Goals or Growth

John Maxwell defines the word “ambition” in this one-minute video, and he says something that strikes me profoundly.  Recently, on more than one occasion, people have asked me if I was going to apply for different administrative positions that have opened up at our college.  My answer has been a consistent unequivocal no, that I love the teaching job I have, and that I am no longer interested in being on a career track.  But, each time I have said that, I’ve felt a little empty inside.  I have always loved taking on new tasks, new challenges, and new responsibilities, but recently, due to health issues in my family, I have needed to channel my energies away from my job and more on my family.  I have felt grief on two levels, one personal and the other professional.

But, this afternoon, my one minute with John Maxwell has given me a new focus.  I may not want to change my job or redirect my career, but I do want to continue to develop  myself professionally.  Rather than being goal oriented and thinking about the prize I might win by reaching that higher-level career goal, I will focus on the growth that I still need, not to GET a better job, but rather to DO a better job for my students,  my colleagues, and myself.  It is an obvious concept, but one I hadn’t been able to verbalize.  Thank you, John!

One Response

  1. I think this is a great application of Maxwell’s lesson – that growth is more important and sustainable than goals. Our schools have such a focus on goals. Think of testing benchmarks for students where all we care about is whether or not they reach the proficiency mark, and we ignore how much growth their scores reflect (especially if they aren’t proficient). It’s also the idea that, as teachers, we can reach the place where we’ve arrived (goals) versus being a lifelong learner who always has room for improvement.

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