Clearly, my next blog will need to be on "When you find out one of your favorite quotes you thought Aristotle said was not actually his quote." Shoot!! Never mind that. Apparently, Will Durant in his book, The Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the World’s Greatest Philosophers, was talking about how Aristotle had talked at length about virtue and said "these virtues are formed in man by doing the actions", to which Will Durant summarized, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." It sure would make it sound a lot cooler if Aristotle had said it, I suppose, but I think they are pretty great words to live by, nonetheless.
So, what do you practice everyday?
I have some habits that are not great that I practice, which may or may not include a current one of eating five Werther caramels right before bed. A friend just asked me, "Do you brush your teeth afterwards?" The answer, regrettably, is backwards, as I brush my teeth beforehand, then get in bed with my stash to binge on Werther's and Grey's Anatomy. Trust me---don't try to find a connection. You won't find one, except they both give me comfort as a nighttime ritual.
However, I do have some practices that have fared well for me over the last many years of my life.
1. I get down on my knees every morning and ask God to direct my will and my thinking for that day. My faith in a Higher Power convinces me that if I simply start my day in this manner, I will NOT be perfect (by any stretch---you have only to ask Dave to find out the answer to that) but I may indeed be more inclined to become more of the person that God intends me to be.
2. I am vigilant about giving the clients for whom I work 150%. That means I begin working in advance to prepare customized materials that meet their needs, not mine. It also means I share my passion for teaching and learning and convey that, not only to teachers but (sometimes especially) to administrators. I expect at least 100% engagement from clients and promise to deliver 150%. Okay, I know some of you are asking, "What does that even mean --- to give 150%?" Honestly, I don't know. All I know is that I feel such amazing satisfaction in following the Covey habit of "Begin With the End in Mind" and creating a day of professional learning that will not only meet but exceed the district or school (or even country) needs. At the end of the day, I can honestly say that 90% of the time, I call Dave to say "This was the best group ever!" or "This was the best day ever!", to which he calmly replies, "Not every day can be the best day ever", to which I kind of calmly reply, "Why not?"
3. Gratitude --- It is so very easy to complain about the flight that is delayed or cancelled (or the gate agent literally shuts the door as I am running up to catch the flight---I'm not bitter, really; well, maybe a tiny bit). It is so easy to lament over what I have lost after going through breast cancer (and I may have myself a good little cry every great once in awhile). It is extremely easy to get frustrated with people who say they are interested in adopting a dog we are fostering, only to find out they have not been completely honest with us. BUT....if I take each of those silly scenarios and pick it apart, at the end of the day, I can count it all joy. Missing a flight is not the end of the world. In fact, as a frequent flyer, I am so grateful that my preferred airline takes care of me and already has a hotel lined up for me with food vouchers as well. I'll get home when I get home. As for the cancer scenario, is John Legend going to sing "Your Body's a Wonderland"? Perhaps not, but for now, I am cancer free. And lastly, each foster dog we take in and for whom we interview potential adopters, is getting a new lease on life. No use in worrying about the people who aren't on the up-and-up. We weren't going to adopt out a foster love to them anyway. Only the best for these pups who need forever/fur-ever homes.
So, what do you practice? Before you answer, take a moment or two to watch this amazing video by a pretty brilliant little dude who has something to say on the subject of what do you practice