Hello friend and welcome back to another episode of Artworks for Teachers. I’m your host, Susan Riley, and today it’s just you and me. And this is going to be a shorty episode because last week’s episode with Cindy was so intense, but so, so good, right? So if you haven’t heard the last week’s podcast, all about Cindy’s memoir and about how art makes us whole definitely go back and take a listen. And here’s the thing, peeps, just between you and me, we’ve been doing a lot of heavy work this fall on the podcast with things that y’all are telling us you need help with, classroom management, teacher in-service education, looking at how to deal with student apathy, how to work across testing mentalities. I mean, it’s heavy work, right? And I gotta be honest, I was really yearning to get back to some arts flavor, right? Because that’s who we are, right? We’re looking for that creative component. And so last week’s podcast just filled my soul. It filled my creative cup. It helped me to look at art in a new way. Being as a musician, looking at art and understanding the artistic process and why that can help us to rediscover ourselves and why that’s so important through Cindy’s story, it was just a gem. But it was really long, right? So today’s episode is gonna be a shorty episode and we are talking about how to reframe your thinking with some mindset shifting prompts.
And so some of these I have discovered on my own coaching journey this fall. And I wanted to share them with you because they’ve helped me out in a tremendous way. But also we are headed into the season of gratitude, right? I’m sure you have your gratitude bingo card and you’re working on all things, gratitude in your classroom. And so certainly heading into the month of November and Thanksgiving and things that we want to appreciate, right? Oftentimes that comes with some mindset shifts that we need to make for ourselves. And so we’re gonna kick off the month of November with some of these reframing prompts that I really think will help to ensure that you have a smooth fall. Let’s put it that way. A smooth holiday season that’s coming up, which we know can be oh so stressful for everyone. So you ready to dig in? Okay, so.
Um, first off is my very favorite one. I’m not saving it to last. I’m starting with this because I have seen the impact of this right away. In, in my own journey, I’ve seen it with my daughter. I’ve seen it with my friends. I’ve seen it with our teammates and literally it’s one word that shifts everything. So it’s called what if versus so what. Okay.
So here’s what happens is that oftentimes if we’re gonna try something new or we have a stressful situation coming on us, we start to go into a mental spiral, like what if this happens? And then what if this happens? So for example, lots of times in November, it’s visitation season from our administrative friends who are coming in to do walkthroughs or classroom observations for fall.
And that can be a really stressful time. And so your head might start to spin like, what if my administrator walks in and the one student, the one who always like is my one, decides at that moment to act up, right? What if my administrator walks in and I completely forget my lesson plan, right? You go into this spiral of things that 99,
of the time aren’t going to happen, but you just go down this worry train, right? Switch that by adding a so in the very front. So what if your administrator comes in and you have a student act out? So what? What will you do? Plan for that. So what if your administrator walks in and you forget your lesson plan? So what? You will pick it up because you are the professional that you are, right? So just that one shift from
What if this and what if this and what if this happens? Add a so in the beginning of it and then think about that, plan for that and you will feel so much better. Here’s an example from my life with my daughter. My daughter had experienced a little bit of, you know, girl gossip drama at school. And she came home and she was like, what if all the popular girls are saying this about me? And we shifted it and I said,
So what if they’re all saying that about you? Does that mean anything? Do you respect them anymore? Like all of these follow-up questions and she suddenly was like, no, I don’t care. Right. It stops the worry train in its tracks. This also helps when you’re dealing with a financial issue. So many of us are working, we know that the economy is tough right now. We also know that the holidays are coming and that spending is going to be, increasing and you know we might have some concerns there right with our finances like what if um you know the Christmas tree quite cost twice as much as it did last year what if i can’t afford to send my uh daughter to that uh holiday show that she was going to go to right add the so in front of it so what if you can’t afford to send her what happens next what would you do
So what if the Christmas tree costs twice as much? What would you do differently? Or what could you plan for if that happens? Add the sew in front of it and it makes it actionable. And I think that’s the real key with this particular mindset shift of what if to sew what, is that what if runs on a loop and that loop never stops. And it’s like somebody described worried to me once as sitting in a rocking chair.
You don’t go anywhere. You just go back and forth, right? It’s, you’re just rocking in that worry and that what if, um, mental loop keeps going, it just goes and goes and goes. But when you add the, so in the front, so what suddenly it stops the loop, it interrupts it and it forces you to then take action on it. Whether that action is actually a physical action, like, you know, I would step up and do this or if it’s just a mental planning so that you’re prepared for something, it doesn’t matter. You’re taking action on something, which immediately makes you feel better. So I hope that you like that one as much as I do. And you know, my what ifs, I don’t know about you, but like, they get huge, get to be these huge ugly monsters of things that like would never happen in a million years, but in my mind at this moment, it’s a very real worry. Yeah, if you feel me on that, try this switch. The minute you get into what if this, and then what if this, add a so in front of it. So what if, and see what happens. See if you can plan for that and if it makes you feel any better. Okay, mindset shift number two, reframe your thoughts number two, invest in the possibility rather than the outcome.
