Archive for the ‘Optimism’ Category

book 2

The first book I have read from My Summer Reading List is The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon (@JonGordon11).  This book follows George, who is forced to ride the bus to work because of a flat tire on his car.  George meets a unique bus driver and an interesting cast of fellow bus riders who, over the course of two weeks share the 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy.  In the process, they help George turn around his life, his team at work, and his marriage.

It all begins with positive energy.  No one goes through life untested and positive energy is what is needed to overcome these obstacles we all face in life.  Positive People and Positive Teams produce Positive Results — and the essential ingredient is POSITIVE ENERGY.

As he begins his journey of transformation from riding the Energy Bus, George meets the driver, Joy, who is instrumental in changing his life.  She, along with the other passengers, give George (and us) 10 rules that will change his life (and ours) forever.  It’s all about the positive energy we get from these ten rules.

Rule #1 — You’re the Driver of Your Bus

People feel like they don’t have a choice so they give up.  But you do have a choice!  Take the wheel and choose to create the life you want … one thought, one belief, one action, one choice at a time.  It starts with a decision — decide what you want.  Then YOU start creating it.  Create your world.

  1. My vision for my life is (including my health) is …
  2. My vision for my work, career, job, and team is …
  3. My vision for my relationship and family is …

It all starts with these three statements and the ENERGY to think about it and to identify what you want.

Rule # 2 — Desire, Vision, and Focus Move Your Bus in the Right Direction

Joy, the bus driver, shares this important piece of wisdom.  The more you focus on something, the more you think about it, the more it shows up in our lives.  Again, there is energy in thought.  Spend your time thinking about what you want rather than what you don’t want.  Don’t complain.  Complaining is focusing on the negative.

Be a Winner, Not a Whiner!

Rule # 3 — Fuel Your Ride With Positive Energy

There is power in positive energy!  It is important.  Positive energy will keep your bus moving forward with momentum.  As you know, there is a lot of negativity in the world, so choosing positive energy is important to help deal with the negative people and negative situations that can knock you off course.

One passenger on The Energy Bus named Danny shares this formula:  E + P = O

“E” stands for “events” in your life.  “P” stands for “perception” (and it also could stand for “positive” energy).  “O” stands for “outcome”.

You can’t control all the events in your life, but you can control how you perceive them.  Your perception can control the outcome.

Remember this, positive energy and positive people create positive results.

Rule # 4 — Invite People on Your Bus and Share Your Vision for the Road Ahead

You cannot always do things by yourself.  You need a good team.  You need to get like-minded people on your bus, and the more positive people you get, the more positive energy will be created.  Share your vision and make it clear what you expect.

Rule #5 — Don’t Waste Your Energy on Those Who Don’t Get on Your Bus

The enemy is negativity and it’s everywhere.  How do you deal with it?  Simple.  Don’t worry about it.  Don’t waste your energy on it.  The more you worry about it, the less positive energy you will have.

Rule #6 — Post a Sign That Says: NO ENERGY VAMPIRES ALLOWED

Surround yourself with a positive support team.  These people will have a big influence on your life and whether it’s successful or not.  You want people around you who will INCREASE your energy not DRAIN your energy (energy vampires).  You have to be strong enough to let people know that negativity is not allowed.

Rule #7 — Enthusiasm Attracts More Passengers and Energizes Them During The Ride

Positive energy works.  It spreads one person at a time.  You need to be the CEO – Chief Energy Officer.  The CEOs are excited, positive, and optimistic.  They don’t let fear stop them.  When you are enthusiastic, people will want to get on your bus.  People notice it.  People feel it — energy and enthusiasm.  This is like a beacon of energy coming from your heart.  It’s real.  And when you are energized, others will be energized.  A positive culture will out perform a negative culture every time.

Rule #8 — Love Your Passengers

To tap into the power of your heart and lead with a positive, contagious energy, you must love your passengers.  You have to love your employees, your customers, and your family.  And, you have to share that love.  You have to let people know that you care about them…really care about them.  When you do this, you’ll get love back.

