We want to hear our leaders say those three words when they have made an error or mistake. Many will quickly speak those words, and those will dance around to avoid them. Well, I want to tell you I have been wrong. I look back over things I have stated and the wording used. It is imperative to develop your language, so it expresses your points and positions clearly. Working with my editor, I am learning the importance of crafting your words so they give enough details; readers understand clearly the position, points, and foundation you are establishing.
In the past, I have talked a great deal about accepting changes and being open to new ideas. I still believe this is true, but I need to add more to this statement. Change and new ideas can not conflict with the beliefs, values, and core principles you have established. The importance of staying true to yourself and being authentic is priceless.
I am seeing and hearing fear when it comes to today's changes. The cancel culture, name calling, and labeling of others because they choose not to go along with a narrative, beliefs, or changes is not the American way.
What happened to the art of debate? I am not talking about the level of name-calling, dirt digging, and low blows you can punch. The factual points, claim, reason, support, and warrant. What problem, why do we have this problem, what solutions can we use to resolve the issue, and how do we know?
Stand on a platform and foundation. Do not be afraid to try new things, but be cautious of where they may lead. Always ask questions. Why? What if? I will provide one educational example I was part of during my career.
The whole language was the new shiny thing as I joined the staff working with children with reading difficulties. Everyone switched from teaching phonics to whole language. Did this switch help to improve reading for all children? If you look at the statistics, you will find the answer is no.
I want to know your thoughts about change. What changes are happening you are not comfortable with, and are you making the changes or not? Are you afraid to voice an honest opinion on changes that are happening? I will reference one of my posts, Good Enough, from this week when I talk about those who survived traumatic events. The courage they had to survive these events I cannot do justice to in the words I write. Charlie Dukes stayed a prisoner of war to go on to write about in his book Good Morning: but the Nightmares Never End Hardcover – December 1, 1997. He and his wife Gracie were blessings to me; I worked with Gracie as a young educator. I invited them to come and speak at every location I went. His story and their story are what I wanted my students to know about America.
As fifth-grade teachers, we studied the Holocaust in history. I strongly believe in doing all you can to bring tangible resources to students when you can do so. We were very close to Terre Haute, Indiana, the home of the CANDLES Museum. CANDLES is an acronym for “Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors,” created by Eva Mozes Kor. She, along with her twin sister Miriam Kor survived SS Doctor Josef Mengele's human experimentations at the Auschwitz concentration camp in German-occupied Poland during World War II. Their parents and two older sisters were killed in the gas chambers at Birkenau.
Eva Kor was the museum, and I am thankful to have introduced this to many students. I invited her to speak several times, and her lessons touched the hearts of all in attendance. She talked to me about a letter she had received and how she was thinking about what she would be doing. She would be meeting Hans Münch, who was part of what she endured. She publicly forgave the Nazis for what had been done to her.
I have their books that are signed, but it is when they gave them to me I remember and cherish the most. They have passed on to a new life journey leaving me with opportunities to continue to share their wisdom.
Always say Good Morning! The importance of forgiveness frees us from the nightmares holding onto us and allows us to continue to move through our life journey courageously. Today is our day to stand for what we believe, free from the worry of what others may think, but knowing “Good Morning” comes when we know we have done all we can. Thank you for being the solution daily in a world we create together with courage, faith, liberty, love, and happiness.
When you make a mistake acknowledge, ask for forgiveness and when you hear the apology acceptance begins our path towards healing.
Have you ever felt like you were off-balanced? A change happened in your life, and now things as you knew as “normal” are now the opposite. Oh, yes, the pandemic! The Covid-19 pandemic is one example. Can you think of more? Many things can impact us in positive and negative ways, which cause us to feel off-balanced and not centered; how do we handle it.
I am a big believer in vocabulary! We do not spend enough time exploring, providing, and giving children time to explore “words.”
It could be because I come from a home where my parents did not know how to read. When I would go to school in my early years, I can remember my Kindergarten teacher saying, “I am sure your parents have read this story to you, but I am going to read it today again.” Nope, my parents had not, and I heard it for the first time. We forget many children do not have rich conversations or have exposure to reading materials or opportunities to visit other places. How can we help to improve their vocabulary for them?
In our current situations, we have all faced many critical, unpredictable conditions not seen before. We have dealt with in our years of service overcoming what many have referred to as “burnout”, not motivated, exhausted, and leads me to what I believe is replacing all of these words in our workplaces today: “Drainout.”
