Through the Eyes of an Educator: From Waiting to Action—Empowering Our Inner Badass

by Stacey Ebert /
Stacey Ebert's picture
Jul 05, 2023 / 0 comments

In the northern hemisphere, it’s officially summer. It’s the season where shoes are optional, schedules flung out the window, and s’mores an everyday occurrence. It includes days of drippy ices, water-logged joy, and vitamin D drenched humans. We adventure easily, leap without question, and reacquaint ourselves with risk. 

We do it without thinking; it’s the jump from the high dive, the trek on the mountain precipice, the discovery of a new secret spot filled with frogs and lizards, or the quick enthusiastic ‘yes’ to that spontaneous road trip request. 

It seems that our time to ‘get to yes’ can be quick when we choose, but at others, that span between wait and action is as large as the looming descent from the high dive. 

How can we empower our inner badass and make those leaps more often, even when it’s not cannonball season?

Through the Eyes of an Educator: From Waiting to Action—Empowering Our Inner Badass

“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great” - John D. Rockefeller

At schools across the country, the last bell has rung, chairs are neatly stacked atop desks, and teachers wake without alarm clocks. These first few weeks are about deep breaths, shaking out the cobwebs, and allowing freedom from structure to set in. Across the country, vacations are in sight, summer camps open, and beach chairs clamor to be freed from storage. 

We’re taking action: the kind that ignites joy, makes us lighter, and livens the spirit. 

Through the Eyes of an Educator: From Waiting to Action—Empowering Our Inner Badass

We have time and free will to use it well. So, why does it take us so long to go from waiting to action in some of our other life decisions? Why do those to-do lists seem endless with the phone calls to make, the letter to mail, the clothing to donate, the book to write, or the adulting decision after decision after decision? Is our indecision and doubt winning or is it something else?

“If we wait until we’re ready we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives” - Lemony Snicket

All sorts of educational spaces include ideas of time management. There are assemblies regarding procrastination, lessons about organizational skills, and even some that now empower students to work through those how to handle my finances conversations. But, for most of that educational landscape, we’re left to our own devices—and if we need that extra-help, we’re the ones who need to ask for it. Sure, the different learning styles, flexible regrouping, and even varied spaces are growing across the country and beyond the borders, yet, unless you seek it out, there’s limited talk of ‘getting to yes’ in the K-12 experience. So, aside from that older sibling showing the way, a mentor inspiring you, or someone who reminds you to ‘get your shit done today’, the road is left unsigned and often we’re traversing without a map, guide, or even SIRI. 

So, now what?

“No one’s coming, motivation isn’t happening, you’re never going to feel like it; scientists call it activation energy - that’s what they call the force required to get you to change from doing what you’re doing on autopilot to do something new” - Mel Robbins TED Talk

Today, with pretty much everything at our fingertips, there are heaps of resources out there. We’re now those grown up students who asked for that extra help from our teachers and counselors. While the resources are today well outside the bounds of the classroom, they’re there. Between podcasts, programs, thought-leaders, books, articles, professionals, coaches, courses, therapists, and the like, there’s a whole library of assistance designed to help us shorten the space between waiting and action. 

The questions really are: do you recognize the distance, do you want it to shrink, which ‘help options’ work for you, can you find what you need for free, or can you afford it? And, of course, what do you need, where do you go, and when is time to tap a mental health professional? 

“I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done” - Lucille Ball

With all of these options as the grown up version for ‘extra help’, still, it’s up to us to take that leap. We can do it at the amusement park when we opt for the tilt-a-whirl or when we decide to go to that far flung vacation spot or throw caution to the wind and book that last minute flight. 

Now it’s time to ‘get to yes’ more in the everyday. 

Perhaps, as part of that journey, we can find a way to empower that inner badass in our next-gen graduates so that when they leave the confines of the brick and mortar educational space, they’ve crafted their own map and are confident in their own wayfinding skills. 

It’s time to shorten the distance between one day and day one…you with me?

Through the Eyes of an Educator: From Waiting to Action—Empowering Our Inner Badass

5 Ideas To Tap Into That Inner Badass


Skill sets to encourage

Curiosity, wonder, and exploration are deep within us. They start the first moment we open our eyes to look at our new world. We’re encouraged to check out our surroundings, try new foods, and take our first steps. Then we grow to explore the dirt, sand, cabinet with the pots and pans, and soon the space beyond home. 

It’s that spirit of discovery we must continue to unleash. 

The wanna build a fort, what do you think a giraffe’s tongue feels like, and I wonder what it’s like to live in the Australian outback kind of thoughts that tap that inner curiosity, wonder, and exploration. 

Build on it, re-invigorate it, encourage it in every facet of the days and experiences. 

Read, watch, talk, listen, learn, engage, discover—whenever possible, access that inner child, and wonder with abandon. That state of openness drowns the inner critic, and while we do need that voice at times to remind us ‘don’t touch the hot stove, or dart out into the street without looking’, the constant yammering of ‘should I or shouldn’t I’ can quiet when the desire to try that new sport, visit that new city, or take that new job outweighs the noise in our own heads. 

Through the Eyes of an Educator: From Waiting to Action—Empowering Our Inner Badass

Thought-leaders to engage

Everywhere we look, there’s a new podcast, show, book, or app. They may not all be our cup of tea, but there’s something for everyone. It’s up to us to find the thing that works for the us of today which might be different than the us of yesterday or tomorrow. 

