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Pushing the Edge

Thrive: Dare to be ‘Selfish’ and Create SPACE for You

Trust Your Voice - Pushing The Edge with Greg Curran
It’s like someone ignited a spark at the start of the hour and WHOOSH…..
Ideas shared at a breath-taking pace….Challenges and Connections a plenty…Support from all corners. 
There was no doubt, that these educators were bringing their A Game. Heck they were living it – BIG TIME.
They were in flow –  in-tune with their passions – tapping into their Core – to what makes them tick as an educator – to what resonates loud and clear.
Time sped past – yet it seemed as though no-one noticed. We were utterly absorbed in this cacophony of Ideas and Inspiration.
Outside the box ideas. Unconventional ideas. Challenging ideas.
Ideas that that have you striving to do more  – reaching higher – stretching yourself that little bit further. 
It got me thinking about Thriving.  This event was a collective Thriving.  A Thrive Fest you might say. 
Thriving was happening in the present – in the past (as we shared successes)  and in the future (as we planned exciting ventures).
This Thriving didn’t just happen by chance. These educators created SPACE where both they & their students thrived.  

“So where was this happening,” I hear you ask.

Well it’s a regular ole Tuesday morning (Australia time), and I’m participating in a Teach Like a Pirate chat on Twitter (#tlap).
And lest you think, Greg you’re overdoing the praise somewhat, I stand firm.  It’s like this every-time I take part in a TLAP chat. I never fail to come away, utterly pumped, on a high – with a bucket-full of ideas and an ever-expanding Personal Learning Network.
I want to catch up with the Teach Like a Pirate educators – on a regular basis – to see how they (and their lucky students) thrive in all sorts of circumstances. I want to soak up the ambience and the infectious energy.  

Carving Out SPACE to Thrive 

Thriving – It’s something I’m passionate about. It’s something I’ve sought to create SPACE for, regardless of my teaching situation. 

Through carving out this space, I’ve managed to stay interested, kept pushing my boundaries further and further out,  kept upping my knowledge and skills, kept facing my fears, kept iterating, and above all – kept true to me and my passions.
When writing a recent post about How to Make Daring Ideas a reality, it struck me that even in times: 
  • when I felt heart thumpingly scared and nervous – challenging injustice;
  • when I felt utterly alone, suggesting what others thought to be ‘risky’ ideas;
  • when I was making mistakes as I dared to stretch myself –
In all these moments, I was thriving. I probably wouldn’t have labelled it as such at the time. Yet I was doing what I felt compelled to do. I was daring myself to be truly ME – doing what made me feel alive – doing what made a difference . 
When I recall other highs in my teaching career – those moments that I can recall like they were yesterday – there’s a consistent thread.  In all these moments, I had carved out SPACE to THRIVE.
When I was THRIVING, I had carved out a patch of turf to be me – to do what made me soar – to do what kept me on my toes – to do what made me feel like there was a reason to get up everyday.
That’s probably why the Teach Like a Pirate chats – and a whole host of other Twitter chats – resonate so powerfully for me. Here’s a whole bunch of other educators who are carving out their turf – making space for their innovative, passionate ideas and practices. They Thrive and you bet their students and their communities do too.

Navigating the Obstacles to Thrive Time

It’s not always easy to do though is it – Creating space to Thrive. 
Thrive - Pushing The Edge with Greg Curran

Image: TaniaVDB (Pixabay)

When you’re different. When you’re an outside the box thinker – this part of your being (Your risk-taking, daring, innovative, fun and lively self) can get swamped – knocked about – squashed or dampened.  
You’re doing what you’re supposed to do as a teacher – meeting the never-ending demands of the job – being a ‘good’ teacher. Being everything to everyone, ticking all the boxes, crossing all the items off your ever-growing ‘To do’ list. 
It’s like there’s no space or time for left for daring, risk-taking, innovative you… and you definitely have little energy for it.
Alongside the stresses, pressures and demands of teaching, there’s the negativity and apathy of others. It can cause your flame to splutter….maybe you lose your spark altogether. “What’s the use,” you say. “There’s just too many naysayers, too many obstacles.”
Or maybe you feel under siege…as though that thrive time …is constantly being nipped away at.
Little by little, it feels like you’re ceding ground to tradition, to the everyday usual teaching practices.  Little by little, you start to wonder, ‘Have I lost it? Am I becoming boring and predictable?’
And here’s the cruncher:  If you don’t consciously make SPACE to Thrive –
  • it wont happen; or
  • it’ll get whittled away; or
  • you’ll lose it; or
  • you’ll end up with a compromised version. And no-one can seriously call that thriving. 

