I meet many leaders throughout the many leadership & training exercises I am involved with around the country. I often invite people if they want to share their voice, their excellence, their knowledge. I was thrilled that Dr. Eric Basilo accepted. Eric greeted me warmly in Orlando at the FASA conference welcoming me to Florida. We talked about leadership, education, and Eric ribbed me for leaving Central Florida U out of the Florida “big college” debate!
Enjoy his take on “true” warriors! Thanks Eric!
Superheroes to “True” Warriors
Eric Basilo, Ed.D.
“Heroes are made by the paths they choose, not the powers they are graced with.” – Tony Stark
As we plan and prepare for the 21-22 school year, I want to congratulate you on surviving the year of the superhero. You have all chosen admirable paths, ultimately resulting in student success. Your efforts have helped students learn through a pandemic and teachers teach through some of the most unpredictable times in their career – regardless of how many years of experience they may have. Most importantly, we have learned as a collective it is okay to feel the way we do – anxious, confident, sad, elated, and so tired we need to lean on those around us to stay vertical.
As we embark on 21-22, It’s time to level up.
Students, parents, teachers, and colleagues need you now, more than ever, to take all of the superhero skills and talents you have acquired and become the leader they need – a “True” warrior. Dr. Bohdi Sanders, renowned martial artist with over 30 years of experience, and an inductee in the Martial Arts Hall of Fame, defines a true warrior as: “Someone who has the ability and will to fight to protect himself, his friends, his family, and his ideals, and at the same time, seeks the perfection of his own character through a life lived with honor, integrity, and an unflinching dedication to what is right according to his own code of ethics (Sanders, https://thewisdomwarrior.com/2013/07/05/what-does-it-mean-to-be-a-true-warrior/ (https://thewisdomwarrior.com/2013/07/05/what-does-it-mean-to-be-a-true-warrior/)) )”. As leaders, we are leveling up to ensure we can create a community of learners where ALL students can learn and all teachers feel comfortable enough to not only return each day, but
also to encourage each other and themselves to reach beyond the expectations we have set.
As the leader, you must create an environment where failing forward is encouraged. If the members of your organization feel safety in trying and missing the mark, they will stretch beyond their current mindset, discover new paths to success, and model behaviors students will follow. B.C. Forbes reminds us, those, “Who have done big things are those who are not afraid to attempt big things, who were not afraid to risk failure in order to gain success.”
A true warrior also knows this task can’t be accomplished alone. Now more than ever, you must branch out beyond the walls of your school, district, and state to find research-based ideas with track records of success. Your network needs to be a collaborative one, where strategies and approaches to learning and leading are not only shared but practiced. At the same time, we must ensure students, parents, faculty, staff, and community stakeholders feel they are all a part of the amazing culture you have set regardless of race, socioeconomic background, or preference. The key to building capacity and a desire to stay is through building community.
As we progress through this year, take care of yourself, build a strong, genuine community, and be a true warrior. The personal rewards will be great, but the rewards for those around you will have lasting effects for generations to come.
Quote: “A leader is not an administrator who loves to run others, but someone who carries water for his people so that they can get on with their jobs.”