Tuesday, April 15, 2008

It's Not About Education . . .

You may think I have really lost it, or you may think the title of this post it really on target. It is not about education!! If that is true, then what is it about? I believe that it is about passion (enthusiasm) and conscious leadership. Educators today are calling it engagement (to attract and hold fast). Getting excited is something I have always been able to do -sometimes (I think) to the point of irritation of others. My apologies.

Everyday I try to say this phrase:

If you act enthusiastic, you become enthusiastic.
Today is the first day of the rest of my life.
I can, I will and I am going to have the best day that I have ever had in my entire life.

My kids think I am nuts when I say it aloud to them driving them to high school. But I am passionate about the results of this kind of positive thinking. I've seen the results since learning these statement in 1976 during one college summer with the Southwestern Company. Yes I sold educational handbook and Webster's New World Dictionaries in Tenessee one summer, had a positive experience, and made some life long friends.

I searched the internet to try to find where these statements originally came from and found that Mary Kay Ash references the power of "If you act enthusiastic, you become enthusiastic". Then I found a blog titled "the first dayof the rest of your life" by a peace corp teacher that loves what she is doing teaching in Osh, Kyrgyzstan though she does seem to have trouble keeping her blog alive.

A lot of this information was presented through Dale Carnagie's principals found in his book, "How to Win Friends and Influence People". His "Golden Book", which includes these principles is available as a free download at this site.

According to the Dale Carnagie Corporation, companies with engaged employees outperform others by 47% to 202%. Wouldn't it be great to see those kinds of results with our students. Creating an environment of teamwork builds alignment and engagement. This environment promotes focus, direction and action.

Creating alignment and purpose in a team helps promote action, focus, and direction. Employees and students (as learning is their work) need to come together to identify and work by the values, vision, and guiding principles that build successful teamwork.

We need to look at ways to strengthen the sense of common purpose among your students. Teachers should use the powerful forces of values and vision to unite students and give them direction.
  • Create common purpose for team members
  • Examine the values that govern team interactions
  • Create a unifying team vision
  • Create a team environment of mutual support
  • Commit to principles for building teamwork

Let's get passionate! In closing, check out this short video clip about conscious leadership and passion.

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