There are parts of being an entrepreneur that I don't love. These areas include accounting, marketing, and getting contracts in place. One of these areas has been giving me particular trouble these past few weeks. My time and attention have been pulled in the direction of this one thing and I can feel my whole being sink. My stomach gets upset, my mind perseverates on what is going to happen and what I should do next, and I feel a sense of disconnection from other areas of my life.
Two weeks ago, in alignment with the return to school, I began facilitating large teams and retreats again. I spent days writing and refining my outlines, getting participant materials ready, and preparing for the events. Once I was back with educators who long to thrive in their work and leaders committed to finding the best path forward for their teams, that thing that I didn't love, it got quieter.
It was as if my love dial got turned up and my “things that are a pain in the butt” dial got turned down.
I love the visual of dials. I picture a stereo from my home growing up. It sat on the built-in shelves under the family tv. The silver dials were huge and they had a satisfying silky feel when you turned them.
Dials are a great image because it's not so much about off or on, it's about making thing more or less amplified.
See if you can visualize some dials in your life. Picture a dial that represents something you love. Now picture one that represents something you don't love. Imagine turning the love dial up and the don't love dial down.
As coaches and leaders, we can take action to amplify the things we love in our work and we can also help those we coach and lead to do the same. Just like I don't like reconciling my expense report at the end of each month, I do LOVE hosting leaders on retreat and working side by side with them as they step into the most expansive version of their leadership so far. I love it so much that I don't mind the thirty minutes each month I spend doing accounting. That's the power of love, it's just so much more compelling than the power of annoyance.
As you host your first 1:1 coaching meetings and begin working in your grade level or content area teams, a great prompt to offer the group is this:
What do you love?
Listen and jot notes as each person shares. Encourage them to share beyond the context of work.
After the share, ask those who listened to reflect back to the person what they heard but to share it as if it was what you understood their core value to be.
For example, if someone talked about their love of disconnecting from technology while on a trip and enjoying the novelty and fun of travel. You might then share back to them that you heard their core value might be peace or freedom.
See everyone and their golden retriever thinks they have done core values work. It's like this thing you should do but it's not something that then comes alive in the work and in the relationships.
But core values when really connected to and brought to life, they change the whole freaking game! Because those dials, those love dials are really core values dials. How can we turn up your experience and connection to peace, freedom, inspiration, and love? Of whatever your specific core values are.
There are so many things that we will experience as leaders and as teachers this year that we don't like. It will then be easy to think about these things, talk about these things, lament these things. And if we do this to such a degree, what happens is we forget our core values. We forget why we are doing our work in the first place. And this is the territory of burnout, disillusionment, and overwhelm.
Knowing what you love, what your real core values are, the things that act as your North Star, that's not some lightweight fluffy “warm welcome” for a meeting. It's actually the meat and potatoes of our work as leaders and coaches. When we know what lights a person up, has them feeling good and alive, well, then we can help them tap into those values when they are feeling adrift.
That's good coaching.
That's good leadership.
Start with yourself. What do you love? How does what you love reveal your most inspired set of core values? How can you tap into one of these values in any area of your work?
Once we do it for ourselves, we can go out and do it with others. And maybe this year, we turn the collective dial of love up in schools, and turn down the noise of all the stuff that used to get in our way.
I do this work with leaders and teachers every week. I love it and I see it change the tone and culture of teams. If you or your team could use some support, I'm your gal. Just contact me and we will find a time to talk about what you want to create this year.