We all need guardrails to keep balance in our lives.

We all need guardrails to keep balance in our lives.

Guardrails are on dangerous, curvy roads to keep cars from hurling off the side of a mountain. They are intentionally put in places that are dangerous . . . that have a higher risk of going off the road.

There are times, moments in our lives when we need guardrail because we are at risk from skidding off into the abyss. Guardrails are intentionally, specifically put in place to keep us on the road . . . to keep us on the path required for success.

For me, these guardrails are the people, the angels, in my life. Each of us must have honest, trusting, loving people to serve as guardrails for us. These are the folks who care enough to tell us when we are heading towards that cliff. We must all be mindful of these people, these guardrails, and be willing to listen. We must also step-up and serve as guardrails for others. Embrace the discomfort of having a difficult conversation . . . do what is difficult, yet required of us.

Your only competition is in the mirror. You need to be the best version of you.

Your only competition is in the mirror. You need to be the best version of you.

Our social media world, the false reality created by 10 second moments of euphoria, distracts many people from the reality that all we can control is ourselves. Life isn’t about creating posts for Instagram or Snapchat. Life can’t be about creating the perfect “picture” to share on a stream or thread. The only competition we have is internal . . . it’s personal.

I can’t compare my life, my worth, with the snapshots other choose to share. I need to be the best version of me – that’s all I can control. My best version helps others become the best they can be . . . that’s what real leadership demands each and every day.

Don’t spend today creating a false reality to match the false realities posted or promoted by others. Spend today being a better version of you . . . that is where you really make a difference

Greatness doesn’t come in isolation. When times get tough, we come together – that’s where we find power.

Greatness doesn’t come in isolation. When times get tough, we come together – that’s where we find power.

We are faced with new challenges, with unpredictable events, each and every day. From confronting the senseless proliferation of hate and intolerance in society today, to addressing the real issues that impact people’s lives, we are always stronger together. The Power of the Team is where greatness happens.

No one is immune to challenges or hardships; everyone deals with hurt, anger, and frustration. The most optimistic people in the world have off days . . . they struggle with the realities of life. What makes us better, where we find our power, is when we work together. The positive energy of support and love is required for the work we do

Slogans without actions are just empty words.

Slogans without actions are just empty words.

It is easy to have posters on the walls and to use catch phrases in written material.  Many organizations have a vision and mission statement hanging on the wall or stuck in a drawer.  Real culture isn’t the words posted or written.  Real culture is in our action and behavior.  When the rubber hits the road, when opposition turns up the heat, we must act with purpose and be steadfast to the culture we desire.

We are focused on the whole child; we know that academic preparation must be matched by social-emotional preparation.  We intentionally create opportunities to level the playing field for all students, regardless of socioeconomic, religious, or ethnic background.  We live our mission; we work to ensure that each and every student is Ready for Tomorrow.

Happiness is the joy you feel moving towards your potential.

Happiness is the joy you feel moving towards your potential.  – Shawn Achor

Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, defines happiness as “the joy you feel moving towards your potential.” For the Hilliard City School District this definition is “spot on.”  School isn’t always easy . . . learning requires each of us to do the work.  Happiness differs from satisfaction or pleasure.  Happiness isn’t temporary; it is a journey.

Today’s world is seemingly focused on instant gratification – the short term win.  These short term wins play well on social media, but they don’t make us happy.  Through intentional focus on social-emotional skills – focus on Hope and a Sense of Belonging – we are paving the path for future happiness.  We strive for each individual student to reach his or her potential.

Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.

Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten. – B.F. Skinner

Every student that has sat in a classroom, especially for a class that isn’t a favorite subject, has had the thought, “when am I ever going to use this.”  From basic algebra to Shakespeare, each of us has learned skills in a class that we haven’t directly applied in “real life.”

What survives beyond the classroom, the education, is far greater than the content itself.  Education is the learning process, the lifelong process of acquiring new skills and knowledge.  We forget more information than we will ever remember, but the process of learning, applying, and reflecting is what’s most important.

In a digital age, where static information is at our fingertips, we can’t lose site of the educational process.  Yes, there is value in learning, debating, analyzing, and synthesizing information . . . it is the foundation of the educational process.

The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.

The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness. – Abraham Maslow

One of the concerns educators have today with young people is the ability to be present in the moment.  Too often students are preoccupied with smart phones, social media, and outward appearances.  Being present in the moment, engaging in real conversations and experiences, is required for true reflection.  

Schools, as part of a child-centered educational experience, must cultivate the use of technology as a tool and the ability to be “in the moment” as a skill.  The discipline of listening, understanding, and engaging is necessary for a successful, healthy life.  From professional endeavors to family relationships, we must be fully present to be fully engaged.