Tag: #thinking

Think it through….

Have you experienced a setback? A situation where you feel overwhelmed, trapped, or defeated? This can stop you in your path. You can find yourself frozen in place.

Setbacks are experiences. These are opportunities to learn. These experiences may feel traumatic to us. However, it does not negate the accomplishments and successes we have achieved. It also does not reflect the challenges we have faced and overcome. We have the future still to create as we are the artist in charge of the canvas we are painting.

The choices we make will determine whether the setback confines or defines us. It allows the movement forward to achieve with experience and learning. The choice we make from the setback can confine us by limiting our actions by the doubts we have and the loss of confidence.

In our lives and careers, we will experience occasional setbacks. Our interactions with others, various agendas, and other factors we may have little control over can cause issues. These can generate reactions from disappointment, frustration, embarrassment, anger, humiliation, and hopelessness. Emotions can make it difficult to regain our balance to guide us in deciding our next steps. Fortunately, there are strategies to help us in these situations that can be implemented to help us choose to thrive after a setback.

Strategies

  • Time and space: When emotions are high, give yourself time to reflect and space to gain perspective before you react.
  • Network: As a leader, seek out others in the network you trust for advice. Mentors are an excellent source of support. Building a network is always a critical structure to build.
  • Release: Anxiety and stress need to be released before good choices and decisions can be made. Take time to exercise, meet with family and friends, and have fun social time!
  • Seek First to Understand- Covey states it best! Look at the situation, seek others’ input, and follow up with discussions and all insights. Knowing all the signs and components can help with learning and future choices/decisions.

Reach-Impact-Connections

How do you gain more followers? Can you be an overnight success? What do you want to accomplish when you write a blog, post, article or comment?

Share your thoughts! I want to grow my connections to learn more from others! I want to Reach!

I strive each day to make a positive impact and to serve others. “To create lasting impact, you need to have a lasting presence. The longer you last, the greater the impact you will have.” Becky Robinson, #ReachBook Becky’s book Reach is available for pre-order now! Please order you will find Value, Consistency, Longevity and Generosity!

I would love to connect!

A space with a story…

My focus this week is on safety. We find safety in places where we feel comfortable, connected, and relate. Looking at your current surroundings as you read this post, what do you see in your space? I am sure you found elements directly related to your comfort, happiness, and inspiration. Maybe you have pictures, photos, or unique pieces to remind you of the love, joy, and relationships in your life. You have your favorite colors, things, and items placed around you. What about the place you are sitting, comfy blanket, pillow, or cup of your favorite beverage? All of these things add up to provide you with the feeling of safety and comfort.

If I described my safe and comfy place, you would find various things. In my space you find a variety of books from religious, history, thriller, mystery, drama, children books, professional books of teaching, leadership, coaching, mentoring, business, and the list continues. Books are everywhere! You will find notebooks, pencils, pens, markers, and coloring pencils: art materials, paint, brushes, and many other crafty materials. I have a blanket on my chair and all of my technology devices. You will not find the TV remote in my area as this does not interest me as much as reading, writing and creating.

In addition, you will find family pictures around me and throughout the house. Mainly my grandchildren! I have positive, inspirational, and spiritual messages throughout the house. My family says I am like the TV commercial where the guy talks about all of the signs you do not need! We need them. They are there to remind you of turning thoughts into positive ones constantly. One of the most important parts is the smells. I have different smells in each area. I love those scented plugins I get from Bath and Body! I do not have a strong sense of smell, but it comforts me to know they are there.

Your story, your space

As you walk into your work area, what does the setup tell others? As you walk into your building, classroom, office, or restrooms, what story is being said about your space? What goal do you have, and what message do you want to be sent?

I mentioned restrooms because these are so important to outside visitors, as well as those there daily. I once had a visitor come back to the interviewing room and say, “I am impressed by your restroom. You have all of those great soaps and inspirational messages. I love the spiritual messages you have in the restroom.” It was an effort of all staff to create this space, and it was noticed.

One of my former bosses felt that the outside of the building also told a story. He wanted everyone to see the pride we had by looking at our outside and knowing the inside must be great as well! It is what you want your story to be. In creating spaces, it is vital to think about how it makes everyone feel. Do they have input in helping to design the areas to support safety and comfort?

Safe Place

We want environments where everyone feels good and safe. Two Rule philosophy establishes our thought process to always look at these two aspects. Are your environments creating spaces to reflect Two Rule philosophy? How can you make changes to help improve?

