Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Discover, Drive and Living the Dream

In January I chose "discover" as my OLW (One Little Word) for the year and over the last six months I have constantly had the word on my mind.  I anticipated a year filled with physical discoveries -- new places to visit or new activities to engage in -- but the reality has been discovery of a different sort.  I have found myself discovering an emotional strength I didn't know I had.  I have discovered that some of the qualities I thought were my weaknesses are actually the ones that make me most effective, and in turn, the qualities I thought were my best, might actually be the ones that lead me to my struggles. I think the most important discovery I have made is that I am not the only one. ever.  In any way.  No matter what challenges I face, there are others in the world facing the same ones.  And there are others who have survived these challenges and emerged better because of them.  No matter what success I may have, there are others who have had it, too.  So, I'm not so special.  Or at least, no more or less special than anyone else.  That has been a humbling, comforting discovery for me.

As I have sought to understand myself and my place in the world better, I have been doing some reading. One book I am currently about halfway through is Daniel Pink's Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.  I have always claimed that teaching is my calling and I have often wondered why it brings me such a deep sense of satisfaction.  I know part of this comes from the relationships with students and seeing them grow and learn, but now I believe part of the joy I get from teaching comes from the autonomy and opportunity to pursue mastery that teaching affords.  Pink says, "Greatness and nearsightedness are incompatible. Meaningful achievement depends on lifting one's sights and pushing toward the horizon." Teaching gives me the chance every day to do that, to push toward the horizon. 

A number of my former students are making this discovery for themselves and beginning to pursue careers which will allow them the autonomy, mastery and purpose that Pink describes as essential for our motivation. I think what they are doing is so wonderful that I had to share.  I have two young ladies I would like to highlight today.

MoDa Specialty Cakes 

The first is Vickie Ramirez who has co-founded MoDa Specialty Cakes with her mother, Lorna.  Vickie recently graduated with her Masters of Business degree from Azusa Pacific University and she and her mother run the bakery out of their home. This  is a very special family and I know the kind of love these women have in their hearts and you can see it in the work that they do. You can check out the MoDa Specialty Cakes Facebook page to see even more pictures of their delicious work.

Marissa K. Fine Art Photography 


 Another talented young woman I would like to tell you about is Marissa Andronicos who runs her own photography business, Marissa K. Fine Art Photography.  Marissa is a student at Point Loma Nazarene University, but her business has really grown out of a passion only recently discovered.  The work Marissa does is absolutely stunning.  She has experience with weddings, engagement shoots, senior pictures and family portraits.  I love seeing how she experiments with a variety of locations, props, and poses.  No two shoots look the same because Marissa challenges herself to grow as a photographer with each shoot she completes. One of my favorites was her Huck Finn-inspired shoot.  Marissa is a very smart, gifted young lady.  You can check out her portfolio and follow her blog to see more of her fantastic work.

I hope I can feature more of my former students in the future as they begin discovering what drives them and as the dreams they have for themselves are revealed and then realized.  Thanks to Vickie and Marissa for being willing to share their work!

As the year goes on, I cannot imagine that "discover" will not be a part of my experiences.  I am eager to see how that one little word guides me, impacts me and colors my vision of myself, and the life I live in this wonderful world.

Anybody else seeing their OLW make a difference in their lives?

PS: Is that little jellybean in the pics above not the sweetest??  She is such a doll!

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