Take some time to appreciate what is working

“We blow up scenarios in our head about all of the terrible things that are going to happen. Most of the time we are wrong.” - Richard Carlson

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The school year is off and running.  As usual, there is a great deal of change as we implement new programs, acclimate new staff, and get the year going in the right direction. As we move through this time of transition, it is important to appreciate each small, successful step we make. By doing so, we recognize that we are making positive progress.  This is particularly beneficial when we feel fatigued and start to believe that our efforts are in vain.

It is easy to fall under the spell of fear, doubt, and worry. Even when things are going well, our mind might tell us that the good cannot last or that it is not quite good enough. One valuable, yet often overlooked, step in a successful life is appreciating our progress and taking time to celebrate what is going well. By taking the time to consciously acknowledge all that is going well, we send a signal to our subconscious mind to keep up the good work. We also act as a ray of light for others in need of encouragement.

Putting this into practice can be challenging. Even so, the benefits are worth the effort. By checking in with, and appreciating, all that is going well, we get a more accurate view of the work that remains to be done. More often than not we see that we are better off than we may have originally believed.  It becomes easier to take our next steps with confidence and clarity.

There was a teacher who was in charge of implementing a program that contained many moving parts. It was obvious that he was feeling overwhelmed and unsure about how he would get it all done.

As a team, we collaborated to support the teacher and our students more effectively.  The first thing we did was to explore all the ways that he was already successfully implementing the program.  We realized that the gap between what he was already doing and what needed to be done was not as vast as we originally imagined. This gave an immediate sense of accomplishment and relief.  Next, based on the things he had already been doing, it was easier to see what our next step would be. This process gave us confidence as a team and helped us to communicate more effectively with everyone involved.

Perhaps you have been feeling panicked by some area of your life that feels particularly daunting. If so, let yourself off the hook. Take some time to examine the facts and appreciate the positives that you may have been overlooking. From there, figure out a few, small action steps that you can easily take to improve the situation. This simple process will renew your mind and give you a fresh burst of inspiration. Before long, you will gain positive momentum and wonder why you ever worried.

Edward Biagiotti is the Inclusion Specialist for Culver City Unified School District and the cohost of the inspirational podcast “Funniest Thing! with Darrell and Ed” on iTunes. For questions, comments, and ideas for future columns, send an email to: EdwardBiagiotti@ccusd.org