Ideas, Influence, Impact

As leaders in classrooms, buildings and districts return to a new school year, we are faced with the same daily demands from students, parents, and stakeholders.  We are expected to give our best every day, to be innovative, to be responsive and more.  And we meet those standards on most days.  And yet, with any innovative, responsive, and thoughtful leader, we make mistakes.

As reflective leaders, we can obsess on those mistakes.  And many times, our stakeholders obsess on them as well.  The truth is – we must remember – we tried.  We are flawed human beings, and we can grow every day from our mistakes.  In fact, we SHOULD grow from our mistakes.

As the pressure may grow and people focus on your mistakes, make sure you focus on what you can learn from those mistakes.  Let the noise of our errors remain outside of you, and let the growth happen within.

We are not perfect.  We are flawed – and we are forgiven.

Every Day

Every day we have the power to make our day what we want it and need it to be.

Every day we have the power and the potential for greatness.

We have an opportunity every morning when we rise to give back to our world, to give something to our family, to give joy out into the universe.

We have the power and the potential and the promise to do more today and be more today than we were yesterday.

We have the promise of greatness within us, and yet so many of us on so many days choose to ignore it or hide it.  We can be more today than we were yesterday.  We should be more today than we were yesterday

We should live our lives to be tired by the end of the day because we spent it in service to grow ourselves, to grow our families, to grow our communities and to grow our world.

Let today be the day we start recognizing our power and our potential and make the promise for growth, for betterment, for joy, for service.

Calibrate to Capacity

You have so much to give to the world. And to yourself. You have the light, the power, and the passion to be the best you possible. The only you possible! And so we must spend each and every day doing a little bit more, getting a little bit closer to our true self, our full self. We must spend the time it takes to look within us and lead outside of us. We must venture deep into our souls.

So often we make the mistake of taking on the burdens of the world, and in the process of carrying those burdens or baggage, we begin to lose sight of who we really are. It’s time, today, to be your better self.  It is time to grow, to challenge our notions of who we are, and to truly truly see ourselves in the full light of the day.

We are amazing, extraordinary beings. Most importantly we are unique.  It is time to calibrate our daily lives to our capacity.

Thought is the Sculptor

“Thought is the sculptor who can create the person you want to be.” – Henry David Thoreau

Who is it you want to be?  Are you aware that your thoughts determine who you are – and who you can become?  We live our lives based on our thoughts and perceptions of people, of situations, of the world.  We all hold a viewpoint of how we see ourselves, know ourselves.  Within the ‘knowledge’ of ourselves may be variations of truth.  We may think we are a good person, yet gossip about people.  We may think we are a trusting friend, yet never share about ourselves.  We think we are a good communicator, yet few seem to know what we are saying.

The intent of this blog is not to get down on ourselves.  Rather, it is to help us recognize that our thoughts guide our actions.  We are who we think we are.  More importantly, we can become who we think we can be.  The power of the mind is a great force for change.  Think about yourself – who you are, who you wish to become, and how you will grow to be that person.

Thoughts lead to actions that lead to habits.  Trust yourself to have the thoughts to become who you need – and want – to be.  Think about it.  Now, become it!

#Connect  #Challenge  #Create  #Linchpin

How do you wish your colleagues would treat you?  What do you have within you that others need to see?

As you reflect on your self and the goals you may have for yourself, ask yourself – “what am I trying to become?”  Also, challenge yourself to reflect on whether you are being true to yourself and to others. Challenge yourself to look deeply within and question whether you are making the choices necessary to become who you want to be.  You need to know yourself to know what you want to change.  You also need to know what you want to become so you can make disciplined decisions to get there.  You need to ‘explore your core’ and be prepared to address what you find.  Once you know your current reality, you can set the plan in place to get to your desired reality.  You can know clearly what is missing and what must be addressed.

When you know you, you can change you.  And others can be witness to you – improved.  Share more of yourselves and others will treat you as you ought to be treated.

What is a Linchpin?

Linchpin literally means to keep the wheels from falling off.  In today’s society and multiple organizations a linchpin is someone who does more than keep the wheels from literally falling off.  They create value in the company.  They keep things moving metaphorically in the company.  And, they are indispensable components of any successful organization.

In every successful organization, linchpins served three primary functions.  First, they challenge ideas, people, and assumptions.  Second, they connect ideas, assumptions and people.  And third, they create new information and stronger groups formed from these connected individuals.

Linchpins serve critical purposes.  They challenge assumptions and create value for their organizations.  They are invaluable pieces of an organization and are not found in large numbers.  Linchpins certainly are not born.  Rather they are created over time through challenging situations, tackling wicked problems, and through pushing themselves to find a new insight into old problems.

There is a need for linchpins in our society – and every organization and institution.  I wish to be a linchpin.  I hope you do, too.

Let’s work together to be indispensable.

Learning: Either/Or No More

Before the start of the new school year, my family took a week-long vacation to Duluth, Minnesota.  We had never been there before, but were excited by cool temperatures in July, a beach in the Midwest, and the opportunity for a lot of family fun.  During the trip, we visited a children’s museum, a coastal lighthouse, the Aerial Bridge, the Great Lakes Aquarium, the Lake Superior Marine Museum, the Lake Superior Railroad Museum and so many other interesting places.

Throughout the trip, my family (five kids ages 2, 4, 7, 9, and 11) had a great time – and asked a lot of questions.  With each stop, we learned something.  It was a great trip!  It also reminded me that school may be a place, but learning is a process.  It can – and does – happen anywhere.  It happened as we spent 45 minutes learning about the locks and dams along the Great Lakes.  It occurred in the replica steam engine, and it certainly occurred standing on the beach of Lake Superior.

With each stop, new questions were asked and answers were sought.  We learned, we laughed, and we did it as a family.  Now, not all learning is family based, but it is personal.  What Grace (my 11-year-old) learned at the aquarium was different that what Elle (my 9-year-old) learned, but it all had value.  And don’t even get me started about all the train things I learned from Sam (my 7-year-old) at the old train depot.

Competency-based education does just what this family trip did.  It takes what is personal and connects learning to what is necessary.  There were a lot of science, math, English and social studies standards met while on vacation.  We learned because we wanted to, and ultimately, it will be deeper learning because of our interest.

Competency-based learning holds the potential to take each one of this moments and turn it into a learning experience.  We do not need artificial lesson, because real life did it for us.  Imagine all that can be learned, is learned, in a single day.

CBE can help us do it better, do it richer, do it deeper.

CBE can help us cross the bridge from “required to know” to “desired to know.”


The Aerial Bridge in Duluth, MN

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