Look at the structure of your areas and determine what needs improvement. Ask for input. Make changes and see how it changes the way everyone feels. Designate areas for quiet spaces for others to use when the world’s noise gets to be too loud. Libraries are great spaces to create spaces like this. Look at the rooms in other areas and see how welcoming they are to others. Do you have spots for people to sit and talk? Is the building reflective of all? One of the things I loved to do was put pictures of people up with positive messages. An example:

  • Picture of staff with- A staff member of the week because….. Staff member recognized by student name and comment
  • Student of the Month for Gratitude (Name of Character trait)
  • Perfect Attendance
  • Honor Roll
  • Friends helping Friends- (Students recognizing other students for helpful acts)
  • The list can go on with creative ideas to include everyone. Each individual has something to celebrate!

Tell your story in your space

Let others see, know and feel the story you are telling in your space. Do not let them have the pen to write it or the brush to paint the picture of who you are. Make areas reflect safety, a good feeling, and a place everyone wants to be.

Calm breezes

A calm breeze brushes across your face providing comfort to a day filled with many questions. Questions of the day continue to bring more questions. The breeze brushes once again, and the sun shines light providing hope for solutions.

“There is no medication like hope, no incentive so great, and no topic so powerful as expectation of something tomorrow.”

Orison S. Marden

Our thinking contiues daily filling our mind quickly. The breeze is stronger bringing more thoughts of fear, negativity and despair. Thinking needs to bring our beliefs and values to stand strong to the wind. Waves of emotions crash into us causing our thinking to shift.

Our beliefs are the foundation we stand upon. We have to remember, “a belief is not just an idea that you possess, it is an idea that possesses you.”-John Maxwell, A check of our thinking, is like a routine checkup for your health or taking your car in for an oil change. We need to check our thoughts, beliefs, and values routinely. If we see conflicts in our thinking, it is essential to recognize this and make repairs.

The calm breeze continues to remind us to establish a routine of checking our thoughts. Thoughts can influence our emotions and cloud our decisions. If we can control our thoughts, our emotions can be controlled. Making decisions based on our emotions is not always the best way.

How we focus determines our direction, thinking and decisions. If you want to change how we respond then our thoughts need to reflect who we want to be, how we want to do and what our focus will be.

The calm breeze can move swiftly, bringing waves of change or disruption. Thoughts control our emotions, behavior and focus. Leaders need to routinely find time to think clearly. Getting into the habit of thinking in a space where your thoughts can be developed. A special notebook or a comfortable and special place.

Calm breezes bring light

As the breeze continues to blow we can find the warmth within to face another day. The noise of the world is shouting louder and the breeze gets bigger, pushing us to take actions on the noise we hear. Many voices can be heard as the breeze whispers to us to think thoughts of healing, comfort, strength and peace. A storm is hitting parts of our world and the calm breezes can turn quickly into strong winds. “Why” is the question echoing through the wind as we look for answers from leaders far and near.

Calm breezes is what we need as we wait for the calm to return after the storm comes to an end. Please lead with a firm hand of strength to stop the destruction of life, health, and the environment. Peace is what we seek from the breeze.

  • Welcome the calmness found in the breeze
  • Take a breath and know the foundation you stand on
  • As waves of emotions crash into your shore, stand firmly in your beliefs and values.
  • Fears cannot guide us, but the light that shines bright on us will show the way.

Wednesday Wisdom

Which comes first, wisdom or knowledge? Wisdom is built on knowledge. So does that mean you can be both wise and knowledgeable? Then you can’t be wise without being knowledgeable. What do you think? Is it the same as an egg before chicken or the chicken before an egg?

Knowledge is knowing about something. I have knowledge of the food in my garden and what grows on my trees. Wisdom is knowing how to apply the knowledge I have. In addition, how to use it in context. Like this old example: knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is knowing not to use it in a fruit salad. However, some people would say this is common sense.

I believe knowledge is gathered from learning and education. The more knowledge you gain about a subject area you can be identified as an expert in the area. Just because you have knowledge, it does not make you wise. When you have knowledge, you can make decisions with clarity of facts and truths.

In order for individuals to gain wisdom, it must be gathered from day-to-day experiences and is a state of being wise. Wisdom is the practical ability to make consistently good decisions in life from the individual’s knowledge and experience.

Wisdom is a virtue. Is that a true statement? Wisdom can only be acquired through experience. Anyone who is interested in trying new things, reflecting on the process, analyzing, testing your knowledge and having a growth mindset has the ability to gain wisdom. In this process one should have knowledge first in order to become wise.

