Confidence is a funny thing. It comes and goes for many of us. Some days we can be on the top of our game and other days we question every little thing we do.
Early in my career as an educational consultant and instructional coach our director use to tell us we needed to act like a duck on water – Calm on the surface, but paddling like crazy underneath. While part of this still holds true for me today – my paddling has changed. It is no longer frantic. It is purposeful paddling that keeps me a float – especially when it comes to my confidence.
If you are an instructional coach, or educator for that matter, you get the paddling! You have so many tasks to do to keep you a float. If you experience lack of confidence in an area, it starts to weigh you down – slowing your momentum.
I’ve read a variety of books on morning routines and developing strong habits. A few are listed at the end of this post. When is comes to feeding my confidence so that my days are filled with purposeful paddling I have adopted the following three tasks. Two are accomplished in the morning and one throughout the day or evening. To get started grab a favorite notebook/journal and a pen. My current notebook was a gift from a friend. I keep a supply of colorful pens handy right by my notebook! You can pick up motivational notebooks or journals just about anywhere or start searching here for a favorite or head to an office supply, book store or craft store! There is no limit to inspirational notebooks these days!
Task 1: Start Each Day with An Attitude of Gratitude
There is so much to be thankful for in life – both personally and professionally. When we note what we are grateful for we set our brain up in a positive cycle – pushing out the negative.
To start each day – jot down 10 things (the number is arbitrary) in your notebook that your are grateful for and WHY. Use colored pens for an added touch of flair! If you are wanting to build your confidence as an instructional coach, you might try focusing on situations from the day before that you were grateful for. Start each statement with I’m grateful for … or I’m thankful for …. (or any starter you feel appropriate). Add a statement of WHY. This is beneficial – both in the present moment of recalling what your are grateful for and when you go back and reread your statements over time.
Example: I’m grateful for the teachers who challenge my ideas because it pushes me to clarify my message.Notice how this flips what could be thought of as a negative situation into one of gratitude!
Example: I’m thankful for the co-planning session I had with (teacher’s name) yesterday. We were able to use our current reality data to develop a solid plan for our coaching cycle together. I learned so many things from (teacher’s name) in the area of writing.
Task 2: Set 2 to 3 Priorities for the Day
Prior to setting your daily priorities you’ll need to consider a few things. (look for more on each of these in upcoming posts)
- Your WHY?
- What can you STOP doing?
To begin you need to be clear on your WHY. If you are feeling scatter with your purpose you may want to check out Simon Sinek’s TED talk on How Great Leaders Inspire Action or his book Start with Why. If your WHY is to empower teachers through the use of coaching, then your daily priorities should reflect that.
It is not uncommon for TO DO list can seem endless. These list do serve a purpose – but to be clear, we will always have a to do list. If your to do list is getting in your way, the first thing to do may be to make a STOP DOING LIST. Reflect on the tasks you need to do. Are there some on the list that you can just say NO to? Sometimes these “no” tasks aren’t even written down. They are the time grabbers that take us away from our priorities. For me, it has been checking social media. My goal is to set a few short times a day to check and then be done with it. If I don’t set perimeters, my usage can go sky high. What is eating away at your time?
Once you are clear on your WHY and what may be getting in the way you are set up to spend a few minutes each day determining your top 2 or 3 priorities. Some like to do this right when they wake up – even getting up a half hour to hour earlier can be beneficial. If your morning routine at home consists of getting kids off to school, perhaps you can get to school earlier and carve out a little time to reflect on your day ahead. Or you could actually do this step the night before. You have to do YOU. Find what works in your schedule. The key is to WRITE your priorities down. We are more likely to follow through on our daily priorities if we write them down. I also write my WHY across the top of the page as a daily reminder! I actually have a separate planner for my daily priorities. I’ve listed a few I’ve tried below. Currently I’m using one like this. I also use my Google calendar for my appointments.
