Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Change of Plan

As an educator, part of my job is to inspire. To motivate. To challenge. For many students, I have been successful. At least I hope so. I recently received word that one of my former students has been accepted to attend a leadership conference in Washington D.C. this coming spring. Moments such as these make a teacher proud. Getting students to push themselves and apply themselves can be a great challenge. Especially students that lack confidence. I try to put my students at ease to at least try. "The worst that can happen is that you're wrong," I'd tell them. The classroom environment I attempt to establish is one in which everyone feels safe to make mistakes without fear of how others will respond.

I'm such a hypocrite. "The worst that can happen is that you're wrong" has always been a fear for me. Fear of failure has caused me to not pursue dreams/goals in the past. It's also why I had rarely put to writing my goals and plans. Having them stare back at me not achieved would plague me. I had a conversation with a friend yesterday that made me reflect on this quite a bit. Not attempting something I didn't believe I could accomplish in the past has been much easier than making the attempt and failing. That's the attitude that kept me out of shape for so many years at a time.

I know...look at all the successful people that failed many times before achieving tremendous success. That argument never worked for me. But I use it all the time to motivate others. Go figure. Now that I'm finding success in personal goals, I'm better able to continue to reflect and examine myself. And I think I'm not fearing failure quite as much.

For example, I recently decided to train for a marathon. It was a quick, but not a haphazard decision. I researched, consulted my physician, read articles, purchased a book and gear, etc. Having only gone running twice now, I am able to see that completing a full marathon by March 08' is most unlikely. The pressure on my hips, legs, and feet is just too much for my current physical condition. So I'm shifting my goals. Previously I stated that two things I've always wanted to do was run a marathon and ride a century. I'm putting the century first. And it just so happens, I found one that takes place in March 08' as well. Cycling, while physically demanding, exerts far less stress on the body than running.

In the past, giving up a goal, especially after putting it in writing, would have seemed like a failure to me. But now I'm more than comfortable with my decision. Cycling has always been my first love as far as personal exercise is concerned. I'm very excited about getting back on the bike after so many years.

A big "thank you" to my wife for her support in this. Having lost her father five years ago while he was bicycling does not make this easy for her. Thank you, Sweetie!


Mel said...

Actually the worst is not that you may fail...but rather that you may never try in the first place. That is one of the real tragedies of life...not giving something a go.

So go for it...try your best...and I hope you have a great (not sure if that is the right word to use concerning marathons!) time :)

My goal is to get well again and strengthen my body enough to be able to go swimming this summer and play a game of tennis without sinking to the bottom of the pool or falling in a gasping heap on the court!

Grafted Branch @ Restoring the Years said...

I like Mel's first thought! You know you're a grown-up when you say that and it's not a cli...cli...o.k., teacher I don't know how to spell that. ;) Cli...nope. Just don't know. (That thing that people say but don't usually mean the weight behind the statement.)

Anyway, I *so* appreciate your transparency in shifting the goal! Too often, we tend to just let it fall by the wayside without explanation, hoping no one will notice. That just makes a person "flakey."

Your way makes you humble, honest, realistic, and really--more reliable.