Inspire Greatness

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

What makes you tick? What inspires you to dream?

You are a leader. You are responsible for your 20 square feet. What makes you want to be the best you can be for your students? What inspires you?

Take a moment right now . . . Just stop for 30 seconds . . . What inspires you to dig deeper? What makes you want to give more? What drives you to get above the line, to break from autopilot?

Now, once you’ve thought about what inspires you, be that for others today. Be a leader today – inspire greatness in others.

Embrace Complex Optimism

“I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter.” – Walt Disney

Being an optimist doesn’t mean everything is always sunshine and snowflakes. Being an optimist doesn’t mean we fail to see obstacles and work through fears. Being an optimist doesn’t mean we only work with happy people and that we are always in a good mood.

I am an optimist. I truly believe we can move mountains together. In my unchangeable core I believe we are shaping the future. The work we do – our vision for the future – is simple. The path we follow, our journey together, is incredibly complex.

We are working with individuals. We strive to personalize education for over 16,000 young people on a daily basis. Simple goal . . . Complex matter.

Being an optimist is essential in our work; it drives our commitment. We are also realistic in the work we do; we embrace the complexity of our work. We solve problems, overcome obstacles, and blaze new paths. We do so knowing that we are creating a better tomorrow. That is the true optimist in each of us.

Doers Make Mistakes

“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.” – John Wooden

We work in an environment that rewards us for playing it safe. For decades educators have simply followed the playbook that was provided to us. Schedules and calendars have hardly changed over the years. Our structure has remained largely the same. We have followed prescribed curriculum and been trained by traditional university programs.

We are on the cusp of an era that rewards innovation. We are pushing the door open. With innovation and creativity – with our passion for growth – comes mistakes. Mistakes are a natural part of doing.

Sure, it is safe to follow directions and do what you are told. It is safe to read from the script; it gives you cover in the event you make a mistake. It takes courage and commitment to be a doer. It takes a willingness to learn and grow.

Be purposeful and intentional . . . Get off autopilot . . . Be a doer.

Positive Action, Positive Vision

“In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision.” – Dalai Lama
What is your vision?
In your inner core, in your heart-of-hearts and soul-of-souls, why do you do what you do?You must know why you do what you do. I can’t imagine coming to work each day merely to follow a playbook or script. I can’t imagine coming to work each day simply to do what I’m told – or to follow a plan.
What do you believe? Is it in alignment with our values, behaviors, and outcomes?
Written or unwritten – do you have a vision statement? If not, why? As a professional, what is your vision?
If you don’t have one as of today take the time and have one by tomorrow – at least a draft – to turn your vision into action.

Positive Thinking

“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking.” – Zig Ziglar
We’ve committed to eliminate blame, complain, and defend from our lives. We confidently believe that blaming, complaining, and defending has never solved a problem, improved a relationship, or made us better.  
Along those same lines – negative thinking has never solved a problem, improved a relationship, or made us better. The state of being negative is toxic to our organization. Negativism breeds apathy, hate, and jealousy. Negativism leads to broken relationships, gossip, and loss of focus. You know it! There is no place for debate.
So today, when your find yourself being negative, purposefully, intentionally, and relentlessly pursue humor. When you want to complain – find a way to laugh. When you want to frown – find a reason to smile. When you find yourself having negative self-talk, go to your happy place and replace it with positive self-talk. Stay above the line – stay positive. It will make everything better. 

Confidently Serve

CS Lewis expressed, “Humble people don’t think less of themselves; they just think of themselves less.”
Leaders are servants.  
Leaders matter . . . Leaders are the catalysts for successes.
Leaders model the behavior that drives the culture; leaders set high expectations and then support everyone in the organization to exceed those expectations.
Leaders empower others to do more, to reach higher than they think they can do.
As a leader you must have confidence in yourself. You must have an unchangeable core. You must have character, create connections, and demonstrate competence. Leaders serve with faith in – and dedication to – a bigger purpose.
Leaders are focused, aligned, and driven. Humility isn’t lack of confidence; humility is dedicating your talents to the success of others.  
Think about those who you serve – humbly dedicate yourself to confidently serve your team.

Win Each Day

“Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.” – Lyndon Johnson

When I rest my head on the pillow each night I do so with the hope that I’ve done my level best to serve our students, teachers, and staff. I make mistakes, but I strive to learn from them. I don’t always get it right; there are times I fall below the line. There are times I fail to press pause, times I act out of impulse or on autopilot.
When I wake each morning, I have hope. Each new day is an opportunity to live, learn and serve. While I know I will make mistakes, I will relentlessly strive to be excellent. Each day, I have an opportunity to be elite. Each day, I can use my God-given abilities to shape the future.
So today, this very morning, get your mind right. Today is yours to win or lose. You will fail . . . you will fall down . . . and you will get back up. Win today, win each moment, win each event.
And tomorrow you will have the chance to be even better!