Tuesday, January 18, 2022

My One Word for 2022

I opened this draft before the end of 2021, went back to it on January 3, and now I'm finally putting down my thoughts about the new year. After weeks of trying to figure out why I've delayed writing this post, the only answer I could come up with is "write the darn post!" (Can you relate to delaying something for no logical reason??

I've been writing posts about choosing my words for the new year since 2014. It was in that year that I followed the lead of Chris Brogan and did away with New Year's Resolutions and instead chose 3 words to guide my life - professionally and personally. 

Since 2014, it's always been three words. Only once have I thought about only one word (and that was when Jon Gordon challenged me to choose 1 of my 3 words in 2014.) That is until now. 

In December 2021, I did my usual end-of-year routine where I review the year, my goals, my accomplishments, and my shortcomings. My three words for 2021 were Invest, Stretch, and Discipline. Those words served me well during the year, and while I didn't meet all of my goals during the year, new milestones were met and new experiences created that will continue to grow me into 2022.

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This past year was a year of change for me. Early in 2021, I felt a pulling on my heart to retire in July. I had no idea what would be next, but I strongly felt like it was a step of faith that I was supposed to take. I retired from public education, started working for Hope Institute and Samford University, and was offered the opportunity to start in the doctoral program at Samford. Doors opened for me that I could have never imagined, and it was a humbling reminder to me that God's vision for us is always bigger than what we have for ourselves. 

I'm grateful for the process and reflection that goes into selecting words for the year. Asking questions such as "What has had the greatest impact and how can I do more to amplify that?" are part of my process when deciding how I want to enter the new year and create momentum.

"What has had the greatest impact 

and how can I do more to amplify that?"

After all the big changes in my life this year, I guess it should be no surprise that choosing my words for the new year would be different. When I started the process, I expected it to kind of go the same way it has year after year. However, this year everything filtered down to one word. And like Jon Gordon said back in 2014... it is the one meant for me.


Have you ever stopped short of reaching a goal because deep down it has to do with fear? (I have!) This word, conquer, speaks to my competitiveness and my desire to grow. I've spent much of my life learning about myself and others so that I can serve others and myself well. In that learning, I've discovered that there are some things I need to "unlearn." Some things that I hope I will conquer in 2022. Or at least begin the unraveling process.

I hope that by sharing my word I will be able to have the accountability that I need and also inspire you to delve into the reflective process and choose your own word(s) to live by in 2022. I realize that I haven't shared much about the specific things I hope to conquer, and I hope that one day I will be able to share more of that particular story. 

The song that I've chosen as my "anthem" for this year is Overcomer by Mandisa. Her message is powerful! (You can watch the video on Youtube HERE.)

Here's the chorus: 

I hope these words have inspired you to create and share your own words for 2022. If so, please share them in the comments or on Twitter or Facebook.

2014 - Discipline. Intentional. Balance.
2015 - Rhythm. Bravery. Fitness.
2016 - Focus. Purpose. Do.
2017 - Pivot. Go. Grow.
2018 - Lift. Create. Relentless. 
2019 - Practice. Execute. Be.
2020 - Consistent. Empower. Budget.
2021 - Invest. Stretch. Discipline.

Jennifer Hogan

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

12 Quotes by Women to Inspire Courage

quotes by strong women

Some days we just need some inspiring words. Some days we're not feeling like our best selves. Some days we're afraid. 

For those days and every day before and after.... I hope these quotes inspire courage!

Here are some ideas for how you might use them:
  • Write them on sticky notes and put them around the house - on the fridge, bathroom mirror, laptop, closet door, etc.
  • Download an image from this post (or create your own) and print and post in your office, bedroom, or bathroom.
  • Create wallpaper on your phone using one (or more) of these quotes.
  • Use a paint pen to write quotes on rocks and place in your flowerpots or garden.
  • If you have a chalkboard message center in your home or office, write a different quote each month on the chalkboard. You've got a year of inspirational quotes!

12 quotes to inspire courage

The power you have is to be the best version of yourself you can be, so you can create a better world. 

- Ashley Rickards

You can’t give up! If you give up, you’re like everybody else. 

- Chris Evert


Related Post  |  5 Inspiring Leadership Quotes + 3 Book  Recommendations

Forget about the fast lane. If you really want to fly, just harness your power to your passion.

- Oprah Winfrey

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. 

- Amelia Earhart


Never underestimate the power of a kind woman. Kindness is a choice that comes from incredible strength.

- Anonymous 

Knowing what must be done does away with fear. 

- Rosa Parks

If you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.

- Erica Jong

Related Post  |  Courageous Leaders Face their Fears

I figure, if a girl wants to be a legend, she should go ahead and be one.

-  Calamity Jane

Brene Brown quote

Be patient. Do the best with what you know. When you know more, adjust the trajectory.

- Jen Hatmaker

Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up. 

- Brené Brown


Related Post | Leadership Lessons from Brene Brown

If you find a path with no obstacles, it likely leads nowhere.

- Catherine DeVyre

There is no failure as long as you learn from your experience, continue to work, and continue to press on for success. 

- Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou quote

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Where are all the female leaders?

I love watching the Women’s College Softball World Series (WCWS) each year. When I was a kid, playing softball was something I at which I excelled. At that time, the only sports that were on television were men’s sports. When in high school, I can remember finding the WCWS on television at 3:00am - not an ideal time to generate interest or excitement for the sport or the athletes. 

Nowadays, it’s exciting to watch the series as the top female softball players in the country put all of their skills and efforts from practices into the biggest competition of the year. It’s been fun for me personally as I’ve watched my friend Pat Murphy coach the University of Alabama many times in the World Series, and in 2016, Auburn University made it to finals for the first time.

