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“Life engenders life. Energy creates energy. It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich.” ~Sarah Bernhardt Ten years ago, when I first moved to China, I came as an English teacher at a university. I hadn’t the faintest clue as to how I would teach and I only had one year of experience as a teaching assistant in graduate school. At the beginning, I was completely out of my element. In fact, I woke up the following morning after arrival in my new apartment only to realize that I had no food, couldn’t say anything in Chinese, and had no idea where to get something to eat. For me, everything was uncharted territory, especially my new career. After settling in, I tried to do a good job of teaching, and I truly did care for my students. However, having hundreds of different students and seeing each group for less than an hour per week, I did not see how I could make much difference. Because of this, I lost my motivation and never really gave it my all. I could find no reason to excel at what I was doing because I couldn’t see how I could have any impact. I became apathetic about what could have been a wonderful occupation. I dreaded waking up in the morning and dragging myself to class. When making a lesson plan, I would just throw something together that I thought might be sufficient. In class, I just wanted to get it over with and move on with my day. I rarely stuck around to converse with my students and I often complained about my work. I did what was necessary just to get by. I gave very little of myself and got very little in return. My profession became a job to trudge through. You Get What You Give Years later I began to work on improving myself. Naturally, this included my own job and I began to search for a way to transform my work into something better, something more meaningful. And I found the answer. Fast-forward a few years, and everything changed. When preparing classes, I would construct course plans with meticulous care and would repeatedly practice how best to deliver them. I would wake up each morning at 5:00am to make sure that I was physically and mentally wide awake and ready to give it my all, every single day. Before each class, I would talk to myself and whip myself up into a state of excitement, determined to make every class a masterpiece. I started to feel genuinely excited on my way to class and felt great joy upon entering the classroom. I would stay afterward and speak with students, who were always full of questions for me. Increasingly, I was able to see through the eyes of the learner. And, by being able to put myself in their shoes, I knew what needed to be done and how to execute it. [...]