Becoming a Teacher

I am still feeling nostalgic from last week. This week I want to talk about the next step when I lived in the late 80’s. Everyone has a story or a path that they follow even when they don’t know it. For me, I found myself working as an insurance geek in a large firm. It paid well but it did not move me. I needed something that would ignite me and it came one evening when my oldest brother talked to me about being a teacher. He talked about how I could influence students. The more he talked about his students it started to become something interesting and possible. I appreciated his words and within about a month I was working as a substitute in LAUSD and enrolled in the district intern program. 

Now, it took me more than semester to feel comfortable with my new job. No one really walks into a classroom without training and gets it right. However, I did have a lot of help and by my second year it was much better. I learned that it matters what you do in helping others and asking others for help. I made mistakes like anyone else. What matters is getting better as a teacher. No one gets it right all the time but everyone should drive to be better and better each year. Together we are much better.

I spent five years teaching at an elementary school and another five years at a middle school. After ten years of being been a teacher in elementary and middle school I moved on to UCLA and Mount Saint Mary University. I would not have done this without my brother nudging me that night. I am thankful that we had that conversation. 

What possible roads are there for you?  

Stillness of the Morning

I have always loved the early morning. It is a quiet and thoughtful time for me. I used to go out for walks or even drives in the early morning. I’m talking about back in the late 1980’s. I had a memory of driving to the Griffith Park Observatory at about 5:30 am one morning. This was before they locked the gates. It was an experience that I never forgot. It was really cold (by Los Angeles standards) and I stood on the backside of the observatory and watched night turn to day. There was absolutely nobody there. There was really little to no sound. Everything was still. It felt magical.

I remember thinking how it seemed like such a quiet and calm place to be. It felt like nothing bad could be happening because it was so still. I was the only thing moving. I have never forgotten that morning. The landscape was lighting up like a colorful mosaic. In that short space of time there was no violence or poverty to be seen. Looking out over the Hollywood Hills into Los Angeles it was a masterpiece to behold.

The observatory was a place where I found peace one memorable morning. It was eerily quiet place but in 20 minutes the view changed from the light of the city to the bright rising sun. It looked like an orange fire without the heat. There was magic in what I was seeing. 

The reality is that magical moments can come up at any point in our day or in unexpected places. Where or when have you had a magical moment that you did not expect? What stillness did you hear or feel? What magic did you find?  

Listening 101

Listening can be difficult particularly when people don’t want to hear what is being said. People often are more interested in getting to where they want to go rather than if the path is a safe one. To be fair, most people are very good at following directions until they are late for their appointment. This is the moment where people want to cut in lines because they are late. However, unless someone is willing to let you go first or you have a time machine like Doc Brown and Marty in Back to the Future it isn’t going to happen. 

It is important to take things seriously. During this time of slower lines perhaps we should spend more time listening others. You learn a lot about people when you talk to people. The tendency in conversations is to talk. However, you learn a great deal more about others when you listen carefully. Often times we spend more time not listening to others because we are waiting to get our chance to speak. However, asking questions and listening to answers shows that you are serious and interested in the other person.

Finally, if you want to have good conversations and get to know the other person(s) you have to be willing to listen first and then respond in a thoughtful way. This means that the person you are talking to has to have your attention and in your turn you want them to listen to you. It is not difficult with practice. Let your instinct guide you. Ask questions of others and answer them in your turn. 

Make It Fun

See the Outside World

It is time to rise up. COVID is going down and more people are getting their vaccine. This is the moment for action and belief. After such a long time being in our places of living we are ready to spend more time outside and to feel more connected to other people. I am not suggesting that everything is well but it is moving in that direction. So much time has being spent inside but this is the time to reacquaint yourself to the outside world. 

The beaches, mountains, and hiking are all waiting for you to get out there! The weather is getting better and March is just around the corner. I am not suggesting that we should be cliff diving (unless you know how to) but now maybe the time to get out of your home and see the real world and enjoy it. And yes, still put on your mask and observe social distance. However, make it a point to go somewhere that you haven’t gone in a while and revisit it.

In the end it really doesn’t matter. Just make it yours, make it fun, and make it worth it. Only you know what you like to do and bring a friend or friends if you want to. Enjoy! 

Take the Long Way Home

Who do You Want to Be?

People ask me why I write, well I like writing. It is gratifying to me. I am interested in what others are doing and why. In my case it took some time to realize what I wanted to do. I started in law school which wasn’t the answer for me. I lasted two years and then I was done. I then spent some time being a soccer coach and being an insurance geek. But what I realized was  that I liked to help others so I became a teacher. I spent 10 years teaching (5 years in elementary and 5 years in middle school).

I took the long way home like the band Supertramp. I decided after 10 years teaching in elementary and middle school to go back to school in 2003 and I earned a Masters in Psychology. I worked with special needs children, with high school students, and with adults. What I learned from these experiences was that I really enjoy working with people who need someone to talk to and perhaps to help them find their way. This is who I am.  

So now my question is for you. Who are you? Or, maybe the question should be who do you want to be? Take some time and think about it. If you want you can send me a reply.

It’s My Life

It is January 25th and we are almost at the end of the first month of the year. This first month has already shown that we may have a bumpy ride at the start of this year. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is going to be a difficult for everyone. Yes, we do have the pandemic and that will continue for a while. But at the same time, it is the new year and it is always a good time to start new doing new exercise routine, eating healthy, and finding daily ways to be intentionally positive in your routines! 

