07 Mar
Look For Gifts in Every Challenge

In a world filled with uncertainty where anything can happen at any given moment, it is important that we remain optimistic and have the ability to look for the gifts in every challenge.

In our schools, these uncertainties can happen even more often because we are bringing together different people from various backgrounds, with various experiences and perceptions of these experiences. When I go out and speak to teachers, principals, superintendents, and students- I always remind them that culture does not begin in our schools, districts, or organizations; culture begins in our homes, this is where our personal beliefs, attitudes, and values begin to take shape.

So when we enter our buildings each morning, it is important to be aware that every person we come in contact with (adults and students), has his/her personal opinions, ideas, and beliefs about events that take place on our campus. For instance, we could have two people observe the same picture and their description could result in two totally different explanations based on their personal experiences.

This is why it is so important that we learn (and we teach our students) to transform or change some of the negative stories that we tell ourselves. So often when we perceive a situation as being “bad” our immediate response is to take it personally. When someone looks at us in an odd way or reacts in a way that may be perceived as negative, we instantly feel that they have something against us or that they are out to get us. Rarely, do we take a moment to set aside our personal feelings from these scenarios and recognize that this person’s attitude or behavior may indicate something that they’re experiencing personally and has little or nothing to do with us. Having the ability to transform negativity is essential to being successful in anything that we do. So how do you transform negativity? I thought you’d never ask!

When you encounter an event or challenge that you perceive as negative, PAUSE, take a few moments to do the following:

Question Yourself and Your feelings – Ask yourself –what am I feeling right now? Why am I feeling this way? How can I be sure that what I am feeling is real?

When you take a moment to question yourself, you subconsciously disconnect from the situation and can now become an objective viewer of the situation rather than a participant.

If you are having a difficult time disconnecting, tell yourself – it is not about ME! Because many of us live in an EGO state of mind a lot of the time (focusing on self, me, I) – we must learn to talk to our EGO selves to remove any personal feeling we may have so that we can begin to see/feel the other persons point of view.

Ask Questions to Gather More Information Before Coming to a Conclusion –Finally, if you believe a behavior warrants a conversation with the person to clear up misperceptions, simply go to that person and ask a question. Remember not to be accusatory or defensive. You may ask something like, hey I noticed that you didn’t greet me this morning as you normally do, everything okay? Be willing to be open and listen with care, again removing your feelings from situation.

If we learn to practice these strategies, we can turn the negative stories that we tell ourselves into more positive ones, that will keep our Bus out of the mud and our wheels spinning out of control trying to figure out situations that are just not that important. This will keep our Bus moving in the right direction and on a Highway to Success.

Sending lots of positive energy your way,

Niki Spears,
Co-Founder/Chief Energy Officer
The Energy Bus for Schools Leadership Journey