Grounded and Gentle

I love it when my word of the year (gentle) aligns with something I am reading (The Art of Coaching). As I was rereading Chapter 12 of Elena Aguilar’s book, which I have read no less than 5 times over the last decade, this quote jumped out at me:

“When I knock on a client’s classroom or office, I know that a large part of what will make the meeting successful is my disposition: If I’m confident, compassionate, grounded, and present, I know I can create a learning space for someone to explore his beliefs, behavior, and being.” ~ Elena Aguilar, The Art of Coaching, p. 237

To me, this is a reminder of how powerful my attitude and beliefs are in any meeting, whether I mean for them to be or not. As someone who is working hard to be more gentle, to slow down, to not react with no first, this is a critical message to keep in mind. I know that if I’m in a bad mood because I had a bad night’s sleep, I will seem more cranky in a meeting. I also know that when I have back-to-back meetings all day, I am less confident, compassionate, grounded and present as the day goes on. It’s natural that after a meeting I often have follow up work, or items on my mind. However, if there is no break between meetings, my brain and my body are holding onto all of that work and I have a harder time concentrating on being present.

Aguilar shares that she builds into her calendar five minutes of breathing in her car before walking into a school site for a coaching session. She also recommends 5 minutes of journaling just to brain dump what is on your mind before entering a new space. I love these suggestions so much, but I realize that I need to work to put it into practice. Some days I feel like my calendar runs me and other days I feel like I have control of my calendar. I want to work to ensure that after a meeting I have a moment (5 minutes isn’t much in the big picture!) to reflect and prepare for the next event.

There are times when I feel the messages my body is trying to send me: Get up! Take a walk outside! Drink some water! Breathe! Stretch!

However, there are many times when I miss all of those signals and it’s not until I find myself at the end of a long day with hunched up shoulders, tight jaw muscles, and pent up energy that I realized I haven’t stood up in hours, or I haven’t had 2 minutes along all day.

I just made a conscious effort to go into my calendar for the next two weeks to add “5 minute grounding break” in between meetings. In addition, I was sold on an Instagram ad for Calm Strips, one of which you can see on the bottom right of my laptop shown below. These strips have a little texture, so as you trace the design, you are reminded to slow down and breathe. On the left side of my laptop I have a note that says gentle, as another reminder.

I’m not sure how this will go, but I am sure I will report back here, since this is my year of gentle!

About Amy's Reflections

Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services in Southern CA, taking time to reflect on leadership and learning
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1 Response to Grounded and Gentle

  1. Andree Grey says:

    I love this post! Such a good reflection and tips shared for others. It is so true for all of us! We are so busy we forget to think about how others are receiving us and how we are presenting. I hope to be more grounded this week because of your post! Thank you!

    Andrée Grey, Ed.D.

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