May 9, 2019
I’ll never forget this conversation. It was real. And it has changed my life.
On my flight to the ASCD #Empower19 Conference, I had a heart-to-heart conversation with a fellow educator sitting next to me. He was asking me about my career, life, and family. I appreciated the dialogue and gaining perspective, as educators do.
I professed how much I had loved serving as an educator for seventeen years thus far. I confessed that I’m about to turn forty-years-old (although I feel like I’m nineteen). I poured out my heart to a complete stranger, tearing up about how I loved my wife and our sixteen-month-old son so much that I would lay down my life for them. There’s nothing like being a parent.
This is Life.
“My wife continues to amaze me. I knew her on one level as a fellow educator at the same school. Then, we co-directed our After School Program together. At one point, those evening workplace conversations carried over into dinnertime and we soon became close friends. A short while later, she left town for a conference. And it was in those lonely few days when I realized just how much I missed her–and how I knew right then in that very moment that I never wanted to live another day without her. After getting engaged and married, I’m now seeing her take it to a whole new level. I knew she was a great educator, friend, leader, and wife… but motherhood? I had no idea it was possible for a human to be this amazing. She blows my mind. Every day.”
And then this response from the passenger in the middle seat:
“Kyle, I know exactly what you mean. It’s like holding a diamond in your hand. You see it shining so brightly from one angle. And then you turn it ever so slightly to see it shine again from a different angle. And over time, it just keeps turning, and eventually you might see the whole diamond–in all its beauty.”
So. Beautiful. Amen.
A moment when you can hear yourself exhale.
Seriously all torn up inside–crying right now.
A moment when anything with a pulse cries with you.
Did that just happen?
A single moment with everlasting implications.
In the Rough
If geology really is the study of pressure and time, then every day might seem like an exploding volcano. You can’t control time. And you wrestle with daily pressures. Sometimes, your efforts simply aren’t enough to beat them back. And maybe you’ve felt like you are not enough.
After all, no matter what you wish to attempt, there’s always someone who’s better. There’s someone who’s more attractive. Smarter. Stronger. A polished writer. A multi-published author. A social media superstar. A technology guru. An athlete extraordinaire. The ultimate presenter. The speaker who defines keynote. A genius of all things. And no matter the skill(s) you think you might have–they’ve been-there-done-that. And they’re just better. And you know it.
While you love surrounding yourself with the best to help you become better, you feel self-doubt creeping in. Competition-by-comparison pierces your hard-to-get-at-places. You struggle to find your voice. After all this time, you still haven’t found your niche. You grow restless in a rough world spinning out of control. Where do you go from here?
Polish to Shine
In the moments when you’re not feeling it, turn the diamond ever so slightly.
And in your time–shine.
You’ll never be anyone else. And you were never meant to be anyone else.
No, my dear friend.
You were designed to be you. You were created to be you. Only you. Just you. All of you.
And you are the unique flavor that you bring to your team, community, school, organization, business, family, friendship, relationship, and all those you may influence in this thing called life. So bring it!
You are you. You are beautiful. Be you.