Let your people use their gifts, their strengths.  Allow them to do what they do best.  Bring out the best in others, and by doing this, it brings out the best in you.

Rule #9 — Drive with Purpose

Purpose is the ultimate fuel for your journey through life.  When you drive with purpose, you don’t get tired, bored, or burned out.  Find excitement in the mundane, the passion in the everyday, and the extraordinary in the ordinary.  Find your purpose and share it.  This is positive energy.

Rule #10 — Have Fun and Enjoy the Ride

Don’t focus on what stresses you.  That’s no fun.  Know that you are too blessed to be stressed.  Remember all of the things you are thankful for because this feeling of gratitude will fuel your performance everyday.  It is uplifting.  Live and work like you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  Be optimistic.  Be positive.  Find Joy!



Everything happens for a reason and we don’t necessarily know why.  Life is a test.  Adversity helps us grow.  Negative events and negative people teach us what we don’t want so we can focus our energy on what we do want.  There will always be challenges and problems and we must face each challenge and problem with a positive outlook.  Learn from the past and don’t focus on the future — focus on the path.  Experience Joy in everything you do and everywhere you go.


Perception is Reality

Perception is Reality!  Even if it’s not correct.

If the perception people have of you is one of negativity, then that means you are negative.  For whatever reason, people perceive you as a negative person or perceive that you have a negative attitude.  It really doesn’t matter … perception is reality!

We always hear about being positive and avoiding the negative.  For some people it is easy.  For others, it’s almost impossible.  It really isn’t impossible, but it seems that way.

How can you change (or at least positively adjust) your negative attitude?

You must first look at yourself and recognize that there is a problem.  Look at your environment.  Who do you associate with mostly?  Are you a Lounge Lizard?  Are you the one who constantly bad-mouths everything?  Do you find yourself always looking for the bad and never seeing the good?

Are you the “Bad Apple” ? (One bad apple spoils the whole bunch!!)  That person, the Bad Apple, can affect the whole group or have a negative impact on the whole organization.  Negativity breeds negativity … just like success builds success.

Once you’ve identified yourself (or someone else!) as the Bad Apple, you can begin the process of changing your attitude / fixing the problem. You are making the choice to replace the negative with a positive.  Begin to look for the positives and the good in every situation.  It may be hard (especially at first) but you can do it.  Be the optimist not the pessimist!

It’s not easy to alleviate a negative attitude.  It won’t happen overnight.  It will take a conscious effort to be more positive.  It takes determination.  And you have to have patience.

Remember this quote from Winston Churchill —–

attitude is a little thing

Do you want to be perceived as negative or positive?  Do you want your organization to be perceived as negative or positive?

  • A positive outlook is a great thing to have!
  • A positive environment is a great thing to have!
  • A positive person is a great thing to be!

How is your outlook?  How is your environment?  How is your attitude?  Are you a positive person?  What is the perception people have of you?  Does it need to change?

Remember — Perception is Reality!


Common advice from knowledgeable horse trainers includes the adage, “If the horse you’re riding dies, get off.”

Seems simple enough, yet, in the education business, we don’t always follow that advice. Instead, we often choose from an array of other alternatives which include:

1. Buying a stronger whip.

2. Trying a new bit or bridle.

3. Switching riders.

4. Moving the horse to a new location.

5. Riding the horse for longer periods of time.

6. Saying things like this … “This is the way we’ve always ridden the horse.”

7. Appointing a committee to study the horse.

8. Arranging to visit other sites where they ride dead horses more efficiently.

9. Increasing the standards for riding dead horses.

10. Creating a test for measuring our riding ability.

11. Comparing how we’re riding now with how we did ten or twenty years ago.

12. Complaining about the state of horses.

13. Coming up with new styles of riding.

14. Blaming the horse’s parents. The problem is often in the breeding.

15. Tightening the cinch.

16. Set new skill standards for dead horses.

This is not a new story. It was given to me by one of my Ag teachers who got it from a previous principal quite a few years ago.

Can you relate to any of these?

