First, you deserve to know that I am grateful for you. I am grateful for everything about you. Yes, even the not-so-great things. Being exactly who you are has given me an experience as a teacher that very few people get to have. You share your stories, your struggles, your successes, and your slip-ups with me, and it lets me know you’re human. It lets me know that, really, we’re not that different from one another. So, thank you for that. Thank you for being exactly the way you are, the way you are supposed to be. You’re perfect that way.
Second, you deserve to know that you are literally the reason I come to work every day. I don’t do this for the money, I could have made more as an accountant. I do this because you add a richness to my day that can’t be bought. You add relationships to my life that change the way I think, act, and live. My wife and I talk about your stories and your experiences. A lot of times we laugh as we reminisce and compare our crazy teenage years, and sometimes we cry because we don’t think teenagers should have to experience some of the stories your life books have written.
Third, you deserve to know that I believe in you. You might need some refining and perhaps you need to learn some things, but guess what, we all do. I believe in you because I’ve seen not only your potential, but the product of your effort. I’ve seen the manifestation of your work. And let me just say this: You have everything you need to be successful. Period. Never forget that.
Finally, and most importantly, you deserve to know that I love you. That’s right, I said it. I love you. I consider you family. Family isn’t defined by blood, it’s defined by love. If you ever need anything, my wife and I are here for you. 5, 10, 15 years from now, we’ll be here for you.
Thank you for making my “job” one of the best in the world. I am beyond fortunate because of you. Keep being exactly who you want to be.
I just recently had an incredible opportunity to share an idea at the 2017 TEDxIdahoFalls event just 20 minutes from where I grew up. During the lead up to the event, and after, I would get messages and phone calls from people telling me how great of an accomplishment it is to speak at a TED organization event. I’d simply say “thank you,” and then share that I was excited for the opportunity. This lead me to really start asking some questions that I am not sure I have the answer to, yet.
I don’t have an argument I’d like to defend regarding the first three questions, but I do have one for the last one: Does it really matter how we look at things/events in our life? And my argument is absolutely, YES. It does matter.
Now, please understand that I am not claiming to be right. It is 10:51 am on Saturday, March 4th, it is overcast outside, and I am just finishing up some coffee as I write in a brainstorm manner. My thoughts on this are mostly gathered, and I am hoping to solidify them as I write. I need to just get the idea out, then we can refine it.
I was so stuck on this question that this week I actually enlisted my students to help me out. For a warm up activity in class, I had them write down their opinions on whether or not there was a difference between opportunities and accomplishments, and if so, which one was more important to focus on. The majority agreed that there was a difference between the two, but it was evenly split as to where our focus should be. Even their arguments for why they thought we should focus on one more than the other didn’t match up.
So, I guess I am really writing this to just further dilute the pot. BUT, I think I have a strong point to share. It’s very simply this:
It is more important to focus on opportunities than accomplishments.
When we are focused on opportunities, we are forward-thinking, with gratitude. When our focus is on accomplishment, our thinking is behind us. Again, I am not dead-set on this. There is a lot of room for good discussion, but it’s a place to start. I think the two are definitely related. Accomplishment pushes us because, well, who doesn’t like to feel accomplished? And, one could argue that opportunities give us the ability to accomplish. In addition to all these thoughts, when we view even the stresses of life as opportunities, we start to reinvent the way we view the world around us. Suddenly, the “I have to’s” become the “I get to’s.” And that just makes for a better day all around.
To conclude, I am grateful for the opportunity I had to share an idea at TEDxIdahoFalls. Whether or not I, or any of the speakers, accomplished anything will be decided by whether or not the ideas are actually implemented and actually help somebody. If they don’t help, what was really accomplished?
Please, help me figure this out. Are they different? Does one strictly follow the other? Does it matter? I’d love to hear your opinion!