Friday, June 29

A reflection on why and how and faith

Earlier this week I was at ISTE2018. ISTE stands for the International Society for Technology in Education. There were about 24K attendees from all over the world, quite literally. There were thousands of exhibitors in the Expo Hall at McCormick Place. In addition to hundreds of sessions, there were playgrounds and poster sessions. There were dozens of options for every hour of the day. It can be just too much.

I'd made a decision before this particular ISTE that I was just going to go with the flow. There are lots of people I'd hoped to be able to see but knew that without planning it was going to be impossible. It's the purest of serendipity when you run into people you know at an event the size of ISTE.

I also decided I was going to take a lot of selfies and I wasn't going to get a lot of those tags to add to my name badge. Why? Well, that's the point. The why.

You may be familiar with Simon Sinek's Golden Circle. He did a TED talk in 2009 and published a book, Start With Why, that same year. a while ago and his concept--and book--have shot to the forefront of many folks' thinking.

Why? It's a simple question, one of my favorites. Young children love to ask this question and for good reason: they are trying to understand the world in which they are becoming a part. Sinek reminds us that we each need to start with our "why?"--why do we get up every morning? 

My why is actually quite a lot like the example of the young woman in  Chapter 1 of Find Your Why: because I want to help people be and become their best selves, to help others to excellence with excellence.

It occurred to me before this conference that I needed to recharge; I can't help others become their best selves unless I'm able to be my best self. So I worried less about what I wore and who I might see and with whom I might be seen and focused more on what I might learn.

To me, that is part of the how. How do I become my best self? How do I further support my why? 

Faith is also part of the how because it fuels my thinking of the possible. Each day is a gift brimming with possibilities. Faith reminds me that God is in control. Faith encourages me because God can guide me as I strive to seek His will to do that to which he has called me. And that brings me back to my why, which is to help others be and become their best selves, to help others to excellence with excellence.

I'm in a weird place in my life. Old enough to start to wonder if people think I'm too old to be capable or to do what younger folks can do. Old enough to know how little I know and how much I have yet to learn and how much I want to learn, but also with clarity of what I don't want to learn.

I get impatient, yes, when I feel like I haven't been asked to do something that I believe is a great fit for me. But I can't control what others decide or want, so I continue to seek opportunities that may lie elsewhere. Because that which is the best for me in a given situation to do best what I do best is out there. 

I'm happy about the folks I got to see and hug at ISTE. I have small regrets there were some I did not see or get to hug, but I hope they know I love them just the same.

In the mean time, I'll process what I've learned and heard, and all that I've collected because I've still got a lot of reading and thinking and processing to do so. And that is my why right now: to continue to learn and expand my own knowledge and capabilities as well as my circle of professional acquaintances and friends because sometimes others will be the best resource I can offer those with whom I get to work. In the quiet of these hot days, I will read and think and write and learn. That is my how. And I believe with all of my heart that in the days that lie ahead will be possibilities to help others to excellence and with excellence that I cannot imagine.

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