probably heard me talk a lot about how we can’t really teach something that we are not. We can pass along information but we really are not needed too much for information anymore in education.
Information is cheap and anyone can get all they need and more without us. Those we interact with really need examples of what kind of people they aspire to be, not just the things we want them to know. One of the best ways in which we can teach all of those around us is through our character.
Almost every day you will be faced with the simplest of decision points in education that ultimately shape, direct, and test your character.
So, how are you holding up? Are you taking the shortcut in your preparations for students? Are you stealing time from your employer with personal tasks? Are you secretly bashing students and colleagues behind their back?
Do you agree to norms and tasks knowing full well you don’t intend to follow them?
Remember, it is always the little things.
I hope you are all aware that when you engage is sketchy behavior that those around you notice. They notice and immediately the trust in that relationship is harmed.
Even if you are talking about someone or something else, now they know you would also talk about them negatively if given the opportunity.
So one more time, how are you doing with your character?
In this episode we are going to talk about what a growth mindset really looks like for us adults in education.
We love the idea of a growth mindset when we teach our youth and staff in education, but do we really know what that looks like in ourselves?
Like so many other concepts we teach it becomes very easy to teach the information and even why we think it is valuable. We can even see how our students and colleagues might need to adopt what we are teaching to make their lives better.
In the case of a growth mindset though, we often project the potential this really has for others while refusing to really accept what it can do for ourselves.
We really need to take a deep look into our thoughts, intentions and actions to see if we are handcuffing ourselves in our own lives with a fixed mindset.
What areas of your life are you really set in the way they currently are?
What hurdles or obstacles are you dealing with that you feel like you really can’t change?
What relationships in your life are struggling because you are not willing to really grow up and change, regardless of whether you feel justified or not?
What things in your career have you told yourself you really cannot do and are not going to be able to accomplish in this life?
What buttons are you really not willing to push with your supervisors in order to drive change for your students or your career, just because it is uncomfortable?
I imagine you have been able to come up with plenty if you answer these questions honestly.
If you feel like this is an area you could use some work then I have got you on this one!
See, we really can’t teach what we ourselves don’t believe and live!
My outside perspective of your life can really help you gain the clarity you need to actually practice a growth mindset in your life!
Come sign up to work with me at The Healthy Educator!
In this episode we talk about the idea of essential learning and why this is so vital in education today!
If you have been working in education for any amount of time you are familiar with the idea of essential standards.
Some call them “essentials,” some call them “power standards,” or whatever else your district or school has decided to call them. The basic idea is always the same though. We need to figure out from the mountain of content and curriculum we have laid before us what is the most important for our students to make sure they understand.
Our current environment has brought to light whether we are great at this or not.
The progression of education has brought us to a point where we need laser-like focus on only the most important and essential. Everything we do in education needs to be the most influential, most important, most applicable, and the path that gets us the best results possible. This is not always the fastest approach, but is the most valuable for everyone involved!
This also means we are going to have to stop being married to our particular way of doing things sometimes.
We are going to have to decide whether our best lessons, concepts, or funnest activities are really worth the time and effort we put into them.
We are not able to keep doing things the way we have always done just because it is the easiest thing to do.
Always remember that the amount of time and energy we have spent in one particular direction is not a reason to keep going in that direction if it is the wrong direction!
If you need help deciding what is most important or why you are struggling to give up some things then come work with me!
In this episode we are going to talk about how to return to your why, your deeper purpose in your life and figure out what is next for you!
It seems as though our world has taken an extreme hit lately and we need more than ever to figure out our deeper reasons for why we want to be engaged in education.
Time passes, circumstances change, roles change, but no matter what is going on in the world and our life it is absolutely necessary for you to continually redefine your deeper reasons why you do what you do in education.
When was the last time you thought about your why?
If it wasn’t today go do it now!
Go take the time to think about and reset your vision on why you still want to be engaged in education.
If your vision is cloudy or jaded from the past six months and you are struggling to want to show up in whatever our current education system looks like then you need to come work with me!
I can help you figure out on a deeper level what you want out of life.
I am passionate about the potential and possibilities in education but if you find that you want nothing to do with education then lets help you figure out something better for you!
You and everyone around you need more of you than just going through the motions because you need a job.
You can reconnect with a deeper more fulfilled purpose in your work, regardless of whether we are online or in person or on the moon.
This requires us to intentionally return to our why on a regular basis so we don’t lose track of where we are headed.
If you are floundering right now in your career, I’ve got you!
Come see how I can help at The Healthy Educator!
In this episode we are going to talk about the power that can come from slowing our brains down and becoming still.
Our world is becoming more and more numb to the idea of silence.
Everything we see and do is inundating us with distractions and competes for our attention. The more and more stimulated our brains become the less likely we are to see our lives for what they truly are and can be.
For most of us it has gotten to the point where we are extremely uncomfortable with silence and if we had to listen to our brains for more than a few seconds we immediately buffer with something so we don’t have to feel the discomfort.
An interesting paradox is that we are critical of our children and students when they want to be constantly stimulated but we as adults tend to be in the same mindset we just buffer in different ways.
Think about this for a minute with me.
I want you to stop everything you are doing and remove all of the distractions that we feel the need to be connected to.
Just listen to your own thoughts for a while.
See how long you are able to just sit and think.
Pay attention to the feelings that come, comfortable or not.
Do you feel the urge to grab your phone, go and do something productive, or find someone to talk to?
Where does your mind go in your thoughts?
What are those thoughts causing you to feel right now?
It is going to take some time to get used to your thoughts and the discomfort that comes with the silence but once you do you will gain the ability to focus on what you are really after in life and in your career.
This is the power that can come from being still, from meditation, from mindfulness!
This really helps to bring us back to neutral and restore our mental baseline.
From this more neutral position we are far better off to take action now and accomplish what we are really after without all the noise and distractions.
It is going to require you to work like crazy once you get there but it is totally worth the journey!
If you need help with this concept or anything else in your life come sign up for a free mini session with me at The Healthy Educator!
In this episode we are going to talk about how important clarity in our lives can be.
The idea of clarity in our lives seems to be ever fleeting and in need of constant renewal.
It is one of those fluffy concepts that sounds great to write about and then when we talk about clarity it turns into a session about what our dreams and wishes might be.
Nothing is wrong with any of these things but we also struggle to define what we truly want sometimes.
We need to intentionally take the time to reassess our life and see if we are on the right trajectory for our future.
Remember, the clearer our destination becomes the clearer the path to walk becomes!
I am here for all of you to help you get to the destination you desire in your life, but you have to become ultra clear about your destination and then be willing to walk the path.
Even if someone helps us with the steps along the path we still have to walk it.
It is about time you engage in some hard you on you time to think about what you really want out of this life. It is essential that you gain true clarity about your desires if you want to live the life you want!
The world is changing quickly and you need this internal compass to help guide you for the rest of your life!
This internal guide can help keep you close to your path but also can provide you with the peace of mind knowing that you are in control of the things you can control and you are not worrying about the things in your life that you can not control.
Coach John Wooden taught a powerful concept in the following.
“When we lack the clarity about our life’s direction then the things over which we have no control start to adversely affect the things over which we do have control.”
If it has been awhile since you really thought about your life plan and need a reset then take the time to figure yours out by signing up for a mini session with me at The Healthy Educator!
In this episode we are going to talk about figuring out your keystone habits so you can chain together the most valuable pieces of your life.
There are some foundational things that we can engage in to make our lives dramatically better. The process of a healthy and successful life does not have to be a mystery and only for those who are lucky or are unicorns!
Charles Duhigg, the habit expert, introduces an idea that is simple to understand but sometimes more difficult to to enact in our lives.
Sometimes there are things that simply matter more than other things.
When it comes to your habits this is definitely the case.
When one habit is the trigger and support of many other habits down the line they are called keystone habits, as named by Duhigg.
Your task is to identify what the keystone habits are in your life that are going to lead you to the life you desire!
In Duhigg’s work he even outlines several of these keystone habits that lead to a better life. These include things like exercising regularly, making your bed, writing down what you eat, planning your day, meditation, etc.
Things like this seem so simple but in the big picture they are helping you intentionally create the version of yourself and your life you really want.
This is so much better than just having life happen to you.
When it comes to becoming the personal leader you really need to be we need to find out what keystone habits are making or breaking your current life.
If you need help actually enacting these keystone habits then you need to come work with me!
I’ve got you on this one.
In this episode we talk about how important it is to actually be collaborative and not just go through the motions or look collaborative!
We love the idea of collaboration in education!
There are mountains of books written and millions of dollars of time spent every year for teachers to collaborate together and bring about the necessary learning of our nations youth.
We have put so much into this idea and there is so much research supporting the idea that most of us are getting really good at this system.
The trouble I continue to see as I work with educators and myself is that true collaboration is a lot more of a personal thing that we realize.
Our willingness to analyze our thoughts and feelings about what it takes to create a shared culture of collaboration and then actually follow through with decisions to better the system is a really tough thing to accomplish.
We can be well meaning educators who go through every motion with our teams and schools but when it comes to us being willing to change what we are passionate about and go in a different direction for the betterment of the team, school, class, etc. it becomes a much tougher decision.
Education systems and families alike can get very good at looking collaborative without actually being collaborative.
When it comes to leading in your life, you will need to analyze and adjust your thoughts so you are willing to do what it takes to actually be collaborative, not just going through the motions.
We have to be willing to see the bigger picture if we really want to affect more lives of those around us.
We don’t get to focus on feeling picked on, left out, not getting our way, or taking the easy way out all the time.
It does not mean equally divided work, although that can be a benefit.
The best results from collaboration are more about the increase of ideas and different perspectives.
Collaboration might not even be more efficient. Sometimes it might be far less efficient.
True collaboration is hard work but the rewards can be great.
If you are struggling with your team, your school, or your family then come work with me and I can help you get to a better position and bring about the change you desire!
In this episode we talk about how vital it is to understand our own and others emotions and how those affect those around us.
I want you all to think back to a time when you were a part of an emotionally charged meeting. Whether this was an extremely positive or negative meeting doesn’t matter, but think about what happened in the meeting once the emotional level raised.
Think about your personal actions once the feeling in the room changed.
How did you internally react?
Do you actually know how you were feeling and why?
I know on the personal side the concept of emotional intelligence has been one of the biggest struggles I have ever faced.
I understand on the cognitive level what emotions are and how they affect situations but actually understand what I am feeling and what thoughts are driving those emotions has been such a hard journey.
This process of understanding our own emotions is essential to being able to see how they might affect those around us.
As we start to understand our own emotions and others emotions we can start to see how our families, teams, and classes are affected by ours and everyone else’s emotions.
In order to really start to understand we have to be willing to actually feel the emotions that we feel in order to understand them better.
This means understanding how we tend to buffer when we don’t want to feel.
This means we have to understand how we react in the face of others' strong emotions.
This means we have to be able to communicate how we feel in a way that leads to growth and productivity for our teams and families instead of shutting down in the face of adversity.
This means we are going to have to be okay being uncomfortable a lot of our lives!
The most valuable thing you can do for your life and career is to increase your understanding of your own emotions and the emotions of those around you.
Increasing your emotional intelligence is the beginning of all future change if change is desired!
Are you ready for your life to change and be better?
Get rolling on your emotions and go sign up to work with me so we can process this time together!
In this episode we talk about the real reason we justify as leaders in our education realm.
Think about the last time you were in a situation where you started to justify your decision or behavior.
Maybe it was with a group of teachers or students. For many leaders in education we fall into this trap with parents all the time.
When those around us demand an answer from us we feel trapped in a corner and start to look for reasons outside of us for why things happened the way they did.
The trouble with this stance is if we are justifying then on some level we are trying to bring something back into alignment. By default this means that something was out of alignment in the first place. We really do agree with the fact that something was off and we don’t want to own up to it, so we start justifying.
This is one of the worst aftertaste feelings in the world!
Once the dust settles we might feel justified and vindicated but nothing good has come out of this circumstance.
Might I suggest a different course of action?
Why don’t we just stop justifying altogether?
Of course it would be great if we never engaged in behavior that was out of alignment with our values, except we are all human. So, if and when we do engage in poor behavior and we get the urge to start justifying, why don’t we start analyzing why instead.
Once we know why the urge is there we can address the root problem instead of trying to blow it off with justification. We are going to need a healthy dose of courage to address the problem but we’ll never get to a real solution without addressing it.
I know we are all human, I know we all get frustrated with the system we are working in sometimes, and I know that it is way easier to just justify our way through life.
If you are really ready to take your life to the next level then come work with me and I can help you break out of this destructive pattern.
I’ve got your back on this roller coaster ride!
In this episode we talk about the role of sleep in our brain and body renewal needed so much in educators!
