Saturday, March 28, 2015

Time To Go?

"Our lives improve only when we take chances - 
and the first and most difficult risk we can take is
to be honest with ourselves." - Walter Anderson

It had to be ten years ago when I was just finishing my Masters Degree at Spring Arbor University. My goal was to give myself options...that's always what I wanted, the power of choice.  I had a real passion and love of teaching, but I also believed I had a higher calling.  

I finished my Masters and planned on teaching for the foreseeable future.  But as time passed I found myself thinking, "What if..."

Spring is an interesting time of year.  Most educational professionals have one eye on the now and one eye on the future.  Some are actively seeking new positions, some are tossing and turning at night unsure of what to do next and some have resigned themselves to riding things out...just staying put.

Six years ago I decided to take the leap.  But to be frank, it wasn't a huge "Leap of Faith."  It wasn't even going to require my family to move.  I snuck my resume in minutes before the deadline and then days later I was interviewing.  I'm not sure what I did right, but the position was offered to me.  It was very exciting, a little nerve-wracking, but very exciting.

Looking back I know why I chose to pursue a change, it came down to these things:

First, I believed I was ready.  I believed I could make a greater impact.  

Second, my personal philosophy was far different than the philosophy I was working under. 

Third, I needed a jolt...I felt my current spot was restricting me.

Fourth, I felt as though I was in a win-win situation.  It's easy to take a Leap, when you believe their isn't a bad choice.

Finally, I had the blessing of my family.  They encouraged me and supported me every single step of the way.

I sit here today and share because many of us struggle with thoughts of, what next?  Only you can truly answer the question, Are you happy in your current spot/role?  If the answer is no, you've got some soul searching to do. If the answer is yes, your decision comes down to belief, confidence, opportunity and external factors.  

Sometimes we over think decisions.  Here's how I decided years ago.

The date was June 23rd, 2010.  I had finished my 9th year teaching about three weeks earlier.  I sent postcards to my new families and summer had begun!  Then I stumbled across a short article in the newspaper that talked about a Principal vacancy at Warner Elementary.  I sat on the couch and day dreamed.  I thought about the what ifs, the challenges, the responsibility and my family.  I closed the newspaper and went out for a run.  The next day, my wife asked if I noticed the article in the paper about the open position at Warner.  I nodded and she asked if I was thinking about it.  I just shrugged. Two more days passed and I had done nothing.  Then late on Thursday after a full day of Geo caching and golfing with my boys, I sat down on our porch.  I watched the dogs jump around and the kids playing.  I then asked myself why I was dragging my feet.  The little voice in my head said, what would you tell your students to do?  What would you encourage your wife to do?  What advice would you give your own boys?

It was then that I realized I would tell them all, GO FOR IT!  Take a risk.  

"If you want something you've never had,
you must be willing to do something
you've never done." - Thomas Jefferson

Ultimately it came down to something so simple - 

Articles Worth Reading:

Positive Post-It Day @TonySinanis

13 Years Ago @jon_wennstrom

Surviving Tuesday @ServantPrincipl

HackPD @kristenswanson


  1. Ben,

    Thanks for sharing. It's a good reminder for us to reflect on where we are and where we want to be. Like you, I'm right where I want to be and that's a great feeling! I'm glad you took the leap six years ago and I'm sure your students and staff are too!


  2. Thanks for the comment Jon. I'd be lying if I said I still don't wonder what if...

    I have a phenomenal staff, great students and a strong community, most would be 100% content...

    Thanks as always for taking the time to read and share!

  3. Ben,

    I can relate so much to all of your points. We are moving back to the US after TEFL in China for 4 years, and all of your reasons reaffirm what we've been working through. Thank you for sharing your heart, struggles, and passions!


  4. Ben I don't know how I missed this post this week. As always your posts seem to come to me at just the right time. I am in the midst of some decisions and future planning and this post helped me. I still am not sure what it is I want in my near future and that makes it more difficult. I find that I want to have a clear head and a calm place to make the right decision. But, life doesn't always work that way. It doesn't slow down in order for us to make decisions and sometimes we just have to go with what we feel is right. Either way having you as a sounding board and a mentor has helped me tremendously and for that I want to say thank you.

  5. The college professors keep giving more and more writing tasks to students without even realizing how time consuming this actually is. Luckily I now know what to do with it.