Friday, November 22, 2013

Jingle Jangle Goes The Keys...

Today was a pretty typical day for me.  Up early, washer loaded and laundry folded.  Kids breakfast served and then off to McDonald's for my 'free' coffee, via my husbands full coffee card.
So, today started as all Friday's do.  And by mid-morning I had already locked myself out of my office.  TWICE.  Again, another normality in my hair-brained world.

As I went to seek out the custodian to ask for help the second time, I realized that his ring of keys was well stacked.  How does he seem to move with the weight of those keys on his hips?  I'm positive I would feel off kilter and would be out of sorts.  Because he knows me, and he gets my issue with my silly door, he does what I ask and carefully tosses me the keys and wishes me luck.  Again, for the second time!

Now, the fact that he knows that I know which key to use off that giant ring makes this little transaction easier for the both of us.  But, if I had to go back into the past, it wouldn't be like this.  Well, the forgetfulness would be there, maybe not as frequent, but it's there.  Instead, he had to give me a lesson on which key to use, for which door I had miraculously seemed to lock myself out of.  I can even think of an occasion or two where I had to walk back and ask for 'another lesson' on which key again..."I, uh, stopped to talk to so-and-so and I accidentally forgot which key was 'the one' along the way."  Yep... I'll admit it ~ some days that is where I'm at!

The custodian I work with is great.  He never gives me a hard time for being so forgetful or for somehow locking myself out.  He is approachable and never seems too busy to help.

I can learn a lot from that man.  I can learn that even though I have been given the keys to help others open doors and to be a problem solver, I still need to work on my approach.  In my ETFO additional qualification part two course in Integration of Information and Computer Technology, I continue to learn the tools and add to my key chain, if you will.  Each day in this course, my fellow peers unlock a door for me, and even give me a gentle reminder (thanks Rod, I needed that tutorial... Not as smart as I think I am!) which helps me.

All this learning and building my keychain is great.  My take aways continue to be too many to count, (this week alone I learned about Easybib, IXL Math, and thought more concretely about the technology 'growth' my own school needs) but it's only half the equation.  In math equations we see the equals sign that balances both sides of such equations.  Having the knowledge of the tools only makes you, in my opinion, half the technology support/leader.  The other half has to come in how you share your keys to those in need.  Do you simply hand them over, providing way more access than necessary and cause information overload?  Do you worry that if you give the keys away to those in need that they will somehow lose or misuse the information that you shared?  Or, are you like my awesome custodian, and give a lesson, offer support and encouragement, and provide hits here and there as needed?

I have a long way to go in my people approach.  Sometimes I think I'm being clear, and I am.  Other times... wow... eyes glass over and I know I've given too much too soon, or haven't been trusting enough and withheld info just because I can.  So, even though my learning continues to grow and shape, I feel that my jingle jangle still needs work.  It will come.  I know it.  I have a good teacher (thank you Mr. McDonald)!

Thanks for reading!
Leave me a comment below and let me know where you are building your key chain.  What type of jingle jangle do you approach others with?

Monday, November 11, 2013

The "Half Way" Point

Today was an amazing day.  Not because Chapters has 30% off all in-stock Playmobil toys or because I  was able to attend a super-meaningful Remembrance Day ceremony with my school and the local Mildmay community.  But rather, today was an amazing day because it's like God thought that I needed to be reminded about the importance of the "half way" point.   

Walk with me a little while I explain.

Tonight I was awesome.  I belong to OurTown Crossfit in Listowel.  I have been missing in action for a wee while, but tonight I was back to give it my all.  
I arrived and was excited to see what our WOD (work out of the day) was.  I knew it would be something special, being that today was Remembrance Day and we have so much to be thankful for.  I was right.  I arrived to see this:

After reading the WOD post, I knew tonight that I was going to be seriously drenched by the time I was finished 6 Rounds.  But I was also looking forward to having this opportunity before me.  So, I started.  If you are a Crossfit Athlete, you know what the warm up alone makes you sweat and aware of your breathing.  Tonight was no different.

Coach Chris yells, "3, 2, 1, GO!" and off I went.  Squats in groups of 10.  Dips in groups of 5.  My whole body feeling it.  All I could keep thinking was, "Get to the half way point Leslie... get to half way."  

The Box clock ticked on and my time was rising and rising.  But, despite that, I kept going.  Yearning to make that half way point.  Then I did.  One of the guys yelled out words of encouragement, "You got this Les, keep going.  You are half way.  Don't quit."

I kid you not.
Half way.  Don't quit.

I pushed on.  And before you know it, I flung my arm in the air to call out my last finished round.  I did it.  Not my fastest time ever, but, nonetheless I did it.  

I felt proud.

You see, I've been trying to work on myself.  Not just with Crossfit, but with running too.

After a few years of jogging on and off I can finally stand proud and say that "I'm a runner."

Yes, a runner.  I'm not the speediest, most gracious or elegant human being you will ever see move, but I am upright and moving in the right direction.  Last October I ran my first half marathon.  

It was unbelievable!  This was something that I always thought 'other' people did and could do.  For you see, it all started with a wish.  I wished I could do something like that ... someday, someday.  
Then, a dear lady, Dawn Linklater, who actually taught me to run through her "Couch to 5K" program, signed an e-mail with this signature quote from Katherine Paterson:

That was it.
I was going to turn that wish into something more.  
And I did.

I cried tears of joy as I crossed the finish line.  It was one of the best days I have ever lived!

BUT....if I'm honest with myself, and honest with you, at the half way point that day I didn't fully believe I could do it.  Really.  All that training, hours of leaving my family on a Sunday to do a long run, and the time and energy I put into preparing my mind and body, and I still doubted myself?

Motivation is one thing, but as I've learned it can only get you so far.

So, as I decided at the half way point... it was all downhill from there.  Half way.  If I can just get half way, then I can get my butt through that last half and across the finish line.  Turning a wish into reality.

Half ways are in our life at different vantage points and moments.  If you are struggling as I was, even after carefully creating a plan to get to where you need to be, the realization of making it to a turning point is huge.  

Right now I'm half way through my IICT Part 2 course through ETFO.  Half way.  Half way through writing assignments.  Half way through from missing the snuggles on the couch with my dear hubby because I'm on the computer reading articles (ok... not really, but maybe a little bit), responding to posts, and making my tired brain think!  Half way through engaging in learning, collaborating, and thinking constructively about topics and insights my fellow classmates bring to our online classroom.  Half way!  

But you know what?  I wouldn't change this halfway point for money.  Seriously.  It may be the half way point through my course syllabus and learning activities, but I know this is really a new beginning.  New classmates that I will call friends, who are only an e-mail or a tweet away.  New resources shared, and connections and experiences had.   

For as much as I need to see the clear "half way" point drawn like a line in the sand, I also know that the silly line can move and expand depending on where we are on the road to changing our wish into a plan.  

Where are you right now?  At which half way point do you need help turning the corner?  Who is there with you cheering you on?  Or, maybe you are where I was on that first "Couch to 5K" run.  Taking the first step is the hardest, but I assure you, when you make it to your half way point, it's all downhill from there!

Thanks for reading.