Have you ever walked past a storefront window, maybe you looked down to check your phone, and out of the corner of your eye, you caught a glimpse of your own reflection? At first you have that lighting fast reaction and for just a split second you think, "Hey, I know that guy," then you realize it's you. Maybe you love the way you look, maybe you realize it’s time to buy a treadmill, or maybe you wonder, "Is this the way everyone sees me?"
A couple weeks ago, +Jay Willis called me up and asked if I would like to tell my #EduLeader story on his podcast: Educators Lead. To be honest, I was super flattered and thought, "What the heck? I'm in!"
I blocked off an hour of time, shut my office door, and when the time came, I jumped on the wifi and rapped with Jay. He and I had never met, but Jay must talk to a lot of initially nervous people, because, within a few moments, we were talking shop like we'd worked together for years.
Jay asked about this and we talked about that, and before I knew it I was telling stories I hadn't even remembered that I'd lived. Once you reach far enough back and uncork the past, the stories seem to have a way of taking on a life of their own. Before I knew it, our time was up, and Jay was letting me know that the podcast would be posted soon.
It is genuinely the busiest time of the year in the busiest job I have ever known, so, the weeks that flew by made it easy to forget that I was waiting for the podcast to post.
When it did, it was just like that moment in the store front window: I heard my voice and realized it was me. There was a story that I told about a kid who had long ago wandered out of my life, I forgot that I even told that story until I listened to the podcast. I have since had a few mom's at my school tell me, "I listened to your podcast, it made me cry." At first, I don't think I realized why people were at all moved by the story of a school administrator, but then it dawned on me: we all spend so much of our lives wearing a mask, trying to look like we have it all under control - I know I do. Every once in awhile, when we are not focused on the mask, but instead are just caught up in a moment, we let our guard down and get just a glimpse of what we look like when we are being ourselves. I think Jay Willis offered me the chance, like the storefront window, to catch a glimpse of myself when I wasn't looking.
It is an honor to tell my story, and I am #thankful to Jay for helping me capture it. Even the hard times in leadership are worth remembering because we should all take a moment to learn from our own stories.
If you'd like to take a listen, check it out here: http://www.educatorslead.com/johneick/