Stop Having. Start Creating.
First, full credit to a great mentor of mine, Dr. Mark Warner. I clearly remember the first time he said to me Create a Great Day instead of Have a Great Day to me as a young college student. It struck me then and recently it struck me again as I found myself simply going through the motions of my life.
I am convinced we are using the wrong word. HAVING something and CREATING something are totally different. We HAVE to eat. We HAVE to sleep. We HAVE to use the bathroom. So why do we tell people to have a great day, have fun, or have anything? What if we changed it...
CREATE laughter. CREATE hope. CREATE love. CREATE fun. When we use that word in this way, we empower our people. We challenge our people. We give the opportunity for our people to be empowered and to think about action, not reaction. When we CREATE, we change.
I hope you will stop HAVING a great day and, as Mark would say, I offer you the opportunity to CREATE a great day today....that's what I am going to do too!!!
Leadership with REACH...
In my world, and in many of yours too, a new beginning dawns in August and September as we send our the youngest members of our community back to their learning environments to grow as thinkers, creators, and learners. If you are one of those who get the chance to engage them in their growth, I hope you will REACH with your leadership.
Real. Be You. Their fake meter is strong (even the little ones) and can read right through you. Also, you don't have to sugar coat anything. If it's great, celebrate. If it isn't, they need to hear that too. It can be constructive, but it has to be real. They will thank you later.
Excited. If you aren't, they won't ever be. Not the rah rah we have to be excited crap....authentic excitement about the opportunity to change a life for the better. Isn't that why you got in it?? It wasn't for how well you teach someone to fill in the bubble....or at least I hope not!
Accountable. Every word and action is important. In and out of the classroom. People send their most prized possessions to you. You have a responsibility academically but more importantly for their well being.
Change. Change them. Not manipulate. Not force. Change their thinking. Change their perspective. Change their world. Oh, and it's OK to let them change you. You will be better for it.
Hope. We need it...all of us. Without it, what can we do? With it, what can't we do!! Rich, poor, educated, extrovert, introvert...EVERYONE. Offer hope for their success.
Students you can do this too....if we do it together, who knows how far we could REACH!!
Effort over Ability
The Olympics have been great to watch. My 8 year old daughter is...well...obsessed to say the least..and I love it. Every morning I get a complete report of who won the night before (when she stayed up and the old man fell asleep) and what I could expect when I tuned in that night. She is immersed, engaged, and clearly interested.
The conversations have also led us to talk about something I have preached in my classroom for years: TALENT will only take you so far...HARD WORK carries you to your destination. When you teach music, as I have for 15 years, you see some truly talented, gifted, and unique students who come with so many gifts and abilities. I am in awe of their ABILITY. I respect their GIFTS. I recognize their STRENGTHS. The truth is though, I am not interested in TALENT, I am interested in WORK. The Olympics have reminded me of that.
EVERYONE on that television is GIFTED. They make doing some impossible things look easy. The REAL story comes out when you hear about the HOURS, the WORK, the SACRIFICE they have endured to get there. Malcolm Gladwell talks about the 10,000 hours it takes to master something in his book Outliers. I would bolster that thought with the idea that those hours have to be engaged in growth and in the presence of expert teachers who assist you in perfecting your basic raw abilities.
I am reminded to keep fighting the good, tough, and resilient fight when it comes to my goals. If I am going to break world records, and truly be world class, I need to keep working, making sacrifices to get there, and stop relying on my raw talent alone.
I need more Pelican Leadership in my life. It hit me like...well...a diving pelican that I need to shape some of my action much like they were taking care of their business. Here are my takeaways:
1. No matter who or what is around you.....be you.
I have never seen a pelican riled up...by anything. I have watched them work alone, in pairs, in packs, surrounded by other birds, following fishing boats, and diving in the same area as dolphins. Their actions are the same, and thus their results are too.
2. Observe before you act.
Soaring high or gliding as close to the ocean as possible, pelicans take careful process to take in the situation before acting. The work they do in observing allows them to.....
3. GO FOR IT!!
The dive. Calculated. Committed. Consistent. I could watch the dive all day long (maybe that is weird....but I have to be me). There is no turning back for the pelican once they have made the decision to go for it. They are ALL IN!!
The pelican has reminded me to be true to my leadership values, watch and listen to the environment around me, and once I am ready, GO FOR IT..committed to the success I have created for myself.
Thanks for stopping by. These are musings on how I see leadership in the world and how I continue to try and grow through my lens.