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Sep 15

Chris Smeaton

If you want to change…

If you want to change you have to be willing to be uncomfortable!

Now there’s a statement for leadership! There’s a statement for challenging the status quo! And finally, there’s a statement that must be part of our education vernacular, everyday and all the time!

It is pretty easy to sit and watch the race go by. Our lizard brain likes it that way; no stress and no potential for danger. But also… no chance of greatness! Earlier this week, I shared with my learning leadership team the blog post of David Culberhouse (@DCulberhouse), Don’t Go In The Water! It is an excellent piece of writing (as I’ve come to expect from David) that challenges leaders to go into the deep and unknown. Little scary! Not quite sure what is below and what might come up and bite you! But leaders need to take that plunge into the unknown and become uncomfortable. They cannot ask their staff to go in ahead of them. They must be willing to enter first, change first and be uncomfortable first.

Every expert or so-called expert makes the claim that education must change. Even most educators, unless they’ve been sleeping under a rock for the past twenty years believe the same. It is well understood and agreed upon that the purpose of education is far different from when the education system was founded. Yet, the change seems to be glacier in movement. Why? Because it is far easier to do what we’ve always done comfortably than to try something different that makes us uncomfortable. It is human nature and how we are wired!

Leadership is uncomfortable and it is messy! Even when the vision is crystal clear, the pathways to that vision are many and often blurred. We don’t know what lurks around the bend, which detour is ahead or which hill is worth dying on! But unless leaders take that uncomfortable step, choose a detour and pick a hill, we won’t impact change in ourselves and worse in the peers we lead.

Great leaders don’t have all the answers. In fact, they probably have more questions than answers. Great leaders are bold and patient! They understand that there is little comfort in challenging the status quo. They relish in the deep and the uncomfortable! Achieving the goal is to be celebrated but not for long because it is time to push onward. Impactful leaders invite you on the journey rather than sit on the sidelines.

Each day that we lead we must be prepared to stretch the norm. We must stoke the flame of passion to change and to grow. We must learn and accept being uncomfortable in the deep water and the shifting sands. And when we have accepted this, we will be on our journey of great leadership and monumental change!

 

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