How do you compare knowledge and wisdom? Do you know individuals who are wise?

Students “Don’t Care,” Do they?

Have you heard this, thought this, or said this? As you glance in a classroom, talk to students or staff, you get an idea of this statement.

Sometimes we are quick to place a label on something without further examining the roots to discover a solution. Engagement is our go-to word. Students are not engaged in learning, so they do not care. Whoa, stop! This is a snap judgment call without really diving in to look at solutions.

I have included a link below to a great article from EL Magazine. It is a quick read packed with great insight on how to look at barriers students may have as they face learning.

Standing in front of the class and giving information in hopes students will receive it with learning, as a result, is not a reasonable expectation. Then to think they can take this information and apply it. Well…

Students are not always interested in what we want them to do in the classroom or to learn. This does not mean they do not care. We have not uncovered how to motivate them with their interests, ways of learning, removed barriers or found the right strategies.

Students need clear feedback, a success that is important to them and to know peers are not judging them. Helping students reach their full potential can be accomplished.

http://bit.ly/2WbJ2pK

#ConversationsForChange

Let’s start a conversation today about the world of work. This past week I had the pleasure of speaking with a community service group regarding their human resources and programs. I am new to their organization and wanted to gain more insight than project any thoughts.

I told them after listening to their difficulty in finding individuals to fill openings that I understood. I had observed so many help wanted; we are hiring and sign-on bonuses offered. I was amazed. A local fast food place was offering a $1,000 sign-on bonus. What is happening in the work world?

As we watched the news, we saw a report that a school district had the National Guard come in to help drive school buses to get children to school. What? The National Guard is having to help get our children to school? What is happening?

Reflect on your current work. How has it changed, remained the same, or is it now out of business? What is the #FutureofWork?

Our society has been through many things over the years, and these past years have been harsh. The rapid changes being thrown out are difficult to deal with at times. One thing I do know is we need to have work to keep us moving forward. If you can join many of us in helping to figure out what our world needs to look like, let’s start with this question:

“What’s the one thing you’d change about the world of work?”

My response to this question would be:

When you hold a job or position, no matter what it is, make sure you are the best. Lead always with a purpose, service, and understanding of what you do changes the life of another.

How can I make a statement like this? I have held many levels of jobs and kinds. It is what you put into the work that you will get out, besides the paycheck.

I see many people talking about their change would be working from home. I believe we need human, face-to-face, real-time together to free ourselves from this disconnected, connected world.

One thing I would change is working to serve a purpose to improve all lives positively as we honor our core foundations of values. #FutureofWork #Bethesolutiondaily

Please share your thoughts and include #FutureofWork #ConversationsForChange so others can see your contribution and thoughts. Let’s get these ideas going and conversations flowing!

What Matters Most?

As a leader, especially during this time, the importance of “what we do,” “how we do it,” and “why we do it” are critical questions to ask. We have asked them before, but how does it help us to answer the biggest question of all? What matters most?

“Mother Norman, I am so sorry for the loss of your husband.”

“Oh daughter, I know, let me introduce you to my son.”

Going to the visitation of one of my co-workers from my early years was just like going to a family reunion to see relatives you haven’t seen in a while, even though you may not live that far from each other. “Mother Norman, ” as I have called her for years, was the teacher who I looked up to as I learned to be a teacher. She was one of many who helped prepare me for my journey through education. Her brother would become our Superintendent. He hired me for my first teaching position and then in my first administrator position. So many great learning opportunities and training. Thank you Mr. Tate.

I left the comforts of my hometown to travel a short distance to a larger school district up the road. My first year as principal was terrific. The staff, students, families and everything felt just right for me.

“Mr. Denman wants to see you in his office.”

I can remember hearing those words coming from the phone and the echoes of the voices telling me all day of the sudden leaving of the middle school principal. My heart sunk to my stomach. I could not let anyone see my feelings.

As I arrived to the office, it was true; I needed to move to be the principal of the middle school. I left the building headed back to my school processing all that needed to be done, when a call came asking me if I could return to talk to the Superintendent.

I entered Mrs. Mellen’s office, and she said, “ I am so sorry; I know I told you I would not move you, but I had no idea something like this would happen.”

I understand. Leaders have to make decisions based on what they believe is best. As part of this team and organization, I have to choose to be part of the problem or part of the solution. A great deal of work has to be done. One thing I ask is to have permission to talk with my current staff first before they hear it from the news.

