Summer Success Series Pt. 1: The #1 Thing Standing Between You and Success


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You're listening to School Leadership Reimagined, episode number 265.

Hey builders,

Before we begin, I have a quick question for you. Are We Connected on social media? The reason I'm asking is because as much as I love giving you the podcast episode every single week, I'd love to take our relationship deeper. So if we're not connected on on social media, let's connect. I'm on LinkedIn at Robyn, underscore mind steps. I'm on Twitter at Robyn underscore mind step someone's on Facebook and Robyn Jackson, please, let's connect so we can keep the conversation going. Now on with the show. You're listening to the school leadership reimagined podcast episode 265. How do builders like us make a dramatic difference in the lives of our students in spite of all the obstacles we face? How do you keep your vision for your school from being held hostage by resistant teachers, uncooperative parents, ridiculous district policies or lack of time, money or resources. If you're facing those challenges right now, here's where you'll find the answers strategies, and actionable tips you need to overcome any obstacle you face. You don't have to wait to make a difference in the lives of the people you serve. You can turn your school into a success story right now with the people and resources you already have. Let's get started.

Hey, builders, welcome to another episode of the school leadership reimagined podcast. I'm your host, Robyn Jackson. And today we are starting one of the most popular series that we do. It's the summer of Success Series. Over the summer, I'm going to be sharing with you every single week. One little tidbit one little success secret of builders who are making it builders who are building schools where every child can be successful, they're going to be very concrete, very actionable tips to help you build a successful school year because as we know, the next school year is being built right now. And so how do you build a successful school year we're going to be talking about that. But before I begin sharing these success secrets, I need to address something really, really important.

You see, as I'm traveling this summer, and I'm doing a lot of, you know, keynotes and different conferences, and I'm visiting with a lot of different builders all over the country. I am hearing something show up over and over and over again. And the thing that I'm hearing is getting in the way of your success. If you don't deal with this, none of the other tips and strategies I share with you throughout the summer are going to matter until you deal with this first and that is self sabotage. You see, I believe in you, I know that if you are a builder and you approach the work like a builder, you will see success. But if you don't know that, if you don't believe that, there's nothing I can do. And so what I want you to do today is I want you to use this episode as kind of a self check. Because self sabotage is really, really sneaky. It's not something that's obvious. You know, we're not intentionally sabotaging ourselves. Nobody wants to intentionally fail. But we're doing things that are setting us up for failure. And we don't even realize it. It's so sneaky. It's so subtle. So I'm going to call it out today I'm going to shed light on some of the things that we do to self sabotage. And as you're listening, I want you to think about, do I do that? Is that something that that you catch yourself doing? And if it is, then let's talk about how we deal with it so that you can stop doing that because I'm telling you, you are so close to success. 

It just takes shifting some some very simple things that you're doing as a school. 

The challenge for a lot of people is that they, they say they believe in 100% they talk the game. But you can tell they really don't because they do things to undermine it. So let's talk about why we self sabotage some of the ways that we self sabotage, and then how do we deal with it? How do we get ourselves out of it? Okay, so first of all, let's talk about the big number one thing that I see for self sabotage, is that people say they believe in 100% they recite all means all they they they applaud, you know when I'm giving a keynote, and I'm saying we have to do 100% They say yes. But they don't really believe that 100% is possible or at least possible for them. They just don't. And the way that you can tell is that you create a vision that's vague, the vaguer your vision the more I know you don't believe in 100% the more specific your vision the more I know you do believe in 100% So let me give you an example of a vague vision 100% of our students will meet their full potential 100% of our students will show growth each year. I have no idea what that means. It makes you feel good because you're saying 100%. But just slapping 100% in front of the same old vision that you were doing before some version of that does not make you a builder. See, if you really believe in 100%. And you know what that looks like, you know, you want 100% of your kids reading at or above grade level, you want 100% of your students proficient or above, you want 100% of your students graduating in four years, you want 100% of your ninth graders to make it to 10th grade you want 100% of your students, that your high school students to earn all their credits every single year. See, it's ECL specific those are and how individual those are. When you are when you truly believe in it, you're looking at, you're not trying to create 100% vision to get it right or to get the A or to to show.

