I shared in my last post that faith means taking the “next best step”. The other thing I think about when it comes to faith in the context of our professional journey is the success that can come when we are “faithful in the little things.”
You may not be in the leadership position that you’d ultimately like to be in. And I would say to you – it doesn’t matter. Lead Anyways. Your ability to lead is not defined or confined by your role, title or position. Every day find ways to make everything and everyone around you better!
There was one point in my leadership journey that I desperately wanted to be at the next step. There was someone in that position (who was incredible and whom I adored) and they were going to retire… someday. And my professional plan was to wait for them to retire… someday (which, by the way – is not something I would recommend to anyone as a professional plan). There were times when it was frustrating (my husband would tell you that patience is not my core value). But I continued to find ways to allow my leadership to grow during that time, and I’m so thankful I had people around me who helped me do the same.
During that time my superintendent met with me and shared that they were reshaping my roles and responsibilities – and I was excited! One of the things I was now going to become was the Level II Hearing Officer for our district. Friends… there are a lot of incredible things that people can ordain you with. Becoming a Level II Grievance Officer is not one of them.
If you’ve ever seen Heather Land before you know that she does these funny 60 second video clips from her car that end with this statement – “I ain’t doin it”… (here’s my favorite clip if you’ve never seen one). All of her rants have the same structure including this classic line towards the end: “I would rather.” And they are audacious things like “I would rather stick 10 needles in my eyes” than get up to do a Crossfit workout or “I would rather dance the two-step on hot coals” than eat out on Valentine’s Day by myself. Let me just tell you: I would rather do just about anything than lead a Level II Grievance hearing… over just about anything.
But I did it anyways. And I did it well. And I learned so much in the process. I learned how to really listen and help find the root cause of a concerned parent. I learned how to deescalate contentious situations. I learned how to work together to find common ground. I was faithful in the little things and it has served me so well ever since. When we are faithful in our journey – even when it feels like our work is that of a mustard seed – success will follow.
If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you might have read about our softball team’s recent victory. It wasn’t just any win – it was a win that finished an undefeated, 12-0 season in district play; a win that solidified the District Championship; and a win that marked a long five year journey without even making the playoffs. As the Athletic Director, Principal and I walked out onto the field, district trophy in hand, we asked if we could interrupt their team huddle. The coach politely let us know they weren’t quite finished yet.
As family and friends started to gather around, they proceeded to enter into a time of accountability – each player taking responsibility for things they could have done better and then finished with shout-outs, with players highlighting exceptional things that their teammates had done. Their team meeting came to a close and the celebration commenced. What I walked away with that night was confirmation that this team was absolutely committed to the little things.
Life isn’t about the immediate win. It’s about the long-term goal – and not sacrificing the learning that happens along the way – even in the wins. And to achieve that long-term goal, we must remain faithful in the little things. No. Matter. What.
What about you? Are you frustrated that you’re not in the position you’d ultimately like to be in? How can you find ways to grow your leadership during this season in ways that will better prepare you for what your future holds? What are some “little things” that you might look at differently moving forward?