In July of this year I began to write a new chapter in my story. If you've read "Intentionally New" in my blog you're aware of how this all unfolded. So here we are, the last day of the first semester and it's time for reflection. A friend asked me the other day, "What was your big ahah?" There's more than one, so here goes:
Age is Mostly Irrelevant
I say mostly because sometimes my knees don't like the position I put them in, or the energy level isn't quite what it used to be, but really age is pretty much irrelevant. I knew that intellectually, or I wouldn't have decided to take on a big career change at my age. What I discovered, though, was that I kept feeling like I should apologize for coming to the dance so late. I kept feeling like an outlier, and not in a good way. But at some point that changed. I don't remember a specific point in time in which I laid that to rest. I just know that now it doesn't matter to me.
Leadership Looks Different
At my former campus I was on the leadership team for many years, first as a team leader and later as an Instructional Specialist. Although I was considered a leader on my campus, I was still at the same level as everyone else. It took me awhile to realize that I still considered myself on par with my colleagues, but they saw me as the boss. It has taken awhile to adjust that garment. I put it on the first day I took the job, but I kept fidgeting with the layers and shifting it around until it became comfortable. It fits well now, even though it still has the look and smell of newness.
Do you remember what it was like to have your own classroom and live and breathe with those same kids for an entire school year? You build relationship with them, laugh with them, grow with them and guide them in a unique way. As an administrator I've learned they see me differently and I can't interact with them the way I would have with my own kiddos. You have to say things in a softer way because they only see you in the hall. You haven't built a relationship that allows you to be forceful when necessary. Relationships with students and parents are different now and I have to pay attention to the rules in this dynamic.
Niceness and Kindness are not the Same Thing
If I'm nice it's sort of about me making myself look good. If I'm kind there's a new layer on top of that. Kindness means I'm doing for the staff that which benefits them. I'm telling them the truth and extending grace because it's about wanting to grow them. It's not about making myself look good. Being nice is fine and I certainly don't aspire to the opposite of that, but my true desire is to develop capacity in others and help them find their purpose.
Fun and Fear
I think the biggest aha is that fear and fun can coexist. Shaking up my life in a pretty profound way, tackling something completely out of my wheelhouse has stirred up fears. Let's face it - going with the flow just isn't scary. It's safe. It's easy. And - it's boring! In spite of the times I had no clue what I was doing and was making mistakes pretty much on a regular basis, I have to say I haven't had this much fun in a long time. I wake up every morning excited about what the day will bring. I leave school every day glad beyond words that I took the leap.
Eleanor Roosevelt said to do one thing each day that scares you. Done! And so worth it!
Merry Christmas 2015 and on to great things in 2016!