Why take on the #oneword challenge?
Choosing one word to focus on for a whole year is a reflective process. It forces me to consider where I am in my life, in my work, in my relationships. Words of the year have been a part of my life for a long time. The list includes
- peripheral vision
These words are part of the fabric of my soul. I have lived with each word, unravelled its nuances and connotations and woven its teachings into my thinking, perspectives, understandings, and beliefs. In choosing my word of the year, I need to reflect back, but I also need to think forward. What do I need to do more of? What do I need to think about? What is my next step?
I have had incredible opportunities to connect, learn, and grow as an educator over the past six years. By far and away, you – my PLN – are responsible for those opportunities, and I have said ‘yes’ to them all:
- course writing
- collaborative facilitator
- FNMI projects
- committee work
- adolescent literacy work
It’s true I have expertise in adolescent literacy. I have 15 years experience working with First Nations students. I am an early adopter (do we still use this expression in 2016?) of technology for blended learning. I do facilitate collaborative inquiries. I do teach high school English courses full time. This blend of skills and occupation has allowed me to move between “communities”, which has been an exhilarating experience.
BUT, I have struggled with the question of focus, and that splitting my time has left me with the inability to dive into any one area deeply.
This month I read Good to Great by Jim Collins. I only read it because I had to to fulfill a family non-fiction book club commitment. Since Good to Great was already on my shelf (it had been given to me in 2012), I decided to give it a go.
Does the universe ever give you what you need? This book was exactly the book I needed to read because one of Collins’ big ideas, discipline, provides a way for me to think about my own work. For Collins, discipline means
to say “no” to those opportunities that fall outside of one’s focus.
I am simplifying for the purpose of this post, but it’s the idea that in order to be great (doing meaningful work that motivates you to create greatness), one cannot say ‘yes’ to every, indeed any, good idea, unless it falls in line with one’s core concept or focus.
I am looking forward to 2016, and my learning around this idea of discipline.
What is your #OneWord for the new year?
Don’t forget to share it with #onewordONT by January 15th to be a part of Ontario’s collaborative word cloud!!