The Half Way Mark

I was sitting begrudgingly cleaning my den last weekend when I stumbled on a pension wise pamphlet. I have to admit I usually set them aside but, in full procrastination mode, it seemed like a perfect time to have a closer look. And there in the front cover popped the number 16; 16 years down – 16 years to go. This is the half way mark of my career.  

Then the internal dialogue starts swirling:

16 years! Oh my goodness. What have I done in 16 years? Is it enough? Have I had an impact? How do you measure impact? Could I be doing more? Was it worth the time/energy/money? What will the next 16 years look like? I should have done…..

I stopped myself from the comparisons for a minute to think about what I wanted my legacy to be. It’s easy to get caught up in numbers, awards, accomplishments (they are all nice and greatly appreciated) but is that what mattered? Is that the legacy I want to leave behind? And then I read a quote from Carol Ann Tomlinson in her monthly reflections in Educational Leadership:

That’s it! I found my measuring tool. I don’t want to measure my impact in the number of publications, likes, people in attendance but rather in how many gentle nudges sparked growth. Sometimes you nudge a system in looking at resources differently, sometimes it’s nudging a friend in a class to see their potential, and other times it’s nudging friends to share their amazing stories or try something a little different. Each nudge a small seed requiring different supports to grow. I realize as I write this I’m choosing the harder path. These seeds are often not glitzy or glammy. It may not always be the popular path. It often happens in the small one on one moments, not big events. Nudges and growth are hard to quantify. Sometimes it takes years to see the impact if you get to see/hear of the impact at all.

I realized I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for the educators in my life that nudged me along, planted the seed and supported it’s growth. So here at the half way mark I’m grateful for the nudges and will check myself as I think of my impact. As I start fixating on the numbers or accomplishments, I’ll pause to count the seeds.

I stand

on the sacrifices

of a million women before me


what can I do 

to make this mountain taller

so the women after me

can see farther




the sun and her flowers


5 thoughts on “The Half Way Mark

  1. Oh. Tina. Know that I am one of those seeds, and I treasure you because you always, always make me think (usually visually). My husband and I were just talking about exactly that kind of nudge today, because he is someone who nudges me (and supports me). What a remarkable quote from Carol Ann. With 5 years left when I return to work, I am doing some legacy thinking, too.

    Thanks for procrastinating. Much appreciated.

  2. Pingback: This Week in Ontario Edublogs – doug — off the record

  3. “I realized I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for the educators in my life that nudged me along, planted the seed and supported it’s growth“. I think about this a lot too. My statement says 7 years to go…it seems unreal…But Real it is. I think about the many who paved my way and how I hope to do the same for others…but you say it much better. Thanks for a great read.

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