We have a lot of amazing tools at our disposal in this amazing time of life.
By far though, your brain is the most valuable resource you will ever have at your disposal.
Bar none, game over, mic drop, etc.
Most people wouldn’t argue that fact on paper, but we treat our most valuable resource like crap too much of the time.
We feed it poor or inadequate fuel a lot of the time, we constantly beat it with our thoughts, and one of the most important ways we damage our brains is with poor sleep habits.
When we follow the best sleep patterns our brains are given time to physiologically renew.
Without geeking out on physiology, we really just need to understand that in our deepest sleep patterns is where our brains can clear the cobwebs, balance their chemicals, and get rid of all the waste that is produced in our normal physiological processes.
When we do not allow these normal renewal processes to happen the negative byproducts of these processes start to build up in our brains and bring everything in our lives down with it.
See, our brain is where every single thought is produced, decided upon, acted upon, or not.
When our brains are operating at such a minimal capacity we place handcuffs on our entire lives.
We wonder why we are feeling stuck all the time.
We wonder why brain fog is such an issue.
We wonder why we think the way we do and struggle to make habits stick.
We wonder why there is such a rise in depression, anxiety, and a myriad of brain disorders.
The short but complicated answer is that our brains are fried.
We need to start treating our most valuable resource like our most valuable asset in our lives!
One of the easiest places to start is our sleep patterns.
We have mountains to learn about sleep, but let's start with getting ourselves to bed and letting this renewal process start to work its magic.
If you are ready to take your life to the next level then you need renewal and better sleep patterns!
If you haven’t already then you need to come join in on our summer renewal series of webinars to learn more about total body and mind renewal!
In this episode we talk about how much we give our preconceived expectations control over our emotions rather than controlling our thoughts and emotions ourselves!
When was the last time you had everything turn out exactly the way you expected it to?
Think about even a simple collaboration meeting or a faculty meeting that you entered with great expectations to really make the changes you hoped for.
For most of us we probably either haven’t ever had everything go exactly the way we hope, or we have learned to just enter situations with almost no expectations to avoid that possibility.
Regardless of whether we have had things meet our expectations or not the key is to make sure that we separate our feelings and emotions from these expectations.
See, almost everything we do is based on other people and we have virtually no control over other people and when we allow our emotions to be based on a preconceived expectation then we give up all of our power.
I really think we have a couple of options here in situations like this.
First of all, we need to start with way better expectations from the beginning.
I still remember an email tagline that read “no one rises from low expectations.”
This is all too often true.
We need to start with extremely high expectations but then also understand that where this ends up has nothing to do with our emotions.
Remember like always that our thoughts create our feelings and emotions, so if we are able to keep our expectations separate from our results then we will be much more clear about where those results come from as well.
If you notice patterns of being frustrated with those around you because of unmet expectations then you could use someone to help you unpack your thoughts.
Come work with me!
I am running free mini sessions and a summer renewal series to help you with this and many other things!
Check them out at The Healthy Educator!
In this episode we talk about how we create a "manual" in our minds about what we think people should be like or what they should do. True leaders see people in such a light that they avoid manuals.
One of the most common traps I see in leadership is the idea that we create manuals for the people we work with.
The idea of creating a manual is just that we start to frame a person or the position they hold into a nice little owner’s manual of what we think they should be or what we think they should do.
When we create a manual of a person and decide what we think a person should or should not be, we are very limited in our ability to truly bring about the change we desire in those around us.
The best leaders avoid creating manuals about those we work with.
It’s time to start seeing people for who they truly are and can be rather than what we think they should be!
Most people really don’t like being manipulated into a box of any kind and that is exactly what we do when we create a manual about someone.
This is quite a bit different than a job description or the key results we are looking for in someone as they perform their job.
Most of the time the results we would like to have achieved are hopefully very clear and the same for an organization but the details about who a person is and how they should be as a person are separate from the company’s results.
There is a fine line between the way we treat someone to help accomplish a larger vision and manipulating every person into the manual we have created for them.
This concept often comes down to the way we allow autonomy in the workplace and in each teacher's lives while still holding high expectations of the quality of teaching.
I think this summer is a great time to start looking at your staff and see if you have created manuals for those you work with.
How have you dealt with those you oversee?
How do they feel about your evaluations and coaching?
How much have you allowed autonomy, while still correcting when necessary and maintaining high expectations?
Do you ever find yourself thinking those you work with should be a different person than they are?
It is time to start processing!
Take this summer to unpack where you really are and where you want to go in your life and career.
I am here for you and I can be the sounding board you need to take those next steps in your life’s journey!
In this episode we talk about how we have a tendency to not use all of the knowledge we are afforded in our lives. We outline how to not engage in this this type of thinking as leaders!
If you are in a leadership position of any kind in education then you have been inundated with theories and ideas and the latest research for longer than you can remember.
There is definitely no shortage of information when it comes to schools becoming better and how we should be changing things in education.
Chances are if you are a leader in education then you are also studying to make yourself better and your individual classroom, team, or school.
So if we have mountains of information available to us and we have the privilege of attending a multitude of conferences throughout our careers, then why do we struggle to change most of our practices?
Think about the last conference you attended, what did you learn?
What practices did you implement?
Which presentations did you attend?
What was the last book you read that really changed your way of thinking and acting?
What points of interest came up in your last professional development meetings?
Most in education can answer very few of the questions previously listed.
This is something we need to break out of!
In this age of over abundance of information we have to start learning to actually do something with the information we are given.
True leaders avoid “Shelf Help” thinking.
Rather, we analyze, make adjustments, and move forward with all of the amazing information we constantly receive!
If we could put into practice half of the ideas we learn about then real change could actually be sustained!
This is not an easy fix by any means because of the multitude of variables in any classroom, school, district, or system.
I get that every circumstance is different but the best leaders I have been around are always able to find something that can better their classroom, school, or district.
We have to be intentional about it though!
If you just expect it to happen then chalk one more line for the “shelf help” warriors.
Before you know it you’ll need a new bookshelf!
We need to be better leaders and start acting in accordance with the abundance of information.
If you haven’t already joined my summer series then come join my summer webinar series at The Healthy Educator to figure out how to better renew so you can show up to school next year as the best version of you!
I will see you there!
In this episode we talk about how every one of us in education is in a leadership role and how that affects our mindset!
I have had a major problem with my mindset for a lot of my career and it is the idea that “I am just a teacher.”
Don’t get me wrong I love being a teacher, coach, and leader in education! But there has always been this sour taste about the idea of just being a teacher.
We are very limited in our scope when we think in patterns like this.
I think it is much more valuable to consider ourselves as leaders.
If you are working in education you are called to be a leader! While our roles and titles vary greatly you are still a leader and it is up to us to start looking at our lives through the lens of a leader!
Are you ready?
Are you up for the challenge that this new lens can give you?
This is not a power hungry, “I am in charge” kind of lens that I am talking about.
It is the weight that comes with the reality that you are very much called to lead all of those around you.
You carry a weight to lead the children, 5-18, towards a better life.
You carry a weight to be an example in your communities as a rock that families and others can rely on.
You carry a new weight about the possibilities to change peoples lives for the better or the worse.
We can’t really shrink from this calling and still be a great educator.
We are not trying to put everyone into a metaphorical box of robots but we have got to start owning up to our role in the bigger picture of society.
We’ve got this!
I’ve got you!
Come work with me this summer to make yourself the leader you were called to be!
In this episode we are going to talk about how believing in others can have a great affect on their lives.
I have spent a lot of time as a skeptic and I am realizing more and more that this really is not serving me well. Of course we can choose anything we would like to believe but when I choose the skeptics road it is most often a defense mechanism to try and protect myself and does not serve me well in education or my personal life.
When we talk about the Pygmalion effect I am referring to the idea that what we choose to believe in others will affect the way they behave, which then has the potential to change the results in their lives. When we start with a positive belief in those around us it really can help them to see the worth in themselves. When young people today struggle with self worth more than we can imagine, any attempt to build them can’t hurt too much.
Even if a student has less desirable qualities than we would hope, it does not hurt to believe that they are worth every bit as much as we are. We are not really being delusional in our current view of them, we are just choosing to see the better part of them and ourselves rather than the deficient parts. This starts to touch on the positivity work of Fredricksen and the power that comes from a positive mindset.
I really do believe that we need to push past neutrality once we are viewing ourselves and others in a positive light in order to really grow into our potential but it doesn’t hurt to have the support of the belief on the backend.
We have nothing to lose by believing the best in all of those around us, especially our students! We need to always start with highly positive expectations as our ground zero rather than in the cynical fringe. This will not only change our students but change us as well!
If you are feeling more like you are in the cynical fringe lately with everything going on in your life then you need to come work with me at The Healthy Educator! Sign up for a free mini session, sign up for our course, Rekindle Your Fire, and get on with the best version of yourself!
In this episode we are going to talk about how us needing to fix everything in our lives is hurting our growth potential.
I want to talk today about the idea of fixing. For some reason we think that we need to fix everything in our lives. This starts with ourselves, then all of those around us, and then bleeds over to the systems that govern our lives.
In the big picture this is hard wired in our brain because our brain is designed to solve problems in the most efficient way possible for us. This really is a little sneaky function of our brains and is rooted in our survival instincts because in order to survive we need to be efficient and avoid danger. Well, we used to need that in order to survive, but our world is quite a bit different now. If we aren’t careful then we will short circuit our growth and especially those youngsters around us if we go about fixing everything in their lives.
Our overarching goal is to help all our students and especially our own children to grow into the best version of themselves by the end of their lives. The practice of fixing everything for them drives the opposite result!
We sometimes try to cloak our own discomfort with the idea that we are trying to help them accelerate their growth by eliminating the barriers for them. Unfortunately, when we remove the barriers the growth is way less likely to happen like we hope. We have to become more intentional in creating growth opportunities by not fixing everything for those around us. We also do this in ourselves by only doing the things we are most comfortable with in order to be “efficient.” “The path of least resistance really is the fastest” we argue, but we end up short circuiting the overall result by doing this. Rather, we can intentionally see the parts that need fixing, lean into the problem and specifically go through and feel the hard things on purpose and be okay with the idea that the growth opportunities are endless if we are willing to power into them.
It is time to be better and stop fixing everything in our lives and the lives of our students. By allowing ourselves and those around us to grow our end results and our potential becomes so much higher.
Are you ready to lean into the discomfort? I hope you know it is worth it and I’ve got you! Come work with me at The Healthy Educator to learn how to do this better!
In this episode we talk about how failure can be a great asset when it comes to saving time in our lives.
When I ask people what their biggest fear is one of the most common responses I get is that people are afraid of failure. I have students label themselves as failures even though they are extremely young. Some even just plan on failing at almost everything as though they are consigned to never progressing beyond failing in their lives.
On some levels it is understandable that we are all afraid of failure to some extent because we have equated a failed experience with us not being enough and that we are a failure rather than not accomplishing something yet. Connecting our personal worth to the outcomes in our life has nothing but detrimental consequences. If we think about the whirlwind of the past few months we have all failed miserably at so many things that if we followed this pattern we would all be nothing!
I think there is a way better way to view failure. We are taught with a growth mindset that failure is just the path to learning and this is how all of us grow. This is totally true but I want to take it one step further.
Brooke Castillo said,
“One of the best ways to save time is to fail.”
Knowing which paths are not correct is almost just as valuable as knowing the correct one. Always knowing the answer and which path is the safe one is really not reality and when we think it should be we are in trouble.
I really think most of us are looking for the safe and easy route when we are trying to avoid failure. We think that everyone else has it easier and they found some secret to success and we must have just missed the boat. I see this sometimes with new teachers who are struggling with a student and they wonder why it is always so hard! They just can’t see that more experienced teachers have failed so many times with struggling students that they lost count years ago.
It is time to get out there and start failing your way to success! You will learn more about yourself and your career by pushing beyond your limits than you ever will staying within them! When we combine the possibility of learning from all the mistakes with knowing which paths are wrong, we start to see that the path of failure is really the best path for all of us to save time and start showing up as better versions of ourselves.
I have failed so many times in so many ways that I can help you with managing this one. Come sign up to work with me and take my newest course Rekindle Your Fire to accelerate your growth by failing a little more! I am excited to work with you!
In this episode we talk about how much collusion works with self deception and hinders our lives. In our last post we talked about how easy it is to get caught up in self deception and today we are going to talk about the most natural cousin of self deception, collusion. It is almost a guarantee that once we start to become self deceived it is going to lead us into collusion if we don’t see it coming. Most of us are so used to self deception without knowing it that in order to justify ourselves and bring us back into alignment with our values we have to collude with someone else in order to have someone to blame our actions on.
