When you take the time to write out your goals, and you truly map out your path to achieve them, I am a living witness that there is little that can get in your way. Here’s my story:
As recently as 3 years ago, I felt completely stuck and completely lost in my career. I knew exactly where I wanted to go, but I couldn’t figure out how to get there. Like many of my peers in education, I dreamed of the day that I would become a consultant and see my name in “lights” at conferences, events, etc. but I felt a little more than stumped as to how to begin down that path. Don’t get me wrong — I did not expect any of this to happen overnight. I knew that I would have to work hard, buckle down, and get my hands dirty. I was actually excited by the process. But I also knew that I would have to put myself out there; I would have to be vulnerable and possibly even face rejection. That’s something most people aren’t willing to do, and that it what separates many people from the rest of the crowd.
Instead of giving up, I decided I would plan for what I knew how to do: write articles, attend conferences, present at conferences, and actually TALK to other people at conferences. Believe it or not, that last step was the most difficult. I took my plan, and I worked it. I submitted articles and proposals everywhere. I expanded my world outside of the bubble of my school district and southwest Houston. And lo and behold…I connected with so many other like-minded people. It was amazing. It took some work, but it was definitely worth it. As I type this reflection, I am smiling. I was at a conference yesterday, and I knew so many people there on a first name basis. That is something that I NEVER thought I would say about myself in any situation. But it’s the truth. I knew people and they knew me. We hugged, laughed, had lunch, and reconnected. It felt great. The connections that I have made with others in my field are literally changing my professional life.
What does that have to do with goals, you ask? Well I wrote my goals, worked the little part of the plan that I could see, and I had faith that the rest would fall into place. AND IT DID!! Guess who just accepted their first invitation to be the Keynote speaker at a conference?? And it wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t (1) written out my goals and (2) mapped out a plan to get there. One of my favorite quotes that I share with anyone who is planning (life, career, etc.) is this:
“You don’t have to see the whole staircase; you just have to take the first step.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
I definitely do not see the entire staircase, and when I started down this path I could really only see the first step. But I started climbing anyway, and now I’m determined to keep climbing to see where this path will take me.
I encourage you today to write out your goals. You may not know how you will achieve them, but take the first step and watch what happens for you. I guarantee that you will be amazed.
One thought on “Dreams, Goals, & First Steps”
Wow! Such a great post!
I have had a similar, yet different experience. I never felt down or stuck in what I was doing, but wanted to be a speaker at conferences and get out there and make “professional” friends (I still miss the classroom!). I was in a more difficult situation, as I was living and felt part of the community of educators in Michigan but was working in Indiana. I would attend and speak at both the ISTE affiliate conferences on both sides of the “border,” but continued to feel like an outsider with both groups. I started to push myself outside of my comfort zone but still struggled to really connect with either group.
I then landed a full-time Instructional Tech Coaching job in Michigan and it all changed. I made it point to look for more ways to get involved and partnered with a few other districts to host our own EdTech conference last July (over 200 attendees in our first year)! I also accepted a position on the steering committee of a grassroots organization of EdTech Integration Specialists in the state of Michigan with a growing number of members (over 600 now!). Things are looking up, and like you, when I attend events in Michigan, I am on a first name basis with many attendees. I also just submitted my first article for publication with our state-level affiliate, MACUL. Fingers crossed it makes it in!
Thank you for sharing your experience and inspiring all of the other educators that you share your message with!
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