Friday, July 24, 2015

#202: I. Can.

The day is from July, at the end of Year 2 of my MAET program. Now that 2016 is moments away, it's time to put "pen to paper". This summer, more than any other experience or schooling, taught me useful, profound, simple tools for use professionally and personally. I was challenged mentally and emotionally even physically like never before.

I sensed a problem when it was time to start practicing for my presentation for the #Great15 Conference. Our professors kept telling us to write out exactly what we were going to say and practice in front of a mirror as many times as possible. For me this was a problem because in order to write out what I was going to say I had to decide what I wanted to say which meant I had to sit still and research and read and organize.

It was daunting and painful and awful and stressful and the day before the conference I was in the weeds and freaking out and I wanted to change my entire idea. However, my professor stepped in to help. She told worked through the whole thing with me and told me under no circumstance was I allowed to change what we came up with together. I finally sat down, painful as it was, and typed out every single word I would say. I timed myself in practice 4 times before the actual conference. The "live" take was totally acceptable and I was utterly proud of myself for pulling it together enough to give a respectable presentation.

The things I learned that I use every single day throughout all areas of my life are endless: that I can create something, from start to finish. That creating something requires hard work, diligence, persistence, some measure of pain and discomfort, and decisions. That ideas are malleable and that the one you start with is hardly ever the one you finish with, and this is how it works. That I am not inherently bad at creating, I am just unpracticed. That I am not inherently bad at all. That my work may be a reflection of parts of me but is in no way a reflection of my value as a person. That writing down the plan is almost always a very good thing, akin to other tenets I've heard: millionaires know how much everything costs; perfect practice makes perfect; and writing down lesson plans really does make me a better teacher. I learned that writing it down, whatever it is, and having a plan does not diminish my creativity and is not self-will getting in the way of what God was going to just bestow on me without any work on my part, but is in fact a tool that God can use to enhance my creativity. Always edit. Always go over it one more time. When it is done, be proud, critical, open-minded, then let it go.

I learned that finished is better than perfect.

I learned that I can.

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