How To Face Monday

I offer a brief word as the work week begins and many of us wonder whether we have it in us to face the five days ahead.

Sundays for many of us can include moments of dread and doubt.  Not all of us have jobs we love, nor can we love every element of our work.  The pace of our activities in our workplace and the volume of our work can be daunting.  When we consider the pressure of our responsibilities and in some cases the volatile personalities, a day or two off during the weekends can almost seem to soften our momentum and make us vulnerable to what the week may hold.

At the start of my career, I admired colleagues who approached their work with full confidence in their approach and their skills.  I wondered whether I would one day possess that degree of skill and self-assuredness. Certainly, I thought, that would make my work seem lighter, and I would take ever-increasing pride in my accomplishments.

I have since learned, however, to wish for the proper bounds for my confidence.  None of us wishes to look toward our work with oppressive uncertainty or fear, but I always wish myself the proper balance of confidence and doubt.

In doing so, I look to successful people whose decisiveness and drive propel them to notoriety and financial success.  They make mistakes along the way, but they move on quickly and detach themselves from regrets and feelings of guilt.

I do not want that kind of success.  I do not seek that degree of notoriety.  I would certainly be happy with a few more dollars, but I hope never to be as confident and decisive as many of the high-profile leaders who seem to receive the most validation in our society.

If my decisions can ever reverse the fortunes of an entire community while making a handful of rich people even richer, I pray for fear to paralyze me.  If some would call me a success when my work would favor my status over the benefit I could do for others, I hope for complete failure. If my intent to appear decisive should ever leave me deaf to words of caution, I hope never to hear another sound of any kind again.

In any vocation, but particularly in my field of education, meaningful work merits worthy compensation and recognition, but it also comes with responsibilities.  I take consolation from the respectful apprehension I feel as I approach my work. My work will meet with varying degrees of success, and I will at times misstep, but I am ever grateful for the mitigating force of self-doubt.

6 thoughts on “How To Face Monday

  1. You have put forth some reflective thoughts for a Monday. I was chewing on these thoughts while walking my dog this morning. I read a variety of self-improvement and entrepreneur blogs and books- some of the ideas they share talk about confidence and risk-taking. Others talk about what they do as a vehicle for giving back. While I could do with a few more dollars, I do get the point about the value we place on some of these business-like ideals. Thanks for this post!

    1. Thanks for that comment and for bringing up the concept of risk, which I avoided on purpose here because I would like to write a post soon that squarely addresses that topic, particularly as it applies to education.

  2. Paul – To me, your piece is reminiscent of the Beatitudes: many of your wishes are quite contrary to flashy popular opinion and assumption, and turn that thinking on it’s head, actually. Thank you also for acknowledging the trepidation one might feel heading back into the work week, especially after an enjoyable weekend. I suppose there will always be an element of that when dealing with what is most unpredictable all day – people! There is a lot of helpful reassurance here, and good reminders that self doubt can be hubris in it’s most positive form. Really nice post.

    1. Thanks, Deb. I gave up long ago on reconciling the internal conflicts we can sometimes feel as educators. Ironically, however, in embracing the inner contradictions, I may have found a kind of equanimity…sort of.

  3. And for a brief moment there I was hearing Cat Steven’s Moonshadow! If I had to give up my values, my beliefs, my “me”, it wouldn’t be worth it. Self doubt as a rein on hubris, excellent point!

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