Friday, June 21, 2024

Finding Joy and Purpose in Leadership

 As 2023 handed over to 2024 I was making my way through the training for and finally completing the Tarawera Ultramarathon 100 Miler event. I posted a bit about it, using some of the thinking and lessons I was learning from that to explore the key elements of leadership, especially the importance of  knowing your 'why', understanding your purpose.

The photo below was taken at the 110k mark at 3 30am deep in the Okataina Forest, 23 1/2 hours after the start with just over 12 hours to go. I was well and truly buggared and had really struggled the previous 6 hours with a bit of throwing up and struggling to take the required nutrition on board.

At this point my daughter joined me as my pacer for the last 50k. Just after the photo was taken she suggested right now was a good time to remember my 'why'. This was a timely suggestion because my 'why' had been centred around really testing myself to see what I was capable of, and now I was in unknown territory distance wise and was facing a real test.

She also knew that my father (her grandfather to whom she was very close) was an inspiration to me. She reminded me that he often competed in the Redwoods and that we would feel his presence. As the mist settled in the forest, as the shadows crowded in and as strange noises emerged from just outside those shadows it was easy to feel his presence.

A few kilometres later as we were climbing to the peak she also made the cheery observation that in 3 hours time the sun would be rising for the 2nd time in the race and that it would feel like 'a new day'.

Despite the evidence in the photo I experienced a huge amount of joy as we set about bringing life to my 'why'.

Joy and purpose

Two weeks ago I was participating in an on-line session where a computer programmer from USA was presenting on the capability of AI to enable personalised learning for school students. He was a talented young man who would have been hugely successful in the corporate world, but had instead created a start-up that had attracted investment of money and expertise to break apart the shackles that seemed to be resisting our desire to find ways to truly personalise learning.

It was obvious that he was working from the standpoint of firmly placing the students at the centre - who were they, what were their interests and needs and what pedagogy would best promote their learning - and then determining if and how technology could support that.

His opening line to us was:

        "I'm where I'm meant to be in life. I've found joy and purpose."

This so resonated with me that I lost focus on the presentation for a bit as I rolled that thought around in my mind.

I've spent a lot of my time recently working with school leaders in ways that are supported by my leadership framework:

The importance of 'Joy' seems to be missing, but I suspect it could be one of the descriptors that would fit nicely in that sweet spot in the centre.

APDP Leadership Opportunity
Derek Wenmoth and I are about 3/4 through our Principal Leadership Support Programme, Refresh, Reconnect, Refocus, and the feedback from principals has been strong, including:

“I was in desperate need of a programme like this. This gave me the opportunity to participate in a transformative journey of professional learning and wellbeing, where I rediscovered my passion, reignited my purpose, and reconnected with my vision for leading in education. Together, we got to nurture not just academic excellence, but also the holistic wellbeing of our school communities. Because when we thrive, so does the entire educational ecosystem.”

We have been asked by non-Principal senior leaders (APs and DPs) to run a similar programme in 2025 with a particular focus on their leadership context. We have committed to do that and are seeking no-obligation registrations of interest through the link attached to this flyer.

Have a look and see if it's for you. If it isn't, please share with a colleague who might find this opportunity is just what they need.

Let me know if I can help in any way.

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