Think about how you and your co-workers feel right now. How do you feel overall? “Drainout” is not something that happens just at work, it can happen in every aspect of life. We will discuss more this week.
Do you hold meetings? If you do, do you provide a snack? When people walk into your meeting, do they find chocolates or candy on the tables? What do you think about offering food or something for meetings?
I am curious about this idea. I know I have, it seems, always had candy on the tables and offered snacks. During my career, I never used a line budget for my building expenses. I thought doing this was my choice, and I usually paid for it myself. Sometimes I had vendors who would send stuff, but mostly me or sometimes my Assistant Principal would get things.
As we have witnessed in the past three years, leaders have shifted to rapidly respond, react and realign approaches to meet the needs of change. Change is not something new to leaders, but a change at this level of magnitude left leaders scrambling. We have not seen this level of change happen at his rapid domino pace.
What do we need from leaders based on the experiences from the past three years to prepare for our future? How can we be readily prepared for rapid changes? Can we give this some thought and reflect on what we have learned as we move forward?
I want to give credit to Daniel Bauer for the five lessons I will share. In these lessons, I will share my input as well. We will cover them in several steps. These are the Lessons he shared in his email:
“Brené Brown talks about the square squad. It’s a simple idea: write all the names representing people whose opinions you value on one-inch by one-inch piece of paper. You can’t fit many names on this size of paper. That’s the point. As a leader, many people will offer their opinions and judge your choices. So what. Most of their opinions don’t matter, even when that person is your supervisor! That said, your supervisor’s opinion can (and will often) impact your job. But that doesn’t make their feedback accurate or helpful. You don’t need to take it to heart.”-Daniel Bauer, author of MasterMind, Unlocking Talent Within Every School
Danny begins by referring to Brené Brown. She has dedicated several pieces to conversations of feedback. Hard conversations are never easy. I have said many times, doing the dance! We can choose the kind of dance style we want to set the tone of our conversations depending on the type of conversation, but in the end we have to give a big finish. What do we do after the feedback is provided?
“Weigh the feedback, and if it seems to “come out of nowhere” and is an outlier from the feedback you are receiving from other sources, please do not listen for your health! Trust the feedback you get from your square squad. Those people will challenge you and also want to see you succeed. The rest you can throw out, especially if it doesn’t align with the feedback you are receiving from trusted sources.”-Daniel Bauer
My life journey is full of many great experiences, beautiful celebrations, tragic losses, and challenges. It is like most lives, I believe. Our stories may contain different characters, twists, and storylines, but in the end, they equal lessons learned and blessings. At times, it may not look like it seems.
Danny received feedback from his supervisor consistently that was negative. What if you barely received feedback, it varied or when you were scheduled to receive it….the supervisor was a no show? What messages does this kind of feedback demonstrate?
The bottom line is your supervisor is in control of your evaluation and renewing a contract. Even if you dislike the feedback you are receiving, what do you do? In Danny’s case he resigned. In my case, it went a little different, but I did finally resign.
I have been known to bite off more than I can chew and take on more and more and..... I would say Okay instead of No way. For good reasons, it was for those I served: children, families, staff, and the community. Where resources were lacking, I wanted to find ways to fill them. I like to “fix everything” and always want to help others more than myself.
In 2010, I suffered the most horrific accident imaginable. It left me with a traumatic brain injury and a list of deficiencies. The accident included my daughter, granddaughter, and best friend. We all survived, and it was a miracle! My injuries were too much for me to accept, so I did not. I fought it for almost five years, approximately how long it takes for your brain to heal. I am thankful for my medical team, my bosses at the time, my supportive staff, my family, and most importantly, God for his healing.
Over the years, my diagnosis never changed. It has always remained the same. I met regularly with my medical team, and my medications stayed the same. The leadership in our district began to shift. When this occurred, I did fine at first, but the added duties continued to pile on, and the stress level increased. I was no longer kept in the loop, communications were not happening, and my medical team saw a significant change.
My body did not like this, and migraines hit hard. Blood Pressure increased to levels my doctor one day said, “You are at stroke level,” as they started an IV to treat the migraine and lower my blood pressure. Chest pains were the following symptom. Failure of the EKG testing resulted in calling in the cardiology team. Now I needed to make my boss aware.
