You are Amazing (no, really!)


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You're listening to School Leadership Reimagined episode number 131

Welcome to the school leadership re-imagined podcast where we rethink what's possible to transform your school if you're tired of settling for small wins and incremental improvement, then stay tuned to discover powerful and practical strategies for getting every teacher in your school moving towards excellence. Now here's your host, Robyn Jackson.

Hey Builders,

Welcome to another episode of the school leadership reimagined podcast. I'm your host, Robyn Jackson. And today is Wednesday, November 24. And tomorrow is Thanksgiving if you're listening in the US. And so even though we want to continue with our vs series, and we will next time, I do want to just take some time out to just say thank you. I know how busy you are. And this year is probably especially hectic. I mean, let's think about all the things that you're facing right now. You are coming back after a pandemic and trying to return your school to some sense of normalcy only things aren't normal at all. Right now you are dealing with all kinds of issues, you're dealing with teacher overwhelm, and a lot of your teachers are kind of go strong to the breaking point because they're working hard to try to serve their kids.

The rules have changed since they were last in the classroom, things are different. 

Now, you have a lot more students who are exhibiting SEL issues. So they're struggling to make the adjustment. And even the ones who aren't experiencing major SEL issues are still struggling to make the adjustment. Because when you think about it, if you had a child who started kindergarten in the pandemic, they've never really been in school, and they're now second graders, you have children who who are in high school, who didn't even get to finish Middle School. And so they're trying to navigate something that feels so unfamiliar and so scary. And you're trying to help your students do that many of you have a lot more on your plates than in years past, you are now having to do pro COVID protocols. And you are often a glorified substitute teacher, some days where you don't get a chance to do anything that you want to do. Because you have too many teachers out and you can't find subs, you're still trying to move your schools forward, you're still trying to make a difference. But you're just exhausted, you're exhausted and you're squeezed in the middle, right. So all of the teachers are coming to you with their complaints and their mounting. And then the parents are coming at you from all these different directions, because they each have their own agenda about what they need. Or you're also dealing with people who aren't even parents who may not even be in your school district vote who are coming in, and who are raising issues around race or raising issues around mask and turning what you do in your schools to this whole political conundrum. And then you're being squeezed from the district level, the district is saying, We got to get these things done, you have to get these things done, you feel like you've got more district requirements than ever, you even feel like sometimes the district is coming at you with a lot of things that they want done at the last minute.

Some of the things they want done feel like they're taking you away from the work that you really want to do. And I believe that they're still the very real day to day work. Many of you are trying to figure out your first semester evaluations and, and trying to get those write ups done. And for some of you, you'll take Thursday off, because if you're in the US, you're celebrating Thanksgiving on Thursday, but Friday, when everybody else is hitting those Black Friday sales, you're going to be holed up somewhere trying to catch up on all the stuff that you just haven't had time to do. So even when you take some time off, you're going to be spending that time working. Some of you feel like you're just barely keeping your head above water. And you've committed to being a builder. That's why you're here. That's why you listen to this podcast. You hear these ideas on the podcast and and you feel like you know what, I want to do that I want to be a builder, but you just can't find the time to do it or, or the energy to do it or you don't know where to get started. And it feels like you're by yourself and even when you go back and talk to other people in your district about some of the ideas that you're hearing on this podcast. People tell That's cute, that's idealistic, or they look at you like Have you've lost your mind, when in fact, you found it, you know that there is a right way to go, you know, now what you need to be doing, you feel it in your heart, you're a builder. But this year, you feel like you're failing and even being a builder, because there just doesn't feel like there's enough time or enough space or enough opportunity to really build.

I want you to know that if nobody else hears you, or gets it, I do. 

I've talked to you inside of builder, ship University, those of you who are part of that university, you've come to the Ask Me Anything sessions, you, you've watched some of these very problems and challenges to those sessions. And we figured them out together. I've seen some of the things that you're posting online, I've heard you in conversations, when I'm working with you, in your schools, you've written to me about these things. And I just want to take a moment. And there's no new strategy today on this podcast. Instead, I just want to take a moment and just acknowledge where you are. And then I want to encourage you, because as hard as it's been this school year, just because you have decided that you want to be a builder, you've made a huge and tremendous leap. People who are are still stuck in leadership, a lot of them are asleep, and they are sleepwalking through the school year, it's not that they don't care. It's not that they're, they are not working really hard. It's not that they don't want to make a difference. But the roles of school have changed. And they don't realize it yet, they're still trying to use those same old strategies, the same old approaches for a very new problem. So just by recognizing that Leadership isn't working, just by deciding to be a builder, you have already stepped away from everybody else that stepped ahead of everybody else, you are already positioned to see even greater gains for your school just because you're looking at it differently. So if you don't feel like you've made any other accomplishments so far this school year, know this, by seeing things that other people are not seeing yet, you already have taken a big step. Now, can I challenge you to take an even greater one. Don't put it off. Don't wait until the circumstances are perfect.

