Thursday, May 01, 2008

Passion Quilt Meme: There is Only One You

I've seen this lots of places, but it was Lauren's post that actually motivated me to do something. I've been thinking about this for a while. I don't really instruct students. Not in an extended format. So I thought about what was the best lesson I've ever learned; what would I want my daughter to carry with her into the future.

I doubt my parents realized the impact it would have on me, but from a young age, they stressed to me how every person is unique. My father especially. I really took this to heart. It's shaped who I am today.

Whenever I've felt doubtful about myself, I think, there's NO ONE else on the planet like you. There is no one else who puts ideas together, places one foot in front of the other, chews food, in the same manner that I do. So even when I question what I'm doing, what I'm thinking, I take solace in the fact I am unique and no one can take that away from me.

Here's the magic of this. I am not confined in thinking that I need to be like everyone else, think like everyone else, or act like everyone else. I can't be. We're all unique. And being unique means that none of us are alike. You couldn't follow the crowd if you wanted to.

So how is this helpful? Why would you want to tell this to students? For me, it removed my inhibitions, it removed my fear of failure. No matter how awful things might feel in the moment, you can know deep down that you bring something to any situation you get into because you are unique. You might whiff on today's project, but tomorrow's project might be that big home run. You can achieve some truly amazing things if you aren't afraid to make a few mistakes (or even a lot of mistakes).

The library world sometimes feels very safe. Very tried and true. This has been frustrating for me coming into this field. Sometimes you can butt your head up against so many obstacles just trying to get the simplest things done. And other times the things you sweated the most sail through without problems.

Just always remember, "There is only one you."

Original photo by Irina Souiki


lauren pressley said...

Thanks for participating! I really like your message: both the "unique" and the "it's okay to make mistakes" aspects. You're right; the field does feel safe and static. Sometimes I think that it's a barrier, but other times it's exciting because there are so many new things we can do. I try to focus on the exciting perspective, even if it's riskier. ;)

John Klima said...

I know I'm prone to change just to say I've done it, but sometimes I feel that taking a new perspective on things can really enhance an experience. I'm always struggling to look at things from the patron/student point of view and say: "How does this look from the outside? Is this service actually benefiting the patron?"

lauren pressley said...

I have been prone to change for the sake of change at times, too. :) Do you feel any resistance from colleagues or users when you do so? I think most of the people I know see that when I do that it's to change perspective and see if something sticks, but sometimes I can sense a little reluctance. I'm interested in other's experiences, too.

John Klima said...

To be honest, when I'm involving others I tend to be more deliberate and careful. I used to work in software development and I always worked very hard to incorporate the users while I wrote code. I knew what it was like as a user to have things change in your software without any warning, so I tried to be mindful of that.

I know that most people are resistant to change, so I work hard to help people see why we are making a change and how it will benefit them. I may be too careful when working with others, but I want the change to take place rather than make people set heels. :)