Sunday, December 6, 2015

Why Do I Lead?

As a part of my ongoing personal-professional growth, I've made the commitment to serve as a Learning Leader for the School Administrator Virtual Mentor Program. If you use Twitter, please follow the #SAVMP hastag and my mentee, Brooke Maciag who can be found on Twitter at @brookemaciag .

Why Do I Lead? #SAVMP

That's a question that I ask myself each day. Some days, it's easy to answer. And some days it's a bit more of a challenge. But I've devised a menu of personal options that return me to answers. In some way, shape, or form, this question permeates my thinking every day, and it often finds it's way into my subconscious, where it marinates and it evolves. This blog post will attempt to provide some perspective on my answer to this question.

My favorite word in the English language is the word potential. In my time as a classroom teacher, a coach, a parent, a family member, a community member, and a school leader, this is a word that elicits an emotion inside of me that is indescribable. But, I can say, without reservation or hesitation, that it is why I do what I do, and of greater significance, it is why I am who I am.

I'm not perfect. I am a self-proclaimed work-in-progress. I'm doing better than I think, and I can always do better. But I also  know, with that mindset, that I remain open and acutely aware to where I grow and where I need to grow. And with that, I never quit, I expect the same of others around me, and I make every effort to surround myself with others who hold this value.

While I've always believed in this idea, the first time I truly appreciated it was when someone else led me through the process of being believed in. This person, who, to this day is a role model and a mentor to me, is selfless. This person has no ego. This person has personal values and convictions. And this person has a deep understanding of how to invest in others. 

Nearly ten years ago, I was someone who my mentor believed in had the lead.

I was a classroom teacher, who loved what I did. While I didn't necessarily know it or readily admit it, I was a teacher-leader. And I demonstrated qualities that someone else saw in me, as potential for what I might become. I didn't see it back then, and when it was presented to me, in concrete and in abstract ways, I denied it, I resisted it, and I rejected it. But I also seized every opportunity that was afforded, every growth opportunity that was presented. Because I believed in the cause, a cause that was bigger and more important than I was.

And today, these values have become a part of me. They influence my interactions with students, with parents, with teachers, with colleagues and with members of various communities with whom I interact regularly. These values impact my decisions on bringing people together around a cause as much as they do, in a one-one-one conversation in which trust and relationship-building are the focus of my attention. 

So, why do I lead? I lead because I believe in the potential in others. I believe in the potential in our learning organization and learning communities. And I continue to believe in my own potential. 

I'm doing better than I think. And I know I can always do better.

Why do YOU lead?

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