Find Something That Makes You Happy

Emily Episode Art for Changes Big and Small


This week, I’m speaking with another teacher, Emily Sliman. Although she’s a teacher like Ryan, who I chatted with last week, their paths have been quite different. Emily did start out working as a software engineer before changing to be a pastry chef. She didn’t find the passion that she was seeking there, and instead found it as a high school Math teacher. Along the way, Emily’s lived in 8 countries. In that time, she’s learned to embrace change and to say yes to new experiences. She also faced one of the biggest challenges of her life in the past few years. Join us to learn about Emily’s journey. I hope that you will connect with her message and find inspiration to pursue some of your own dreams.

You can connect with Emily on Twitter EmilySliman, or on her blog

Timeline of the Chat

1:25 – Emily introduces herself
1:39 – What Emily believes about change
2:05 – The biggest change
4:01 – Her experience as a pastry chef
5:20 – The journey to math teacher
9:31 – Facing and overcoming challenges as a new teacher
11:51 – Skills developed through making change
12:58 – Saying YES to new experiences
14:52 – Facing cancer
15:42 – The hardest thing and going through chemo
18:41 – Emily’s strengths
20:01 – Making decisions and being happy
22:57 – Scary changes
25:22 – Respecting family and cultural beliefs
27:36 – Enjoying the moment and appreciating change
28:12 – Who inspires Emily with change
30:01 – Advice for making changes in our lives

Quotes from the chat

We really support each other through it [the new experience/challenge].

I had this great cohort that I was working with, that was a place to vent, a place to learn new things…

The idea of classroom management was silent children sitting at desks with pencil and paper and that was sort of what education should look like

I expect my classrooms to be much louder now and engaged in Math, I hope.

I value talking to my students about what they care about which typically is not math, and finding out how I can make those connections with them and hopefully get them to not hate math.

I think saying yes is one of the key skills that I’ve had to to work on in myself.

Pushing myself to say yes at least once a week, to get myself out of the house and to experience different things. In doing that, it leads me to enjoy the countries that I’m living in much more and to discover things that maybe I didn’t know that I liked…

Yeah okay, it might be hard, but you can do it, and you’re not ever going to do it if you don’t try…

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about who I am and who I want to be and what I prioritize.

This sense of adventure is still there but the need for community is greater.

I tend to go with my gut feeling about whether it’s time for me to make a chance or to move on from a place.

I’m going to be happy wherever you put me. And so this idea of one perfect spot or one perfect job is just not true. And so being happy with what I have or where I am, and knowing that if any of those things change, I can be happy with someplace else…

I feel like I am equipped to handle most things that are thrown at me, and I’m very lucky that if something happened with my job, I feel like I could find a different job…

I am who I am, and I’m definitely up front about that.

Rule number one is to be kind. You should be kind to yourself and be kind to others.

Some things are just hard and they take time.

You make it through those 10 seconds and you ask yourself, can I do it again for another 10 seconds.

If everything in your life is not bringing you joy, what’s one thing you can do differently to help change that?

Emily said yes to a Lizzo concert
Emily said yes to this concert and discovered a new artist that she now loves, Lizzo

Change is scary and can be scary, but not changing at all leads you to always be in the same place, whether that place is an emotional place, or a physical location. If what you’re doing is making you happy and making the world a better place, then that’s great. But if it’s not, then why aren’t you doing something about it.


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