25. March 2013 · Comments Off on Living in Possibility: Ask a Simple Question · Categories: Leadership

Living in possibility is a worldview that allows me to see the many open doors that lay before me. The doors are open, and my eyes, ears, and heart must be open to see what possibilities exist. I also must be ready to walk through that door, continually examining my assumptions and attitudes, honing my skills, challenging my beliefs, and clarifying my values to support my readiness. I’ve learned that shifting from a deficit perspective to an assets-based approach is key to living within a world of possibility. This does not mean that I live in a dream world, but as Stephen Covey says in SMART Trust, I analyze the environment, extend trust–SMART trust–and with open eyes build on assets to address concerns with issues that are preventing me…and others…from moving forward. Setting goals, identifying evidence and criteria for meeting those goals, considering strategies and the skills needed to reach my goals, then getting to work with a laser focus, determination, and resiliency moves me from the status quo to where I want to be.

My son, Scott, once told me to ask this simple question: “Does this action move me closer to my goal?” This simple, yet powerful question, guides my behavior and actions, and gives me pause before making decisions that may be helpful or not in reaching my goals.

To always be a learner is key. This makes me think of a golden opportunity that we, as educators, have available at no cost except possibly a bit of humility and vulnerability: ask our students what’s important to them, what’s working, what’s not working, and why. Student Voice, accessed through the many forms of technology students use today, is that golden nugget that can make such a difference in how we serve, teach, and reach our students. Through our students’ voices, we can know what’s working, what’s not, and why, while accelerating movement towards our goal of reaching and serving ALL students resulting in their achievement at the highest levels. The implications are huge…saved for another day…some of which are challenging beliefs about achievement, shifting worldviews from deficit-thinking to assets-based thinking, examining and rethinking grading and evaluation policies, embracing a shared responsibility for student AND collegial success, and doing whatever it takes to bring equity to the forefront of the conversation. As Margaret Wheatley says, it’s all about having a laser-focused shared identity, building trusting and collaborative relationships, embracing two-way communication, and ensuring transparency and access to information. Remember: always be a humble learner with an open heart, and ask a simple question: Does this action move me closer to my goal?

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