“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes” – Marcel Proust

I spent an Inset day with an inspirational room full of support staff from across a Multi- academy trust. We dug into awareness, purpose and direction and how key learning theories impacted on their broad  range of roles.

In the warm presence of the day, we played with Lego- seriously, and the sessions offered fresh perspectives just by working with different people and trying some new approaches, opening up to fresh perspectives and developing concrete models of conscious and subconscious ideas and feelings.

The word of the day became ‘opportunity’. As educators return over the next couple of weeks to start a new academic year, they may experience anxiety, apprehension and be working out how many weeks it is to the next holiday. I spend a lot of time in my work examining ways to flip narratives, to explore opportunities and possibilities if we consider fresh perspectives . As we enter a new phase, here is another opportunity.

We know the physical responses associated with anxiety are the same as those generated by excitement.. how about we get curious about the excitement of a new year, new term, new class or new role? How about we acknowledge the length of the half term and greet each day as an opportunity for adventure , playful curiosity and discovering new ideas, forming relationships and progressing a small step each day? It doesn’t all have to happen in one day, just small steps every day.

Where are the opportunities for us to refresh our perspective, to consider riding the flow rather than worrying about losing control of it?

Once we start to view the glimmers of opportunity in attitudes, environments and situations we can start to celebrate each experience and each day, rather than count down to the next holiday and arrive there exhausted.

Perhaps swapping the sunglasses of the Summer holidays for lenses that see the sparkle and opportunity even in the face of challenge will offer the chance to transform something that has bugged you for a while. If it’s itching,  maybe  taking time to  examine new approaches, or a way to go with it will offer new opportunities .

We can apply this to people too. There may be a person that you’re less excited about seeing. Considering approaching them with a new intention, empathetic awareness can often yield interesting opportunities. It may even be your own habits, yourself. How about you plan conscious and subtle changes to your day to make small pockets of time for you to refuel, refresh and be present . Taking three slow breaths before a new task, physically scanning and noticing where tension lies and letting it go before the next session , or scanning the room for the colours of the rainbow can calm the mind, enable us to align mind and body and re- ground you. I promise it makes a big difference to take small moments for you.

Here’s what happened to me last week:

“Earlier this week I was berating myself for not filling an Inset slot today. I caught my voice, stopped and re- centred that inner storyteller, and considered what it would take to flip the narrative. I looked for the opportunity and I’m about to board a train to London. I’ve found time to write a blog, do some reading , planning and learning , schedule a meeting and fit in a visit to the Dali exhibition.”

What a fabulous end to an insightful week!

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