Brad Soden had a problem. His wife was paralyzed after a car accident, so she was unable to accompany he and the kids on camping trips. So did he listen to the many "experts" who told him he couldn't solve this problem by building an off-road wheelchair? Of course not!
"It just tore me up," he told Bloomberg. "I didn’t want her being stuck anymore, not anywhere. I resolved to make her something." So he built a wheelchair that has now gone through several iterations of improvement, was used as a model for the movie Wall-E, and most importantly enables his wife to be part of the family--anywhere.
Who is telling you that your goals are impossible?
If no one is saying that to you as a school administrator who is also an innovative school designer, then you're probably not dreaming big enough. B.I.G. (Beautiful, Ingenious, and Generous) Goals will inevitable be hard to achieve, with many people reminding you of the difficult path to get there. A unique combination of faith, humility, and courage is common among the school leaders we've met who accomplish such transformative designs.
Some people seem to have an unusually strong ability to overcome the barriers to their goals. Even though they may have endured severe hardship in life, their capacity to draw strength from such circumstances and memories enables them to sustain a vision that remains focused on the possibilities. This appears to be based on their chosen attitude and ability to respond to adversity. That's the kind of leaders schools desperately need!
"Originality is unexplored territory. You get there by carrying a canoe -- you can't take a taxi." -- Alan Alda
Unexplored territory has no paths or formulas to follow, and that's where many school leaders find themselves in this new world of education. Instructional technology, learning standards, competition, funding methods, curriculum, legislation, and the list goes on. It's a whole new world in which to build a school improvement plan that requires being prepared to innovate faster, adjusting to new conditions and opportunities, and building a team that collaboratively carries the canoe through to the next launch point.