How to Thrive: 5 Tips 

So here’s a few dot-pointers to go (And Stay Tuned there’ll be more to come):
1. Begin with You. It’s crucial that you take care of you. We’re so used to giving, to looking out for others that we often forget that most important person – US. So here’s a bunch of ideas and resources that have Empowered Me
2. Plan to Thrive or it probably won’t happen. 
3. Schedule Thrive time. This notion of scheduling: investing regular time in our passions or goals is well canvassed by James Clear in this fabulous podcast, The Unmistakeable Creative.
Listen for the whole hour. There’s additional  insights about failure, creating identities that support our new habits, and the nuggets keep coming right till the end of the hour.  
4. Be alert for Signs of Thriving – among your colleagues, your students, friends, or other inspirational people online.   
  • Learn: What are their regular thrive practices? How do they continue to thrive? What are their tips and strategies?
  • The Teach Like a Pirate book (by Dave Burgess) contains a whole host of teaching hooks – that encourage you to bring your flavour – your special sauces – your Thrive Mix to your students. It’s practical, written for teachers, useable off the shelf.  And it’s targetted right at you – educators who dare to think outside the box – a bonus!
  • Recognise, support and affirm thriving wherever you see it happening. 
  • Connect with other Thrivers.
    • Obviously I’d suggest the TLAP (Teach Like a Pirate) crowd but also check out: #geniushour and #weirded. Just do a search on Twitter for them.

5. Hold firm to your Thrive time. You don’t have an ever-expanding time-table and I’m pretty sure you’re fully committed time-wise. When new requirements and expectations are thrust upon you – hold firm.

  • If it is a valuable thing to do – then you need to let go of something – to make space for it.  
  • If it’s something that’s expected, then it’s reasonable to ask, What do you want me to let go of so I can take this on?
Your Thrive time should never be on the bargaining table. You – and your students – are too valuable to let it go.
Thrive time keeps you passionate, engaged, and switched on. That shouldn’t be up for grabs.  Stay true to You.  

How do you Thrive?

Here’s a challenge. Share with us how you manage to thrive – amidst the obstacles and ever-growing workload. 

  • What do you do that keeps you fired up and passionate?
  • How do you hold firm – and stay true to your Thrive time?

Share your insights in the comments box below. 

8 comments… add one
  • Alan Thwaites

    Thanks for this post Craig. Your comment “every-time I take part in a TLAP chat. I never fail to come away, utterly pumped, on a high” absolutely resonates. I think we need to acknowledge that these kinds of dialogues. so easily accessible through Twitter with so many generous educators who are on fire with their profession, is an essential part of our professional health. They are our fresh fruit and vegies that get us through some of the junk we have to swallow at times. I hope this post is well read and a trigger for meditation!

    • Greg Curran

      Cheers Alan. I love the idea of our PLN as our ‘fresh fruit and vegies’… It’s a point well made in the context of the numerous stresses & pressures impacting on teachers.

      I’m gonna stay away though from identifying which type of fruit or veg we are. 😉

  • Bethany

    Thanks, Greg, for sharing ! I think I need to work on my own THRIVE time….

    • Greg Curran

      Yay go for it Bethany. That’s an important step …what are the things you absolutely love doing…that you could give a little more time to? Those things that light you up – those things that you lose track of time when you’re doing them.

  • Margarita Breed

    Timely advice with many teachers constructing reports to go out to families at the end of the school term. I think part of thriving is allowing space to be still…

  • Greg Curran

    Thanks Margarita. Yes it’s that time (in Australia) when we’re often more focused on getting everything done for end of term – semester. We can often lose US in the process. That SPACE to be still is paramount. In that stillness as we re-generate….ideas percolate away…free from the usual clutter.

  • Carisa Koch

    I now need to check out the Teach Like a Pirate chat. Thank you for your post, it is encouraging. I am a preservice teacher and have not really developed my own style yet, my “special sauce” of teaching, as you put it.

    • Greg Curran

      Yep the TLAP chat is a regular injection of passion, enthusiasm, and YES!! moments. Love it. I teach pre-service teachers and whilst you may feel like you’ve yet to develop your own ‘special sauce’…I reckon it’s probably there already…that thing that you can’t let go of…that stirs you…that you’ll do regardless of what others say…that energises and revitalises you. Love to hear how you go…finding that ‘special sauce’ Carisa. Trust in you. Trust in what resonates for you.


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