Power of Team

So, on this Sunday with the lead reverends out of town (well deserved vacation) and a super cold morning with sleet, I decided to not go to church…when the Mrs. came home, I asked what the Dear Me prompt was…her answer was, ‘nothing.’  I was shocked, and I asked her to text her mom, and she didn’t know either…hmm.  So, what am I supposed to write about…

Well, I decided to write about the power of team based on a successful meeting late Friday afternoon.  Now, anytime there is a meeting scheduled for 30 minutes before you leave for the weekend, it is either crazy or bad news.  In this case, it was neither.

I was asked by the CFO of my ISD to make recommendations for the 2018-2019 budget with small amounts of increases…he challenged me to make my recommendations without adding anything to the budget.  See, my number one strength finder is competition…my next couple relate to activation of others.  Ploy or not, it was on…oh by the way, a new backpack with the new logo was at stake also.

None of this sounds like team except for the fact that my staff and I spent all of last year up to current day creating a nerd board…a board of numbers for the district.  We even bought a new board for the qualitative piece of those numbers.  When I was given this expectation/challenge, I knew it was a moment to see if the team was ready to shine.  And oh how they did…we talked about and came to consensus on what the district needed.  We made recommendations for shuffling positions based on needs.  We looked at how it would impact our budget…for 2 weeks during free time (lunch).  Friday morning, I sat in my office and was nervous about the presentation…thank goodness I had meetings, or I might have gone crazy.

Come 330 it started…nerves only got worse when I had to deny a call from the superintendent…you don’t do that.

2 hours later, after shaking the hand of the CFO, my support texted how the meeting went…all I could say is, “we did it.”  The outcome is not as important as the fact that our team put in extra time that they don’t have to support a plan to help the department…we did it.  No matter what happened…our department is better because of that.

In the vein of the Dear me…younger me should learn quicker that when the team succeeds…you succeed.  I is a lonely thing…We is something that lives on.

Oh by the way…I got the backpack!



So, I am in the middle of the SuperBowl, and I am thinking about this weeks post/letter.  All of my posts have been about reflection…this week our church request for a letter was a punch to the gut…or in a better phrase…this S just got real.

We learned that we interact with people that there are a couple of options…treat people like people and be peaceful at heart or treat them like objects (not people) then our heart is at war.  If we want to be more peaceful, then we need to be more about the people than the objects…the best way to explain is when we call people by name…not an action or a word…

So, this week we were asked to write a letter to someone we are at war at (in our hearts) and finish with forgiveness.  My wife asked if I was going to post…and I am.

Dear Me,

I have be in a war of heart with Dr. David Fitts for 4 years.  See, you gave me an opportunity to be a SPED director for the first time.  For that, I am eternally grateful…Here is the twist and the lack of peace.  You left weeks after you hired me, and I was crushed and some of my friends were mad at you for leaving.  The crux of my war of heart with you…I am so sorry for this, and I (not that you need it) forgive you.  More importantly, I thank you for putting me on a trial that is pretty awesome.

Love me.

Now, I am going to start reading a book that this came from…The Anatomy of Peace…its a leadership book.

Assumed Success…turns out not!

So, this is an interesting week in terms of my reflection and blogging.  Today I am to write a letter to me about a time that I knew I was going to be right, but in the end…I was not and probably not even close.

Now, my wife might tell you there is a laundry list of these events…she might be true, but I am going to focus on a 2 year window where I expected to succeed (or be right), but failed miserably and how it changed my outlook…her we go.

Dear Me,

There was a time that I worked at the service center, and made a name for myself.  Peers thought I was pretty good at what I did, and I should look to move up.  I, of course, a man of infinite confidence thought, ‘of course I should, people would be happy to have me.’

(This was before I turned 40, so we can probably insert privileged for happy for my true feelings).

I got a dose of reality for the next 2 years…and it took me that long and a conversation with my boss at the time (she’s now retired and I love her dearly) to re-remind me that effort and pushing forward will lead to things you want professionally, not the things that you did in the past.  That was hard for me to hear after being turned down for 4 prominent SPED jobs and an internal promotion.  I was wrong, and I had to change my outlook on my potential and how to get there…my boss believed in me and said that if what I wanted was what I really wanted, then she would give me the opportunity to grow as much as I wanted.  6 months of pouting later, I took her up on that and it worked a few years down the road.

Love Me

The important point to this is that I needed someone else to talk to me about how growth is not earned when you say it is earned…it is earned when the time is right and when you put the work into it.  I easily (and almost did) could have put my head in the sand and stated that others missed out on me…my friend (boss) gave me a chance…and it proves to me and I think about this and try to impart on my staff that the work we do will make a difference…not always on our schedule…but it will make a difference.

PS – I am still wrong a lot…but I try to learn from the mistakes and not pout!

Control, Trust, and Letting Go

So, entry number three.  I was really concerned about what to write about from week to week, but my church is doing a ‘dear me series’, so I have lots to think about and reflect on based on what I learn about and what my reverends push me to reflect on.

