This past week, I undertook my third #Five4Five Challenge. The #Five4Five Challenge is an initiative created by educator and author Michael Matera who encourages others to commit to doing one new-to-you (often creative) endeavor each day for five straight days.
Weeks ago, in my first #Five4Five, I created video content each day for a week that required a new-to-me element in its production, and that particular #Five4Five round had me experimenting with creating welding videos, helping 6th-graders produce instructional video content, and combining a collection of gifs into a video as a demonstration model for elementary PE classes.
My second #Five4Five pushed me into the world of vlogging, and I created a 5+ minute vlog each day over the course of that week – all of them focusing in on explaining my role as a Personalized Learning Collaborator in our district. That experience forced me to navigate the subtle nuances of vlogging as a form of expression, it encouraged me to reflect and consider how to tell my own story. Since that time, I have continued to hone my vlogging skills with a weekly recap of my week that I create and share on my YouTube channel.
And so over the course of this past week, I committed to a new #Five4Five, but this time I wanted to create something for someone else. For this #Five4Five, I decided to invest in making an anonymous, random act of kindness each day for five days. This challenge stretched my creativity in that it is surprisingly difficult to find ways to do something nice for others without them knowing that you made the gesture. That said, my chief interest in this undertaking was to use the #Five4Five to have a positive influence on others, and while I should be clear that I’m not sure that I had any impact at all (there’s that anonymity thing again lol), I’d like to think that those acts made someone’s day a little brighter and shifted someone’s perception to see the world slightly more kind. In the interest of remaining silent about these gestures, I’m not going to detail what I did, but to close, I will share one example of just how simple this can be. On Thursday morning, I made two stacks of six quarters each, wrapped those respective stacks in painter’s tape, wrote “It’s your lucky day, enjoy a free soda!” on a strip of the painter’s tape that I placed over the top of the stack, and then as I went to different schools that day, I used the strip on top to tape the stack of quarters to the staff soda machine. It was fun, simple, and hopefully a nice surprise for whoever found them.
I have truly appreciated committing to these #Five4Five opportunities for a variety of reasons. As Michael has said to me several times, creativity is like a muscle, and you need to use it to keep it strong. As life settles into adulthood, there’s a complacency that can come as a result of investing in routines, and it’s vital that we continue to commit to personal growth, particularly growth that fosters in you a new skill. I like to think of those skills as tools in your personal toolkit that can spark innovation and productivity across old and new contexts as you are then able to apply that skill in any relevant area thereafter. But as is the case with all things, the commitment to developing these skills takes a certain level of intentionality, and the #Five4Five Challenge encourages that. Lastly, I have also greatly appreciated the conversations, encouragement, and sense of community that has started to develop amongst those of us who have taken on (and continue to take on) this challenge. Accountability partners provide a mutual benefit for one another as both people strive to complete a challenging task, and once completed, those same people are the best to celebrate that accomplishment with because they have first-hand knowledge of the struggle and the effort that went into achieving it. So to close, thank you to all the #Five4Five -ers pushing yourselves and others to learn, grow, and share. Let’s keep it going! If you have not yet done your own #Five4Five, what better time to start than this week. Set a goal, get creative, and join in the fun.