If you put good people in bad systems, you get bad results. You have to water the flowers you want to grow. – Stephen Covey
We talk a lot about leadership and culture in the Hilliard School District. We have been intentional in cultivating the environment we desire. This work isn’t easy; this work isn’t process driven. We do what we do because we know that leadership – that building trusting, honest relationships is the only true way to earn results.
Success demands both a system focused on empowerment and accountability AND engaged, talented people in the system. There is no easy way to get this done. We are all required to do the work, to commit to each other, and to serve with purpose and passion.
When you argue for your limitation, you get to keep them. – Les Brown
The most damaging word in achieving our goals is “but.” When we insert this word in our mindset we argue for our limitations. “I want to exercise four times per week but . . .” or “I want to confront a negative colleague but . . .” are just two quick examples. When we argue for our limitations, we empower the excuses in our minds. We just accepted our very limitations.
Be aware of your insertion of “limitations” in your own talk and self-talk over the next several days. Listen to others who insert unintentional limitations in their lives. Be purposeful in your approach to goals, tasks, and actions. Don’t let your limitation define your behavior. Earn success through intentional actions, don’t accept limitations as an excuse for failure without even trying.
One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood. – Lucius Seneca
True friendship is a blessing. It is a rare gift that each of us cherish. These true friendships stand the test and challenges of time. True friends are there to celebrate joy and success; they are there to console and encourage during sadness and failure.
No relationship is strong or lasting without work and commitment. With true friends, they come first. We give of ourselves without concern for ourselves. We want to listen; we strive to understand. Today, reach out to a true friend. Take time from your busy schedule to simply engage in a meaningful conversation. It will be worth it.
Take charge of your thoughts; you can do what you will with them. – Norman Vincent Peale
The research and science is clear – people with a positive, optimistic mindset outperform people with a negative, pessimistic approach to life. When we have positive thoughts, we are more likely to achieve positive results. These results don’t happen by mistake; we earn the results though our approach and the work we do.
Take charge of your thoughts. Be discipline – confront and acknowledge negativity when it takes seed in your mind. No one is positive and optimistic all the time. What sets optimists apart, what creates positive results, is recognizing our mindset and intentional actions to take charge of our thoughts. You are in control . . . do the work.
We must make every day count because each day is an opportunity to shape the future.
We have twenty school days between now and our winter break. These four weeks provide an important opportunity for learning, growth, and progress. It is during these four weeks that we must commit to our vision with purpose and focus. It is easy to slide into a vacation mode; we feel the holiday spirit. There is a magnetism that pulls our focus to a two-week break.
My request is that we act with intentionality as we balance the joy of holiday activities with a discipline focus on continued academic and social-emotional growth. We do this knowing that each student will have two-full weeks to celebrate family traditions; we all get two-full weeks to rest, relax, and recharge. There is no reason to start vacation early – that is short changing our students.
We are preparing each and every student to be Ready for Tomorrow. Live our values, be disciplined in our actions, and be committed to providing a Hilliard education for the next 20 days.
Our schools embrace the Spirit of the Season as a teaching opportunity.
As a youngster growing up, the holiday season officially began when Santa Claus entered my television screen at the conclusion of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. For many, the Black Friday shopping day is the start of the holidays. The Spirit of the Season is part of our American culture; our schools embrace the inescapable spirit of joy, giving, and hope as well.
In our schools this Spirit of the Season creates opportunities to teach our students about diversity, acceptance, belonging, and hope. We have opportunities to cultivate empathy and community with young people of all ages. We engage in discussions about giving to others and being thankful for gifts received. We all speak to children about the natural “desire for more” and balancing the “joy of giving.”
As an economically, socially, and religiously diverse district like Hilliard we are always mindful of the social emotional needs of all our young people. We are stronger because of our diversity; we prepare our students to be successful in a multinational, global world. The holiday season isn’t something we shy away from . . . it isn’t something we keep out of schools. The holiday season is another opportunity to celebrate and embrace our diversity. It isn’t easy; we do the work.
Take time to say “thank you” to those who empower you to do great things.
Each of us work for, and work with, people who permit us to do the work. As we strive to live our lives with purpose, it is important that today, on Thanksgiving Day, we recognize those who empower us to do the work.
For me, the Hilliard City School District Board of Education permits me to guide and lead our school district. The connections we’ve cultivated among our leadership team are essential in the work we do to serve young people. Building trust, grounded in core values and common commitments, permit us to collectively set a vision, establish cultural norms, and focus on continually improving the opportunities Hilliard provides for young people.
Mrs. Whiting, Mr. Lambert, Mrs. Keck, Mr. Abate, and Mrs. Long, thank you for the opportunity to serve and work with you as we live our mission to prepare each and every student in our community to be Ready for Tomorrow.
If you would like to accomplish something, you must first expected it from yourself.
I get frustrated, sometimes unreasonably so, when I hear high school athletes say, “I know we are going to lose.” I get equally disheartened when a student says, “I am going to fail this test.” The same befuddlement overcomes me when adults predict a negative outcome. This negative self-talk is indubitably a self fulfilling prophecy. If you think you are going to fail . . . you are very likely going to meet your expectations.
If you want to accomplish something, you must first expect it from yourself. You build this confidence by doing the work in preparation for success. It’s not enough to “think you are going to have success” . . . you must be prepared for success. This demands us, with purpose, to do the work in preparation for the accomplishment. Be it offseason preparation or studying for a test, be it investing the time in others or developing a strong team; accomplishment requires preparation. Do the work, and you will not only expect success . . . you will earn it.
The hardest moments in life are transitional moment. Once we identify a new reality we can step up to the challenges.
Times of uncertainty create the greatest anxiety and fear. When the familiar is threatened, and we are faced with the unknown, there is a tendency to freeze. There is comfort in familiar; there is apprehension during transition.
We must be intentional in defining moments of transitions. The identification of what’s not going to change is equality critical to change itself. Change provides a tremendous opportunity to improve and live our growth mindset. The world in which we live today rewards those who adjust and adapt with skill. Be intentional about change; identify the new reality quickly and do the work to maintain a positive, growth-oriented mindset.
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.