You can imagine that if a list of the Ten Hardest Jobs in America were published, the school principal would be near the top of the list! With the many opportunities I have to coach and mentor principals on a one to one basis, I find that the balance issues between work and family are an issue! Principals are forsaking their own health, well-being and family relationships. One of the hardest parts of the job is that you are all alone in the work. As they say, “It’s lonely at the top!” A principal could share with a significant other the hardships, etc. of the daily grind, but there is always a sense that they just don't get it. It seems like only another principal or person who has done the work could understand. Exactly why having a mentor or support person to talk with, encourage you, support you, and build your skills to achieve your goals as a professional are a necessity!
Many decades ago. Napoleon Hill famously advised individuals to create a mastermind group-a sort of personal “Board of Directors” who share common interests and ambitions, values and beliefs, people who support their dream. Having a personal “Board of Directors” --people whose opinions are valued and can be called upon as a source of information and/or reality provided leaders with a richer variety of actions available to them--they did not have to face their situations alone.
When thinking about who supports you, helps inspire you, keeps you grounded some questions come to mind:
- Who do I admire? Who’s impacted my life?
- Who accepts me? Cares deeply about me? Understands me?
- Who helps me in difficult times? Provides unconditional support?
- Who stretches me? Wants to see me reach my potential?
- Who invests in me? Who applauds my efforts?
- Who do I want/need to celebrate success with?
- Who do I want to be remembered/admired by?
- Who can help me be better? Who will/can/should invest in me?
If you only had six people around the table on your Board of Directors, some people suggest that you definitely need one of each of these:
- The Cheerleader- Who is your cheerleader and always is behind you to motivate and spread the positive parts of you?
- The Truth Teller- Who can you count on to always tell the truth and keep you grounded with accurate perspective?
- Jiminy Cricket- Who is your conscience and keeps you grounded with what is right and what is wrong?
- Sacajawea- Who is your guide or mentor who shows you the way?
- Crowd in the Square- Who is your small group or sounding board that keeps you grounded in reality and real life?
- Luke to your Yoda- Who are you mentoring? Teaching? “To be a great teacher, you have to have a great student!”
As we move into the high hurdles sprint marathon to June, take a moment to reflect on who is supporting you? You are giving every ounce of your spirit, passion and support to your kids, your staff, your school, and your community. Who do you count on to help YOU? Who do you call when you need someone to listen and assist in solving a problem? Who are the people that sit on your Board of Directors? Whose Board of Directors do you sit on?