In my last post, I have noticed and believe that we are all wearing a backpack, heavy with a collection of emotional weight connected to the particular difficulties of our daily lives. The collection of emotions have incredible negative effects on us, but are uniquely different for each person. Think of all the things added to the normal rollercoaster of life in just the last 9 months that would make our walk harder. We have all lost something, which means we have all gone through mourning. The weight of that is varied for each of us, but has value to each of us independently. We have lost traditions, passions, events, celebrations, jobs, dreams, and some of us have even lost people we love. The emotions of that loss are what we carry in our backpack.
So let’s go grab a mirror, and work to see our own backpack, which is often the hardest one to recognize. Are we taking time to look in the mirror and ask ourselves the hard questions?? Are we prepared to answer and deal with our own emotional weight? If you are like me, you might have said, “Trying to recognize the backpack is just MORE WEIGHT IN THE BACKPACK!!!”” Seems counterproductive, but we must begin with ourselves to not only see if we can lighten our load, but also prepare ourselves to potentially serve as leaders and lighten the load of others.
There are many ways you could accomplish this, but I believe it must include the following question:
“What is one thing consuming your thoughts and heavy on your heart more than any other thing in your life TODAY?!?!”
Two elements to this first step. One Thing. Today. You can’t dump the whole backpack on the bed and walk away with an empty backpack. That isn't realistic. I believe there is one thing that is heavier, that is making your back hurt a little more TODAY. Step 1: NAME THAT THING.
You will be astonished that just by naming it will start to change the shape and weight of your backpack. It allows you to begin to look at it differently, and begin to ask the next series of questions that will start to relieve you of some of that weight you are carrying around and prepare you to be a stronger better leader for others.
This is Part Two in a series focused on this concept. Follow me on FB or Instagram to journey with me to lighten the load of our students, teachers, parents, and community.
I miss backpacks. They are a true indicator that school is in session. I have found a strange void as both a teacher and a parent not to see students carrying them.
Usually, a backpack is full of the useful tools for success in school: books, computer, pens, pencils, lunch. They are adorned with cute cuddly characters as a youngster. Characters change to stickers, water bottles, and other personal items attached by a favorite color carabiner as students move to secondary school. The older the backpack, the bigger and heavier it got. I always laughed watching students compare their stories of future back surgeries attributed to their teacher of choice who assigned too much reading or homework.
Although we don’t see students carrying their backpacks in and out of school everyday, you can be sure that students are still carrying a backpack. Unfortunately, they aren’t full of useful tools. They are full of a smorgasbord of emotions not designed to help them find success. Anxiety. Fear. Anger. Frustration. Sadness. Confusion. Mourning.
The answers are the same with every group of students I have worked with since leaving school in March. The weight of their backpacks are heavier than they have ever been. They are filled with a new strange weight that is hard to lighten.
The even stranger part is seeing how adults are carrying the same backpacks. Teachers, parents, and trusted adults who have been able to assist them in the past seem heavy with the weight of these same emotions. Everywhere we look we see people weighted down by their own backpack. WE ALL ARE WEARING A BACKPACK.
This is Part One in a series focused on this concept. Follow me on FB or Instagram to journey with me to lighten the load of our students, teachers, parents, and community.
I needed some inspiration. This COVID thing is pulling me away from the good things I hope to be. So the family moved our work/school space to find inspiration. This is what 14 sunrises reminded me.
1. I need to be more consistent in my leadership work. The sun shows up...everyday....in the same place...at the same time. The sun shows up.
2. I need to be more resilient in my leadership work. The sun doesn't make excuses if the weather isn't perfect. The horizon might be covered, the rain might be falling, but the sun still finds a way to fight through.
3. I need to be more present in my leadership work. Pictures never capture the beauty. That is why we traveled. To hear, smell, see, and EXPERIENCE the sunrise. You cannot replace being present in the midst of a sunrise.
4. I need to empower those around me when I have the opportunity in my leadership work. The sun isn't the thing. The sun may be the catalyst, but it is the way it makes everything around it better. The clouds, water, birds, rocks, and surroundings are the true beauty. Without them, it is great....but with them it is AWESOME.
4. I need to leave more warm feelings in my leadership work. There is instant warmth. The sun makes an impact IMMEDIATELY upon arrival. You can feel it on your face. The coldness is gone, and a beautiful warmth sets in.
5. I need to be mindful of my words and actions in my leadership work...people are watching and listening. The world stops. I observed 20+ surfers working to catch early morning waves one morning. The moment the sun arrived, they stopped. They turned around, watched and waited.
6. I need to be more proactive in my leadership work. It took me 6 months to find time for myself and my family to get recharged. I can't take care of anyone unless I take care of myself and those closest to me first. Get in it and make it happen.
14 sunrises. I needed them way more than they needed me to watch. I am thankful for the opportunity. I will continue to try to have them and the lessons they reminded me about change my attitude, my actions, and my leadership in the work to come. I hope you can find a sunrise or two when you need them as well.
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.