Last week was a WEEK. I had a mix-up with my car servicing on Tuesday, my car got broken into on Wednesday AND I got a parking ticket that same night, and to top it off I got a talking-to at work on Thursday. Needless to say, I was pretty much a mess by the time Friday rolled around.
However, even though almost everything that happened to me cost me quite a bit of money, the thing that upset me the most was getting talked to at work.
A bit of backstory: I transferred to my current school this year because I wanted to move up to a high school and I wanted to get IB trained. I ended up getting assigned 7th, 8th, and 9th grade (not really the high school grade levels I was envisioning) and getting misinformation that I WAS going to be trained, but then ultimately being told that I was not. While I have fallen in love with my kids, I have been pretty grumpy about not being trained in IB since I had made up my mind that that’s what I wanted to do, had asked (and been told yes) several times, and was watching one of my friends prepare to go to training even though I had asked to be put in her position initially.
Needless to say, I am not a quiet person, and so whenever the subject came up I tended to voice my disappointment. This came across as negative to a member of my department, who discussed it with my AP, who then came and discussed it with me.
Now, I am the first to get pissed off when I am approached about something that I don’t feel is right. However, the reason I got so upset is because I knew that this person was actually correct. I HAD been negative. I HAD been dwelling. I HAD made my friend feel bad (who had had no hand in assigning training). I was in the wrong.
This, my friends, is the absolute worst realization ever. I was wrong. I fucked up. I deserved to get a talking-to.
I was a wreck for the rest of the day after that discussion. The silver lining that came out of it was my kids were super concerned about me, and I even got a note from one of them telling me how awesome I was and how sorry she was that I was “in pain” (#thesweetest).
Unfortunately, I can’t go back in the past and unsay everything I said. I can’t go into people’s brains and change whatever impression they may have of me now. I can, however, look at this whole experience as a growth opportunity, and take steps to learn and apply as much as I can.
First, I need to change what I can change. I cannot change the already spoken words, but I can definitely change my attitude and my words that I choose to release in the future. I also already made sure that I apologized to my friend so that I could undo some of the damage my careless words caused. Realizing when you’re wrong sucks SO BAD, but the more important thing is making sure that you go forward armed with the new knowledge and not burdened by it.
Second, I need to apply the lesson to other areas of my life. In this particular instance, I was dwelling on something that I couldn’t change. Are there other areas of my life in which I’m dwelling? Do I know that something is hopeless or not really in the cards and yet I am still ruminating on it and keeping it in my mind? If so, I know that the potential results of that are at the least not promising and the most, disastrous.
Finally, I need to be thankful for the fuckup. This, for me, is the absolute hardest one out of the three. I pride myself on my ability to navigate life with grace and wisdom. And most of the time, I do a fairly decent job. However, this means that rather than a myriad of little stumblings, I have a handful of epic whoppers that bring me to my knees. And yet, these catastrophic episodes of tumbling to the ground teach me so. freaking. much. I can’t waste too much time crying about them, because they are a virtual goldmine of information that I can use to twirl my way through the next span of time (until I once again crash to the ground).
In reality, not one of us will get through life without some sort of fuck-up. And truthfully, the bigger the fuck-up, the more valuable the lesson AND the more likely it is that you are trying to do something great. If you stay in your comfort zone, you will not make mistakes that often. Which feels great-who doesn’t like to be the master of something? But the longer you stay in your area of expertise, the less likely it is that you will keep accomplishing at the rate that you had been previously.
Now, I’m not advocating for you to go try to screw up royally on purpose. But I AM encouraging you to spread your wings and take a risk or two. Don’t beat yourself up when you fail–that is my lesson that I’m still learning. I tell my students all the time that “It’s ok to fail, but it’s not ok not to try”. Honestly, I need to take my own advice.
Try something difficult. Try something new. Try SOMETHING. And when you fail (and you will fail), be grateful for the lesson that it brings. Adjust. Grow. And then, TRY AGAIN.