If you know me, you know that I am a runner.  It helps take the edge off the crazy.

And if you’ve ever trained for a race of any distance, you know that you take risks.  You risk injuring yourself during training.  You risk not meeting your race goals, whether that goal consists of a specific time, distance, or just finishing.  You also know if you’ve ever trained for a race of this type that you do a variety of workouts to prepare for the kind of suffering you experience during a race.  I do some workouts where I run fast, and some where I run only kind of fast, and some where I am running very long distances at a slower pace.

But no matter which of those workouts I do, eventually I get to a point in these harder workouts where I want to quit.  It’s easy to just stop and start walking, telling myself I pushed hard enough and that it’s OK not to make it to the end.

And that’s when I have to remind myself that the real workout begins when it gets tough.  It begins when you want to quit, when you want to give up, walk away, and take the easy path.  But if you stick with it, if you persevere, the gains will be worth all the time and effort.

That’s where I’m currently at in my leadership journey.  I’m trying to encourage and support risk-taking, innovation, and improving practices by trying new things that are fantastic for students and their learning.  The easy part for me was getting started, because there are staff that are really ready for change…the tough part is persevering when things start getting tough, for me and for the trailblazers trying to do new things to do right by their students.  It’s tough building and maintaining relationships, getting past antiquated notions of “fairness.”  It’s tough working through all the egos and the misunderstandings and the cognitive dissonance that results from the collision between new ideas that we know are better for students and traditional ideas that we now know don’t work but are being done anyway.

It’s tough knowing you’re taking the risk that you may fail.  But, if failure occurs, at least it’s failure in the right direction.

Image Credit: Denise Krebs via Flickr


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