A principal friend of mine asked if I could send their staff a message before they open a brand new school. Here is what I shared with them:
As many educators in North America are on summer break right now, and whether you are starting a new job, starting a new school, or going back to a new position, I hope this message applies.
When you start next year, you start with a blank slate. It is year one of the rest of your career.
Don’t hope other people will do something for you that will put you onto a different trajectory. It starts with what you do and how you look at the world.
Tony Sinanis, a very good friend of mine and very thoughtful and thought-forward leader, has just started his first superintendency. In a text conversation we had (he is okay that I share this), he said “my priority is to be the best superintendent ever!”
In response I told Tony, “far too often, people are focused on where they want to go, not where they are now, which harms both the present and the future. Focus on doing an amazing job there, and doors will open for you when they are supposed to.” I know because of his focus on doing an amazing job right now, he will be successful, which means those that he serves will benefit.
I always go back to a point in my career where I was ready to quit. A new opportunity came my way, and instead of going into the new opportunity with the same attitude, I changed how I looked at education and, more importantly, how I looked at myself. The biggest change was me, not my environment.
Take advantage of whatever is in front of you, even if it looks the same as last year. You can always change yourself.
Shift your perspective and it will alter your path.