What’s really holding you back


Note: School Leadership Reimagined is produced as a podcast and designed to be listened to, not read. We strongly encourage you to listen to the audio, which includes emotion and emphasis that's not on the page. Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting in print.

You're listening to the school leadership reimagined podcast episode 83. 

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 faith. 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, Robin Jackson. And today, we're going to talk about the number one thing that may be holding you back right now. You see, this week I've been talking with a lot of builders were, you know, working on achieving their vision for their school, we're working through their builders blueprints. And I'm starting to notice something that I'm finding a little disturbing. And this may also apply to you as well. A lot of people have visions that they are either a not passionate about, B, they don't believe that that vision will happen. Or C, they have a vision that their current position won't allow them to achieve. And that's the number one thing holding you back, you see if you can have clarity around your vision, if you can believe in your vision, if you have the right vision for where you are right now, nothing can stop you. And if you don't, then I don't care what you do, you're never going to feel fulfilled, you're never going to feel happy, you're never going to feel like you're making a difference. So I want to talk about something that I often don't talk about in public, which is this idea that if you don't believe in your vision, it can hold you back.

You must believe in your vision. 

Today I want to talk about how not believing in Division can hold you back. But before I do, I have a couple of announcements. Number one, builder ship University, the founders level has been filled. So we now have our requisite number of founders. And so we are going to be closing down build a ship University until January. Now if you got in on the founders level, then you got an incredible deal because you not only got in early, and so you're getting a little bit more, you know, a little bit more hand holding a little bit more access because you're in early and it's such a small group. But you also got in at the founders rate. And so congratulations if you got an on the founders level. Now, if you did not get in on the founders level, no worries, because we're going to be opening up build a ship University in January. So the founders level is now closed. But look for information about how to get into build a ship University starting in January.

That's the first announcement. second announcement tickets to builders lab are now available. We are having builders lab again, January 25, through 27 2021. And tickets are now available, we're going to be doing another 360 degree virtual experience. And if you are worried about you know if your zoom meeting out, I get it. But this is not your typical zoom training, we have built an entire studio. It's very interactive, we keep the group small so that I have time to work with each and every one of you. And over the course of three days we map out, we help you figure out what your vision is. And then we map out a concrete plan for how you can start achieving your vision and actually see some success in the next 90 days. But that's not all. Because when you come to build your slab, it's not just three days of training. It's also three months of follow up support. So we stick with you. We have monthly meetings where we're checking in to see how you're coming on your vision, we send you weekly emails with what you need to be doing that week in order to stay on track towards achieving your 90 day plan. So when you come to build his lab, you are coming to a place where you're not only getting the training you need but you're getting the support so that you actually see results from your training.

I'd love for you to join us in January. 

I think January is the perfect time to come to builders lab because you have been in school for a year you've gone through kind of the roller coaster ride of the beginning of the year. And by January things have settled down a bit and you are ready to start you know really moving towards your vision and if you come to builders lab in January You, you set your vision and you create a 90 day goal for moving closer to your vision, then you get support February, and March, and April. And by the end of the school year, you have a success story to tell. So to get your tickets for builders lab, go to mind steps inc.com slash builders dash lab, that's mindset think.com slash builders dash lab. Now, the third announcement is something I'm pretty excited about. A few years ago, we started a five day challenge called the jumpstart your education consulting business challenge, and we haven't done it in a while. And people been asking, when is the next challenge? Well, it is here, we are going to be starting this Sunday, this coming Sunday. So Sunday, November 15 2020, we are going to be starting the next jumpstart your education consulting business challenge.

