Intention and Impact...Does Yours Align?
Happy Sunday Educators and welcome to our 4th posting! For those of you who are new to the Awakened Educator, a special welcome to you. We are happy to have you and invite you into a space where we push a heightened sense of awareness and empowerment which creates lasting change for those in the field of education.
First…how are you doing?
Before we dive into the post...time to check on you. How are you? Try not to give the ready answer of “fine” and keep it moving but really take a moment to check in with yourself and see how you’re doing and feeling at this time. We are headed into November and this is around the time when the first (or second) signs of frustration and overwhelm begin to set in. The holiday break is within sight but still too far away to make a significant difference. You may be faced with more questions than answers and more problems than solutions at this juncture.
Does this resonate? If so, know that you are not alone but ignoring how you feel will not make it better. I encourage you to determine one thing that you can do to garner a bit more control over what occurs in your life and take action. Maybe it’s as simple as choosing to say no to one more optional project; or getting to bed about 30 minutes earlier so you’re not operating on fumes; or making sure you take 2-3 minutes at different points throughout your day to breathe deeply and bring a bit more oxygen and clarity into your day. Whatever it is, trust that you deserve it and a little goes a long way in bringing you back to center.
Onto our topic…have you ever had an interaction with someone where there was an offense based on something you said or did and you were caught completely off guard by their reaction? You may have stated or thought, “the way this individual is interpreting this situation is so far from where I was coming from” and “that was not my intention at all.” You may even add…” they should know me well enough to know that I would never do anything to hurt or offend them.” Ever been there? I have and I will say that when I have felt the most conflicted is when I believed that my actions were being misinterpreted and made to convey something completely contrary to their original intent.
”They should know me well enough to know that I would never do anything to hurt or offend them.” But yet...they are offended.
The reality is that this level of misinterpretation happens often. The question, however, is what is the best way to move forward when it occurs. I do happen to believe that life tends to present us with lessons and when discomfort occurs, there usually is an opportunity to learn something that can support growth and forward movement. What I’ve come to realize is that misunderstandings such as these are due to the gap which exists between one’s intention and the actual impact. The gap is also where the lesson is embedded. Sure it wasn’t my intention to offend you when I was honest about what I shared but for some reason it landed in a way that caused your harm so I may need to pause for a minute and assess what happened and determine if there was a better way to address the situation. Maybe simply being open to hearing your side is enough to shed light on what may have gone awry in the process. I may, however, find that all was well in the way that I approached. The crux is the bringing in the willingness to reconsider my approach so that I and the other involved may potentially land in a more beneficial space emotionally and mentally.
Sometimes when we realize we may have offended; we immediately go to the place of “that’s not who I am” or “that’s not what I’m about” and we may immediately dismiss any possibility that there is a lesson in the equation for us. We may even look at the other individual and remark that maybe they’re offended because the truth is uncomfortable and they are attempting to pass off their discomfort. This is quite possible but not definite. No matter what…choosing to hold a space of awareness and growth, pushes us to at least consider our role in the current reality. It causes us to recognize that when we consistently see misalignment between our intention and our impact, it may be a sign that it’s time to take a look at what we may be unintentionally adding to the situation.
This phenomenon can also lean into situations with students and their families, colleagues, and supervisors. Every person comes to each interaction with a myriad of experiences, interpretations, and perspectives which serve as filters for any new situation or encounter. If at any point, your communication or action creates a negative impact, keeping the lines of communication open may provide the understanding needed regarding where the trigger occurred and how your message was interpreted. It only requires a willingness to take a step back and acknowledge that there is space to learn a better approach no matter how well intended.
So…the next time you find yourself in a situation or discussion where it is becoming clear that the impact of your action is not aligned…push yourself to pause, take a step back, and ask for clarity. Let go of the need to be right for just a moment (I know it’s hard…believe me) and lean into a space of understanding where both parties feel heard. I have found that this shift helps me to spend more time in peace rather than conflict and saves the days and even months of possible ill feelings and negative energy. Lord knows we need that energy for the work we engage in on a daily basis!
How does this resonate with you? Does it ring true? Have you had a contrary experience? If so, I’d love to hear about it. Drop a note and/or feel free to send this post to someone who might need it just this very moment.
In Solidarity and Love,