Being in the passenger seat of more than 250 young people's growth and transformation over the course of 16 years is a legacy. One that I am damn proud of. In a way, you could say I mothered hundreds of children. But the last couple years, three was a pit in my gut telling me that there was more. There HAD to be something more than the already amazing work I was doing. My fantasy of being a published author, speaker, coach and influencer was shifting more to a goal.
Getting up, going to work and getting paid the same paycheck month after month, I started to feel confined. Every day I knew I was making a difference in 16 little people's lives in my primary classroom, which is no small feat. Yet, the voice inside of me that was raised to play small, not draw attention and not sing out started wanting more. More leadership. More confidence. More freedom. More variety. More recognition and more impact. A LOT more impact.
On December 22, 2015 I made the decision. I would leave my 16 year teaching career, one for which my family, friends, students and even myself thought I'd be in for the long haul. Because that's what I was good at. That is what I did.
How? How do I break the news? How do I tell my former principal dad who was so proud I was a teacher that I didn't want to be anymore? How do I tell my boss who loves me and sees the value in my love for kids that I'm leaving her staff? How do I tell my colleagues that I'm leaving them to follow my dream? How do I break it to my students who depend on me being with them for yet another year?
So began my inner battle. The reality beyond the comfort zone had never been crossed like this. Only before, I'd poke and prod at it, threatening to cross ONE day, but there was no battle because there didn't need to be one. Suddenly, with my determined decision, the soldiers defending the "beyond" woke up and said "Oh, Hell no!"
Those soldiers threw self-doubt, not-smart-enough and not worthy bombs my way. They whacked me with weakness and fear of not being liked.
Mostly, they showered me with a tear gas of confusion of who I really am. I fought it every single time. I faced them head on. I looked them in the eye and stood my ground. I pushed them back again and again.
I faced the different pit in my gut afraid of disappointing those who loved me. I told them. I started my business and not-so-gracefully transitioned out of teaching and into business. Have I gone through Hell? Yes. Have I become a stronger person with every painful step? Yes. Do I regret anything? No. And because of my journey, the fantasy/goal looks more like reality every day.
If you're willing to make the trek...if you're willing to feel the fire knowing that you'll be stronger and more free because of it, you'll get passed those soldiers protecting your comfort zone and you'll soon arrive. The pit in your gut is telling you something. Will you face it? Are you willing to do what it takes to fly?