I drink iced coffee in the winter. I actively avoid doing things I'm told to do. I can't, for the life of me, ever decide what to eat.
I also have really high expectations; for myself, situations/events, and other people. These expectations are the very bricks holding up my faultily built wall.
Notoriety has it's repercussions, like your fingers freezing to death as you hold your cold drink in 34 degree weather or taking too much time and energy to decide on Chipotle--always the answer--for lunch.
The worst of the repercussions, however, is disappointment. It is impossible not to be disappointed when you have high expectations.
Txpectations are not the only issue. We also let our attitude do the choosing, rather than choosing our attitude intentionally. We've gotta show that thing who's boss.
In his book, Do Over, Jon Acuff says there are two key steps to taking back your Monday:
1. Choose Your Attitude.
2. Adjust Your Expectations.
Choose Your Attitude.
"Notice I didn't say, 'Change your attitude.' That could take years. Choosing it, though, takes a handful of seconds... Choose your attitude everyday until it eventually chooses you right back." -Jon Acuff
It seems easier to play the victim, to go through life saying, "My job is the reason for this bad attitude. I mean, nobody can choose a better attitude with these circumstances!" We know that's just not true.
Even still, it pains me to share, more often than not, I play that card. Taking into consideration my word for the year--CHOOSE--this is an important focus for the year. By "important focus," I mean God is refining me in this day by day. And by "refining," I mean like refining fire, like 123rd squat in the workout and you have 15 minutes left to go, like Really, God, I have to choose a good attitude in THIS circumstance? Yes, my child. Yes.
Choosing a good attitude is not an act of martyrdom. Actually, quite the opposite. Its an effort to improve your own life and mental health.
This week I am choosing a different attitude.
I'm choosing to cheer on my coworkers in their talents and strengths instead of staying quiet when I see them shine.
I'm choosing to cherish the in-between. It's my favorite part of teaching: The conversations in between classes, the inside jokes, the secret thank you sticky left on my desk. I'm choosing not to gloss over the magic that lies in the margin of the chaos.
I'm choosing to cherish the moments I have with Presley rather than lamenting over the fact that we don't get more weekends together, date nights, etc.
I'm choosing to love my writing days because I'm running fast toward my dream.
I'm choosing to be thankful for this journey of sanctification and growth through teaching. It's likely teaching me more than I can even recognize in this moment.
Some things that help me to remember to choose my attitude:
- Worship jam sesh: I jam to worship music every morning at the butt-crack of dawn when I drive to work.
- Prayer: I'm trying to remember to pray out loud, in addition to praying through journaling.
- Waking up early: This is my saving grace. It fills me up to spend the morning gearing up for the day through reflection and study rather than rushing through the getting-ready process.
(I'm choosing this now, but check on me in five minutes. Maybe tomorrow, too, just in case.)
Adjust Your Expectations.
"The second thing you need to do is adjust your expectations. What are you expecting your job to do for you? We all carry a laundry list of secret expectations, and when our jobs fail to meet them we fail to enjoy our work. Do you expect your job to fulfill every creative wish you have? Do you expect work to bend around your dreams and hopes?" -Jon Acuff
Why, yes, Jon Acuff. I certainly do expect my work to bend around my dreams and hopes.
1. I expect my creatively-planned lessons to engage every single student for 90 minutes per class period.
2. I expect my day to go as planned. At least 99.97% of the time. And I also have a very specifically plan for my day about 99.97% of the time.
3. I expect others to notice my efforts and tell me that they notice them. (This is the most embarrassing one to share, and the one that gets me in trouble the most.)
4. I expect everyone to get on board with what I'm dreaming for the future, to understand it, to cheer me on.
Notice, Acuff doesn't recommend that we abandon our expectations altogether, just that we simply adjust them to align more closely with reality.
1. I can expect to give my full effort in delivering my creatively-crafted lessons. I can expect students to be whole humans, not only affected by what is going on in class, but MANY other things that have nothing to do with me. I can expect learning to have various brewing times--some lessons will sink in when they are far from my classroom. That is a win, though it's an invisible one. I can expect some things not to work, not to reach some students. That's okay, too.
2. I can expect my day not to go as planned. I can expect to keep making plans. Reaching goals and realizing success takes planning. It also takes failure. I need to learn to expect that, too. (No matter how ANNOYING that tends to be.)
3. I can expect to notice my own work and effort, celebrate my own growth. I can expect any time my reasons for doing something are based on perspective of someone I can't control, my expectations will not be met. Most likely. Goals for doing should be based on outcomes that can be affected by what we do, not outcomes that involve hoping someone thinks of us in a certain way.
4. Again, I expect only to be able to control my own efforts, not what other people think. I expect that even if people don't understand my path, my Home Team will back me in whatever I choose to do.
So, if you're sick of Monday like me, try these two tactics.
"One page of words will not deeply impact your hustle on your dream or fix all your relationships, but if you want to have a better job right this second, that's possible." -Jon Acuff
That's enough to convince me to try. What about you?
What expectations do you have that need adjusting? How do you choose your attitude each day?