Monday, March 27, 2023

Embrace the Suck

 My one brother, also a Superintendent, and I have run similar professional tracks. He became a Superintendent about 6 months ahead of me. I will never forget him saying this to me regarding the position: “It’s the most challenging of all the positions we have held. But I think you will like it best.” 

I have indeed enjoyed being a Superintendent more than any other position I have held. But, if I am being fully transparent, the past 3 years has taken a lot of the fun out of the position. 


I am sure you can attest. If we’re being honest, society itself has changed. And not for the better. 


Yet, if you spend some quiet reflecting, I would also contend the challenging times in your life have helped you to grow exponentially more than the easier times. 


Most of my pleasure reading is military history. In particular, the US Navy SEALS have really captured my attention. I find it fascinating to see the discipline, both mentally and physically, they exhibit to endure the arduous training they go through to become a SEAL. In fact, an often quoted and repeated mantra from SEAL Training is one of my all-time favorites: Embrace the Suck.


All sunshine makes a desert. As leaders, we forge ahead, embracing the suck- day by day- to hone our craft- and lead well. For our families. For our staff. For our kids. 


Let the day throw its toughest challenge at you. You will come out better and stronger for it. Embrace the Suck.


I’m in your corner. Win the Day- pja



59.12 Seconds to Read. 

Monday, February 27, 2023

Constructive Criticism

 I came across this quote a few weeks back from Dabo Swinney, Clemson University’s football coach- and thought it was worth sharing. 


“One of the best lessons I’ve learned is that you don’t worry about criticism from people that you wouldn’t seek advice from."


Take a moment to unpack this statement. Reflect on the most recent criticism you have received. Is this from a worthy, credible source…who you would otherwise seek input and advice from? If so, great. Learn and grow from it. If not, flush it and drive on. 


Equally important from this statement: who are you seeking input/ advice / mentoring from?


When you step into the arena to lead- no doubt, you will encounter those energy vampires who know nothing but negativity and cheap criticism. 


In any case: Lead. Know who you are. Know what your core values are. Know your why. And get after it. 

I am in your corner. Always. Have a great week- pja


Perhaps one of my all-time favorite leadership quotes- print it out and put it somewhere easily accessible:


“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” ~Teddy Roosevelt




42 Seconds to Read 

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.