The types of routines that work best for you are the ones that you design and are manageable. For example, do something that you like to do like running, dancing, or playing a sport that you like/love (ie: shooting basketballs alone, yoga, or running/walking). These are just examples that can get you starting to feel good and getting your endorphins going. The best thing that you can do is to treat your body and mind so that you will be healthy and ready for whatever comes your way! In the words of Bon Jovi “It’s my life, it’s now or never, but I ain’t gonna live forever, I just want to live while I’m alive …It’s my life. 

Next week I will be offering one free half-hour coaching session for the first 5 people that sign up between February 1st-5th. Interested in learning more about the coaching sessions I offer? Contact me @coachcarloslossada

Happy New Year or Is it?

Be in the game

            What determines a happy or sad new year? You do. We can talk about how difficult 2020 has been but that excuse is over now. What you do starting right now is what you will begin in 2021. Presidents coming and going, Covid-19, vaccinations, unemployment, stimulus checks, and whatever comes tomorrow.

            We are in a difficult time but often difficulty brings out the best in us. Being helpful to others that need help makes you feel better about yourself. Think about it. Why not start the new year helping someone who needs your help? Or a friend, neighbor, or a family would like to hear from you. This is a great time to connect with people that you know but you haven’t talked to in a while. 

            Finally, if you don’t want to call a friend you can always send a letter or email. People usually enjoy communication especially this time of year. Keep in mind that things can get improve. Opportunities might be just around the next corner that can change everything for the better. You can make it happen. Life. Be in the game. It only happens if you are here.

The Season

“Every Single Day, in Every Walk of Life, Ordinary People do Extraordinary Things.”  -Jim Valvano

The mental blocks that come up when we are older change our perceptions of what we hope to be or can still become. Yes, there are so many people that do reach their dreams, but there are many others that still are hoping for that break that lets them finally claim their niche in life. It is a struggle but if we continue to go after our goals, we can say that at least we tried and if we are very fortunate, we might start a new goal that would really be exciting!

The truth is that we do amazing things in our lives, but the struggle is real. It is about belief, but it also is about being flexible and realizing that what worked for us in 2015 may not be working as well for us in 2020. However, the ability is there. The experience still applies. Look, this is a difficult time, but you know that this new year is going to be better. Put yourself in a positive mindset. Focus on what you want this new year. Things are faster paced, and change comes quickly. 

We are coming to the end of this year (and what a year it has been). It is time to look forward to a New Year and hope that we can wash away 2020 with its pandemic and children doing remote learning at home. This year has been more like science fiction. It isn’t going to be a radical change right away but, hopefully, we will see the vaccine(s) and our lives will look more familiar. That is my wish for the holiday season this year!

It’s Not About Me, But I Wish It Was

            I could write about 20 things that bother me and how they can be magically resolved if I were wizard, but it’s not about me. I have always wanted to be someone special, and maybe I am, but I will probably never be that person that I imagine I could be. Our expectations for ourselves when we become adults can be daunting. Ironically, we have no such problems when we are children. Ask a first or second grader and they will tell you that they want to be a ballerina, fireman, singer, a basketball player, and/or an actress. 

            However, that may change now that children can’t go to school. This will likely change how children see staying at home without seeing their friends in person. The therapists are going to have a lot more children finding that it is difficult to play with other children especially when parents are trying to keep them safe. It is difficult to suddenly change what you have been doing for years. However, with the numbers growing higher all of us are taking fewer chances with our children. 

Keeping up with the changes in technologies and understanding how the world operates can be challenging. However, at the center of each of us is a store of information that we have amassed over our lifetime and the ability to adapt and change is there. It means putting your best self-front and center and going at the challenges that we are trying to avoid. Creativity, belief, drive, personality, quirkiness, ability to see things that others may not – these are your tools and your advantage. There is no one quite like you. And even if it is not about me, there is only one me and there is only one you. Be that best person that you can be, and it will be more than enough.

The Act of Writing

Sometimes you Need to Release your Thoughts

Below is an example of letting go

Try it and see what happens

I need to write. Lately, I have turned writing into something difficult like a chore, but when I do write it always helps me feel better. The truth is that I prefer writing to most activities I do. However, in my mind I let the voices of doom absolutely destroy any chance of writing for pleasure. I am the one that should be leading the emancipation and expression of my own thoughts, hopes, dreams, and fears (let’s be real, it’s not all going to be lollipops and unicorns in my head). If I opened up to all the negative thoughts, each and every day, I don’t think I would make it to the shower let alone to work. It does feel like an ongoing battle, but it also feels like I let the voices run the ship.

It’s time to take back the reigns. The reason I bring this up is that I need expression. I need to be better than I am. I need to believe and embrace that I am better than what I show as an individual. I’m tired of fighting myself. I am flawed. We all are. I need to accept that and move forward. I’m sick of the walls that I build and then lament that they are there. I’m getting older and I feel like I am regressing. Meditation, positive thoughts, helping others, teaching, mentoring are things that help but, still at the core, I have to monitor myself and work on myself to be a better version of me. Thoughts and dreams are great, but I can’t get to a better state of mind without working at this every day. Why me? Why not me? That is the question.