Image Source: Tweet via @tinacpa 

Heading for greener pastures seems the cowardly way out. After all, if you aren’t happy with where you are, improve it! Bloom where you are planted, as my teenage spiritual mentor said to me.

Aside: Unfortunately, her life story took a tragic turn so truism about making sure you are following your own best advice rather than advice designed for another should be kept in mind!

That “Bloom where planted” attitude defined me in the past, but as my wife has often said to me, “Life is too short!” It’s career advice well-worth listening to, especially when it’s supported by folks like Dr. Scott McLeod.

Sometimes, metaphorically speaking, “grass” doesn’t get greener, no matter how much you water it because the environment isn’t ready for change. As another friend put it to me, “You have 3 to 5 years to make a difference before petty conflicts, inaccurate perceptions, the system push back.” His wisdom, invoking Law #2 of Peter Senge’s 11 laws of The Fifth Discipline, certainly flowed from his life experiences, which have carried him close to retirement.

I’d like to suggest that there is another way to frame this situation. This paraphrase of a popular quote comes via @JustinTarte:

Are you willing to do something you’ve never done before to accomplish something you’ve never before accomplished? Make the commitment… via JustinTarte 

One of the easiest ways to accomplish what you haven’t done before is to do NEW things. Technologists have the best opportunity to accomplish this, don’t they?

As I look at my list of accomplishments in the context of the organizations I’ve worked with–which I had the opportunity to do recently as I updated my ePortfolio and “polished my resume”–I ask myself, “Have I done this before?” I ask other people, too.
“Have you done this or seen this done here?” The response tells me what the probability of success is.

For example, if your educational organization has already passed out a laptop to every teacher, and many teachers destroyed the laptop or damaged it, then the organization probably won’t want to do that again without serious reflection on what went right and wrong…and probably a significant change in personnel (a la “wiping institutional memory”).

Having moved from one district to another over several years, I’ve definitely seen that the grass isn’t always greener in the new spot. But each opportunity does allow one to learn new things, practice new ways of acting that might not be possible in the last location you were at. After all, every human being is unique…the “PLNs” or “networks” we build are as unique as the people in them. If you don’t fit in one network, then move on to another. Fear, uncertainty and doubt are barriers to growth…they can also serve as fuel to be better, as a source of reflection that moves you forward.

For reflection purposes, I ask myself a few simple questions:

  1. What did I do right?
  2. What could I have done better or not done at all?
  3. What could I do in the future to improve achieving the organization’s goals and mission?

And, I also have to forgive myself. We all do our best “in the moment.” No matter how well-prepared I am, I know that I will certainly fail at something. It’s a perspective that keeps me grounded at appraisal time, but also helps me cultivate a learner’s attitude…no matter how old or wise or savvy, I can learn from new experiences.

I still remember the advice Dr. Scott McLeod gave me (paraphrased because I can’t remember it verbatim) so many years ago–when you’re in a spot where nothing you do is making a difference, it’s time to move on.

Over the years, I have found that “polishing my resume” liberates my mind, helps me re-connect with the person I want to be rather than the person I have failed to be. It’s an energizing process, and one I recommend to others–when you find yourself focusing on failure, make a list of what you’re good at.

Talking about your positive goals activates brain centers that open you up to new possibilities. But if you change the conversation to what you should do to fix yourself, it closes you down,” says Richard Boyatzis, a psychologist at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve.Boyatzis argues that focusing on our strengths positions us to be open to new opportunities.Source: Daniel Goleman, Why Self-Improvement Begins with Self-Reflection

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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