image If We want more, We have to Give More.

Currently, I have 3 jobs. I teach, blog and coach. 

Finding a teaching job wasn’t easy. I live in a highly competitive county for teachers. A top three county in regards of students who go to college.

Blogging was not easy to get in to. Many people have an opinion and especially on the topic I like to blog about, relationships and love.

Coaching was also difficult to get in to. Coaching is also a highly competitive field and there are lots of experienced coaches with a great knowledge for the game who look for jobs.

It’s within this last job that I received my greatest piece of advice. “Add value.”

The head coach of the high school football program preached this message to all of us coaches during a meeting one day. When I first heard the words, I didn’t think too deeply of the meaning at the time. He even told his own personal story of how he was passed over for a job that he felt more qualified for to connect his message to us coaches in the room. However I have thought about his words more and more every day. I’ve really taken it to heart, and my life has vastly improved.

My first year teaching I taught and did nothing else. I did not involve myself in any clubs or activities at my first school. My students scored well above the national average for their test scores, but I was not retained for a second year.

I was baffled.

Students in my class scored higher on tests than students in other teachers classes. Yet I was the one out looking for a job when the year ended. Now I hear the coaches words in my mind again. “Add value to everything you do.

The other teachers were more involved in the school. One coached a sports team, another was a leader of a collaborative team. I punched in and punched out when I was supposed to and nothing more. At the end of the day, I was not as valuable as others in the building.

In my current role I have “added value” to the current position I hold. I coach a sport for the team for the school, I volunteered to by a collaborative team leader and any time the department chair needs a hand, I always volunteer.

This has worked. Within two months of employment at my new school they began talking to me about my role for the future. I am now a valuable asset to the school and community.

Blogging was a unique challenge. I wrote a few pieces that were published and I wanted to become more involved in the publication process. Writing was not going to get me there alone. I applied for an apprenticeship with a more established publication and was accepted.

After being accepted, I needed to find a way to “add value.” The apprenticeship had minimum requirements of things we had to do each day. I did more than the minimum. I “added value” and proved to be reliable and willing to do more than just the basic minimum requirements. That “added value” that I displayed helped me learn the ropes of blogging. It put me in a better position to learn the intricacies of starting an online blogging publication. While I am still learning, the lessons learned during my time as an apprentice increased by my willingness to immerse myself in the craft and “add value.”

This advice has gone beyond my professions and has now entered my personal life.

I’ve been in a few rocky relationships. Not rocky because we were not getting along, but rocky because my partners were emotionally unavailable. I didn’t want to lose them. A few relationships were ticking clocks that had an unknown expiration date. I wanted to spend as much time with them as possible and extend the time some way.

So what did I do? I “added value” to the relationships.

I made myself more available and willing to go above and beyond for them. I helped them whenever they needed help. I tried to make life easier for them by picking up some of their slack. One particular girl needed help with grocery shopping, “no problem babe, I’ll run to Whole Foods for you.”

When it was pouring rain, I would pick her up from the metro. I had standing offers to her left and right.

Another needed help renovating a property she owned. “Don’t waste your money on contractors, I’ll get a couple of friends and help.” Ironically two needed help moving, “no problem, just tell me when and I’ll be there and I’ll bring breakfast!”

Even though these relationships eventually came to a crashing halt for other, separate reasons, I was able to hang on to them a little longer because I “added value” to their lives. Our relationships lasted a bit longer because I was willing to go that extra mile for them without them even asking me. My “added value” probably extended our time together and lead to some very memorable and deep connections in the moment that I will treasure forever. Had I not been willing to be more available and valuable, they both might have ended and I would have missed out on some life-changing and amazing experiences.

Add value. Sounds pretty straight forward and simple, huh? Well, it is a simple saying, however it’s difficult to do. When we accept this challenge we must go in with both feet and hold nothing back. No one wants to lose a valuable asset. If we can master and implement it, we can improve all aspects of our lives. I can hear the head coach in my head every day whenever I come to a fork in the road or have a decision to make. “Add value.” This makes me want to be more involved and appreciated for the work and time I put in to things and people I am passionate about.

We all have something more to offer our jobs and to our loved ones. Let us search for more ways to “add value” to the things we do and for the people we care about. This way, we can hold on to and fully immerse ourselves in the things that fulfill our being and give us an renewed sense of purpose.

Author: Adam Wilkinson

Image: flickr

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