This week I am to reflect on the need to control things (due to fear), trust in god (and my team), and letting go of the need for control in a specific instance.

What’s interesting is that I can not think of just one instance…I can only think of phases of personal and work life.  What is interesting is that my need to be in control is what has caused unneeded stress and anxiety…

Dear Me,

I feel the need to control everything all of the time.  I wonder why I am stressed and anxious all of the time.  So much so that I have gone to the  dr. 2 times ( in the last 2 years) thinking I was having a heart attack just to be told that nothing (other than weight) was wrong with me.

As I begin to realize that it is my need to be in control, I have been trying to see how much better life is when I trust the people around me and spirit of God.  I am still on the journey with God…that will take some time, but I am learning and understanding.  But I am starting to let go of the need to be in control.  It is amazing what we can accomplish when it is a we, and not just a me telling ‘you.’

My personal and work family do amazing things, and I am feeling much better about things because of the trust of those around me…don’t get me wrong, I am still a control freak, but I am trying to let as much go as I can now…and more later, and more later.

I am a work in progress, and it is sad that it took trips to the doctor, and a personal story about fear of flying to make me see a simple truth (I’m not even close).  Trust is 100% or 0%.

Love – Me

At the end of the day, I am learning just 3 weeks in that life lessons are all around us if you choose to listen, reflect, and take action.  I think I am starting to listen more.



So, entry 2, and it was a tough one for me to write this week…

While at church, the pastor asked us to write a letter about moments of community that are good and bad, and how we react to them…at least that is what I interpreted.  The beginning of the following letter is not about my current job situation…just to be clear…here we go.

Dr. Me

In a reflection of my most recent community experience I note that at times community can have good moments and push me to be better and bad moments where I freeze, react, and use my favorite response…escape.  By knowing this, maybe I can be a better person and leader.

I was given a first opportunity with the trust to build things the way I wanted…it took a while, but the community pushed me to be better and build great things…we did, and I was proud of us…more me but us.  Then, it all changed when a new regime came in and started to tell us what to do, not build with us.  My response was terrible…I withdrew, focused on my department, and quietly destroyed the we in team.  It got so bad that after being called into ‘the office’ 3x, I chose to blame the change as the problem, and not me.  So, I ran away…not a great leadership quality, but something I am glad I discovered.  It needed work before I dumped my career over pride.  It is amazing how quickly and closely related pride and fear can be.  I was so proud of us (me) that I didn’t realize that it was the we that built…and I was afraid that it would be taken away from me.

Who know what would have happened…I ran remember.  I went to a dark place where I lost peers and friends.

It effected me my first year in my new job until I let go, stepped back, and let my new  community support and push me to be more than I believed I can be.  Now, we is about us…I stand back and congratulate the community, and amazingly, I am happy, not afraid, and pushing myself to be a better person (thanks my church community) and a better leader (thanks my work community).

Love – Self (required by pastor)

This letter was written to help me understand how community is, can be, and effects me.  When I sat to write this, I am reminded why I started this…to be a better reflector.  It just so happens that my pastors are giving me the unknowing nudge with assignments, and I appreciate that.

So, if you are reading…can you think of a time/community that had its ups and downs, and how you reacted…if so, think, write, respond…

Life is Rogue starts today!

Hi, I decided as a New Years resolution to reflect more, and put myself out there a bit more that just liking and re-tweeting.

I want tie things we learn to education…and life. This is no way anyone’s opinion but my own, and I hope for responses as I want to become a better reflector.

So, I will add links and stuff as we go, but I️ am going to start simple…here we go!

I didn’t know what I wanted to write about until I went to church today, and it relates to Life is Rogue…

Our reverend talk about epiphany, and told a different story than the typical story of the 3 wise men. She talked about how Paul had a huge life change from going after Christians to support and spreading the word of Christianity and god. She believes the letters are like a letter to young Paul about how he may have done things different know what he knew then (now).

Her homework was for us to reflect and tell the younger us what we would tell ourselves then from what we know now.

Personally, I would tell myself to relax more…I get worked up over everything, and it creates too much anxiety in my life. I would also tell my younger self that I need to spend more time with my kids. I have one going to colleges, and I now do what I can to spend more time with them because time doesn’t stop.

Professionally, I would and continue to tell myself to take a step back and enjoy some accomplishments that the team has done. I am always on to the next thing, and I find that I don’t enjoy the progress.

With that in mind, Curriculum moves so fast that day to day to day we tend to forget the progress that our developing kids are making…even the small increment of the students with the most severe issues. Student with and without IEPs celebrate, but typically celebrate at the end of the year or a major milestone is made. I am not saying that every ounce of progress needs a parade, but I am saying that with a little reinforcement, positive momentum and life changing moments can occur from the smallest accomplishment.

So, celebrate the good! Don’t just focus on the next thing so much…as a 45 year old I would tell the younger Rogue if you did that my memories would be filled with better moments.