What Resolution is Your Resolution?

In terms of resolutions, the start of the school year for educators is like January 1 to the tenth power. It’s such a drastic new start for most of us that it seems like an ideal time to begin some new habits or practices.

When I think back on my own start-of-school resolutions, my own hoped-for fresh starts, they are sadly . . . repetitive. Similar fitness or nutrition goals. Similar goals in terms of my role as a teacher or school administrator. Similar goals to read more, to take better notes, to reflect more, to support my colleagues with more precision and focus.

Listening to a Farnham Street interview with Kat Cole, I found an obvious (okay, embarrassing) gap in my resolution making. Cole mentions it while noting a difference between two relationships.

I couldn’t remember in my previous longterm relationship ever saying or thinking, I want to be a great partner. I remember thinking, I want to be a great human. I want to be an awesome leader. I want to be a great businessperson.… And I don’t remember ever prioritizing my role as a partner at home in an intentional way. My now husband said the same thing, and we both quickly came to the conclusion that we want to be different this time. We want to be as good if not better at home as we are in business. So then the question was, well how do you do that? And that answer was intentionality.

I’m not sure why hard driving professionals so often slack off at home, treating their relationships like sofas they can collapse onto on their way to a nap.

Okay, sometimes those relationships should serve just such a purpose. But they also require at least as much care, much of the time, as we would put into a slide deck for a Board meeting or an interview process for a key hire.

Cole’s quote made me think back to a valuable summer Tweet from Greg Bamford, Senior Partner + Co-Founder @leadanddesign.

I have to wonder if Cole’s comment would have landed with as much impact for me if I hadn’t first seen, read, and really thought about Bamford’s tweet. Which makes me think, practically, about change and leadership. Leaders put down mental velcro all the time. I’m wondering if enough of that velcro acknowledges the full scope of what it means to “go to work.” What stories do we tell as leaders? What storytelling do we invite or facilitate? What do we hold up, for our colleagues and our institutions, as admirable behaviors? What do we imply or signal about what it means to excel here (or there, or wherever you are)? Do we talk openly about the hidden costs of outward facing success and achievement? And are we really all that we might be at work if we’re not first all that we can be at home? Do we support resolutions that are operating at a high enough resolution, one that includes enough human pixels?

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