Don’t count the days, make the days count.

Don’t count the days, make the days count. – Muhammad Ali

Every day is an opportunity – an opportunity to make a difference for others. While there are dates, events in our lives that we look forward to taking place, we can’t let any moment slip past us.

It’s natural to look with anticipation to events in the future. It’s natural to count the days to special events. It takes discipline to look to the future while maintaining purpose in the present. Let’s commit to take advantage of each and every day. Regardless of what’s to come in the future, the future starts with each moment. We are on a journey, on a path to success. Make sure that each step counts.

Life’s most urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?”

Life’s most urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?” – Martin Luther King Jr.

If your purpose, if what drives you, is about you, chances are you aren’t very happy. Living a life that is focused on self isn’t rewarding. Living a life focused on your own happiness makes it very easy to blame others. When you aren’t happy – when you are the one person you care about – you become negative and pessimistic.

Living a life focused on service, a life centered on others, provides endless opportunities for optimism and success. Living with purpose, a life for others, is the greatest joy. As we reflect on 2016 and prepare for 2017, ask yourself, “what am I going to do for others?” Our path together, our commitment to our values, requires discipline and focus. When we focus on living our lives for others it makes everyone more successful.

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up.

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. – Thomas Edison 

I’ve got to be honest, there are times I have the impulsive thought to simply throw in the towel. There are times we spend hours communicating and sharing information, and then we find people haven’t bothered to read their newsletter, email, or web post. There are times the negativity on social media serves as an energy vampire and simply sucks the life out of me. There are times that unhappy people create such noise (even though I know they are the minority) that it is challenging to stay on our path.

 

It is in these time that I refocus on my purpose; it is in these times that I turn to those on our team for strength and focus. Living a discipline life . . . a life with purpose . . . with intentionality and optimism requires me to step up. I know that positive, optimistic people are always more successful than negative, pessimistic people. I know that any group is energized by optimists and pulled down by pessimists.  

 

You, like me, have a choice. You, like me, are challenged every day to stay on our path. We are all faced with negativity and energy vampires. There are times the easy option is to simply give up, to walk away, and to let the negative people have the last word. This would expose our greatest weakness. Commit to be a champion for optimism; commit to having your positive voice lead the way on the path to success.

Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.

Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person. – Mother Teresa

You are the leader. Don’t wait for those above you on the organizational chart or with a higher rank in the organization. Never abdicate responsibility because “it’s someone else’s job.” Each of us has a responsibility to work in alignment; to embrace our passion for growth.

Leadership isn’t about rank. Leadership is about trust. Leadership is cultivated through repeated experiences; leadership is about confidence in connections. When the organization is in alignment, when we live our values through our actions, we are all leaders. We strive to develop a culture that empowers everyone to be a leader.

The steeper the mountain, the harder the climb, the better the view from the finish line.

The steeper the mountain, the harder the climb, the better the view from the finish line. – Unknown

Public education faces a great many challenges. Our work is incredibly difficult; our work is essential to our future. We shape the next generation of American leaders. We create the future in a time of constant criticism, rapid change, and competing forces. We face a steep mountain; we have a hard climb ahead.

Each challenge provides an opportunity for great success. Each critic provides an opportunity for reflection and alignment. Every change requires us to embrace our growth mindset and live our passion for growth. We model the behavior not only for our students, but for our community. Our educational desires aren’t limited to students; we have a desire to educate parents and the community.

We have experienced success. We have enjoyed and celebrated the view from the finish line. We have made progress and redefined our edge. With each success we celebrate our accomplishment, we reflect on our journey, and we chart the path to pursue the next opportunity.

The starting point of all achievement is desire. Weak desire brings weak results.

The starting point of all achievement is desire. Weak desire brings weak results. – Napoleon Hill

The vision of the Hilliard City School District is to prepare every student to be Ready for Tomorrow. Ready for Tomorrow is personal . . . every student that walks across that stage and receives a Hilliard diploma must be prepared for success. This is our desire; we maximize the skills and knowledge for each individual student. We build these skills and cultivate a growth mindset in each and every student. We push ourselves, we encourage each student, to the edge of our abilities . . . and then we move past our edge.

As leaders, we know the members of our team with strong desire for success. We know those with passion, who cultivate alignment, and who share our passion for success. We also know those who bring a weaker desire . . . those for whom our passion is simply a job. Our calling – our opportunities – is to inspire a greater desire for those on our team. Our challenge is to find the courage to intervene when needed – and potentially make changes when necessary. One arrow out of alignment, one negative voice distracting our efforts, is too many. We can’t fear leadership – we must embrace it.

He who is not every day conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.

He who is not every day conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life. – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

One of life’s greatest fears is the fear of change. There is great comfort in the status quo. There is great confidence with success. Change . . . admitting we need to enhance our skills and gain new knowledge . . . makes many people uneasy. With change comes the fear we will fail . . . the fear of failure motivates many to simply embrace the status quo.

Our growth mindset – our passion for growth – requires us to embrace the discomfort of change. We must overcome the fear of failure and cultivate a culture where failures are natural steps on our path to success. We are on a journey to elite; we must learn to conquer our fears.