Pick Yourself. It is a phrase coined (or popularized perhaps is a more apt description) by Seth Godin. At his NYC day event that I was fortunate enough to attend two years ago, he gave out guitar picks with this written on them.
I grabbed a handful of these at the event and they will often appear randomly around our house. We just moved and whilst unpacking, I came across a purple Pick Yourself pick in a box. It now sits on my daughter’s bottle drying rack in our kitchen.
Pick Yourself. Pick Yourself. Pick Yourself.
This is a good reminder for me on a number of levels and yet I still often value other people picking me (external validation) over my own belief in myself.
Since I started sharing my thinking via this blog I have been approached by people asking for help with getting into international teaching, by people who would like to repost my posts, by publications wanting to publish my posts as articles, by the IBO to lead initiatives in sharing practice and in technology education. I have been validated by these people: “We pick you!” “We choose you!” I also am a sucker for the stats that are generated by WordPress. How many pageviews? From how many countries? These external motivators do just that: they motivate me to keep publishing, keep posting. They are not my only motivation but I am suckered in when I see other people “picking me”.
Today, I met with my principal to have, essentially, a “Pick Me” conversation. I want to be picked to continue on next year with some work I have started in my role as Curriculum Coordinator. The conversation was good and whilst I do not know the outcome of our discussion in terms of me continuing in the role, it has had me thinking all day: am I picking myself or waiting to be picked? What if I am not picked? Do I pick myself anyway? Do I do the work for free, in my own time? Do I show that titles don’t matter, having a heart for change is what is important?
I know what Seth would say:
It’s a cultural instinct to wait to get picked. To seek out the permission and authority that comes from a publisher or talk show host or even a blogger saying, “I pick you.” Once you reject that impulse and realize that no one is going to select you–that Prince Charming has chosen another house–then you can actually get to work.
If you’re hoping that the HR people you sent your resume to are about to pick you, it’s going to be a long wait. Once you understand that there are problems just waiting to be solved, once you realize that you have all the tools and all the permission you need, then opportunities to contribute abound.
No one is going to pick you. Pick yourself.
~Seth Godin, Reject the Tyranny of Being Picked: Pick Yourself
So I started to do this. I wrote what is essentially my own “job description” and I have a plan for what I would like to do. There is still a part of me that questions: How do I know that the opportunities I see and the problems I want to solve, match the vision and purpose of my school? Do I wait for our paths to align or do I pull them together? This is where the permission-seeker in me dwells: in that place between ruckus-maker and rule-follower. Between employee and innovator.
The whole process has been thought-provoking. The outcome, unknown.