The Reflection Pool


My #oneword post for 2016 is here, just before the end of January, which I’m rationalizing as being better late than never. My 2015 #oneword was change, and it seemed to influence what actually happened in my professional life.  I experienced many changes including new colleagues on our senior team and new trustees to work with. The year culminated in a new district structure for school support and leadership capacity building and 12 new schools to work with. These exciting changes full of potential have led to think about a very different word for 2016. I hope it influences my life as much as the word change did.

IMG_0018Wayne Joudrie, a connector and leader, recently shared the book essentialism: The disciplined pursuit of less by Greg McKeown. It has inspired my #oneword for this year: ESSENTIAL.

I’ve always believed that we as a western society and by extension, me, do way too much. Whether it’s in our personal or professional lives, it’s a badge of honour to be super busy (see Dean Shareski’s great post on this), to not get enough sleep or to be behind on emails. Some people I know seem to take pleasure in telling others how many emails they get in a day. I have to be honest, this doesn’t seem right to me. We need time to think, to reflect, to breathe, to sleep.

Then there are the initiatives. This might have become a dirty word for some. In education, we see a lot of top down initiatives in all areas. Ask any teacher, principal or superintendent and they’ll shake their head knowingly, maybe roll their eyes, and rhyme off the various initiatives that have come down in the last few years. To be fair, every year people admit and agree that maybe we’re trying to do too much and be everything to everybody, but then the flood waters rise and wash back over us.

So I want to figure out what’s essential. I want to know what’s more important than anything else and focus on that. And I want to say “no” gracefully and courageously.

Do you know what’s essential for you?