I contemplated on several words before settling on vulnerability. Vulnerability encapsulates words I have thought of before; gratitude, joy, discomfort, and connection. This word came to me as I watched Brene Brown’s Netflix special “A Call to Courage.” She defines, “vulnerability is not about winning or losing. It is having the courage to show up when you can’t control the outcome.”
I had to let those last words, “when you can’t control the outcome,” sink in. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a control freak. I’ve never been one to embrace uncertainty with open arms. When I was young, I would pester my mom for the weather report. If she said it was going to be sunny, I wanted to know precisely how sunny the weather would be. So, I’m not surprised that my career choice was decided by eight years old. I would line up my stuffed animals in a row and play teacher when I came home from school.
I loved everything about being a classroom teacher for 18 years. I was in control of how the class would be running. I was in control of how I would teach students to read and write. I was in control of developing personal relationships with students and their families. When students and parents asked me questions, I could answer them. I became very comfortable in a familiar setting. However, for the first time in my career, a wave of curiosity came over me when an opening for an instructional coaching position opened. I wondered, what if?
It all happened so fast. The curiosity turned into submitting my resume to a job interview and eventually to the job offer. Fear almost took control over me before accepting the role. Accepting the new role meant I would be, as Brene Brown describes, living in the arena. Embrace failure and mistakes, and be brave with my life. I played with the idea of turning the job down so that I can stay comfortable. Nonetheless, I chose courage over comfort.
Coaching is going well. I’m enjoying my new team and new role. Right now, I’m building my reputation and trust with my new team by asking a lot of questions and observing the lay of the new land. I’m deliberate about the word choices I use in emails and coaching cycles. It’s new, it’s uncomfortable, and yet, I’m having fun.
This year, I choose to live in the arena. I choose to be vulnerable in my new role, in my relationships, and in life.