Yesterday, I introduced you to David Menasche, a teacher who’s dying of cancer, but decided to visit his former students before he passed away…to see if he’d made any difference. He was satisfied by the time he’d visited forty cities.
Today—I want to pose some simple questions to you. Often, we choose the wrong measuring stick in our careers. It is natural to want to excel at our work, but when it comes to working with students, adults usually get confused. We value the wrong stuff. We forget what really makes a difference to our recipients. Soon, our work becomes about our “climb up the career ladder” instead of helping students climb in their own growth. We actually lose touch with what changes their life.
The following is the philosophy of Charles Schulz, the creator of the Peanuts comic strip:
- Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
- Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
- Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant.
- Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
- Name the last decade’s worth of World Series winners.
How did you do?
The point is, few remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades or certificates get buried with their owners.
Here’s another quiz. See how you do on this one:
- List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
- Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
- Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
- Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
- Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
The fact is, our success is much more about attitude than aptitude. It’s more about connections with others than conquests. Our students value the relationship they have with us, much more than the content we download each week. Let me give you a phrase to both hold on to and to pass along to colleagues or Twitter followers:
I’m just sayin…