“The Road to Success is Always Under Construction…”

Everyday I seek something. What it is or how to define it  – I am unsure.

I think it boils down to the idea of success…in all things. Really this idea is vague, obtuse, and in some people’s eyes unobtainable. In some ways like seeking perfection – idealistic. Yet, my quest remains…

I believe the concept of success and achievement are at the front of the minds of leaders, coaches, and teachers the world over – or at least they should be. How we know when we have gotten there is another debate (perhaps for another blog). Lily Tomlin’s assertion that the “road to success is always under construction,” speaks to me in many ways – not the least of which is that Regina streets should be very successful, but I digress. This week I have come across some great resources and thoughts around this idea of success seeking – not just in the world of education, but in sport and business. As a teacher, I understand that one of my roles is to help students learn about success by achieving it and not simply in an academic sense.

In my office, I have this poem up on the wall and I read it often and try to share it with students whenever I can. The audio here was in the movie “Coach Carter” and I love it!

I am moved by inspiring messages and I want students to be moved too…regardless of the format.

Seth Godin was on a role again this week and had a couple of posts that related to this idea of success and the process of achieving success or not. (I feel like I am visiting Seth’s blog/twitterfeed all of the time and love the way he thinks…!)

The first post that I will look at,  “After you’ve done your best” discusses our reaction to perceived lack of success and our reactions to it. A key point he makes is that assuming we have truly done our best at something that “(l)earning from a failure is critical. Connecting effort with failure at an emotional level is crippling. After all, we’ve already agreed you did your best.” This idea that failure is fatal prevents many from taking risks and indeed achieving long term success. Godin goes on to say that, “(s)uccessful people analytically figure out what didn’t work and redefine what their best work will be in the future. And then they get back to work.”

I think this is an idea that all of us can learn is that mistakes are opportunities to grow and learn from if we have done our best (I know I have said this before – I must be right if Seth agrees :-) ).

The second post that I really enjoyed was entitled, “Worth It,” and I will paste the entire thing below as it is short:

That’s a question you hear a lot. “Was it worth it?”
Not certain what either “it” refers to, but generally we’re saying, “was the destination worth the journey? Was the effort worth the reward?”
The thing about effort is that effort is its own reward if you allow it to be.
So the answer can always be “yes” if you let it.

The concept of the journey being the reward is one that I have often used with teams I have coached. Setting up success to be – simply winning the last game can make the destination and winning – hollow.

 by McSaoul, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  McSaoul 
Some time ago I read Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “The Outliers,” and was really inspired by the 10,000 hour rule that describes the idea that is takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to master a subject or skill. I have often reflected on where I have spent my time and whether or not I have truly mastered any skills – haha!
This concept is being put into practice by a guy named Dan McLaughlin who Dean Shareski has chronicled in his blog this week. McLaughlin was a non-golfer who has dedicated seven years of his life to becoming a master golfer after having never played before. I love this idea for a couple of reasons – 1) seeing people committed to something (even golf, for you non-golfers) is again inspiring and 2) I am a functioning golf addict and would love to spend 10,000 hours more working on my golf game (maybe even taking my seven handicap down to a ????).
Most important in this example is the idea of committing fully to something that a person cares about. What is it that our students care about and are willing to spend this kind of time doing?
The last resource I want to post today is a basketball specific video on being in the moment that I feel applies to all that we do everyday chasing success. The video is courtesy of Alan Stein who’s blog, Stronger Team Blog, often has concepts that I feel can be applied outside of the area of basketball.
I wanted to comment on Alan Levine’s presentation “50 ways to tell a story” by saying that this was one more presentation that left me spinning with ideas of all of the wonderful things that can be done with students to teach them about telling a story. Life and people are all about stories and sharing our stories so that we connect. I have no idea where I will go with all of these resources in terms of using them with students as I don’t get that opportunity anymore – but I will certainly be sharing this resource with colleagues and picking through a few of these to play with myself.
A couple of blog entries ago I posted a challenge to share more – the challenge was one resource a day and I have been using the hashtag #I’msharing (I know the hashtag doesn’t work as the punctuation breaks the hashtag but I am being a hashtag anarchist – if you want to see the collection check my tweets @mickpanko). I am currently on pace with a little enrichment today so I am excited about that.
I am continuing my work on my summary and digital project so that will keep me busy.
My next undertakings in the social media world are creating a Facebook page for my school and creating a Twitter account that we will use where I coach and run a big basketball tournament for sharing live video links, live stat links, and results during our tournaments. This will involve teaching some student workers about how to use Twitter and I bet creating more Tweeps in the process! On to bigger and better things.
Where are you at with using social media at school? What is success in your world? What about your students? Have you spent 10,000 hours doing something you love – what is it? Are you a master?
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About mickpanko

New HS vice-principal...trying to figure it all out. I would like to wax poetic but it is more like leg waxing - I think.
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2 Responses to “The Road to Success is Always Under Construction…”

  1. I love the idea of 10 000 hours – in a world that provides us what we want almost immediately we tend to forget what perseverance and patience is all about. As I try to situate myself in an online community I feel daunted by the abilities of those that are more connected. I suspect they are far closer to their 10 000 hours than me so I must be consistent in my work and grow as it grows. Dean Shareki talked about mindful seeing and I think mindful learning and thinking is not done as often as it should be. I am learning to be more present and thoughtful with every action that I make with my students and I hope they understand that I am truly present when I am with them and trying my best as I make my way to my 10 000 hours.

    • mickpanko says:

      KK – sounds like you get it – I am working hard at being present as well in all things. It is so easy to be distracted by all of the little things in life that we miss what really matters…the basketball video really spoke to me in this regard too. Thanks for reading and commenting again I appreciate it! ;-p

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