Finding Your “Phase of Life” to Open Doors

Rae HughartBlog, Innovate Better, Lead Better, Reflect Better, Self Care Better


  • We are continually going through phases in our life both professionally and personally.
  • Dream big about what you want both personally and professionally.
  • Whatever phase you’re in, be your best self!

Phases of Life

I feel as though humans are continually entering into and out of “phases of life.” Some phases last weeks while others last years. As we move through our career fields and life milestones, our emotions ebb and flow like rolling hills.

You may be in a phase of life:

  • filled with the feeling of burnout
  • pebbled with exhaustion
  • focused on goal setting
  • dedicated to personal growth
  • committed to a workout regimen
  • lacking energy
  • inspired by family
Choose to celebrate your current phase. Sit in it, name it, and choose to be your best self within it. And then, when the time comes for a change, focus on your skill set to lead you to the next open door. Click To Tweet

Personal and Professional Phases

I like to separate these phases into two different categories—personal and professional. It is my belief that I can be in an uplifting “phase of life” professionally and in a struggling space personally (or visa versa). You as an educator can fully understand how blurred those lines can be.

In a conversation with a young teacher, I asked what sparked the initial outreach to me. Their answer was simple—they wanted guidance in discovering how to plan for the next steps of their career! Having had similar conversations in the past with educators feeling burned out and eager to leave the profession altogether, I felt ready to discuss how I could support this teacher.

Dream Big

Boy, did they throw me for a loop when they began painting a picture of their visions for the future! I was not speaking to a burned-out teacher, seconds away from leaving the classroom to work for a call center. Rather, I was speaking to an educator eager to craft a creative plan to impact the field of education for the next two decades. I oogled at their current “phase of life” and perspective as hope and aspiration for change filled the conversation.

  • What was the next goal they were going to chase?
  • What degree or certification came with that lofty goal?
  • What impact could this work have on students?
The daydream was almost palpable on the phone as they envisioned a bright future full of impact and success in the field of education. With only a hint of self-doubt creeping its way into the conversation on occasion, I was brought back to a time, pre-pandemic, when I would frequently have these types of conversations.

The educator I was speaking to began listing job titles and roles they hoped to someday reach, meticulously choosing certifications and degrees required to be considered for the specific position. The stress begin to creep in as the fear of choosing the wrong pathway became a reality. How do you know what role you want in 8 years? While this reality is one many of us will use time and time again to set our 5-10 year professional goals, I’d like you to consider a different vision…

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Education is like being in a long hallway full of doors.

Specific degrees, qualifications, and/or specific people may help you open the doors to potential opportunities. You may choose to learn about what is on the other side of the door and decide you have no interest in it, closing it tightly behind you. Other doors may open, but you may not feel ready to walk through them yet, keeping them slightly ajar in case the right time comes.

Regardless, you have the choice of whether to walk through the doorway or not.

It is rarely found that your vision for the “dream position” in education actually results in where you end up. I find this truth to be a blessing. If it’s no longer about the job title and role, it can only be about the skill set and characteristics you possess as it matches your current “phase of life.”

The reality is, that your “phase of life” is ever-changing.

You will find yourself open to new ideas at different times.

You will find yourself eager to learn at different times.

You will find yourself burned out at different times.

You will find yourself lost at different times.

You will find yourself fulfilled at different times.

Be Mindful

Choose to celebrate your current phase. Sit in it, name it, and choose to be your best self within it.

And then, when the time comes for a change, focus on your skill set to lead you to the next open door.

About Rae Hughart

Rae Hughart is the Chief Experience Officer and co-owner of the Teach Better Team, Educator, and author of Teachers Deserve It (20) and Teach Better (19) books available on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. In 2017, Rae was honored with the Illinois State University Outstanding Young Alumni Award – inducting her into the University Hall of Fame. In 2018, Rae was honored again by winning 1st place in the Henry Ford Innovator Award for her work within educators communities to build unity between local businesses and schools. And in 2021, Rae was selected to give her first TEDx Talk called “Better Than Youtube,” emphasizing the true value of educators. You can learn more about Rae or book her for Professional Development opportunities within the Teach Better Speakers Network.