I phoned my boss; the boss said come over to my office to talk. I arrived in less than five minutes, and the boss was a no-show. I asked the secretary where she was. Oh, she had to leave to pick up her son. Did she tell you she called me over to talk to her? No, I walked over to the Human Resource Director's Office and explained what had happened. I told her I would text her to let her know I had come over as she asked. Then after I sent the text, she called.
“I will come back to talk to you if you need me to.” Oh, that is fine. I just wanted to let you know I had failed an EKG and now we were going to do some further testing, and they were taking me off all of my medications for now. Then nothing was ever mentioned again.
The story does not end there for Danny or me. What do you do in situations when you get feedback, no feedback, or feedback you do not understand?
Share about your experiences with feedback. You are receiving and Giving. Why is feedback important?
Growing up, our family tradition was to watch The Wizzard of Oz! It captured my heart from the first time I watched it, and it still does! One of the best parts is when they reach Emerald City. They finally get to make their way to see the Great Wizard of Oz when: Toto rips the curtain to the side; the Wizard of Oz realizes he's been found out and tries to cover it up by shouting over his loudspeaker, "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!"
No curtains were involved at the Oscars, when the most disgusting view aired for all to see. I stopped watching these shows a long time ago for many reasons. However, everywhere you turn the video of this scene has overshadowed anything that took place on this awards night.
I am sharing the article from Brian Dodd as I feel it perfectly captures the points I agree with when thinking about this display of actual behavior. The curtain did not have to be pulled back, nor did someone need to say pay no attention to that man; in fact everyone is sharing and saying look at this! However, the need to not only look at this but to take a step back and realize what it means.
We continue to provide platforms, reward behaviors like this, and accept them quickly to move on. Will Smith received a standing ovation after this display of behavior. His wife laughed after he hit Chris Rock. Then we wonder why?
The role models in the world we are living in are not what they seem to be when the curtain is pulled back or not. I think we can do better!
I have spoken these words in my life journey. I am sure many of you have as well. It came to me that these simple two words are not simple. They are also connected to my Two Rule philosophy. It hit me as I was recovering from my breast cancer surgery. All of the days leading up to now rushed through my head, and I thought, yes, that is exactly right! We have all done this process or do this thought process daily.
The phone rings, “Hello, this is. Brenda Yoho. My birthday is....”
“Thank you, Mrs. Yoho, for confirming your information with me. I have the results from your biopsy, and unfortunately, it shows breast cancer.”
“Stop, Dr. Royal. I need to get my husband on the phone. I will not hear everything you are saying, and we need to hear what you are telling us.”
This is the point in your mind when you begin with questions. You do not say them out loud, only in your mind. What if they have not caught this cancer in time? What if I have to do all of the treatments that make you sick? What if I lose my hair? What if I only have a short time to live?
As these thoughts process through your mind, all of the what if’s help you determine and become comfortable(if you can say that) you have cancer. Nothing you can do to change that fact; you have cancer. Then why not’s begin to develop in your mind.
Why not begin planning your funeral and things, so others do not have to do it. Why not start cleaning out stuff so others won’t be stuck doing that either. Why not pick out what you would like donations to go to if you pass on. Why not begin making sure everyone is taken care of so they can manage in your absence.
Then wham, it hits you. I can't do this! I can't face this; I am scared. I can’t lose my hair. I can’t take these treatments. I can’t stop thinking about it. I can’t believe it. I have breast cancer.
Then I turned to the philosophy I had been practicing for decades, Two Rules. Two rules were more than the two questions and two choices. “Everyone will feel safe and feel good. I can be part of the problem or part of the solution; the choice is always mine to make.” We indeed choose how we react and respond to situations. Everyone includes yourself and those around you. Things happen beyond our control at times. During these times, the lessons are at the highest level of value.
If we open ourselves to the what if, why not, and I can't, it will always lead us to the Two Rule philosophy. Our actions in every situation will be first to make sure of the safety of everyone. Following the guidelines of doctors is the key to this safety. Our next step is to make sure everyone feels good. Asking questions and reassuring everyone of the steps to follow is helpful. Establishing support people is also a great addition. Always know you are never alone!
These what if, why not, and feel safe, feel-good are sets of two questions asked together to equal the same decision-making process. When asking these questions, you are deciding on taking action or not. Then you are looking at the reaction to your action. It is a cause and effect.
