Monday, August 30, 2021

1% Better- Every Day

 I took the summer off of Monday Morning Minute of Motivation. Day 1 is here now…I thought I would get back after it. 

 

I was going to send the following  immediately after the Global Leadership Summit. I found it be excellent wisdom on the power of self-improvement.

 

The following quotation is from an anonymous Hassidic rabbi on his deathbed. 

 

“When I was young, I set out to change the world. When I grew a little older, I perceived that this was too ambitious, so I set out to change my state. This too, I realized as I grew older, was too ambitious, so I set out to change my town. When I realized I could not even do this, I tried to change my family. Now as an old man, I know that I should have started by changing myself. If I had started with myself, maybe then I would have succeeded in changing my family, the town, or even the state- and who knows, maybe even the world.” 

 

As we embark on the journey of the 2021-22 school year, if we each commit to improving 1% every day, imagine the growth by day 180. 

 

We’re better because of you. I greatly appreciate all you do to make this a better place. Keep fighting the good fight. I am in your corner- 

 

Win The Day- pja

 

*42.51 Seconds to Read. 

Monday, May 24, 2021

Lessons Learned

I was talking to one of my son’s baseball coaches recently. He teaches in a neighboring District. 

 

He was lamenting on what a challenging year it has been. He went onto say that usually, this time of year, he spends quite a bit of time reflecting on the past year. What worked? What did not work? How can he get better? However, this year…nothing. He said, “I just want the year to end.”

 

I am sure you can attest. His statement is spot on. The day to day is spent / and has been spent on survival. Not on growth. Not on reflection. And for the remaining 7 days of school, we have to keep grinding. 

 

What you may not realize now…but you have just led through the perhaps the most challenging times we have ever faced in education. Since March of 2020, it has been an onslaught of creative thinking, problem solving, conflict resolution, and remaining extremely flexible and adaptable. 

 

The lessons learned and won on the battlefield of your buildings, classrooms, and work space can never be taken from you. I know it’s hard to find any kind of victory lately…but take solace in this: you are better, stronger, smarter, and wiser than you were in March of 2020. 

 

My grandmother used to say ‘All sunshine makes a desert.’. Your leadership is a fertile field because of your day-to-day grind. Don’t ever lose sight of this. If this school year was a football game, I would say we just hit the 2 minute warning. Finish strong.

 

I’m in your corner. Get after it this week…and Win the Day- pja

 

56.83 seconds to read. 

Monday, May 17, 2021

Epitaph

You have heard me write about / talk about writing your own obituary. I fully subscribe to the notion of beginning with the end in mind. 

 

And, you know each year, as I have encouraged you to do so as well, I pick ‘1 Word’ for the year. 

 

So today…I am putting a bit of a different twist on things. I started reading a book over the weekend, Halftime. The first paragraph of the first chapter has had my head swimming. It reads: 

 

100X

 

“It means “100 Times.” I have taken it for myself from the parable of the sower in Matthew 13. I’m an Entrepreneur, and I want to be remembered as the seed that was planted in good soil and multiplied a hundredfold. It is how I wish to live. It is how I attempt to express my passions and my core commitments. It is how I envision my own legacy. I want to be a symbol of higher yield, in life and death. 

 

You can’t put your full obituary on your tombstone. But you can put ‘1 Word’ on there. Thus…what is your ‘1 Word’ you will live out? What is ‘1 Word” you will be intentional about truly making a statement over your life? 

 

Weighty. Yet so critical in separating the important from the essential. And, it really forces you to be intentional to begin with the end in mind. 

 

If inclined, and you have a word you settle upon, I would love to hear it. 

 

I’m in your corner. Get after it this week…and Win the Day. pja

 

40.32 seconds to read

 

Monday, May 10, 2021

GLS

Two things on my mind today. It dawned on me this morning…we have not been ‘together’ as a leadership team for quite some time. This weighs on me…as I think this is always a great opportunity for us to calibrate- and sharpen each other. And, as you know, the other thing lost in us not meeting- and I hope you are doing it on your own…journaling. If you need a replacement journal, let me know, I will get it to you. 😊

 

Also important: please hold AUG 5 & 6 for the Global Leadership Summit. It is back in person this year. I know some reading this have never attended. It is a tremendous leadership training over 2 days. It truly is a game changer…and sets the tone for the upcoming school year. As you may recall, the original mantra from GLS…and has stuck with me to this day: Everyone wins when the leader gets better.

