“What’s your New Year’s Resolution?” I could already anticipate the question being asked in polite conversation. I have not been one for resolutions or setting goals just because there’s a new year. I could always go with the traditional sentiments of exercising more, eating less, or spending more time with family, but these cliches do not provide any longevity past the middle of January.
Last week, I came across the work by Gordon, Britton, and Page on finding that “one word” which will change your life. Here’s a video which summarizes the challenge: http://getoneword.com/the-one-word-video/
Right away, this opportunity resonated with me. Last year had been quite a challenge, and I had already resolved the need to look forward in this new year. It’s easy to set aspirations to work harder or do more, but my “one word” for 2015 elicited a higher calling. For this year, I would make it my mission to not only do the best I can, but to INSPIRE. To live in such a way, to react to life in such a way, and to serve in such a way as to inspire others.
The thought of this new attitude brought me back to my childhood sport when I was truly inspired. Although the illustration models just one area of my life, characteristics of how I was inspired though the game of tennis could be assimilated to my new outlook on 2015.
Seeking the “Best in the World”
Living in Ohio, I was fortunate to attend the professional tennis tournament in Cincinnati every summer. I was star-struck to see the best tennis players of all time play in front of my very eyes – Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Stephan Edberg, and Boris Becker. I would stand near the locker rooms waiting for a chance to get a signed autograph or picture to hang in my room. No matter how late my friends got back at home that night, watching the best athletes perform inspired us to hit the tennis courts and keep working on our game.
This year, I plan on finding those same opportunities to meet and talk to the best educational leaders to get that same inspiration. While I may not be able to meet the “best in the world”, I have met many educational leaders who have inspired me, and I will take on the challenge to continue creating opportunities to be inspired by them. Last year was the just the beginning of my network on Twitter, and I plan to continue increasing my knowledge base as I meet new leaders. I will also get to attend my first National Association of Secondary School Principals Conference this year! I am looking forward to meeting educational leaders in person and get inspired!
Surrounding Myself with Other Enthusiasts
Growing up, I played a lot of tennis. My Mom would drop me off at the tennis courts in the summer with a packed lunch and a quarter to call home when it was time to pick me up. I’d play tennis with anyone looking for a game. I played tournaments throughout the year and attended tennis camps every summer. The highlight would be playing against some of the best tennis players I ever met at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida. Even when I moved to a new city, I found comfort going to the nearby tennis courts and playing a pick-up game. For me, tennis is the universal language to learn from others and meet new friends.
For 2015, I commit to surrounding myself with other enthusiasts. This year, I plan on creating opportunities to have positive conversations with others on how to improve, learn, and grow. I will stay clear of the people who zap my energy or create negativity that is counter-productive.
Sharing My Talents
If I wasn’t playing tennis in the summers growing up, I felt like I was giving lessons or teaching younger players the game of tennis. Maybe this was an early sign I would become an educator, but I almost enjoyed teaching tennis as much as playing it! Any chance I could get hitting a tennis ball, even if it was helping someone else, brought me joy. Even as a young teacher, I was able to coach high school tennis for a few years! I felt inspired watching them improve every day and knowing I had a small part in their development.
This year, I plan on sharing my talents with others. I created a few networks with other educational leaders and am committing to helping in any way I can. I know that through relationships and supporting one another, I can inspire others. I want to not just answer questions or provide advice from other leaders, but inspire others with my thoughts, attitudes, and actions.
I realize choosing Inspire as my #oneword is a lofty goal – even more lofty than losing weight for me. While I write these words, I request encouragement and affirmation to hold to it. For me, 2015 will be more than a year of work or life, but it will be one of inspiration to others as well as myself on being the best I can be…