What's really cool about this challenge is that if you've ever thought about starting your own education, consulting business, if you've ever thought about going out on your own, but you've always been worried about, you know, well how do I start, I don't know how to start a business, I'm not sure what kind of business I would have. I know I want to do something but I'm not clear about what it is, then the jumpstart challenge is for you. Because over the five days, every single day, we will meet at seven o'clock pm Eastern Standard Time inside of Facebook, I will be doing a free training. And over the course of five days, we are building your education consulting business roadmap. So on day one, we're going to start out by talking about how do you find your niche? How do you figure out what area you want to consult in? And how do you how do you articulate the transformation that you want to provide so that you can stand out from all the other consulting businesses out there? Then we're going to talk about how do you find your ideal customer? How do you make it so that your ideal customers are coming to you, rather than you going out and having to find them and beg them for business? We're going to be talking about how do you get your money straight so that you're ready to take the leap. You know, a lot of you are working jobs, and you're worried about leaving the security of your job. 

So how do you figure that part out? How do you start making money very quickly.

Then we're going to be talking about what systems do you need to put in place so that your business can be successful from day one. So every day over the course of those five days, we're going to be doing training every day at 7pm, I'll be doing a live training where I'll be working with you to fill out some part of your education consulting business roadmap, and at the end of the five days, you're going to have an entire roadmap to your business. You won't have to worry about what kind of business you will start? Where will I find customers? or How will I afford to start, everything will be laid out for you, you will have figured it out. And so if you've ever thought about starting your own education, consulting business, but you've always been kind of worried about, well, I don't know how to quite start, then this challenge is for you. And the good news is that the challenge is absolutely free. It's something that you know, it's kind of a passion project for me, a lot of times people come to me, and they ask me, How can I get started? I want to have my own business like you haven't. And a lot of times it's hard for me to answer those questions one by one. But when you come to the challenge, I get to be answered that question for hundreds of you at one time. So we're going to be doing that training every single night. It's live training, it's interactive. And then you get a business roadmap and education consulting business roadmap that you're going to be completing over those five days, so that by the time you're done, you will have your business plan mapped out not your business plan. We're not, this is not a business plan writing session.

In fact, I'm going to talk to you about why writing a business plan is not always a good idea for starting an education consulting business over the course of the training, but what you have is a roadmap to what your business can look like and what kind of business you can start and what kinds of customers you can rely on and what your niche is going to be. So it's a very valuable training I love doing it's one of my favorite things to do. In order to sign up for the training. Just go to mindset sync.com, it will be a pop up on the homepage with a link to join the training. And so you can just sign up there. Or you can just go to school leadership reimagined.com slash Episode 83 that's the that's where you can find all the show notes and the links for this episode, school leadership reimagined.com slash Episode 83. All right, let's jump into our topic today. Because I'm really disturbed by the number of people who either don't have a vision they're passionate about, have a vision they're passionate about, but they don't really believe it's going to happen or have a vision they're passionate about, but they're in the wrong position to achieve that vision. So I want to talk about those states and how you can get out of that so that you can start living out your vision and having a real passion for what you do.

Reigniting your passion for education. 

The reason I'm so insistent on having something you're passionate about being passionate about what you do Is that this work is hard. And in these unprecedented times, the work is even harder. If you are not passionate about what you do, why are you doing it? Don't your students deserve to have somebody who believes in the work, don't your teachers deserve to, to have a builder who believes in the work, don't you deserve to be a part of work that you actually believe in that, that ignites your own passion, something that you're excited about something that when you get out of bed every day, you you can't wait to get to work rather than dragging yourself out of bed and saying off, not another day. And so if we are going to be to have the impact that we want to have in education, we cannot do it without passion.

So let's start with the first one. There's several people I meet who when I ask them what their vision is, they rattle off some, you know, cookie cutter vision that they did in some random vision, exercise or workshop where they read about in some book, half of them can't even remember it without referring to it on a piece of paper. And they tell me what their vision is, and there's no passion inside. Whenever people come to build this lab, one of the first things we do on day one is we talk about your vision, in fact, you get pre work that starts preparing you to think about your vision before you come to build this lab. And when I ask people what their vision is, I'm looking for two things. One, is the vision clear, but two? Are they passionate about the vision. And if they're not passionate about their vision, then we scrap the vision, we say no, we're going to start over.

We have had some amazing stories come out of Builder's Lab.