You need to be building right now you need to be building now more than ever. And if you feel like you are because of the pressure falling back into leadership, because it just, it feels easy, it feels familiar. I really want to encourage you to not do that to resist that temptation. Because if you can, when you're feeling stressed, take a step and step back and look at things and think, Okay, how would I approach this as a builder. If you just did that, even if you don't know the exact steps you might take to do that just by listening to this podcast just by interacting inside a builder ship University. Those of you who have been to builders lab, pull out that manual look at those tools. Again, just by by this exposure, you have started to look at things differently, you're seeing things that other people don't see. Don't waste that. So when you feel stressed when you feel overwhelmed, if you can pull yourself out of the immediacy of the urgency of that moment, it's not even hard to see the panic of that moment. And instead take a step back and say, How can I think about this as a builder, you're going to see solutions other people just don't see you're you're going to see possibilities where everybody else still sees problems. And you're going to come up with solutions, not tactics, not quick fixes, not BandAids, real solutions. 

You're going to have more of a sense of purpose. 

When everybody else is panicking, you're going to feel calm. When when when all of your colleagues are griping about the latest demand from the district, you've already figured out how to take that district demand that that everybody feels it's just going to cut them off at the knees. And instead you're going to take that demand and leverage it so that your school is better off from having that demand than they would have been if they didn't have the demand in the first place. When when your colleagues are are talking about how they need to get rid of teachers, you are going to be thinking about how much progress your teachers have made and and what you need to do next to take the worst teacher in your building and turn even that teacher into a teacher that's being more and more effective and growing that teacher until that teacher becomes a master teacher. When your colleagues are are stressed out because they have to get all of their observation write ups and you know that because you've been inside of builder ship University, you've taken the feedback Fast Track course. You have all your stuff done. You have You're set system set up so that those write ups are not only easier, but they're more meaningful. When the rest of your colleagues are, are exhausted and working nights and weekends, you've put boundaries around your time, and you've learned to be more effective in your work. And as a result of being more effective, you now have time that you didn't have before, because you're looking at things like a builder, when your colleagues are, are pulling the next trick or strategy and, and and it's a third one that they've done for the school year. And they're they're saying, hey, you know, I've got this new thing, I went to this conference, I read this new book, you know that while those things are sexy, they're not always smart. And so you can resist the urge to grab on to the latest and greatest, and stick with what is actually working. And the end of the year, when your colleagues are looking at their numbers, and they're celebrating because they hit a 5% goal, or they're feeling horrible, because it couldn't hit the 5% goal. You're looking at yours, your your scores, your mouth is open, because not only did you not hit the 5% goal, you didn't hit the 10% goal either. You saw 15 20% gain, and you can't believe it.

There it is, while your colleagues are, are battling with resistance staff members, because you understand well in skill, you're overcoming that resistance and your staff is becoming more united while your colleagues are chasing every squirrel in front of them. And so exhausted from doing so you have a vision, mission and core values that operate as your North Star, well, while your colleagues are, are starting to think maybe I don't want to be a principal anymore. You're so excited about the work that you're doing in your school, you can't wait for next year, while your colleagues are just trying to, you know, drag their school across the finish line, you've got more and more people in your school who are excited about this work, and they are starting to push the work forward. So you're not the only one who believes in anymore, you're not the only one driving the work, they're driving the work. While your colleagues are having all these skirmishes and fights, you have an aligned staff while your colleagues are, are so focused on getting the paperwork done, you have systems in place to make that paperwork easier so that you can focus on what is really important. Just by making the decision to start seeing your work through the lens of a builder separates you putt sets you apart from everybody else and helps you do work that really matters. I often say in Bisitorship university, that we are a tribe of weirdos.

Buildership makes you a little weird. 

