It’s time to set new habits and routines. Summer bring about a warmer mindset that from colleagues as we work together to adapt work schedules and responsibilities as we take time off. Not taking time off? Please reconsider. Work will be there when you get back.
Slowing down our minds and allowing the opportunity for mental white space allows us to be our best selves at work and at home. Our work brains can become overrun with decision fatigue that in today’s culture we often counteract with a solid dopamine hit in checking social media feeds, messages, and emails. Creating the conditions for white space starts with scheduling, yes schedule that time and preplan how you are going to resist the urge to grab a device to scroll through whatever your metaphorical lizard brain is calling for.
As a society we have developed socially accepted habits that allow us to frequently repeat picking up our devices for a variety of reasons. Frequent repetition creates habits that result in automaticity and the dopamine response plays a powerful role in the choices we make.
Set some time aside each day that you can set boundaries around when the work pace picks up again. Give yourself permission to be the best you by taking this time. Think back to times when life felt balanced or you were “bored.” What were the conditions that allowed for that? Are there things from your teen years or your 20s that you really enjoyed that you’re now “too busy” to do. Think back to something that you have loved doing that has fallen out of your routine and add it back in.
Here are some ideas:
-Grab a book that is written for pure pleasure reading -Join an adult sport’s league -Go swimming -Get a group together on a weekly basis to watch a specific show or ballgame -Go for regular hikes or walks and explore the outdoors -Go bike riding for pleasure
Whatever you choose to do:
-Schedule it -Set boundaries around the time -Set a mental plan to counteract any distractors that may come up -Set a mental plan to not give in to the urge to check your device -Communicate what you’re doing
Habits and Routines – Let’s Create Some White Space
Summer is here bringing the season of warmth and longer days.
The first leadership habit that we need to master is self-care! Summer is a great time to get started and to reinforce habits that are already in place. Leaders who know how to take care of themselves know how to take care of others.
Feeling selfish at the thought of focusing on you? Taking care of yourself will give you the energy and mental space that will continue your success in being able to serve.
Wondering about how to set the boundaries with those habits, colleagues, bosses, friends, and family members that may veer you of course? They’ll adjust with you as you share your goals with and are consistent in your pursuit.
We’ll be spending some time on this blog in the coming weeks focused on committing and recommitting every day to the habits that help us avoid burnout and lead from where we serve.
“The mind is like a dangerous neighborhood. You should never go there alone,” shared Kate Berardo as she quoted one of her favorite authors, Anne Lamott.
Too often we go on journeys of self doubt and worst case scenarios in our minds that never come to fruition. They do, however, hold us back from being our best selves thus halting our ability to champion for others. As Tarana Burke shared in her Ted Talk, “Trauma halts possibility. Movement creates possibility.” The impact of physical and emotional trauma on society is significant. As such the impact of allowing the mind to travel unchecked can lead to the halting of possibility as well.
Travel with caution as you let your mind journey. Do not allow your mind to lead to unnecessary trauma. Do not allow it to halt possibility.
Share the journey of possibility, of doubt, of fear, of exploration and action with a trusted champion. Take a hold of what is possible. As you feed your own soul, you will find the space that allows you to champion others and nourish their souls as well.
Sometimes our fiercest champions say nothing. They are just there for us. -Kate Berardo.
Kate Berardo is an accomplished professional woman and Head of Leadership Development at Facebook. She shared her expertise at the “How to Champion for Others” workshop at TedWomen 2018.
I had the wonderful opportunity to attend ISTE18 in Chicago where forward-thinking educators and vendors come together to learn, network, dream, and reflect. The experience was an occasion to be surrounded by the innovative, those who are iterating on current practices and tools and those who are creating the completely new. The enhancements to personalized and interactive learning through virtual and augmented reality are noteworthy. The tools to develop early learning skills such as sequencing through basic coding applications for K-2 students are inspiring. The shift that has already happened in private industry and the systemic disconnect with pedagogical practices was astonishing.
