3 Ways to Stop Being a Victim of Circumstance...
… and Start Being a Taker of Chance
Ever catch yourself say or asking these questions to yourself?
“Ugh! Of course… this is what ALWAYS happens.”
“Why does this always happen to ME?”
“Shocker. I should have known this would be the outcome.”
“When will they just stop picking on me?”
If you have, then I’m sorry to say that you’ve decided to be a victim of circumstance. Now, don’t click the X on this tab, slam your computer shut (or phone off), just yet. Hear me out…
I used to, too.
I can’t tell you the exact date that I woke up and decided that enough was enough, and I also can’t tell you that I NEVER say those things now. But the fact is, I used to allow myself to become a victim every time something didn’t go my way, or someone didn’t respond in an ideal way, or I simply got myself into an unfavorable situation.
I made the choice to become a victim of my circumstances by blaming everyone around me for what was happening “TO” me (including my students). My failures, short-comings, and overall discontent with my teaching situation was someone else’s problem to solve, and I revelled in the fact that I didn’t have anything to do by cry and complain about it.
It wasn’t until about the time that I started Burned-In Teacher that I realized the power of taking #1 responsibility and #2 action. That’s where the real changes started happening for me and my happiness as an educator and an overall human.
And thanks to the wonderful people, who I listen to daily on podcasts, and who’s books I read (or listen to), I am able to fuel that fire of control more and more each day. Coincidentally, I was listening to Always A Lesson Podcast by Gretchen Bridgers and her advice for upgrading yourself was so closely aligned with my post today that I had to include a link to the episode: “It’s Time for Your Educator Upgrade”. I promise, you’ll come out on the other end feeling pretty empowered to make some changes. I have mixed Gretchen’s insights with my own, because they fit so well together and can help you to reevaluate your situation and get some clarity on it too.
Here are three ways you can stop being a Victim of Circumstance, and Become a Taker of Chance:
Reflect (B and U of BURNED-IN Teacher)
(B)Begin where you are and (U)understand yourself and where you want to go. Do this by taking the time to either write down or think about your shortcomings, your faults, what you think others would say about you if they saw how you are as a teacher, a parent, a principal, whatever it is that you are focusing on at the time. Do a complete brain dump and get it all out. Next, highlight the things that make you ashamed, embarrassed, or disappointed in yourself. Those are the things you HAVE to change now. Not next week, or next school year, NOW.
2. Plan (R and N of BURNED-IN Teacher)
Now that you know the things you want to change about your situation, it’s time to make an action plan. In the same place that you have word vomited all of the things that are frustrating you and your not-so-pretty characteristics on paper and you’ve highlighted the things you are the most unhappy about, its time to (R) reflect on the challenges that have held you back from making the changes in the past and make a plan of action now.
Are you depressed by your lack of preparation for your lessons, because you feel like you don’t have time? Well, what are you going to do about it? What do you need to say no to at school, so you can take time to plan ahead better?
Ticked off that your students disrespect you and no matter how many times you send them to the office, they come back 5 min later and continue to be disruptive? What are YOU going to do about it? What are you going to change about YOURSELF to, in tandem, change those behaviors?
3. Implement (E, D, I, and N of Burned-in teacher)
Lastly, you have to ACT. You can’t do all of this prep work and then sit on it. Say out loud if you need to, “This is no longer my reality. Enough is enough.” and I promise you there is REAL power in that statement. Now YOU are in the driver’s seat. Now YOU are mission control. Now YOU are a TAKER OF CHANCE!
Takers of Chance don’t sit in the fetal position of life and hide from hard things. Takers of Chance are constantly reflecting, planning, and implementing. Takers of Chance (E) extend their reach to others for help and know-how. They find someone either in their building, corporation, or online who is better than them at something and they ask, “How?” They (D) determine their goals and constantly strive for better than they were before. Takers of Chance (I) initiate the change that they want to see in themselves and DO NOT wait for permission or for warnings. Finally, Takers of Chance (N) NEVER SETTLE for less than their own success. EVER.
You see, unless we say enough of the victimization, we will continue to believe that things are happening to us, therefore, that gives those things power over us. YOU can stop it now and I know you will, because the alternative is sad and depressing, and is that what you really want for yourself?
I encourage you to join The Burned-In Teacher Facebook Group and share your reflections, goals, and implementation plans for your success with us. We’re here to cheer you on and help you BEAT THIS BEAST THAT IS BURNOUT.
You can also download my free Burned-In Teacher Action Guide by going to www.burnedinteacher.com and signing up.