This month has seemed long. It seems like ages that I wrote about my goal to live 2017 with deliberate intention. January was oddly liberating in some respects and emotionally debilitating in others.
January 1 – 15, 2017 – Intention for our seniors
The first few weeks of the month were truly focused on serving those seniors who were wrapping up their college applications. This meant lots of editing, long nights, and trying to remain focused on how to help them, instead of succumbing to the fear of what was to come on January 20. My students inspired me. They kept me pushing forward. By January 15, they had finally turned the corner of fear. They wrote beautiful essays about being raised in a blue dot in the middle of a big red state and the safety they felt because of that. They wrote essays about becoming activists and advocates. It was no longer just about what their education would mean for their families – it was also about what they want to give the world. And I was proud.
January 15 – 22, 2017 – Intention for my staff
I lead a beautiful group of world changers… and as I focused on my students, I also focused on what my staff could further contribute to changing the world for our kiddos. I had to make a tough decision that impacted my staff, and though I know I made the right decision for our program, it made me very sad. I thought about how I could continue to support the professional development of my staff and provide them a venue for continuing to grow as professionals. We held a staff/support professional development meeting on January 20, and I asked them to lean on each other. To value to teamwork. To cheerlead for each other. To learn and teach the SAT. To realize that we have great power in our hands and we shouldn’t let it go to waste. Together, we laughed, we cried, we complained, and we celebrated.
January 23 – 27, 2017 – Intention for the program
I was asked to be on the advisory board of a Top 10 institution (more on that later!)…. and the entire experience left me humbled and questioning my own stratospheric rise in the field of college access. Newsflash: I’ve always dominated my field. I forget that I was awarded Young Engineer of the Year within 5 years of graduating from college. I spent a lot of time in data. Understanding what institutions are serving our kids well (and not so well). Understanding why there’s a disconnect between the work we are doing and the DOE/state data capture. Making connections towards partnerships. Helping my mentors understand what’s going on in Dallas and why the sudden policy shifts of this week were terrifying to me. Asking for help in taking our program to the next level. Trying to refine our goals.
January 27 – 31, 2017 – Intention for February
I ended this month with a meeting with one of my favorite #girlboss mentors. She’s the parent of one of my kids – a wildly successful professional, a champion for women and equity in the workplace, and just all around #lifegoals for me. As I sat in her corner office that overlooks downtown Dallas, I marveled at her resilience. She also had a tough year in 2015, but every time I see her, I’m in awe of how she bounced back. On Saturday, she shared something with me about choosing joy during those troubling times.
And it that’s what stayed with me. Her deliberate choice to choose joy.
Later this week (and again later this month), I will board flights to Michigan with a number of our students who have never flown anywhere – let alone across the country. What an incredible experience that I was not only able to facilitate that, but also that I will get to be a part of their journey.
So. Like my mentor, I plan to choose joy for February. It doesn’t mean that I will ignore the things going on in the world around us (and you shouldn’t either), but I will embrace the fantastic opportunity that I have to do life in such a meaningful way.
That I am surrounded by people who inspire, encourage, and challenge me.
That I am recognized as a leader in my professional field and champion for access.
That I get to make a difference at all.