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Getting up from a Fall

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“Our greatest glory is not in never falling but instead rising every time we fall.”  ~ Confucious

Falling, whether physically or emotionally, is not an opportunity we tend to look forward to. I doubt any of us wake up each morning hoping to fall. The physical or emotional pain takes a toll on us. Yet, like it or not – falling is a part of life. Everyone of us falls.

How do you get up from a fall? What runs through your mind? What are your actions? Perhaps we’ve fallen and were not pleased with how we reacted. We can learn from that and try to react to the next fall in a different manner.

One book that I pull out after each fall is Peaks and Valleys by Spencer Johnson, M.D. (In fact I have recently reread the book to help me through some recent falls – both

physically and emotionally.) Perhaps you’ve noticed the mountain scene at the top of my blog. It was put there for a purpose. It is my reminder that falling is a natural process in the learning continuum and in life. If we didn’t fall, we wouldn’t learn or grow! It is my goal to not stay in a Valley for long. I strive to set my sights on the Peaks.

Some of you may be familiar with another book by Spencer Johnson: Who Moved My Cheese. Both books are quick reads, but allow the reader to reflect and do some soul-searching!

Peaks and Valleys provides us ideas on making good and bad times work for us at work and in life. The book jacket reveals:

Cover of "Peaks and Valleys: Making Good ...

Cover via Amazon

Peaks and Valleys is a story of a young man who lives unhappily in a valley until he meets an old man who lives on a peak, and it changes his work forever. Initially, the young man does not realize he is talking with one of the most peaceful and successful people in the world. However, through a series of conversations and experiences that occur up on peaks and down in valleys, the young man comes to make some startling discoveries. Eventually, he comes to understand how he can use the old mans’ remarkable principles and practical tools in good and bad times and become more calm and successful himself.”

The book calls the reader to share the story of Peaks and Valleys not only to help others, but to help ourselves. The more others around you know how to make good and bad times work for them it makes for a more enjoyable environment for ourselves.

I am learning that by using the Peaks and Valley approach I am looking at my journey from a different perspective. Rather than having the human falls in life take a toil, I am trying to focus on the following:

  • The more I’ve use a Peaks and Valleys approach in my work and personal life, the more peaceful and successful I have become. These Peaks and Valleys not only represent the highs and lows we feel at work and in life but also how we feel inside and respond to outside events.
  • The three keys I strive for are:
    • Getting out of a Valley Sooner – this isn’t an easy task. Falling hurts. Recent professional falls, such as missed opportunities in career advancements, are painful. Yet, learning to realize that the opportunity may not have been the right opportunity for has helped me leave the Valley sooner. Also focusing my energy in my present position brings a renewed sense of fulfillment.
    • Staying on a Peak Longer – A key learning for me is realizing the sensation of a Peak does not come from a title or position. It comes from appreciating and enjoying where you are at and staying in the present! No matter what position I’m in, my goal is to empower educators. Right now that is in the role of an instructional coach – a peak. I’m looking forward to learning from some awesome teachers and administrators once again in my journey to my next desired Peak – elementary principal.
    • Gaining more Peaks and fewer Valleys in the Future – I have gotten out of an Valley faster when I choose to look at the situations positively. One key is finding the Peak even if I am in a Valley. That is easier said than done. During one recent Valley – a physical one – I spent times feeling sorry for myself. This mood kept me in the Valley even longer. When I forced myself to find the good in the current Valley, I found my mood becoming more positive. I have used this approach with emotional Valleys as well. Throughout the job search process for an elementary principal position I’ve had wonderful opportunities to interview in school districts and meet some dedicated educators. When the “fit” isn’t right, rejection is difficult. Learning from each of these experiences has brought much growth along the way. Picking myself back up and leaving the Valley sooner is the key to gaining more Peaks.

Reflecting through a Peaks and Valley Approach continues to be a productive guide. I am finding that it is easier to “get up from a fall” and continue on the path I’ve set to achieve my dreams. Each new step is a new opportunity to Learn and Grow!

What have you done to help pick yourself up after a fall?

(I’m liking this picture a lot. I may need to look into changing my blog header! Can I use a creative commons photo as a blog header? I guess that’s what I’m doing right now.)

Photo Credits:

cc licensed flickr photo shared by gibsonsgolfer
cc licensed flickr photo shared by ecstaticist
cc licensed flickr photo shared by ecstaticist

Categories: Change, Instructional Coaching, Leadership, Relationships
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3 Comments to Getting up from a Fall

  1. Susan Muir
    September 4, 2011 7:46 pm

    Thank you for sharing your honest insights. I too have had many peaks and falls.
    My biggest fall was on October 12,1993 when my father died in a plane crash (age 49). He was piloting the plane when it crashed. Four lives were taken; four new paths for the friends and family that mourned the tragic loss.
    The day my father died was the day my life took on a different meaning. Since that day, my life and my ‘self’ changed.
    On the day of my father’s passing my mother’s life also changed. It plummeted down into a deep valley. I tried so hard to help her get out of that valley. She was deep in that valley for four years when her own life was lost. My mother died at the age 49. She really was never the same after losing her husband, my father. My mother died of a brain aneurism. Her life was taken that day but her soul was taken the day my father died.
    I have lost more family over the years that changed my path… I mourn in a valley.
    My life has not always been in the valley. I have worked very hard to get out of the valley after my father died. I needed to be strong for my mother. I needed to be strong for my ‘self’. I made it out of the valley, yet every day I need to fight to avoid slipping into the valley’s shadow.
    I have lived my life on the peak for many years now. I have my own family, a husband and two children. I have a career that I worked hard to achieve. I have kept myself high up on the peak, scared and always afraid of what tomorrow might bring.

    • Kathy Perret
      September 5, 2011 6:36 pm

      Susan,
      Thanks so much for sharing your story. My heart aches for the pain you have been through. You continue to amaze me from a personal and professional standpoint. Your career accomplishments that I look up to take on even more meaning knowing of your personal valleys. You are an amazing YOUNG lady. I look forward to continuing our coaching connections! I learn so much from you!

      Kathy

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