Look, I'm a builder, your 100% vision is driven by the passion that you have for your students is driven by the sense of commitment and focus that you have for your students. And so it can't help but be specific. Because you're not thinking about oh, how do I how do I cosplay as a builder, you're thinking about? How do I actually fulfill the promise to my kids, because you believe in 100%? Now, here's why a lot of people don't believe in 100%. They've never seen it to happen. They don't believe they can get there. They're afraid to say it because of how they're looked to other people. And there's no shame in that that is perfectly normal. Every builder who's been successful has gone through those emotions. When I first started talking about 100% success, all of these self doubts came up, I started thinking about well, I never did it when I was a minute and administrator. So how do I have the right to say that we should do it. But then I started thinking about I never did it as an administrator. But I did do it as a teacher. And when I became an administrator, that's where I was evolving. That's what I was working towards. And the more that we did that the more success we saw. So in a way I have done it as an administrator. Not only that, but the administrators that I coach have all done it. So even though I have that self doubt, I started talking myself down, I started saying, what even if I haven't done that exact thing, what have I done? What evidence do I already have that I've done that? So some of you are thinking, Well, I've you know, I haven't been able to do it thus far. And yeah, that's true. But have you gone all in on builder ship?

Maybe the reason you haven't done it is because you're trying to do leadership stuff. And leadership stuff is not designed to get you to 100%. So you're getting from leadership, what leadership was designed to give you but just to maintain the status quo. So you've never ever really tried? Have you ever achieved 100% success in your classroom? No. Have you ever taken a simple student, a student who was was was strict everybody else struggled with and you were able to get that student to be successful? And if the answer is yes, then you've done it, you just haven't done it to scale. So if you're feeling that self doubt, if you're feeling like, but I've never done it, I'm not sure I could do it, then just go look in your life for evidence of something you have done of times when you have achieved 100% of times where you have taken a kid that nobody else was able to to help, and you will help that kid succeed. Because if you've done that, then you've already demonstrated, you know how to reach every kid, you just haven't done it at the scale of a whole school. So what that that's the way that you overcome self doubt is you find the evidence in your life that you've done it already. Maybe you haven't done it for a whole school, but did you do it for a whole classroom? Did you do it for a whole kid? And if the answer is yes, then you know how to do it. And all you have to do now is figure out how to do it to scale. Maybe you're thinking well, you know, I believe in 100%. But I've got my district and my district isn't supporting me. And so you, you you, you want to go forward and move forward but you self sabotage because you keep trying to dance between going all in on builder ship and trying to appease your district. And sometimes you can't do both. Sometimes what your district is asking you for it's not going to get you to 100% but the builders who really believe it, they advocate for themselves and say a lot of people feel disempowered. You know, I mean, and I get it some districts

What can I say, some districts are just not good. 

They're just mean they're just, you know, people that people get into these district positions and they forget what it was like to be a principal and they you know, they drink the they think that in order to Be a a leader, they have to come down hard on people, I've seen it happen. But here's the thing when you are a builder, and you truly believe in your vision, the vision gives you courage to advocate for your kids, you're not, you're not just advocating for yourself or protecting yourself against somebody who's like, who holds your career in your hands. You're doing something for kids, their their lives depend on what you do for them. And that gives you courage that helps you to advocate for yourself. Now, I'll be honest, this is not one that I have personally struggled with as much. Because I've always been a big believer in advocating for yourself that you get to write your own story. And when you when you are a builder, and when you are focused on what you build, and you are focused on inviting people to join in what you build, it helps you to advocate because you're not asking for permission. You're asking for support. There's a big difference. We so many of us go through life when we say oh, you know, Mother Mae eye, and we asked the district and district says no. And then we feel disempowered, right? Well, we're going at it the wrong way. If you believe that your district is undermining you, rather than trying to straddle between being a builder and appeasing the district, go all in on being a builder and ask for support, and do it in a way that shows the district outlet, it's in their best interest to support you, because you're going to do more than what they're asking you to do. And everybody looks good as a result. 

