Inventory

It’s been a while since I published a post, and it’s not because I’ve been overly busy. I had a lot of time off this summer, and I’m just trying to figure out my goals now that I’ve completed my teaching diploma. I can do a lot of things, and I know a lot of things, and I’ve surprised myself by taking a personal inventory and organizing my many attributes. Keep in mind, that I am not an expert at most of the items on this extensive list. Mostly, I need a pep talk because I am too hard on myself, and I waste too much energy focusing on negative insights. While this post is meant to be satirical, I think it’s important for people (especially woman, as much as I try to avoid genderization) to remember their strengths.

Self-deprecation is one of my best qualities; I am self-deprecating to a fault and often to my own detriment, and this is the point of my post. Performing a personal inventory also encourages me to be my best self for all the Stakeholders in my life: me, my family, my friends, my employers, my coworkers, my patients, my students, and the public at large. So, here is my list:

– I am a great mother (at least I aspire to be)

– I’m a dream wife (most of the time 😉)

– I am a good granddaughter, daughter, sister, cousin, and aunty (I hope)

– I am a good and loyal friend

– I am a dental assistant (I love what I do, and it pays the bills)

– I am a teacher (not a tester: I am saving this topic for a future blog post)

– I am adept at technology (yup, I’m a geek)

– I am an amateur zoo keeper: I am the caregiver of 1 Chihuahua, I cockatiel, and 2 geckos

– I can grow anything (although I’ve yet to cross-pollinate an avocado tree)

– I am a fantastic cook (I have a limited repertoire)

– I play guitar and ukulele (nothing fancy though)

– I can play the ukulele while hula-hooping!

– I’m a runner (it’s not a pretty sight, and neighbours have stopped me to see if I’m okay, or to make sure that I’m not being chased)

– I am a skier

– I am typically optimistic

– I am a lifelong learner

– I’m a blogger (at least I’m trying to be)

My father Paddy told me that ‘it’s okay to stand up and take recognition for my achievements, but it’s not okay to boast.’ He said this was while I was visiting him in palliative care for the last time, and I didn’t know what to think of his advice at the time. Am I too proud?

I’m beginning to understand what he was trying to tell me. I don’t intend this post to be boastful, especially at the expense of overly focusing on my own perceived strengths. I just need to be reminded that it is okay to feel good about myself, take stock of my achievements, and accept credit when necessary. It’s okay to draw attention to my efforts, successes, and failures (all learning moments) for all those at stake (myself included). I am realizing that self-deprecation, and expecting my Stakeholders to passively take notice of my strengths, is a behaviour that is, (and has been) detrimental to self-improvement and self-love. It starts with little things, like, when someone gives me a compliment, I should just say ‘thank you,’ and stop making excuses for my achievements or being embarrassed by the attention; this is hard for me. I am an introvert, and that’s okay, but I need not be a pushover. Thanks for the pep talk dad.

Dad

(G)Oh Canada!

 

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Featured Image: A lone snowboarder at the top of a snowy mountain

I’ve been reading a lot lately about motivation. My go-to is Daniel Pink’s Drive (2009). Pink argues that having autonomy is the key to motivation, and I agree: at work, at home and in a self-directed learning environment. Pink explains that rewarding people for hard work decreases motivation. He calls it “if, then” (if you do, then you’ll get – also known as the carrot and stick approach). This attempt at motivation takes the control away from individuals to do great work on their own accord, because it “requires people to forfeit some of their autonomy” (p. 36).

In Student Engagement Techniques (2010), Dr. Elizabeth Barkley explains that motivation requires two elements: expectancy and value. People must expect that they will be successful at performing a task, and they must value the work that they are doing (p. 58). I suspect that a combination of expectancy and value is what motivates our Olympic athletes in PyeongChang. I’m not sure if autonomy has anything to do with their success at the Winter Games though. These athletes must rely on family, coaches, communities, and the support of their country to excel at their sport. I suppose it’s autonomy that drives them to work harder than their competitors because the goal is not just to represent your country and your sport, the athletes are also trying to achieve a medal or an Olympic record. And these athletes must be motivated even when they are sick or tired or COLD or in pain. Such drive!

As a Canadian, watching the Olympics this winter, I’m inspired by the dedication and sacrifice of our athletes, and I am so proud of all of them for their motivation to represent us all.

2000px-Maple_Leaf.svgThe above photo was taken on a very cold day at Big White Ski Resort in Kelowna, British Columbia