Next month will be the one year anniversary of the relabelling of NASBM to ISBL; it didn’t take long for the new label to stick and in that year the Institute has gone from strength to strength. Is this as a result of the new label-who knows? How important is a label?
Yesterday I took a frozen homemade meal out of the freezer thinking it was one thing and then discovered it was another whilst I heated it up. Always more complicated, as I was expecting it to be veggie and it turned out to be a meat spag bog (yet another meal disappointment for my veggie husband!) It would have helped if I had labelled it (definite note to self for future).
This Wednesday was World Mental Health Day, where schools up and down the country raised awareness to remove stigma and incorrect labels around mental health and help some understand and maybe rewrite their own labels. For some people, understanding and challenging their own labels, will mean they make positive life changing choices. I love the fact I work in a school which works so hard to remove labels, with its learning without limits pedagogy. Everyone in the school is a learner, if someone complains they “don’t get it!” or they “don’t understand it!” 99% of the time they would be told “yet!”. For example one of my office crew had to learn how to upload videos to YouTube and convert them to QR codes this week. When she struggled, we joked that she needed a teenager to do it for her. When she said “I can’t do it”, we helped her re label the task in her head by chorusing “yet!” The power of yet! And the power of challenging the labels we put on ourselves.
Labels belong to the labeller, not the labelled.
However, as SBLs we need and use labels every day. Understanding the importance and impact of these labels speeds up our decision making processes ensuring we become more efficient in everything we think and do as change catalysts within our settings. How do we do this? By using each other’s expertise and skills – collaboration (#SBLTwitter?). Then we can challenge with confidence; gain advantage as we negotiate; increase our resilience as we are certain in our decisions. When this happens labels are useful; as useful as labelling my spag bog!
Being a leader doesn’t require a title; having a title doesn’t make you one.
Having help understanding labels is great at times. I spent two hours on Monday at a Book Spa at the delightful Mr B’s Book Emporium in Bath. After discussing books and authors already enjoyed with our own bibliotherapist, they then produced 25 recommended books for our selection. Tricky to select a bag full to take home, I tried to listen to the synopsis given by the bibliotherapist rather than judge the book by the cover (label?). Maybe within schools we need to do this more…listen to the experts, read all of the labels and ultimately make up our own minds as to the best course of action.
So labels good or bad? As with everything it depends how and when they are used and how permanent they are. If you had to label yourself what would you say? Maybe it depends when the question is asked? Your mission should you choose to accept it, is to keep challenging labels – your own and others.
Labels are for filing. Labels are for clothes. Labels are not for people – Martina Navratilova