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Head + Heart = Hustle

Do You Follow Your Fire?

I went to the DMZ yesterday (that’s a story for another post), and along the way, in an effort to reduce my battery usage to increase Instagram story output, I rediscovered some of my old downloaded playlists.

Does anyone remember Kodaline? I know they’re still active, but let’s be real, they peaked in 2014. They have this one song, that I listened to on repeat yesterday, that has had me thinking. A lot.

Are you still following your fire? Do you even know what it is anymore? Remember in college, when you had passion? Lord knows about what – possibly a war in a country that you hadn’t even heard of or being a vegetarian – but it was passion. It was something in the pit of your stomach that just made you feel all these exquisite feelings at once. You felt like you could possibly be an agent of change one day. You felt like you could matter.

Then you graduated college, and your passion became your career. Maybe your drive became paying your bills and keeping up with rent. Passion became productivity.

I’m on a 5 week trip at the moment, and I really hope that this helps me rediscover my fire. I’ve been feeling a bit drained lately. I want that fire in my life again – excitement, too much energy to sleep, the whole nine yards.

In the past, I’ve always taken away so much from travel. Much more than I ever expect to. I can zoom out and see my day to day life clearly. I can see how others live and see what I need add to my own life. I’m excited to see what comes of this trip.

I’d like to have a conversation. For anyone who is reading this, what is your passion? How do you balance your fire with being an adult? How do you ground yourself in the fact that you are more than your job description?

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Head + Heart = Hustle

My Values Aren’t For the Greater Good

Last weekend, I went to session two of the work on purpose fellowship and I discovered both my strengths and my values.

To catch ya’ll up: my top five strengths were harmony, communication, empathy, input and consistency. My top three values… are non-compliance (hahaha), physical health, and humor.

This weekend, I, Jeanette, learned that I am not as good of a person as I thought I was. AND I’M OKAY WITH THAT! In all honesty, anyone who writes that they value world peace and global warming more than anything else in the world is a damn liar. Maybe Elon Musk is on that level of selflessness, but he was able to achieve selfish goals already.

My values and my strengths make me who I am, and after examining them, I understand why I operate the way that I do. I also totally get why my pet peeves are present. My strength is consistency, so if you say you’ll do something and you don’t… I don’t have faith in you anymore. I value input, so reading makes me feel so damn good, because I get to put some information in my noggin. My value of non-compliance… I get why I question everything that is asked of me.

I think it’s critical that I understand these parts of myself. Before analyzing this, I thought of myself as a “nice” person who does things for others, when really my values are pretty damn self centered. Taking my values and strengths, and putting them against what I do in my current job, makes me understand why I am not thrilled to go to work everyday. Teachers don’t really have room for non-conformity – there’s too many protocols we need to follow. I don’t input all that much into myself at work because the academics I teach are so rudimentary.

After this weekend, I’ve been thinking extensively about happiness and careers and strengths and all that good stuff. I’m curious, how many people are pursuing careers that truly suit them? How is their happiness correlated to that? How can I use my strengths and values, and couple them with my passions, to find my dream job? Is that even possible?

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Head + Heart = Hustle

Head + Heart = Hustle

After college, I went into Teach for America as a corps member. I was placed in Chicago, and taught for two years while going to graduate school to become a licensed teacher. It was the hardest two years of my life, by far. For most people who go into TFA, academics had been easy for them. Many came from top tier schools and had impressive resumes. None of us expected to be challenged the way that we were those two years.

A photo from summer training my first year. See all those charts in the back? I’m pretty proud of them.

During our two years, TFA held countless professional developments and learning opportunities. In all honesty, I was not in the appropriate mental state at the time to take advantage of those. “You want me to think more?” I would say to myself every time I saw a flyer for a meeting. Those two years in the corps were, for the most part, just me trying to keep my head above water. I couldn’t think about the future when I was struggling to get through my day.

Up close and personal with one of those charts I stayed up all night drawing

Fast forward to today: I left my placement school and work at a great school now. I have time to think and process my experiences now. I have time for friends and family, and for myself. I cry far less. I no longer have to consider if crashing my car in the morning drive in would be worth the potential week off I could get. Kidding (sort of). I am finally in a place where I can think about the future.

I saw a flyer in an alumni e-mail a few months ago. It was for a fellowship that they called the “Work on Purpose Fellowship.”

Do you want to figure out what your purpose in life is? Are you considering a move out of the classroom but have no clue what to do/where to go? COME ON OUT!

My answer to all the questions on the flyer was yes. I applied to the fellowship and got accepted. Yesterday was our first meeting, and I’m excited to dive into it. I am finally at a place in life where I can develop myself, and I am grateful to have opportunities like this – opportunities that I scoffed at months ago.

I walked into the room yesterday. There were binders, tote bags and pens on each of the chairs. I promptly texted a picture of the pens to some friends who had decided against the fellowship and had a seat (teachers are suckers for quality writing utensils). Upon going through the binder, I realized I was the youngest person there, which came as a relief to me. As ridiculous as it sounds, it made me feel better that people who are older and wiser and had more experience on this planet also had the same wonderings about their career path. Maybe I’m not the only person who hasn’t found their true calling yet! (No duh, Jeanette)

Last night was an introduction. We met all the other fellows, who came from all over the country and had all types of experiences, but who all realized that they weren’t quite sure of their purpose. We talked about what we were going to get out of the experience. We discussed the messed up educational landscape of our city and state.

The fellowship will be utilizing a curriculum developed by Echoing Green, which is an organization that promotes thought and idea amongst social entrepreneurs. Head + Heart = Hustle is at the core of the curriculum. This is what I hope to get out of the next few months. Heart: I know what I care about, which is special education reform. Head: I’m not quite sure what skills I have (does the teacher stare count?). My hopes are that when I figure out my skills, I can match it to my heart and its passion, and find work that is fulfilling, impactful and meaningful to me. So here it goes guys! Time to hustle!