No, I am not talking about an intense workout or some mischievous activity. I am referring to the “trust fall” that so many of us in higher education are familiar with. As an activity, the trust fall is a timeless act of bonding that is conducted in what may seem like training after training. After the ice has broken, we drift backwards in hopes that our peers will catch us and lift us back up.
Today, I’d like you to consider a “trust fall” in a different way. I am no longer referring to the activity itself. Instead, I impart you to literally trust fall. We have worked so hard all summer during our “slow season” to prepare for what is most often the busiest season of all: fall semester. Career fairs, on-campus interviews, and counseling sessions are just a few things on the horizon. I am confident that all of you have put a lot of time and effort into making these and other events successful. Now, it’s time to trust the busy season. Trust fall.
Make your mistakes, don’t let them make you. You can only learn by investing trust in the processes you have put in place. Things will go wrong. This is a beautiful thing. Employers may be upset with their placement in the prearranged career fair. Students might not respond to your counseling techniques with the vigor and excitement you want them to. Treat yourself to some trust during this very hectic time of year.
Trust yourself to notice shortcomings and to improve upon them next year. Record your successes and areas of possible improvement in good detail. Encourage your colleagues to do the same and schedule an after-action brainstorming session for when things quiet down around the holidays. To return to the colloquial meaning of the phrase for a moment: If you trust the wisdom of the busy season and of your colleagues, you will catch each other and be lifted up when you need it most.
The main idea I would like you to take away from this strategy is to eliminate guilt. You worked hard this summer. It has not gone unnoticed, but Murphy’s Law doesn’t always respect hard work. The mishaps that will occur are most often beyond your control. Trust that learning from them will only make the products of your work better the next time around. Invest in the message of the season. Allow the leaves to fall as they will and take no blame for the small stuff. Harvest good information and good professional relationships. Learn to trust fall and the lessons it will teach you. The other seasons will thank you for it.
With the start of another year right around the corner, #SACareer focuses this month’s posts on Self Care. Nestle in with a cup of tea and enjoy some motivational words to get you in a positive frame of mind for the 2015-2016 year.
This post is part of our #SACareer series, addressing careers in student affairs, careers outside of student affairs, and the work of career services professionals. Read more about the series in Jake Nelko’s intro post. Each post is a contribution by a member or friend of the Commission for Career Services from ACPA. Our organization exists to benefit the careers of career services professionals, student affairs professionals, and anyone supporting students in the career endeavors. For more information about how to get involved with the Commission for Career Services or the #SACareer blog series, contact Cristina Lawson at firstname.lastname@example.org.