It’s that time of year. We’re all a bit more reflective, more cognizant of the needs of others, and maybe most importantly, the impact of our actions on those around us. Shouldn’t we adopt this practice more often?

As I️ reflect, it has been quite a journey. I️ recognize that there were times I️ let my mindset falter and it impacted my journey negatively. However, my mindset is positive again. Here are some strategies I’ve used to embrace the power of reflection and get back on course.

1. Try journaling. I️ know. I️ don’t have time either. Download the “five minute journal” app. It’s a great tool to start your day with good thoughts and prompts you at the end of the day to reflect. I️ also find it helpful (on a weekly basis) to read entries. That practice allows me to take inventory of my focus levels.

2. Read. Find some great books to inspire you. Whether they are fiction or education-based, find what moves you. Lately I’m inspired by coaches. I’ve always been a big fan of Pat Summit and John Wooden but try some others like Ben Bergeron, Urban Meyer, or Tony Dungy. All these authors share their tales as struggle, adversity, and eventual success. Athletes and coaches, as well as musicians and teachers, remind us that ANYTHING is possible if we practice and stay the course. I’d be remiss if I️ didn’t mention Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. It is an absolute MUST read, especially for female leaders and male leaders courageous enough to admit that women can lead too and promote their strengths as women in power.

3. Remain inspired. Go see the movie, Wonder or tune into a classic like Miracle on 34th Street, the Polar Express,or It’s a Wonderful Life. Whatever you choose, stay connected.

4. Try meditation. Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it. Try the app “headspace”, practice yoga, Tai chi, or Google “walking meditation” by Thich Nhat Hanh. Any of those methodologies will ground you and help you move purposefully through your life and work.

Lastly, be grateful for the challenges that you triumph over even though they are struggles. Remember that only when doors close do others truly open. I️ have learned to be present, focused, and grateful…even for the things that were hurtful or confusing. Take solace in your family.

I️ love this quote. Enjoy your family during this season of gratitude. I️ know I️ will. They remind me each day why every decision I️ make matters…not only for them but also for the students I️ have dedicated my time and work towards. Happy Season of Gratitude!


Author: karenwoodedu

Karen Wood is the Superintendent of Schools in Barnegat, NJ. With twenty-three years in education, Ms. Wood's career has been spent primarily in administration. She enjoys mentoring novice administrators and being connected to inspirational educators and leaders across the country.

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