My Act II: One Year Anniversary

Our mistakes don’t limit us, our fears do.

Maya Vargas

Well, it has been exactly one year since I made the wise decision to take a leave of absence in order to properly address what had become very burdensome: mental ill-health. The time and space were essential for healing, resetting, and fortifying my emotional agility in order to re-enter the most important profession in the world.

I have also made important decisions along the way.

After several weeks of rest and rejuvenation, January brought about an amazing opportunity: A 28-week coaching program for teachers. The life-altering program (I’ll get to that in a minute) was through the internationally recognized Canada Coach Academy. The intense and enlightening Teacher As Coach offered leading edge skills to learn and develop through an accredited offering. After nearly 30 hours of in-class instruction (both synchronous and asynchronous) and nearly 100 hours of practical coaching, I am looking to challenge for the International Coaching Federation (ICF) Associate Certified Course accreditation in the New Year. So proud of this accomplishment!

During my five months-long health sabbatical, I engaged the services of a therapist, physician, men’s support group, and art therapy program. And these were certainly essential pieces to my overall mental health recovery. However, what I realized was that what I needed (and what has helped me as, an educator, return from surviving to thriving has been the support of a professional coach. Darrell helped me to gain deep insight into three major questions that I brought to our conversations: How did I get to where I am? What is the way forward for me as an educator late in my career? How will I move forward? Coaching is client centred, future-focused. And it is powerful.

Feeling so inspired by both the coach approach and its strong set of requisite skills, I have designed a ‘coach approach for the classroom’ workshop for fellow educators. I have offered to facilitate this program in our school district for a small group of courageous and wholehearted educators. It appears as though it will run next fall for the duration of the school year, and require participating educators to show up with vulnerability, humility, and a healthy dose of curiosity.

Earn your success based on service to others, not at the expense of others.

H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Over the past twelve months, a few things have become abundantly clear to me:

  1. Everyone struggles with mental health (along a spectrum) to varying degrees.
  2. Mental health is rampant among service-oriented professions particularly in nursing and education.
  3. There still exists a tremendous shame in the (public) acknowledgement of suffering from mental ill-health, particularly among educators.
  4. Taking time for myself to properly heal was the single most important gift that I could give to myself and my loved ones.
  5. Coaching works; I have come to realize that coaching is something that everyone can benefit from.
  6. I am very good at supporting others in their future-focused aspirations (even helping to elucidate them) through my coaching practice.
  7. As a coach (and educator), I will have an enormous impact supporting educators.
  8. We always get to have a second act, if we choose.


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