Kelly Counselor's Conversations

A discussion about life and how school counseling fits into it all

Spring “Break” Reading

Last week, I was thrilled to take my first Spring Break vacation in years to Fort Myers Beach, FL.  As my husband and I chose (as gluttons for punishment) to drive the 18 hours from Northern Indiana down there, I had time to read two books that for once, had no relation to school counseling.  Yet, I still found parallels.  Of course.

(Disclaimer:  I am not paid to endorse these books in any way, and all opinions are solely my own).

Hard Choices- Hillary Clinton
A fascinating look at international diplomacy and how painstaking it is to form, repair, and solidify relationships with world leaders in order to not only help the world, but preserve the United States’ interests as well.  Clinton speaks often about how “smart power” and strategies were necessary to repair broken systems from the Bush Administration and take diplomacy into a new era of compromise and foresight to increase global democracy.

I love how Clinton emphasizes how the power of planning, focus, and relationships can really result (albeit sometimes slowly) in drastic positive change.  As school counselors, while intentional in our work, we also rely on an element of faith that if we steer the course and put “first things first”, that broad powerful systemic change can and will happen.  Plus, I love Clinton’s stories of going into cities on her travels to personally meet with students, children, and citizens.  Moral of those stories- don’t stay in your office.  Or plane.  Or luxurious hotel room.  Whatever, just get out there.

 

Tribes- Seth Godin

I actually listened to this as an audiobook- great for the long, boring night drives.  As a side note, audiobooks along with podcasts are great ways to learn, decompress, and use driving time to and from work wisely.

Many of you reading this are probably at least a little familiar with Seth Godin.  If not, you should be.  He is so inspirational and I always feel like he can help us all make the world a better place.  Godin explains how in today’s global and technological society, rounding up a group of like-minded people into a “tribe” is easier than ever. Leaders are more critical than ever in this endeavor- and not just leading, but that connecting passionate “tribesmen” with one another is critical as well.  While I can’t quote this verbatim (it was an audiobook a week ago, after all), Godin’s remark that while leading too soon can be uncomfortable, leading too late can be disastrous for your cause.  Also, letting others take the lead at times can the wisest decision.  As counselors, we are often “yes men” (and women).  Learning to say, even just internally, that “no, I can’t lead this- I don’t have the (insert knowledge, energy, passion, etc.) to see it through” is one of the best things we can do for our other big causes, and for self-care.

What books have you read lately that bring connections in other areas of your life?

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Face Value

When I don’t write for a while, it’s usually for one of two reasons: either I’ve been entirely too busy, or I feel I have nothing to write about.

And neither of these reasons is entirely untrue for the current time lapse between posts, but there is another reason- I feel lately  I’ve been negative in my writing.

A few weeks ago, I had to experience an embarrassing moment with my administrator to come to terms that, really, I’ve been comparing my current school to my former school, and we all know where comparing apples to oranges gets us.

In previous posts, I’ve mentioned attempting to get to another level and come to terms with working in a dramatically different school culture and developmental level. And in the end, who ultimately helped me get to this place?  My husband.

Matt encourages me to often see things at face value and for what they are, not what I think they should be.  This is often tough for me to balance with having a passionate, idealistic, and advocating nature.  But, we all also know balance is good.

I think mentally saying, “this is my school, this is where I choose to be, this is where I am loyal, this is where I want to devote my knowledge and heart, and this is where I will put in the time, and where it is now is where it is now” has really helped give me peace.

When we sit and stew over what is or is not, we hurt ourselves.  When we complain about what doesn’t meet our expectations, we hurt ourselves.  And when yearn for something that never was, we hurt ourselves.  Does it hurt the adults you work with?  Nope.  Does it change the system in itself?  No.  Does not reaching your full potential because you’re “stuck” hurt the students you serve?  You betcha.

The next post won’t be so serious, I promise.

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Less is More

It’s been a little strange for me to be “off the grid” for a few weeks, but it’s exactly what I needed.

I had what I like to call a “Classic Kelly Meltdown” a few weeks back on a Wednesday; I was sure I was pregnant and took a test for the 15th time after calling my OB nurse and following the “wait 3 days, take one again” advice. Needless to say, I got confirmation that I was not. I flipped out (yeah, I’ll call it what it is), and took the day off. I knew I would be no good to the students and staff I serve that day.

I took the day and really reflected on my priorities, and why I was still having such a hard time after my miscarriage in June, and realized that since I became a school counselor five years ago, I had never had such a high level of stress in both my professional and personal life at the same time.

I told my intern last week at school, “I always liked to say that my husband and family was my biggest priority, but actually I’ve made work the priority.”

This is no good if you’re trying to start a family. So, I’m working on spending more time at home, and being present when I’m there. This means leaving work earlier, leaving it there, staying off social media much more, and not making a blog post.

And you know what? The only person who’s noticed is me.

I’m going to continue to take steps to address my perfectionistic and overachieving tendencies, and though it’s been hard to “let go”, I have noticed that I’m much more relaxed and present.

It’s just not worth it to have it all, if you have nothing left inside.

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