Last August, I embarked on a journey to improve the condition and state of education of youth in America, specifically Northeast Philadelphia. As I went along this journey, I had several opportunities to goal-set and reflect. One of the exercises that I had the chance to do was write a letter to myself in the beginning of the year and mid-year. Today, I had the chance to read what I told myself and I would like to share it with you.
*I apologize in advance for the unfamiliar lingo. The organization I worked for had a lot of unique phrases.
Throughout this year, I have learned a lot of things that I will carry with me forever. Amongst some of the most important lessons are:
1. Let go of your expectations.
There have been times when I tried my hardest to make something work because that’s what I was expecting. I expected my students to get their act together and come to class on time because I told them how important it was and that I “ look forward to seeing you”. I expected my co-workers to know that I needed help on a school-wide project that I was slowly, but surely being overwhelmed with. Until, I let go of my expectations none of the things I wanted happened. When I put that to the side and worked to discover the root of why the things I wanted were not happening, even better things began to happen. The students I struggled with started coaching other students on doing the right thing. When I communicated exactly what I needed to my co-workers, they volunteered to help in unexpected ways and the event was beyond what I had imagined.
2. Communicate clearly.
Sometimes, I found that when I struggled, it was because I was not effectively communicating what I needed or what I wanted. Having fluid conversations with those around you can allow for more understanding and empathy.
3. Plan effectively.
“If you don’t plan for the future, it means you don’t believe you have one.” I heard that on a tv show and it rings true. While it is important to be present in every moment, it is just as important, in this society, to plan for the future.
The most important thing that I’ve become cognizant of is the severity of living life with a purpose. With every single thing that you do, you must be intentional. This is YOUR life. Every moment is unique and fleeting and so are our decisions in them.