Okay, so this one actually came up during our Arts Integration and STEAM certification launches back in October. So we were working with our interested folks who wanted to know more about what career options were available for them if they were certified. And I gave this example, and I just kind of shared it very quickly because it’s a mantra that I use a lot, but the minute I shared it, like, whoo, the comments went crazy. And they were like,
Oh my gosh, that’s really good. That’s really helpful. So I wanted to share it with you today as well, because sometimes we invest our energy and our excitement and our hopes on the outcome of something rather than its possibility. So here’s what I mean by that. Let’s say, let’s go back to the career example that I was sharing earlier. And we’ve seen this, people who have applied for a position and they pin, suddenly they can imagine themselves in that position and they want that position more than anything else, even if there are lots of flaws with that position. But that’s the position I want, that’s the thing that I want, that’s the outcome that I wanna get. And so you may or may not get that outcome depending on a whole lot of other factors, right? But if you are investing in the outcome, you miss all the possibilities that surround that outcome.
So for the career option, if you’re just investing in that one position, you might miss out on the possibility of just sharing your portfolio with your administrator without the expectation of a job offer. And when you share the portfolio, we’ve had this happen so many times, friends. We’ve had our certification alumni just share their portfolio, just say, here, take a look at what I did this year. No expectation whatsoever.
And that administrator comes back and says, this is amazing. How can we bring this to our school? Let’s sit down and think about some things. That’s a possibility, right? You’re investing in the possibility there when you hand somebody something with no expectation for the outcome. Where we all get in trouble is when we invest in the outcome, in the thing that we want so desperately, right? We want this so bad. And sometimes we get it, and that’s amazing.
But when you invest in the possibility first, if you invest in, there’s the possibility that an administrator might do this. There’s a possibility I could go into consulting. There’s a possibility that I could do something amazing in my classroom and wanna share it at an upcoming national conference. There’s this possibility and this possibility and this possibility that spurs us to actually take more action and better action to get the things that we want, when we put all of our energy in the outcome, we close off all the other possibilities that we exist that we just can’t see yet. So invest in the possibility rather than the outcome. When you take a look at not just career things, because I know a lot of us are thinking about what’s next possibly. Do we wanna stay? Do we wanna go? What does that look like? But also,
Think about other things that are outside of just your career, right? Your relationships. What are possibilities that you want out of your relationships that you could invest in rather than just in the outcome? Like, you know, I, my, I used to do this a lot with my husband. I would want like, I want him to initiate a date night from start to finish. I don’t want to have to plan anything. Right. And I would, I would dig into that outcome and hold tight to it.
And he never met the challenge. But when I invested in the possibilities of what could happen during a date night and how to encourage, you know, what would he possibly need? Well, he can’t read my mind, so he might wanna know what my preferences are this week. Like, am I feeling like staying in or going out? And then give him a little clue, right? Invest in some of the possibilities and he shines.
He surprises me and it is a wonderful experience. So again, invest in the possibility rather than the outcome. If you find yourself clinging to an outcome, or if you start to find yourself planning for a future surrounding a one particular outcome, I’m gonna tell you you’re headed down the wrong track.
If you’re going to be disappointed in one aspect or another, because it’s never gonna be exactly the way that you imagine it. So invest in those possibilities, keep those wide open and your outcomes are gonna take care of themselves. Number three, this is a biggie. This is something that we use a lot in our organization for conflict resolution. And here it goes, one simple question. What story am I telling myself? And this is a great one to ask a colleague as well who comes up and is very upset about something. What story are you telling yourself about this situation? So I’ll give you an example. If a colleague comes up and says, oh my gosh, I can’t believe our administrator, he’s never supported me on anything, he doesn’t do anything about this situation, I have this awful child in my classroom who is just terrible.