There is always another side to every story and if you are in the habit of colluding with your students or colleagues in creating bad habits and relationships then it is time to stop! The pattern of “I’ll mistreat you, if you’ll mistreat me, so I have justification to continue mistreating and blaming my problems on someone else,” has no place in education or in your life!
We really need to start understanding that we are playing a significant role in what we have created our life to be, even our biggest problems!
Even if someone seems to be the biggest problem in our life we can only control what our part in the problem has been if we desire to have any effect on the overall situation. We have no power to change others by coercion, manipulation or even persuasion. We can only address our side of the equation and the natural pull of us becoming the best version of ourselves will pull those around us up and to a better station themselves.
This route of addressing ourselves and refusing to collude with others in destructive patterns is so hard! It is so much better, but so extremely hard. We are so much more comfortable with this pattern of collusion that most of us choose to stay in this state most of our lives and careers in education.
Enough! Let’s start choosing the hard road out of self deception and collusion in our lives. This is going to start with us recognizing when we engage in both self deception and collusion and then we have to have the courage to fight those promptings and engage better within ourselves. I have got you on this one! Come work with me so we can analyze those situations and thoughts in your life! Sign up for a free mini session at The Healthy Educator or our newest online course, Rekindle Your Fire!
In this episode we are going to talk about self deception in education.
Our lives are going to be filled with constant problems and our brain thrives on this idea. It is precisely built to figure out solutions to problems and then find the most efficient way to arrive at the solution. The problem with this truth about our brains is that it is constantly looking outward for all of the solutions. Unfortunately this is just not going to be the case most of the time.
We are often one of the biggest parts of every problem we face in our lives. There are always two sides to every story but we can only address our side of the issue. When we understand that our control is only over those things within ourselves we can really start to make headway to proper and permanent solutions.
Thinking that all of our problems in school are outside of us is one of the biggest problems we face as educators. The primary form of self deception we experience in education is not owning up to our role in each of the problems we face each day. We really need to stop engaging in acts of self deception if we really want to love our career in education!
We are inundated with voices all around us that say all of the problems in education are out of our control. I really don’t believe this is the case. We have way more control than we imagine in our lives, even in education.
When we behave contrary to what we know we should we betray our internal compass and this creates our most basic form of self deception. We almost immediately start to justify why we did what we did and blame the act on someone or something else. This act of justification is one of our first indicators that we are in a state of self deception.
Pause for a minute and think about all the times we do and say things that are contrary to our true selves. How often every day do you justify all of the little things we do in education. It always starts with little things and then those little things grow into our metaphorical molehills we perceive as impassable mountains. Before you know it you aren’t showing up as the best version of yourself because of every possible issue you can think of. Once everything outside of us changes then we will start to show up as a better teacher.
This sounds efficient to our brains, but it is completely false! We so often don’t have control over anything we are blaming our lives on. This is a dark and wandering feeling. I much prefer to control what I can control and that starts with my mind. I urge you to do the same. Start analyzing why you are doing the things you do and see where you are practicing self deception in your life. I am here for you! Come sign up to work with me or sign up for our Rekindle Your Fire if you prefer to learn more on your own!
In this episode we talk about how labeling other people in education brings about disconnect and struggle.
We all have a tendency to label those around us with all sorts of different labels. This tendency has bled over to education like crazy. We label our students, we label our colleagues, we label our schools, we label our teams, etc. These labels are usually not serving us very well.
I think it will serve us well to stop and process what each of these labels is doing to our thoughts. When you are leading into every interaction with the label first we are automatically creating a barrier to our ability to connect with those around us.
Our brain has done this initially for a good reason because our brains are very good at looking out for danger and trying to be the most efficient machine it can be. If the label our brain has created is an amazingly positive one, like we might create with those we love, our friends, or the best students in our classes then we really do become more efficient and this can lead to greater connection.
If the label created by the brain is a negative or reactionary label then we are going to be in trouble. Because we are so worried about danger and protecting ourselves the brain creates a lot more negative labels than it does positive ones. This starts to look like a warning light flashing above the person before we ever even speak to them. This creates an automatic disconnect and we start to see that person as an object rather than a person like us.
Even more troublesome than our own brain creating negative labels for us is the concept of negative labels attributed to people by others that we automatically believe. In education this looks like our colleague telling how amazing or not amazing a particular person is, whether that be a student or colleague. Our brains automatically adopt the label of the other person to increase efficiency and make sure we see the danger sign before we ever even interact with that person.
Information about a students capabilities is vitally useful if viewed in the right light, but not as a label. This creates barriers way too much in education. How many students were you edgy with because they had the label of a rowdy student before you ever taught them. How many staff members did you avoid because of an inappropriate label given to them by another. What are the ramifications of these superficial and possibly negative reactions? Who did we not serve as well as we could have if the label was stripped off and we started seeing them for who they really were?
I am guilty of believing way too many of the labels people carry around with them. Some of these might have been self imposed, some assigned, but none very useful. If you need help managing your mind around all of the automatic labels in your life then come work with me! Come sign up for Rekindle Your Fire, our newest online course, or at least start to see your thoughts for what they really are. I love you guys and keep working to become the best version of you!
In this episode we are going to talk about how easy it is to get stuck in the game of school and how to get out of it!
I have seen several experiences where teachers and students are caught in this endless game of collusion in school. It is so frustrating for everyone involved!
I will write more about collusion at another time but the game of school can be so detrimental if we aren’t careful in how we play it.
If we stop and ask ourselves why we are doing the things we are doing in our lives and especially in education it can really help us to not get stuck in the game.
If you find yourself doing something “just because that’s how we have always done it” then you are probably stuck in the game.
If you are more concerned with students doing everything “your way” than you are with them actually learning then you are stuck in the game.
If you find yourself sticking it to a student just because they come across as difficult and you are going to have them hold the line then you are probably stuck in the game.
Students get stuck in the game too and they are experts at learning how to play your game as a teacher and then skate by without learning anything because they played the game.
This becomes evident in grade chasing and point counting.
The sad part though is that most intentional non-learners have consciously chosen to not play the game of school anymore.
That choice is seen as an attack by most educators and we try to force them back into the game in the name of a little success.
I totally get that they need success but maybe we need to redefine what the game looks like. Remember we are working with people who really don’t like to be coerced or manipulated into doing stuff they don’t like doing.
Most of us are conditioned from our own school experience and then from years of being around other teachers to play the game of school. We really need to redefine the rules of this game if you want to make the difference you desire and start getting your power back in education!
If you need help getting yourself out of the game of education then I’ve got you!
Come work with me and sign up for Rekindle Your Fire and get your life back!
In this episode we are going to talk about how much our inability to say no and manage our personal time effects our lives in education.
In our society we have a huge people pleasing problem. So much of our identity is tied up in how other people think about us. The most crazy part of this is a majority of the time it is just our thoughts about what we think the other people in our lives are thinking about us.
If there is even a possibility of another person thinking that we weren’t amazing we form an instant story in our head about what that means.
They are going to be upset, disappointed, let down, and on and on.
This drives us to lead such stressed and over scheduled lives that it is killing us at every turn. We have practically zero margin and the margin we do have we are so mentally, physically, and emotionally drained that using the margin to enjoy life and enhance others is not even a possibility.
We just vegetate, watch tv, and sleep to try and recoup.
What if we actually just learned to say “no?”
Just no, not no with a bunch of strings attached and guilt and stress later.
Just no. and being okay with it.
What if when people tell us no we are actually okay with it and we totally understand instead of pressuring them.
Anne Lamont said, “no is a complete sentence.”
So awesome and profound.
We really don’t have to justify our answers or feel bad for making a great decision. See when we feel the need to justify it is because we have done something we feel is out of alignment with our values. If this is you then you need some thought work about why you are actually doing the things you are doing.
As much as we want to please people all the time we really need to take a step back and understand the demands on our time in order to make more informed decisions in our lives!
Agreeing to everything in order to try and look good and then doing a poor job with a task or project makes you look worse than you did in the beginning.
I am a big fan of the principle of “unless it is a heck yes, then everything is a no until further review.” If the individual asking is not okay with the further review then the answer is going to be no.
We need to be prepared and okay giving this response. This does not make you a lesser person, I promise!
If the demands on your time seem endless then come work with me and I can help you straighten out those thoughts and free up the margin you desire!
In this episode we are going to talk about how to keep who we are working with in view when it is so easy to view our product as an object.
In most business interactions we are conditioned to think about whatever product we are selling as the vital focus of our interactions. And rightly so, for the most part our entire role to make that product fit into the needs and lives of those we are serving.
Education is different though.
We all know this on the surface and we “know” that our product is the students or the learning of the students. The trouble comes when we try to focus our efforts like business minded folks and all of our goals, strategies, and initiatives are focused on a result that doesn’t take into account that we are working with people, not objects!
If you want to affect change in all those around you it is vital that you learn to see all of those around you as people.
These people are not objects, problems to be controlled, or obstacles in your way. These people are the ENTIRE reason you are doing what you are doing! It is time in education to open our eyes and see each other for who we all are!
Of course this is vital in our students, but also in all of the colleagues we get to work with as well.
People do not like to be managed, controlled, or manipulated, period!
We are going to have to stop constantly thinking about our own agenda and how these people either fit into our system or not.
We need to start seeing what the real needs of the individuals are if we want to move the needle in education.
This starts with you!
When you feel the urge to speak about a student as an object or an inconvenience, remember why you are doing what you are doing.
Remember that the best way to accomplish anything with that student is to see their real needs.
Remember to give your colleague the benefit of the doubt because their life is probably just as hard as yours.
I plead with you to remember you are working with people!
If you are struggling then come work with me and sign up for Rekindle Your Fire!
In this episode we are going to talk about empathy fatigue and what can happen when we don't take care of ourselves first in education.
In education we have a very important role in taking care of so many people around us everyday. This role is so vital in the lives of our students and really can be one of the most rewarding roles we get to fill as an educator. When we work so hard to take care of all those around us it feels great most of the time! We learn so much about ourselves in our pursuit of helping others which can be a great thing.
However, as educators we need to beware of empathy fatigue in our lives. This is basically when we are so worried about everyone around us that it wears on our emotional state to the point of it being detrimental. It is time to practice a little self care and realize you are the most important piece in this life puzzle!
This process of actually showing empathy towards others takes so much emotional energy that even though rewarding there is a grave danger in too much of a good thing here.
This really can develop into one of the most scary catch 22 situations we face in education. If we don’t show up as the best version of ourselves they we really won’t connect and change those we teach.
On the flip side though, if we constantly show up as the hero and put all of our emotional energy into the kids then we are going to burn ourselves to ashes! Not to mention all of our relationships outside of school, our personal lives, health and so on.
If we really are able to pay attention to ourselves then our ability to show more empathy is increased and our longevity is increased in our career. Rather than viewing this as a catch 22 at all, I think we are better off seeing ourselves as not just one piece of the puzzle but more as the only piece of the puzzle.
This is not a self aggrandizing way of thinking but rather a more outward approach to self care. We begin taking care of ourselves so that all areas of our lives and the lives of those we serve become enhanced all around.
If you find yourself struggling and thinking that you are too busy or too stressed to take care of yourself then come work with me! Go sign up for Rekindle Your Fire and start taking better care of yourself so you can make the difference you really desire!
In this episode we are going to talk about how to simplify and return to the basics when analyzing new resources in education.
Education is notorious for the next new shiny agenda around every corner. This might be in the form of a new technology, the latest teaching technique, the latest social paradigm at school, the newest format of school, the latest grading scheme, or any other number of supposedly amazing new things we are presented with every year.
My goal is not to discount any of the above in our education work but we are so susceptible to the shiny object syndrome that we can become clouded to what our purpose really is in education.
The more complicated we make our lives in education or our personal lives the more likely we are to burnout and be less successful in all our lives roles.
Most new initiatives are well intended and if we were to keep the deeper purpose and correctly defined values in alignment I believe most new technologies and initiatives can become the accelerators they are meant to be rather than an obstacle to our vision.
Our lives are often better served by returning to the basics and learning to see the most important parts of our circumstances. Most of the time life is really not that complicated!
Really our purpose in education hasn’t changed that much over time and we aren’t asked to accomplish some imaginary Everest sized feat just because our methods might have changed.
I feel like some days we need to shift our focus to why the students are required to come to us on a daily basis.
Why are we needed as educators in the first place?
Why is education such a valuable piece of our society?
What parts of our practice are really in alignment with our answers to the above stated questions?
Are we clouded with all of the stress and anxiety built from years of self deception and collusion in education?
Do we grasp how unique our opportunity is to help so many people?
We need to take time to analyze where we are currently and if necessary shift back to the basics of our role and let all the chips fall where they may.
