Making Peace and Moving on

“I’ll make peace with the fact you couldn’t hear the video and move on…O.K. moving on,” said Hitendra Wadhwa recently working with the inaugural districts of The Holdsworth Center. His time with us focused on personal leadership, not around presentation skills, but that statement resonated with me as much as anything else.

How often are we thrown off course by some unforeseen hiccup or unavoidable obstacle? To set the scene, there was an audio issue with a video which was part of his presentation. Who hasn’t been there?

Upon realizing that a portion of us couldn’t hear the video and quickly realizing that replaying it would interrupt his flow, he verbally made peace with it and moved on. He didn’t apologize to the audience, he forgave himself. And we won because he was his most-present self for the rest of the workshop. There was no looking back. No lamenting on some technical snafu.

Authenticity and presence are so rare that we talk about it long after the encounter.

Here’s a video to learn more from Dr. Wadwha:

Everything else he shared was incredible, but that honest moment of self-awareness and self-forgiveness resonated with me the most.

Thanks for listening.

Make Service Your Lens

I was lucky to have the opportunity this week to speak at the Walsh Middle School National Junior Honor Society induction ceremony and wanted to share my thoughts on service. Thanks for reading.

Before I even begin I want to invite our inductees this afternoon to take a moment and thank those who support their growth and development. It’s not easy being a parent/guardian/teacher/principal and none of us would be sitting here without the dedication of others. So let’s take a moment and give them a round of applause.
I want to thank Dr. Agnew and Ms. Zunker for asking me to share a few thoughts this afternoon. I have so many wonderful memories working with many of your older brothers and sisters when I was lucky enough to serve as the assistant principal here from the day the campus opened and for the next five years. If anyone wants the inside scoop of how they acted when they were in middle school, I’ll stick around after the ceremony.

And one free tip before I jump into the meat of my thoughts today. Always thank your family when you’re giving a speech. So, Kelley, Lincoln, and Harrison, thanks for being here to help me celebrate these students today.

But the major reason I’m excited to talk with you all at this event is to celebrate a community that honors the five pillars of NJHS – Scholarship, Service, Leadership, Character, and Citizenship. We’re going to be hearing about each of those in more depth shortly so I’m only going speak about one – SERVICE.

We are the lucky ones. I do believe that hard work breeds luck, but I also believe that the more we do for others without the expectation of anything in return the happier lives we will lead.

So, my challenge to you, new inductees, is to embrace the idea of SERVICE as much more important than hours, projects, a box to check, or something to enhance your college application. Look at SERVICE as a way of life. Look at SERVICE as a lens to see the world.

In every situation you find yourself, whether it’s navigating a crowded Walsh hallway, working in a small group on a project, welcoming a new student, witnessing a conflict between two peers, or being a son/daughter/sister/brother/friend, ask yourself “How can I be of SERVICE?” “How can I make this situation better for those around me?”

And then take ACTION! Go FIRST! Err on the side of ACTION rather than HESITATION! Don’t be a BYSTANDER!

Be GENUINE, take your SERVICE seriously, and amazing things will happen for each and every one of you.

Thank you.