The Reflection Pool

#oneword 2020 WRITE

Choosing one word for the year begins with a promise. It’s a way to tell myself where to focus, how to spend my time, and what to accomplish. Using one word distills the essence of my wants and wishes.

I’m looking towards my next chapter. In a few years, I’ll be leaving my current job to move on to something new. I envy those who know what they want to do next, who have plans, who see the future clearly. I don’t. What I do know is that I need to do something meaningful, interesting, and satisfying. I’ve struggled to settle on what that might be. A different job? A focus in another sector? A new business? A non profit?

Photo Credit: mbiebusch via Compfight cc

Enter my #oneword 2020. It scares me to put this word down. All my previous #onewords (Grace, Explore, Action) have been easy. Those words implied some thinking and reflection, some small steps, and an overall gathering of direction. They didn’t scare me.

“Write” means I have to take this seriously. I’m signalling to the world and to myself that I want to be a writer. It’s true that I write in this space and for my job, and I’ve even started a semi-regular family update, but I want more. This is an entirely new feeling for me as I’ve never seriously considered that I could be a writer.

I spoke with a friend who’s a published author about this new direction. I was picking his brain about his writing process and he asked me some questions too. I mentioned that I’d been doing some reading about writing and he gave me a look. “What?’ I said.

“You could spend a lot of time asking, reading, and thinking about writing. That will lead to analysis paralysis.” His message was clear.

He’s right.

My #oneword for 2020 is WRITE. Here I go.

#oneword 2019 – ACTION!

Ta da! The curtain is up on my #oneword for this year.

Created by Wordswag

I’m excited because it’s taken me a while. I discarded two or three potential words after letting them roll around – they just didn’t seem to fit. In past years, I found my #oneword easily. Things are changing though, and that’s good.

Why ACTION?  It’s a combination of reasons. First, I tend to be a thinker (some might say an overthinker). I can get lost in my own reflections and wondering. I’ve been doing that for a while when it comes to my career and my life. Last year, my #oneword was “Explore” and most of that was about thinking. The time has come for me to do something.

I’ve been reading Becoming by Michelle Obama . She is inspiring me to action as well. Her thoughtful reflections through the lens of her, frankly, incredible experience and power as a woman are about accepting and doing what’s right, even when it’s hard.

Another influence is a critical friend who patiently listened to me as I spoke – with maybe a bit of whining too – about where I want to go next. He carefully pointed out that opportunities don’t just happen or come walking by – you have to go out and make them.

So there – ACTION. I need to ruminate less, act more, and to make the most of the times I have to create my own opportunity.

 

See other #oneword posts: 2018, 2017, 2016

Four Ways to Extend My Digital Leadership

Digital spaces beckon me. I enjoy quickly scanning my Twitter feed for interesting tidbits. I’ve loved reading about Ontario educators’ #oneword in the Google+ community.  I blog here. Still, I wonder what more I need to do as a leader.  Jennifer Casa-Todd, digital educator, challenged the audience recently with a thought provoking question at a keynote address in our district. She asked, “How do you exemplify digital leadership?”

Leadership is the exercise of influence. It’s not about telling others what to do (much as some may dream of snapping their fingers and making it so), but rather building a culture where others take on new challenges, work to be their very best and openly share what they’ve learned.

Influencing the use of digital tools is a challenge for me, however. While I use those tools with relative ease to communicate, create and share, others do not feel comfortable doing so. So I’m not sure it’s about being an exemplar. When we exemplify something, we show how it can be done at its best. That’s important, but this kind of modelling only goes so far. Having a great model can inspire. It can also demotivate or even paralyze.

So I’m thinking more about how to extend my digital leadership to influence a culture where people may be willing to try.

  1. Using the digital spaces in our organization.  Be present in the platforms that are provided. I know what they are and how they work. Am I using them to their full advantage?
  2. Interacting on Twitter.  Retweeting. Commenting on tweets. Replying. Liking. Connecting with others.
  3. Sharing links and articles.  If it resonates, I share. If it made me think, I share. If I don’t completely agree, I share.
  4. Share the thinking in my blog.  This one is more difficult for me.  I’ve been leery of pushing myself forward, but why not? I welcome conversations about what I write here. Transparency may help others to be admit what they don’t know.

I feel comfortable in digital spaces. Can I help others feel the same way?