It was in one of those games that I saw the shortstop make an error, and when the camera zoomed in on her face, she looked like she was down on herself. She had just made an error on a huge, public stage.

Immediately, I went into “coach mode” and said loudly to the television, “Come on. You’ve got to recover from this. Keep going.” 

I also immediately thought about the TED talk I had recently watched, Teach Girls Bravery, not Perfection.

Click here if you can't see video on your device:

And I also thought in that moment how thankful I was that the girls that I was watching were playing sports, that I had been an athlete and coach, and that my own daughters were athletes. I believe that athletics can be a breeding ground for leaders, especially female leaders, because of the lessons that are learned.

Some of Reshma’s words are pretty strong, but they’re words we need to consider, especially for all of the female leaders who are reading this:
“And I'm not alone: so many women I talk to tell me that they gravitate towards careers and professions that they know they're going to be great in, that they know they're going to be perfect in, and it's no wonder why. Most girls are taught to avoid risk and failure. We're taught to smile pretty, play it safe, get all A's. Boys, on the other hand, are taught to play rough, swing high, crawl to the top of the monkey bars and then just jump off head-first. And by the time they're adults, whether they're negotiating a raise or even asking someone out on a date, they're habituated to take risk after risk. They're rewarded for it. It's often said in Silicon Valley, no one even takes you seriously unless you've had two failed start-ups. In other words, we're raising our girls to be perfect, and we're raising our boys to be brave.”
As a female educator who spent 15 years of my career in public education in school leadership positions, I can’t help but draw from statistics in the field. According to this 2011 eSchool News article,
“Seventy-two percent of the education workforce consists of women, yet the number of women in leadership positions falls far short of that statistic. They fare best in the role of elementary school principals, with 54 percent of these jobs being held by women. But at the secondary school level, only 26 percent of principals are women, and in the head job of superintendent, 24 percent are women.”
Where are all of the female leaders? I know that I personally was told by a teacher (female) that “she doesn’t trust any female in an authority position.”

Imagine how that felt, as a leader who has spent a career on building trust, walking the walk, and being honest.

Facing comments such as hers require courage. Are we teaching our young girls to be brave? Are we supporting other females the same way we support males?

One lesson all athletes learn by playing sports is that “We’re not perfect.” Athletes learn that mistakes happen, that no amount of self-pity will change the mistake, and that the best thing to do is to forgive one’s self and learn from the mistake. Athletes also learn that dwelling on mistakes can lead to future mistakes. When we’re a part of a team, we also learn that we have to forgive each other’s mistakes and support each other when they’re made. 

I hope that this post inspires you to reflect on how you’re raising your daughters, how you’re influencing female students and athletes, and how you’re supporting women to be brave. We need to get girls involved in athletics or other programs where they can learn “persistence not perfection” at a young age. We also need to support females of all ages who are doing brave things.

I believe in you.
Let me know how I can support you.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Lead Like Ted Lasso

I'm on the Ted Lasso bandwagon!! 

Have you heard of or been watching the series on AppleTV+ called Ted Lasso? It's in it's second season, and my husband and I recently started watching it. I think we binge-watched season 1 in a weekend, and now we're caught up in season 2 and have to wait for the weekly episodes. (What is it about binge-watching TV shows that we love so much?!)

In case you haven't watched it, it's a show about an American football coach (Ted Lasso) who goes to England to manage a professional football (a.k.a., soccer) team, AFC Richmond. Ted Lasso has a TON of fans, and I believe it's because we're looking for a little kindness and humor during the times we're living in right now. 

Coach Lasso is unassuming, hopeful, and kind. I think if we could all be a little more like Ted Lasso, the world would be a better place! 

There are so many take-aways from the show, and here are 5 leadership lessons we can learn from Coach Lasso:

1. Show love to those who deserve it the least. Ted Lasso was hired by Rebecca Welton, the owner of the soccer team. Welton acquired the team in the divorce from her husband, and she hired the inexperienced Lasso, hoping that he would fail in order to get back at her ex-husband who loved the team and had cheated on her. She wasn't kind to Lasso, and she did things to set him up for failure. (I won't share the details in case you haven't seen it yet!) He was non-stop optimistic, bringing her cookies each morning along with a dose of positivity. 

Most educators have heard the following quote by Russell Barkley, “The children who need love the most will always ask for it in the most unloving ways.” This can apply to adults in the building, too! 

2. "I appreciate you." Practicing gratitude can help us make the shift from a scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset. Take it one step further, and be like Ted Lasso. He tells almost everyone that he appreciates them. This is a way to connect with others in a positive way and to let others know that they are valued. 

3. Take care of the little things. Ted Lasso asked his team what they didn't like about the locker room. Someone told him that the water pressure was no good. No one expected that anything would be done about it, but Ted took care of it and got it fixed. Talk to your team. Get their feedback. Ask them what they need. Then deliver.

4. People over programs. Ted was an American football coach. He didn't know much about European football (soccer.) What he DID know about was kindness, putting others first, believing in himself and others. He knew about people. He got to know his players and the others that he worked with on a personal level, and these strong relationships is what made Ted successful. 

“I believe in hope. I believe in BELIEVE.” 

- Ted Lasso

5. Believe. Ted Lasso is relentlessly hopeful. We all need someone to believe in us. Imposter syndrome is real, and as leaders, we need to show up and let others know that we believe in them. And hope. 

To my fellow Ted Lasso fans, what would you add? (There's definitely more than 5 leadership lessons!) Or share your favorite Ted Lasso quote in the comments below!