We All Need Somebody to Lean On

It’s been quite some time since I’ve published to this site. I’ve struggled with what to write and how to be transparent in our current political climate, and especially while transitioning into a new position in a different school district. There’s so many pitfalls to being open and honest on the internet, and I’ve worried about how being too open might affect me professionally. As I finish my first full year (plus one month) in my current position, I find that I miss the exercise of regular public reflection. I miss sharing my learning and leadership journey with the world. And so here I am, venturing back out into the wild, wild world of the internet. And I must admit, it feels good to be back.

The past year of work has been filled with so many lessons that I have lost count. I’ve encountered obstacles that I had seen before, but not to the same level or degree. Some of my hesitancy with blogging has been due to the fact that many of my obstacles directly involved other people, and there is never a good way to write about those experiences. No matter what words I would have used to express myself, there would have been opportunities for things to be taken out of context and for feelings to be hurt. And so, I did what I knew was the next best thing; I kept a written journal.

Handwritten journals are underrated in the age of public sharing (and public shaming). I, for one, have always been powerfully impacted by written reflection. It allows me to structure my thoughts, look at situations through a new perspective, and process my thoughts and feelings. As a human being, writing my thoughts has served me well. As a leader, sharing those thoughts publicly isn’t always the way to go. And so, I’ve been writing in a journal, talking things through with my therapist, and resisting the urge to share publicly those things that should be handled privately.

That aspect of public vs private sharing was a great lesson to learn, and an often difficult lesson to put into practice. I tell people all the time, I’m transparent to a fault. This was the season of mastering, “to a fault” whether I wanted to or not. I have definitely been more closed off than usual, choosing only to open up that part of my work and world to a small group of trusted friends and mentors. It was in this space where I learned that the people that I choose to surround myself with is probably one of the most important decisions I can make along this leadership journey.

I’ve written before about the importance of mentors, and in this season I’ve learned about the equal importance of friends. It was great to have people who could call out the greatness they knew was there, challenge me to see a different perspective, and also let me know when I was doing the right thing even when it was the difficult choice. I’m so thankful for the people who have been in my life during this last season. I am a better leader because of each of them.

I’m looking forward to what year two in this role will bring. I have plans to continue to share my lessons learned from year one, and I’m looking forward to having a circle of friends to continue make this journey worth every step.

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