Wednesday, 21 May 2014

The importance of knowing why you do the work you do

I'll admit, balancing career and family and community is a juggling act. Which ball I've chosen to keep in the air has fluctuated over time. Finding the courage to advance your experience and ambition in one area of life, has effects on the others.

I stand at an exciting time in my life. I realize my whole life has been an exciting adventure of choice and passion and actualization.  My choices today are the same as they've always been and are centred on answering the question of 'what next?

Mid life has an interesting way of encouraging you to look backwards and forwards at the same time helping you to recognize how passion has directed your choices along the way - every step along the way has been full of big choices - most often very easy to make. Learning, Love, Family, Friends, Success, Ambition, all have provided guideposts for my pathway. And so as I reflect on how I have gotten to where I am I know clearly what those guideposts have been.

Finding a woman I love and having children has been the singlemost important piece of work in my life. Like most parents, I want the very best for my kids, to give them the very best start in life, to provide them with as many diverse opportunities to grow as confident, intelligent, athletic, creative, caring, empathetic people who strive to be their best in their ambition and relationships. My children have been my biggest passion. Being a father has been and is my most important life work. I place it above all else. It is not the only important thing in my life, but it is the most important - without a doubt. I have been a very fortunate person to have had career choices that have let me fulfill my ambition to be a great dad. I'll be honest, climbing the corporate ladder has not been my biggest priority. Finding fulfilling work that is creative and enjoyable has been important to me and continues to be.

My passion has directed my life and will continue to. My next step is to become an instructional leader at a school. I am ready for a new challenge. Not going to stop doing much of what I am already doing, but ready to put on a new hat not because my present reality is in any way unfulfilling. I am ready to be an Assistant Principal because when I look at my toolkit, its shouts out to me, this is where you need to be. Supporting achievement has been my lifework. Mentoring and leading learning communities has been my passion. Whether as a teacher, a consultant, a coach, a camp director, my life work has been about improving the state of being for those I work with. It is why as I enter mid-life I reflect confidently on my choices - I have with no doubt in my mind made a huge difference in the lives of hundreds, maybe thousands of children - supporting their path towards personal growth and excellence. It is why I have no regrets. Like so many other teachers, principals, camp directors, coaches, I look back and say, wow, I have done some great work - work that is humble and yet glorious. A servant of others.

As I move ahead, I embrace the challenges that I know will come from putting myself again in a place of vulnerability, risk, and leadership. I know that my passion for doing the work of helping others be their best gives me much more than I offer. It is through giving that I have found the most satisification in my life.

Giving to my children - my love, my passion for physical activity, my time.

Giving to young people in schools, at camp, in sport - my guidance, my love of learning, my passion for excellence; my joy of life; my desire for positive, engaging experience.

Giving to my peers, those I am tasked to mentor, lead, and help grow - my incredible need for creating positive space; my willingness to support, to help, to recognize strengths in others, to build, to learn, to share.

Giving to my friends and loved ones - my unconditional positive regard; my yearning to build meaningful, substantial, and intimate relationships built on respect, compassion, and good humour.

So am i ready for the next steps in my journey - I sure am. I've always been ready.

Roy Strum

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