The cool thing is if you are ready to tackle this journey, I’ve got you!
Come work with me one on one or sign up for Rekindle Your Fire to take the dive on your own.
I love you guys!
In this episode we are going to talk about how to build a healthy sustainable lifestyle instead a temporary fix.
I often ask students how they know whether they are healthy or not. They usually respond with something about weight or not having a disease. I usually follow up with a question about what weight or lack of disease defines their health status and if it was possible to be unhealthy with a low body weight and no apparent disease.
This concept is really hard for them to understand as teenagers but we usually are not a whole lot different in our approach as adults.
The way we approach our health is often defined by number based goals or the way we look. Having a destination we are seeking is such an important step in all areas of our life but we need to be careful in how we define the end goal.
When it comes to our health we are better off thinking of this as a journey and not a destination. Getting healthy is not something we do, it is who we become!
A temporary band aid of weight loss, accomplishment, or running the race is an amazing step in the process of our development but shouldn’t be the end goal.
I even hear people often speak about how they are going to get healthy with a new program but when I ask about how they know when they have arrived at “healthy” it becomes hard to define.
The best version of ourselves should always include optimal health on some scale but this becoming who we are rather than a thing we do is vital.
Things we do are temporary, they can be valuable steps to becoming, but still only steps. If you are seeking to “become” someone better you are going to need to engage in lifelong engagement of the process of being healthy.
The definition of healthy should be personal and unique but something that is sustainable forever. Once we become something it shifts from a daily decision to engage in certain behaviors to established habits, systems, and routines correctly aligned with our values and who have now become.
I wish you well on your lifelong journey towards becoming healthy and showing up as the best version of yourself for yourself, your family, and your students!
If you feel like you could use some help then come work with me at The Healthy Educator.
If you like going at your own pace then come sign up for Rekindle Your Fire, our first online course to help you become!
In this episode I talk about the way we view our current situation has everything to do with how we approach our jobs and lives moving forward. We have so much power to make great change in our current circumstances. The opportunity for growth by going completely online in education, even for a short time period, is so amazing right now! Come listen to learn how you can see this as an opportunity rather than a hindrance!
In this episode we are going to talk about how to edit your life and create the life you want by making as many future decisions as possible!
I haven’t yet come across any educators with too little to do in my entire career. We are usually inundated with so many tasks that the idea of needing more work to do is laughable. With this being the status of pretty much everyone in education it would make sense to really try and free up time in my book.
One of the most valuable practices I have instituted is the process of editing your life. In order to accomplish the most valuable things with our limited time we really need to go through each and every thing we actually do in life and eliminate any unnecessary practices to get our life as simple as possible while still achieving the maximum result. This maximum result does not always mean more, and most often will mean less. We are simply narrowing our focus to the most important things. The process of doing the right things, at the right time, in the right mind frame will make all the difference in your life and career.
Once we have eliminated all of the clutter and unnecessary things from our lives we can start planning to create an amazing life by making as many decisions for ourselves before we actually reach the decision point. I have already talked several times about the idea of decision debt and our ability to have the clarity necessary to make the best possible decisions. This is exactly why we need to make more decisions before we actually face them.
If our brain is in a clear and non pressured state while making the majority of our decisions we have a much higher chance of making better aligned decisions with our goals and values. We are great at planning our goals and defining our values on paper but the process of future decision making is really what allows those goals to come to fruition and keep us in alignment with our values.
If you have a desire to become better and show up better each and every day then you really need to adopt these two practices!
The practice of simplification and editing out any unnecessary practices in our lives is really freeing for educators. Take the time to make as many future decisions now in order to simplify all the areas of your life. Find what works, go with it, and get stuff done!
If you need help making this a reality for you in your life then come work with me. I love helping educators get their power back and look forward to working with you!
In this episode we are going to talk about how important it is to see ourselves for what we really are.
The more and more I work with people I am beginning to see how few people really know themselves. We are really good at portraying ourselves as other people see us. We are really good at being what other people want us to be. We are very good at looking outward and seeing the reflection of others and then mirroring it back. I wonder how often we take the time to look inward to see who we “really” are.
It is going to be extremely hard to really open up and share yourself with someone else if you don’t have yourself in the first place. Next to impossible really. So where does that leave us?
Our ability to see our whole selves and who we really are without walls in certain situations is such a valuable resource! This opens all kinds of doors for connections with those around us in education. People connect way better with “real” people than a caged version of us.
This really starts to touch into vulnerability and even though that can be tough we really need to start being real with others.
Our families and colleagues and students can track when we are being real or not. Most of the time we are not doing this intentionally but we just like to please those around us so we are great at conforming to what people think of us rather than creating the vision of ourselves with intentionality.
If we start to grasp ourselves on a deeper level we become more comfortable connecting with those around us because we are standing on our own two feet regardless of what they think.
This increased connection actually allows us to affect those around us in a meaningful way. All the superficial talk and connection will never get us to the level actually teach and make change matter.
So, do you feel like you really know yourself? Do you feel like you have a good enough grasp of yourself that you can share yourself with those around you, regardless of their reaction to who you really are?
I think it’s time to get to know yourself.
The best version of yourself requires this step. Your ability to actually teach meaningfully requires this step. Your relationships now and in the future require this step.
I can help you figure this out if you feel a little lost. Come work with me!
In this episode we talk about the oft sought after work/life balance and how this really is an impossibility.
In our last post we talked about our tendency to compartmentalize our lives and the way we hear about this most is the idea of work/life balance. I really think this comes from the idea that we work because we need money and work always sucks. Because of us choosing thoughts like this we feel the need to separate this negative side of our life from everything else. Hence we end up with work, and then the rest of our lives.
I really do understand the logical argument here, but our work is a huge part of our life and sometimes has such a huge affect on our families and relationships that we need to learn to see it differently.
If our thoughts about work and life are always separated then our ability to connect this meaningful part of our life to our whole selves becomes diminished.
Our brains really don’t fragment very well and it would serve us to be doing well in all areas of our life.
When it comes to our actual “job,” the idea that the thing we spend the majority of our day is the worst part of our day makes for a very miserable life as well. The actual amount of time spent is another side of this issue but really this comes down to how much mental and emotional energy is required of us in these different areas. The better we are performing in each of the different life accounts we have the better all other areas are as well.
The effect starts to not be a net negative draining experience and it turns into a positive fueling relationship where each area/account is serving every other area and we bolstered rather than weighed down.
The idea of having a great life balance and all areas feeding each other really is possible and I can help you on your road to this reality. Come work with me at The Healthy Educator to learn how!
In this episode we are going to talk about how when we compartmentalize our lives are struggle more .
I find it interesting when educators go to great lengths to separate their personal and family lives from their work lives. I understand the sentiment of trying to balance and maintain a professional separation to some extent but our brains really do not operate like this.
Our brains do a crappy job at compartmentalizing our personal and home lives from our work lives. To the brain our life is just “our life.” We need to maintain the same organizational standards at home that we strive for at school. This level of productivity is hard but necessary for us to truly take it to the next level in our lives!
We have this idea that we can start over in regards to mental and emotional energy as soon as we get to school or as soon as we get home.
There are some things we can do in order to intentionally act the part when we shift roles but if we are low on mental or emotional energy then this becomes a band aid approach to a lot bigger issues.
We start to short circuit the process by compartmentalizing. The fragmented mind is never a good place to be coming from in regards to working with people. The amount of energy needed to be an amazing educator or an amazing family member is just too high to split up the areas. We need our focus to be on the whole system rather than the individual parts. This borders on a more holistic approach to ourselves but it really is more effective.
We really are not able to pull mental and emotional resources from one area of our lives and not have it affect other areas. Our brains have a finite amount of resources and how we choose to use them across all areas of our lives is really what is most important.
This means if we want to show up as the best version of ourselves in all areas we are going to need to manage our decisions, stress, and physiological side of our lives at very high levels. All areas of our lives become important and we can implement strategies to make sure our best energy is used at the right times and for the most important things.
We are very often great as educators at organizing our lives inside of school and now it is time to give that best effort to our lives outside of school as well. Remember, our brain can’t tell the difference!
Come work with me if you need help get your life organized and back on track, I look forward to working with you!
In this episode we are going to talk about how to operate from a zero inbox mentality in our digital lives.
I have had the opportunity to work with some amazing people in my time and I have also had the opportunity of seeing some of the craziest email inboxes! Some are super organized and operate at an organization level to rival the Gods!
Some however have literally thousands of messages in their email inbox! Depending on your role in education you will get either mountains of emails daily or just a few. Most of the time we don’t get tons of spam email directly to our inbox and so most email requires at least some of our time and attention. This is just the way our world of communication works and we need to be okay with using email to communicate.
If we fall into the group though that has hundreds or thousands of emails in our inbox then we are never going to be as productive or efficient in our lives.
I propose that we operate in a zero inbox mentality in regards to our email.
This is a reflection of our minds much more than we know. Our ability to actually manage and complete tasks or discern what is important and what is not are some of the most valuable productivity tools we have.
Our ability to manage our minds is the greater resource we have in education and the ability to manage your inbox is simply an extension of how we manage your mind.
With a zero inbox mentality we set very specific boundaries about how we manage our email inbox. Our goal is to clear out inbox every day and not have tasks left over to the next day. In reality there might be certain things that need to expand beyond a day but they shouldn’t be hanging out in our inbox very long.
In order to actually accomplish this I would set at least 2-3 very specific times to process your email tasks and messages. One of these should be at the very end of your workday to make sure your inbox is clear before you leave.
I have heard of different ways to actually separate and discern what to do with your email messages categorically but ultimately this comes down to how you manage your mind and want to approach this.
If we are able to really clear our inbox and in turn our mind each day we are much better able to show up as the best version of ourselves without all the extra emotional stress of knowing there is a bunch of tasks hanging over our heads.
For some of us with thousands of messages we might need to start fresh with a clean sweep and others will just need a little refreshing. Either way this is a great method to make sure we are getting things done and showing up at home and at school as a better version of ourselves!
In this episode we are going to talk about our choices to disengage with focused work. Every time you check in with Social Media it takes a full 20-25 minutes to get your brain back on track before you purposefully derailed it.
If you are ready to work, then work!
You and your students deserve better!
We often think that every time we are distracted at work it is because of our environment. We do have a lot of people trying to get our attention but a large majority of the time we are choosing to be distracted. This has so many implications it is pretty sad.
We have talked a lot about how our digital environment is setting us up for success or failure based on how we have that set up.
I wonder how many times we choose to interrupt what we are doing because we don’t really want to work. We use social media and other forms of digital input so often as a buffer to our not wanting to feel the pressure of work.
Every time you check in with Social Media it takes a full 20-25 minutes to get your brain back on track to where it was before you purposefully derailed it.
If you are ready to work, then work! You and your students deserve better!
When it comes to focused work we need to understand that our attention is so fragmented already in the school environment that we are going to have to design specific focused work blocks and intentionally block out distractions.
If you have planned time to work then we really need to work on not choosing to distract yourself. This really means we need first own the fact that you are choosing distraction most of the time. You might need to not have your phone around when you are working.
As crazy as that sounds you can survive without constant access to your phone! I have found as I work with people that the access isn’t really the issue. Most of the time we really just don’t want to work as focused as we like to think.
If you really want to take yourself and your life to the next level you are going to have to take drastic measures sometimes!
Guess what? It’s time to start showing up as a better version of ourselves put our whole souls into whatever work we are engaged in.
If you are struggling finding that passion to pursue this level in your life then come work with me!
I can help you get that passion back!
I want you to think about the last conversation you had about why a student of yours was struggling.
Or maybe a whole class was struggling.
What were the reasons you gave for why?
You might not remember the last time this was the topic of conversation but if you do how many of you brought up your role in the lack of student success?
I wonder if most teachers have ever brought that up in the conversation. We are very good at explaining why everything else is always to blame for all of our problems. We are quick to explain away anything that might be an indictment on us as the educator.
This is an extremely natural response and it is not unique to education. Whether we are in our educational roles or any of our other roles in life we really need to process why we are willing to give up our control and start blaming others for everything in our lives.
When we get defensive and start looking outside of ourselves in our problems it very quickly digresses to not be about the learning, the students, the school, etc.
Now it's really just about us and getting what we want in the situation. This sounds eerily similar to a 2 year old toddlers fit. “I want what I want and I want it my way,” we tell ourselves, and I am the teacher so I get it my way.
The most detrimental thing we can do in our roles as educators is to not own up to our role in the problems we face. Playing the blame game will drag you and your emotions down faster than almost any other practice. You really do give up your control as soon as you blame someone, something, the system, etc.
Another very unfortunate side effect of the blame game is our inability to see the students we serve as people. They have swung over to the problem side of the equation and have become something we just have to deal with.
