Leadership · Curriculum · Lifelong Learning

Hey, Friends! Like millions of educators and organizational leadership enthusiasts around the world, I’ve been reading and rereading Brene Brown‘s book: dare to lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.

For those who’ve read it, I’m on number 14 in The Armory. Again. For those who haven’t read it, I’m on page 109 out of 275. For what it’s worth, I’m at a place that’s SCREAMING at me.

It feels like an earthquake. There’s a rumbling deep down, and it has the potential for a transformational shift, revealing a clear, leadership, fault line. I’m doing the inner work. It’s burning. There’s friction. It’s uncomfortable. Below the surface, my intentions are coming into focus. For the first time in a really long time, I have clarity. And the aftershocks have the power to be felt by others over a huge radius–for a long time.

I’ve been on a tireless, heartfelt journey of learning, growing, and striving to become better. For me.

My past was for ME.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Collecting Gold Stars ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Early in my career, I ran full-throttle to be the best. You may call it running in the red. Others have said that to sacrifice personal life for career with an overwhelming workload; to push the limits of time in pursuit of perfection; to live in constant discomfort of procrastination as a result; and to stress the heart rate like this was to operate in crisis mode. While all of that may have been true, my pride told me that my resources and my work ethic were limitless.

It was the invincibility of the youth–not the vulnerability of the experienced.

I was on a mission to do all the things. Working 75-80 hours a week for nearly two decades, I just couldn’t get enough. As a classroom teacher, I was literally called into the principal’s office a few times to have things taken off my plate.

Yet, by all accounts, there was measurable success, to be sure, and I actually still love the work. I still can’t get enough. Hard work and potential success are beautiful things–but they came at a cost.

And deep down, in the end, I never felt like I reached the benchmarks I set for myself. After all, perfection is an unattainable goal. I never felt like my efforts were genuinely validated, or enough. I never felt like I was enough.

I suppose there was a part of me that couldn’t wait to earn the next title, award, or accolade, so that I could immediately post it on my resume, social media, Twitter bio, and online portfolio, but really–what I wanted the most–was just to be acknowledged, recognized, and appreciated.

I just wanted to be seen.

I wanted to matter. I wanted to belong. I wanted to be enough.

A little farther down the road, now, and I’m reflecting on so many lessons learned from, with, and alongside my professional learning network members. These are educators, people, and leaders I really admire. Their feedback matters to me. They’re in my Square Squad.

It’s in this space where I’ve most recently rumbled. It’s here where I’ve found, faced, named, and approached my cave. This is where I first observed and experienced–in all its vulnerable authenticity–The Leadership Line.

My present is for US.  

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ The Leadership Line ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

There are amazing leaders navigating the arena every day. Interacting with some of them face-to-face and online, I’ve learned–and am still learning–a ton. At the very least, I’ve learned to zoom out. There are a few more timeless leadership perspectives here, here, here, and here, to cite a few.

While competing in the gold star race, there came a point where I realized that leadership was not an award to be earned. It wasn’t a gold star to be collected. In fact, leadership wasn’t even about ME.

Leadership is about serving others.

The point at which one knows, embraces, and demonstrates service to others is the moment in which one crosses the line into leadership.

The point at which one transitions from collecting gold stars to giving gold stars is the moment in which a leader is born.

The point at which one’s actions of service reflect one’s words of service is the moment in which authentic leadership takes root.

My future is for YOU.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Giving Gold Stars ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

As always, I’m a work-in-progress. I’m forever growing and learning in my leadership journey. New starting lines emerge every day, every moment. There’s work to be done.

And while I don’t know it all, and I definitely haven’t collected all the gold stars, I can lean on and learn from my experiences to build better relationships in connecting with others.

As a father, I know the kind of sacrificial, unconditional love a parent has for his child.

As a student, I know what it feels like to be recognized and celebrated by my teachers, professors, instructors, and coaches.

As a teacher, I know what it feels like to be recognized and celebrated by my administrators, colleagues, and PLN members.

And as an administrative resident (intern), I’m learning all over again what it feels like to give gold stars.

And friends–I’ve got a galaxy of gold stars to give.

I’ll be looking for you…

                                                  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Here’s my @Wakelet collection of #daretolead tweets.

Here are more tweets directly relating to this blog:

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