This quote hangs on the wall in my office as a gift from my former principal. I love how it changes a problem into a learning opportunity.

For many years I’ve chosen my word inspired by  @JonGordon11  #OneWord  to focus my year. Past words have been Focus, Growth, Joy, Intentional and others I can’t remember. When I started thinking about my word for 2017 I struggled coming up with something new and different that would speak to me. I began thinking about what I really loved and how I want to be in 2017. What will help me to take action, change, grow and learn new things but not feel like a mandate or more work? The answer was easy, I LOVE to DANCE!

Ever since I set foot in my first ballet class with a kindergarten friend, I was hooked! I went straight home and begged my parents to sign me up for dance classes and never looked back. I spent so many hours at The Dance Shoppe growing up, it was like a second home. I competed with our dance group in middle and high school and was the director of the UT Dance Team in college. While I don’t dance formally anymore, there is plenty of dancing around the house, in the car and an occasional two-step with the hubby. Dancing has always been in my life and it helps me feel alive. I want more of that in 2017!

Trying out new dance steps

I love the notion of literally dancing more, because it sparks joy for me, but also in the figurative sense. My friend who is a professor and life coach uses the phrase “dancing on your edge” frequently when talking about pushing boundaries and trying something new. I want 2017 to be a year that I push myself to try new things (like writing this blog) and dance on my edge more. Education is transforming and we must push ourselves to be better for the students we serve. I look forward to dancing more on my edge to get out of my comfort zone, experiment, be brave yet vulnerable, try new things, find out what works, share ideas with others and be supportive.

Kick off your Sunday shoes

One of my favorite movies is Footloose. I actually liked the 2011 remake almost as much as the original (1984), but it’s hard to beat Kevin Bacon! There are many great lessons in Footloose, but one stands out as I look forward to dancing through 2017. Sometimes we’ve gotta cut loose! At times, I can take life too seriously, especially when I’m stressed or tired. It is a total energy drain. Learning and leading can and should be fun. I’m giving myself (and you) permission to cut loose sometimes! Smile more, be goofy, don’t be afraid to show your sense of humor, dance like no one is watching. Education is built on personal relationships and developing them is much easier when we are having fun. Don’t worry I won’t make everyone dance, but I will focus on creating a fun learning environment to grow and support meaningful relationships.

Dancing in the rain

Life is going to have rainy days, that is unavoidable. How we handle those rainy days and our reaction is something we can control – really the only thing. When I traveled to Bali in 2011 it rained everyday. At first I thought the “bad” weather was going to ruin the trip. One day we were on a tour and it started raining. Immediately our guide turned his face and hands up to the sky with a big smile and proclaimed, “Our daily blessing!” My negative attitude about the “bad” weather instantly changed! Now every time it rains I’m grateful for the blessing. Rain does not have to be a problem that ruins your day, but can be a learning opportunity. It actually is really fun to dance in the rain! Have you tried it? Have you tried it with your kids? As we move into 2017 I hope that I will be able to dance through the rain and change problems into learning opportunities.

Start a movement

We’ve probably all seen the youtube video of the dancing guy who looked a bit crazy at first, but with commitment, collaboration, support and some new friends he created a movement! Sometimes I feel like the lone crazy guy dancing out there alone, but as I continue to share and connect with others I believe we are creating a movement that will transform education. I hope you will join me and dance, try something new, have more fun, turn problems into learning opportunities and maybe even start a movement! Here’s to a great 2017!!

2 thoughts on “#OneWord2017

  1. Kirsten…Thank you for your leadership and commitment to education! I know that sometimes it is frustrating, but you model the dedication that is needed to make an impact on so many. Thank you for all that you do! Keep up the blog…The world is now watching 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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