“I don’t think you can get that accomplished before the board meeting tonight.”

I can and I will, if I have permission. “I will check with board president and a few others to get this approved.”

Thank you! Trust, my word and helping to guide them through this transition is essential to me. It will provide a better transition for all of us.

Telling news you do not want to give

  • Practicing solution-focused leadership provides a systematic approach to communicating any form of news you need to deliver.
  • First, identify the problem the organization faced. Point out the importance of the time of the year and the needs of all involved.
  • Then provide the possible solutions the organization could have selected from and weigh against outcomes. (In this situation, I was able to pull from the information I thought could be used. I had four years of positive middle school experience previously. Our team worked to secure a grant successfully to change the school to a middle school concept and turned it from failing to succeeding.)
  • Decision made and moving forward. Clear communication of the decision made and how you support being part of the solution is stated. We all must do this to continue the great work we are doing. Provide the connection between them and the decision and the overall mission. (In this case, the school was a feeder school to the middle school I was moving to.)
  • One last thing to remember!
  • We do all of our work together in all of these buildings as one. Students and sometimes staff move around from time to time, but one thing remains the most important. What matters the most? We love what we do for those we do it for and those we do it with because, in the end, what matters the most is the relationships we build along the journey.

Take-Aways

  • Practice solution-focused leadership
  • Relationships matter
  • Clear communication
  • Remember the what, how, who and why to understand What matters most!

How are you?

Do you ask this question to others? “Hi Jane, How are you today?” It is a simple question as part of our greeting and not an in-depth question many may need to answer. As schools returned to face to face, businesses are trying to maintain without workers due to no applicants, and companies are trying to ship materials to places in need as materials become available.

How can we greet our coworkers and employees in ways to help them and to check on how they are? At this time, it is so important to check on others and to let them understand they matter to us. Many things are causing stress to others and maybe even for ourselves. Letting others know is the best way to find solutions. I have a former student missing and a former student who just killed himself. My heart breaks for their families. These young men I think of as “my kids,” and I picture them in the time we were together. The charisma of both these kids is amazing, fun to be around, friends with many, and nice looking. If someone asked me, How are you? “I am fine, just fine.” Am I?

Most people do not tell others the truth. They mask things that are bothering them. People pass you all the time. Do you notice them? How much do you know about the people you work with daily? How about those you use to work with but not anymore? Neighbors? Family? Do you check on any of them? The truth is rarely told on how we are. https://youtu.be/lbqS806GU4I

Change the questions. Change the responses. Let the truth be told, and solutions will be found. #Bethesolutiondaily Find the resources to help others in need. Reach out to others when you are in need. You matter, we matter, together we matter, and we will be fine! Faith, hope, and love for one another.

Input vs. Output

I have questions about the title of this post. Do you have more input or output in your day? In other words, are you receiving (input) information more than you are producing (output)? What are the sources of the information you receive?

Accountability has leaders focused on the source of output and making sure there is a high volume daily. Depending on the field of work, I question the quality of the volume of output measured by the input. Should leaders focus more on the input their staff is receiving?

I spend 60% of my day reading. What are the sources of this reading? I select books based on recommendations from other leaders, also from the organization I work with to help authors with book launches, blogs, podcasts, webinars, articles from professional organizations I belong to, emails, and my daily devotionals/bible. This input is valuable to me, but most importantly, it influences my thoughts.

I wrote a book about school improvement; it’s not good enough. My opinion! I took time to learn more about how to have a quality book, what the steps are, what do you need to do, know, and so many other things. I was gaining lots of input! During this seeking input time, I had opportunities to meet, listen to and gain wisdom. It is a blessing to have taken the time to do this and to write a new book.

Time is a non-renewable gift! I always say, “Unwrap today as a gift. It can not be returned, exchanged, or saved. Use the hours wisely.” The time I have spent on writing has provided me with healing, sharing, ways to serve a purpose, and opportunities to provide support to others.

Take aways

  • The quality of the work we do depends on the inputs of information we allow to influence us.
  • Output accountability should be measured on quality and not quantity.
  • Leaders can support individuals by providing quality resources for input.
  • Time is non-renewable!

Review your calendar, agenda, or schedule. How much time is allowed for input? As a leader, what are you providing to staff to enhance the quality of the input others are receiving? Remember, time is non-renewable! Make all communications quality and not just quantity!

Be the solution daily! Others count on the quality of your output to influence the input they receive!