Last week was Career Day at the Middle School where I lived most of my teaching years. I was invited to be a presenter and spent that morning in my former classroom to talk about Innkeeping, starting a business, and living life.
I have to confess that I experienced the first school-dream that I’ve had in the three years since retiring. Teachers know what this is – it starts happening to them in August and flares up intermittently throughout the term. Anyway, in my dream I was in a classroom of 30 girls who wouldn’t stop talking and texting, and whom all wanted to use the bathroom at once. Happily, it didn’t turn out like that at all. I was ready.
Amazing Joan, who assists me here and worked with me at school, came along. Again we were in front of the classroom as if we’d never left and had the kids making scones, answering questions, talking about SCORE.org, and tallying up points to win prizes. There’s a lot you can do in thirty minutes, and you’d better know that your kids’ teachers pack it in every day.
With every lesson, there is some idea you want the kids to walk away with – the point of the whole thing. This was my advice to Middle Schoolers on How To Live Your Life presented under the guise of business and entrepreneurship:
Life Acknowledges Your Participation
I began by handing out playing cards every time a kid answered a question, right or wrong, to ultimately reward some with a prize. Point: You need to participate in life and be part of the game.
If I Want To __________, Then I Have To_______.
Nothing comes for free! If you want good grades, you have to study. If you want friends, you have to talk to people. Point: If you want to succeed, you have to put in the work.
What If … Who Cares?
Any time we try something new our defenses go up and we try to talk ourselves out of it. “What if I fail? What if I lose all my money? What if it’s not a good idea? What if nobody comes?” Point: You need to answer yourself back with, “What if you don’t fail?! What if you make a million dollars? What if it’s the best idea ever?! What if everybody shows up and tells their friends?!”
Everyone Will Try To Stop You
You already know that you will try to talk yourself out of it (see above), and other people will also. Usually the advice is couched in good intentions with advice like, “I don’t want to see you get hurt. Nobody succeeds in business these days. You’ll never get there at this point in your life, blah, blah, blah.” Point: Keep going. If you’ve done the research and have prepared, ignore them.Rest but don’t quit, which leads into the next point.
You Don’t Have To Know How It Will Happen, You Just Have To Know It CAN
We never have all the answers to anything, and when even life tries to stop you, hang in there. You may be familiar with my own story, which was featured on motivational speaker Jon Gordon’s website. Point: When you’re down to the last answer to your problem, there are more answers and there is more help. You just don’t know them yet.
You Are Here Grow Spiritually, To Serve Others, And To Enjoy the World
I actually said that to the kids, preceded by “I don’t work here so I can say this.” What are they going to do, kick me out?! On top of that in the last session I got bold and added, “And when you don’t know what to do next, pray.” Really, I should have told them to begin by praying. Point: Look in, look out, look above.
I had a lot of fun at Career Day and hope the kids enjoyed it, too. So loved seeing all of my former colleagues and miss their company. Maybe I’ll be return next year with another message. Maybe I’ll just sit on my porch, enjoy the world and wave to the school bus as it passes.
Come join me on my porch for a glass of wine and a chat. I have a beautiful getaway and lots of advice free for the taking. See you soon!