3 Words for 2011 – Ode to Chris Brogan and a Few Friends….

In  early January, as we were welcoming  2011, Chris Brogan, a guy whose posts inspire my  thinking, posted about the upcoming year and how he approaches it: Not with resolutions, but instead with words, specifically

3 words.  

He says they are neither goals nor resolutions, but instead  “guiding pillars for what I will focus on in the upcoming year.”  

You can read Chris’s full post [here].  I  left a comment about not being quite ready to share my three words, and that I would ~ as soon as they settled  in my head…
Well Chris, the words have been rolling around for about a month, and I’m ready to own them:
(1 + 2) renewed purpose:  
Over the past two years or so, I’ve gotten a little off-course, thinking I wanted to leave education  — a profession I was apparently destined for,  as evidenced by my  earliest attempts at teaching my stuffed animals and baby dolls, and later, in the staff development I coordinated while in the Navy.  
After  military service and  college,  I entered  the teaching profession,  immediately ‘firing’ the mentor teacher assigned to me – the one whose  poor attitude was at once,  distasteful and  unprofessional, and then selecting another teacher to mentor me (with a kinder disposition).  We call this, I learned later,  a ‘teachable moment.‘    

Within  a  few years, I was mentoring peers and providing staff development/training opportunities when I wasn’t in my own classroom.  I learned a lot from working with colleagues and students, visiting classes, and watching teachers, administrators, and students in action; I developed professional interests that would become the foundation of my professional philosophy:

  • how teachers teach (and the effects)
  • how students engage (or don’t engage) in learning (and the effects)
  • efficacy – teachers’ and students’ (and the effects) 
  • the domains of learning
But in the past few years, after leaving the classroom as a full-time teacher and spending more time in an office environment, I seemed to lose my way, losing touch with the inspiration and energy that come from being knee-deep in classroom life.

At about the same time, I began studying business practices, adding to my reading list and perspective.  I discovered social media and its increasing influence on the world as we know it, began studying leadership in earnest, and started thinking about how each impacts education
I began wondering, thanks to Tom Peters, What does excellence look like?  Lots of time devoted to entrepreneurship and green causes, too.  It’s certainly been a ‘year’ of growth (measured in educator time:  Aug – June). 
And I reached this conclusion along the way….
Leadership is much more than being the person
on the top of the org chart.        
My friend and colleague ‘RG’ has taught me this as I’ve watched her develop into an amazing leader over the past few years…. 

After a school year that began on shaky grounds (both professionally and personally) I finally feel (mostly) ready(!) to take my professional plan to the next level. 

With renewed purpose for supporting teachers and their students, but in a different way than I have for the past 17 years, I am ready to take on my third word …..
(3) risk:  
I admit, this is the word that’s been holding me back.  Ironically, I embrace change, liking the idea that things will be different, fresh, new…anything but stale.  I get bored easily.   But risk scares the heck out of me.  Does it scare you?
Consequently, I’ve stayed on the district payroll well past my ‘Best if used by’ date.  

I knew when it was time to leave the classroom as a full-time teacher (it took three years to make that decision). 

I’ve known for nearly two years that it was time to fulfill my long-term professional goal

embark on a freelance/consulting role in education  

allowing me to  mash-up  my  creativity, passion, gazillion skills/interests, and diverse experiences  –  for different projects, with different groups of people, increasing my Circle of Influence (thank you, Stephen Covey)…. and allowing me to (hopefully) make a difference in a bigger way.

I’m finally ready to say it out loud. Yell from the rooftops. Tell a friend. Tell a colleague. Tell you.

This is huge.  No, really. 

Being cubicle-bound for two years, I’ve had time to think about what makes me happy… and what doesn’t

Working directly with teachers and students = bliss. happy. happy. happy!

Working in a cubicle = not so much. miserable. miserable. miserable.

What to do next??

I’ve been implementing My Plan in baby steps – for well over a year.  Recently, I’ve shared it with others, and received affirming feedback and amazing support.  Thank you, all! 

I’ve learned it’s true what ‘they’ say: 
Put yourself out there.
Ask for what you want.
Create intention. 

I did. And….
What are your three words for 2011?

Creating more intention…..

Need a facilitator or motivational guest speaker with a unique mix of skills, interests, and experiences, can tell a compelling story, and has lots of energy? 

I’m a click away, and my calendar is filling quickly for summer 2011 and the 2011 – 2012 school year.  E-mail me today, and let’s discuss your organization’s needs.   

While my current focus is on  Florida school districts, I’d love the opportunity to work with  the New Orleans Public School District  on their continuing recovery and rebuilding efforts…. a resilient community with amazing people, indeed!
Thank you!
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