Everybody else is stressed out you, you feel some stress, but you're not stressed out. Because you're taking that stress, you're looking at it through the lens of a builder and you're figuring it out. And you're finding ways to deal with the same stressors that other people are dealing with. And those stressors you are leveraging to make your school better. Makes you kind of a weirdo. When when everybody is is working the program and at focusing on work, that doesn't really matter. You're often ignoring that work and doing work that other people haven't even thought of yet. That makes you a bit of a weirdo. So sometimes it can get a little lonely. Sometimes you're the only person in your school or your district who can see inside the matrix who who who can you think differently than other people. So sometimes it makes you a little bit lonely. Sometimes people don't really get you or get what you're trying to do. And so making a decision to be a builder, making a decision to be a bit of a weirdo is certainly brave. You could stay with the herd, you can still continue to have that herd mentality. And this is no shade to people who are still stuck in leadership. I mean, we were trained that those were the strategies that worked. That's what we were told. But you've started challenging that status quo, you started saying, What if there's something different and that means you stepped away from everybody else. And you stepped ahead of everybody else. And I just want you to know if nobody else recognizes how brave and important that decision is, I want you to know that I see it. And I'm grateful. I'm so grateful that you trust me every week to talk to you about builder ship, you are busy, you have other things. And so the fact that you set aside time each week to listen to this podcast does not go unnoticed. The fact that that you are taking the risk of trying something that other people aren't thinking about or talking about and you're taking the risk to do it. I just want you to know doesn't go on recognize I see you every single week, my job is to make sure that you succeed. That's the way I see my work.

I want to make sure that you succeed. And so, Thanksgiving, I just thought I get a little mushy and tell you how much I appreciate you how much your work really matters. When you step out of leadership and into build a ship you, you're stepping into a world that's different, and other people won't get it. But I want you to know, I get it. And I'm rooting for you. I want you to be successful. And so the Thanksgiving, I just want you to know how grateful I am for you. And also want you to know that we are doing more and more and more to do to set you up for success. So at the very least, you're ready to listen to this podcast, go to Buildership University COM And sign up, just get a free membership. And start taking advantage of that and start plugging into that community of other builders from all over the world who are on the journey with you so that you don't have to do this by yourself. If you want even more targeted support, upgrade your membership to BU Insiders and you and I can get together every other week and hang out and talk about your challenges. And I can coach you around your challenges. And I can also you know we customize training right now inside of Buildership University insiders, we are doing a two day sprint where we are looking at how we can simplify some of the systems in our schools. And we're doing something really cool called system mapping. And we're going to be doing that together. 

So when you're doing this work, you don't have to do by yourself.

You can go ahead and join us in BU Insiders. And if you are just starting out and you just like I just need to get started. With I don't Those all sound great. But I believe in builders should but I want to get started, I want help getting set up, then we have a three day intensive called builders lab that will do just that if you if you want to get started and get yourself organized and make sure that you are on the right track at the right vision, mission, get get all of your kind of systems in place and figure out what you need to do and just get a roadmap, then you need to come to builders lab, because in three days, we'll get you set up. And then not only that, in three months, the three the first three months after builders lab, we're going to help you move your school up one level based on the four levels of builder ship, we're going to help you move your school up at least one level in three months. So you can have him when three months after you leave, Builder's Lab. So those supports are there, they're always there to help you. And we've got some really cool new things happening in the new year that I'll be telling you about in a little bit. But I want you to know that I am that's what I'm obsessed with right now. I want to see builders creating success stories. You want to know what drives me, you want to know what my vision is. I want to help builders create success stories. I want to help builders hit their 100% goal. 

That's all I think about that's all I'm doing with mindsets now is how do I help you get to that 100% goal? How do I support you along the way? I can't do it without you. So today, I just want to thank you. I want to thank you for being a part of our tribe of builders. I first started thinking about buildership and set it out. I didn't know if anybody was going to embrace it. I believed it was the right thing to do. But more and more people started embracing it. And now it's becoming a bit of a movement. I love that I love what you all are doing with this movement. Because you're taking this work. And you're not just letting me build you are now building, you are now posting success stories. You are now pulling these this work into your schools and you see the difference it's making. So thank you. Thank you for being brave, one of the brave people who stepped away from everybody else decided that our kids in our schools deserved more than leadership. Thank you for for taking this work and shaping it you give me such great feedback, the things that you ask for help me see the gaps in the process and we build something else. And it makes it work and then you take what we build and you make it even better. 

Thank you for that... 

Thank you for the difference you're making in the lives of your your kids by doing something as crazy as being a builder. Thank you for listening to this podcast every week. Thank you for joining Buildership University and for the interaction that we get there that that selfishly that feeds me I love hanging out with you. Most of all, thank you for deciding that anything less than 100% success for your kids was not enough. And thank you for pursuing that. 100% success for every single kid #LikeABuilder,
I'll talk to you next time.

Hey, if you're ready to get started being a builder right away, then I want to invite you to join us at Buildership University. It's our exclusive online community for builders just like you where you'll be able to get the exact training that you need to turn your school into a success story right now with the people and resources you already have. You'll find our best online courses, live trainings with me tons of resources, templates and exemplars and monthly live office hours with me where you can ask me anything and get my help on whatever challenge you're facing right now. If you're tired of hitting obstacle after obstacle and you're sick of tiny little incremental gains each year, if you're ready to make a dramatic difference in your school right now, then you need to join Buildership University. Just go to and get started writing your school success story today.

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