There continues to be a draw to the “shiny.” We like app smashing. We like tools that save time. Yet, we struggle to connect these to creating knowledge among adult and child learners that shift us from consumers to creators of content that is relevant to building contemporary skills, fluency, and meaningful learning applications that align with what our students need to be successful in the workforce. There is a continuing struggle to simultaneously develop these skill sets as well as those necessary to perform well on the standardized tests our society values as a measure of a student and school’s success.
With that in mind, presentations by Carl Hooker and Brianna Hodges and Eric Curts were noteworthy for their focus on enhancing pedagogical practices, empowering struggling learners, and inviting educators into planning processes to both enhance and empower the student learning experience.
We have pockets of excellence with educators like Hodges, Hooker, and Curts happening in schools and different classrooms happening in schools and districts across the country. However, we struggle to create the conditions in which these practices become systemically ingrained across all of learning including the professional learning of educators. As the world continues to become increasingly automated, the necessity of preparing students with the foundation that prepares them for an automated world for behind the scenes careers focused on design, experience, personalization, and technical knowledge continues to grow as a moral imperative to society.
Heading to San Francisco via O’Hare, a series of events struck me that drove home the urgency there is to prepare our students for jobs in a largely automated world.
I checked in to my flight on the United App the evening before from an Uber ordered through the app while heading to Hamilton. I paid for my luggage on the same app in another Uber on my way to the airport the next morning. I weighed and printed out the sticker for my luggage at an automated kiosk, scanned my boarding pass from the app as I went through security and boarded the plane. Along the way, there were a lot of travelers, but my experience was largely automated and self-driven as well as very different from school environments.
Even refilling a water bottle and flushing the toilet was automated.
I came home to find that I had received a paper check in the mail. I opened the Chase Bank app on my phone and within moments, the check was deposited. I noticed we were low on some non-perishable items in the cupboards, opened the Amazon app and reordered the items with a few taps at a lower cost than our local stores and home delivery.
The implications of these experiences for student learning demonstrate the urgency to hire personnel who are adaptable, who stay connected to the contemporary and connect their own learning to private industry as well as education. It is imperative that all schools, regardless of size or location are provided with the expertise and funding levels that allow students and communities to experience the shift to modernization before it surprises them or they aren’t prepared to navigate and compete in a world with tools that require creativity and critical thinking skills to fully access what is becoming ubiquitous in some communities while remaining novel or unknown in others.
Not only will our students need the creativity and critical thinking skills to access the automated world, but they will need the critical thinking skills to design, communicate, and work collaboratively in a world that will require this of them to be successful, contributing members to society.
Our challenge as leaders grows to invite the politicians who make crucial decisions regarding funding and assessment of education success criteria into a shared understanding of what is needed to prepare this and the next generation of student to be successful in careers that will take them into the 22nd Century.
“Let my soul smile through my heart and my heart smile through my eyes…” Paramahansa Yogananda
Does what you’re doing feed your soul?
Spring brings reflection and opportunities for change, particularly in the field of education. College students wonder about changing majors, changing schools. Teachers and professors wonder if they are in the right place, right grade level, right subject matter, on the right team. Leaders wonder if they are in the right organization, are they leading their teams well, have they empowered others to be their best?
“When do you sleep?” “You look so happy.” “You must love what you do.” “Are you going to quit?” “I feel in limbo.” “Should I really change majors?” “I was told I could make more money…”
There is a dichotomy to these questions and statements every one of which I’ve heard this past week. Each question, each statement allows for the same responses, “What is it about what you’re doing that feeds your soul?”“What is that you think will feed your soul about the change you are considering?” “What does success look like and feel like to you?” Success is not defined by what others think and feel about your decision. Success is defined by how you feel and think about your decisions when you lay down to fall asleep at night.
Ask yourself, “What my feeds my soul?”
Do what energizes you. Do what makes you smile. Do that which makes you feel vibrant and causes others to ask and comment, “Do you sleep? You look so happy.”
Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through the experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambitioned inspired, and success achieved. Helen Keller