Sharing to Support and Push
This morning, I came across this quote from “The Innovator’s Mindset” by Geroge Couros that I had shared a year ago. As I read it over again this morning, I struck a cord with me, even deeper than it had a year ago.
Your voice is important, too important not to share.
About a year and a half ago, I started blogging. At first, I didn’t really understand the value in sharing my ideas because I felt as though I had nothing new and nothing worthy of sharing. There were, and still are, so many “big names” in education that always seem to share out the most amazing blog posts – what could I possibly have to contribute to an already incredible space? Would my posts be read? Would anyone be able to relate? Would I be able to inspire others as they’ve inspired me? Was I wasting my time?
What I came to realize though, is that taking the time to blog has so many benefits, even if no one ever reads them. Blogging has given me a space and forced me to take the time to reflect more deeply, organize my thoughts and ideas, and process everything as I learn and grow. But, what I also realized is that, through blogging, I am able to share things that both support and push others. Maybe someone from my PLN will read something that will inspire them to tweak an idea and implement it in their classroom. Maybe someone else will read something and it will give them the confidence they needed to take a risk. But… maybe someone will read a blog post and will be left feeling deflated, defeated, and feel incompetent… Maybe they will feel threatened.
Sometimes, being supported and pushed can be overwhelming
Uhhh, what? Wasn’t I just talking about how amazingly powerful and POSITIVE blogging can be for both the blogger and the audience? How did this shift to negativity happen? If I’m being completely honest, this is exactly what happened to me over the last couple of months. Blogging used to fill me up. It used to validate what I was doing and gave me strength and confidence to continue. But somehow along the day, during this over-the-top stressful beginning to this school year, I lost my way. I started feeling intimidated and threatened by my PLN and often felt like I was failing. I would get overwhelmed with notifications and became resentful. Thoughts such as “I can’t even keep up with all of these wonderful blogs anymore” would creep into my head which would then lead to “wow, I don’t have time to blog anymore and reading these posts make me feel as though I am not being a good enough teacher, I mean look at all of the amazing things that they’re doing, and what am I doing?”. I went from consuming in order to find inspiration to create, to simply consuming… which would lead to negative thoughts instead of inspiration. I started seeing sharing as a threat, instead of an opportunity. But, guess what? Through the last year and a half of blogging, I’ve learned how to reflect more effectively and look internally better than I ever have, so I was able to step back from blogging and make this realization. Which, you guessed it, led to me being able to regroup and put things into place so that I can get back to the powerful place where I can “view ‘sharing’ as something that both supports and pushes me to be better” which will, in turn, help my students (George Couros)… and isn’t that what it’s all about anyways?
So, what are a few simple things that I’m doing to readjust my sails?
- I focus on me first. Yes, I absolutely want to support and encourage my PLN, but I need to put myself first. If reading their blog post is stressing me out, I allow myself to step away and look at it later (if I can). I used to be one of those people that stressed because I would worry that if I didn’t look at something RIGHT. NOW. I might forget later, and that would be horrible. George once told me that good blogs find their ways around. I trust in this more than ever now and allow myself not to read everything right away. If I forget to come back to it later, that’s okay, too! If I was meant to read something, it will find its way back to me. Which leads me to my next point:
- Over the break, I FINALLY set up Inoreader, a content curator that allows me to organize all of the blogs that I like to read. Now, I don’t have to worry about seeing and missing everything on Twitter as it passes by. When I have the time, I can easily open up my app and read any blog posts that strike my fancy. There are also many other options that I haven’t played around with yet with Inoreader, but the simple fact of having a bunch of awesome blogs all in once place, that are organized by read and unread, takes a HUGE amount of stress off my shoulders. (What are your favourite blogs – I’d love for you to share them so I can add them to my list!)
- I am working on better managing my time. I can easily use up all my time consuming which doesn’t leave any time for reflection, inspiration, and creation. I’m more mindful not to read “just to read” but to take the time to process what I’m reading and see how it relates to what I’m doing or would like to do. This is something that I realized over the break, when I finally took the time to read and re-read certain books that had been sitting on my shelf for a while. Because I was on break, I felt I had more time to take in these books as opposed to rushing through them. I realize now that I might as well not read if I’m not going to reflect and implement what I’m learning as I read.
I feel as though once I hit the 1000 followers mark on Twitter, that’s when I noticed that I wasn’t managing as well anymore. Am I alone? I realize that 1000 followers is peanuts to some and a huge number to others, but it’s not the actual number that changed things for me, it was just the amount of information I was exposed to that changed. The more the better? I guess it comes down to management, for me anyways! I’d love to hear what tips and tricks you have in order to avoid getting the “overwhelmed with awesome edu-inspiration blues”.
And if you need any more convincing as to why YOU should share your voice, check out these posts:
The Power of Blogging for Professional Development co-written by Katie Martin and myself