By Guest contributor Cheryl Way, who is the mother of GGTW Co-founder Amanda Epp, and the one who coined the phrase “Go get the world.”
Ten years ago, I told my daughter Amanda to “Go get the world,” never realizing it would result in what has become perhaps my most significant legacy. I am humbled by how far my words—words that I had forgotten writing to her— have travelled and morphed into something far more powerful than the simple phrase of encouragement I sent to her when she was just confused and worried and away at college. I hardly expected those words to become a mantra for other young (and not-so-young) women looking for their life’s purpose and for the courage to chase their dreams. I didn’t expect to be writing a blog post for a website called Go Get The World. And never in a million years did I expect that I myself would find encouragement in those words as I embark on my own latest challenge in life.
You see, I’ve spent a career in elementary education, filling my life with grading, teaching, tutoring, writing lesson plans, and attending conferences—not to mention raising a family. I love my work, work which has given me purpose and gratification. But as I watched my friends retire, and I reached (and passed) retirement age, I kept hearing the question, “When are you going to retire, Cheryl?”
That question made me extremely uncomfortable. At first I thought my discomfort was because I found the question too personal. On further reflection though, I realized my real conflict was not in leaving a career that I loved, but in not knowing what I would do next.
I was scared.
Scared of not having a purpose in life, of being bored, of letting myself go. What would happen without the daily challenges from my students, or the constant feedback from them and my colleagues? How could I grow and change outside of the world in which I had been immersed for so many years? How would I fill my days and contribute to society? What would my new purpose in life be?
Then along came my daughter Amanda with her positivity and energy to start a website and a weekly blog called Go Get The World. (What? That thing I wrote to you a decade ago?)
“What do you think, Mom? What quotes can you add? Can you write a children’s book for us? Will you go to the photo shoot?”
Amanda’s questions made me even more tired, overwhelmed and scared. I mean, I’d never been on a photo shoot in my life, and well–let’s just say–that sort of thing is a long way out of my comfort zone. But, I had learned enough to know that you can’t grow unless you try challenging things, so I threw caution to the wind and went.
The day at my (and GGTW’s) first ever photoshoot, by myself, with Amanda, and with the Go-getters.
It ended up being a very relaxing and enjoyable day for me. But more importantly, spending that day with my daughter and some of the other Go- getters allowed me to see that there is still a lot for me to do and contribute out there in the world. The confidence I gained from that day of conquering my fear of the unknown, of learning more about the courage and strength of those remarkable young women, gave me the final push I needed to decide to retire…which I will do in May!
I’ve learned a lot from the blog posts on GGTW and know that I need to set goals to stay on track. So, the future I envision will include at least four things, and what’s great about each one is that any one of us can do them, regardless of whether we are working, in school, raising kids, or retiring:
Keep reading. Yeah I know I was a reading teacher, but I mean it! Any genre that interests you will keep broadening and challenging your ideas and vocabulary. You’ll be surprised how reading can change the way you look at the world.
Talk to friends and mentors. I mean really talk; call them! It’s great to keep in touch by text and email, but that person-to-person phone call or meeting over lunch or drinks is so much more rewarding. Use that time to share what you’re reading (hint, hint). And don’t forget to be a good listener, too.
Exercise, eat right, and care for your body. Then you can do all the great things you were meant to do, whatever you determine things those to be.
Take time to smell the roses! As the busy work world is winding down for me, I’ve started taking more time to enjoy nature, meditate, and simply stop and breathe. It fills me with such strength and happiness, I regret that I didn’t do this more when I was younger.
I realize the great irony (and joy) in my story is that I am learning for myself what the words “Go Get The World” can mean for me. Everyone’s journey is unique, and I hope you can find out what “Go get the world” means for you, too!
For more information on getting a unique planet for yourself or someone you want to encourage as they go get their own world, see Josh Simpson glass.