Prestep: Before thinking about what you want to do in the new year, start with who you want to become…
I began listening to Craig Groeschel’s Leadership Podcast this year on my 30-minute drive to school. By far, it is my favorite “work” podcast, even more so than the school leadership podcasts I listen to. The advice Groeschel gives is simple, smart, and practical and the presentation of the podcast gives you deep, yet digestible bits of information with immediate opportunities for reflection and application.
Groeschel introduced the Six Steps to Your Best Year of Leadership in his leadership podcast in January as we entered into a new calendar year. For those of us in schools, this time of year is a great time to start thinking about planting seeds and developing roots for next year. When I begin thinking ahead to the next school year in February and March I get excited and energized. Pulling out this positive energy is sometimes difficult during these cold and dreary days when you are tired and just want spring to come. I find some future planning brings a little warmth and sunshine to my days.
Before he dives into his six steps, Groeschel encourages the listener to think about who he or she wants to become. To do this, I brainstormed all the traits I want to have a school leader. This became my “To Be” list.
Daily, instead of measuring the success of my day based on the completion of my “To do” list, I changed the focus to my “To Be” List. I start each morning going through my schedule and reflect on these traits as I envision my day. I set up my day for success by identifying how I want to show up for meetings and activities and thinking about what I need to do to show up like that. (I read or heard this idea somewhere and wish I could remember where so I could credit the source.)
At the end of the day, I reflect on how the day went, listing my wins and thinking about what I could have done to make things better. This simple shift in thinking has made me more present for people and has helped me focus on the people and tasks in front of me rather than worrying about the to-do list. It also has helped me focus better during my office work times when I am dedicating my attention and energy to the to-do list. It has also helped me react better when faced with stressful situations or when unexpected situations arise. This simple practice has been one of the most valuable rituals I have taken on this year.