People who came to Builder's Lab and they thought their vision was one thing, but when we really talked about it, when we tapped into their passion, they found their true vision and they walked out of builders lab, they couldn't wait to get back to school. And the moment they got back to school, they began working on that vision, the vision that they that we on an earth during builders lab, and they you know, within a matter of months, they have a dramatically different school because they found the vision that was already inside of them, you know, we didn't put it inside of it, it was there, we just helped them tap into it. And so it's really important for us that you have a vision you're passionate about. Because if you don't believe in your vision, nobody else will. So if you go back to school and say, here's my vision for the school, let me get the piece of paper where it's written on, or here's my vision for the school and you deliver that vision without any passion or emotion, people are going to look at you and say, oh, okay, and then they're going to go back to doing what they've always done. It's only when you come and you say, this is what I believe can be possible for 100% of our students.

And when I'm passionate about it, people start to listen, people pay attention, and people start to work, they start to join you remember, builders don't say go, they don't say let's go builder, say calm. And when you create a vision that invites people to something that that that you're passionate about, all of a sudden, you see a difference in the will of the people you're serving. You see, you see people who start to say, Yeah, I want to be a part of that, that sounds amazing. Look at how passionate he or she is about that vision. So that that's I wanted, I want to help you build that. And when you come and you deliver a lackluster vision, it's business as usual. So you must have a vision about what you're passionate. And one of the big reasons that people don't have visions about which they're passionate. leads me to my second issue, which is that a lot of times, you do have something you really want to build, you do have something about what you're passionate, but you don't believe it's possible. And this is the thing I'm seeing more and more now, especially during these times where people are saying, Yeah, I would love for 100% of my students to be reading at or above grade level. But you know, right now we're doing virtual learning.

I just don't think it's possible. 

Well, while you're saying that there are other principals who are actually seeing it happen. We have builders right now who are experiencing 95% or above attendance for virtual learning every single day. We have builders right now who are seeing students grow a year's worth of growth, four years worth of school, even in the virtual environment. So while you're saying that it's not possible, there are other people who believe that it's not only possible, they believe it's necessary, because they're so passionate about their vision, and they're making it happen. So the first step is you have to have a vision you're passionate about, because when you're passionate about the vision that shows that conveys and you won't let it go so easily. You will get up every day excited and ignited to do to work towards that vision.

So that's the first step. But then the second step is you have to believe that the vision you have is possible. I talk to principals all the time at builders labs. We've been doing a lot of private builders labs over the last few months and then even our public builder's lab This summer I saw this come up over and over again. Where the principal finally says you know what, I do have a vision and it's this. I want all of our students to have to have successfully completed algebra by eighth grade. I want all of our students to set ambitious academic goals and achieve those academic goals. I want all of our students to develop the social emotional skills, they need to be able to navigate school in life, whatever that vision is, they say it. And you can see the difference in the body language and their facial expression. They say they're passionate, and then comes the butt. But I teachers aren't ready yet. But I don't have the funding I need yet. But in these circumstances, how could we hope to get that when I can't even get the kids to show up for virtual learning every day, and on and on and on.  

The moment their vision is birthed, the moment they speak it aloud, they stifle it to death with bucks. 

You see, if you don't believe in your vision, then you kill it before it has a chance to grow. You don't have to know how it's going to happen. That's where people get stuck. They're like, well, well, how am I going to make it happen? Well, you don't have to know that in order to believe that it can happen. And if you don't believe that it can happen. Nobody's going to join you on that journey towards a vision. You can say, calm all you want, but nobody's going to join you because they can tell you don't believe we're ever going to get there. So not only do you have to have a vision you're passionate about, you have to have a vision that you believe can happen, that is possible, no matter what. And a lot of people get stuck because they're saying I want to but I don't know how they get stuck in the details. Once you have a vision you're passionate about once you can truly see it, once you believe in it the How is easy. I tell people that all the time. And people say you mean to tell me that right now, even though I have zero students who are successfully passing algebra one by eighth grade, that I can have that happen. And I say yes. And then we sit down, and we fill out your builders blueprint. And then you start to see how it can happen.

