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11 Mantras to Boost Your Courage

courageous Jun 20, 2022

by Melody Stacy


Picture this.

You’re standing in frigid temperatures with wind gusts reaching 50 miles per hour, facing nothing but 930 miles of blinding white, snow-covered terrain. And the only company you have is the supply-filled sled that you’re pulling.

Seem impossible?

Everyone thought so before Colin O’Brady completed his 54-day adventure, the first unassisted solo trip across Antarctica, in 2018.

It always seems impossible until it's done. - Nelson Mandela

When asked, “How did you do it?” Colin, an endurance athlete, shares, "I would, without a doubt, say that the mental part is harder.”

He attributes his ability to keep the mental challenges at bay to his daily mantra, a trio of statements that helped him realize the best, most capable version of himself.

Each morning, he would repeat this refrain to himself.

You’re strong. You’re capable. You can do this.

Tell yourself a story that speaks into possibility.


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Doing a Puzzle Without the Box

constructive courageous Mar 15, 2022

by Aubrey Patterson


Let's try this metaphor on for size:

Imagine putting together a large puzzle, filled with different images and colors, without the benefit of the picture on the box. Of course it’s confusing to know where to place all the pieces without knowing what we're creating.

Leadership doesn’t come with a box. The picture might only become clear as we put the pieces together. 

If we don’t know the kind of leader we are meant to be, it can be difficult to put the pieces together in a meaningful way. 

Often new and aspiring leaders try putting pieces together based on the images passed down to them by previous leaders and inspirational role models. Sadly, they might get mired in imposter syndrome before they even begin. We can become unfairly disappointed in ourselves because we lack the pieces others so eloquently display. 

We can try forcing the...

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Experiencing vs Believing

courageous Mar 08, 2022

by Aubrey Patterson


Belief is a poor substitute for experience. 

We might have a belief about being in the mountains, but when we actually go there, we experience a much more impactful reality than what we've framed from afar.  

A lot of us get stuck in our heads and need to get moving. Covid accentuated this problem. And the isolation, along with these tendencies, forced a greater reliance upon ideas rather than experiences.

We need to put ourselves in more experiences to grow. Both for ourselves and the people we lead. It’s easier to lead through a difficult today, if we are inspiring, visualizing, and creating experiences that lead to a more compelling future.

New experiences move us from believing to knowing.

Some leaders can be quite convincing about their beliefs. Many rely too much, though, on cardiac assessment - I know in my heart this is the best way!

Many of our...

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Forces of Mediocrity

courageous Jan 23, 2022

by Melody Stacy


Having an inspiring and worthwhile vision is always wonderful.

Rallying our team around that vision and, together, gaining clarity on where we're heading is a great next step.

But what happens when we meet resistance? 

Forces of Mediocrity

Forces of mediocrity are strong.

And here's the difficult ratio: The greater the vision of the culture that we attempt to build, the stronger such forces will be.

Remarkable visions and genuine insight are always met with resistance. - Seth Godin

Ready for the good news? 

Once we accept that these forces show up because we are creating something remarkable, we can prepare our teams and ourselves for the inevitable.

pull to average shows up in many forms and each tug will be tempting in its own right.

In the next few weeks, we'll examine common ways mediocrity creeps into our work and how we, as leaders on our path to greatness, can...

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We Don't Have to be Nutella

communication courageous Jan 10, 2022

by Aubrey Patterson


Do you find yourself saying yes to helping people when deep down you know you should say no?

Taking care of others isn't just something remarkable leaders like doing; it's in their DNA.

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. (Mahatma Gandhi)

We're wired to say yes as individuals and it's natural that we want a culture where everyone is eager to support one another.

We Don't Have to Be Nutella

It can be really difficult to say no.

We can still lose ourselves in the service of others by saying no to those few who go beyond our values or what we've determined as key priorities.

A gracious decline isn't a rejection of the person. It's a recognition that you don't have the energy for this right now. (Adam Grant)

Whether real-life or social media, chasing likes can only be exhausting.

And shouldn't leaders make decisions based upon principles and not preferences?

We don’t have to be ...