 

Better every day. Beat yesterday. 

 

I’m in your corner. Get after it this week…and Win the Day- pja

 

31.07 Seconds to Read 

Monday, May 3, 2021

40 Years

As I was driving in this morning, I got lost in my thoughts (hard to believe, I know😊). Truth be told, I was thinking of retirement. I have long held I will work 40 years so I can get 100% of my pension. (And by and large, I believe I am fulfilling my life’s purpose…and I really enjoy being a Superintendent…although some days are harder than others😎)

 

So…I started breaking down the years. Which, oddly enough, I had never done before today. While I began teaching in 2000, officially in PA, 2001-02 was technically my first year. So, in order, to get 40 years, I have to work until 2041-42. That’s another 20+ years. Holy Smokes! 😊

 

Just when I had this point of feeling absolutely overwhelmed, I came back to reality. We are called to win today. Not tomorrow. Not the week. Just today. 

I know It’s been an overwhelming year for everyone. Win today. It’s the only thing we are promised. 

 

One of my favorite sayings the Navy Seals use during their training… I hope it gives you strength and fortitude for today:

 

The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday.” 

 

I’m in your corner. Get after it today…and Win the Day.- pja

 

*43.99 Seconds to Read 

 

**Maybe one of my all-time favorite scenes from any movie about ‘winning today’. (Rambo II)

Monday, April 26, 2021

Chicken Bouillon

As crazy as it sounds, one of my favorite leadership books of all-time is The Giving Tree. Inherently, I believe true leadership is about servant leadership. No better example of servant leadership than the Tree. 😊

 

As I thought about today’s message, I recalled perhaps one of my all-time favorite memories as a teacher. And I believe it directly relates to servant leadership. 

 

As you may recall, I began my teaching career in Norfolk, VA. To say it was a stressful year would be a gross understatement. 

 

One particular day, my frustration and irritation had reached a tipping point. 

 

One of my all-time favorite students, and from one of the poorest families I had ever known, sensed my dismay. She came up to me, and a held a closed fist in front of me. 

 

I asked her to show me what was in her hand. She opened her clenched fist to reveal two wrapped cubes. 

 

I asked, “Is that beef bouillon?”

 

She replied, “No, it’s chicken bouillon. And it’s very good. I think it may help you to have a better day.”**

 

She had nothing of worldly value to give to me. Yet out of her nothingness, she completely changed my day, my perspective, and my leadership worldview. 

 

You may think you have nothing left to give this year. Like the Tree. Like my student. You do. If nothing else, your presence is enough to make a difference. Show up…and serve. Your legacy is being built- moment by moment…and day by day. 

 

I am in your corner. Get after it…and Win the Day. Pja

 

*59.51 seconds to read. 

 

**I kept the chicken bouillon cubes in my desk drawer for years as a great reminder of her impact. Reluctantly, when the smell became too pungent for a learning environment, I had to discard them. 😊

Monday, April 19, 2021

Admiral Nimitz

 I read a great story over the weekend. I will have to shorten it to keep it under a minute…

 Shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt appointed Admiral Nimitz to take over the Pacific Fleet. One of the first things Nimitz did in his new role was fly to Hawaii to survey the damage. 

 

Death. Destruction. Despair. Nimitz remarked the mood of Pearl Harbor was as if the Japanese had already won the war. 

 

Admiral Nimitz took a boat tour- surveying the sunken battleships,  and destroyed navy vessels. As the boat made its return to the dock, the young helmsman asked Nimitz, “Well Admiral, what do think after seeing all this destruction?”

 

Nimitz’s response shocked everyone on board. He said, “The Japanese made 3 of the biggest mistakes an attack force could ever make.” He then went onto explain the mistakes and highlight the silver lining in the midst of all the carnage. 

 

As I reflected on this story…I was convicted of seeing more negativity than positivity and opportunities in light of recent events. The year has been tough. Yet, how much are we seeing the good – and the silver linings that are truly there…if you look with a discerning eye. 

 

It’s easy to see the problems. As leaders, we need to be more like Admiral Nimitz. Let’s look beyond the troubles- and see the opportunities…and spread hope and optimism. 

 

I’m in your corner. Get After It. And Win the Day- pja

 

*57.8 Seconds to Read

 

**If interested, I can share with you the 3 mistakes Nimitz said the Japanese made. Interesting.