Over the course of the next few weeks, I will be posting my thoughts about the following book:
The Truth about Leadership: The No-fads, Heart-of-the-Matter Facts You Need to Know
Here are my thoughts on the first truth- You make a difference.
I'll have to start by saying that I bite the bait on most motivational hooks. I've always been interested in cursive quotes coupled with motivational backgrounds. I don't turn away from upbeat speakers with charisma to envy. It would make sense that a book on bare bones leadership would catch my attention. So here we go!
The chapter starts out by sharing a story of a young environmentalist (a fourth grader)who by truly grassroots means, ultimately started national change. Her drive, self efficacy, and determination lead to tremendous progress for herself and others. She did this only because she truly believed in making a difference. She didn't focus on what she couldn't do, only on what she could do. I believe the message is as follows, it doesn't matter what you have, it matters what you believe and do, and that starts with believing in ourselves. That we do in fact matter and make a difference if we attempt to.
It's a shame that many of us often feel unimportant. That we are mere cogs in the machine. Our work is often overshadowed or underappreciated by those with outright narcissism. We lose track of the real impact we as teachers have because of the never ending hoops we race to jump through. I am guilty of this as well. I often feel like hitting the metaphorical "screw it" button after a difficult week. The difference between knowing that we do or don't matter, is knowing that our impact doesn't always come at the end of the week. It might not present itself when we need it. It comes unexpectedly, sometimes years afterwards. It's the story of the problem students who thank us years afterwards for our dedication. It's the lost memories to us, that some grip to with admiration. We do matter. You matter.
We don't need to focus on what's wrong right now. We need to focus on what's right, right now. If we start our days with a negative mindset and don't even believe in ourselves, why would anyone else? We don't need to be perfect. We don't even need to be the best. We only need to be our best selves.
My writing style might be yuppy and whimsical, but this book doesn't read like it. It is straight to the point, and doesn't attempt to motivate you. It just says it like it is, and that's what we need. I really enjoyed the segment where it talks about where leadership comes from. It isn't celebrities, CEOS, or anyone out of reach. Most likely it is someone directly above you who provides the most leadership. They are the ones who you interact with daily, and provide the most influence. So in this context, we do provide leadership and influence with students. We have tremendous influence.
So ask yourself, how do you see yourself? Do you value yourself? Do you believe you can make a difference?
You have the chance to make the world a better place as a result of what you do. What could be more rewarding than that?- pg 15
I am a Health and Physical Education Teacher at Byron High School in Byron, Minnesota.