Looking back to move ahead………
Where to next?
This year has been a mix of disappointment/heartache/joy and change. There have been many lessons learned through these experiences and I find myself in a place where I am asking myself what is my next move? Catherine Zeisner, a very close friend of mine recently completed her EdD and used the analogy of the lobster. As the lobster begins to get ready to change and grow it’s shell becomes uncomfortable and it then sheds it shell. This feeling of discomfort, of the desire for growth and change is where I find myself in January 2017.
I am at a point in my career where I have been a school leader for 11 years. I have worked internationally through OPC’s International School Leadership and I am ready for a change, but what change is it? What skills, experiences and new learning do I need to grow and change as a leader?
In 2016 I set a goal to find personal balance. As I reflect on that goal I find that I have been successful. I have intentionally scheduled time for my wellness: pilates, Weight Watchers, time with friends. All of these activities have allowed me to find more of a work life balance and to live a healthier life.
As a parent I have realized that your relationship with your children changes significantly as they become older and more independent. 2016 has provided me opportunities to create some special memories with my boys. This year we had several once in a lifetime opportunities to travel together: Switzerland, Grand Forks, Brussels, Malta. These experiences gave me insight into my children as young adults and allowed me to connect and learn about them in new ways.
There were our fair share of heartaches and disappointments in 2016 as well. I do not want to dwell or go into detail about them as we have put them behind us and moved forward but what I have learned about myself, my children and my husband from these challenges is resilience, persistence and determination. Not once did anyone when faced with a challenge give up. They dug in an pushed through even though it was hard. As a mother and a wife this is what has made me the most proud this year. We battled through it and I believe it made us closer as a family because we were all in it together!
In my work I set a goal to slow down, to say “no” and to focus on being present in my school. I feel that I have done that this year. I withdrew from several committees and remained focused on intentional school improvement in my own building. This focus has paid off and we are seeing progress in our school.
So what next? Where do I go from here? As a sit quietly and reflect about what is next for 2017, I can honestly say I do not know but I am open to new possibilities, new adventures and new learning.