Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be; embrace who you are. – Brené Brown

Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be; embrace who you are. – Brené Brown

In one of my early administrative positions a colleague used to call me “Sparky.” Nora Kay jokingly used this nickname with me because I was always creating fires by challenging the status quo. I was in my first building principal position; the expectation was we would do things the way they had always been done.

During my career, with age and experience, I have learned to be more intentional with my approach to change, but I am still me. My least favorite phase is still “we’ve always done it that way.” I am wired to evaluate processes and seek a better way. I am willing to try, to fail, and to learn. I have little patience for pessimism and I am the eternal optimist.

Don’t let other people define you. As a leader, know yourself, your values, and your inner core. Listen to those you respect – they know you. Tune our those who aren’t in the arena with you; embrace who you are.

Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. -Brené Brown

Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. -Brené Brown

When the stakes are the highest we are our most vulnerable. Leadership isn’t a safe activity without risks. Leaders fail – period, end of story. Leaders also learn from failure, earn respect from recognizing their own faults and vulnerabilities, and earn success by doing the work.

Being vulnerable, isn’t about winning. Being vulnerable and having courage is about getting in the arena and engaging. It is easy to hide behind a keyboard or iPhone and criticize others. It takes courage to show up, to be part of the work, and to engage a team to create a better world.

Our educational system demands leadership. We need educators who have the courage to show up, to be vulnerable in tough conversations, and to get into the arena to create a better future.

We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both at the same time. – Brené Brown

We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both at the same time. – Brené Brown

Simply stated, having courage is the willingness to fail. It takes courage to step-up and own our ideas, behavior, and actions. It takes courage to lead in times of change. It takes courage to have tough conversations with co-workers or subordinates.

Let’s be clear . . . there are times when it is fine to be comfortable. There are relationships, events, and activities that don’t require courage. We are not required to be courageous in every activity. Each of us must be intentional in our actions. We must respond with the correct action; we must do the work when necessary.

We embrace productive discomfort – we act with courage – when the events in our lives require us to step up. Be mindful of your actions . . . embrace productive discomfort, act with courage, when the time is right. Relax and be comfortable when the situation permits.

Imperfections are not inadequacies: they are reminders that we’re all in this together. – Brené Brown

Imperfections are not inadequacies: they are reminders that we’re all in this together. – Brené Brown

We all know that “no one is perfect.” Each of us has imperfections. Every individual battles fears and struggles with inner demons. We live in a broken world. We interact with individual who have lost hope, who have given in to fear, and who seemingly live in a constant state of pessimism.

What we have is faith, love, and each other. The fears we face and the battles we engage are overcome when we embrace our collective strength. Life is not an individual activity; we are built to love one another, to live in groups, and to serve each other. Our purpose is larger than ourselves; we do the work each day to serve others.

When you find yourself failing – and we all fail each and every day – press pause, ask for help, and remember that we are stronger together.

What’s the greater risk? Letting go of what people think or letting go of how I feel, what I believe, and who I am? – Brené Brown

What’s the greater risk? Letting go of what people think or letting go of how I feel, what I believe, and who I am? – Brené Brown

In today’s era of immediate commentary, and unlimited access to an audience via social media, it is easy to become obsessive about what other people think. The impulse to respond to online critics, to those outside of the arena, is real. The seduction of “likes” and “follows” and the inclination to “please the masses” can pull us away from our core values.

It is imperative that each of us press pause, stay true to our core values, and remain focused on what’s most important. In the face of critics who only blame others and complain, in response to those who spread fear and hate, we must turn to those individuals who are willing to do the work with us. Listen to those who you respect, trust, and love. Have the courage to tune out those who really don’t matter – be true to who you are.

Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.

Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man. – Benjamin Franklin

 I love this quote because it speaks to me . . . it speaks to the discipline required for me to be a better man. Each of us fight specific behaviors which limit us from reaching our potential, from being the best version of us. As we begin a new year we have the opportunity to be better in 2019 than we were in 2018.  For me, this starts with reflecting on both success and failure from the past year.  It is an opportunity to identify the behaviors that I want to not only repeat, but to build on.  It also is a chance to examine behaviors that limited me . . . that proved counterproductive to living my life with purpose.

Empty New Year’s Resolutions are based on easy solutions for deep-seated habits.  True commitments to living a better life are rooted in values and beliefs.  Who do you truly want to be?  Do you have the heart and discipline to live your life within those boundaries?  Who do you want to serve . . . yourself or your neighbor?  You can only be at war with your vices if you are reflective to know what you are fighting. Let this new year find you the best version of you.

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.  – Oprah Winfrey

Life is an imperfect journey. Each and every day is an opportunity to get out of bed and make the world a better place.  Only you can make today a great day; only you can choose to respond to the events you encounter with skill and purpose.

Each new year is like a new day; it is a chance to reflect on the lessons from the previous year and to commit to doing it better in the days ahead.  As we prepare to bid adieu to 2018, we plan and prepare for 2019.  We will face struggles and encounter adversity. We live in an imperfect world; it isn’t going to be easy.

We face each challenge with hope, skill, and faith.  We embrace the liberty and freedom that provide us an unparalleled opportunity to make 2019 better than 2018.  It is your choice.  It won’t be easy and it won’t happen by chance.  When we do the work, act with purpose, and commit to serving others we get to write a better chapter.  You get to author the story; what will be your narrative for the year ahead.