I have read many blog posts in the past week talking about the book One Word That Will Change Your Life by Jon Gordon, Dan Britton and Jimmy Page. The book’s authors encourage you to pick one word that will guide and motivate you rather than making New Year’s resolutions that you probably won’t keep. I originally read the book a few years ago and I have chosen words which have truly motivated me throughout each year. My word for 2015 was “moment” and this word helped steer me and remind me that each moment that we spend with each other is the most important moment. By focusing on this one word I was able to appreciate the now as often as possible.
As I read the various blog posts, I was inspired by my fellow educators’ words and how they expressed the importance of why they were choosing each word. I spent a few days contemplating what my one word would be and I found inspiration yesterday in the same way that I found my word last year – swimming in the ocean. My family and I spent New Year’s Eve at the beach and during a swim I started thinking about what my choice would be. My one word had to be something that would inspire me throughout the year and get me to a place where I would be happy at this time next year. I realized then that my guide would be “more”.
The word “more” came into my mind because of two sources. One was from my late grandfather, Adolph “Tuffy” Tirri, who used to tell us “I love you more” whenever any of his kids, grandkids, or great-grandkids would say “I love you Poppi”. While this became a catchphrase of his, it also opened up my eyes to the prospect of loving someone at an even greater level, a level only gained by wisdom, experience and from someone who had been through life’s hardships. When Poppi told you that he “love(d) you more” you could tell just by looking into his eyes that the man truly felt it. I learned from him that there is always another level that you can go to.
The other source came from a fortune that I opened a few weeks ago:
My wife laughed this one off as she sees me pour my heart and soul into doing what’s best for kids each day. The people closest to me also joked about this because they see me as someone who is “all in” for kids and for my school. My wife is actually a little concerned about this because she sees the downside of putting your entire being into your school. She sees the stress, the headaches, and the physical toll that being extremely passionate can bring about. But I put those aspects aside because I know that I can really make a difference in kids’ lives.
So this year I will be focusing on “more”, as in “do more”, “be more”, “connect more”, “listen more”, and…well you get the idea. I truly never feel that I do enough and that there is more that I can do. In 2016 I will explore the concept of more. I know that there is more of who I am to discover, more that I can offer. I will seek to become more both personally and professionally. This is my third year at my current school and I believe that I have formed some great relationships and solidified my place in the community but I will find ways to connect more. I feel that I accomplished a lot in 2015: finished as a participant in the Florida Commisioner of Education’s Leadership Academy and now training to be a facilitator; attended my first edcamp (edcampsoflo); started a weekly Twitter chat with two of my teachers (#SoFLEdChat); attended Miami Device, an amazing conference, that left me inspired that there is more to do; and gave a TedX talk that I cannot wait to share with the world. But with all that said, I still feel that there is more that I can accomplish, but not for personal gain. All of those things that I mentioned are done to help further my guiding philosophy of making kids’ lives better.
Part of my passion is to help bring about change in education and in what school can and should be. I believe that I have to be connected to kids and to school in order to make this happen so that my voice is relevant (I honestly don’t envision myself as anything but a principal). However, I know that there is more that I can do both inside and outside my school. More that I can bring to education. A famous statement from the Marvel comic book Spider Man is “with great power comes great responsibility”. I believe that those of us who have the ability to make a change need to do all that we can to bring that change about. So I will continue to believe that I have never done enough. I will build more connections, write more, speak out for our students and teachers more. I will strive to do “more” each day for our kids.
So join me this year. What will your “one word” be? Think about where you want to be at this time next year. What goals do you have for yourself, both personally and professionally? Then pick a word that will help to get you there. Happy New Year everyone and I hope that we can connect more in 2016!