Do you ever feel worn out and weary at the thought of one more new program, new initiative or policy change? We have to admit that we have been feeling a bit overwhelmed and overextended in our efforts to bring lasting change to our schools. So, we began to examine current research, talk with other educators and collect our own qualitative data in an effort to create purposeful change. Here is what we have come to understand… The key to lasting change is identifying our limiting beliefs and expectations then replacing them with empowering beliefs.
We realized that the outcomes we were experiencing (both positive and negative) were tied to our beliefs and expectations. The first step in our journey toward purposeful change was to examine our mental maps. During the course of our lives, we have created maps full of assumptions, beliefs, and expectations. Our maps shape our thoughts. Our thoughts influence our actions. And the actions we take determine our outcomes. Thus, lasting change starts when we are brave enough to identify and modify the beliefs that are creating barriers on our maps and holding us back from reaching our potential.
Once we took out our mental maps, unfolded them, and really looked at them, we could see the limits we were placing on our students and ourselves. Up to that point, we had been unaware of the subtle (and not-so-subtle) messages we were sending to our students and colleagues every day. Through our words, actions, and choices, we were letting others know what we believed about their ability and potential, and sometimes those messages had a negative impact. Through limiting self-talk, we were also placing limits on ourselves and resisting doing those things that would lead to better outcomes.
What’s on your map? Are you unknowingly limiting your students and yourself? The good news is… you can revise your map and create the outcomes you desire. We can travel with you on that journey. Check out our new book, Unmapped Potential: An Educator’s Guide to Lasting Change, available in Summer 2017. Follow the hashtag #UnmappedEd to connect with us and other map changers.