Beyond Just Getting Along

March 1, 2023

I find myself still thinking about the idea which I wrote about last month – the idea of being a ‘pro.’ What does it take to be a pro beyond just getting your job done well and excelling at your specific tasks and responsibilities? For me, a pro is always working on her or himself intra- and interpersonally – working on becoming more socially aware, psychologically mature, and cognitively capable.

That stretch to be a bigger self on the inside might not have felt as necessary in the past, but new situations place new demands on us. It feels to me that we are living in a world that is so much more complex than previous decades. We are managing returning from a pandemic, pushing to respond to even more social and emotional health concerns from both students and staff, working in a world of ever increasing divisiveness and political polarization, looking at humanitarian crises every night on our media outlets (mass shootings, earthquakes, wars), and striving to build cultures in our organizations that are more equitable and inclusive – working against forces that push against us to censor out historical facts and truths.

It’s all a lot to manage no matter what job you have. And in education, as we work with youth we need to be stretching now, big time. As I have been saying in my workshops quoting the title of a book from the late, great Ted and Nancy Sizer, the students are watching us. They are learning how to be adult by seeing what we do and how we respond. They see us step up and be models of humanity, sanity, equanimity and compassion, an urgent and needed way to be right now, or they don’t. And right in the middle of it, the field of education is faced, not surprisingly, with a recruitment and retention challenge as well.

At other times, perhaps, we could stick with ‘what’s worked before.’ We might also say we are doing things that are ‘good enough.’ And, we might say we’d be okay with the status quo. Not me.

A question to pose now is, “Does your work ask something different from you than what has worked for you previously?” If so, you are at a learning edge. Me too.

I need to stretch at my edges daily. To keep myself healthy, to be a value add to the profession, to be the pro I know I can be. And none of what I need to develop in myself in order to go ‘pro’ was taught to me overtly in my certification program. Yet, for my emotional health and the health of the schools and organizations I work in I need and we need to develop greater self-awareness and build our emotional and mental resourcefulness. These demanding times require it.

We need community in which we can develop these skills, capacities, and mindsets. I imagine you might feel the same way. I am offering four different opportunities in the next several months that are open enrollment – come one, come all, regardless of role or location.

March 1, 8, 15, 22 with The Principal Center (most suitable for those working in North and South America)

May 6, 13, 20 with EARCOS (suitable time frames for those working in Asia)

May 9, 11, 16, 18 with MiraVia (most suitable for those working in North and South America)

June 27, July 5, August 8th with ROE4 in Illinois (most suitable for those working in the USA as they will ship the book anywhere in the USA)

Given the challenges our world is facing and the way we aspire to teach our students who are living into that future world, we need to stretch beyond the status quo. Pros work on getting even better. Join me.

If you have any questions, comments or topic suggestions, please feel free to email me at I look forward to hearing from you.

Cool Resources: Books & Websites

Art of Noticing: 131 Ways to Spark Creativity, Find Inspiration, and Discover Joy in the Everyday by Rob Walker. “Enter Rob Walker’s The Art of Noticing—an inspiring volume that will help you see the world anew. Through a series of simple and playful exercises—131 of them—Walker maps ways for you to become a clearer thinker, a better listener, a more creative workplace colleague, and finally, to rediscover what really matters to you.”

Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change and Thrive in Work and Life by Susan David. “Drawing on her deep research, decades of international consulting, and her own experience overcoming adversity after losing her father at a young age, David shows how anyone can thrive in an uncertain world by becoming more emotionally agile. To guide us, she shares four key concepts that allow us to acknowledge uncomfortable experiences while simultaneously detaching from them, thereby allowing us to embrace our core values and adjust our actions so they can move us where we truly want to go.”

The Wake Up: Closing the Gap Between Good Intentions and Real Change by Michelle Mijung Kim. “In The Wake Up, Michelle MiJung Kim shares foundational principles often missing in today’s mainstream conversations around “diversity and inclusion,” inviting readers to deep dive into the challenging and nuanced work of pursuing equity and justice, while exploring various complexities, contradictions, and conflicts inherent in our imperfect world. With a mix of in-the-trenches narrative and accessible unpacking of hot button issues—from inclusive language to representation to “cancel culture”—Michelle offers sustainable frameworks that guide us how to think, approach, and be in the journey as thoughtfully and powerfully as possible.” “At Cloud Sangha, we envision an awakened humanity. Our mission is to provide meditators around the world with access to supportive community and live, expert guidance on our collective journey to free our hearts and minds.”