Exceptional leaders create an environment of deep trust and high standards.

Exceptional leaders create an environment of deep trust and high standards. – Tim Kight

Leadership isn’t easy; it demands skill, character, and connections. High performing leaders understand that trust is required for an organization to achieve results. There will also be some who disagree; we never agree with everyone 100% of the time. Trust is the foundation for a culture of collaboration and excellence.

True leaders earn trust through their consistent commitment to core values, to virtuous behavior, and to consistent actions. Exceptional leaders create a magnetic culture that draws on positive energy from others. They balance personal and professional, high expectations with elite support, and elite clarity of purpose with empathy and equity for each member of the team.

We can all improve . . . we are on a life journey. We are all leaders in our own 20 sq. feet. Make a commitment today . . . work to be exceptional.

Health is not merely the absence of disease. It is the balance of mind, body, and soul.

Health is not merely the absence of disease. It is the balance of mind, body, and soul.

In The Happiness Equation Shawn Achor shares that happy workers average 1.25 more sick days per week, or 15 less sick days per year. Achor explains, “happiness functions as the cause, not the result, of good health.” Happy people are healthier . . . they are balanced in mind, body, and soul.

What do you do to keep balance in your life? Where can you improve the balance required for you to be truly healthy and happy? This work isn’t about resolutions; this is about healthy habits. You are not your best if you aren’t living a balanced life. Be discipline . . . make the required changes today.

Two things prevent us from happiness; living in the past and observing others.

Two things prevent us from happiness; living in the past and observing others.

Life is a journey. Individually and collectively we are on a path each and every day. Each day is a new beginning – a new opportunity to make a difference in the present and to influence the future. As educators, we have the awesome responsibility to shape the future every single day.

We learn from the past, but we will never relive it or recreate it. Yesteryear is gone; it isn’t coming back. When we long for the past, we block happiness in the present. When we compare ourselves to others, we prevent happiness. We must embrace each moment, celebrate the present, and do the work to create the future we desire.

Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.

Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions. – Dalai Lama

 

My friend Tim Kight and I recently had a conversation about our culture journey in Hilliard. We are preparing for our sixth full year working with Focus 3 . . . and we are still on the journey. I am proud of the work we have done as a Hilliard Community, but it hasn’t been easy. We are still on the path . . . we are still on our journey.

Our VBO, R-Factor, and the culture we strive to live isn’t ready made . . . we must continue to do the work. Culture isn’t words; culture is our actions. If we want a positive, optimistic, service focused culture we must act with purpose. It is our actions, not our words. We must do the work each and every day

Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.

Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.

I find myself struggling more and more with an either/or proposition. As schools across America embrace the importance of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) it seems that many want to focus on either belonging or grit. We hear criticism when adults – be it coaches, teachers, or directors – push student to reach their edge.

I don’t believe that pushing a student, challenging a youngster to fight through a difficult situation, is diminishing their sense of belonging. I don’t believe active coaching isn’t cultivating a sense of self. Motivation and encouragement is personal . . . it is different for every student. We want our students to fail from time to time; learning from failure is a true characterization of a growth mindset.

As adults we must teach students that work is hard; we must do the work. We must teach students that not everything is fun; it isn’t always about voice and choice. We must do the work. We must show students that teachers, friends, and colleagues are support; that we are stronger together. When times get tough, when we travel difficult roads, there are often beautiful successes at the end.

If you aren’t grateful for what you already have, what makes you think you would be more happy with more?

If you aren’t grateful for what you already have, what makes you think you would be more happy with more? – Roy T. Bennett

We live in a “more world.” From social media to popular reality television shows, we are constantly comparing ourselves to others with more. Our children are developing in a culture where someone always has more, bigger, and better. Society is seemingly tipping, or has tipped, to value “stuff” over valuing “people.”

The growing field of happiness research is clear – having more doesn’t lead to happiness. Living a happy, positive life that has purpose leads to having more. We must be grateful every day for the blessings in our lives. Our gifts are plentiful. Let’s commit to shifting value back to service and purpose.

People who avoid discomfort create more of it. Discomfort can be delayed but that only makes it grow deeper and harder to climb out.

People who avoid discomfort create more of it. Discomfort can be delayed but that only makes it grow deeper and harder to climb out.

How often are you faced with choice to either have a difficult conversation or put it off to another time?  How often do you hope, do you wish, that a situation will “work itself out” without you needing to get involved?  

When we avoid discomfort more often than not we make the situation worse.  When we delay that tough decision or that challenging conversation, the ultimate solution often becomes more difficult with time.  

We must press pause to get our minds right, but then we must step up.  We must act with purpose because making a difference requires action.