My education colleagues understand that in our business Labour Day is New Year’s Eve. With the school year starting the Tuesday after Labour Day (New Year’s Day in our world), it is at this point in the year that we do most of our goal setting and resolution making.
That said, I am getting into the spirit of the season for this post.
For my first post of 2016 I am taking on a New Year’s theme and embracing the one word challenge. What is that one word that best defines your hopes and goals for the coming year? What word links your professional pursuits to your personal ones? What one word sums up your focus and direction for the year ahead?
My one word is hungry!
I was searching for a word that was at the intersection of competing and curiosity and landed on hungry. I also owe my colleague Diane Nelson some credit for the word choice. One of the books I have enjoyed over the holidays is one she recently gave me – Hungry – Fuelling Your Best Game by Ryan Walter.
Walter, a former NHLer and Stanley Cup Champion makes the case for being hungry, and staying hungry. He writes:
Throughout my lifetime I have asked myself to help me stay hungry: Why not? Why not play on a winning team? Why not develop an amazing culture? Why not create an incredible family? Why not push to play your Best Game? Why not live hungry?
I landed on hungry having first considered competing and curiosity.
A recent influence for me is a TEDx Video I highlighted in my last post – Allison McNeil’s Collaboration . . . It Start’s With Competition. I think we mistakenly believe that in education, with a decreased emphasis on ranking and sorting, somehow we want to compete less. I want to compete more. I am teased for my sometimes overly competitive nature, but if anything I want to compete harder this coming year. I also don’t want us to shy away from building a sense of compete with the young people we work alongside.
When I think about curiosity I am reminded of my conversations with my friend Dr. Stuart Shanker. I have written about Stuart’s work and his influence on our schools numerous times including this one recently on the shifts he has influenced in our system. But it is the conversations we have that I always find so striking. He lives a life constantly curious. He is always asking questions when we talk. Whether it is about video games, sleep patterns or junior hockey – he is relentless in asking me what I think, linking it to what he has heard before and asking even more questions. I know he does not just do it with me, but with everyone he speaks with. I often think, how come someone so smart is asking me all this stuff? Stuart lives a curious life, an ongoing curiosity I want to live more in my life.
So from Allison and competing and Stuart and curiosity I land on hungry.
Walter describes those who are hungry with words like fun, excited, focused, proactive, energized, on top, communicative, challenger of the status quo, listener, informed, open, synergistic, courageous, tribal,winner and motivated. That is a pretty impressive list.
Here is to a year of being hungry.