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Hey everyone,

I am writing this email from the Denver airport, which is kind of significant, and I will tell you more about why that is in a second.

But first, I saw this meme being shared, and it made me laugh :)




If you are on TikTok, you probably get it :) 

Pretty accurate recap of the last few years!

And with that, let's get to this week's email!
 
Something Professional
 
I wrote "The Innovator's Mindset" in 2015, yet, over the past few months, I have witnessed many groups, districts and educators lead book studies as they are heading into the school year.

One group that I worked with this week discussed how they had lessened the initiatives with their staff this year because they were inspired by the "Less is More" chapter in the book, and specifically, this portion:

 


"The less is more rule is a good one for leaders to follow.

If we aren't intentional, we may promote confusion and burnout, instead of inspiring innovation and deep learning.

Before you add a new initiative, ask yourself: Is this adding or subtracting to the already full plates of the educators I serve? Is this new program or initiative going to help us achieve our vision and, specifically, what are the goals for how it will impact learning?"


The Innovator's Mindset 


 


If you ask people to seemingly do everything, you ensure they will become good at nothing. I loved how the district leaders were intentional about their thinking and doing, made the shift, and shared that they were influenced by  what they read in my book!

If you want to get a copy, it is the cheapest it has been on Amazon at just under $13! You can get your copy here!

 
 
Something Profound
 
I love this quote from author J.D. Stroube:
 

"A complete stranger has the capacity to alter the life of another irrevocably. This domino effect has the capacity to change the course of an entire world. That is what life is; a chain reaction of individuals colliding with others and influencing their lives without realizing it. A decision that seems miniscule to you, may be monumental to the fate of the world.”

J.D. Stroube

 

And here is why...

 
 
Something Personal

This is a really personal story, so here goes.

Almost ten years ago, I was about to speak at an event in Marin County (just outside San Fransisco). While working with the group, I received a pop-up message on Google chat from my brother, which was unusual since it was not a place we would usually communicate. It said something along the lines of the following:

"George, where are you? I need to talk to you. Dad has died."

I looked at my computer, stunned, as this was something unexpected.

I knew things were going on around me, but I could not move. Someone said to me, "Is everything okay?" I responded, "My dad just died."

I closed my computer, and immediately, Mary Jane Burke, the superintendent, brought me into her office and did EVERYTHING to help me in my time of need. I knew her in passing, but she was there for me at the moment that surpassed my expectations of what a best friend would do. She was incredible, and I will never forget that time.

I remember her taking me into her car to take me back to my hotel so I could get home, and although it is foggy in my mind, I can vividly recount a moment when crossing the Golden Gate bridge, where a beautiful rainbow went across the sky. That was my dad letting me know he was there.

Upon arriving at the hotel, I booked a flight to return to my mom in Regina, Saskatchewan. As I am sure you would guess, there were no direct flights, so I had a layover in Denver, where I am sitting right now.

It was going to be a few hours, and not knowing what I should do, I blogged about my dad. Writing has become a form of therapy for me (you are witnessing it right now), and I just needed to get words out of my heart and mind.

I sat in this tiny restaurant at one end of the terminal and ordered something I knew I would never eat, but I needed somewhere to sit.  

As I wrote about my dad, the server came up to me, sensing I was holding back tears and asked if I was okay. I said, "I am sorry, but my dad just died." She looked at me, tears welling up in her own eyes, said, "I am sorry," and gave me the biggest hug I felt I had ever received. I needed it more than I understood at the moment, and it gave me the strength to get up and walk to my flight to get home.

That restaurant is still there, and although it goes by another name, I walked by it for the first time in years this past week. I thought about that day and how hard it was when I saw it. But I also thought about that woman, a stranger to me, who hugged me when I needed it the most. It is bittersweet.

In a matter of 24 hours, I made it home.

But I don't know if I could have moved if it wasn't for the superintendent, who did not know me, doing everything to help me that day. We stay in touch, and I know she cheers for me each time I share a picture of my kids because we have a special connection.

I also know that the woman in the restaurant gave me her strength when I had none of my own to get through the day. It reminds me of this quote:




Strangers helped me, and I guess, by writing this today, it is a reminder to always err on the side of positive because we don't know who or why someone might need our strength on any given day.

If we have it to give, we should because it will always come back to us in some form.

 


I just wanted to share that with you all. Thanks for listening :)

Have a great weekend and thank you for how you give your kindness to others, especially in the times they need it most.

Sincerely,
George Couros




George Couros 
georgecouros.ca
Box 24028 RPO Windermere,
Edmonton, AB T6W 2W2
 
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