Adding and receiving value from those around us

The 2018-19 school year has been a sprint. Nonstop. So much learning and growing with a workflow that that can often be intense. Blogging has fallen off my radar these past few months. I’ll admit it. I’ve articulated such many times over the course of the past weeks especially.

However, today something powerful happened. No not me jumping back on the blogging horse – beyond that. A group of three district peers and friends Michael Parker West, Erica Everett, Terrance Hinnat and I met for a few hours to discuss school community and how it connects to the powerful EdNC article from our fellow district colleague Christina Spears (who unfortunately was unable to attend)

https://www.ednc.org/2018/05/31/building-community-beyond-the-classroom-walls/

This professional development session while small was powerful. Three school administrators and one aspiring administrator gathering on a Sunday afternoon at Panera over warm beverages and side items to dive deep into successes, similarities we’ve seen, are aiming to achieve, etc. in alignment with Mrs. Spears’ article.

This all came to be a few weeks ago with Erica reaching out to around 20 district peers via email. The collective group had a choice of meeting dates/times to choose from with today being the eventual winner.

During the course of our meeting we all realized that each of us had connected directly or indirectly from Twitter over the course of the last 2-3 years. We have become so close as district peers that each of us had lost sight of that. What a strong connection tool Twitter is. It has enhanced all of our personal learning but also school community bonding through hashtags. #WendellHowlout and #WeAreCarroll are significant school community connection drivers for Mr. West and myself at our respective schools for sure.

While district and school learning is always strong, sometimes the learning and personal connections we choose are the most powerful. Who knew a colleague-initiated two hour meeting on a fall Sunday afternoon in Raleigh with 4 district colleagues would be so powerful? It was.

Value added. Value received.

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The power of being genuine – story of my life.

Genuine. According to Merriam-Webster the word is defined as this:

1a: actually having the reputed or apparent qualities or character

  • genuine vintage toys

b: actually produced by or proceeding from the alleged source or author

  • the signature is genuine

c: sincerely and honestly felt or experienced

  • a deep and genuine love

d: actual, true 

  • a genuine improvement

2: free from hypocrisy or pretense: sincere 

  • His apology seemed genuine.

In today’s society far too many of us have gotten away from a true understanding of the word, much less putting it into action within our daily lives. The loose usage of important labels such as friend, kind, nice, etc. are becoming all too frequent.

I often speak to the power of Dr. John Maxwell’s “value added” approach in daily life. This is something I strive to do daily and seek those who add value in return. “Live your life with intentionality – make it significant,” are words from Dr. Maxwell to live by.

 The past few years especially more and more I have aimed to live not only by these “value added” principles but also by the sentence that I tweeted in a #SaturdaySpark⚡️ several months ago. Usually these are inspirational sayings, lines or quotes – but this was one that spoke to me as much, if not more than any — because it is something I am to live by daily:

The longer I live the more I realize that some people are good listeners, (uninterrupted – not hearing – listening) genuinely care and are tried and true friends. These will be there through the good times and the not so good times. Thick and thin. Sometimes its a learning process. Life is hard. The aches and pains of growing up as a person, professionally and personally can be taxing.
I know who these people are in my life. My tribe. My people. They build me up, encourage and offer constructive feedback on going and this is reciprocal. They have my back I love them. I know them and they know me. I love them. They love me. Do you connect with this? How genuine are you? It took me until my mid-30s to get to this point and I’m still evolving but I’m getting there – always striving for greatness. Sometimes takes weeding out. Quality > quantity.
Some people are good at talking the talk, but fail miserably when it comes to walking the walk. These people are not genuine. They need weeded out – no room for them on this train. Nonnegotiable.
One life to live, make the most of it. As the great Mike Ness wrote and performed so many years ago with Social Distortion:
“Life goes by so fastYou only want to do what you think is right.Close your eyes and then it’s past;Story of my life.”
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