It can be uncomfortable on the cutting edge.

It’s been an interesting week.

For a while now I’ve been playing around with the idea of doing my Masters of Education. Over the last few months I’ve really nailed getting the message out to schools about the benefits of coaching for teachers, but what about students? And more specifically, what are the benefits of peer-to-peer coaching for students? It’s a big question and one that I’m really keen to do some research on, so this week I submitted an application to the University of Waikato to explore just that.
Then, as they always do - people’s opinions came flooding in. I’m often told that my enthusiasm is infectious and in 99% of the conversations I had with people, they’ve been just as pumped about my research as I am … that is … everyone except for 1.
He is an ex colleague of mine and someone who I have mad respect for. His response to my ideas about peer-to-peer coaching for primary kids:
“There’s NO potential for this to work in New Zealand.”
Hearing that seriously cut!
It was like he’d just said that my newborn baby was hideous.

Intellectually, I know that people’s opinions have nothing to do with me and everything to do with them, but when someone who I really respect came out and told me that my idea is shit, it sure did stop me in my tracks.
I went through the whole shebang of feelings: disappointment, uncertainty, shame, anger, self-doubt (sounds like a real hoot huh). Then I gave myself a bit of a talking to and thought: ‘what would I say to a client who was experiencing this?’

This is what I’d chat about:

Goal Digging
I love big goals SO MUCH! For me, life is about exploring, trying new things, breaking away from the status quo and doing the BIG stuff that makes a difference to people’s lives. One massive lesson that comes with all of that, is that to achieve big goals, you need to step out of your comfort zone, and well… that’s uncomfortable!

What even is discomfort?
What does that FEEL like for you?

Discomfort really is nothing more than a feeling based on the thoughts that you’re having, and feelings are nothing more than vibrations in our bodies - bear with me here. Let’s look at public speaking - you might experience a feeling of stress or panic before stepping up to a podium in front of 100’s of people. That feels like an elevated heart rate, maybe there’s a tightening in your chest, you might even feel shaking in your hands. At the time, that feeling can be very uncomfortable for sure, but once you start speaking, it all goes away. That discomfort is fleeting and once you push past it, some new feelings start to happen, like pride and accomplishment. So the question then becomes, are you willing to experience the feelings of discomfort for a short time, in order to achieve the feeling of achievement?

How uncomfortable are you willing to be in order to achieve your big goals?

“If you want to challenge the status quo, you have to prepare to be unliked.”
These are words of wisdom from Rawini Ngaamo who is a professional learning facilitator from Poutama Pounamu and boy-oh-boy, these words have stuck with me like glue! If you believe in your ideas- that’s actually all that matters. People will find ways to be critical of ANYTHING - just read through the comments section of any one of the posts on the NZ Herald Facebook page today to see what I mean.
If you want to be innovative, creative, break new ground and try something that’s never been done before, you simply can’t let the opinions of other people hold you back. As Dita Von Teese says (I know, I get my inspiration from all sorts of random places) “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world but there will always be someone who doesn’t like peaches.” You can't stop being your wonderful peachy self just to please the banana lovers. And you can’t stop working towards your goals because someone thinks you’re barking up the wrong tree.

Who are you becoming?
Sometimes the best way to achieve a big goal is to act like you’ve already nailed it and experience what it’s like to make decisions as the person who you want to be. Let’s say your big goal is to become a principal in the next three years, and not just any principal, the principal of the best school in the country. Any time you’re faced with a decision you get to ask yourself: “what would the principal of the best school in the country do?”

🍎  How do I deal with this grumpy parent?
What would the principal of the best school in the country do?
🍎  How do I make learning more engaging for my class?
What would the principal of the best school in the country do?
🍎  Should I buy this pair of pants?
What would the principal of the best school in the country do?

When you use your big goal as a lens to help you to make decisions, it’s like living your goal ahead of time. Things become a whole heap clearer and you can be so much more decisive.

You want a real life example? Here you go:
I am becoming the best educational coach in the world - that’s my big hairy goal, stated in a way that makes it a living and breathing beast of awesomeness. So what would the best educational coach in the world do if someone told her that her ideas were shit? She’d get out there and explore them anyway because she knows that you can’t be the best without breaking new ground.

I don’t know about you but MAN- I feel better!
This self coaching stuff is POWERFUL!

So who are you becoming? How is that person going to help you to get to the cutting edge of what is possible?

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