Monday, January 30, 2023

Are You Listening?

 In the spirit of the Super Bowl- I wanted to share a quote from Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin. I have not always been his biggest fan…but there is tremendous wisdom in the following statement:


“I probably do have a talent for understanding people,” Tomlin said, “But is it a talent? It’s not. It’s listening when they’re talking. Coaches don’t listen. They wait for dudes’ mouths to stop moving. I sensed that as a player, and I hated it. I just try to be what I wanted leading me. When dudes are talking, I listen. I listen for real. I try to keep it real simple…”


I used to work for a Superintendent. Most times I found him pretty annoying. Quite often, when we would meet, he would interrupt me, tell me to just listen, and to stop thinking about what I was going to say next. It was probably super irritating because he was right. 🥴


As leaders, truly listening goes a long way in establishing a culture of trust, caring, and confidence. As you go through this week, pay particular attention to how well you are listening. 


And, if listening is a strong suit of yours…reflect on another nugget of wisdom in his statement: “I just try to be what I wanted leading me.” 


I hope you have a great week of leading and listening. I am in your corner. Get after it- pja


“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” ~Stephen R. Covey 


52 Seconds to Read. 

Monday, December 19, 2022

2 Questions to Ponder

 We have 11 days left in the year. As you know my penchant for journaling and reflection, I want to challenge you today with two questions to close out the year. 


I came across this article on Saturday. 22 Lessons Learned in 2022. To be quite honest, it humbled me. I would have to think long and hard for ‘a’ lesson learned in 2022…let alone 22. Am I not being observant enough? Am I not reflecting enough? Has my curiosity diminished? All questions that swirled through my head as I read the article.


How about for you. Can you name 22 things you have learned this year? If not, how many can you name? If none, how come? 


Lastly, the other question I have spent quite some time lamenting: as we close the year, and usher in a new one, What do you want to be different next year


I challenge you to really dig deep into this. Identify what you want to be different. Begin with the end in mind. Develop the plan. Then, get after it. 


I hope you have a great week before the break. Be intentional with your time. Beat yesterday. 


I am in your corner. Win the Day- pja


*47.27 Seconds to Read. 

Monday, November 28, 2022


 My youngest son can sometimes be a bit of an Eeyore. Yet, from an outsider perspective, most would agree he has a right to wallow. He has severe food allergies…and has battled this for his entire life. Most times he is a battler…yesterday, he was having a down day. 


Holidays can sometimes be a bit harder for him…he doesn’t get to enjoy the foods like we do. And, most times, he feels like an outcast as he watches what others eat and enjoy. 


As he was sharing his struggles with me- he was visibly upset. My advice back to him…as he told me how life isn’t fair: ‘Good.’


His reaction was probably like most of yours right now…he about exploded. “How could you say that to me dad?!”


I then showed him this video. Take the 1:04 to watch it. With the right mindset, it is a game changer. 


It didn’t solve all his problems. But it changed his frame of mind. And, he got up- and got after it. Like he always does. 


Today- Tomorrow- This week- things may not go your way. Life may not go your way. Good. Drive On. And get after it. 


Hope you have a great week – I’m always in your corner. Win the Day- pja



When things are going bad: Don't get all bummed out, don't get started, don't get frustrated. No. Just look at the issue and say: “Good.”



*Bonus Track: Prior to my interaction with David last night- I had intended to write to you about starting your New Year’s resolution on 01DEC rather than 01JAN. Everyone starts on 01JAN. You are a leader. Leaders set themselves apart. 


Time to Read: 59.54 Seconds.

Monday, October 31, 2022

The Turkey Trot

I was never much of a hunter. Nor was my dad. But we always went out. We hunted turkeys for years. Not only did we never see one in the woods, we never even heard them. After each unsuccessful hunt, my dad would tell me how brilliant turkeys are…one of the smartest wild animals he would say. 


I was getting out of my car last week at the ESC. Lo and behold, 4 turkeys literally walked about 10 feet from me. They then walked/ran/pranced around the parking lot. I just stood and watched them…wishing my dad was here to see them now. 


You could tell they were disoriented. They would start to run in a certain direction…only to be stunted, and try another direction. After each unsuccessful ‘run’ at freedom, a new leader would emerge. Even though they were all jakes, there was not an alpha male among them. 


If you take a look at the attached picture, it is a great depiction of the predicament they were in. No leader among them. And, none of the four had any idea which way to go. 


This is such a great reminder- and reinforcement of what we are called to be as leaders. Cast a vision. Know where you are heading. Walk in boldness and confidence…even when you face road blocks. 


And, perhaps most importantly- if you are leading, and no one is following, you are simply out for a walk. 


Be an eagle today. Not a turkey. Have a great week of leading and loving. I am in your corner- pja


Virtue is bold, and goodness never fearful.” ~William Shakespeare 


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Monday, September 26, 2022

Think Like a Leader

 So my last post was well over a year ago...but I am back. :) Here we go...

This past weekend, my brother shared this quote with me…and has really got me thinking- and, truth be told, humbled me. 

 Leaders think and talk about solutions. Followers think and talk about problems.”

 Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the things that are ‘wrong.’ Yet, as Leaders, we are called to a higher standard. The challenge starts with us, individually and collectively. If we change our mindset, focusing more on solutions rather than on problems, we step towards the best version of ourselves. 

And, as we chart our course this year on creating the type of culture and climate where everyone thrives, this quote lays a critical, foundational piece. Imagine a team committed to solutions rather than problems. 


Have a great week- Get after it- and Win the Day- pja

*32 Seconds to Read

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


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