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! 

Thursday, September 23, 2021

The Impact of Praise on Morale and Engagement

The Importance of Praise

When I was a young teacher, I didn’t want to reward my students for doing the things that were basic expectations, such as putting their names on their papers or turning in their work on time. 

As I got more experienced, and especially after I had children, I was asked the question, "When your kids make up their bed or clean their room (or other household chore), do you praise them for that?" When I answered yes, the wise person who was coaching me through my beliefs said, "Does that make them want to do it again?" I had to admit (to myself) that I used praise with my daughters because I knew it made them feel good and because I wanted them to do it again when asked. 

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That conversation helped me to realize that praising my students for doing something I had asked them to do made them want to do more of it.

I began to celebrate students for the small and big accomplishments. Little did I know that it would create a more positive, productive, and fun environment in our classroom.

As I moved into a school leader position, I carried my beliefs with me and applied it to my relationships with staff members. It's not only students who want to work in an environment that’s positive, productive, and fun. Adults do, too! 

"Praise, like sunlight, helps all things to grow." - Croft M. Pentz

Gallup finds that praise, although it has great impact, is not used that often. From the Gallup site, "Only one in three workers in the U.S. and Germany strongly agree that they received recognition or praise in the past seven days for doing good work -- and those who disagree are twice as likely to say they'll quit in the next year. Praise is that powerful."


Here's more information from Gallup on the power of praising teams:

  • When teams are praised, they feel that their work is meaningful. 
  • Teams who don't receive praise don't trust their colleagues. 
  • Teams who receive praise make quality a top priority in their work.
  • Teams who receive praise "openly share information, knowledge, and ideas with one another." (Isn't this a dream environment for schools, PLCs, and other teams within schools and districts?)

How much praise should be given compared to negative feedback? From Harvard Business Review: The Ideal Praise-to-Criticism Ratio 

“The factor that made the greatest difference between the most and least successful teams was the ratio of positive comments to negative comments…
The average ratio for the highest-performing teams was 5.6… The medium-performance teams averaged 1.9… But the average for the low-performing teams, at 0.36 to 1, was almost three negative comments for every positive one.”

From Fast Company, here are 5 ideas to regularly recognize and praise a team:

1. Keep a running list of successes. (Provide time at faculty meetings or other department/PLC meetings to share out the "wins and wows.")

2. Share kudos on social media. (This emphasizes the importance of Telling Your School's Story!)

3. Validate positive actions. (Don't let dissatisfaction be the only time an employee hears from you! The "no news is good news" saying doesn't apply here. Give good news, too!)

4. Be specific. (Let someone know exactly what you liked about their work.)

5. Be authentic and consistent. (Praise should not be given as a way to manipulate. Others can read through false praise, so be sure to keep it real!)

From your experiences, what would you add about the impact of praise? I would love for you to leave your thoughts in the comments below! 

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The Impact of Praise