In the last part to this series, I get to share more uncomfortable truths (yay!) about the source of my misery and what it took for me to go from hating my teaching job to uncovering and living out my life’s mission (while still being a teacher!).
By now you have probably figured out that I do not sugar coat my struggles and put on a pretty, instagram-worthy, everything-is-peaches-and-cream-all-the-time kind of face. It’s hard to talk about the shitty moments and the deep-dark places I sometimes hang out in, but I find it to be much more inauthentic, time-consuming, and energy-sucking to constantly put on a false face, to pretend there’s nothing going on behind the scenes, or act like it’s all good, all the time.
Every day I strive to be my best self, to find and BE the light, to speak with honesty and truth to myself and others, to honor the good and feel gratitude always, and to be in the overflow of love and abundance - and even still, in the constant commitment to growth and transformation, I struggle. Here’s an example...
After taking a year-long leave to go to grad school, I was depressed beyond belief: I found myself starting over at a new school and back in the classroom teaching 7th grade ELA - the exact position I took leave from. I was depressed because I thought that grad school would take me to a new professional circumstance that I loved. Instead, it felt like I had taken a BIG step back. And I was pretty bitchy about it.
My big a-ha came when a teacher on my team called me out. I don’t think she realized that was what she was doing, but her feedback was there, it was honest, and it hit me hard. Turns out, my bitchiness and dissatisfaction wasn’t something I was hiding very well from my colleagues. Unknowingly, she slapped me awake and I realized that I was making my life really difficult and in that process, I was making it difficult for everyone around me, too.
It was one of those split seconds that become life changing.
It was like a Matrix moment when time stopped and I could see everything playing out before my eyes.
I was stuck, I was a failure, I had done everything wrong and I was never going to actually figure it out. Therefore, I put up a wall and shut myself off from my new colleagues, which made me come off as snobby, disconnected, judgmental and righteous. I was teaching my colleagues to view me a certain way - a way that was reaffirming my beliefs that I was unworthy, limited, stuck and unsuccessful.
Thank goodness she called me out. Because what she actually did was call me F O R W A R D.
I shifted my entire approach to my new job. I knew I was there for a reason and that in order to really be open to uncovering my life’s mission, I needed to be open to the lessons and to trust that those lessons were for me, waiting to be learned so I could take the next big step.
So, instead of moping, I made friends. Instead of being grumpy, I practiced gratitude. And instead of being a source of toxicity to myself and others, I picked myself up and became what was missing.
I reconnected to my passion for teaching and serving youth. I viewed my new school as a lab and my classroom as a hub for learning and discovery. I treated everything as an experiment; I collected data and tracked progress on what was working and what wasn’t. I practiced neutrality and not taking things personally (which didn’t always work!) and I found opportunities and adventures outside of my day job to fill the gaps on what felt unsatisfying or missing.
My life’s mission was unfolding before my eyes. It was always there, actually, I was just too untrusting and cynical to see it and too rooted in a belief system that kept me planted in the same pattern of growth and retraction.
Is this making sense?
Your life’s mission is your life’s work - it is the foundation to the impact you are here to make during your lifetime. It is different for all of us, specific to your inherent skill set and intricately laced with the passion and drive embedded in your unique DNA.
It takes courage to uncover it; and I say courage because it requires a willingness to graciously accept feedback without defense, to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, and to feel into all the growing pains. There’s no bypassing this process. You can’t cheat it. You either find it or you don’t and that, my friends, is up to you. No one can do it for you or give it to you.
So, where are you at with this? Are you fully living your life’s mission, shying away from it, pretending you are the ONE human on earth who doesn’t have one, or currently doing the messy work of figuring it all out? I’d love to know. And as always, if this is something you need support with, then I’m your girl. Let’s talk it out!