“Abundance” isn’t a word used a lot by teachers. In fact, the opposite phrase “not enough” is used by all of us probably a dozen or more times a day.
Not enough time.
Not enough money.
Not enough support.
Not enough resources.
Not enough sleep.
Not enough of me to go around.
And for 2020…Not enough PPE/space/ventilation/masks…you name it!
But here is the crazy thing: You will never have more time, money, support, resources etc. if you continue to tell yourself there isn’t enough.
How to Have More Time and Money as a Teacher – Video Summary:
Ever wonder why people in such terrible, destitute, third-world conditions also sing, dance, celebrate, and smile? Or why you’ll see a person with cancer so grateful and hopeful? It’s amazing.
And it’s because of their mind-set. Humans can face extraordinary adversity and still stay positive and — dare-I-say — joyful! Why? Because these wise people have figured something out that is elusive in our culture – to live a life of abundance – despite the circumstances life throws our way.
If we wait until our circumstances make us happy, we will never be happy. Rather, when we shift our mindset from a scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset, we lead full, joyful lives of abundant blessings.
So, here is my take on how to live in abundance, a.k.a. how to have more time (and money) as a teacher:
Listen to Your Story
Right now, you are telling yourself a story about your life. It starts with “My life is…” What is your story? How do you complete that sentence?
Is it full of the phrases “not enough” or “don’t have enough”? Mine used to be. And if yours is, you aren’t alone. This is what Brene Brown calls our society’s “scarcity mentality” of never enough. It’s hardwired into most of us who participate in today’s culture (social media especially).
Unfortunately, teachers have it worse because the vast majority of school and district cultures (and teachers’ lounges) are permeated with scarcity thinking or “not enough” type thinking.
Think about it. It’s sometimes our first thought in the morning – “I didn’t get enough sleep.” The next thought is usually, “I don’t have enough time.” And so on and so on throughout the day.
But this is just a story.
So, step one in cultivating a life of abundance is to listen to your story. This means you need to recognize what story you are telling yourself. Here are some questions to ask yourself to uncover this:
- How am I experiencing my life right now?
- What do I tell others when they ask me how things are going?
- What do I complain about vocally?
- What do give thanks for vocally?
Examine the Truth
Once you’ve gotten in touch with the story you are telling yourself, next it’s time to actually dive into what is true about that story.
Your original story may have some basis in truth. For example, if you commonly think, “I don’t have enough time.” Then the truth in that statement may actually be “There isn’t enough time to do all that I expect of myself.” In this case, you will need to explore your expectations for your time and then lock into the truth about what is possible for you to accomplish in a day.
Now, the first step here is to open yourself up to the possibility that you may not be functioning from the truth. Basically, opening up to the idea that the story you’ve created is one that supports you, but that there may be a story closer to the truth that would support you better. For example, thinking “I don’t have enough time” may support you in giving yourself compassion to not get everything done that you want to or that you really expect of yourself. When you open yourself up to the idea that this mindset may not support you in the best way possible, then you can begin to think about what will serve you in a better way.
This may take some work – especially if you are very ingrained in your story. This is when working with a coach or other helping professional can be super valuable.
Ask yourself these questions to examine the truth:
- What is driving my original story?
- What is actually true in my situation?
- What can I actually be responsible for?
- In what area do I need to give myself grace?
Change Your Story
Now, choose to change your story.
Change your story – the phrase or paragraph you tell about your life – to one that supports you better than your old one did. Change it to something that supports an abundance mentality!
Here are some new stories you could try on:
- “I have more than enough time today to do what is really important.”
- “I was placed here in front of these students today because I am the best person for these students.”
- “I have everything I need in order to be a great teacher/partner/colleague/parent/leader”
- “I can teach any student who comes through my doors”
- “All of the support and resources I need are available to me, and I am the best steward of those resources for the mission of my life.”
It’s okay if these feel a little awkward at first. Pick one (or write your own) that you can own – that you know is true – and write it on sticky notes wherever you will see them throughout your day. Read them over and over until the thought becomes natural.
One of my clients sets a silent reminder on her phone every hour of the day and the message pops up to reminder her! (Brilliant!)
Now here is the kicker…next time someone asks, “How are you?” You respond with your new story. “Great! Life is good.” They’ll say, “Really? You aren’t busy?” And you’ll say, “I have enough time to do what’s really important.”
That is power.
That is the power of abundant living!
And I promise you, it will rub off on everyone you meet – including your students!
More Tips for Abundant Living
- Practice Gratitude: Start a gratitude journal (or a note in your phone even!!) and write down 5-10 things you are grateful for each day.
- Practice Self-Compassion: In order to live abundantly, you need to give yourself and your life truck loads of compassion and grace! Check out selfcompassion.org for some tips.
- Practice Braving: If you haven’t read “Rising Strong” by Brene Brown, READ IT! It’s all about our ‘shitty first draft’ stories and how we can use truth and courage to uncover the truth and move forward to write the end of our stories!!
Try it out and let me know how it works for you!
Still feeling stuck? Schedule some time with me to see if I can support you getting “unstuck”!