Finding the Right Answer As An Adult (School Gave Us The Wrong One)

I always thought I had the hardest job in the school system.  I had to get 8th graders to write 5 paragraph essays that the state of Georgia decided were good enough.  

Writing – I emphatically deemed – was the hardest subject to teach.  I was getting 8th graders who really didn’t care about anything to care enough about a subject to write 5 PARAGRAPHS in a way that impressed the “old ladies”.  (I told my students it was a bunch of retired “old ladies” who scored the essays).  

This was no small feat, my friends. This was not for the faint of heart.

But that wasn’t all.  

Math, science, and history all had had study guides.  They had specific, concrete standards.  And they had RIGHT answers.  

Their whole life they had been taught that there were right and wrong answers.  If they got enough right, they were good enough.  If they got a lot right, they were the best.  And if they got too many wrong, they weren’t good enough.  

Here I was telling them there weren’t really right answers. They were supposed to write what they think. And, honestly, many of them didn’t know how to think. But to no fault of their own.

I was basically going against what their brains had been trained to believe.  They had been taught to check the boxes.  They were not taught to think about what the boxes mean or express what they thought of the boxes.  And if they did, they were probably wrong.

Later in my teaching years, I learned about the workshop model.  The workshop model is a teaching philosophy that starts teaching Kindergartners to express their thoughts via pictures.  And then through labels on pictures.  And then through misspelled words.  And then through jumbled sentences.

The emphasis is on their ability to think, to express what they think, and then to be proud of their thinking.  

The workshop model emphasizes their voice.  

That their voice matters.  

The spelling doesn’t matter.  The correctly written compound sentence doesn’t matter. And there is no right answer.  In fact, the only right answer is for them to express what they think about a subject. For them to tell a story using their voice, not to tell a story the way the teacher wants them to.  

And I thankfully spent my last few years in schools helping teachers & students learn this concept.  

That it is not what the old ladies think.  It’s not what their teachers think. It’s about what they think.  

When they tap into their voice, they have found the right answer.  

That’s what I want you to do.  

I know it’s hard.  You’ve been taught differently the same way my 8th graders were.  Your brain believes that life is full of multiple choice answers.  

It gets stuck making decisions because it thinks there is a right answer. And that there are old ladies somewhere that are going to tell you that you’re not good enough.

But life is not a multiple choice test.  It’s the workshop model.  

And your voice is the only right answer.

If you aren’t sure how to find your voice, make strong decisions, define who you are or are stuck in life, you will want to work with me to learn how. Learn how here.

Three Things Powerful Decision-Makers Do

What was the worst decision you ever made?  I know what mine is.

It was not moving to Mexico after my first year of teaching.  I thought I’d never find love there.  I was “getting older” (27) and didn’t want to miss out.  And of course, I missed out on living overseas, becoming fluent in Spanish, and ended up marrying at 37.  

It might have cost me thousands of dollars lost in jobs I could have had returning fluent in both languages.  It probably cost me lots of other things.  

I could tell you I said no because I had a roommate.  Or because I had a job opportunity paying a lot more money in another school system.  Or because I was single.  

All of these things are “true”.  But I’m leaving out this part: I made the decision.  It was my responsibility.  I own that decision.  It was not my roommate or the job or me being single that decided.  It was me.  

Most ppl think bad decisions were bad because of something or someone else.  They’re never bad because fo something or someone else.  They’re bad because we decide they are.  

Not moving could equally have been a great decision.  Where I was moving was a dangerous part of Mexico.  I made more money, at least that year, at the school in the states.  I ended up working for that system for 10 years. 

These two things are true no matter what decision you make.  –  we both make the decision and then we decide what we want to think about it.  If I want to see it as a regret, I can.  But I advise my clients to minimize those.  Think of decisions as either ones you win from or ones you learn from.  Because spending a lot of time believing it was the worst decision for me doesn’t do me any good.  Except to tell this story. 

What does do me good is learning from it.  I learned to own my decisions.  I learned not to put my life on hold for something I think “might” happen.  I learned that being fluent is worth more than just money.  

So as you start becoming a more powerful decision maker, consider the story you want to tellTake ownership for the decisions you make in the story.  And then decide if you don’t win from the decision, you can learn from it.  


The Three Things Powerful Decision Makers Do

  1. Take ownership for their decision
  2. Decide what they want to think about the decision
  3. Learn from the decision

If you want to learn to become more powerful decision maker and live the story you believe you were created for, let’s talk about how I can help you do both.  Email me at Natalie@nataliewilsoncoaching.com.