This morning I went to McDonald’s for a sausage biscuit.  As I drove up to the speaker to place my order,  a loud, very grumpy sounding voice came through the speaker.  I placed my order and drove up to the first window where the girl with the loud, grumpy sounding voice was stationed to take my money.   She gave me my change back as she was yelling in her loud, grumpy sounding voice over the speaker to the car behind me.  She didn’t say anything else to me.  I was glad!

Then I drove to the next window to get my order.  The guy working that window was totally opposite than the girl at the first window.  He said “Good Morning! ” as he handed me my sausage biscuit.  He was friendly and had a smile on his face.  Then he said, “Have a nice day!”

As I drove off, I thought to myself, “What a different experience that was!”

Can you relate to this story?

How many times do we meet someone and their actions or tone of voice sets our day in motion for either a good day or a bad day?  How about your tone of voice or your actions?  Have you ever thought about what you do or say … whether you greet someone with a smile or a frown … whether you have a loud, grumpy sounding voice …  or if you have a friendly, have-a-nice-day attitude?

We’re in the customer service business.  Our customers are our students.  They go from classroom to classroom, teacher to teacher,  instead of from window to window.  What you say and how you act toward your customers, the students, has a significant impact on whether they have a good day or a bad day.

You are in total control of your actions and your tone of voice.  So remember this … you’re in the customer service business and your students need to have a great day.


Learning is Fun

Remember when you were in elementary school (for some of us, that was a very long time ago) and you actually enjoyed school and looked forward to getting up everyday and going to school to learn.  Back then, learning was fun.  Somewhere along the way, though, something happened.  I can’t say what it actually was, but it was something.  School wasn’t fun anymore.  Whatever it was, it made learning not fun anymore.

I’m not here to say that every teacher in every school has made learning not fun.  I guarantee that everyone of us can think about that one special or not-so-special teacher.  What was it about him/her that comes to mind?  Also, I’m not here to place blame on anyone.

What I would like to do, however, is to challenge you to reflect.  Reflect on your own teaching practices.  Reflect on your classes from last year and the years before.  Reflect on your classes this year.  Reflect on your subject.  Think about what you have control of …. you and your style. I understand that there are factors in every school with every child that are beyond our control.  But, there are also factors in every school that you do have control of … your attitude, your effort, your desire, and your ability to make learning fun.

Our world has changed over the years.  The standards for success have changed.  But what hasn’t changed is that students still need to learn, and we need good teachers to teach them.  How you teach these students makes a difference.

In the following video, Tyler Dewitt talks about ways to make your subject and your classes fun. And when it is fun, the students will learn.  Once again learning is fun, and It’s OK to Make Learning Fun.   He uses biology as the example, but you can do this for any subject.

What is is that you do that makes learning fun?  I hope that, as you reflect on this question, you can answer it positively.  But if you can’t, it’s not too late.  Just know that you have total control from here on out to make your class fun.

Remember, It’s OK to Make Learning Fun.



If you are a student in school today, you will have to take some form of State Assessment to determine if you are learning anything.  These assessments are in addition to the chapter tests, unit tests, six weeks tests, semester tests, AP Exams, the ACT or SAT to get into college, and any of the other tests you will take as you go from one grade to the next.


Can’t you just see the excitement in the student’s eyes every time they have to take one of these tests???!!!???  Can’t you understand why students love school so much!!!???!!!

What if we could have schools where students are challenged to create, to think, to collaborate?  Would anyone have a problem with this?  I hope not!  Take a look at the following video and see if you think it is possible.  Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.

We just finished our 3rd six weeks benchmarks and after looking at the data, there were some bright spots. But there were also some not-so-bright spots.

It is now time for an After Action Review (AAR).

1. What was supposed to happen?
2. What actually happened?
3. What accounts for the difference?
4. What can we learn from it?
5. What do we do now?

Now is the time for some serious conversations. It’s not going to be a blame session. It’s not a time to make excuses. It will be a learning opportunity.

Now is the time to get more focused and be accountable. Without accountability nothing gets done, and lack of accountability paves the way for mediocrity.

Nobody wants that. Nobody.