A Spark for Change: Live and Learn

sparkforchange rotator2Summer break is about over, and I have to be honest in saying that this has been the best summer of my life. I didn't travel the country or anything of that nature, but I sure did learn an insane amount about myself and others. I realize I sound much more like I am 90 rather than 27, but I have come to terms with being different. As I wrap up this summer with a pretty little bow, I chose to share with you what I've learned.

1) Choose courage every single day.

I've spent the summer with friends dreaming up projects and plans that challenge us and require us to step out of our comfort zone, which is exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. It takes courage to do anything meaningful. Why? When you step up and do something in your heart, you put yourself out there for discussion and judgment. There are times when those comments feel like bullets, but no comment or criticism is worth giving up on your dreams. The critics can be loud, but your courage can and will roar louder. Wake up every single day and choose courage. Be brave and chase after every single dream you have.

2) You get to choose how you define your life.

This summer gave me a lesson that I am positive will stick with me my whole life. My friend/mentor told me that no one gets to define my life but me, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Love, life, dreams, etc. looks different for everyone, and it's imperative that we do not allow others to tell us what ours should look like. We have to do what works for us, not what others think is the right way for us. My advice? Take charge and scratch in the definitions that fit you.

3) Do something every once in a while for you.

I am a nurturer by nature, and it is kind of required with jobs I hold. I love putting others first and making sure the people I care most about are okay. Giving makes me happy; however, this summer, I decided it was time to do just one thing that was purely for me. It was the highlight of my summer and left me feeling infinitely happy and recharged. For so many of you who are like me in this respect, take some time for you every once in a while. It's not being selfish. We can't take care of others if we don't take care of ourselves.

4) You have to sing your own song.

Arrogance and narcissism are two of my least favorite things, yet there are times when one needs to sing his/her own song. Our town, schools, and people are incredible and have so much to offer. We have to let people know all about it. We can't let ourselves fall into the trap of complaining about little things. Find the good and sing!

5) You have responsibility to share your genius with the world.

A friend invited me to an education conference a few weeks ago, and it was heaven. I wanted to burst into tears of joy at least 10 times throughout the day. One of our favorite educational speakers was there, and it was her message that must be shared. Every one of us has a genius. It is something that we are passionate about. It's something we have a talent in. What she implored us to do was to embrace that genius and use it to in some way help the world. She said it's our duty to share our genius. It's hard to do, and you will have to revert back to lesson number one and use courage, but when you do, what you can accomplish is remarkable. The world can't wait another minute for us to drum up the bravery to show our light, so I challenge you to figure out just what your genius is and share it with others. It's truly your responsibility. We need your genius.

I will gladly take a summer of learning over water slides and beach days. That's my definition of fun. I have only a few days left to soak up as many lessons as I can before I head back into my classroom and challenge my students to use some of what I learned, too. Summer of 2014 was a great success, and I sincerely hope all of you can say the same.

Go be great,