What inspires you?

What inspires you?  

I’d like you to think about this question in a few different ways.  

First, think about it in a general sense – What inspires you to get moving?  To get things done?  To be productive?  For me, the biggest inspiration for me to get on a roll and really be productive is actually getting something done.  I know that seems obvious, so let me explain.  When there is something big that I need to get done, whether it’s a research paper or a big project around the house, the easiest way for me to get the inspiration to tackle those big tasks is to accomplish a small task first.  Typically, I’ll wash some dishes, fold some laundry, or vacuum the house.   The feeling of accomplishment is enough to inspire me to keep going and tackle the bigger project that previously seemed daunting.  What inspires you to get going?  Music?  Coffee?  Exercise?  Everyone has their own inspiration…what is yours?

The next way I want you to think about the question, “what inspires you?” is in a deeper, more existential sense.  What inspires you to continue being the person that you are?  What keeps you moving forward?  I don’t know when this started or where it “came from” but for as long as I can remember I’ve always been inspired to learn.  I find joy and excitement in new experiences, learning about people, trying new things, and learning about other ways of thinking.  (Side note: I was never really inspired by school but that’s probably a topic for another day!) For many years, traveling and living overseas allowed me to continuously be inspired as I engaged with all the new people, experiences, and different ways of thinking.  Recently I’ve been inspired by Clayton and learning how to be a parent…I’ve learned more in six months than in 10 years of living and traveling overseas!!  What drives you?  Some people are inspired by money, fame, or power…others by giving back to their community, their religious beliefs, or politics.  We’ve all got something…what makes your ears perk up when you hear someone talking about it?

Lastly, I want you to think about what inspires you at work.  What keeps you coming back?  What puts that twinkle in your eye and a smile on your face?  As an educator it has been a couple things for me over the years.  At first I strictly fed off the energy of the students.  Seeing their faces, watching them learn, and seeing the light bulbs go off when a difficult concept finally clicked, this drove me everyday for years.  In fact, this still drives me a lot of the time!  However, when I have a really good philosophical conversation about education I’ve realized that it will light a fire inside me that burns for a rather long time!!  I’ve been lucky to have had some amazing colleagues over the years who have pushed my thinking, helped me open my mind, and encouraged me to see things differently.  I’m inspired by those people and the conversations we’ve had to this day, there are many lessons that come back around quite often!  I’d imagine as educators you’re all inspired by the students as well, it’s really the driving force behind the work we do.  Are there other parts of being an educator that inspire you?

As we begin the second semester, take a minute to reflect on what inspires you.  Once you’ve identified that, focus your energy in that direction.  There is nothing like being inspired to excite the mind and energize the body!!  

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