One of my favorite books is Oren Harari’s, The Leadership Secrets of Colin Powell. There are so many great concepts in this book and recently my thoughts drifted to one powerful statement: “Optimism is a Force Multiplier.”
This idea came to mind when I was searching for a way to make sense of living through a year of COVID-19. It was this time last year, where we made the painful decision to preemptively close schools to try to keep our students and staff safe, while we learned about COVID-19. Then, this book came to mind and I feverishly thumbed through the pages to find this information on optimism.
The beginning quotation is, “Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision… never step on enthusiasm.” Wow, here we are, starting to make plans for 4th quarter, more in-person school time for students, planning summer learning, and even looking ahead at the 2021-2022 school year. In short, our enthusiasm, hopefulness, and confidence multiply as they radiate outward through our schools and through our community. Elaborating further on optimism, the author relays the following sage advice, “Take responsibility, and do something with the hand you’re dealt. If you get the dirty end of the stick, sharpen it and turn it into a useful tool.”
Let’s be realistic, the past year, from March 2020 when we closed school, until March 2021, where we currently stand has had its share of challenges. What is being suggested is that rather than perseverate on the challenges, we sharpen our gaze and consciously choose to look forward, optimistically, using all of the lessons we learned this year to make schooling better for our students. It is undeniable that positivity improves performance and contributes to an overall healthy culture. When we think about culture, think of it as the weather in our homes, classrooms, schools, and community. When the weather is good, we tend to enjoy our work more thoroughly. Through a positive and optimistic culture our students and staff, therefore, can perform better at school and enjoy the experience while they are here.
This year, our theme was to Chasing Extraordinary! And we did, in countless ways… but our work is not done, nor will it ever be. In fact, as we finish the 2020-2021 school year with unbridled enthusiasm for what lies ahead, we want to ensure that we are taking on the role of a force multiplier. This will inspire the people around us to reach for their full potential, enjoying the journey along the way.