Monday, January 25, 2021

All In For Today

 So I heard a story last week  – and it has really captured my attention. And, for the past week, has really resonated with me and focused my attention. 


The speaker was talking about one of the most dynamic people he knows. We will call him ‘Francis’. Francis is a successful businessman. And in his free time, he has established a practice in Africa where he works to free people from human trafficking. In the course of sharing the story about Francis, he said this: Francis begins every day with this mantra (and, he seems to really believe it). 


“Today is going to be the best day of my life.” 


Let that sink in for a bit. Imagine the difference you would/could make…if every day, the first words out of your mouth- or thought in your mind is “Today is going to be the best day of my life.”  And truly believe it. 


Identify those things in life that make you come alive. Then, get after it. Make today the best day of your life. 


Have a great week of getting after it. I’m in your corner. Win the day~ pja


Make each day a masterpiece. Don’t think your best days are out there somewhere. WHY NOT TODAY? Why can’t today be a great day? It can if you believe it will.” ~Coach John Wooden 


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Monday, January 11, 2021

"Well...Back to Work."

I read an interesting statement the other day. I am sure many of you know who Elon Musk is…he was recently named the richest man in the world, surpassing Jeff Bezos of Amazon. When asked to comment on this feat, he said, “How strange…well, back to work.” 


I had a mentor who once told me the key to leadership- and to being a great Superintendent, is to go win the trust of your people, EVERY DAY.


Growth mindset. Growing as a leader. Each and every day, we have to go out, and win the day. We win the day by not resting on our laurels- no one cares about what we did or accomplished yesterday…rather, we win by ‘getting back to work’…and pursing each day with excellence.


Get after it. Win the Day. I’m in Your Corner. Take care- pja


When you do the common things in an uncommon way, you’ll command the attention of the world.” ~George Washington Carver


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Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Coach Tomlin

 Like many of you, as an avid football fan, I can be quick to be critical of the coach- and call for his ousting multiple times a year. Yet, maybe it is maturity- or appreciating leadership the older I get…but I have come to really respect Coach Tomlin (Head Coach of the Steelers) and his leadership prowess. 


For those non-Steeler fans out there…Coach Tomlin is known for his leadership quips. One that I have enjoyed the most…especially this past year, is ‘We don’t live in our fears.” Some don’t make any sense to me…like ‘There is a fine line between making wine and squashing grapes.’ (Perhaps there is a simple explanation for it…And I’m just not bright enough to understand. Highly plausible). 


One he said the other day really stood out to me- ‘Make Today Great’. I took it as, rather than be a passive recipient for the events of the day- and accept them as they come…you, as a leader, GO and make it a great day. 


What is in your power that you can control that will make it a great day? Spend some time thinking about those things in your life…that at the end of the day, when you lay your head on your pillow, you can say, in pure Ice Cube fashion, “Today was a good day.” 😊


Get after it today. Make it a great day. Win the Day- I’m in your corner- pja


Make each day your masterpiece.”- The Wizard of Westwood. 


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Are You Alive?

I read an article over the weekend about a 59 year old heart doctor. This guy has made a name for himself as the only person in the world to do back-to-back Ironman Triathlons in the same day. He has done this 4 times in his life. 


In case you were wondering or unaware:


An Ironman Triathlon is:

-a 2.4 mile swim

-a 112 mile bike ride

-a 26.2 mile run.


X2. In one day. 


While it is a beyond physically daunting challenge, he said the battle is won…or lost in his mind. He said he believes he has mastered the art of ‘talking to himself.’ Too often, we listen to ourselves rather than talk to ourselves. We listen to…our doubts. Our fears. Our limitations. However, he has learned to speak life and truth into the negativity so easily capable of pulling us down…and sending us into a downward spiral. 


No doubt stress is mounting for you. No doubt you will be met with a thousand energy vampires manifested in a number of ways. How are you going to respond? By listening to the lies of cynicism and pessimism? Or, by doing battle, and speaking truth and life over yourself? 


Win the day. I’m in your corner. Take care- pja


“The thoughts in your mind will always be more important than the things in your life. Choose happiness.” 

~John Maxwell


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The Present

 The window of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas – and the run up to the New Year always gets me to thinking about and reflecting upon what ‘1 Word’ I will choose for the New Year. 


Lately, this is what has been gnawing at me (it actually has been a multi-year gnaw😊): When I go to sleep at night, what exactly did I accomplish with the day


All of our time is finite. We are not promised tomorrow. Our only assurance is the present day. 


So the adage goes…begin with the end in mind. But for today’s post, simply think of the ‘end’ as the end of the day. 


When you bed down tonight, what will make it a productive-successful-impactful day? Determine those priorities- then, get after it.


Win the Day. I’m in your corner- take care-pja



The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”

~Stephen Covey



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I know this year has been a year like no other. You have been called upon to do more than you ever have- your leadership skills are truly being forged by fire. 


