Tomorrow morning will mark the start of the 2015-2016 school year for both learners and educators across the nation. For me this time of year marks the beginning of my annual professional and personal goals. People often say that you should keep your personal and professional life separate, but I’ve always struggled with that concept because I feel that living in congruence is an important part of life. In fact we try to teach our children some of the most basic core values, yet we dishonor those values while we teach them. For example, we tell our children not to lie or be deceitful, yet there are countless times when we either embellish a story for the sake of enhancing their “imagination” or omit something from a conversation to keep them “focused”. I’m not hear to say whether it is wrong or right because I’m certainly guilty of it, but I definitely think that it reiterates a certain ashleyism I like to live by…
In life you have two buckets, one filled with water and one filled with gas. Which one will you choose?
As mother I often use my bucket of gas to excite my children’s minds and encourage their creativity, yet I am just as guilty of using my bucket of water to stifle discussions or concepts I do not wish to encourage.
As a young professional I recall having many conversations internally and with those that I trusted about how to approach various situations. Sometimes I chose my bucket filled with water and calmed whatever the circumstance was, while other times I unloaded my bucket of gas and endured the heat. Needless to say I conditioned myself to believe that using the bucket of water was the better choice. Well with time and plenty of reflection, I’ve come to realize that the bucket of gas is just as important as the bucket of water. In fact, if you really think about it, why on Earth would you have both buckets if you didn’t need to use them both?
I’ll admit that there were many times when I chose gas over water and the outcome was not the best, but I’ve also found that there have been many times when I’ve chosen water over gas and the results have been the same. Every one of us encounters those moments in life when we feel a burn of excitement about an idea or opportunity and more often than not, these moments aren’t shared with others. These are the moments when you have to decide whether you use your bucket of gas to ignite this sensation so that it erupts into an action or use your buckets of water to stifle it.
As we enter the new year I encourage you think of how often you tell a child, young adult or college student to go after their dreams and disregard what they consider to be impossible. When was the last time you were as bold as you’re encouraging them to be? When was the last time you ignited an idea within with your bucket of gas and used your bucket of water to silence your fears? And while you’re reflecting, think of the last time you poured your bucket of water or gas on someone or something they shared with you.