Be the best FOR the world

As we wrap up Teacher Appreciation week I had time to reflect on what appreciation, empathy, and doing right by others is all about. This time also gave me a chance to ensure I am doing that.  Over that past 11 months I have had a chance to see two speakers live and watch a Ted Talk about ensuring we are not just working to be best, we are working to be your best for the world. 

Be your best for the world is one of the 7 pillars from Dewitt Jones Ted Talk about Celebrate What’s Right with the World. Dewitt is one of America’s top professional photographers. Twenty years with National Geographic, photographing stories around the globe, earned him the reputation as a world-class photojournalist and is also well-known as an inspirational speaker. His talk focuses on many themes that resonated but one was about being the best FOR the world not just IN the worlds. As discussed in the talk, the idea of being one’s best for the world suggests an attitude of service; an ability to offer our very best without worrying about how it is received. Click to view one of his Keynotes (after you read the blog 😉

The second person who really made me think inward is Chad Hymas. Last summer I attended the Massachusetts Superintendent conference and heard Chad Hymas speak @chadlhymas.  You want to talk about powerful. Once you are done reading this – look up and read about Chad. In 2001, at the age of 27, Chad’s life changed in an instant when a 2,000-pound bale of hay shattered his neck leaving him a quadriplegic. But what was amazing was his dreams were not paralyzed that day and he became an example of what is possible.

He is a bestselling author, president of his own Communications Company and speaks all over the globe in areas of leadership and team building. There were so many parts to his talk that resonated with me.  He said People don’t remember what you say they remember how they make you feel.  

One message Chad Hymas said to the room of superintendents is to go out and act. Go put the positivity into action and challenged us to take his words and message back to our communities.  I know I plan to do that in my work and I am challenging you and to honor his father….read his book and listen to his talks to know what I mean. Spreading positive messages to the people who we work with and we support will have incredible results. I tried this last summer. Click here to view. You will see the impact that his words had – Thank you Mr. Hymas.  And thank you for watching and I hope you feel empowered to spread positive messages today.  

Then in March, I attended MASCD. The highlight (and there were a lot) was seeing Manny Scott share his message.  Click here to read about Mr. Scott and follow him at @ManuelScott . I was so lucky and honored to be right in the front row not just listening and feeling his message.  The power of his words and emotion spread through the auditorium and was incredible to be a part of. I can’t even begin to summit up and whatever I share about it will not do that 45 minutes’ justice.


A few of my favorite lines were

  • The dash – meaning you can’t control our start date of life or end date, but what we can do it be our best that will represent the dash. What will your dash be and how will you impact others?
  • Supporting students all starts with relationships
  • All students need grit. Some just need healing first!

He shared strategies to R.E.A.C.H. children. REACH is an acronym and I will not go into what it means but encourage all of you to read about Mr. Scott and his message and you will know what that stands for. His goal is to empower and equip us with the awareness, understandings, and skills to communicate across student differences and divides, and to teach across those cultures.  

I bought his book Speak and I have his current book Even on Your Worst Day You Can Be a Student’s Best Hope

His words stuck with me – and will for …well forever. He ended his keynote with “Be Salty” and that resonated with me.  He told a story saying he was in Texas speaking and was saying the line “you can lead a horse to water but you ….. “ and before he could finish and say can’t make it drink – a Texan said, “you can’t make him drink but you can give him a salt lick to make him thirsty.” The message there to “Be Salty” is lead and inspire others to take a drink. You can’t force people to do anything, but you can educate and support them to take a drink. For me I had to come away from that Keynote and make that message come to life in my work. For me that is about supporting others find their FIRE.  Fire is an acronym:

F – find your passion what is it why are you doing this work

I – inspire others to be better and be a part of your passion

R – Everything starts with building relationships.  

E – is for everyone.

All three of these moments or events asked me (and all of us) what am I going to do with the knowledge the collaboration and we must work to be the best for the world. I had to put some of those words into practice and even participated in a poetry slam with the theme of FIRE. Click here to view a video of the poem.

To “walk the walk” it isn’t about blogs or poems it is about “doing”. So, through Twitter connections and putting that message out there I was contacted by Barbara A. Zielonka @bar_zie and challenged me to walk the walk and be a part of  “Be the Change, Take the Challenge” as a Global Ambassador. I read what that was all about and was honored and excited.  Click here to view the project. When I saw the global connections and mission – then reviewed the goals I quickly replied to her offer and I am ready to “Walk the Walk”.  Over the summer, I will work with them, blog, periscope, and find the right path (balancing time with life and work in Milford as Director of Innovation and Digital Learning) to take my FIRE and Be the Change starting September 2018. I may be calling on others whose skills match a goal I am working toward and ask to be a part. Students, educators, or anyone can be a part.  So, I hope you take the time to go back and read/watch some resources in this blog and take time to look at the “Be the Change, Take the Challenge” and be a part of Sustainable Development Goals in your communities.

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