A moment of self-compassion can change your entire day. A string of such moments can change the course of your life.”Christopher K. Germer
I am grateful that during this awful pandemic I’m still able to provide training for school directors, principals, senior leadership teams, and teacher leaders. In every webinar I give, I have a slide stating “YOU ARE ENOUGH.” This statement resonates with just about everyone in the audience. It gives people pause and the opportunity for deep reflection. It provides healing and starts conversations about self-worth, the Impostor Syndrome, perfectionist tendencies, and the ongoing feeling that whatever you bring to the table is never good enough, never okay, never satisfying.
Those 3 little words – YOU ARE ENOUGH – has triggered conversations about the need for self-compassion before self-care. It has invited people to refute deep-seated internalized “tapes” that tell leaders, “You should never give yourself the benefit of the doubt. You should never give yourself a break. People who do so are full of themselves, lazy, egocentric, resting on their own laurels, slothful and unmotivated.” The discussions have been highly personal, therapeutic, healing, reflective, and forgiving.
*Impostor syndrome describes feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt that can leave people fearing that they will be exposed as a “fraud”, usually in their work lives. It can affect anyone, regardless of their success.
If/Then Questions to Ask Yourself
We all need time for reflection, healing, and giving ourselves a break. I invite you to think about these “If/Then” questions and start to practice a little self-compassion. You deserve it. We all do.
Celebrate small wins.
What would happen if I said goodbye to work and stepped away from my computer? There is entirely too much for any administrator or teacher to complete in any given day. Too much to ever get done. What if I said to myself, “Yay me! I am modeling for my ever-learning self (and those around me) what setting and keeping boundaries looks like.
There is no “Pandemic Training School” to go to.
What if I was OK with not knowing with any certainty what I am doing? What I reframed every decision as an experiment and a data collecting opportunity, a prototype in the bigger design of a “school as kaleidoscope”, changing at every turn? What if I gave myself a break?
Missteps are steps.
If we all know logically that no one is perfect, what would it look like if I actually celebrated my missteps? How would the script read and what voice would I hear?
Negative self-talk is toxic.
If I have the power to reframe the inner chatter that goes on in my mind, then what would I do with the extra bandwidth I would have? What would I replace the limiting, toxic, negative inner dialogue I have with myself with?
Calm your inner critic.
Self-compassion is the act of responding in the same supportive, understanding way you would to a friend who is facing a difficult time. What if I practiced self-compassion? What sentences would I say to myself to be kind, as opposed to being cruel? What if I didn’t judge myself so harshly when I made a mistake?
Everyone has setbacks.
Moving forward, what if I gave myself a break about one thing – just one thing – every day? What would the implications be in my personal and professional world?
Now it is your turn. What do you think? I would love to hear your If/Then questions about giving yourself a break. Feel free to Feel free to email me your thoughts.
5 of My Favorite Podcasts
It is always a good time to learn and to think about something new. Below, are 5 of my current favorite “teachers”. Note that I am limiting myself to today’s top five. This list will change, for sure.
- Revisionist History (Malcolm Gladwell)
After writing five NY Times bestsellers, Malcolm Gladwell has added podcasts to his claim to fame. If you’re into inquiry and thinking, this podcast is for you. He begins every episode with a question or inquiry about a person, idea or event, then he dives deep into exploring possible answers.
- Hidden Brain (Shankar Vedentam)
We know that unconscious patterns drive our behavior. The pandemic is a great time to figure out how those patterns are serving you and your behaviors and choices. After listening to this podcast, you’ll walk away with the science behind the pattern and a story to explore. From the collective of every podcast around the world, this one ranks an impressive 16th.It’s #2 in my book.
- How I Built This (NPR)
One of the many things I love about this podcast is it welcomes me into the world of millennial thinking, innovation, and entrepreneurship. They are paving the mindset path with stories of their journeys to success.
- Yo, Is This Racist? (Andrew Ti and Tawny Newsome).
If you have to ask, it probably is. Each episode explores questions posed by listeners and the conversation always leads to blunt (or refreshingly honest) conversations. Expand your perspective and reflect with every listening experience.
- Code Switch (Gene Demby and Shereen Marisol Meraji)
This podcast explores how race touches everything (i.e., culture, politics, public health) during very frank conversations with guests. Their personal experiences expand your perspective and cultural proficiency.