I know I am up against a whole lot of walls everyday in my mission to change how we look at education on a national level. It can be very overwhelming at times. Along with the positive posts on social media I look for everyday, I have discovered other ways to keep discovering opportunities on a daily basis. I want to share a few of those tiny moments I’ve discovered.
Crematory = Opportunity
When I drive to work every day, I pass a crematory. Once a week I see heavy black smoke coming out of the chimney around 6:30 in the mornings. This seems like a terrible thing to many. Somebody’s family member is in there turning into ashes. It seems depressing. I often wonder who that person was. What did they do to better help humankind in their life? Who did they comfort along the way? Did they mentor people? How did they live? The questions flood my mind during my morning commute. I then think about those questions in my own life. Gary Vaynerchuk always says the best four words to motivate is “you’re going to die.” It is the truth. I look at the crematory as an opportunity to be reminded that we all only have so much time on the earth to make change. Or time is limited in helping others grow and learn. So everyday I pass the crematory, I think about how I have another day to motivate and teach as well as learn from others.
Walking the Dog = Opportunity
Every morning, I get up before my family and walk my dog Zip. It is usually around 5:30 am and I have the pleasure of seeing the sun rise. As I walk down the stairs to grab a cup of coffee, Zip is usually there happy as ever to see me. It’s like he won the lottery every morning. What a way to start each day! In reality, I’m not real sure who is walking who. I’ve never been a person to meditate or sit and think. Each morning, I put my phone to the side and it’s just me and Zip, my 13 year old terrier mix walking in silence. It is very quiet. I notice the squirrels and rabbits rustling around. There are no cars on the street. There are no people out. It is silent. Like my dog and I are the only ones there. This walk centers me and gets me in the mindset of calm and direction for the day. It is an opportunity to fine tune my senses with my vision in mind.
Morning Glory = Opportunity
When I return from walking my dog, I have to walk through my backyard to throw out the bag of dog crap in the trash. So how in the heck can you train yourself to find opportunity in dog crap you ask!? It’s in the journey. That sounds weird. Let me explain. When I start walking Zip it is usually dark. Nothing has bloomed. When I return, the sun is coming up or up completely depending on what time of year it is. On my path to the alley where the trash cans are, we have a fence full of Morning glory plants. When I pass them, they are in full bloom. It’s like they are blessing the sun for their warmth. The pinks and purples are absolutely beautiful. I often stop and just look at this gift God has given me each morning. The natural beauty in the middle of a heavily populated suburb of Chicago is stunning if you take the time to stop and see it. The morning glory blooms give me the opportunity to connect with nature each morning. I have the opportunity to see the gifts of life.
All three of these examples of my morning are things I see every day. They involve me being quiet, listening, and looking. These are a few ways I have trained myself to start my day looking for opportunities before my workday begins. It has has a profound effect on the way I view the world and the people who I teach and learn from. Take time to look at small things around you each morning that can provide you with motivation. It is a great thing to see opportunity every day.