Toll Booths and Changing the World

Toll booth

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My daughter Abby and I were driving together this morning when we passed through the tolls heading onto Interstate 93 here in New Hampshire. We noticed an elderly gentleman manning the tolls, the same person who was present on Christmas Eve when we drove through. Abby conveyed some sympathy for the man but my selfish thoughts went to the relative mental ease his job requires compared to the complicated nature of a school administrator. To think that I wouldn’t bring work home or have to worry about filling my life with scores of projects provided me with a brief vision of serenity and simplicity. But after about 10 seconds of mental bliss, I realized, of course, that I have to embrace the larger vision as part of my life calling.

Ironically, my Superintendent sent me a post today from Bongani Sibeko entitled The 4 Common Habits of World Changers which reminded me of my responsibility to maximize my time, talent, and energy – for we pass through this life just once.

Sibeko has four simple habits he sees from those who changed the world, such as Mandela, Mother Teresa, JFK, and Lincoln:

1. Have a purpose

A purpose is what you were born to do here on this earth, only you were assigned this purpose, you do not share it with anyone and when you know it and live by it, you can’t help but transform your world.

If we have any sense of fate or destiny, we must recognize that we have a purpose in this world to serve others and make a positive difference. 

2. Have a conviction

World changers have an unswerving sense of conviction.

What is it that drives you? Do you have passion for children with disabilities or the urban poor? Have you recently taking over the leadership of a school with a staff full of risk-takers? Perhaps you want to develop a flipped school with emerging technology? Do the members of your community feel disenfranchised and you feel convicted to change that impression?

3. Have a vision

Vision inspires passion and inspiration in these people and when they communicate their visions to the rest of the people, you can’t help but be inspired.

Vision is hard to grasp. For we administrators there’s times when it’s difficult to find the time to be a visionary when we are worried about keeping the “trains running on time.” Nonetheless, we must strive to carve out precious time to think and reflect. 

4. Take action

World changers are action-driven; they act on their passion, purpose and dreams. To them merely talking about their dreams is never enough and acting on them is a prerequisite to creating a desired change in the world.

Plans are but optimistic dreams if not acted upon. This is where productive leaders make a difference utilizing research and tools for productivity and ensuring that every minute matters.

All of this is good advice as we head into 2014. Let’s live our lives with mission and passion knowing that we have been given the honor to improve the lives of children within our responsibility.

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