And my administrator just keeps blanking on me and I have no support and what am I supposed to do? Okay, could very well be that is the situation. But the first question that I ask a colleague around that is typically, let’s talk about this child or like what story is happening here? What is actually happening with that child? Don’t tell me the story that you’re telling yourself. Tell me like start to finish what that child is doing. Or, when was the last time you heard from the administrator? Don’t just make an assumption. When was the last time you spoke to the administrator? Have you brought that concern to the administrator? What story are you telling yourself? Is it that the administrator doesn’t like you? Is it that the administrator isn’t supportive? Is it that the administrator doesn’t want to deal with, the behavior infraction? Is it that the administrator doesn’t care? Is it that the administrator is too busy? What’s the story you’re telling yourself? What’s the underlying story you’re telling yourself? And sometimes that can have an immediate negative reaction. Well, you just don’t understand. But I promise you, they’ll take a minute and they’ll start to think about that and think about what’s the story that’s underlined. The easier way to do this is to actually just do it for yourself and that is what I would actually recommend. I do, what story are you telling yourself with my staff? Because we’ve done it so many times. So when my staff comes to me with a problem and says, I didn’t like how this person did, said this, this during the meeting, and this person really hurt my feelings and they weren’t listening, I will often ask that person, what story are you telling yourself about that situation? Because then it gets beyond just the feelings, it tells me what they’re telling themselves and then helps them to articulate that so that we can then get to the root of the problem. My team is very used to that with me. I would not do that with someone unless you’re really, really comfortable doing that with them and they have some practice and they know that you’re coming from the very best place. The better place to do this is with yourself. Question yourself any time that you are upset with someone because remember it takes two to tango, right? It’s…
The situations are never done in a vacuum, which means there might be something else at play here. So when you ask yourself that question, what story am I telling myself? You may find out more information about yourself than about the situation, right? That the situation may not be what you think it is, and it might, whatever this situation is, might be causing you to feel a certain way that you weren’t anticipating. I’ll give you an example.
I’ll give you a personal example that actually happened to me back in September. I had a company approach me very quickly about seeing if we were interested in working with them, collaborating with them. And everything looked great, sounded wonderful, you know, pie in the sky promises, all of the wonderful things that you hope for in a collaboration. And so then they asked me, for a folder of materials of background information on our organization, budgets, finances, all kinds of things, right? And so I shared that with them after an appropriate NDA. And within 24 hours, within 24 hours, they emailed me back and said, thanks, but no thanks. And immediately, I mean immediately, I started to cry, I was upset.
I called my husband and I was like, I can’t believe this just fell through. They wanted, they were so excited and it must have been our numbers. Our numbers just aren’t enough for them. We’re just not a big enough company. We’re just not what we should be at this point. I can’t believe after 10 years and being in business, this is what it is. And then I called my parents and I went through the same thing because both of them are business owners and you know.
And nobody seemed to be able to help me out of this churn, right? Until I hung up with them and I looked at myself and I went, what story are you telling yourself? And I realized what I was telling myself was all the insecurities that I have about our company, you know, that I should be further along or that we should be helping more people or that we should have a larger email list or that we should.
We should, we should, we should. But that may not be what’s actually happening here. Those are my insecurities that I’m putting onto this situation, but I never asked why they decided to not partner. So I decided to sit down and I wrote them an email and I said, thank you so much for your decision. I fully respect it. In full candor, would you be willing to offer me an explanation as to why you came to this decision?
And my friends, within 24 hours, there was an email in my inbox that had nothing to do with the story that I had been telling myself. It was simply, oh, we realized that we were doing so much crossover work that we didn’t this we felt like this was not the right time for this collaboration. We would love to stay in touch and perhaps pursue it later. Had nothing to do with any of my insecurities, any of the story that I was telling myself, right?
But I would never have known that if I didn’t stop and ask myself that question and then seek out the real response. So you may not wanna try it with a colleague right away. It’s pretty difficult unless you have a really wonderful relationship with somebody like that teacher bestie that you can go back and forth with and you know they’re not gonna take offense. You could definitely use this together. This is something that again, on my team we use with each other and honestly my team uses it with me, it’s really helpful. But you may want to use it for yourself in more detail. I think it will really help you again, get out of the loop that we sometimes get stuck in and help you to see a situation for the reality of what it is and not what you’re feeling about it. The last thing that I wanna share today only because it is November and gratitude month abound.
I want us to all remember that what you appreciate appreciates and so make it a point this month to appreciate things to notice things to see joy in places where we might take it for granted otherwise because the more you can identify as gratefulness and being appreciative of it the more you’ll see of it and who couldn’t use more joy and beauty and all of the good things that we want in our life. So that concludes this shorty episode. I hope that you find these mindset shifts and these reframing phrases helpful for you this month. If you get stressed with the upcoming holidays, use that what if, so what reframe and use that to help you take some positive action appreciate the beautiful things, remember that sometimes we’re just telling ourselves a story and what we’re telling ourselves isn’t true, and invest in your possibilities rather than just your outcomes. That’s it for me this week. I hope you have a wonderful week ahead. Next week, I will be joined with yet another guest, so get ready and I hope you have a wonderful week ahead. Thanks so much. Bye for now.