My One Word for 2017 found me a few weeks ago after wrestling with a fact I'm not too proud to admit. Cognitively I embrace a growth mindset, but when I get honest with myself, I realize there continues to be a gap between my aspirational values and my practiced values. I claim to believe that all good things arise from commitment, dedication, and deliberate effort, but I despise novice status. I desire to be good at something the first time I try, like salsa dancing, meditation, or yoga. Unfortunately, these ventures require ongoing practice, and often times, I give up much too soon. The underlying issue is my constant need to do everything perfectly.
During the next twelve months, I want to engage in healthy practices that settle my mind, improve my health, and soothe my spirit. The goal is not to be perfect. Instead, like the quote above, I want to engage in practices designed to reduce the imperfections holding me back from realizing my dreams. I want to mitigate things like insecurity, fear, and anxiety. I want to learn the power of phrases like, "Just begin again . . ." and "Progress, not perfection . . .".
Like doctors, lawyers, and counselors, each day I practice my craft of teaching. After fifteen years in the classroom, I have honed my skills and slowly become an experienced educator. It didn't happen overnight and the journey has been long, arduous, and rewarding. Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000-hour rule certainly applies. He reminds us, “Practice isn't the thing you do once you're good. It's the thing you do that makes you good.”
This year, I am choosing to PRACTICE—even when it's hard. If training is the essence of transformation, then I guess I need to develop routines and habits that reflect my beliefs. Nicholas Chamfort has said, "A man begins every stage of his life as a novice," and my hope for 2017 is that with each new endeavor I embark upon, I will remember it takes time, patience, and practice to improve.