Decide Who You Are

Deciding Which Door to Choose

Before you walk into a room decide who you are and let that decision be your guide. Often it’s easy to get wrapped up in the drama of a situation and let your saboteurs rear their ugly heads to inform you about your inevitable failure. Whether it is having a difficult conversation with an employer or relative, giving a huge presentation, or teaching a class of 5 year olds to sing a song, if you decide what kind person that you would like to be in a given situation you will feel successful.

When I was teaching musical theater in a charter school system, I struggled for a while. I had only ever taught students who paid to be in my class and therefore wanted to be there. How was I to teach students K-8 that were assigned to my class, in three different schools, in three different communities??? I started telling myself that, “I am an expert in my field bringing students an education in my profession on their level. My class is enjoyable, meaning that we will have fun as we learn.”  In my mind an expert might be stern, but could laugh and didn’t need to yell. If the kids were in engaged and retaining the material then I was effective.

My decision changed the energy in the room and my students responded to it; I responded to it.  If, for some reason, I started yelling or got frustrated, I would know almost instantly that I was out of sync with who I decided to be. Then it was easier for me to reflect later about what went wrong and how I could avoid it next time.

Recently, I decided to check out a local gym. As I was getting ready to leave my home, my saboteur starting in on me. “You’ve joined gyms before and never stuck with it! You’re wasting money AGAIN! Why is this time going to be any different?” I stopped that ugly voice by deciding this: “I am a healthy person. I am a fit person.”  I went to the gym with my guest pass, got on an exercise bike, and it felt different;  I felt different. I’ve had several gym memberships in various places over the last ten years, but the energy of this gym felt different,  because I decided who I wanted to be in this space.

I admit that I don’t “decide” who I am every day and, perhaps, I should get in the habit of doing so. But on those days where your spirit is low and frustration is high and you need to get things accomplished decide who you are! It will make all the difference.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Steven Satzger
    Feb 20, 2013 @ 15:23:12

    There’s a great training module called “I’m in the band” that reminds people that when performers go out, they have to give it their all because they have a paying audience they have to give the experience to regardless of their mood. I’ve found it helpful to remind myself that “I’m in the band” when I have to do something I don’t particularly want to do at the moment.


  2. Nat
    Feb 21, 2013 @ 15:17:13

    Love this! Thank you!


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