When I was studying to become a school teacher, I learnt one of the most impactful lessons of my life.
It was during my practicum at a high school in a seaside community.
Enthusiastic and passionate about learning and education and wanting to deliver the most fun and informative lessons to my students, I found myself preparing lessons and creating games well into the early hours of the morning before heading off to school to teach them.
One particular class was scheduled to be tested and I was devastated with their results.
“How could they not study? How could they not learn this?” I cried to my supervising teacher. “I put so much time and effort into making their revision lessons so much fun.”
“Shirley, it’s not about you”, she said. “These kids have a different set of values to you. They don’t value education. They would rather surf and smoke pot.”
This was totally confronting for me. I experienced so many emotions. I wanted to give up. I wanted to scream at them. I resented them for not appreciating the effort I had gone to to make their lessons interesting. I was distressed for them that their future depended on them learning and none of this seemed to matter to them.
“Shirley, if you are going to make it in this system, you have to accept that the kids you will be teaching will not all share the same values as you, and that despite that, you still need to show up and give your best effort”, counselled my wise and experienced supervising teacher.
Sadly, I accepted her advice. She was right. I needed to focus on the bigger picture. I was there to teach and do the best job I could, to help as many as I could.
It’s been 30 years since I learned that lesson and it still applies today.
The people you are working with in your organisation may not share the same values as you.
That doesn’t make them wrong and you right. It doesn’t mean that you have to convince them, rather, focus on the bigger picture.
What outcome do you want to achieve? What is best for the organisation and your people?
Focus on that.
Invest your time, energy, passion and enthusiasm into achieving the end result.
Focus on the bigger picture.