I like to write to you as if we are continuing an ongoing conversation. So, let’s pick up where we left off: I’ve shared my summer vacation posts + photos + stories, and that means only one thing. It’s back to work for me! Back to routines + schedules + regular everyday life. Or is it? Actually, my friends, it’s not back to the same old, same old for me… because, while I may be returning to my regular workplace (as a high school life coach/mentor/counselor), things at work are not at all the same. There is a whole work vibe + tons of new energy, and it all just feels new + exciting.
That’s right heading back to work feels exciting!
The secret to feeling excited about work is two-fold, I believe. The most important part of it is the attitude that we bring to it ourselves. How we act, respond, and feel. It doesn’t matter if we are working a 9-5 job that is just to make money + pay the bills (but pleeeease tell me that’s not what work is to you. And that’s a whole other blog post in itself); or if we are freelancing it, choosing our own hours + being our own bosses. The attitude that we bring to our craft + the energy that we send out to the people that we encounter during our day is everything.
→ It takes some serious self-awareness to know our boundaries, how to handle challenges, how to breath deep through tough situations, how to deal with negativity, and so on. But, creating a day that gives us positivity begins with us. It’s up to us if we are going to complain or if we are going to be bad ass, sunshine spreaders who are engaged in sending out positivity. It’s that simple.
→ The other thing that affects how we feel about work is, of course, the atmosphere, the energy, that is around us. What’s happening with the people that we come in contact with? How do they feel? How does their energy affect/intrude on/inspire us? Is the space a place of positivity + possibility? Do we feel safe, accepted, supported and free to make mistakes? Are we be nurtured + inspired? If not, then we need to take a good long hard look at our work situation… and then we’re back to part one: ourselves.
Of course, the only thing we can change is ourselves. But, in knowing who we are + knowing the kind of life that we want to live, we can affect change where we are or we can decide to change where we work.
For me, the school where I work has given me so much. Especially in the form of the students I serve. Oh, don’t get me wrong, there have definitely been moments when I assessed + reassessed my work atmosphere. Because it has been a turbulent work place behind the scenes. In the end, though, I’ve always decided to stay, on account of the fact that I have still been able to find balance + harmony + inspiration in my life.
But, now…. now it feels as if it’s a whole new workplace. My work is the same and I’m as grounded + stable in my work responsibilities as I have ever been, especially after almost 3 years of being there, but everything else is new.
You see, we have only about 15-18 staff members at the school, and somewhere around 8-10 of them have left in the past couple of months. That means that almost half of the staff is completely new. And that simply means that we are an entirely new group of people with entirely new group dynamics. It’s actually a clean slate feeling. An empowering, hopeful, future-oriented feeling.
I’ve been excited about the feeling of newness + possibility at the school + I’ve carried it with me all summer, knowing that things would be different after the summer. But, upon returning, there were even more people who left.
So, as of right now, it is truly a new work environment. And that’s challenging + scary, yes. But it is also unbelievably freeing, in the sense that we are able to create whatever kind of culture we want.
And, we got started on that this past week, as soon as we all gathered after vacation.
The new principal booked a 2-day conference/retreat for us at an old 17th century manor in an old 14th century historic area. After working at the school for the first 3 days this week, we all headed up to the manor, Österbybruks Herregård, on Thursday for some serious goal-setting, culture-building, and school year-preparing work.
As soon as we arrived, as we all climbed out of the cars, we all felt an immediate sense of calm. The atmosphere of the entire area was just peaceful + magical (and haunted!). So, we got right to work on Thursday by having an entire day with 2 life coaches leading us through a day of reflecting on who we are as individuals + how to begin to create the culture that we want. Then, Friday was spent in groups, planning all of the last minute details in order to get this school year started off right.
We spent a lot of time out-of-doors, as the weather was just lovely. I spent a balanced amount of time with myself, with my colleague + soul sister Nadia, and with both new + old staff. I wandered the grounds on my own. Shared a room with Nadia. And spent time discussing, planning, and just hanging out with the rest of the staff.
When Friday afternoon rolled around, I was exhausted, but satisfied. Feeling that we had accomplished alot, and, yet, aware that we have so much more to do.
In my eyes, it was a super successful retreat + conference that set us on the right path for a fresh start with tons of possibilities out there just waiting for us. It was all a breath of fresh air + left me feeling more excited about a school year than I’ve felt in a while.
It was the perfect way to set the mood + create a vibe of moving foward, harness the energy of beginnings, get to know each other a little, and claim our own individual + group power to craft the type of workplace that we want to have. Was everything actually perfect? Hell no. Will it be perfect? Shit no. But, it was a start. It was just the beginning step, but, I think that it was a collective step to commit to making this year + our work as kick ass as it can possibly be.
So, now, it’s just all up to us… as individuals + as a group. Wish me + us luck as we welcome all of the new kids today! Here we go!
Happy new week to all of you wild lovelies. Remember, it’s up to you to decide how you want your work to be. So get out there + make some magic!