So this morning, I wanted to share two statements from the US Navy Seals that I think will provide some encouragement for you as you (hopefully) have an opportunity to step back, reflect, and recharge. 


As we have journeyed since March- each day seems to bring its own set of unique challenges and hurdles. In Navy Seal training, in order to drive on from yesterday and embrace the new challenges of the day, the mantra is “The Only Easy Day was Yesterday.” So it is with us…we embrace the new day- accept the new challenges before us- and know the day will be hard but we drive on anyway. 


And, in Navy Seal Training- knowing it will stretch them like nothing they have experienced before, another mantra they hold tight to is “Embrace the Suck.” Longing for easy days makes us weak and soft. Our leadership team has risen to the challenge because we have ‘embraced the suck’. We have held passionately strong to a growth mind set through the many trials we have adventured through. Adversity is the seedbed of growth. 


In closing, I cannot begin to express my gratitude for each and every one of you. I could walk around with each of you- and thank you on the hour every hour and it would not adequately express how thankful I am for you- and what you mean to our team. In the true spirit of Thanksgiving- thank you. You are leaving a lasting impact. 


Hope you have a great Thanksgiving- take care- pja


“Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.”

~Theodore Roosevelt. 


*53.02 seconds. 


Blind Spots

I was all set to talk with you this morning about a Maxwell Podcast I listened to last week. The highlight: Love your people; Lead your people. And Lift your people. 


Then I had a dream last night. And in that dream, a para-professional and I were having a conversation here in the District. And she says, I know what you are terrible at


I said, “What’s that?”


She said, “You do a terrible job of hiding your irritation. When you are irritated, everyone knows it.” 


I have been thinking about this dream quite a bit this morning. Maybe because it is a Board Meeting day. But in all actuality, it is true. I suppose it is a blind spot I have. And an area I know I need to work on. 


We all have blind spots. If you can open those communication lines to those around you- to better understand your grow areas, and allow yourself the vulnerability to admit your grow areas…you will become that much of a better leader. Admitting weakness is not easy but critical for us to grow individually and as a team. 


I hope you grow today. I’m in your corner. Fight the good fight- pja


What happens when people open their hearts? They get better.

~Haruki Murakami


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Mental Fitness

 I have mentioned my oldest brother often times to you- he is a tremendous learning resource for me. Currently, he is in charge of Command Strike Group 3- he oversees about 10K sailors and Marines. 


He said one of the greatest challenges they are facing – from a personnel front- is suicide ideation. As we have talked about ways they are combatting it, he has spoken quite about on the ‘mental fitness’ route they are exploring. 


Recently, he met with a ‘Mental Fitness’ coach. The coach explained that one of the biggest ways to sharpen you mental fitness is to gauge your ‘Present-ness”. As you go through your day- with various meetings-interactions, etc. how ‘present’ are you


He said he has gotten into a routine of assessing how present he was after each meeting he has- and when he is talking with someone, how engaged he was in the conversation. 


I live my life in a perpetual state of distraction. BUT I know I could exponentially grow by being more present- and I am anxious to find out what it would do for my own personal ‘Mental Fitness’. 


How about you; how present are you? Are you fully where your feet are? What steps could you take this week to be more present? Not just at work- but home life as well? 


Get after it today. I am in your corner- take care- pja


If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” 

~Amit Ray



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The Gladiator

 I came across this quote this week…spoken over 2000 years ago by Marcus Aurelius: “Your mind will take the shape of what you frequently hold in thought.”


When I was in Elementary School, Jeff Kellner, the Principal, in a desperate attempt to keep us from watching ‘R’ rated movies would often repeat, “Smut -in- smut – out. Garbage in. Garbage out.” 


So it is with you- as you go about the week, there are enough competing voices to bring you down. What are you filling your mind with to combat the energy vampires? We all know energy suckers are aplenty…how can you flip the script to fill your mind with only those things that are going to give you energy? 


Emotional intelligence. Recognize those things that give you life. And those that drain you. 


Get after it- I’m in your corner- take care- pja


“If you haven’t read hundreds of books, you are functionally illiterate, and you will be incompetent, because your personal experiences alone aren’t broad enough to sustain you.”

~General James Mattis 


*40.43 seconds.

A Minute of Monday Morning Motivation


First and foremost, my apologies for being gone for so long. I would love to come up with a great excuse. It would serve no purpose. I need to be better. And I will be...

I started something about a 6 weeks ago with our Leadership Team. Every Monday morning, I send a short piece of wisdom, motivation, and encouragement. In the midst of craziness and the whirlwind of life, I vowed to keep the 'read' under a minute. 

I will share the past entries...and, moving forward, will post each Monday what I write. 

As always, thank you for visiting the site. Any feedback is greatly appreciated! 

Keep leading. Keep learning. Win the Day- pja