“I can't” is a statement more than a question. I can’t is part of the process of crisis thinking and is replaced when questions are asked to help find solutions. My husband has always told me, “can’t can not do anything, but you can.” Replace your “I can’t statement with “I can” statements. Mindsets play a significant role in all we do. Positive mindsets help achieve and overcome!
What if I never talked to you about having breast cancer? I have always shared my stories, hardships, and lessons. Why not let others have a chance to gain understanding, learn something or find hope in what they are struggling with within their lives. I can't imagine not being vulnerable like this and allowing others to see we are all individuals in an unpredictable world.
Every day is a gift, unwrap them with your “why” and “gratitude.” -Brenda Yoho In each day you will find what you seek. The time clicks, tics and flies by, but it is in how we choose to fill, remember and remind ourselves to appreciate all they bring.
Monday’s are the best! I love them because the weekend gave time for family and friends. We had time to rest, relax and reflect. A great time to renew and refresh our spirit. Now, this is me speaking as a retired educator and grandmother.
My hard-working, teaching daughter and mother of three would maybe add a few more things to her weekend. I imagine she would add catching up on laundry, grocery shopping, meal prepping for the week, house cleaning, organizing the schedule for the week, and doing any other repairs needed around the house with the help of her husband. She adds to her plate many other things to volunteer for and I look at her with pride as I know I lived life like that as well!
At different times in your life journey, your path leads you to different destinations and opportunities. It is how we react and respond to them that determines our next steps. If you review your days, I am sure you would say, “I cannot add one more thing to it!”
There is no magic wand or way to ensure you have a balance in your life. The only way to achieve this is to manage your time with an intentional purpose. If you do not manage your time, others will. The balance in your life with time is up to you.
There are going to be things that come up, unexpected emergencies, unexpected calls to meetings or to handle a situation. The best way to handle this is to expect the unexpected. Always plan in your daytime for these kinds of situations, because they will happen. Remember, it is in how we respond and react to every situation that determines how we fill, remember and remind ourselves of the time.
I constantly measure the meaningfulness of the messages I send, the information I share, and how I impact those who choose to read my posts. I intend to always help with driving solution-focused thinking and increasing the positives we share in day-to-day interactions.
One thing missing is an opportunity for others to share what they would like me to focus on to help them in what they are doing. I want to pause and organize this blog to work for those who need it to work for them. My idea is to dedicate each day to a particular topic. Examples could be: Monday: Motivation, Inspiration, Meetings Tuesday: Teaching, Thoughts, Talking Points, Communication Wednesday: Wisdom, Wit, Things to Ponder Thursday: Takeaways, Things to Share, Activities for team building Friday: Facts, Factors, Leadership Saturday: Solutions, Strategies, Plans. Sunday: Spiritual, Social-Emotional, Mental Health
Maybe you don't want to read something daily. What if you wanted something in one post? If this is your desire, what day would you choose to receive it, and what do you need the content to include?
Be the solution daily is for you. I want to thank all of my followers and those who have invested their time. Starting today, I will take a two-week break while I gather information on the direction of this blog.
Keep being the solution daily for all as we serve others in making the world better one day at a time.
Ambition is the germ from which all growth of nobleness proceeds.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer and philosopher
Ambition is an essential element to an organization and individual. Ambition begins with understanding the desires, aspirations, and goals you have for yourself and your team. What exactly are your desired outcomes for yourself and those of your team?
Knowing and understanding how far to reach is key to harnessing healthy ambition. Setting goals that require just the right level of difficulty push and struggle helps ensure to reach beyond your current abilities. Suppose the challenge is too great; a risk of giving up or becoming discouraged when target goals fall short happens. If the challenge isn’t significant enough, a risk of disconnecting, not being engaged, and never reaching the levels of total performance is accomplished.
I worked with a young ambitious leader who was very talented. His desire to accomplish was greater than the skill levels of himself and his team. They pushed full steam ahead, but lacked the ability to sustain all of the components of their plans. Piles of data was collected, but being able to utilize it wisely with a targeted purpose was missing. They could accomplish some small wins, but the frustration levels grew with trying to maintain the action plans. Creating the action plans was difficult to establish because the data seemed to become outdated by the time they reviewed it together. It became overwhelming with the stacks of data collected.