You know, I always think about a couple of builders that I won't call y'all out, you know, y'all know who you are. But they're a couple of people inside of bu right now, who when they wanted to join, be you, they didn't get support from your district right away. They, you know, the, it's not in your budget, we have some other PD we want you to do. And they advocated for themselves, they say, this is what it's going to take, this is where you want me to be, this is what it's going to take to get here. And they advocated for themselves. And were able to get funding to join bu even though the district initially said no. And then after they did that, they did something that no other school in the district could do. They shot to the top of their district in one year, and showed and demonstrated to the district how that investment paid off on them. Because they believed in not themselves, not the program, they believed in their vision. And they recognize that this is the best way to get to their vision. And they were so passionate about that, that that's what it is. If you want to if you want the support of your district, stop asking for permission and ask for support and stop undermining the work that you know you're supposed to do. Because you're you're waiting for your district to approve it first, your districts may never approve it until you show the results. But maybe the only way you're going to get those results is to to get the district support to do what you want to do. And stop trying to figure out a way to get the results doing what the district wants you to do. We all know how that works. You've been doing that before. You got to do something different. And you got to stop letting the district be an excuse that keeps you from serving your students the way you know they deserve to be served. 

Now, maybe you don't have, you know, your own self doubt. Maybe it's not the district that you think is standing in the way maybe you think it's your teachers. I could do this via great teachers. Sure. You could. Well, actually, that's not true. I was about to say, sure you could but no, because if you take great teachers and put them into a disorganized, unfocused school, those teachers cease to be great. The thing that takes a great teacher and helps them to be step fully into their greatness is that you are a builder, you are a builder of teachers. That's what you need. So you think, oh, it's all magically going to happen if I just get the right teachers in the building. But a builder doesn't care who the teachers are, every teacher grows. And so instead of appeasing teachers, or waiting until you get the right teachers, what you need to do is figure out what's the vision? Where am I going what's important for my kids? And then you start thinking once you understand that, then you can figure out how do I grow the teachers to get them there. And again, we approach teachers so wrong. I mean, we're so busy trying to change teachers. Look, nobody likes to be changed, but a baby, you're not going to change your teachers. You know, they say you can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink. I'm not saying that right? Because I don't believe that you know what, you can lead a horse to water You can't force that horse to drink. But if you gave that horse salt tabs, that horse gets thirsty enough that they will want to drink on their own. You know what the salt tabs are your vision your mission Your core values. That's what creates thirst. I don't worry about trying to force horses to drink or I don't get into the situation where I'm, you know, oh, well, I can't make them drink so I'm stuck. Instead I figure out what do I need to do to make them thirsty. And that's what a builder does. So if you are self sabotaging, because you are blaming teachers, that is just an excuse. Because if you were focused on your vision, if you put that vision in place in the mission and core values, you can create the kind of thirst that makes people want to drink. 

Hey, it's Robyn here real quick, I just want to interrupt this episode for just a second. 

Because if you are enjoying what you're hearing, then would you mind sharing this episode with somebody else. So all you need to do is just go to your phone, if you're listening to on your phone, or your podcast player, and then click the three dots next to this episode. And I'll give you the option to share the episode that if you do that, three things are going to happen first, the person that you shared with is going to think you're a hero, especially if they're struggling with what we're talking about right now. They're going to love you. Secondly, you're going to feel good because you're going to get the word out about builder ship and start building this builder ship nation. And third, you will get my eternal gratitude because I really want to get this out to the world. And you'd be helping me out You'd be doing me a huge favor. So please share this episode with someone right now who's who's dealing with this same issue, someone you think would really benefit. And now back to the show. Now, another way that people self sabotage, they don't just doubt themselves, they don't just blame the district or blame the teachers or the kids or the parent, you know, other people. Another way that they self sabotage is they get Hafen, they get themselves out. They dabble in builder ship. So they're like, Ah, okay, I'll create a vision 100% Vision, but then they don't do the work to align everything in their school to their vision. So the vision is great rah, rah, rah, everybody gets excited about it in the staff meeting. But then nothing happens. 

So the vision is just like everything else you ever did as a leader. It's here today, and then it's forgotten tomorrow. And then you say, Well, I did the vision, it didn't work. No, you didn't do the vision, because, but having a vision is more than just creating that 100% statement. It's aligning everything in your building, including your people around that statement so that everything you do is focused on achieving that vision. It's creating a concrete plan, and a process to help you get to that vision. It's about getting people committed, and then sustaining their commitment and growing people into that vision. It's not just a statement, it is a whole reorientation for how you do work in your school. So you know, people say, Well, we did the vision we did the mission we did the core values, those are not things you do, those are things you are those are things you become writing a vision statement and putting one 100% in front of it doesn't make you a builder, creating 100% vision and then aligning everything you do around it. That's what creates a builder, having a mission and core values that nobody can remember that you have to look up every time you talk about it. And it's not reflected in the work of your school. It's just wasted everybody's time you're not a builder. And so what people do is they they will have one foot in leadership and the other foot and builders ship, and then they wonder, why am I not successful? Because you gotta go all in. If you have a foot still in leadership, you're still a leader. Build a ship is just the the process du jour. You know, leaders do that all the time. 

