My dear friend, clear your mind of can’t.

My dear friend, clear your mind of can’t.  – Samuel Johnson


I once had a coach that frequently said, “can’t means won’t.”


Coach was right . . . Can’t means won’t.  There are things that I won’t do.  There are times that my values, being intentional and true to myself, won’t permit me to act in a certain way.


There are times that fear leads me to can’t.  In these cases, with the help of others and by getting my mind right, I overcome my fear and create a “can do” attitude.


There are times when productive discomfort must be embraced and we must move forward.  There are other times when it’s good to say, “I won’t” because it reflects your value.

Freedom lies in being bold.

Freedom lies in being bold.  – Robert Frost


Being bold doesn’t mean being careless.  Being bold requires intentional behavior and strong convictions.


Some believe being bold means, “rocking the boat” . . . often being bold is simply being true to your inner core.


Being bold . . . having freedom . . . requires a clear purpose.  When the values in your heart and the purpose in your mind are in alignment, we live bold lives of freedom and conviction.

Becoming the best starts with getting better today, tomorrow, and the next day. Don’t worry about “best”- just focus on “getting better.”

Becoming the best starts with getting better today, tomorrow, and the next day. Don’t worry about “best”- just focus on “getting better.” – Jon Gordon


Our journey to elite isn’t a comparison between you and someone else.  The journey to elite is focused on being the best you.  Being elite is predicated on a growth mindset – a commitment to continued improvement.


Don’t worry about being the best in comparison . . . Focus on being the best possible you.  Elite is personal . . . Elite is powerful.  When we live discipline lives, when we are intentional in our behaviors, we continue on our journey.


Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.

Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.  – Stephen Hawking


I am sure some will argue with this premise, but for me there is a difference between being smart and being intelligent.  We all know plenty of smart people that we wouldn’t want on our team when solving a problem.  Smart people know facts – intelligent people know what do to with facts.


The ways in which intelligent people use facts is changing.  Twenty years ago we needed encyclopedias and books as resources to get information – as the place to find facts before truly applying them.  Today, facts and information are at our fingertips.  We are developing a new type of intelligence . . . we must synthesize information faster than ever before in human history.  We must literally process more information and apply to be productive and successful.


Being smart isn’t enough.  Knowing facts and processes isn’t enough.  To be successful in today’s work – to be Ready for Tomorrow – we must be able to synthesize the facts, process the information, create trusting relationships, and lead in a world dominated by change.

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.  – Albert Einstein


Change is difficult.  We often speak of “productive discomfort” as being necessary for moving forward.  Our world is accelerating at an exponential pace.  We have those who violently oppose our cultural acceleration.


One of the main reason that some oppose change is fear.  There is fear of being poorly equipped to handle the new direction.  There is fear that the current situation is favorable to us.  Those with the skills and passion for growth have spirit – they are willing to lead.


Be a leader . . . encourage others to step-up and meet the new challenges.  The world around us isn’t returning to the past.  The age of typewriters and telephones has given way to tablets and text messaging.  The age of handwritten notes and Sears has given way to Snapchat and Prime Now.   Be a great spirit, have a vision, and be on a journey to elite.

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. – Thomas Edison
We tell students – and adults – to follow their dreams. We encourage “following your passion” and “live the life you desire.” All of this is great, wonderful, and exciting, but there is a large caveat. Success takes hard work, dedication, and skill.
When we follow our passion it doesn’t mean things come easily. When we pursue our dreams it doesn’t mean that they are achieved without work. Developing the skills necessary to achieve our dreams may take thousands of hours, countless failures, and endless trials.  
We learn every success and each challenge is an opportunity. Opportunities develop skill, teach lessons, and provide experience. Opportunities are work.  
Don’t fall into the “dream trap” or the “passion fallacy” – you have the opportunity to earn each success you achieve in life.

Be brave enough to live life creatively. 

Be brave enough to live life creatively. – Alan Alda
Creativity is a gift. It isn’t limited to art or music. It doesn’t need to involve making things . . . it is often about an approach to thought.
Creative people don’t see things how others tell them it should be . . . creative people see how it can be in the future. Creative people process possibilities without fear of failure. Create people test each hypothesis first mentally, then through intentional conversations, and finally they make it happen.
Be brave to see the world not as others want you to see it, but how you can create a vision in your mind’s eye. Be brave enough to express your thoughts, to explain the process, to others and add your vision to the group’s wisdom. 

Don’t wait. The time will never be just right. 

Don’t wait. The time will never be just right. – Napoleon Hill
Don’t wait to change. The time is now.
If we don’t change, adapt, and adjust we are falling behind. When we live our growth mindset, when we truly believe that the pursuit of excellence requires effort, we know we can’t embrace the status quo.
We are intentional in our actions and purposeful in direction. We are committed to learning, testing, and growing. We don’t act haphazardly; we are true to our values and our behavior reflects our core.
Today . . . don’t wait . . . act!

This above all; to thine own self be true.

This above all; to thine own self be true. – William Shakespeare
We have a culture handbook. We have defined our organization’s values, outlined desired behaviors, and identified the outcomes we strive to achieve. Our district’s values are, in many ways, universal. We identified what was already at our core, in our heart of hearts. We now have a common vocabulary and clarity. We are true to our vales.
As individuals, we need to be just as clear about our personal values. As we go through each day, our values must be in alignment with our behavior. Our actions are more of a reflection of who we are than who we strive to be. When we, as individuals, take the time to identify our core values we are better able to live a life of purpose – rather than a life of emotion.  
You must be true to you. The only way to be true to oneself is to have alignment with our thoughts and actions, with our values and behaviors. What are your core values? Are your core values in alignment with your daily actions? If not, what are you going to do to be true to yourself?