When I first became a teacher I thought teachers were the ones with all the answers. Actually as a matter of fact as a 21 year old girl, trying to be an adult, I thought being a grown up meant you had all the answers. From reading The Chimp Paradox I realised this was a 'Gremlin' I was holding onto.
Professor Steve Peters defines a 'Gremlin' is an unhelpful or destructive belief or behaviour that is removable
So the fact that I was expecting myself to have all the answers before I had even given myself a chance to try was setting myself up for a failure - over and over again. This was a really tricky thing to change in my mindset as it was rooted from childhood - always trying to get things 'right'. As a teacher I was telling my children how it was okay to make mistakes and comforting them when they were beating themselves up for something that was out of their control. But I wasn't living what I preached.
This quote was a big #toptiptakeaway for me because this book gave me tools to slowly rethink what messages I was telling myself and it made be reflect on the unrealistic expectations I was setting. Rather than looking at where I wanted to be and constantly criticising myself for not being there. I started to allow myself room for growth, realising that I was only capable of being where I currently am and trying my best to get to where I wanted to go next.
Don't get me wrong every time I fail at something I still have that voice in my head telling me that shouldn't have happened but now instead of believing that voice, I allow it but then I look for evidence as to how I have tried my best and if I haven't tried my best I put a plan in place for how I intend to improve next time.
Yes! Yes! Yes! This is one of my favourite quotes from the book as I think it describes perfectly the idea of Accountability. Many of us experience intense emotions that we may feel we can't control. And as the book describes this is our 'Chimp' taking charge of the driving seat. My Chimp is called Mildred by the way. Do you have a name for yours?
Now, we can't control how our Chimp is naturally but what we can do is put things in place to empower ourselves to self regulate and manage our emotions so that they don't get the chance to get out of control. I really had to look inward and reflect on how I was currently dealing with my relationship with myself and with others. As I said before many of my frustrations were coming for the expectations I was putting on myself and my tribe. I was very much a 'yes' person, continually trying to help or even worse 'fix' people. So when they weren't acting the way I thought they should I was 'failing' again.
It is natural for us to want to control our surroundings because our 'Chimp' wants stability and security. However, one of my biggest areas of growth is realising that the more I try to control everything the more this results in disappointment and negativity for me and me alone because I am responsible for my world.
This quote really has stuck with me over the years and it almost makes me feel relaxed. Sometimes I feel like the world and life can feel so big and I am so small and insignificant. But this quote soothes me as I feel like I can have an impact on my world and what goes on in it. One of my favourite takeaways from last weeks Empathetic Educator's session with Google Innovators from around the world was the fact that we all have a voice and our voice really can matter. Whether it is the voice we tell ourselves, whether it is the voice we use to help others in need or whether it is the voice we use to spread positivity. If used correctly and understood our internal and external voice can make a different for ourselves and those around us.
What impact do you want to have on your inner world as well as your outer world? How do you help yourself when your inner chimp tries to take control?
Practical Ideas Section: Our choices have an impact - What impact will you have?
Here is a session I recorded with Nathan Wallis, an Educational Neuroscientist. I really feel like this this session supports my current reading this week. It gave me lots of ways to provoke my thinking on how I can support myself and my learners.
Let me know what you think!