Okay, this year, we're doing PBIS next year, we're doing Leader in Me, next year, we're going to be doing what's the one that people do with the with the heart, you know, you know which one I'm talking about. And every year they pick a program. And there's nothing wrong with these programs, these programs are capturing kids heart, that's what I'm looking for. There's nothing wrong with any of these programs. There's good stuff and all of these programs. But if you are just lurching from one program to the next, or you're just thinking that this program is going to solve our issues, but you're not driven by something deeper your vision, your mission, your core values, if the programs are out of alignment with those, if everything else you do is out of alignment with those, it's not going to work, you are just being a leader. Being a builder means you are all in being a builder means your vision is so important and so compelling that everything changes as a result of it. Being a builder means that you don't just drop back into leadership when things get hard. It means that you persist through the hard stuff using your builder ship mindset, because that's how you eliminate problems instead of just getting rid of problems for a time and then having them show back up later on. And so what One of the biggest ways I see people self sabotage is that they dabble into builder ship. They listen to this podcast, they, they get inspired by one idea. And they're like, Oh, I'll do that. And they add it to all what they're already doing. They don't change anything about what they're already doing. They just slap something, build a ship on top of it, or, or they listen to the podcast or read a book. And then they pick and choose the pieces that they want to do. 

Even though we know that the path to success follows a very predictable pattern. 

They don't follow the pattern. They're just like, Oh, I'll do this piece. Oh, that sounds good. We'll do that. In addition to what we do elsewhere, they they that we give them a process, you know, we have these free downloads and free trainings. And we're saying, here's how you do it. And I like, Oh, that's cool. We'll do that. And then we'll but we'll add this other piece here. And they start muddying up the process by by blending in leadership stuff into a build a ship paradigm. And then they wonder why it doesn't work? Well, you never ever set it up to work, you didn't decide that you are going to make a shift in your thinking. You decided to keep thinking the way you were always thinking but grab some of these good pieces, and try to slap it onto what you're already doing. And then you wonder why it's not working? Why am I not successful? You didn't really try. You want it to pretend that you were doing something different. You want to pretend that you're doing something new, what you're doing the same thing you do every year, which is look for the latest thing, the coolest thing, the most interesting, the thing that captures your attention for this moment, and then dabbling in it. Self Sabotage. If you want to be successful, the number one thing you have to do is commit. And we give ourselves a lot of excuses for not fully committing. I'm busy. And so we let busyness get in the way of our dreams and our goals. And then we never ask ourselves, well, what is busyness? What am I busy doing? Because if I'm not busy moving towards my goals, what am I busy doing? And in most cases, you're not busy moving towards your goals. You're busy doing stuff to make you feel like you're doing something rather than doing the work that really matters. And I'm gonna tell you the truth. 

I suffer from that all the time, especially when I'm feeling overwhelmed. I just get busy. But I'm not actually moving. You know what I really look at it, I look at all the stuff that I'm doing. And I ask myself is this moving me to my goals, most of the stuff is not it just makes me feel better. It makes me feel like I'm doing something. So we get busy doing stuff that doesn't matter. We we let other people get in the way of our goals. We we let our own self doubt, make excuses for why we don't get started. We we we dabble in it again picking and choosing pieces but never going all in. And part because either we aren't convinced about going all in or we want to be right. So we want to do it our way. Or we don't we're afraid to go all in because we're afraid of what that might mean. And we look more at the consequences of going all in than we do the benefits of going all in. If you're finding that you're doing any of these things, I'm not scolding you, I have been guilty of most of if not all of them. But here's what I know. Every time that I I doubt myself. And I let those doubts prevent me from getting started. Every time that I tried to appease other people, and be what they think that I should be rather than what I know I need to do. Every time I don't fully commit and I just kind of dabble in stuff. I sabotage my own success. I find myself working very, very hard and not seeing results. I create more work for myself. I feel deep down busy but like a failure. Like I'm failing like I know I should be doing better. I feel like and then becomes a self fulfilling prophecy because the more that I do it, the less successful I am. So the less successful I believe I can be. I get frustrated. I start blaming other people I start rationalizing why I'm not moving as fast as I should. Why not? The end of the day, it's just me. And it's just a simple decision to commit to go all in. 

