Written By: Mrs. Jamilah A. Hud-Kirk
A New Year of Possibilities in 2020!
Balance is not something you find, it’s something you create. ~ Jana Kingsford
#2020Goals! Every year I have attempted to make new year resolutions as it pertains to my life as a school leader and separate resolutions as it pertains to my personal life. I make a plan to create a vision board, write down my goals on sticky notes or share with an accountability partner thinking that this time, I will stick to what I said I would do.
Early in my career as a principal, one of my internal struggles was how to lead effectively while staying present for my family. I remember leaving school on my work phone, pulling in my garage on my work phone, walking in the house on my work phone and eventually falling asleep fully clothed on the couch as I attempted to sit for a second to gather myself before tending to the family. I was lucky if I was able to walk in the door and turn my computer on just to finish the work I did not get to finish at school. This was my poor attempt to leave at a decent time from work because I spent more time in the classrooms than my office. Amongst the 100 things that I wish I knew then that I know now, is how to create the balance between work and home. I constantly felt guilty for not being more in the present with my children, helping my husband prepare for the next day and giving myself permission to let go at times. I had the constant pressure on myself to be the best and do my best because my teachers and students deserved it. I came across a quote from Author, Heather Schuck, ” You will never feel truly satisfied by work until you are satisfied by life.” Often times as leaders we feel that if we don’t give our all to something, we will fail at it. As a new principal, I thought that the more I put into the work, the higher student achievement would be. What I failed to realize at that time was that my bucket also had to be filled in order to fill the bucket of others. I also learned that I do not have to slack in one area in order to give my all in the other. Balance is key!
So my wiser self began to pull back on sending out emails at 1 a.m. in the morning, leaving my laptop in the car until the kiddos are down. I also began to turn off my cell phone once I leave my office and allowing my leadership team to stay a little later so I may attend my own children’s school events. Finally, creating more impromptu date nights with the hubby on a school night at the Mexican restaurant around the corner from the house has proven to be time well spent. oh, please do not think that this is something that I have mastered (Not by a long shot). I am truly a work in progress. My wonderful and supportive husband and I are working on creating balance in our lives. Also being a leader of others in his career as you can imagine creates a busy and sometimes hectic schedule for our family. I have decided to approach this goal the same way I approach my school improvement plan. Set my goals for work and family (with my spouse), work on 1 goal at a time, revisit and reflect on the status of that goal and make adjustments as needed. I quickly learned that the do as I say, not as I do for my staff and children is no longer acceptable, because they are holding me accountable as well.
So my #2020oneword is “Balance”! My wish for all school leaders is that you truly spend more time on filling your bucket so you are more effective with filling the bucket of others. My wish for you is that you realize your self-worth and how deserving you are to be satisfied in your work and personal life. My wish for you is to have true joy and satisfaction in your work as a mom, wife, daughter, friend or school leader. My final wish for you is to have “BALANCE!” Think of the possibilities!