Next One Up: Be Ready When Needed
Disruptions and difficulties are part of the journey of life and are certainly encountered by educators. Our plans will be derailed.
The friend in my adversity I shall always cherish most.
I can better trust those who helped to relieve the gloom
of my dark hours than those who are so ready to enjoy
with me the sunshine of my prosperity.
— Ulysses S. Grant
On a recent flight to speak at a conference, one of the flight attendants was unable to continue working. Upon hearing of the situation, another attendant, who was a passenger headed home from previous flights, volunteered to fill in and help the team complete their duties to the passengers.
She did so with a smile and a willing desire to serve. Her joyful spirit was a delight to witness. I don’t know if she was previously a friend to this group of flight attendants, but she certainly is now.
Similarly, we can count on our plans being thrown off by many factors that are beyond our control. Sometimes all we can do is yell, NEXT!
No man is worth his salt who is
not ready at all times to risk
his well-being, to risk his body,
to risk his life, in a great cause.
— Theodore Roosevelt
"Next one up is used as a call to action where deeply committed teammates will take over for another who is unable to continue. The starting quarterback gets injured, for example, so they turn to the backup.
That’s actually how Tom Brady started his journey to becoming the best of all time. He was a backup in college, and he was a backup initially for the New England Patriots football team. He was ready for the moment because he prepared. Not just by knowing the plays and being able to throw the ball. He also worked closely with the assistant AD, who met with Brady every week to build his confidence and to maximize his performance.
That's a major factor in his success—he was coachable AND he regularly engaged with multiple coaches.
We have the privilege of providing similar guidance and support to education leaders around the world, building their confidence and maximizing their performance. It Matters!
Counting on the next person available makes sense when there's a bench of talented, prepared players rather than colleagues wearing many hats with little daily margin.* That's our reality, but we stand in the gap regardless to love, to support, and to protect those we serve.
Greater love has no one than this,
that someone lay down his life for his friends.
— John 15:13
It's not the title that makes us so influential—it's standing strong while facing stress and uncertainty with a resolute commitment to deliver on our mission and values. How we respond to such moments matters, and how we prepare matters even more. Our spiritual, physical, mental, and relational habits will either enable or inhibit us, so we make deliberate choices to be ready to help when others are facing dark times.
The great cause of education is worthy of our sacrifices!
We unlock fetters.
We unlock futures.
We unlock fixed mindsets.