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What Matters Most to You?

family priorities May 25, 2020

Hey everyone,

Just a quick message here on a quote I recently read that I believe is critical for any leader to think on,

Things which matter most can never be at the mercy of things which matter least. 

Six years ago, Budd Dingwall, who has been an amazing friend and mentor to me said during a mastermind call. "You know Tom, as a principal the to do list will never be empty. You'll never feel caught up. The school will be there tomorrow. But you might not." 

He went on to share about how as a principal he missed precious family time to be the best principal he could be.

And he was!

How many principals do you know that have earned two Blue Ribbon School Rewards?

Each at a different school in a different state! Budd is an incredible servant leader although he doesn't spend his days walking the hallways, he is still leading by walking around in my mind. 

I knew what Budd was trying to convey to me; but I was just about to launch my new business and the "to-do" list had to get done. 

Well, it is six years later and I am sad to say that many days, the "to-do" list still wins most of the time. 

Let's be clear. Just like me, you started this school or business, or took this job as a principal or manager, to provide for your family. To be more for others. To impact at a higher level. But be sure you are sacrificing the right things. 

A mentor recently shared that children see things from their eyes, not from yours.

My son Matthew is great at communicating this. "Dad, you said you would stop working, so put your phone down. Dad, you said we would play ride bikes, but now it's dark."

His lens doesn't understand he played all day until it got dark doing other things. His lens is, you promised we would ride bikes, and we didn't. 

My mentor Roddy went on to share,

"You know how children spell love? T-I-M-E"

I've learned that fear, anxiety, and resentment do not necessarily make a sound.

Silence doesn't necessarily mean agreement. 

Silence is a powerful statement. 

I don't believe in a work/life balance. But I do believe in a work/life harmony. If there is one thing that the COVID-19 pause has made me to, it is work harder to get the math right in this work/life equation. I do not win every day, but I am working to improve each and every day. 

You see, it doesn't really matter what you say is important or claim to care about. Whether you are in your home, your community or the school you lead, everyone will know the truth based on how you spend your time. 

One solution to ensure you are balance or in harmony is to stop every day, have an eye contact heart to heart with those closest to you and ask, how are you doing? How are you really doing during these times? What are you working on? How can I help? 

So remember, the things that matter most can never be at the mercy of the things that matter the least.

Your friend,


P.S. If you found this lesson helpful, it is the kind of message we will be sharing during our weekly Empowered Educator Mentorship Community Call which happens every Friday at 1:00 virtually. If your teachers, or someone you know may benefit from this community, please share the message and the link below.  

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