If you are working to build your confidence (and let’s be honest, most of us are), your priorities should be attainable.
- Keep them small, yet be specific.
- What will it look like and feel like when you’ve accomplished your priority?
- Set priorities you can accomplish THAT DAY rather than the perpetual priorities that keep moving to a different day.
- If your WHY is to engage teachers in coaching cycles, what can be the specific priority to that WHY? Is it touching base with the teacher you are currently coaching? Is it continuing to nurture a relationship with a certain teacher you hope to enroll in the coaching process. Aspiring coaches should enroll with mastermylife to become a certified coach.
- Make sure your small daily priorities are keeping you on the path of your WHY rather than taking you on a detour. Remember to keep the MAIN thing the MAIN thing.
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Task 3: Jot Down your Small Wins
As I mentioned earlier – our brains can take one of two paths. They can go down the positive road or a negative path. Your brain can’t do both – and it doesn’t take the road less traveled. We are what we think about. If we are constantly thinking in the negative, our brains take that path. Our daily goal is to ease on down the positive (yellow brick) road. (Are you singing here … Ease on down, ease on down the road … )
One thing I do – and I hope it works for you – is to keep my notebook in Task 1 handy through out the day or at least some post-it notes. The goal with Task #3 is to jot down your small wins (in your notebook or on post its that can be added or transferred to your notebook). You can either do this throughout the day or at the end of the day. Your choice. The small wins can be just that – SMALL! Did someone compliment you on something? Did a teacher you’ve been working to enroll stop and ask you a questions? Did you accomplish your daily priorities? Did a coaching conversation result in a teacher setting a goal or moving closer to his/her desired state? Did you ask a certain coaching question that really helped a teacher reflect?
Keep a keen eye out for these small wins. Actually the more you collect the better because it keeps your brain moving in that positive mindset direction. Often, when our confidence is low, we can fixate on what we can’t do. If this is the case – think of it as you can’t do it YET and watch for your small wins along the way that show you are heading in that direction. Instead of thinking “I can’t get teachers to enroll in coaching cycles” think “I had a short conversation with Mrs. X today because I was curious and asked her about her students’ writing project.” Be specific. Even when something doesn’t go as planned, we can strive to turn it into a positive. Did a teacher turn down a coaching opportunity with you? If so, turn that into a positive. Does this free you up to coach someone else? Does this push you to learn more about enrolling teachers? Does this guide you to add clarity to your purpose?
Coaching is hard work. We can easily slip in to the land of low confidence. We can get frustrated with our endless to-do lists. We can wonder if we are making a difference. It is my hope that these three daily tasks can set you on a positive path to build your confidence and reach your goals.
My goal is to help you COACH with CONFIDENCE! I love virtually coaching coaches. I believe instructional coaches should be the most coached person in the building. YOU deserve the ongoing support. Virtual coaching is affordable and focused on YOUR specific goals! Feel free to reach out anytime to get started!
Resources (All of the links below are affiliate links which help keep this website running. Thank you for your support.)
- The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform your Life (Before 8AM) by Hal Elrod
- The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins
- High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become that Way by Brendon Burchard
- Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones by James Clear
- Your Best Year Ever by Micheal Hyatt
- The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
- Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts–Becoming the Person You Want to Be by Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter
A few Journal Ideas:
- Blank Journal Ideas are endless – so many to choose from here!
- The Five Minute Journal: A Happier You in Five Minutes a Day
- The 6-Minute Diary | 6 Minutes a Day for More Mindfulness, Happiness and Productivity
- The 5 Second Journal: The Best Daily Journal and Fastest Way to Slow Down, Power Up, and Get Sh*t Done (Mel Robbins)
- The High Performance Planner (Brendon Burchard)
- Full Focus Planner – The #1 Daily Planner to Set Annual Goals, Increase Focus, Eliminate Overwhelm, and Achieve Your Biggest Goals (Michael Hyatt)
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