An easy question to ask but a harder one to answer. Let's make things a little easier...."are you aware of what you want to do and how you want to do it?" When asked this question, it enables us to use our imagination, but I still feel that we limit ourselves! This may be because we are a little fearful to imagine 'what if' - yet, without the 'what if' moments/thoughts/scribblings/attempts, we wouldn't have the world that we have today.
I am prompted to muse on the title of my blog because of a response given to me by one of my associates this week. As part of my branding of my new coaching and consulting business, I have reached out to those I have worked with to request a testimony or recommendation. I was taken a little by surprise by the recommendation that I received from a former Trustee of the Trust that I used to work for. I am reproducing part of the recommendation below, with her permission:
"...Taking a building site and an idea and turning them into a successful, happy school in just a few years is a major accomplishment." Victoria Collis
I had forgotten that that was something that I had done. It's too easy to dismiss accomplishments and to be modest and humble about them enables others to recognise the achievement - which is no bad thing and something that I am extremely grateful for. However, I am struck by Victoria's words - "taking a building site and an idea".
When I reflect on her words, I think back to the early days of my brand new headship - when there was no physical building. No staff. No pupils. No systems. No processes. No curriculum. No community. At times, my friends would tease me and say that I had made my job and my 'school' up! There was nothing to show. Just an idea and some thoughts that someone else owned. The privilege that I had was to turn them into something tangible and real, living and breathing. Now, here's the thing. I was given the bare bones and asked to translate them into a living organism. What did I do? Did I read lots of books? Watch lots of videos? Attend training courses? No - none of these. The only thing that I did do, was that I did not limit myself.
I plotted my course, thought about and reviewed (briefly) the constraints and created a vision based on what I knew and what I wanted which, from time to time, broke with convention. Sometimes, if we think too hard about something, we can become paralysed by fear - 'paralysis by analysis'. So I didn't. The lack of fear (and believe me it did rear its head from time to time) enabled me to step out in faith and to ensure that the strategic intent, unifying purpose and determination continued to light the way. On reflection I recognise that the vision was strong and enabled others to 'catch it' and to also 'come on board'. I feel that the communication of the vision was simple enough to 'take or leave' - and thankfully I had lots of takers!
Victoria's words reminds me that in the early days of waiting for Heads of Terms, meeting with IT consultants about broadband provision, designing uniform, furniture not arriving, no phone system in place, creating corporate logos, meeting parents, admitting pupils, getting permission to open, recruitment concerns - nothing dimmed my light. I could see the end destination - which, of course, was not a destination! It was simply a milestone!! This leads to another learning point - if you have clarity of direction as I had - nothing will distract you! It reminds me of magnets and the language of attraction and repelling. I believe that once actions that are put in place that are for the greater good (and I will leave you to decide what that is) - actions tend to 'fall into place'. The unifying purpose is like a glue that keeps everything together, and I guess I was promoting that unifying purpose.
As I now begin a new venture in my coaching and consulting business, I am looking at establishing new ways of working. These are not creating concerns for me - if anything, I am having to learn how to manage myself with all the possibilities that I have before me! One thing that I have quickly understood is that there are no limits - and so while I know that my milestone destination as far as my new venture is not known as yet - I am going to enjoy whittling down the possibilities and recognising the familiar and comfortable feeling that comes with negotiating doubts and implementing certainty. This time, it's about me working out what I need to do for myself in order to get to the end point.