Leadership or teaching for that matter is hectic and doesn’t leave you a lot of time to explore what else you might want to pursue on the side or have as a passion project. So it’s not a surprise that when I stepped down from Leadership my mind said “I don’t what else I want to do now I don’t want to be a Head.’
This question has been going round in my head for years now. I love teaching and after 8 years I wasn’t sure what else I could do. I’m still not, to be frank, but I’m working on it. These are some of the things I’ve been doing that have provided the most benefit…
Just over a year ago I came across a brilliant book called ‘Creative Calling’ by Chase Jarvis. I’d stumbled across his podcast a month earlier and liked it so thought I’d give the book a go and bought it on Audible. The premise of the book is you are creative all the time. When you are cooking and you adapt a recipe, when you take different routes to work, our mind craves creativity so we shouldn’t try and bolt this part of us away. I also liked the fact that it realistic. It wasn’t telling me to quit my job, or go to an ashram in India to find myself first (something I wouldn’t mind checking out by the way!) but it spoke about the importance of side projects as creative outlets and then once you stumble across a few of those then building on the ones that bring you most joy and you see yourself being able to develop on. I would highly recommend it to anyone who finds themselves a little lost on what else they could do outside teaching.
Look out for ideas everywhere
The other thing I would highly recommend is listening to podcasts. You’d be amazed what people are doing out there and making a decent amount of money from as a side hustle. I stumbled across Side Hustle School through a podcast (Yes I love podcasts) which is run by Chris Guillebeau and this really opened my eyes to the number of people who are investing time in these tiny niches to have several sources of income. Check out the website sidehustleschool.com The podcasts are quite short too and introduce to a range of ideas.
Learn some new skills
This could be painting, writing, singing, cooking, anything you want. The quickest and surest way to make sure you commit is join a course or group. I did a short story course in the evenings over 3 months to learn to write better (I’m still not sure I’m there yet, but met some great people!). I’m currently signed up to an online fashion course. Do I think I’m going to be the next Vivienne Westwood or George Orwell. No, that was not the intention to signing up to either courses, it was just to get better, learn and have some fun and then see where it goes. I’m still working on it…This is exactly why you can’t quit your day job. You are not going to fall into a new industry and own it in a month. This is going to be work. Make peace with that. But if you do stuff you enjoy you’ll find the pleasure of just doing it enough to keep you going.
Broaden your circle
This is something I need to work on. People make a living doing all sorts of wonderful things. I heard of a science teacher who went and lived in Rome for two years and worked in an art gallery before returning to teaching and I thought ‘Why the hell can’t I do that?’ Broaden your circle and find out what other people do, the more off the beaten track the better. Social media has made this so much easier. I know lockdown has posed some limitations to this but we have online courses you can join, interest groups online, do it!
These are just the few of the things I have done to explore what I might be passionate about.