It’s that time of year. Days get shorter, temperatures drop, leaves change and abandon their trees: fall. Even though this happens annually, it can still be an uncomfortable adjustment. If you’re like me, a lover of southern heat, the outdoors and the sun, you may be feeling the urge to resist fall and all its changes.
I used to not like Fall; tried to resist the discomfort and pretend it wasn’t happening. It’s when Seasonal Affected Disorder kicks in. It’s cold. It has a whole host of holidays that are sore spots for me. It saps my energy.
Some things we can’t control; things that can, and will, cause discomfort. Like Glenn Singleton says in Courageous Conversations, discomfort is inevitable and ignoring it will make it worse. We can let change happen to us, let the discomfort make us cold, unmotivated. Or we can manage it, embrace it with the intention and confidence of coming out better on the other side.
We won’t be perfect, but we will come out more capable, more insightful and reflective, more equipped for more discomfort down the road.
Now, instead of pretending Fall doesn’t exist, I embrace it. I choose to see Fall (along with all its discomfort) as a time for reflection, a time when I can work on myself, keep myself warm with good memories and selfcare, take advantage of long nights by working toward the coming Spring; a time to fortify my resilience.
Although cliché, our thoughts do become our actions. And if action is more your speed, “there’s growing neuroscience research explaining that our minds will change in response to our behaviors,” writes Elena Agular in Onward. Check out this tool from Elena we can use to manage change and discomfort and make the best use of our time and energy.
We’re also dealing with a changing nation and the unknown of an unprecedented political landscape. This is heavy on all of us, our families, our communities and our students.
As we move into Fall and all the things it brings, take a look at Chapter 6 of Onward to help equip yourself for the discomfort of change and coming through better on the other side. Feel free to peek ahead to Chapter 11 where Elena talks about weathering change in more detail.
More times than not the most courageous conversations we can have is with ourselves. Carve out some time to do some self-preservation and process the discomforts of Fall individually, with Fellows and then with your students.