I started another new job this week. It’s just another class at another school, and I’ve been teaching for so long that my resume is now older than my college students. But anyway, it has me thinking about trying new things. Just this week I was asked to take on another leadership position in the Girl Scouts, and during that phone call we talked about how Trying New Things is one of the biggest skills that we teach and model. I just got home from a really inspiring meeting with some administrators from the school district and we were brainstorming ways to improve STEM education and Entrepreneurship opportunities for our kids that will let them create sustainable outlets for their innovative ideas through programs like my Business of Science program.
But before I went to the meeting I had to get in my paperwork for the Airband competition at the elementary school. And just for fun, I have been busy with a new volunteer committee working on costumes for the Middle School Musical. And I’m getting ready for my women’s circle tomorrow night and planning for Sunday school, and prepping for the college classes that start next week.
So the word of the week is BUSY. In my role as a mentor in the college internship program, BUSY is one of our swear words, along with Frustrated and Confused. As part of our company culture we work on eliminating the use of those words. But what I see as the problem is not the words themselves, but how they are used. When someone uses one of those words as their entire story, or as an excuse, that is where it is blocking them from accomplishing a task or moving towards their goals. I am busy, but I thrive on it. I get frustrated, but it drives me to make changes. I get confused, but then I ask questions and find solutions. But if you say “I’m busy” as a form of “no” or as an excuse not to start, not to try something new, or not to help in your community, then that is what needs to change.
In all my decades of studying health I have found that the common theme is that stagnation is what causes disease, whether it is in organisms or organizations. To be healthy, things need to flow. If you use your feelings of frustration or confusion as an excuse not to move on, then you are stuck, things will stagnate, and that just sounds smelly.
I was at a networking event and talked about how my business has been in transition, and when I say transition apparently some people hear “lost”… but I am not. I am happy to be transforming because that means that I am moving. I am not stuck or stagnant. I am in the flow. I can keep growing and changing, making adjustments and small course corrections because I am focused on my vision and moving forward. (We’ll talk more another time about how the science of vision boards really works! Visualization is one of the most powerful mind exercises you can do. Or you can read this for now.)
The key is to define your own success. With the students that I teach, the interns that I mentor and the clients that I help, the common theme that often keeps them from success is not being able to show up, ask questions, and keep trying. Like they say on my workout video at 6 a.m., “Half the battle is planning, the other half is showing up”.
There were a lot of moments this week when I thought about how some people would get stuck because it is intimidating to go into new places, having to start something new, having to jump through more hoops, and deal with a bunch of weird obstacles… but I just asked questions, kept moving, didn’t take it personally and didn’t let it stop me.
Having that call with the Girl Scout service unit and talking about leadership and remembering all of the things that I learned while earning my Gold Award, made it really clear that these are the most important skills to teach our kids. We continue to need these skills in our own lives, in our own learning, in meeting our own challenges, and that is how we model that for our kids and our students, showing them that the work is never done, but that we are always up for the challenge.
Need more inspiration? Read some more stats about Girl Scout Alumni.
So, back to being busy. I have to go finish another hundred things before the bus gets here. And I will probably get frustrated that some other adults use the word busy as an excuse not to volunteer, or to miss the meeting, or to miss out on the opportunity to gather together to celebrate and to try new things. And I’m sometimes confused as to why someone would want to miss out on these amazing opportunities. But, in the meantime, I will keep working on creating more opportunities for people to heal those wounds so that they can just get started.
And if you need some support and inspiration, my beautiful friend started a Facebook community called Do The New based on a challenge that she gave herself to do something new every day. Whether it is a new hairstyle, stopping at a different grocery store, or trying a new recipe for dinner, find those little places where you are stuck, and make little changes until Trying New Things gets easier and easier.
It is not about being someone else, it is about stepping outside your comfort zone and removing those obstacles that are keeping you from being your full self.
Define your own success.
And then take that first step.