There’s a reason why we tend to be resistant to change. Change requires time, energy, and often, struggle. We have to be prepared to leave behind an old, comfortable version of ourselves – and to travel to a different place.
We have to acknowledge that there might be a better way. And we have to be prepared to try something new – and to accept the risks that come with that choice. What if the change doesn’t make things better? What if we invest in change and it’s not worth it? What if we waste our time and energy? What if we can’t go back to the old way?
All fair questions. Change isn’t always good. There are risks and costs. But there are also risks and costs of standing still.
So, to embrace a change or not? Is there a right choice?
Yeah, there is. It’s the choice informed by our values and fuelled by courage.
Do you work in education? Are you involved in any committee or similar body that makes decisions that directly affect students and their experience at school? Are there student representatives on this committee? If not, why not? There may be a very good reason – and that’s fine. If there’s not a very good reason, invite some students to join.
Of course, there are some challenges with having students sit on a normally-adult-only committee. But the upside of partnering with students – particularly on decisions affecting students – is far bigger than any potential downside.
The concept of ‘values’ is one of those rare psychological constructs that is understood by laypeople almost as well as it is by scientists. Our values represent a hierarchy of what really matters to us, the type of person we are trying to be, and they are closely related to our sense of identity.
In theory, they are our guiding principles in life, our inner compass.
But how well do you know yours?
Try this…(say the answers out loud if you can…)
Name three foods you love to eat? Name three places you like to visit? Name three close friends? Name three of your core values?
Was the last question harder for you than the others? It is for many people. Is that because it matters less? Or maybe because it matters more? Maybe it’s just something we don’t talk about much? And if, like many of us, and many of our students, you were unable to easily recall your core values, what is it that’s guiding your decisions through life?
My core values are: connection, caring, contribution, adventure.
Write down yours, put them somewhere prominent (Post It note on your mirror?!), talk about them with people you care about, ask others about their values. The better we know our values, the easier it is to make decisions that feel right, that are right for us.