“Character is the cornerstone of trust. Before you can lead others, you must first manage yourself.” – Tim Kight
We all know and work with people who say the right things, but when events happen, when things get tough, they do the easy thing. None of us want to be “that person” who has strength of conviction, but weakness in actions.
We earn trust when people know, when they experience, both the depth of our values and the strength in our action. We inspire trust in others when they witness our values in the face of adversity and our behavior in times of stress. We even earn the respect of those with different opinions when we intentionally model our values in our daily lives.
Know your purpose . . . live it through your actions. Be intentional in actions and look at each event in your life as an opportunity to Step Up and Makes a Difference. Other will experience your character through your behavior.
“Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.” – C.S. Lewis
It is easy to live your virtues when things are going well. It is easy to express your values when you are with people who agree with you. It is difficult to live your values in challenging situations or when you are with those who disagree with you.
We live in an instant gratification world. We live in a time when “going with the flow” is often encouraged and seeking the “quick fix” is celebrated. Our virtue demands that we live our values – even in the face of opposition. We value diversity of thoughts and commitment to purpose. This requires that we do the work; it stipulates that we embrace the productive discomfort of doing the right thing . . . even at the testing point.
Have the courage be true to your core values in the face of opposition, face opposition with civility and fidelity of purpose, and be intentional at each testing point you face.
“A leader can’t make excuses. There has to be quality in everything you do. Off the court, on the court, in the classroom.” – Michael Jordan
Leaders are leaders. The venue isn’t important . . . the approach is what sets leaders apart. Leaders listen, observe, and synthesize what is required in any given situation. Leaders don’t make excuses for failures . . . they find solutions for the future.
True leaders bring a quality to the situation that supersedes skill, which increases the skill level of everyone around them. For us, leaders embrace the Power of the Team recognizing that we are stronger together. Don’t make excuses . . . demonstrate leadership qualities in everything you do.
Be on time, bust your butt. Play smart and have some laughs while you’re at it. – Whitey Herzog
Whitey Herzog is a Hall of Fame baseball coach. I love this quote because it speaks to both culture and accountability.
Too many people in today’s society selfishly ignore the discipline of time management. When you take time for granted, when you disregard the schedule of others, you clearly show that you are more important that everyone else. When you are late it doesn’t matter what you say, your actions are loud and clear . . . “you aren’t important enough for me to respect.”
Of course, there are times when unavoidable situations create delays. From weather delays to accidents on I-270 . . . there are times any of us can be late. But, and this is a big but, there are ways to mitigate many situations by planning and scheduling effectively. Each of us must be reasonable with our scheduling. We must learn to say “no” to some commitments in order to values those commitments that we schedule. We must be mindful of our own time, place guardrails in our own schedules to ensure we truly demonstrate respect for others.
When you are habitually late, you are saying to those with whom your work, and those in your life, that you don’t care enough about others to plan effectively.
What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals. – Henry David Thoreau
It isn’t the reward, but the process that makes us better people. When you achieve a goal you get a reward. You may get recognition, a pay raise, a trophy, or simply a pat on the back. The reward for achieving the goal is nice, but it isn’t what is most important.
What is most important are the lessons learned and the skills developed through the process of achievement. We embrace the learning process because each event is an opportunity to learn; each experience is a hook on which we can retrieve information. In our minds-eye, our experiences make us who we are. When we keep our eyes and ears open, when we listen and learn, the path to achievement is building the foundation for future success.
When we blame others or make excuses, we give up the power to change. When we give up the power to change, we stop growing.
It is so easy in today’s world to blame other people. We can tweet, post, or email our complaints. We can blame anyone . . . everyone else for what inconveniences us. We can make ourselves feel better by placing the blame on someone else. It is easy . . . it has increasingly become the norm. Students, and some parents, find someone else to blame for any failure or struggle. “It’s the teacher’s fault, the coach doesn’t like my kid, and I can’t step-up because they will take it out on my kid” are all common refrains from the song of blame.
When excuses are introduced into the narrative, when we blame other people, it is the first step to longterm failure. By blaming others . . . by making excuses . . . we retreat from truly growing. When we blame someone else, we fail to embrace what is required of us. We give up . . . we embrace a fixed mindset.
When you find yourself wanting to make an excuse, when you hear yourself blaming someone else, stop and ask, “what can I do to improve my situation.” Don’t abdicate authority over you by pointing a finger at someone else. Instead, look in the mirror and reflect on what you can control . . . YOU!
“It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.” – Tom Hanks, A League of Their Own
The journey to being elite isn’t easy. Raising your level of performance from good to great is much more difficult than improving from average to good. Sure, as educators we can be happy with our current level of student instruction. We are good, people are moving to our community, and our students are graduating prepare for college. It would be east to keep doing what we are doing . . . it is what our constituents want us to do.
It is hard to push ourselves to the next level. It is challenging to face the real demands of preparing students for success in a future that is unclear. We face unending obstacles and new social challenges. Our students population is getting more diverse and politicians create more and more obstacles to truly doing good work. What makes us great . . . what sets us apart . . . is how we embrace the challenges. We stay true to our values and strive to truly pursue excellence.