As you are wrapping up the semester, I wanted to send this note of encouragement.
This semester you have managed school in ways you never have before. Some of you have served students who have been at home all semester. Others have been in-person or in hybrid models. Whatever your circumstance, I have heard from many principals that this has been the most challenging year of their education career. With that in mind, I want to wish you the following during your much-deserved break:
1. I wish you rest from unending decision-making.
For some of you, you will still manage a lot of family to-do’s over break. But give yourself permission to turn off your technology. Put an automatic reply on your email that you are on vacation until the New Year. And then ignore your inbox. You deserve this time off.
2. Do something that recharges your emotional batteries.
If you are an extrovert, it will be hard to avoid crowds, but find an outlet that brings you joy. If you are a hunter, hunt. If you love exercise, start a new workout. Whether it is: dancing, knitting, reading, or taking long walks – find that thing and do it.
3. Make a list of what has been challenging and what has been a blessing this past year.
Sometimes it’s helpful to see the pros and cons of your experience. Accept the things you could not or cannot change, and then celebrate the experiences that were still happy moments this past year.
4. When you’ve had time to re-charge, think of something outrageously optimistic you’d like to accomplish this year.
Mike Mattos, Solution Tree author, calls this a ‘BHAG’ – a Big Hairy Audacious Goal. I like to encourage leaders to apply this to your personal life too: Maybe you want to run a marathon, start a YouTube channel, earn your doctorate, write your first book, or climb a mountain. If it’s a school-wide goal you’ve always dreamed of reaching, go for it. I can’t tell you what that dream is, but think of a BHAG, and give yourself permission to pursue it. Even if you don’t accomplish the goal, you’ll always go farther when you take action and learn a lot about yourself in the process of trying.
On behalf of the Principal Matters community, I want to wish you a much deserved time-off. As a bonus to this week’s podcast episode, I have included an additional 15 minutes of Christmas piano music from my home to yours (with ‘Yours Truly’ playing, mistakes and all).
I look forward to continuing to learn together in the year ahead. In the meantime, cheers to your Christmas Break & Happy New Year!