Monday, August 5, 2013

Why Do I Lead? #SAVMP

Why Do I Lead? #SAVMP

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Ghandi

We all need people with us on our journey who believe in us before we believe in ourselves. For me, my husband Eric, and my former principal and friend Susan, have encouraged me, pushed me, and applauded me long before I believed I deserved it.

A few years ago I decided that I wanted to start bike riding. Riverside has miles of paved bike baths along the Santa Ana River, and I always thought it would be cool to ride along the river all the way to the ocean; this ride is sometimes known as “Smog to Surf” (I live in the smog; Huntington Beach provides the surf). I had no workout routine and was in terrible shape, but my husband said that if this was something I wanted to do, he thought I could do it. I wasn’t convinced I could do it. I was afraid it would be too hard; I would fail. He took me riding almost weekly and helped me pick out a helmet. I whined, I whimpered, and I made excuses. However, after six months of training, I did it. I rode from Riverside to surfside; it was 35 miles. Not sure it would have happened if Eric hadn’t believed in me before I believed in myself.
My Bike

Professionally, I have been really lucky to have had principals who saw leadership qualities in me, before I saw them for myself. I remember the exact day my principal, Susan, informed me that I would be taking over the duties as instructional technology site specialist on campus. Years later we sat together planning professional development for general education high school teachers. When we had the list of needs completed I asked her who would be providing those trainings, and of course, she looked directly at me, removed her glasses, and said, “Are you kidding? You are!”. I look back at that moment as the moment I truly started leading. I had been department chair and presented technology inservices, but this was the scariest and riskiest moment of my career. The PD was well received by the teachers and I was able to observe implementation, change, and progress. That was about 6 years ago. Since then I have not stopped being afraid and I continue taking risks.

So maybe that’s why I lead. It’s scary, it’s risky, but I can be the change! I will forever be thankful to Eric, Susan, and so many others who have made it safe for me to be afraid and safe for me to take risks and for believing in me. It’s my goal to believe in others, including my middle schoolers and teachers, and help them face fear and take risks. They are the future leaders. 


  1. Great blog entry, Elizabeth! Leadership often appears when we least expect it. Many times people just need to know other believe in them to accomplish their goals. Belief is a powerful tool in our leadership tool belt. I look forward to reading more! Take care!

  2. Thanks Mark! This is a great time to be a leader-learner!