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The Leader Within: Making an Everyday Difference

Influencers are all the rage, using their platform to persuade people to purchase certain products, act a certain way, and repeat certain narratives.

Regardless of their number of followers, I don't think any of them reach the phenomenal level of influence of educators. That social media video or poster on the wall will be long forgotten in time, but our words and actions have a multi-generational impact. 

That reality has consequences, forcing us to acknowledge a simple fact: Anyone in any role in education at any level at any time is unequivocally a leader.

 

 

It takes courage to grow up 
and become who you really are. 
— E.E. Cummings

Growing up is hard to do. Getting older is the easy part.

Growing up is accepting certain realities.
     We are responsible for our actions.
     We are wired to live in relationship.
     We are the results of our choices.

While we teach many lessons in our curriculum, perhaps the one that's most useful and true is that life is an adventure that seldom goes the way we think it should. Growing up is having the courage to adaptively move to the next level of knowledge and wisdom, discovering who we really are, what we really believe, and then becoming all that we were created to be.

Part of that growing-up journey is realizing our influence on others—often unintentionally.

In the Weekly Encouragement for Educators email this week, I included a link to a brief TedTalk delivered by Drew Dudley. He tells a story about how he had a life-changing influence on another person’s life and didn’t even remember it happening.

Through an act of encouragement and engagement, he introduced a man and a woman who began a relationship and eventually got married. Without his momentary influence, events very likely would have unfolded completely differently.

We’ve all changed someone's life without knowing it. We're all everyday leaders.

Be a yardstick of quality. Some people
aren't used to an environment
where excellence is expected. 
— Steve Jobs

Growing into our leadership potential means getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. Because growth always involves change and learning new habits and skills that we never needed before but are required in order to reach the higher level we now want.

Maturity enables us to avoid the trap of trying to be perfect in favor of growing in self-intelligence and honing our natural abilities to become all we were created to be. Elevating our attitude and performance has a multiplying effect because we are leaders. 

“I’m not a leader” is an unacceptable statement for those who work in schools. Whether having positional authority or not, someone is always watching us.
They are watching our work ethic.
They are listening to our words.
They are picking up on our attitude.
They are observing our integrity and how we resolve conflict. 

From everyone who has been given much, 
much will be required; and from the one 
who has been entrusted with much, 
even more will be expected. 
— Luke 12:48

We recognize the privilege and responsibility of our influence, setting the pace for others with our dedication, loyalty, professionalism, and consistent motivation.

Example has always been the most efficacious instructional method, providing reliable footsteps in which others might follow. Embracing this honor shifts our mindset to be even better prepared and more keenly aware as we engage as everyday leaders. 

Lead with your extraordinary talents and gifts, my friend, serving as an inspiring example every day for others to reliably follow. 

Anyone in any role in education
at any level at any time
is unequivocally a leader.

 

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