There is more to accomplish than performance with ambition. We need to think about growth, achievement, sustainable and solution-focused ambitions. Each of these requires more in-depth conversations we can continue in future blog posts. We need a balance for ambition to find the formula for success. In the meantime, ponder these questions with your purpose of performance:
Questions for Focus
When we work only on performance ambition, our teams may look to us in different ways. If our goals seem unattainable, they will look at us as being “unrealistic.” Maybe you have set too many or too high of goals. The team believes you are setting them up for failure.
What if you do not take any risks and have too few of goals? The team thinks you do not believe in them, you are not a risk-taker and you have low expectations.
We do not want to lose our sense of purpose. Our team must believe in the goals, values, and beliefs we establish. It is essential to keep a check on the level of ambition we have and to maintain high sustainable energy to develop the accomplishments we want to achieve.
Nobody needs to tell you about having obligations; we learn this as a child. We have responsibilities to ourselves, family, community, country, and let's not leave God out. But when it comes to meeting these obligations, what takes priority?
“In all the work you are doing, work the best you can. Work as if you were doing it for the Lord, not for people.”-Colossians 3:23
Whatever your plans are with life, prioritize! Life brings many opportunities, disappointments, celebrations, and achievements. It is in taking the directions, turns, and roads before us that lead us to the spot we are right now. However, as we all know, we keep moving. It is all of the choices and reactions we make to help us as we move.
Jon Gordon and P.J. Fleck have released a new book, Row the Boat. It is an incredible story for you to read! You will learn how this coach turned a tragedy into a choice of not being defined by life journeys, events, and circumstances beyond his control—turning to a strategy. He choose to place into practice in life the “row the boat” to guide with enthusiasm and optimism. P.J. takes you through the process to discover how to put the “row the boat” components into practice. So pull up the anchor and set sail on the best book you will read this year.
Our obligation to ourselves is to invest in learning as much as we can to help ourselves and others. “Do all you can to give more than you take because serving and giving is key to life.”-RTB.
Think about the obligations you have today. What is your priority? The direction you are headed is decided by the compass you carry. “Live with a compass of faith.”-RTB. When you fulfill your obligations based on your priorities, you will count blessings not troubles.
Many times my staff and students would hear me repeat things over. I believe repeating consistently helps to cement it into our thinking. So I would say:
“Trained behavior creates boring habits, boring habits create elite instincts.”-RTB It is training of the mind and our mindsets that help us focus. Set your priorities to meet your obligations. Your destination is ahead!
Thank you for being the solution daily. Model for others as you are the standard of what we need to be. Let your light shine to brighten the darkness in the world.
Topic today: Trauma
As you work with others, it is always helpful to have an organized approach for positive results. While being a leader in a school, I knew every minute was valuable. Having a focused plan, a weekly or daily announcement to staff needed to be structured to support our goals and having conversations they needed/wanted to hear. How do you do that?
Be alert and aware of what is needed to be placed in written form and what is required to be verbalized. Staff does not need to come to a meeting to have you read from a paper; they can do this themselves. You have things you need to say, and they need to hear you say, especially as we return face to face.
No matter what level you are, working with others or being part of a group, it is essential to understand how to support, deal with and monitor the signs of trauma. Trauma, we can clearly state, is something every child and adult has experienced at some level due to Covid-19.
What can we do in regards to trauma? Prevention is always the first step in the solution process but never the only step. If prevention is not something we can do, there are several things to do to help trauma victims.
I am not a physician, psychiatrist, or psychologist, but a survivor of a traumatic event and traumatic brain injury. The injuries are life-long but not something you cannot deal with each day. The step about daily routines and structure, this one was critical for me. I needed this to help me in my healing. When things were changed, it threw me off completely. So think about those changes for your students with special needs; they really can not help the behavior. It is a response that is natural to them. Routines are safe for them/us. When we do not have the routine, schedule or sense, or normal, it brings the trauma back to us.
Talking Trauma is not a one-time talk. We need to talk more! There are many things we need to put into practice, take time to have discussions and understand we have all experienced Trauma. Practicing self-care is so important. Letting others know mental health needs are okay, we need to talk to professionals and be treated. Mental health issues does not mean a thing. Let's stop labeling things please.
Thanks for talking Tuesday! Please add your comments so we can gain more insight to this topic. #Bethesolutiondaily