Teaching people is not something where we have to “deal” with them.
Other individuals are going to have issues and we are going to have situations we may not love, but the more we are able to address our part in the situation the more control and effect we will have in our lives.
It’s time to take full control of our lives! Start owning up to your part and then you will be able to get your power back and make the difference you desire.
Come work with me at The Healthy Educator to process your situations better and get better!
I often joke with those around me about how much the kids I teach are attached to their phones all the time. We could debate until we are blue in the face about the role of cell phones in the classroom, but today I want to talk about how much your phone is taking control of your life and either helping our preventing you from becoming the best version of yourself.
I have seen some pretty messy phones and I have also seen more adults tied to their phones that teenagers. One troubling thing is how we as adults think that because we are adults we can do whatever we like and it won’t affect us like it does the kids we teach. In some ways this is a major act of self deception and is killing our careers and our ability to show up in our families as well.
I want to address the idea of a messy and unorganized phone. When you pick up your phone your mind is most often over run with stimulation of app icons and bubbles galore with notifications popping up all over the screen. If you really want to increase your productivity then we need to take some of the steps we talked about in our last post about our computer and digital distraction. I strongly recommend that most notifications are turned off and you organize your phone in a way that you are not distracted trying to find your most common apps.
Don’t be afraid to use the folder feature and group like apps together and only have your home screen apps visible when you phone wakes up. If you have turned off bubble notifications then you won’t have the tendency to head into apps that you didn’t purposefully get on your phone for in the first place.
One way to tend to teach teens when it comes to our phone behavior is to encourage them to only look at their phone with a specific purpose in mind. This also goes for their smart watches as well. Just looking at our watch and phone because we want a distraction is not a wise choice. This only feeds our habit loop towards something less desirable. When we use our phone for a productivity tool rather than an entertainment tool we can maximize our time much better. If we don’t follow some of these simple practices then our phone becomes the biggest distraction we have ever encountered and it never leaves our pocket. Good luck on truly focused and productive work!
All educators use their phone as a part of their job in some capacity and this comes at a great cost if you don’t know how to manage the chaos on your phone. Clean up the chaos if you want to be able to really work and become the best version of yourself!
We are often aware of our physical surroundings and the stress that can come from clutter and losing things in our physical work space. I want you to take a minute and think about what it looks like when you log into your computer. What do you see? What do you not see? What feelings arise from you getting on to your digital work space?
I will talk about your phone in another post, but our computers are a huge part of our digital work space and they can either be the biggest accelerator to our productivity or the biggest drag to it.
When it comes to our ability to maintain focus and accomplish what we need to in our work sessions the look and feel of our digital work space really matters.
There are a few ways to think about your digital space. One of these is going to be functionality and the other way focused work.
When we are talking about functionality we need to make sure we have our files, shortcuts, and other buttons on our computer in a fashion that we know where everything is and it can be reached in the shortest amount of time possible without sacrificing a clean feel.
I know it is often convenient to have files readily accessible on your desktop when it comes to functionality but we most likely sacrifice focus when our desktop is a mess when we log into our computer every time. We also are bound to be digitally cluttered in no time and it can be hard to find what you are looking for even on your desktop.
Now that most of our computer files are web based we tend to see this clutter bleed into our Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, or whatever online service we like! We have got to get control of this digital space before it ruins our productivity.
Because it is so easy to accumulate thousands of computer files this is an issue that will require us to continually address this work space on a regular basis. It does seem incredibly easy to put off this type of organization because as soon as our screen is off the problem is hidden. The trouble is we spend far too much time on our computer to act like this isn’t a distraction for us.
Coming back to functionality we need to make sure our file system or desktop system even when organized and minimizing distractions is actually functional. We can swing the pendulum too far and just hide or delete everything to never be found again. This doesn’t help us a lot either. We need to be able to access our files quick enough to stay productive but keep our system clean and understandable for ourselves.
Another item to note when it comes to our digital work space and productivity is our notifications and other moving parts of our computer. We need to understand that if we truly desire to be productive we need to make sure our pings, dings, number counts on email, desktop notifications, bubbles, or anything else we have set to run in the background and alert us in some way is turned off during focused work times. If you have to disconnect from the internet to prevent all that stuff from going off or learn how to disable all your notifications and keep yourself focused on what you really need to be focused on. You and your future deserve your focused attention!
I want you to stop for a minute and think about your daily routine at school. From the time you walk in the door to when you need to leave at the end of the day. How many people do you talk to? How many fires do you put out? How much time do you spend in front of your students in a high level presentation mode? How much time do you spend in meetings with your teams? How much time do you spend getting your physical environment ready?
Now I want you to consider the interruptions to all of the before mentioned tasks. How many times did the office call into your room? How many times did a student come late into class? How many times did you look at your phone or watch during other tasks? How many times did you see and pay attention to a pop up notification on your desktop or browser tab while at your computer?
Now I want you to consider how much deep focused time you had to yourself during a normal work day? How many times have you been able to reach of state of flow in your planning, preparation, or execution in your role as an educator? When was the last time your mind was able to focus long enough to truly be innovative and design something new? When was the last time you could stay on a data analysis task long enough to draw any meaningful conclusion?
The true nature of our world today is that you work in an environment built directly against focused and deep work. You are going to have to design this yourself. The education system is not currently built for this. I have seen all too many educators who pretty much throw in the towel and just fight to keep their heads above water and settle for an ever stuck world of education.
We are faced with an interesting choice once we realize these facts. We can either settle and just never do anything really innovative. We can run around like chickens with our heads cut off until we are so burned out we don’t even see our students as people anymore. We can complain about the system and how poorly its designed for true change. We can cognitively disconnect from the system as a whole and do our own thing in order to manage our sanity.
Or, we can become intentional, create boundaries and actually design time for ourselves to accomplish true productivity. See, true productivity is a lot more about focus than task completion. Just accomplishing a lot of tasks is not necessarily productive. We only become productive once we are doing the right things, not just more things. Are you ready to truly become productive? What is going to happen if you actually create the margin you desire? Is your brain able to stay focused long enough to accomplish great things? Are you actually willing to turn off notification and choose something better? Are you actually willing to say no? If you want to accomplish something great with your students and your life you are going to have to start training your brain to do something different!
If you are ready to start becoming a better version of yourself then come work with me. I’ve got you! I look forward to the journey.
Imagine you walk into an office and you see stuff everywhere! There are piles of paper, books and even food sitting around. Our minds immediately start to process all the clutter and even though the people in the situation might be the most important people in our lives we can’t focus on them because of the distraction.
I think we have all had times where when working with these individuals that the clutter does lead to things being lost and not getting done. Our kids can’t find their clothes because their room is such a mess, we can’t find our keys, we totally lose something important, and on and on.
I think it’s important to separate the person from the clutter because whether a person is clean and organized or a complete mess has nothing to do with their worth. However, a messy or unorganized workspace, home, vehicle, computer or anything else is simply an outward expression of a messy or unorganized mind. When we just can’t get our brains organized it is bound to lead to more clutter in other areas of our lives.
This physical clutter tends to lead to more stress and anxiety, even under the surface, which makes it even worse in our minds and the cycle continues. I really think we need to do whatever necessary to break out of this cycle. Our minds and everything connected to them is worth the spring cleaning, both physically and mentally!
I suggest we start small and attack our physical space one area at a time. Pay attention to how you feel in your physical space and connect this to how you organize and clean it up. Pay attention to the calm that comes with a neatly organized space. Then progress on to the next space until you have your physical world organized.
Once your physical world is organized you can start with your mind. I have heard of a few great ways to use thought downloads, journals, recording your thoughts, or other ways to get all of the thoughts and information out of your head! Once the information and thoughts are out of your head you will be able to organize and make sense of them a lot better. We will talk more in another post about this but get the process started to allow yourself to relax!
I wanted to emphasize again about how little this is connected to your worth but also how much this can affect your productivity and personal stress levels. Your ability to relax and focus on what you really feel, need, or want can be so valuable to realigning to your self worth, but if you feel unorganized or messy you are still amazing and valuable!
I would love to chat with you about how we can get your life more organized and bring out the best version of yourself! Come sign up for a free mini session and see if we can find a way to improve!
Educators beware of thinking you know how things “really” are. Our minds need to be in a constantly dynamic, growing, changing, and plastic environment. Whether it is a growth mindset, paradigm shifts, or another great way we see this concept; we have to be willing to change the way we see ourselves and what we are doing with our students if you really want to show up as the hero in your story!
We are so susceptible to thinking the way we see the world is really the way the world is in education and really in our lives as a whole. All humans do this to some extent because our minds really have singular track focus and our experiences are what shape us to a certain extent. We really like fitting our world into our nice little box of thought control.
Unfortunately our view of our classroom, our family, and our world is usually clouded. We are way better off assuming we don’t have the whole story, our view is biased, and that if we are willing to change our vantage point we could learn a lot and become better. I honestly can’t think of a circumstance where this is not the case.
If we can start from that frame of mind rather than being forced into it we will find the richness that can come from true learning. This doesn’t make anything easy, and often it will become more difficult but just might be the key to getting out of our own head and making real change in our world.
Once we start to see ourselves and our world in a new light we start to understand more how dynamic and constantly changing it is. We really can learn to accept this more than right against it. We start to lean into change and discomfort more than fighting against it. We start to see barriers as learning opportunities and necessary steps in the path rather than a hindrance. This is like fuel for resiliency and motivation and prepares us to create such a better life if we are just willing to look at the things in our life differently.
I often think this changed vantage point leads us to make more changes in our lives rather than less. I have resisted this idea because rose colored glasses just make the same circumstance a different color, so to speak. I think we need to be willing to take the next step after looking at things differently to actually make things better, not just making them look better. The new vantage point should give us enough true perspective to make different choices in the end.
I really like the idea of meditation to help us look at our world differently because it can really bring us back to neutral when we get clouded. This is a great first step but we need to be able to push past neutral once we get there. As valuable of a tool as it is, if we turn around and go right back to where we were before then we just delayed the inevitable rather than growing. Let's get out of our ruts and start seeing the world and our lives in education in a much more dynamic state. I can help you gain some perspective if you are struggling with the way things seem in your life. Come sign up for a mini session with me and see if we can push past neutral and start seeing things in a new light!
I was working with a great therapist and he has this great line about how when we never get our thoughts and struggles out then we become our own therapist. When we stuff or keep our thoughts to ourselves we automatically become our own therapist and we suck at it!
We really struggle to always see ourselves as we really are. Our internal perspective is valuable but often short sighted.
If we find ourselves really struggling then one of our go to resources should be finding an outside perspective to make sure we aren’t clouded.
There is something to say about making sure this outside perspective is someone you can trust and actually could have a framework to understand yours.
It seems like we always have a well meaning neighbor or brother-in-law that always knows everything about everything and they will be so quick to offer you advice on everything.
We always need to process anyone’s coaching through our logical lens but understand that their view allows them to see something that we can’t always see.
I have started to realize that we really struggle in education to accept coaching for ourselves.
We have been conditioned to always know that answer and always be in charge because that is what teachers should be. This is not only a problem in the classroom but when it comes to becoming the best version of ourselves we are “suppose” to have the answers and in reality we don’t always have the answer.
Whether you are willing to pay for a life coach like myself, or whether you like the principle of using a mentor to help you, you really are benefited by having an outside perspective. We all need a fresh look at our lives what we are doing.
The real power in collaboration comes from these principles. I love Micheal Fullan’s idea that collaboration is about the collective building of our potentials and not just about creating a fun and safe place to be.
Go find yourself a great outside perspective! Come sign up for coaching from me or at least come chat with me in a mini session. I care about you and want you to become the best version of yourself!
One of my favorite processes when it comes to building a great life is the process of backwards design. I have some favorite quotes in reference to this idea but this really is the process of backing into our choices intentionally rather than having our minds focused in the past as we make choices. In this episode I am going to talk about how to get our thoughts right in order to make this a reality.
We need to take a step back everyday and align our actions with our end game and deeper purpose. This will have to be an intentional reflection or it is too easy to let it slip. Remember to build backwards with the end constantly in view so we can stay on the path!
Stephen Covey’s idea reflects this process when he wrote about “beginning with the end in mind.”
One of my favorite quotes on this subject is this,
“The clearer the destination becomes, the clearer the path to walk becomes.”
I haven’t been able to track down the author but the principle is so profound. I can help people walk the path to a better life but the clarity of the end goal and the path are going to have to be realized beforehand as much as possible.
I know our lives are going to have twists and turns, unexpected events, life challenges and so many other hiccups, but the closer we can define what we are actually shooting for the better off we will be on our journey.
