“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:
“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
Tags: Peaks and Valleys, reflection, struggle