I was passing out my Fundamentals of Engineering course syllabus to my very first class on my very first day teaching 17 years ago...
And I heard those simple, beautiful, magical words repeated throughout the room: Thank you.
As an educator, here's what I say to all my students, colleagues, and parents from over the years: Thank you.
Each and every chance we get to engage with another human being is a profound opportunity. Educators get this opportunity and privilege built-in to the job - and it's an enormous responsibility to cultivate healthy, supportive, and effective relationships.
And most educators are doing this with one hand tied behind their back.
Over the next couple weeks, I have the honor of facilitating conversations and trainings at a couple schools in preparation for the upcoming year. I’m moved and inspired - not only by the work that I get to do as a coach and a teacher myself, but also by the impactful roles that all adults get to play in school buildings this fall.
All the back-to-school meetings and trainings at schools around the country are focused on one thing: supporting teachers to produce the best results they can in the classroom.
To produce our best results, most of us share the default perspective that focuses on our behaviors.
Of course we take this perspective! It’s our behaviors - the things we do and the things we don’t do - that produce the results in our lives at home, at work, and everywhere in between.
This is the model we follow for any new results we want.
Want to lose weight? Change your behaviors.
Want to sleep better? Change your bedtime routine.
Want to find your future spouse? Get on a dating app and go on dates.
There’s nothing wrong with this model, but it’s not the most effective or long-lasting path to creating the results we’re committed to creating. Results are short-lived without an underlying change in who we know ourselves to be.
For individuals, this means changes in mindset.
We’re all playing important and valuable roles in the work we do. If we want to achieve our best results, a shift in mindset is the surest way there.
But there are two mindsets that we participate in at work: our individual mindset and our organizational mindset.
The overall mindset in a school or organization is experienced as culture. It's pretty easy to get a feel for an organization's culture - the energy of its people, the language used at the various levels, and the quality of the relationships.
By implementing changes that don’t address the underlying culture of a school or organization, initiatives and changes will have short-lived impacts.
As McKinsey and Company, a global management consulting firm, found: “failure to recognize and shift mindsets can stall the change efforts of an entire organization.”
They also found organizations that “identify and address pervasive mindsets at the outset are four times more likely to succeed in organizational-change efforts than are companies that overlook this stage.” (Quotes taken from The Outward Mindset by the Arbinger Institute.)
To be our best, managing our personal mindset and our organizational mindset (culture) is our surest way there.
Welcome to my work.
Thank you so much for engaging with my writing. 🙏❤️
P.S. As a transformational life coach, I help people move beyond their self-imposed limitations to be their best and feel great. If you’re interested in finding out how I can support you, reach out and let’s talk. 💌