Once we are able to define this end goal we can connect it to our deeper purpose and the dots of our life really start to connect. This connects our why to our end goal and we begin to better understand the what and the how of our lives as well.
This process is much harder to do looking down, rather than up towards the end. If our vision is looking down or backwards rather than forward to our goal and our why then the slightest change of direction or barrier will cause us to slip into misalignment or the haze of life.
We have to intentionally make this connection at very strategic intervals in our planning. It’s just too easy to lose sight of our destination start drifting if we don’t plan this into our lives.
Get planning with the end in mind like your whole life depends on it, because it does!
I am here for you and look forward to working with you!
In this episode we are going to talk about systems, systems, systems! There can never be too many routines or systems as an educator. We are great at putting these into practice for our jobs but sometimes fail to transfer this knowledge to our personal health and wellness journeys. Make the effort to put all your health and wellness practices into a simplified system in order to be successful!
I want each of you to think of your first day of school each year and how important that first day is for establishing the culture, expectations and systems you want to be in place for your class. We immediately put routines, rituals, or what I like to call systems into place so that we can actually maintain sanity in our roles as educators.
Whether the students admit it or not they really thrive in this culture of structure and routine. The more clear we are with our students about the systems we have in place the better they are going to learn and the more success we will find with our teaching. It’s crazy how intentional some educators can be in their classrooms and their school year and then fail to apply the same principles to their personal and family lives.
This is by far one of the most important principles I can teach someone on their health and wellness journeys. We have to learn how to put systems and routines into place in the most desirable way to get the results we want. We also have to be courageous enough to stick to the systems we create. I always wonder about the person who buys the most amazing system or routine and then doesn’t follow it and wonders why it didn’t work?
What good is a ritual, routine or system if you fail to live it?
We love to have everything in our lives look great on paper and fill our calendars with endless activities and tasks to keep us perpetually busy without getting anywhere!
Enough with the hamster wheel mentality! I think many times this happens because we really haven’t created the best system for ourselves. We tend to want to copy everything from others and then try to fit it into our lives. This amounts to nothing more than pounding a square peg into a round whole. We need to rely more on the principle of systems and routines with our own habits and desires and circumstances placed into personally designed systems in order for this to really work to our advantage.
So what does this really look like in our day to day lives?
I love the idea of morning, evening, work start up, shutdown, and other natural based systems in our lives. Micheal Hyatt calls them rituals, but the principle is still the same.
We need to delineate out exactly what we need to do in order to be the most successful in virtually every phase or task of our day. This seems like overkill sometimes but in my experience it is much more easy to adjust a very structured routine to fit unplanned for events than it is to try and tackle everything we encounter in the moment.
We really don’t have as much unpredictability in our lives as we try to think. Almost all things could have been seen long beforehand with proper planning and vision. Our choices and whether we choose to follow the correct systems help us to calculate the real direction in our lives.
I think it’s time to be better! It’s time to put into place the systems you need in your life to be successful in every area.
It’s time to act with courage and live up to our own high expectations or fix our low expectations of ourselves.
I am here to help you at The Healthy Educator, now let me show you!
In this episode I want to talk about how gratitude can drive our life in the positive direction! We have a very unique opportunity to work in an amazing field and the more we keep our thoughts in the right mindset we will so much better. This mindset needs to be coming from a space of gratitude rather than lacking. Let's be better and go create the world we desire!
In this episode we talk about how mental triggers are one of the fastest and most effective ways to build new habits. Each day at school I have a few key practices that really help me to maintain my mental triggers. The students and staff think I am a little crazy with one of them but I am more concerned with my habit formation than what people think. Whenever I come to a set of stairs I need to go up I literally “hit the stairs running!” I am not trying to make a statement but rather to keep a healthy habit by connecting the run with every time I approach stairs.
Another thing I do to help maintain my sanity is to practice deep breathing every time I enter the elevator at school. As soon as the elevator door closes I get some really deep breaths in to help calm my stress down. As simple and mundane as these habits and triggers seem it can be that easy to get on the road to new habits.
Mental triggers are one of the fastest and most effective ways to build new habits. All you need to do is tie your new behavior to a trigger, something you do everyday, so that your brain can start mapping the new desirable behavior. No matter who you are, your brain can change and this a great way to get it rolling!
In our last post we talked about the motivation energy needed to get habits started and this process of using mental or behavioral triggers is an automatic win we create for ourselves to keep that motivational energy high so we can power through and create the systems necessary to carry us through to ingrained habits.
One of the cool things about using simple triggers we engage in every day is we have the ability to chain them together throughout our day to create the life we love. Here is an example.
As you get up in the morning you have a bottle of water right by your alarm so before you even get up you have a large drink of water to start your body off right. As you walk into the bathroom your workout clothes are already laid on the counter so you just slip them on. As you walk into the front room your workout equipment is out in the location you need it for your workout. As you stop to get your kids breakfast ready you pause at the refrigerator because you have a trigger to think of a positive thought each time you open the door. And on and on and on.
Your habits and new life are basically predetermined by the triggers and behaviors you already have set and in this example it’s only 6:00 in the morning and you are won the day!
Now you need to look at your habits and routines and find out which ones you could build triggers into to make this healthy new life a reality!
I am here to help you on this journey! Come check out our resources in other sections of The Healthy Educator!
In this episode we talk about how to instill new habits, systems, and routines into our lives. At any given time we could all do better at something and now is a great time to start!
Throughout our lives we are often finding ourselves needing to instill new habits and desire to make ourselves better. Sometimes we get really motivated to make a change and start to make exercise a part of our lives or we promise to begin eating healthier. We commit to always being on time, etc. All of these habits are a great idea but maintaining healthy habits is something most in the world really struggle with.
We often fail to form new habits because we haven’t built the systems we need to make the new habit the easiest course of action. Look at your barriers and distractions before you embark on the journey so you can eliminate the decision in the moment. The new healthy habit needs to be replacing the one you want to eliminate, not adding to it!
The way I think about habit formation is not all that complicated. Most people I have worked with really just want to increase their motivation and think this will be the magic bullet to positive new habits. The reality though is that motivation is fleeting! The energy from motivation is just the startup fuel in our lives. If we choose to see motivation in this light we understand that there is a lot more to the equation.
Before we begin on the journey to new habit formation we can plan to use the motivation energy to see the barriers and possible distractions that are bound to come up for us. Most of us really know what is going to curtail our efforts to start new habits. We have tried so many times to do new things that it becomes ingrained in us why we are going to fail! If we can learn to analyze what might become a barrier then we can start to build systems and routines around this reality. If we build our systems to bypass or jump over our barriers then it pretty quickly becomes the easiest course of action. The better and better we get with this process our success in new habits is almost an inevitability! Pretty amazing huh?
One other important point to address is a great idea coined by Tom Ziglar from the Ziglar organization. That idea is that “the fastest way to a new habit is to replace an old one.” This allows us to use the already defined cues and systems our brain is wired for and create a new product or result in our lives. This is such an amazing principle but it requires a new level of understanding about why we engage in our habits in the first place. The potential is high so we better get chasing the best version of ourselves by instilling some new amazing habits!
I am excited to see what you come up with in your lives!
In this episode we are going to talk about how your life needs to be lived on purpose, not by default. If you have a deep, direct purpose each day as an educator your life and your students lives will find their own deep purpose. If you aren’t currently, you need to start living your life on purpose!
This is going to require a higher level of clarity in your planning and approach each and every day. I have found in education it is very easy to get pulled into the fast paced life of your school, your district, your family and you are controlled by all of the systems outside of yourself. The better you get at your job the more responsibilities are piled on your plate. Each new program, initiative, or external agenda is now in control of your time more than ever.
Sometimes these new items can be a great benefit to you and your school. Maybe it is the best thing since sliced bread afterall, but on the flip side of this next best thing is your choices being made for you rather than by you.
It is time to start being truly intentional about your life as an educator. You really can have an amazing life but it has to be intentionally created. The pull of the rest of life becomes an almost inescapable vacuum. Micheal Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy call this pull in our lives “the drift.” This drift can take our lives to places we never intended it to go.
If we aren’t careful we become the jaded veteran teacher who is resistant to all change not only at school but in our life outside of school as well. Our relationships suffer with our family, our students, and our colleagues.
I suggest we take a step back and look at how we see ourselves in our lives. We need to return to our deeper purpose in education and our lives. We need to make sure our actions in our career are aligning with our life plan. If we find ourselves needing to realign then decide whether being in education is really right for you.
Just because we have put years of work into our career does not justify the rest of our lives being lived in the drift. Make sure you still love it. Make sure you still love the students. Most importantly, make sure this career is bringing out the best version of yourself, not the worst. If you are needing help to find that passion again because you truly want to stay in education, you need to work with me. If you are done with education then go find your passion, no judgement here. It’s just not worth your life and the lives of your students to give anything less than your best.
I look forward to helping you on your journey!
In this episode we talk about how important it is for us to be real and authentic with our students and those around us.
We have this tendency as educators to keep our lives outside of school completely separate from our school lives. There are some valid reasons why we try to do this but it really brings about an interesting dynamic. The kids we teach are very much able to track how we really are doing when it comes to our lives as humans. When we undertake to cover our real lives outside of school the students can track that are putting on a show and we aren’t real with them.
As soon as we as humans know those around us are not real we are not going to connect with them. We automatically turn off if we feel that sense of the other being fake.
As educators we have got to be able to connect with our students if we have any hope of really making a difference. This also means we need to find a way to connect our lives outside of school to our lives inside of school. We need to find a way to just be the best version of ourselves regardless of where we are.
Your students and colleagues need to know you are a real person! Find a way to connect your life outside of school to those around you. This promotes a healthy balance for you and those around you are able to see you more as a person rather than an object!
When we start to see others as objects instead of real people with their own thoughts, feelings, and in this case, their own lives, we treat them differently and refuse to connect. It is very easy to not learn from someone who we think is an object. It is also very easy to learn from someone who we see as a valuable and connected person invested in our welfare. This concept of bringing our whole selves into more public relationships is a very vulnerable place to be.
Most of us humans are not great at being vulnerable and might even argue in education that we don’t want all of our personal lives known by our students. Brene Brown, when teaching about vulnerability, said true vulnerability is not about the amount of disclosure but is about the amount of courage it takes to share themselves. This is very true when it comes to education and our connection to our students. It’s time to be courageous and start being real people with our students! We don’t have to share every detail of our lives, but we have got to connect and be real. If you are struggling to show up as the best version of yourself come sign up for coaching with me and start to show up better!
In this episode we talk about how to avoid decision debt and enhance our ability to make great nutritional choices in our lives.
Everyday we are faced with mountains of decisions. These range from ultra mundane to quite important when it comes to how we react in our relationships. Most current psychology would tell us that our brains have a very defined amount of decision making ability throughout a given day or time period.
When we have used most of our mental and emotional energy up we start to operate from a place of decision debt.
We are in the drained state we really start to struggle with our most appropriate decisions. What seem like easy decisions now carry an extraordinary weight because we simply don’t have the mental and emotional fuel necessary to make the best decisions. Now our lives are a little bit of a crap shoot. This becomes very apparent when we are making decisions about what we eat.
Most of us tend to make poorer decisions about our food late at night or right after stressful circumstances in our lives. Our brains just don’t have the fuel necessary to focus on a higher level cognitively. If we haven’t managed our lives well enough before we tackle the day then our afternoon to evening time frame becomes a scary place nutritionally.
On the surface there is an easy fix. We simply need to make as many important decisions when are operating from a place of high mental and emotional energy. Making sure we are in our best state of mind when making important decisions will ensure we have our higher level cognitive tasks available to us. This means we have got to make our food decisions, for the most part, before we ever are faced with the decision. This is going to require a higher level of planning for most of us!
We really need to decide that we matter enough to make the time to plan way before we are placed in decision debt mentality. If needed we can really try to track our decisions for a day and see how aware of our choices we really have been. It might surprise us what we are willing to do when we are tired or stressed.
Commit now to a whole new level of planning in your life for your food choices. Decide that you matter enough to make your nutrition one of the most important decisions you have to make each day! Come work with me at The Healthy Educator to get started on your plan and we can get you to the best version of the new you!
In this episode we talk about how what you choose to eat effects the way you feel at work. We'll chat about what you need to eat and how to figure out where you stand currently.
The more and more I work with people on their health journeys and the more research I am exposed to I am beginning to understand the vast differences in each of our nutritional needs. There are some basic needs for all of us but to give a one shot, catch all recommendations regarding our nutritional needs is just bad practice. This also means that each of us is going to need to embark on a journey to find out what we need in order to feel awesome and give our bodies the fuel they need.
This process really needs to start with our own awareness of what we are actually putting in our bodies and the return on that investment. Until we are very aware and our understanding is increased this means we are going to need to track everything we consume to catch a glimpse of where we are starting.
