IT IS TIME TO RISE.
I was at a pretty awesome luncheon today to celebrate the holidays with some amazing educators that I've been working with. These are people at the forefront of innovation, transformation and change. They are serious about education, and they are determined to improve how students learn. You don't have causal conversations with them. They say things like, "I've been thinking about the seismic impact of technology on the modern classroom, and wondering what our next steps should be." They are pretty amazing, and I feel fortunate to be in their company. They are my tribe - people willing to think about new ideas and try them out. They inspire me, and I love being around them - even if it does make me feel like I am always running to catch up. Of course, I recognize that this is good for me; to be around people who push me to be better.
I've been thinking a lot about leadership today. Sometimes it seems like leaders have to be these insanely talented, ridiculously creative world-changers. They seem to be people above and beyond us. They are more. More than I am - smarter, stronger, wiser, kinder, braver - everything I am not. They aren't like regular people like me. And on a certain level that gives me an excuse not to work too hard to lead or pursue my own innovative solutions. I can say that I'm not the person to lead and make changes because I'm not like them. They are people above and beyond me. I'm not like those people. I am ordinary.
But all world-changers start out ordinary (except perhaps Malala - she might be the exception). They were just ordinary people who recognized a problem that needed a solution, and came up with one. Maybe their first solution was a technical failure, but they kept going until they found something that worked. Ghandi said, "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight with you and then you win." That's so true. You see a problem, think of an idea, and people either think you are crazy, that it can't be done or that it is a waste of time.
We need to be proactive these days. I'm not going to get overly political, but action is necessary -- if for no other reason than to reassure those people who are feeling anxious about the future. It may be that you think that those who are afraid of the impact of a new administration have fears based in paranoia, but that doesn't change the fact that the world is waiting for people who want to make the world a better place. To quote Malala Yousafazi, "I thought why should I wait for someone else to speak? Why don't I raise my voice?" I think about her words a lot. She was just a child, and yet, she recognized that heroic moments are built on an understand that the world needs for people to act when they are confronted with wrong.
Now is always the best to time - to act, to speak , and to do. It is easy to look around at the things that are going on in the world, and make lists of why they happened. What becomes more difficult is to become invested in changing things. I can write hundreds of thousands of words, but if I do nothing than they are only empty words on a page. My thoughts and ideas only become real when they are put into action.
The truth is we are all leaders in some way - in our families, in our neighborhoods, at work, or even just on the bus. We are surrounded by others who walk this earth with us. It may be that we never say a word to one another, but they see you give up your seat for an older woman, or speak up when someone is bullied or teased. Maybe they see you bend and smile at a small child or offer to carry a heavy box for someone.
Let kindness, compassion and strength be our watchword, and may we not only be looking for ways to disruptive the status quo and make the world a better place, but to encourage those innovators we see trying to do the same.
It is time for us to rise.