Friday, March 14, 2014

Symptom: Stuck in a Rut

We've all been there - we feel like we're in a rut. It can happen with cooking the same meals, wearing the same outfits, or shopping at the same store. It can even happen at work, in your library. In fact, it often sneaks up on you, especially if you've been in your current position for a while. What wakes you up to this reality can be a variety of things - a colleague who raves about a new technology tool she learned about, a blog posting about the perilous state of library budgets across your state or even talk of new job descriptions and evaluations. Any of these things can (and should) make you sit up and ask yourself, "Am I in a rut?"

So what's the prescription if you're stuck in a rut? It's simple - try something new!

It's not rocket science! The best and quickest way to get out of a rut is to try something new. Here are a few suggestions: 
  • Actually try some of the lesson ideas you've found on Pinterest instead of just re-pinning them. Take photos and then create your own pin of how it turned out and share them with your colleagues.
  • Enroll in a professional development class that interests you or even better, one that slightly scares you so you can overcome your fear while learning an awesome new skill!
  • Read blogs for inspiration - there are lots out there. I have a listing on my Pinterest page to get you started.
  • Attend a conference and go to sessions that sound like something you'd like to try. If you run into the issue of wanting to attend more than one session during a time frame just email the presenter and ask if they would be willing to share their presentation. I've done this so many times I have lost count and not one single person has ever said no to me. If the presenter's email address isn't available quickly stop by and grab their business card or handout for their contact information.
  • Be a presenter at a conference. I recently presented at the Children's Literature Conference in Athens. The most difficult part was creating the PowerPoint to make sure I was concise, yet informative. The talking part was easy! I kept it informal taking questions throughout the presentation which allowed the participants to interact more freely with me and one another. Many of them shared great ideas that I plan to use in my library. It's your presentation - do it your way. If you don't, your true personality won't shine through and your message won't be as effective.
Believe me, I do realize not all of these things are easy and depending on your comfort level with getting out and about, some of these may be very difficult. But you have to try. You cannot stay in one spot and expect things to change. They won't. And they won't go away. Instead, you'll just sink deeper and deeper into that rut. 

One last thought - if you're nervous about doing this alone, enlist a colleague - it could be a librarian, a classroom teacher, or the technology person at your school. There's a good chance they want to try something new to get out of their rut, but need a little helping hand. 

One more last thought - I just found this on Pinterest, which led me to the funny and inspiring Facebook page of the Goodwill Librarian: 

Now, get out there and try something new! Oh, and don't forget to tell me about it - the good, the bad and the ugly! :)

Wishing you health and happiness,

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