The most important quick items to track is our macronutrients. Basically we need to know how much carbohydrate, protein, and fat we are consuming each day. This might mean educating yourself about what you are currently eating, what those foods contain, and most importantly how those foods actually affect the way you feel.
If you are struggling to maintain your energy levels, lose weight, or stay focused then it is time to track everything you eat and see how it is affecting you.
Ultimately you deserve to feel better and if you are going to show up as the best version of yourself then you must embark on this journey.
Most of us in America really struggle with our understanding of our macronutrient needs. We have been sold that fat is bad, we need lots of protein, and everything we consume contains sugar.
At a quick glance we need to understand that as long as we are consuming healthy fats we can consume large quantities of fat in our diet. Most of us consume way too many carbohydrates and the wrong kind. We typically consume large amounts of simple carbohydrates like sugar, white flour, white rice, etc.
If we are going to choose to consume carbohydrates they should be complex whole grains of many varieties. We need to expand our horizons outside of whole wheat to include rice, oats, barley, etc.
Our bodies really don’t need a lot of protein to maintain a great healthy lifestyle. Most of us in America consume way more protein in our typical diet than we could ever use in a healthy way. I have even seen many mistakenly think that the popular ketogenic diets are high in protein which is really not the case. We need to make sure we have accurate information when it comes to our nutrition choices!
I challenge all of you to track what you eat for at least a week and see where you currently stand. Become aware of exactly what you are putting in your body and how this makes you feel. Get rid of your excuses and make your nutrition a priority. I am here to help you at The Healthy Educator. Come sign up for our teacher tips or a coaching session with me so we can get you started on a better path to the best you!
In this episode we talk about how our thoughts around the food we eat effect our daily lives in our teaching.
One of the most consistent aspects of your job is the high level of mental and emotional strain that comes with working in education. This can be a great avenue of growth but most of the time it is the leading cause of burnout rather than growth. If we desire to use this mental and emotional strain as a growth opportunity we have to be able to show up with a high level of mental clarity and emotional energy across the entire day with our students and colleagues.
One of the most important variables in order to maintain a high level of mental and emotional energy is the food we put in our body. This high level of energy is really the fuel that drives everything we do well in education.
“You are what you eat” usually isn’t correlated with your life as an educator, but what if it has “everything” to do with your life as an educator? Your ability to bring the best version of yourself by maintaining your mental clarity, emotional focus, and steady energy throughout long hard days is most often directly related to what we eat!
Exercise has a huge role in this equation as well but I have trained so many people who just can’t out train poor nutrition, no matter how hard they work!
When we talk about the concept of “you are what you eat,” we are not talking about our food making us look a certain way at all. I am very intentionally talking about the way we mentally and emotionally show up each day is related to what we eat.
In order to keep it simple we each need to focus on good natural food as much as possible. Tons of vegetables, a variety of fruit, and very few simple carbohydrates. If you choose carbohydrates then make sure they are complex whole grains and seek those outside of your standard wheat products.
Sugar is going to be the enemy to your mental clarity and physical energy!
We need to be consuming high quality protein sources such as fish, poultry, legumes, beans and avoid red and processed meats.
We need to make sure we are consuming lots of healthy fats. These are usually healthy oils in cooking, nuts, avocados, and other plant fat sources.
Another unfortunate side effect is when we are experiencing brain fog or headaches or other body aches because of the food we eat we are much less likely to exhibit the emotional stability and motivation necessary to show up as a great educator. I understand it can sometimes be an insurmountable task to manage all of the mental and emotional feelings we experience every day. I also understand that our ability to manage these feelings and issues is so much dependent on the fuel we give our brain and body!
If food is a struggle for you then come sign up for a mini session with me so we can get your thoughts wrapped around a new approach so you can start increasing your energy levels and start showing up as a better version of yourself!
In this episode we'll talk about how to simplify your decisions. One of the hardest tasks you will be faced with in life is the ability to simplify and distill your life down to the most important behaviors to be successful and happy in life.
Even though this is a difficult task is it absolutely necessary!
I haven’t seen too many scenarios where making the situation more complicated helps anything.
This is so true when it comes to our health and wellness journeys as well.
As educators you are going to have to keep your systems as simple as possible in order to accomplish the most possible and maintain a semblance of sanity in your life!
The amount of mental and emotional energy needed to maintain a complicated and drama filled life is just not realistic as an educator.
On the broad scale I suggest we follow a few steps in order to create a higher sense of simplicity in our lives.
First, we need to take a step back from our system and make sure our values are defined and recorded.
These are the principles or beliefs that guide our lives and they should also guide any new system or habit we are creating. They should be used as a gateway or checkpoint when we make new decisions in our lives.
Next, I think we need to become extremely clear about what the result is we are desiring. This extreme sense of clarity is essential in order to know the path to walk. Wandering will never create what you are looking for!
Once we have gained clarity about our result we need to create the simplest path to get to that result.
The simplest path also needs to pass the values checkpoint to make sure we are not short circuiting our integrity.
The next step is to clear the pathway of tasks that do not help us on the way to our result.
As educators we are notorious for cluttering our lessons, classrooms, computers and ultimately our lives with useless distractions that does not serve us or our systems well!
Stay on top of your life and keep it simple!
I fully understand this is not the same as the easiest route. Often the path of least resistance doesn’t have the momentum to actually drive the result.
Simple decisions can often be very difficult, just not complicated.
If your life seems to be spinning out of control at school, at home, or anywhere else then you need to work with me! Come sign up to work with me at The Healthy Educator.
In this episode we'll talk about how to create the margin you need to fit in exercise and be the best version of yourself!
As I have worked with people over the years the biggest struggle I always see when it comes to exercising is the time constraints in our lives. There is a prevailing idea that we are just so busy and there are too many things to worry about exercising. For my thoughts about being busy check out my previous blog and podcast on Badges of Busyness.
If you are struggling to fit in exercise then it is time to re-examine your priorities and create the time to take care of yourself. More often than not this means getting to bed earlier and getting up earlier. You might even have to stop telling your brain you aren’t a morning person!
Ultimately this issue really comes down to priorities. Every person has the same amount of time and we just get to choose what we do with it. Most of us are notorious for taking on too much and choosing to buffer with all sorts of other things that don’t serve us well.
This buffering might be Netflix, ESPN, work, or anything else we choose to engage in instead of feeling the struggle of exercising. There is a wall that raises when it comes to getting moving and starting the exercise session. I have felt this so many times myself and it can be hard!
Don’t give in and buffer when you are facing this wall, I beg of you!
I have seen individuals where they weren’t engaging in buffering a lot but they have filled virtually every minute of their lives with family events, activities with kids, work, community work, and on and on. Most of these items are great things to be engaged in but if we aren’t careful we don’t carve out time for exercise or anything else to take care of ourselves. If you find yourself in this situation I suggest you examine your life priorities and start creating the life you really want for yourself. If you don’t do this you will find yourself struggling with disease, body issues, more mental and emotional disorders, and so many other problems.
Another argument I hear a lot is that people aren’t morning people. There is a little bit to this idea when it comes to an individual's chronotype, but almost always this is our brain telling ourselves that we aren’t a morning people. Our body has an amazing ability to adapt if we are willing to stay consistent.
As always, we can change these thoughts! You do not need to stay in this thought pattern!
For the most part with adults it means we are going to have to get up early to engage in consistent exercise. This also means we have to get to bed so we can maintain the early rising behavior over the long term. This is quite possibly the biggest barrier I have encountered when it comes to long term success with exercise habits. So many of us are just not willing to get to bed.
Enough with the excuses about why you can’t make exercise a part of your life!
I am here to help you be awesome! Come sign up to work with me at The Healthy Educator and we can get you on your road to a better version of yourself!
In this episode we are going to talk about exercise and our thoughts about making it a priority in our lives. I have spent so much time training, pleading, coaching, and just plain screaming about the importance of exercise in our lives that I have been ready to give up more times than I can count! I have even begun to think that maybe there was some way around the necessity of exercise because it just seems like an impossible sell for so many I have dealt with.
Here’ the deal though:
If you want to be the best version of yourself, in turn becoming the best educator you can imagine, then you MUST make exercise a part of your life. There are no ways around this reality, your body and brain was designed for you to move!
For some reason there seems to be such a prevailing pattern in people's thoughts about exercise.
Our minds trick us into thinking that exercise hurts, it sucks, you weren’t born to exercise like some people, and on and on.
“The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak,” we tell ourselves.
The trouble is that the previous statement is a flat out lie, spawned from the infernal realm of our minds!
Your body is only willing to do whatever your mind tells it to, period!
Really this is just our cop out, the lie we tell ourselves because we don’t want to face the reality of our truth:
Our spirit is weak, never our body!
I have had individuals tell me they just don’t care enough to exercise and ultimately that is true.
However, when we start to accept ideas like this in our minds we have settled on mediocrity and in effect told ourselves, our families, our students, that none of them matter enough to show up as the best version of ourselves.
If you want all of the amazing benefits that come with exercise we have to start paying the mental and emotional price necessary to implement this practice.
Enough with the excuses! Start showing up as a better version by creating time to implement exercise into your life!
I am here to help you on this journey! Come sign up for a mini session with me to get you started on a training plan to awesome!
In the past few episodes we talked about stress and how we can identify and manage our stress in our life. This is a tough process to zone in on for ourselves but one that is absolutely necessary for our future selves. If we don’t learn to manage our thoughts and in turn decrease our stress in life then it is calculated to take us to a wide range of health problems for ourselves throughout our lives. Remember you have full control of your thoughts!
If we don’t make the choice to learn to manage our thoughts our mind and body will eventually break. We are not able to stay in a high stress state without all of the negative consequences.
Our mind starts to lose its ability to remember important things in our lives and show our true emotions. Our ability to control our emotions and stay in a stable mental state is compromised very quickly!
Our heart stays in a higher stressed state as well. This high stress state leads to a higher incidence of heart disease. Our body is pretty constantly producing cortisol leading to more stored body fat and less control of our body systems.
Our relationships start to suffer because we become permanently short tempered with those around us. We start to see everything in a negative light and start justifying negative behaviors because of the stress we are constantly under all the time.
Eventually our mind will start to create an alternate space for us to escape too in an attempt at self preservation. This alternate space separates us from the most meaningful relationships of our lives and leads to broken marriages, fractured families, stale and burned out careers!
Every marriage, family, or company failure is always preceded by a leadership failure of the primary leaders involved.
We must find a way to manage our thoughts in the beginning to mitigate the amount of constant pressure we find ourselves under to fulfill our life’s dreams! If we don’t learn to manage ourselves then life is calculated to lead us into broken paths.
I am here to help you!
Come work with me at The Healthy Educator by signing up for a mini session. Come download our guide to dealing with tough people to mitigate your stress. Come sign up for our weekly teacher tips. Whatever you need to do, go do it, but don’t just let it slide and suffer the consequence. I will see you on the inside!
In this episode we talk about how to learn to manage our mind when it comes to the stress response. In this practice we really start to recognize that almost all stress is self imposed and we way more control than we ever imagined!
In our last post we talked about recognizing when our body enters the stress response and then identifying what was happening just before so that we can address the root cause.
Once we have correctly identified what is actually causing us stress we start to realize that almost all stress is self imposed!
Our thoughts are causing all of the stressful feelings in the first place. Then we can set off to work on those thoughts, mitigating the root cause of most of the stress in our lives!
A helpful place to begin in with Brooke Castillo’s thought model to understand how our brain really works and how much control we have over our outcomes.
In the CTFAR model it lays out the following:
Circumstances may cause
Thoughts which may cause
Feelings which cause
Actions which drive our
Lead to more thoughts and continue the cycle. The key very quickly begins the task of learning that our thoughts are so powerful in whether we continue to cause stress for ourselves or not! We start to see that the way look at the stress can either continue the cycle in a negative way or we can change the thoughts if needed.
Our thoughts about the stress in the first place could decide whether its a negative experience or a positive growth experience.
This is the most important idea you as an educator can wrap your mind around!
If your thoughts about a stressful experience can be shifted to see it differently then we actually learn and grow rather than being weighed down by the experience.
Our brain will actually change the way we see ourselves and our students when we learn to change our perception of the stress response.
We stop buffering the stress response and start welcoming it to learn from it.
Our body is able to mitigate a lot of the physical implications that come with a negative stress response because those experiences happen so rarely if we truly understand what we are doing with our thoughts!
Let's start managing our thoughts about stress so that your life and work can be an amazing learning experience instead of a constant barrage of stress!
I am here to help you on your journey at The Healthy Educator! Stay connected and let me help you on the way!
Go sign up for a mini session with me to get started on a plan to become the best version of yourself as an educator!
