Inspiration

The Why Guy

Simon Sinek is the “why” guy. He advocates that we should ‘start with why‘ and in doing so, will discover our purpose.

His advice: find out what you like to do, how you do it and then consider why you do what you do, the way that  you do it.

Simon has a Golden Circle that you can learn more about by watching his TED talk on the subject – one that has been viewed over 21 million times!

Simon generously shares his art. Click here to view a folder of free resources that will help you to help your kids uncover their ‘why’. One of my favorites from this folder of resources is Speak to Inspire Action which gives you tips to help you speak and present in a way that will inspire others to join your cause.  For working with kids, The Friends Exercise is great for helping kids discover their why.

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Inspiration

Never Lose the Why

I love GapingVoid cartoons.  Here is the one that I am most recently in love with:

Never Lose the Why

As a fan of Simon Sinek and “Start With Why?”, this cartoon is a great reminder for once you have your why pinned down – or as pinned down as defining your purpose can get.

It is also a good reminder for teachers when we ask things of our kids in our classroom.

  • WHY is this worth their time?
  • WHY are we doing this?
  • WHY do we need to do it?
  • WHY did I do it this way?
  • WHY not something else?

I would like to believe that most teachers have a pretty good idea of why they teach.  Sometimes when we move from the philosophical  ideals to the human reality of bodies in the room, administrators, parents, and our own personal lives, we have the potential to lose the ‘why’ that drove us to this profession in the first place.

Don’t do that. Or at the very least, resist at every turn! Keep an eye on your why.  And live it, daily, in your classroom.

A great example of someone who consistently lives out his why, is the CEO of the YMCA here in Boise, Jim Everett.  We visited with him for the second year on our passion tour and again, Jim was hugely popular with my students.  The letters they wrote him were heartfelt and just amazing.  Jim told the story of the death of his dad when he was in third grade and the huge impact that had on his life. One of my kids concluded his letter with, “If your dad were alive today, he would be the proudest dad in the world.”  Yes. Yes he would.

As he did last year, Jim wrote back to us and this year reminded us of the “P” words that he lives his life by and encouraged us to live our lives by.  I turned his words into the following as a visual reminder to always look to fulfill your purpose and never lose sight of your why: (PDF Download)

Jim Everett Manifesto

21st Century, Innovation, Inspiration, Leadership

We All Need A Little Resistance

You know you work with a pretty switched on group of parents when not only do you get flowers and a thank you speech penned by your students at the conclusion of an eight week marathon journey of work, but you also get two books: Seth Godin’s “Linchpin” and Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why”.   Way cool.  I had previously read Linchpin, the one book Seth Godin says of:

If I could have every administrator, teacher and parent read just one of my books…it would be this one.

I was excited to read it over again (skim it and this time start highlighting as it is my own copy!) and I was reminded of how important his idea of the need for resistance was.

 

What?  Need resistance?  Yes!  If you are throwing out new ideas, suggesting different tactics, implementing innovative programs and basically making a ruckus – CONGRATULATIONS! Unlike so many others who listen to that tiny voice, that ‘lizard brain’ in the back of their head telling them to sit down, maintain order, follow along, make it through ’till Friday and dutifully maintain the status quo, you have heard the voice, the lizard brain, and have acted in spite of it. Truth be told, that voice might even have spurred you on to making a bigger ruckus, a bolder move, a more passionate statement!

 

If you felt the resistance and went for it anyway (whatever “it” might be) then most likely, you are leader.  It is not a comfortable, safe, cushioned place to be.  In fact, it should feel more like you are on the front line, blazing a path, running the gauntlet and dodging enemy fire. If  your new ideas are not insisting on change, making people a little uncomfortable because for a while they may look incompetent and arousing thought and debate, are they really “new”?

Think of all the ideas that have made people get up and do something – protest, occupy, picket – these are the result of ideas worth getting excited about!  Does your leader inspire you in this way?  Do you inspire others in this way?

 

When encouraging you to make a ruckus, I must point out the difference between doing so fearlessly and recklessly.

To be fearless…

is to act with the best intentions at the time in order to make a change that you believe is needed, of benefit and will ultimately result in a forward momentum.  To be fearless is to be informed of the consequences of your actions and to act anyway.  To be fearless is to embrace the probability that you may fail or be wrong and to press ahead anyway.  To be fearless is to act in good faith, with good intentions.

To be reckless…

is to take action without information.  To make rash decisions with little forethought.  To be reckless is to endanger, to risk without care for the impact and to pretend that you can not or will not fail.  To be reckless is to make decisions based on your own personal needs and wants rather than considering what is best for the group or the company.  To be reckless is to think of the immediate results and have little care for the long-term consequences.

So…

  • resist your lizard brain

  • make a ruckus

  • be fearless

Think about your role as a leader or the people who lead in your school or organization.

Do they make a ruckus?

Do they do so fearlessly, inspiring others to follow them?  Do they do so recklessly, leaving behind them a wake of distrust and chaos? Does the work they do mean enough that people would miss them if they were gone? This was something Seth said at the event in NYC.  I think I recall correctly that it was a response to a question about “should I blog?” to which he replied, “Yes, but then ask yourself if people would miss your posts if they were gone”. My thinking is that he was giving us reminder to make sure that while we all will probably hear the lizard brain that tells us that it is too much, too new, too big, too bold, too ‘out there’ of an idea to work, we shouldn’t let that voice overpower our own, stronger voice that says, “I hear you and fearlessly, I proceed.”

Who are the ‘ruckus makers’ in your school?

How do they perfect their artistry?