Sunday, January 22, 2017

It's Not About Being Perfect

Sometimes I feel in life that many of us try to be perfect.  We feel we’re not good enough in our job, in our personal life, working out, or other hobbies.  We apologize for shortcomings.  We get down on ourselves.  I admit it.  Sometimes I’m one of them.  

I sometimes wonder, when did this all start?  Did my parents put pressure on me?  Did my teachers? Society?  I remember back to when I was in 4th grade.  I had a project due for school about Native Americans.  I had made some sort of diorama and it was on the desk in my bedroom before I went to sleep.   In the middle of the night, my mom woke to find me sitting at my desk, crying, and saying it wasn’t good enough.  Really, I don’t remember this night, but I do remember my mom telling me about it and it has been something that has stayed with me forever.  The thing is, my parents didn’t pressure me.  They always wanted me to try my hardest and I never got in trouble for making a mistake.  So where did the pressure come from?

Fast forward to present day.  I have two boys, a 4th and 6th grader.  My 6th grader worries like nobody else.  He gets down on himself when he makes an error in baseball.  He always has to be right.  He goes in for extra help in math when his scores aren’t as high as he wants them.  I worry he’s just like me.  And believe it or not, I don’t expect him to be perfect.  I just want him to put forth his best effort in whatever he does.  If he can walk away saying I tried hard and I stayed positive, then I’m happy.  

As a leader in education, I want to do my best.  I know there is definitely pressure on me to do well, but really, no one expects me to be perfect.  No one is.  It’s ok to make mistakes.  It’s ok to realize you could’ve done something better if you had another chance.  I shared this with all the 5th graders last week at school.  I told them that I expect them to follow the rules and try their best.   I expect them to be kind to others.  But I also know they are going to make mistakes.  It’s part of life.  Everyone makes mistakes.  But what I want from them is to keep trying.  Be better than who they were yesterday.  Learn from their mistakes.  Grow as a person.

So who knows where the feeling of needing to be perfect comes from. Maybe it's just something we create inside ourselves.
Maybe it's a combination of genetics and society. I do know though, that what I strive for as an adult, should be the same as I want for my kids.  I hope well all remember...


Keep learning. Keep growing. Keep getting better.

Monday, January 9, 2017

One Word: Time

Since before 2017 began, I’ve been thinking about my one word. To be honest, I feel this slight pressure; my word has to be just right. It has to be powerful and convey meaning. Then I realized I'm over thinking. It's a bad habit of mine. My word is for me. I decided to focus on all the things I hope for and want to accomplish in 2017 and just like that, it was quite apparent.

My one word is time.

I want to spend more quality time with my family. Having a long break after Christmas gave me the chance to do just this. We played games, we laughed, we watched movies, we read...we spent time together.

I want to take time for me. It's easy to get caught up in work mode, mommy mode and taking care of everything else but myself. I want to make time to workout as it's something I enjoy and something that makes me feel good emotionally and physically.  I want to take time to read. Time to learn. Time to grow.

Time to listen. In the hustle and bustle of daily life I find myself not always truly listening. Whether it's with one of my boys at home, my husband, a friend, or a colleague, my mind is always two steps ahead on the next thing to get done. I want to focus on being present with people and slowing down.

And lastly, I want to be more aware of time. I often say “Where did the time go?" OR "I wish there was more time in the day to get things done." I need to focus my time on what's important. There's definitely free space in my day and I want to be more aware of how I use that time. I want to use it on things that are important to me.

Time is important. Time is precious. We never know what life will bring our way and I don't want to regret the time I didn't spend.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Looking Back on 2016

As 2017 begins it's time to think about my focus for this year, but before I do, I'll take time to look back on 2016. Lindsy Stumpenhorst of the #PrincipalsinAction Voxer group set forth a challenge to reflect on 2016: What would you change? What did you learn? What was crazy amazing? I could spend all day writing about 2016, but today I'll just choose a few things about my year as a principal.

- I've learned that I'm not in this alone. Sometimes while at my school site it can seem like I'm on my own, but really, I'm not. Only if I choose to be. I've pushed myself this year to really connect with others in person and over Voxer and it's truly been something amazing. No one understands our job like a fellow principal.  Having others to learn from, listen, challenge, and inspire me has been a huge support.

- In the same aspect, I've learned that it's ok to ask for help. I think the stubborn side of me wants to prove that I can do this. I don't need support from the others, especially people at the district office level. I can handle it. Subconsciously I think asking for help shows I'm weak. I've learned that that's not true. Reaching out and asking for support is ok, and sometimes necessary. District level personnel is there to support if I allow. They don't know what I need if I don't tell them.

- I ended last school year focused and organized with things I needed to get done. My plan was to start August just like that. Well that didn't happen. Come the craziness of the beginning of the year I let all the things go that helped focus me. All the things that I put into place with my Work.Life.Balance Voxer group went out the window. Moving into the second half of the school year, I want to change that. I want to go back to taking time to prioritize my week and what needs to be done.

- Through all the ups and downs of 2016, I have to remember the things that have been amazing. The kids are amazing! They make me laugh, they impress me and sometimes they even make me cry. But they're the reason I do what I do every day. My staff has amazed me.  Multiple teachers this year have taken leadership roles above and beyond their classroom to help improve the lives of our kids.  

2016 was a good year and here’s to 2017 being even better!