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Let's Brighten 2022!

by Melody Stacy and Aubrey Patterson 


It’s that time of year.

A time for deep introspection.

A time for a celebration of the hopeful optimism of all that’s possible in the new year.

Interwoven into the fabric of all great leaders is an unrelenting commitment to be even better. What naturally follows is reflection and unwrapping how we’ve performed as leaders.

As we consider where we are in our leadership journey, it’s tempting to start setting goals for the new year since we’re conditioned to measure “all the things.”

But this year, we may want to focus on setting our identity rather than setting new goals.

Ask what kind of leader you hope to be. There is powerful inertia in this reframe.

Do you want to become a great leader? We can begin by being a leader who…

is compassionate, showing curiosity and seeking to understand;
 is constructive, being intentional with our time;
is courageous, modelling and building...

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A More Thoughtful Yes or No

by Aubrey Patterson


Have you noticed how it's become very popular in social media to encourage us to say "no" to anything new?

Build and fortify boundaries. Guard them fiercely with a no.

We all get this. None of us are tone deaf to the emotions that accompany the uncertainty and fears in recent times.

And truth be told, we proudly subscribe to the hell yeah or no! framework of Derek Sivers. We also coach leaders using the cliché if you never say "no", what's the value of your yes?"

No rarely does harm.

No offers a measure of control to a day that seems increasingly out of control.

However, this emphasis on the power of no makes it more likely that our skepticism or fatigue will cloud new opportunities.

It's becoming far too easy to stop listening to that inner voice that might otherwise be attuned to a propitious idea.

When opportunity comes, it’s too late to prepare. (John Wooden)

Every opportunity comes with challenges. And those challenges are...

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Empowerment can’t be taken away

constructive courageous Nov 15, 2021

by Aubrey Patterson


A leader who doesn't empower people to dig into issues or take the time to build commitment almost always creates a culture of parking lot conversations and hallways filled with whispered negativity.

Power illuminates strengths and weaknesses in areas that can be improved, like skills and tasks. And it also illuminates those things ingrained in leaders that are very likely to never change like empathy, integrity, and engagement.

With great power comes great responsibility. (Voltaire)

It can be difficult to identify those who have the qualities necessary to both pursue and nurture an exceptional culture.

The founders of Western Philosophy (Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato) subscribed to a belief wherein the few wisest should be permitted to rule. One problem is, of course, gaining agreement on who is the wisest.

But even if we could choose the wisest leaders, what if the person with power lacks integrity or is simply an unkind or apathetic person?

Herein lies...

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It’s complicated … or is it?

by Melody Stacy


Are you ready for a pop quiz?


Good. It wouldn’t be a pop quiz if you were.

Ready or not, here we go ...

  1. As school leaders, should we love our staff or have high expectations for them?
  2. Should we be the confident leaders in our school or should we have empowered teachers?
  3. As a team, should we celebrate our accomplishments or succumb to a sense of urgency to improve?
  4. Should we approach our work tightly aligned to our vision and goals or give loose autonomy for people be themselves?

Did you have a hard time choosing?

Good. That's the point.

As leaders, we are faced with countless decisions bringing infinite implications every day. Many of those decisions seem very complex and often seem to force a choice between contradictory options.

The most important aspects of our work don't fit into nice, neat checkboxes.

What if embracing the paradox could bring about freedom and clarity while helping us pursue greatness?

When we are comfortable mired in...

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It All Starts … and Ends With YOU

by Melody Stacy


A positive leader, in the purest form, is someone who influences the people and environment around them for the better.

We all want to be such a leader and, on our best days, are actively seeking ways to continually improve and amplify our impact.  

We are all capable of being powerful change agents within our organizations. Eliminating blame, victim thinking, complaining, and procrastination are all important in our personal and work lives.

Interested in actionable steps to help break the ever-so-easy, downward spiral that we can get caught in and instead lead a more impactful and rewarding life?

In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.

- Eleanor Roosevelt

Holding ourselves accountable to asking the opportunity-driven, rather than incorrect, questions will ensure results and move us forward on our path to greatness. In the book, QBQ!...

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