In the day of any conference, the conversations are fast and furious, and I can sometimes get overwhelmed by so much flying at me at once. I do my best to spend time connecting with people, but sometimes the conversations that are had don’t stick with me at first, but resonate with me after I have had some time to decompress.
One of the things that has stuck with me from one event, was a person in an administrative position, approaching me and saying, “after I listened to you and thought about what you were saying, I realized, I am the barrier that is holding us back.” I am not sure what her position was, but I was amazed by the honesty of her reflection. She also shared that she did not want to be that person anymore, and was going to try and create different opportunities for those that she served. It was a humbling conversation that has really been stuck in my brain. I honestly can’t stop thinking about it because of the courage that she had in sharing that or even being able to say it out loud.
Something I have been saying lately in some conversations I have been having is the following:
“There are people in this room, no matter how compelling of evidence or ideas that I have shared, or the experiences that I have tried to create, will do nothing different tomorrow. Are you that person?”
It is a comment meant to challenge and push people out of their comfort zone, while also imploring them to reflect on their learning. I have learned that ideas and my own thinking changes over time, and by being open to challenge and growth in my learning, is how I model what I hope to see in others. I am never expecting someone to do exactly what I have shared or even not challenge my thoughts, but I am hoping they take action and ownership on how they can move forward.
But with that being said, I am hoping that people not only think about what they have learned, but also how their learning impacts others. Every single person involved in education is in some type of leadership position in the way that we serve the needs of others, whether it is students or adults, and our willingness or lack thereof to grow, impacts not only ourselves, but others. This one administrator reminded me of that in her brave way she shared her self-realization. The willingness to be able to reflect and to identify how your actions and growth are affecting others, is a powerful trait of a leader who wants to make a difference.