Perhaps it’s a deep dive into your own psyche or habits that’s necessary or maybe it’s a shift in perspective. Either way, if we’re looking to unleash that inner wisdom, guides can often point the way. 

Engage your research brain and dive down the rabbit hole with the likes of Glennon Doyle, Mel Robbins, Martha Beck, Jay Shetty, Dr. Laurie Santos, or a zillion other wise humans. Mel Robbins, in particular, uses a launch theory to engage that activation force, fling off the covers, and bust out of that comfortable bed or whatever autopilot comfort zone we’re in. Her well known 5 Second Rule focuses on counting to five and doing the thing. Getting out of bed in the morning is only one example of showcasing the fact that while it might be hard to take the first step, it’s the activation of the doing that is key to the continued momentum.

The time is always now. We might need those thought leaders or professionals to help unlock our stuckness or quiet those nagging voices in our heads, but once we gain the tools, it’s still up to us to use them. Empower those up and coming grownups to listen, learn, interact, and then put their knowledge to good use. Forts don’t build themselves; it takes energy, effort, and ideas to make it happen – the same can be said for all of those decisions and dreams you wish to bring to life.

Through the Eyes of an Educator: From Waiting to Action—Empowering Our Inner Badass

Developing strategies

Have you ever created a sandcastle? Sometimes you add a moat or decide to build another level, perhaps a couple of turrets, windows, or extra tunnels. While watching the creation come to life, we also witness the wheels turning in the minds of the builders. There’s a strategy there: keep the water out, have multiple exits, get an extra angle from higher ground. 

Whatever it is, it’s there and the uninterrupted strategy is both developing and unfurling in real time. Perhaps it’s how to convince the grownups to foster a new puppy. Maybe it’s how high can this lego tower go before it falls over. Or, perhaps it’s something to do with ingredients in baking, additions to a computer code, building a treehouse, designing a 3D model, or conquering the fundamentals before tackling that new back handspring. 

Freedom to develop strategies in their youth will transfer to that skill later in life. How best to invest extra money, how to build a YouTube following, what classes to take to get into medical school, or even the problem-solving necessary to start a successful company or end world hunger. 

The kids who challenge the ordinary, think outside the box, ask for help or guidance when needed, work smarter not harder, and continue to learn as they grow…these are the changemakers of tomorrow and the ones who will go from waiting to action with lightning speed.

Through the Eyes of an Educator: From Waiting to Action—Empowering Our Inner Badass

Encouraging discovery and mistakes

Many of today’s superstars have dealt with failure. We could quote Michael Jordan, Steve Jobs, JK Rowling, or Oprah—and in their repertoire of success comes failures. 

The trick? They learned from those failures. They took the lessons and built on them. They asked, tried again, failed again, succeeded some, failed again, and got right back up. Countless startups, venture capitalists, influencers, and budding all stars have the same story. They didn’t get to where they are today without a few missteps that shifted but didn’t derail their journey. Encouraging discovery and risk-taking helps to grow that tenacity of spirit. 

Wonder, imagine, dream, discover. Take a step, try a thing, see what happens, learn a lesson, try again. 

Success takes flight along the way. We grow. With every step, we build our resilience, our ability to deal with difficulty and get back out there. Allow for discovery—try out for the team, mail the letter, tackle the monkey bars, participate in the contest, ask the question, apply for the job, call the friend, share your story, challenge the status quo. Stumble along the way, take time to feel the feelings, and learn the lessons. Just make sure you get back up, put those shoulders back, believe in yourself, and get back out there. 

Through the Eyes of an Educator: From Waiting to Action—Empowering Our Inner Badass

Fostering listening skills

A few years ago, I got the opportunity to hear the Dalai Lama speak. The event was outside, on a university campus, with hundreds in attendance—yet the inherent presence of the wise and peaceful human on the stage touched each one of us. In that stadium, you could have heard a pin drop. He captivated our attention for the duration. Still, for most of us, in our daily lives we listen with one ear on something else. Harvard-trained negotiator Chris Voss reminds us that “contrary to popular opinion, listening is not a passive activity. It is the most active thing you can do.”

Pay attention. Block out the noise, put down the phone, focus, limit other tasks, remain present, and bring your awareness to the speaker. Here’s where we bring in those audiobooks, podcasts, and storytellers. 

It’s when the little ones ask to chat, and we model the active listener behavior by sharing full presence to their story. Perhaps it’s listening to famous speeches, rock legends, or Broadway theme songs. Perhaps it’s in the attention you share while your child reads you that bedtime story. Maybe you take in a live performance to elicit a later discussion about what was spoken or seen on stage.

Build in the time and attention for active listening—the future leaders and doers will thank you.

Through the Eyes of an Educator: From Waiting to Action—Empowering Our Inner Badass


Please click the photo below for a collection of my Through the Eyes of an Educator columns:

Through the Eyes of an Educator: A Compendium


Stacey Ebert, our Educational Travels Editor, is a traveler at heart who met her Australian-born husband while on a trip in New Zealand. Stacey was an extracurricular advisor and taught history in a Long Island public high school for over fifteen years, enjoying both the formal and informal educational practices. After a one year 'round the world honeymoon, travel and its many gifts changed her perspective. She has since left the educational world to focus on writing and travel. She is energetic and enthusiastic about long term travel, finding what makes you happy and making the leap. In her spare time she is an event planner, yogi, dark chocolate lover, and spends as much time as possible with her toes in the sand.

Check out her website at for more of her travel musings.