My Story

12 08 2010

The story of my life is filled with a lot of characters to blame for my problems.  I could give a detailed list of the people (and their flaws) that I used to blame for my life. When I received counseling for my problem with anger, my counselor listened to my stories, heard my complaints, and then he Dr. Phil’d me with a “How’s that workin’ for ya?”  He told me stop blaming others and start accepting responsibility for my life.  For this process, he suggested several tools and strategies including Today Matters by John Maxwell.  In this book, John gives twelve decisions everyone needs to make everyday to be successful.  After receiving counseling over the past year, I have decided to become a counselor because I want help others move forward in their lives.   For the obstacles I will face, I have created a plan using Maxwell’s ideas as a template. 

I started with the book’s first suggestion: have a good attitude.  My decision was to be kind despite disappointment.  Life has taught me that others will let you down, so I am not going to return the favor any more.  This philosophy is very much like the golden rule.  If others are treating me poorly, I will return kindness to them because I want to be treated kindly.  This will definitely be tested during this next school year.  I might even have to do a check-up every fifteen minutes to live it out, but every great leader I have known lives this way. 

With a check for my attitude, I made the decision to be healthy everyday.  This is the easiest decision to make and keep, because I actually enjoy exercise…when it is done!  Seriously though, I have a wife and two sons, and I want to be around for them as long as possible.  Also, I believe physical strength and stamina translates into mental clarity and determination.  Mental work can be physically agonizing, so the stronger the body, the easier that work becomes.  My plan is to exercise for one hour everyday and to manage my carbohydrate intake to under 100 g/day and my overall caloric intake to 2000 calories.    

The next step is for me to “add value to others.”  The primary principle here is to respect people and seek to understand them.  Then, the process involves me practicing what I understand and learn everyday.  When I have truly learned something, I will give it away to help others.  To evaluate my days, I will use these questions from Maxwell’s book.  “Have I been thoughtful toward people today? Would they express joy that they have spent time with me?”  Maxwell uses these in his effort to deposit goodwill in his relationships with others.

The most important relationship in my life is my relationship with God, so my next goal involves searching him out everyday through His Word and prayer.  I believe the bible is the best source of knowledge and wisdom for living, and I want to grow in my understanding of it principles everyday.  I specifically plan to read 30 minutes everyday in the bible and to spend time in prayer for the needs of others, especially my family and friends. In a general sense, I will pray the concerns of the greater church community to which I belong.  I think prayer is a great tool to develop  concern for others.

My priorities at work are the most integral part of my impact there.  My first priority is to carefully plan my classroom environment, and since I am not a big fan of rules, I will limit them to five.  Another priority is lesson planning, and I plan to spend a minimum of an hour a day planning for the next week’s activities.  I teach World Geography which is the study of how people live in relation to their surroundings.  I especially love the potential that current events can play in teaching this subject.  When my students are looking at events happening right now, they can better understand the concepts in the textbook.  My plan for priorities is two-fold; I will prioritize my days by tasks for work and my nights and weekends as time for family.  The priority of everyday will be to review my daily decisions to make sure that I am living by them. For the next step in my career, my plan to become a certified counselor begins in spring 2011.  I will take 45 semester hours over the next two calendar years.  After classes are complete, I will have to take a state certification exam and then find employment as a school counselor.   During my time as a school counselor, I will have to moonlight as an intern for 3,000 hours to fulfill the requirements for the State Licensing board.  After my internship is complete, I will have the credentials to help others move on in their lives as someone did for me. 

A handful of people have been able to speak into my life over the years.  I usually limit that ability to people who have lived faithfully by their spoken values.  When I read ­A Million Miles, I was ready for the same Donald Miller book, vulnerable and humorous.  After I finished it, Donald’s voice was the same, but something noticeable had changed.  He went from talking to walking, because he was living out his values in a tangible way.  Not that I could judge how he had lived before, but as I read about him living life intentionally, I sensed a new found purpose.  The bike ride across America, the hike of Machu Picchu, and the drafting of the movie script provided an inspiring and meaningful backdrop to the lessons Donald shared through out the book.  As teacher, I have learned that stories provide the most meaningful lessons, and I want to attend this conference to learn more how to live a better story using the plans that I have detailed above.

To learn more about the conference watch this video

Living a Better Story Seminar from All Things Converge Podcast on Vimeo.

To sign up for the conference go here  www.donmilleris.com/conference

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