Change, growth and giving things up

This time of year there’s always a lot of talk about professional development. People have started courses in all sorts of subjects, gaining qualifications and generally-well, improving themselves. Yes, folks, there’s a lot of learning going on.

Is it something to do with the shorter days, the cold weather, the idea that we should be hunkering down with a book in front of a roaring fire?   I notice that Brad Patterson’s blog http://blog.edulang.com/my-fall-professional-development-reading-and-yours , exemplifies this as he shows us his seasonal professional development reading and invites us to share ours.

Anyway, it got me thinking about growth and change.  As someone who has been in the profession for a fair bit of time now, and who has been working for herself for 16 years, I’ve mostly had to be in charge of my own professional development. I mean, like many people, I’ve had to take control of my own career, and decide what path is best for me. And, well, it’s very difficult sometimes, to choose from the multitude of options. Especially as everything seems so interesting.

Walt Disney famously said that change is inevitable, but growth is optional.  In order to grow, I think, we have to consciously put our attention on specific areas and make a determined effort to embrace change. Neuro-Linguistic Programming talks about the difference between Cause or Effect. You’re either at cause for a change, or at effect for it. As we all know, being at effect makes us feel like victims; being at cause means that we assume responsibility.

Responsibility for change sounds fine to me, though of course like most human beings I get into my ruts. The part of change and growth that I’ve always found a real challenge, though, is that part where you have to give something up because you want to make space for something else.   As I say, I’m the kind of person who finds everything fascinating, and I’m loath to give up on any part of my portfolio. But sometimes you just have to- after all there are only so many hours in the day, right?

I’ve had lots of instances of having to leave things in my career, sometimes being forced through circumstance to leave things, sometimes doing it voluntarily. It’s always hard. A few years ago, for example, I was an inspector on the British Council Scheme in the UK. I absolutely loved it, going in to schools , talking to teachers and managers, talking to students. The only reason I gave it up finally was because I moved out of the country.  I also had to eventually leave CELTA training, because I simply couldn’t do that and everything else I wanted to do.  The list goes on.

I suppose the reason I’m thinking about all this now is that I’m at the point again where I’ve just decided that I have to give up something. Right now, it’s giving up managing my website. It takes too much of my time, and someone else can do it just as well, probably better. I do so enjoy doing it though  …. Sigh! I suppose what I need to do is keep my focus on what I’m making space for. The new projects I want to take on, the courses I want to design.

However I reframe it, it’s going to be hard, I know. But then, perhaps it’s the changes we find most difficult that allow us to grow most.

So there we are. My musings on change, growth and giving things up. What about you? Do you find this giving up as difficult as I do? What are you giving up right now? What are you making space for?

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2 thoughts on “Change, growth and giving things up

  1. Hi Sue-

    Thanks for the mention. Would love to hear what you’re reading these days.

    Enjoyed the Walt Disney quote and find that point-on. These days I’ve given up time in the classroom for other projects. Otherwise, I feel the need to create more space for my physical practices like yoga, cycling and simply moving the body a bit more regularly. It’s far too often that I’ll sit down to work at 8am, barely grab a bit for lunch, and then find myself still churning away into the late hours of the evening, without have moved an inch.

    Hoping to find the impetus to change, though I’m enjoying what I do so much that sometimes it’s hard to move in another direction. Guess that was part of the message in your post.

    Cheers, Brad

  2. Thanks for your comment, Brad.

    Good point about physical movement- it is sometimes hard to get away from the computer, isn’t it?

    Yes, moving in another direction. I suppose what I think is that there are so many enjoyable things that one could be doing , that simply choosing gets to be difficult…

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