Insecurity. It’s a terrible feeling. A lack of confidence. It can eat away at you. It can stop you from doing things you want to do. It’s makes you question yourself. It makes you question what you’ve always known to be true. So, what do you do about it?
I reflect. Then, I write. And here we are.
About half-way through my career, I realized I was ready for more. It started in my classroom. I searched out opportunities to do things with my students that others weren’t yet doing. Technology played a huge role. From there it moved into my school. And then my schoolboard.
I loved my students, I loved teaching, but the daily grind was becoming…the daily grind. I needed more. So, I tucked away my insecurities and I took the leap. I sought out change. A new grade. Then a new school. I hoped a change of pace would shake things up. It did. Change was becoming more exciting than scary. Don’t get me wrong, it was still terrifying – I am a creature of habit and routine – but there was something exciting about facing a new challenge. Then I caught the bug. The, I can’t stop bug. That little piece inside you that sets goals and achieves them and then needs to set bigger goals and achieve those. And so on and so on and so on.
In the last few years of my career I’ve set many big and small goals. I’ve tried a boatload of new things, both in and out of my classroom. I’ve set my sights on lofty goals that I was determined to reach and every time things didn’t go as planned, I just kept going. Not right away, and not without encouragement of some of my favourite people. But I’ve always been determined to keep going. What other choice do we have really? Give yourself time to process, get up, dust yourself off and just keep going.
This is where the insecurity piece comes in. The bigger the goals, the bigger the stakes, the bigger the risks. Taking those leaps takes courage. It also takes planning, reflection and patience. My goals have me meeting huge minds in education. People I’ve respected for years. People who have impacted my life in ways I never imagined. Being surrounded by these people can make you feel simultaneously empowered and insecure. I sometimes question whether or not I should just stick to what I know best.
Insecurity is powerful. It can make you believe you need others to be great. It can make you question everything. There have been many times when I wondered if I could cut it, if I was good enough. Could I do for others what these people have done for me? Could I write a book? Would anyone read it? Should I apply for that conference? Is anyone going to be interested in what I have to offer? Should I get up in front of that crowd? Is anyone going to want to hear what I have to say?
But that bug. It’s there. It’s inside me. It’s not going away. I can’t stay still. I don’t know how to be complacent in this career. Good enough isn’t good enough. When my confidence is quieter than my insecurity I am reminded of a piece of advice from a friend. She says “…it’s not a hierarchy of awesome. They aren’t at the table because they are better – they just got there first. You can still join them as an equal…”.
And there it is. When those insecurities start to get loud, I remind myself that it’s not a matter of if I can join them at the table. It’s just a matter of when.
I keep going.