I was talking to someone the other day, and they were like, yeah, I want all of my schools to grow a year's worth of growth four years worth of school, every single year. And right now I don't have that. And we sat down and filled out a builder's blueprint. And we saw how that could be possible. In the next three years, I was sitting down with somebody else. And they were saying, you know, I really want all of our students to be reading at or above grade level by grade three. But right now I've got 35% proficiency, I've got 35% of my students who are proficient or above, how's it going to happen. And we sat down, and we filled out a builder's blueprint. And we looked at it and we saw how it was possible. And the next two years, you see, people get so stuck on the how, when the truth is the How is the easy part. The hard part that I find in the work that I do with people is getting people to articulate a clear vision about what they're passionate and to get them to believe in the vision. But how is easy, you can sit down right and how and take any vision you have. And we can figure out how to help you achieve it in the next three to four years with the people and the resources you already have.

That's what we do at mind steps.

We can't do that if you don't have a clear vision or you don't believe that the vision is possible. So a lot of people are shooting themselves in the foot because they get stuck on the how you don't have to know the how you just have to believe it's possible. Once you believe it, the How will unveil itself, but it doesn't come first, a lot of people say will convince me for the hell before I believe in the vision, I'm not going to do the work to figure out the how if you don't even believe in it, the belief has to come first. So a lot of visions die before they ever they ever have a chance to materialize because people stifle them with their butts. You can't do that you can't you have to believe in your vision first. So, first thing, you have to have a clear vision, one you're excited and passionate about. Secondly, you have to believe in your vision. And then third, you have to be in a place where your vision can actually work.

This is a unique situation that I see a lot from people, a lot of people, especially when you you know when you are in the traditional education structure, you start out as a teacher and then you're told that if you want to rise to the ranks, your next step is maybe you're a department head or you become an instructional coach. And then maybe you become a dean or an assistant principal, and then you become a principal. And then maybe if you are really good as a principal, you get a district office job and then sooner or later, you get to the zenith which is either a superintendent of schools or Secretary of Education. And that seems like that's the only career path to make a difference in education. Well, no, there are multiple ways to make a difference. Sometimes people have a vision, that their current position doesn't allow them to achieve. 

Some people will have a vision that is bigger than their current position will allow them to achieve. 

Maybe it's not something that can be accomplished inside of a principalship, or an assistant principalship. I talked to a lot of APS, for instance, who have visions for what they want to do. But there, they can't do it, because they're working with a principal who doesn't share their vision. So sometimes you are in a position where you cannot achieve your vision. And then you have to think about doing two things. Now, if you're an AP, and you're going through the process, and you want to have a school someday, then you don't have to stifle your vision or postpone your vision, you take your vision, let's say your vision is that you want all of your students to be who are in special education to achieve 100% of their IEP goals every single year. So you do that you supervise a special education department, you do that with a special education department, you take that experience and parlay that into having the bigger vision for your school, once you become a principal, that's easy. But sometimes, you have a vision for making a bigger impact in education, you want to really change the way that we teach reading, or you really want to help teachers find their own teacher voice, or you're really interested in teacher self care. Or maybe you're interested in transforming how we plan lessons or you have a really cool technique for managing class discussions that you want to help all English teachers across the country in use so that they can improve the way that students are discussing literature.

That vision is bigger than your position right now as a school principal, or assistant principal or department head or instructional coach. And in that case, it means that you're in the wrong place, you may have a vision for which the traditional education rise to the rank structure is not appropriate. You may need to leave your job so that you can achieve your vision. And in a way as an entrepreneur or as a part of a larger organization. That's not an education organization. And this is where things get really scary, because a lot of us are tied to our jobs, a lot of us are tied to the security that our jobs provide. And I get it. I mean, there's some very real concerns that come from that.

If you have a vision, and you realize that it cannot be accommodated in the position you're in, then you will always be frustrated. 

