I'm in a deeply contemplative mood as I write this, coming off of several virtual workshops and meetups with international school teachers, leaders, and staff all around the world in the past few days.
I'd like to share a bit of this experience with you...
Before we jump into a session, I always check in to see how everyone is doing. Since the new year started, I've noticed a significant change in people. They take longer than usual to answer, and sometimes they get a bit choked up when trying to explain how they're feeling. They shrug and shake their heads, struggling to find the words.
They say things like...
"It's been really hard to get back into work after the break."
"Teaching virtually just sucks."
"This is not what I signed up for."
"I'm exhausted and so tense."
"Meh. You know."
How to respond to this?
I'm so grateful they're being open with me. My gut has told me in these moments that it's best just to listen, nod, and simply provide a safe space for these feelings.
Then I affirm them for showing up to these optional sessions, and we start. We do the thing we came to do, and we do it together.
And then something remarkable happens.
At the end of the sessions, I again ask people how they're doing, often inviting them to describe their experience in one word.
Here's what they say then...
Their faces are shining again, they're laughing, and they're sitting up straighter. They're talking about how much they've enjoyed the time, and they leave the session ready to "keep on keeping on."
The same thing is happening with people who don't attend live sessions but login day after day to the Positivity Playground - they say it's a lifeline, a place that recharges them.
What's creating the transformation for them?
Sure - our topics are positive. We're talking about building schoolwide wellbeing, or exploring our strengths, or learning to think optimistically, etc.
...but I believe the topics are much less important than their decision to join and connect with others around a shared, compelling purpose.
They're showing up. They're making a choice to do something good for themselves. They're choosing to connect with others through difficult times. And it works.
Psychological science backs this up. Maslow (1987) demonstrated that having regular, positive social contact is one of the most fundamental human needs. Bowlby (1969) claimed that satisfying social needs is crucial for survival, healthy development, and mental health. Ryan and Deci (2017) have identified three basic psychological needs which people seek to satisfy: competence, autonomy, and relatedness.
It's a bit counterintuitive during COVID, isn't it?
Why would school leaders, teachers, and staff members want to login to another Zoom session or app after an entire school day online?
I've been surprised, frankly. (...but very happy about it, to be sure!)
I've concluded they do it because it energizes them. The simple choice to show up and engage in something uplifting gives them that extra boost they need to carry on and continue supporting their students, colleagues, and families.
It's an incredible honor for me to be able to create and hold the spaces that are helping people renew their energy and buffer themselves against the storm. That's what I'm doing every day in Positivity School.
Seeing is Believing
It's getting harder and harder for me to describe what we're doing in Positivity School in short, catchy marketing phrases.
I believe the best way for you to understand the approach and see the benefits of Positivity School is to experience them firsthand. We offer free trials of the Positivity Playground so you can do exactly that.
Read more here and/or send me a chat message below to join us and get a serious energy boost!
Bowlby, J. (1969) Attachment and loss. Basic Books.
Maslow A.H. (1987). Motivation and personality. Pearson Education
Ryan, R.M. & Deci, E.L. Self-determination theory. Guildford Publications.