It's just a simple decision to focus on the right work and ignore everything else. And once I do that, not only do I feel instantly clear, instantly focus instantly better. But it's just a short period of time before success follows. We're going to be talking about this success that you could have this summer, the things that it takes to get there. And there's nothing complicated, it's simple, it's doable. And the payoff is nearly instant. The things that I'm going to be sharing with you this summer work. But I've seen people do it and it works. The same people who are in the same situation as you're in dealing with the same challenges you're dealing with, who found a way to make it work. And most importantly, I know, I know, without a shadow of a doubt that it will work for you. How do I know that? Because I've seen it work for hundreds of other people. How do I know that because this is stuff that's not new, it's been it's been, it's timeless, it's happened over and over and over again. So I know it I am convinced, you could not convince me otherwise, that it will work for you. Only thing that's stopping it from working for you, is you got to go all in. You got to stop doubting yourself. You've got to stop letting other people step in the way and using them as an excuse for why you're not doing it. You just need to do an aside for a second. But you can't even use me as an excuse. Oh, you didn't know. There is not even me. Not even we don't let me get in your way. If I'm explaining it in a way that doesn't make sense to you. If you have questions. Go to the school leadership, reimagined Facebook group, ask the questions push me to clarify, don't even let me get in the way. Even the people who are the most successful, they come in, they you know, I'm a human being I'm flawed, I make mistakes. They just sort of like yeah, whatever, Robyn, you need to explain this to me, I don't get this, where's this tool, and they hold me accountable. I say I want to support you. They say well, here support me, here's the support. I mean, they hold me accountable. And they make it don't even let not even me I'm not excuse, there's nothing standing in the way between you. And being the builder that I know you can be and having this success that I know you can have. 

But you have to be all in.

If you are, are still dabbling in leadership, if you are trying to tack on build worship to what you're already doing, if you are still trying to appease the powers that be if you are still, you know, trying to appease your teachers, and when their admiration and respect. If you are still telling yourself a story that you can't even though you have evidence somewhere in your life that you could, then you will get in the way of your own success. But if you talk to yourself and tell yourself, I've never done this, but here's what I have done. Here's the evidence that I do have, I may not have ever achieved 100% My school, but I know that I have reached kids that nobody else can reach. I mean, I've ever achieved 100% in high school. But I know that that that I am tenacious because I did this or that in my life that has nothing to do with work. And I know I can take that same tenacity to my work. And I know I can make it if you stop asking for permission and start advocating for yourself with your district and asking for their support. If you stop trying to appease your teachers, and trying to force them to change before you change. And instead go out ahead and start building and then invite them to join you in what you're building and create that thirst. 

If you will stop dabbling in this, that and the other and every two seconds you're trying something new and to stop and just focus on being a builder you will be successful period. So as we've gone to the summer of success, before we begin, I want you to look for ways that you are self sabotaging, then Won't you sit yourself down and have a good talk with yourself and start to to really examine why are you Are you self sabotaging? What are you afraid of? What What lies are you telling yourself that are getting in the way of the success I know you can achieve and let's stop self sabotaging. So we can really take these success secrets and leverage them to have a year unlike any year you've ever had to, to be the principal that that that you've always wanted to be to make the impact you were sent here, put on this earth to make. That's what I want for you this summer. That's, that's what we're going to be working towards. I can't do it for you. So my invitation to you this week is to figure out how you're self sabotaging. start dealing with that. And let's, let's build your success together like builders, 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 builder ship 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. Inside. 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 that you need to join bill to ship University, just go to build a ship and get started writing your school success story today. Hey, it's Robyn here. And I want to thank you for listening to today's episode. And if you have a question about today's episode, you just want to keep the conversation going. Did you know that we had a school leadership reimagined Facebook group, all you need to do is go to Facebook, join the school leadership reimagined Facebook group. Now there are going to be a couple of questions that we asked at the beginning because we want to protect this group and make sure that we don't have any trolls come in and that it really is for people who are principals, assistant principals, district administrators, so make sure you answer those questions or you won't get in but then we can keep the conversation going. Plus we do a lot of great bonus content. I'm in there every single weekday so if you have a question or comment above the episode, let's continue the conversation. Join us at the school leadership reimagined Facebook group and I'll talk to you next time.

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