Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Construction Ahead

Most times when I head out on the bike, I know where I’m going. Whether it’s a short jaunt, a century, or a multi-day ride, I have a planned route. Sometimes the plan is in my head; other times I carry a map. Every once in a while, however, I encounter bright a orange sign reading, “Construction Ahead.” Honestly, this tends to annoy me. I hadn’t planned on making a detour, and when I find myself being lead into unfamiliar territory I experience a sense of unease.

Recently, I ran into “construction” on my job. The “detour” I’d need to navigate would lead through unfamiliar, potentially uncomfortable terrain. At first, my response was, “I am not doing this. Period.” Since then, I’ve had a change of heart. Although not an easy decision, it’s one that I know is right. 

When faced with the need to make unplanned or life-changing choices, what are some of the factors that can help one make the best decision? Personally, the shift in my thinking occurred as I spent time:

  • Seeking wise counsel - King Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived said, “In the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Prov. 11:14). This does not mean that one should depend on others to sway decision-making in one direction or the other. Rather, by seeking input from family, respected peers and even God, one can get a sense of direction. As I did this, I sensed a “calling”, and became compelled to “take the detour”.
  • Looking at the big picture - I tend to be a detail-oriented person, which is not a bad thing. At times, however, it’s important to take a break from analyzing individual pieces of the puzzle,  and refocus on the entire collage. Reminding oneself of the destination/vision is critical. “A vision begins with talk, but it will only become reality with action” (Sheninger, Digital Leadership, Corwin, 2014, 33).
  • Reflecting on life goals - why do I do what I do? What do I want to accomplish for the greater good?
  • Waiting - Although my inclination might be to jump right in and begin problem-solving, I’ve learned that when it comes to making big decisions, sometimes the best thing to do is to step back and wait.

So I’m off into uncharted territory. By focusing on supporting teachers and students in the best possible learning experiences, I’m embracing the construction and taking the  detour. The destination is the same, but I’ve shifted to a different route. 

I believe that whatever “construction” lies ahead for each of us is not an accident, and can offer great potential for growth. There may be bumps ahead, but "the bumps are what you climb on" (Wiersbe, Baker, 2003).