Welcome to 23-24! We hope you have been able to switch off ‘work’ mode and reconnect with your ‘not-at-work’ self, and now feel rejuvenated for the new school year, which is full of bright hopes and promise.
Many of you will be stepping into new roles, possibly within a new organisation. This month, we explore why taking on fresh challenges, whether in a new or existing role, helps to bring your best self to school.
Working within the high-energy, high-stakes context of school, your Professional Comfort Zone provides psychological security: tasks, duties and dynamics have largely become routine and manageable. However, this may be confining your opportunities for deeper professional and personal fulfilment.
"May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears." – Nelson Mandela
This model, taken from Positive Psychology acknowledges that on our journey to personal and professional growth, feeling fear is a natural part of the process.
When you step into the risks of experiencing a lack of competence and confidence (Fear Zone), you can be sure that you will learn to deal with the challenges and develop new skills (Learning Zone). Eventually, you will reach a place of enhanced professional aptitude (Growth Zone).
In her classic bestseller, ‘Feel the Fear & Do It Anyway’ (featured in our Master Coach programme), Susan Jeffers frames this fear as sequential risks which incrementally expand your Comfort Zone: each time you move out of what feels comfortable, you become more powerful. As your power builds, so does your confidence, so that stretching your comfort zone becomes easier and easier, despite any fear you may feel. She arms us with this empowering reminder that if things don’t go exactly according to plan, “So what! I’ll handle it!”
There is much research highlighting the benefits of stepping out of our Comfort Zone, which include: accelerated career progression; increased personal confidence; enhanced leadership skills and impact. Naturally, embracing new challenges can lead to valuable interaction with different colleagues and teams and result in further opportunities.
Perceiving ourselves as lifelong learners with a growth mindset can help to galvanise us for stepping out of comfort and into growth.
"Becoming is better than being." – Eleanor Roosevelt
We invite you to take a few minutes to consider the following:
What about this new term makes me feel vulnerable or scared?
What do my personal fulfilment and professional impact look like in my Growth Zone?
Who can support me during my ups and downs?
Wishing you all a fabulous year and a smooth transition stepping into your new opportunities. And of course, please contact us if you or your colleagues would like to explore how having a coach walk alongside can support you on your journey.
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.