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Cascade Matters is the blog of Cascade Educational Consultants. Cascade has extensive experience in policy development, advocacy, education reform, youth leadership, teaching and learning strategies, education collaborations and civic development. We are committed to ensuring schools create and sustain quality teaching and learning environments for all students to be successful in school and contribute to their communities as active principled citizens. Learn more about us.

Cascade Educational Consultants is an educational consulting firm committed to high-quality equitable teaching, learning and serving environments for all students to succeed in school and in life. Click here to learn more about our services...




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The Sole of Change

2014-05-14 17.29.15

Over the past year I have walked over 1,300 miles in the same running/walking shoes. So, now it is time to buy a new pair.

I am attached to my current shoes and they seem to understand my feet, my direction and my speed providing an incredibly comfortable feeling.

When I “break in” my new shoes I will not wear both as the same time, rather I intend to wear one of my older shoes and one of the newer shoes. I know it sounds quirky, but instead of a direct move from a comfortable pair of shoes to breaking in the new pair my method allows me to deal with discomfort in smaller degrees.

Being colorblind I am at an advantage as I do not immediately view the difference, but I do differentiate “shiny” so it is not lost on me that I am wearing one old and one new shoe. And of course I assume I will feel the difference as I conduct my daily walk.

I can imagine the reactions of those who view this guy with two different shoes:
  • “Hey Punky Brewster”
  • “Must of got the half-off price”
  • “Just another example of quirkiness”
  • “Really? You chose to wear two different shoes?”
  • “Your mother not home today to dress you?”
Whether you agree with my desire to ensure one foot was comfortable while breaking in one new shoe at a time I think it will work for me.

And of course, over a short period of time, by varying the old and new shoes I will ultimately find both of the new shoes comfortable and rely solely on them.

But wait, as I tried out this strategy I realized within the first mile that I felt “cattywhampus.” I had not taken into account that one sole was higher than the other and how awkward it would feel. Of course most of you anticipated this feeling and would have warned me to that such unevenness would not be good for my hips or back.

Now I have to backtrack on my thinking that to make a significant change we should follow a set of slow incremental stages and consider a different bolder change process acknowledging the initial high degree of discomfort.

This process got me to thinking about how we address change. Do we reduce and control discomfort and thus take a slower route to change or do we value the benefits of change to the degree we become more courageous implementing it? Do we make change at a slower rate to ensure we do not stick our necks out too far? Do we question our decision to change rather than move forward with change necessary to achieve our desired outcomes and impacts?

Making change in our personal and/or professional lives is a function of our past experiences, reflections, increased knowledge and skills, challenges and opportunities. Therefore, as we determine to make positive change, we need to embrace discomfort and be bold and courageous implementing those changes.

Breaking in one new shoe at a time seemed a comforting decision but in reality it delayed the desired change and decreased the anticipated impact. As we acknowledge that we may get a blister or two we also must recognize that the axiom of “no pain no gain” holds true for changes we desire to make in our lives.

About the author: Terry Pickeral, president Cascade Educational Consultants has extensive experience in policy development, advocacy, education reform, youth leadership, teaching and learning strategies, education collaborations and civic development. His commitment is to ensuring schools create and sustain quality teaching and learning environments for all students to be successful in school and contribute to their communities as active principled citizens.

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