I write this with one eye on the TV: the streets of London adorned with colour and vibrancy, just a couple of weeks after they were filled with grief and mourning.
A whopping 40,000 people join the London Marathon every year. It is open to all: professional runners, charity raisers, celebrities and those dressed cartoon characters. The marathon is about challenging yourself and committing to something huge.
It occurs to me how relatable this is to school leaders: continually challenged, drawing deeply on energy reserves (physical and emotional), all different but joined together by a shared commitment. With over 30,000 schools across the UK, just imagine gathering all the leadership teams together to demonstrate their commitment to our children: what a powerhouse!
No doubt during the lows of their race today, runners will be asking themselves, “Why did I sign up to this?” Some may decide their answer is not strong enough to keep them on track, and choose to drop out. Others will be pulled along by the atmosphere, by their expectations of themselves, or by their utter commitment to the cause. Some will know, with great sadness, that despite all of this, they simply cannot continue.
Knowing our purpose, and working towards fulfilling it, is one of the key elements of intrinsic motivation. And without strong and clear motivation, no one is going to complete a marathon, or stay in school leadership!
Simon Sinek, in his global bestseller ‘Start With Why’ explains the powerful biology behind connecting with your feelings of purpose:
“Whether you defer to your gut or you’re simply following your heart, no matter which part of the body you think is driving the decision, the reality is it’s all in your limbic brain which is powerful enough to drive behaviour that sometimes contradicts our rational and analytical understanding of a situation…”
It’s amazing what people can achieve when they feel their WHY strongly and deeply. Motivation levels, decision-making, communication and wellbeing all benefit.
I invite you to take a moment today to ask yourself these questions and feel your way to the answers:
Why did I sign up to this?
What is keeping me going?
How can I pace myself to stay the course?
Reconnecting with your personal “Why”, “What” and “How” might just keep you going (and could even help you achieve a personal best).
And remember to listen out for those cheers from the crowds along the way… Well done! Keep going! You’re doing great!
Leadership Edge is a growing team of experienced school leaders who have seen person-centred coaching create high-performing, happy and healthy cultures within our schools. Our mission is to empower other school leaders to create positive workplaces where staff are solution-focused and actively responsible for their own personal wellbeing and professional development.
Our 3-Tier Coaching Accreditation Programme is low-cost and self-sustaining, providing a systematic and structured model for staff across your school to become powerful coaches for each other, enhancing colleague relationships and their feeling of being valued as an individual within a supportive school community.