Where did August and almost September go? To say it has been busy is an understatement. I know that my “road warrior” friends who are reading this know what I am talking about. We have crossed paths in and out of airports, sharing some time together, getting started with new schools and districts and appreciating the opportunities that our work provides us. I had serious intentions of getting back at this blog earlier in the fall season. I was confident that I would carve the time out to re-establish my writing practice. Why is it so hard to get back to habits that we know are good for us and we enjoy? What determines our priorities? How do we keep distractors from becoming our reality?
I have worked a great deal with school and district leaders during the past few weeks with this challenge. With great intention, their districts and schools were ready to receive their students. Lots of hard work, long hours and preparations happened before the doors opened to students and families. Fresh paint, new buildings and shiny, clean buses are ready to welcome the year. Open houses were planned and welcoming activities were created with energy and enthusiasm. And, within a couple of weeks it is almost like a pin was used to pop a balloon… teachers and leaders quickly feel the “reality” and “busyness” of the school days. The demands of all that it takes to ensure a district and school meet the needs of all students felt real. And, this is the current reality… it is what school improvement is about and what the right work is. So, how do we find and keep our focus on the right work? What are the habits that we have to get back to?
In at least three of my conversations with leaders this fall, I heard how hard that it was to get back in to the right work after the summer. For these leaders, distractions were tough to keep at bay. The distractions were authentic requests of their time and energy. It isn’t that these things were not important it is just that it kept them away from what they had determined to be their priorities. And, it is the same for me… if this blog is a priority for me, then I need to make the time and commit to make it happen. Sounds simple? We all know that the self-discipline of sticking to our priorities isn’t as easy as that.
The more time that I spend coaching and supporting leaders, the more I recognize the need to develop self-leadership. Being self-aware of your own habits, where you spend your time and how your priorities are visible to others is leadership 101. Carving out that time to be a continuous learner, to be reflective and to truly examine your own practices takes courage and commitment. And, mostly, you have to know what you do see as your vision and priorities. Do you have a personal vision and goals for what you, as a leader want to accomplish this year? Have you put this in writing? Are you actions aligned so that these priorities are clear and keeping you focused on the right work?
If you are struggling with this, I offer this link to you for a webinar that might help you re-connect with what you truly know is important. (https://www.solutiontree.com/webinars/leading-with-focus-and-intention-webinar.html) Jeanne Spiller and I offered this learning opportunity this summer for district and school leaders. It will take you about an hour of your time but walks you through some great activities and times to reflect. I believe, that as a leader, you deserve opportunities such as this to continue to grow.
Have a great week of continuous commitment and learning. I look forward to being with you again next Saturday.