Saturday, March 24, 2012

Personal Vision to the Future

I wonder how many of us wander through life somewhat aimlessly?  We finish high school and maybe go to university, trade school, travel for a while, get a job, do charity work, or even ‘do nothing’.  Eventually most people land in a career or a job that sustains them.  Many will marry, have kids, and ‘live life’.  Some people seem then, to go through life without any particular goals.  Some seem to wander along with a cloud over their heads.  You know, the people that when they are in your presence or enter a room, suck the air and energy out of the room.  I wonder if they just never got around to creating a Brianeaglepersonal vision?  On a personal note, I really enjoy the outdoors, and was pretty focused on downhill mountain biking (have switched for safety reasons to XC).  The picture shown here is of me a few years back living life to the fullest in the woods on my bike :-)  A quick a-side, I read this article by Michael Hyatt yesterday that you might enjoy on how to become a happy person people want to be around.  It truly is a choice as to what state of mind we wish to carry around with us and project onto others.  Negativity and Positivity are both infectious, which do you want to project?  You need a personal vision to get to a preferred future!

“To be highly knowledgeable and capable in leading and supporting the people I work with and to influence and lead others in powerful and effective uses of technology.”

I have been thinking lately (like I never do that) about my personal goals, my career goals, and my vision for the future.  Subject to more thinking… the statement above is what I’ve come up with so far with respect to career.  I learned from a wise person once that it’s useful to think of these types of statements as '”elevator statements”.  Boil it down to something you could share on an elevator with someone while traveling between floors.  Note that for a more personal vision, not developed yet, I see more investment in charitable activities in my future…

While spending time deep thinking about who I am, I decided to do a SWOT to help organize my thoughts.  A SWOT is a common technique for quickly analyzing a situation an idea, a project, etc.  You have to be very honest and transparent if it’s to be meaningful. 

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Notice the weaknesses I list for myself.  Being ever aware of these helps me to mitigate their potential damage.  For example I have surrounded myself with others to overcome these, to fill the holes the weaknesses can create.  I also have to consciously self-regulate to dial back some of my natural tendencies.  Fortunately, I have two quality managers who support me and bring balance to this context.  I think leaders need people different then themselves to round out the available leadership capacity.  I really appreciate DC and BL and the work they do that enables me to do what I need to do: focusing on the Strengths, Opportunities, and Threats, and knowing the Weaknesses are being addressed.

I also spent some time thinking about specific goals.  I have developed one candidate goal so far but need to work on a few more.  Notice I’m using the SMART goal approach here which forces you to be concrete.  That’s a good thing for me as I prefer to live in an abstract philosophical intellectual world :-)

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This goal fits really well with my passion for learning in general but also to help me be more capable of holding authentic conversations with professional educators about their world.  I’ve worked very hard the past five years to fill in my knowledge in this area through reading books, blogs, and many conversations with teachers and principals. I’ve been referred to as an educator many times. I may not be trained and practiced professionally as an educator but I think intellectually I “get it”.  It helps that I have a strong orientation to being a learner.  I’ve found that being in classrooms gives me a first hand view and ability to talk more practically with teachers and students clarifies my understanding.

This year I’ve focused on trying to expand and develop awareness and understanding for my staff of our educational context, coming changes with information technologies, tools, efficiencies, learning needs, etc.  You might be interested in what I wrote about for one of our meetings in Considering the Future.  Our fourth and last meeting for the year is in June.  I’m planning to facilitate work on personal SWOT’s, SMART goals, and personal career vision.  I am hoping this iStock_000010797682XSmallhelps us set the stage for a very intentional year for 2012-13 in being individually and collectively moving forward to be well positioned to deal with the future in our role in the “business” of education.  I am impressed with my staff having survived the deep thinking they’ve endured this year in our meetings.  I know it’s difficult for some of them to step out of their purely IT roles into this type of thinking about their work and our future together.

I wonder what you would write as your personal vision?  Maybe you would like to comment on that here…