You've heard my story before I was a English teacher in an English teacher, high school English teacher, and then I became an instructional coach. And then I became a middle school administrator. And I wanted to do something that transform education, I was interested in helping teachers become master teachers I was interested in, in rethinking how we ran schools. And I thought my only path was, I become a principal, then I move up through the district. And maybe at some point, I could be a superintendent. But I really had no idea what superintendents did, I really had no idea what district office did. And in fact, I thought that once it became a superintendent, then I could do my own thing. And if you know anything about being a superintendent, that's the last thing you can do as a superintendent, because you're beholden to so many different people, except I just thought that was the only path that was available to me. So every time I reached the next step in my path, my vision, my dream for what I wanted to do for education still felt so far off, I thought, okay, I'll be an assistant principal. And in my district, you had to be an assistant principal for at least three years before they would consider you to be a principal.

Even if I shaved a year off, which I did, they were going to move me to a principalship in two years, rather than three years, then I had to be a principal for at least three years in order to you know, just out of fairness for the school. And in order to kind of see some things happen. And then maybe then I could be a district person for maybe a couple, three, four or five years, and then maybe I could be an associate superintendent, and maybe I can become a superintendent. My dream just felt so far off. But I thought that was the only path that was available to me. I thought that was all I could do. And then one day, I'm sitting down with my boss, and he's giving me a promotion. The next step in my journey is something welled up within me. And I started just feeling trapped. Because even though I was getting what I wanted the next step in my journey of the promotion that would get me closer to my vision. It just felt like I was still so far away from what I wanted to achieve.

On the spot, I resigned.

The moment I resigned, I didn't have health care. I didn't have I didn't have an income. I didn't have a business. I didn't know what I was doing. But I felt such peace because all of a sudden my vision didn't feel like it was someday, my vision felt like it would come to happen right now. And so if you have a vision that is bigger than your current position, you may need to think about repositioning yourself. Now, if your vision is to have your own school and you're an assistant principal, use that time to work on your vision to learn to refine your skills, so that when you become a principal, you will walk in with a clear vision, and you will have the skill set to achieve your vision. And you will have the experience to feed in that belief that you can achieve your vision. But if you look ahead and you say, you know what, if even if I get promoted, even if I get to the next level, it's still not going to be enough for me to achieve my vision, then you may have to question whether or not you are on the right path. And here's the good news, you can always choose a different path.

You see, the work that we're doing is not just work, we don't have a job, as builders, we have a calling. And as the very name implies, our role is to build. But if we don't know what we're building, because we don't have a vision, if we can't articulate what we're building, or if we, we know what we're building, but we don't believe that it will ever get built, we don't believe it's possible, or we know what we want to build, but we're not in the right place to build it, we're gonna fail, not only we're gonna fail, we're gonna be miserable. Because as builders, you're driven by your vision. And I meet so many people who have a vision inside of them, it's there, but they are so scared to say it aloud. They're so scared to say, I want every kid reading. I believe in it. That's why I became an educator, I want every kid proficient or above a math, I want every kid to graduate in four years with a clear post secondary option, I want every single child to believe in themselves or to have potential I have options that they didn't have before I want every single child to to to have college as an option. Or I want every child to go to college and be prepared for college or I want every child to have options that get them out of poverty or what whatever your vision is, you got to find it in you it's there, you just have to be be brave enough to articulate it.

You have to be passionate enough about it to believe it, even if you don't know the "how".

Remember I said the How is easy, we can figure out the how the hard part is you have to say it, you have to believe it. Then the third part is you have to be in the right place for your vision to be to materialize. I wasn't in the right place for my vision to materialize, I had to leave the school system and start mine steps. And now every single day, I'm walking in that vision I am I'm building something that I'm passionate about, I get up in the morning and I'm excited to work it doesn't even feel like work because I'm doing the thing that I was called to do. So how about you? Excited to go to work every day? d? Are you working on something that feels meaningful to you? Do you feel like you're making a difference? When you think about your vision do does it give you goosebumps? If not, that's what's holding you back. You see, the builders who come to builders lab or or NBU. First thing we do is we find their vision. Once we do that they are off to the races. I never thought in my wildest dreams that that would be the work I had to do. I assumed that people already had a vision and I was working on how to achieve their vision. What I'm finding is most people are scared.

