If you’re exceptional at classroom management, your colleagues will hate you for it.
They’ll talk about you behind your back. They’ll utter snide remarks. They’ll start rumors and try to make you look bad in front of your principal.
It’s a phenomenon SCM readers have shared with me again and again over the years.
Expect it to happen to you.
The truth is, it doesn’t matter the endeavor. If you pursue excellence in any area of your life, many people, including your closest friends, won’t like it.
Because it raises the bar for them. It removes the excuses. It holds a mirror up to who they could be if they put in the work, the study, the concentration.
You’ve done what they said couldn’t be done.
And it cuts like a knife. A small number of people will be inspired by you. Smaller still are those who will be proud of you. The rest want nothing more than for you to fail.
So much so that they’ll try to make you look bad. They’ll try to embarrass you. They’ll slight you, won’t acknowledge you, and pretend you’re no more worthy of their attention than a cockroach skidding across the floor.
These are the sorriest souls who, as Thoreau mused, “are living lives of quiet desperation,” only feeling satisfaction in seeing you stumble.
So, what should you do about it?
Let them fade into your background. Highlight the beauty and inspiration around you and allow them to fall away from your attention. Do not attempt to get your own revenge. It will drag you down to their level, which is what they want.
Your success is the best revenge. So keep pushing. Keep striving. Let it motivate you to be better still.
In the meantime, in the hallways and meeting rooms, try to meet their eye. Look into their shame. I don’t mean this in a confrontational or aggressive way. You’re not trying to intimidate or start trouble.
You’re merely forcing them to confront the truth. It tells them oh so subtly that you’re on to them. You don’t have to say anything, though hello is okay. Be pleasant, but hold their eyes until they look away.
Most won’t even look at you.
They like to hide in the dark like the vampires they are. But if you can remain strong, it can put an end to their attempts to sabotage you. They’ll move along to someone they can bully.
If this seems harsh, remember this: They’d like nothing more than to ruin your career. They’d like nothing more than for you to run off to a different school so they don’t have to be reminded of your excellence.
Yes, look at them without fear. Let your eyes expose them to the light. But always take the high road. If you complain or gossip or get into a petty argument, you’ll open yourself to more lies and more stress.
Set the record straight if anyone asks, but otherwise remain on the plains above. Be even better at your job.
Funny, when you get to a certain level of success—undeniable success—again in any endeavor, everyone wants to be your friend. Those same vampires become sycophants, hoping to steal some of your mojo.
But it’s all okay, every bit of it. Because the satisfaction of making a profound and lasting impact on students far outweighs the potholes on the way there.
PS – Inspire will be available on October 4th.
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