Being Bold


Over the last few days, I've been doing some self-reflection as I swim up and down the pool. It's a great time for reflection because, well, the mechanical actions of swimming are pretty much automatic...and it leaves my brain to wander. Often, I focus on being present in the pool. That means feeling the water swirling around me, taking deep breaths every few strokes, feeling the sun on my face, my arms and back, and focusing on what's ahead and nothing else. It is incredibly relaxing. 

Yet, amidst the "moment" of swimming, thoughts creep in no matter how tightly I try to keep them out. And one of the thoughts that crept in was a question--are we bold enough as educators to bring about the changes we desire?

What changes one educator desires may be different than another's. As an administrator, the changes I want to see usually involve leveraging technology to achieve instructional objectives. In fact, NOT using technology in that way frustrates my understanding of WHY we have technology in schools in the first place. To help me better understand how to "be bolder," I thought I'd see what others were doing.

The article excerpt below reminds me of a saying my father would repeat to me often: He who hesitates is lost. For me, that means, both in the water and out, that when you stop moving forward, when you slow your speed down, you lose control of what you want to achieve. You hesitate, you stop, and you lose your way. You step outside the flow of events.
Too often, a man sleepwalks his way through life hesitating and second-guessing everything he says or does. The result is mediocrity and indecision at its best. Don't get me wrong, you should think twice about your actions and expressions, but remember that you must act boldly to achieve the pinnacle of success. (Source: Being Bold)
In chatting with Wes Fryer last week when he came down to San Antonio for a short visit, I was tempted to tease him about "Moving at the Speed of Mediocrity." Simply, conventional wisdom holds that, unless you're fully committed to moving at the speed of creativity--what Wes calls his blog--you are almost always a day late and a dollar short. I often laugh at my own blog because I see it moving at the speed of mediocrity...good enough to have readers, a well of reflection, but not great enough to be a source of income, or as a gauge of success as usually defined. 

But when is that mediocrity OK? When is NOT being bold OK? I have to push back against my cultural a drive for excellence and creativity/innovation OK not to have? If you're NOT going to swim full-speed in the swimmer's lane, should you get out of the way for others who might?

I like this quote from the Being Bold article:
When you are facing a decision to act, think of it as a way to prove your worth. The first thing you must do is decide whether you want to take action or not. 
The first thing is to decide whether you want to take action or not. How true. As a swimmer, a writer,  you have to plunge in, commit yourself fully to getting stuff done. You can't just dip a toe in, write a half page and stop there. You go whole hog, so to speak. The problem is, what are you getting yourself into exactly?

So, back to the question of education. How committed am I as an educator get things done in my organization? Am I prepared to plunge in, making the decision to act or do I want to sit by and see how things develop?

You know, that's a decision you make in every meeting you're in, every interaction with people that you have. Are you "all in?" 


...what makes a thought leader: freedom from worry about criticism, energy to put your plans in motion, and the intellectual curiosity to think about how the status quo could be better and to come up with innovative new ideas.Yes, all of these things do describe thought leaders – plus the ability to effectively communicate your ideas and plans.
Source: On Being Bold
Make that into a checklist...
  • Freedom from worry about criticism
  • Energy to put plans in motion
  • Intellectual curiosity to think about how the status quo could be improved
  • Come up with innovative ideas
  • Effectively communicate those ideas and plans for change


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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


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