They don't have a vision inside of them. But they're scared to say it aloud. Because they don't know how it's going to happen. So they don't believe it's possible. And if you've had a history of failures, if you try things in the past and you've hit roadblocks, I understand it. I know why you don't believe it's possible. But if you can get beyond that, if you can, if you can tap into the thing that drives you the thing you're passionate about your vision, the reason that you're in education, if you can, if you can state it and believe it, we can show you how that's easy. And if you realize that, you know what, My vision is not something that can be accommodated in the traditional sense. I also want you to know that there's another option. It doesn't have to be through the traditional pathway to success. Now if that's your goal, if you want to be a principal, and you want to move to a central office or you're happy saying as a principal, you want to be a superintendent, you want to work within the public school system or the private school system. For the charter school system, then that's fine. That is totally fine, you're in the right place, let's get to work. Let's see, let's start achieving your vision. But if you realize that your vision is not something that can be accommodated in those systems, well, you do have another option.

That is one of the reasons why we're doing the Jumpstart Challenge next week.

We want you to know that there is another option. And because of challenge, it's free, you can join the challenge, you can explore the other option without any risk, you just come in, the only thing you're committing to it's five days of doing that work and thinking it through. And a lot of people go through that challenge. And at the end of five days, they're like, you know, what, this is it, this is what I want to do, I figured it out, and they go off and they build their businesses, other people go through the challenge, and they're like, you know, what, I really do believe I want to stay in education. But now you know, and once you know, then you give yourself permission to, to explore and pursue that vision and know that you can achieve and make that difference for your students. So the bottom line is this. The thing that's keeping you from making the difference that you came to education to make the thing that's keeping you from from achieving what you hoped to achieve, it's not it's not the district, it's not the laws. It's not the quarantine, it's not the teachers. It's not the parents, it's not the testing culture, it's not the students, or all the other things that we believe the only thing that's holding you back is not having a clear vision, not believing that vision is possible, or not being in the right place to make that vision, a reality.

So my challenge for you this week, spend some time, tap into what you really want to do, what is the difference you want to make? If you need help with that, then come to builders lab, we'll help you figure it out. We'll help you walk out of builders lab with a vision everybody comes to builders lab walks out of builders lab with clarity around their vision, and a plan for making it happen. Second thing you have to believe your vision is possible. If you already have a vision and you don't know how to make it happen. Again, come to BL, we will show you. You'll walk out with a with a with a builder's blueprint that shows you how you can achieve it when people come to builders. This is what someone said to me last week. You're telling me that I can achieve this in the next 90 days? Yeah, here it is. Here's how to do it and looked at his blueprint. He's like, yeah, you're right, I can do that.

So if you're worried about believing in your vision, come to Builder's Lab, we can help you figure that out. 

What if you're in the wrong place, if you have a vision or you think you might have a vision and you worry that you might be in the wrong place, but you don't know where else you could go or how else you could achieve your vision outside of the the traditional structures and education. Then join us for the jumpstart your education consulting business challenge, because that is where you can figure it out. It's free, you spend five days you figure it out, you have a roadmap, and then you make a choice. Do I want to build this or do I want to stay where I am and at least you have that clarity so that that's no longer holding you back. So my challenge to you this week is figure out what your vision is. Believe in your vision. And if you're not in the right place for that vision to happen, reposition yourself so that you can make that vision happen.

Ultimately, your goal is to make the difference that you are meant to make and do it like a builder. 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 offers. 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 buildershipuniversity.com and get started writing your school success story today.

I'll see you then!

Thank you for listening to the School Leadership Reimagined podcast for show notes and free downloads visit https://schoolleadershipreimagined.com/

School Leadership Reimagined is brought to you by Mindsteps Inc, where we build master teachers.