In this episode we talk about our bodies physiological response to stress and how we can recognize this in order to define the root causes for us. Once we are able to define these causes we have hope in mitigating the negative effects!
When we think about the concept of stress in most people it automatically causes more stress because of the negative associations around that word. This really does not have to be the case. There are some implications of being in a stressed state all the time but the good news is we can learn to recognize our bodies physiological responses and understand what is actually happening in our brain that brings on these feelings. Once we learn how our brain and body respond we realize stress is almost completely in our control! We also learn that this state is not always a bad thing. Some of the most amazing experiences in life require us to be in a stressed state.
One of the first signs we can learn to recognize that we have started entering a stressed state is our heart rate automatically increases when the stress response is triggered. We really don’t even need to feel our pulse because we know if our heart starts racing.
The next sign to pay attention to in our physiological response is our breathing. Once the stress response is triggered we start to engage in shallow quick breathing. This is why everyone always tells us to slow down and take a deep breath. We just need to stop and recognize our breathing pattern. Usually just by stopping to think about it we can slow it down if its a negative response.
The next sign that I feel is useful is to pay attention to is our brain. When we enter the stress response our thinking goes out the window. There are very technical reasons for this in our brain, but to keep it simple we just need to stop and see if it's easy to think clearly about what is going on in our brain. If we find it a struggle to think clearly then we are probably in a stress response.
These are great places to start when it comes to recognizing that our body has entered the stress response. Once we recognize the response we can check into what we were thinking, doing, seeing, etc. Once we know what we were thinking, doing, seeing, etc. then we can make changes if necessary.
The most important step in being able to manage the stress in our life is the ability to identify what is actually causing the stress. This allows us the ability to actually manage the root cause. As Dr. Daniel Siegel said, “You have to name it to tame it!”
As you are learning to identify your root causes of stress I am here for you! Stay connected here at The Healthy Educator for resources and help on your journey!
Go sign up for a mini session with me to help you get started on a plan to being the best version of yourself!
In another podcast we talked about you searching for why you really are an educator. In this episode we talk about the importance of connecting with our "Why" on a daily basis! The concept of beginning with why was coined several years ago by Simon Sinek and has been put into thousands of situations since.
There is no place more relevant than our roles as educators!
We must find a way to shift our daily focus to “why” we are doing what we are doing instead of constantly being focused on the how or what we are doing all the time.
There is definitely a place for the how and what of our job as educators, but this cannot be our primary focus each day. If you wish for your career to be sheer drudgery then focus solely on the how or what we do each day.
This misguided focus will lead to superficial relationships and an easier job, but ultimately is hollow in its approach.
If you find yourself on the road to burnout or mired deep in the burnout trough then it’s time to get back to your why.
One of the first steps to you reigniting your desire to teach is finding a way to reconnect with your “why.” It is imperative that you find a way to reconnect to this deeper purpose on a daily basis or you will soon find yourself headed straight for burnout!
I wish I didn’t have to witness the decline but I have seen tough class periods turn into tough days, turn into tough weeks, tough months, tough semesters, tough years, and ultimately tough careers.
This is quite sad from a bird’s eye view but is all too common and easy to fall into.
We fail to see the joy and purpose in what we do.
We get caught up in all the “stuff” and the “game” of school until all of the pleasure is sucked right out of our daily routine.
This reconnection point needs to be an intentional act for it to build the momentum and consistency required to keep up with the best version of ourselves.
This means we have to actually look for “why” moments each day!
Set a timer, start a journal, record voice memos, or any other way to record and intentionally connect to these why moments on a daily basis in order to build the career you always dreamed of!
I am here for you on your journey, stay connected at The Healthy Educator for great resources to help you along the way.
In this episode we talk about why we really want to be educators and why that is so vitally important to figuring out why we really are doing the things we are doing!
I imagine all educators have been in a professional development meeting where they were asked why they got into education. I have heard responses ranging from “I just wanted to help change lives,” to “ I just liked the schedule and wanted to have summers off.” There is always a sarcastic response about how much money we don’t make as educators and how much we love to deal with tough parents and students. We've all been there!
I wish for you to stop right now though and ponder on this question for your current station:
Why are you really an educator?
I really feel like for myself that my purpose has changed several times throughout my short career so far. This has ranged from needing a consistent job for my family to the ability to help a very special and vulnerable age of youth find themselves.
Thankfully I am closer to the latter currently!
As we ponder about our real reason for doing what we do it gives us a foundation, or lack of one, to stand on in our personal interactions with our students and colleagues every day.
The answer to this question also is a direct reflection of our current thoughts about ourselves.
As we examine our deeper purposes we inadvertently expose our true selves and our performance becomes very clear to those watching us.
This can be a great thing, or stand as a conviction.
One thing is always true as an educator though, if you have no desire to actually help the students you work with become better then education is not for you.
There are so many things you could do to make money. You owe it to yourself and your family to do something you love that matters in the world.
If you feel like your desire to change lives through teaching has died out then it is time to embark on whatever journey necessary to rekindle that fire! Many lives, and most importantly your life is on the line!
I hope for your sake and all those around you that you find your passion again or for the first time so you can become the best version of yourself and help those around you do the same!
Stay connected with us here at The Healthy Educator for great resources to help you on your journey!
In this episode we talk about the importance of treating yourself as a whole person and setting personal and family goals just like we do in the professional realm.
I have heard many educators talk about keeping their home life separate from their school life in order to maintain some semblance of professionalism. On the surface this sounds great, but in reality we really are not able to compartmentalize in this way.
Our real self will shine through for the good or bad.
If our family or home life is struggling then our thoughts and behaviors at school will always be affected by this reality. We are all just people striving to help other people become better people and we can’t hide portions of ourselves and make this a reality.
One of the best ways to keep this balanced reality to set equally rigorous goals in our families and personal life.
As educators we have a great need to make sure our life is going well outside of school. We should have just as many personal and family goals as we do professional and financial goals.
When we place just as much or more value upon our personal and family life as we do our work and professional life we will begin to see all areas of our life enhanced.
The better version of our whole selves we create the better all areas of our life become!
As educators, it's time to become better.
It's time to be the awesome individuals we want our students to be.
We need to take a large scale look at ourselves and see which areas of our life need improvement and take the next steps to improve them.
Set goals, plan to achieve them, carry out your plan, make adjustments and go again!
I am here to help you along your journey! Stay connected at The Healthy Educator for great resources to help you become the best version of yourself!
In this episode we talk about the importance of scheduling our priorities and taking control of our calendar when it comes to our life goals.
Our lives as people in general and especially as teachers are overfilled with tasks to complete, people to help, things to learn, and just so much stuff it about drives us crazy!
Most of this craziness is brought on by ourselves and our lack of clarity in regards to time management. Understanding that this lies in our control is huge in creating a successful life for ourselves.
When it comes to prioritizing your schedule I suggest you always follow Stephen Covey’s advice and “don’t prioritize your schedule but schedule your priorities.”
You will never “find” extra time if you allow others to dictate your schedule. Your life’s biggest priorities deserve blocked time on your calendar that are not negotiable.
First you must define your values and priorities. Once you have defined your values you should be able to place your priorities into appointments on your calendar.
All other appointments should work around these priorities and not the other way around!
Another valuable principle is the idea of Brooke Castillo’s that one of the best ways to save time is to fail! In doing this we begin to create our time pockets rather than our time controlling us!
As educators we need to stop being at the whim of everything else around us and begin taking control of your time by scheduling your priorities as non negotiable appointments. Good luck in your work and remember to stay connected at The Healthy Educator to see new resources to help you become the best version of yourself!
In this episode we talk about the importance of connecting our teaching to our deeper purpose and getting beyond the content we present to our students. As educators we get comfortable teaching the same lessons or topics year after year and this experience can be a great thing as we refine our teaching and those lessons get better and better each time. We tend to keep our focus on whether the students have mastered the content and whether the information we give them has transferred enough to help them score well on the assessments we give them. If we get students to master the content we are considered successful and our teaching was a success!
Or was it?
While the situation described previously is usually our measure of success, what if that is not what the students needed at all?
What if our role really was to actually make the students better people, and not just better at repeating information?
What if we actually shifted our role beyond that of informant and assessor, to a leader?
What if we saw ourselves and our students as individuals who all have unique needs, dreams, passions, desires, interests?
What if we saw our “home” self as the same person who has been called to lead all these awesome young people to become the best version of themselves because we are working feverishly right alongside them to accomplish the same in ourselves?
If we truly desire to take our teaching to a new level and be the change leaders we desire then we must find a way to connect our teaching everyday to a deeper purpose!
In order to connect our teaching to a deeper purpose, we must first see ourselves and those we teach in a different light. Our purpose is not only to impart information but to actually make ourselves and those around us better people.
In order to help someone be better we must see them as people, not objects.
We cannot teach something that we aren’t, and if we want to teach the youth to be awesome people, then it demands that we are awesome people as well!
The good news is you are already awesome and can continue to work towards becoming an even better version of yourself everyday. I am here to help you on your journey!
Stay connected at The Healthy Educator to make sure you don’t miss steps that will help on your road.
In this episode we talk about the relationship between consistency and intensity and the effect it has on us in education. Keep listening!
I have had the opportunity to work with a lot of people on their health journey. Everyone seems to be a little different place in their lives and we are all very different people. The one thing I have seen across the board is almost all people struggle with consistency in adopting healthy behaviors.
The world of education is not immune to these same struggles. In some ways adopting new way so thinking, feeling, and behaving can be more difficult in the world of education.
One thing I have noticed in myself is how difficult it can be to create new systems that allow us to maintain consistency across our thoughts and behaviors. Once we hit the school year and classroom it is so easy to give in to the intensity of our circumstance and do things the same way we always have.
The intensity with which we tackle life must match our ability to maintain consistency in the approach. Be careful not to allow our intensity to rob of us consistency!
This can happen just with the pace of the school day and year, but also when we try to tackle too many changes at once we end up giving in to the intensity.
Our minds can only maintain a certain level of intensity without demanding a break. This break will happen by design, by us, or by our brain’s default which undermines our growth and progress.
We must learn how to maintain consistency in order to be successful in our lives, thus affecting our students. In order to maintain consistency we need to manage the intensity in our lives appropriately.
Stay connected to us here at The Healthy Educator to get help on your journey!
In this episode we talk about the attitude we enter our classrooms with. If you feel like you are struggling to maintain your motivation then stay tuned!
The longer I have been teaching I have noticed more and more how our attitude in the classroom really affects our ability to make the change we seek in our students. This is quite a bit different that just putting on a happy face all the time but that is a good place to start.
This is directly related to how we see and manage ourselves in the larger picture of education, while simultaneously being able to see each individual student as a person with unique needs, abilities and desires.
If you feel like your desire to change lives through teaching has died out then it is time to embark on whatever journey necessary to rekindle that fire! Many lives, and most importantly, your life, are on the line!
Your life is far too important to dread showing up to work each day. This serves no one! Your life is going to suffer, your family is going to suffer, and your students are going to suffer.
The good news is that we can shift the way we view ourselves in this larger picture. We can change what we think about the big picture of education. These thoughts about us in the big picture can shape the way we feel about our role in education and those feelings will ultimately change our actions, leading to better results.
If you feel like you have lost yourself then keep connecting with us here at The Healthy Educator on your journey to finding yourself again!
In this episode of The Healthy Educator Podcast we talk about eliminating our badges of busyness and why we need to find clarity in our work and focus on doing the right things instead of more things!
One of the most common responses to life’s great questions, “how are you doing?” is something to do with how busy we all are. We all seem to have more to do than there is time in our lives and it has swung the pendulum to the point that we tend to wear busyness as a badge of honor. This is not a badge we need to be honoring! Rather this is a sign that we lack clarity about our life’s direction. It’s time we swung the pendulum back in the direction of doing the right things instead of more things.
We all are going to have seasons of life which are more busy than others but there has to be some common sense in all of this. We have a tendency to over commit and under perform in most areas of our lives. In education this couldn’t be more true!
Many of us really struggle to say no as the requests are piled upon us by students, administrators, and colleagues. I really like the often said advice about most requests being an automatic no until further review.
I have also noticed in education that we have a tendency to create a lot of extra work for ourselves. We need to process the time it will take to grade certain types of assignments, whether our class procedures actually save time or take time, etc. Our lives in education really need a reset button to allow us to redirect our clarity back to what is most important for ourselves and our students. Most of the time this redirect will require us to cut, take away, and simplify, not add to our time requirements!
No more badges of busyness please, not in education. Rather let's shoot for clear, focused, meaningful work! Stay connected to us here at The Healthy Educator for useful teacher life tips, courses and resources to help you be the best version of yourselves!