Pay It Forward

There are some lessons that you will never learn on your own. That’s the importance of giving back, and when I say that I mean giving back time.  There’s nothing in life that can be achieved independently, and I can honestly say that I would not have achieved any of the milestones in my career without the amazing mentors that I have.  And the best way for me to thank them is to pay it forward. With that said, let me tell you a brief story about a chance encounter….

 

One afternoon at work I was reviewing resumes for a position that we were hiring for when I came across one application that stood out.  The candidate didn’t meet the initial qualifications for the job posting, but still everything in me wanted to reach out…so I did!  I called them up and told them that I thought that they were fabulous and on the right track.  I emphasized the fact that even though I could not interview them for the position that they originally applied for, that it should not cause them to stop reaching for the stars and working to make their career dreams come true.  The applicant reminded me so much of a younger version of myself, and I knew deep down that reaching out was the right thing to do.  It turns out, that my phone call was exactly what they needed to hear to keep them encouraged to press forward.

 

While it might not seem like it was a big deal, it really was.  I took a leap of faith in my decision, and I know that it will yield great rewards. I am paying it forward the best way that I know how.  I think that is the #1 rule on anyone’s leadership journey (or at least top 3-5)…ALWAYS make time to pay it forward.  If someone had not taken the time with me or with you, where would we be now?  I want that to be my lasting legacy. I want someone to be able to speak about how I helped them reach their own greatness without worrying about it interfering with my own.  There’s room at the table for everyone!

 

PayItForward
Image via quotesgram.com

 

 

 

When The Going Gets Tough…

There are so many aspects of leadership that no one tells you about.  They don’t write about it in a book, it’s not discussed in class, and it is most definitely NOT one of the ridiculous scenarios that you have to write about in class.  We made it through August pretty well considering that Hurricane Harvey dumped a bajillion gallons of water in the greater Houston area and left a monstrous path of destruction in his wake.  And believe it or not, I was semi-prepared to deal with that.  However, I was not prepared the death of a team member the week after the storm hit.

 

During a time when our city is trying to recover and rebuild, a time when so many coworkers are experiencing devastating losses, how do you lead them through the passing of a legend in our field and in our school district?  I have struggled with whether or not I got it right, or if I’m still getting it right.  But one thing is for sure, people are looking for me to lead…whether I wanted to or not.  Standing up in a meeting and basically eulogizing the person who led every meeting in that room in the past…someone who was far too young and taken away from us far too soon…that was one of the hardest things I have ever done. It’s definitely top 3 in my professional life.  In my personal life, I can say that the pains and hurts of the past actually did a great job of equipping me for this task. I’m used to loss. I’m used to remembering the good times and using those memories as fuel to move forward.  It was different to try to lead others through that process.  I’m grateful for the mentors who helped me navigate through this terrain and come out on the other side. I know that this isn’t over, but I’m happy to have survived the beginning of this ride.

 

Now, as I begin to put the pieces back together and attempt to move forward, I’m looking forward to getting back into a routine. I am trying to establish some procedures & policies that will help in the interim.  The position will be filled, and a new person will join our team in January.  I’m looking forward to that for many reasons, but the number one is simply a return to normalcy.  Thank you for bearing with me as I get it back together.

 

~Ashley

 

Leadership Reflections

First – Welcome to my blog! I’m not new to blogging, but this site is new for me.  I have been reading about the importance of leadership reflection, and I decided to create this blog as a way to reflect along my journey.  I normally spend quite a bit of time reflecting and analyzing everything, and this is my attempt to tunnel that focus into this particular area of my life.

 

In June 2017 I was named Digital Learning Coordinator for the school district in which I am employed.  I was simultaneously thrilled, nervous, excited, and scared.  The path that got me here has been filled with quite a few twists and turns, and it has definitely had some unexpected valleys that.  The climb from the bottom of the valley that led me to this position was hard, and at times I wanted to quit.  But I learned quite a few invaluable lessons along the way.  My goal is to use those lessons to help shape me into the leader that I want to be, and the leader that I have always wanted to follow. I hope that you will follow me along this journey.

 

To begin, I have set time aside to blog  about my experiences every other week. I don’t think it’s too much or too little given the hectic nature of my current work pace.  Besides, if we don’t make time to reflect, it usually doesn’t happen. That is why I have added it to my calendar. When the reminder goes off on my phone, I will drop everything and reflect.  It’s the new D.E.A.R. time! 🙂