Three Keys to a Happier Life

By Jane Rogers, IPLI Mentor and Superintendent of Milan Community Schools

Recently our administrative team completed a study of Jon Gordon’s book, The Power of a Positive Team. I am inspired by his power of positivity. Gordon is a best-selling author and presenter. He and his company focus on developing positive leaders, organizations, and teams. He recently shared a Twitter post listing the three keys to a happier life. During this month of February, including Valentine’s Day, I thought these three keys were an appropriate reflection. They are: love without expectation, serve without wanting recognition, and care even if others don’t. These three certainly resonate with the life of a principal.

First, Gordon says to love without expectation. A principal demonstrates love as he/she makes an effort to greet students daily, to talk to students about how their life is going, and to help students in need of extra support. Principals show love when staying after school, reaching out to a teacher about a professional or personal situation, providing the extra, objective, listening ear just when it is needed most. A love of your school and community helps your school be the best it can be.

Serve without wanting recognition. Principals are best at service to others. Isn’t that why we chose this profession? We truly love people and want to serve. It is rewarding to help others, and principals help in many different ways. From lending a hand to set up for the music program, to carrying boxes of mail, to tutoring a student on math facts, to attending an academic or athletic competition, we are indeed helping others. Principals work lonely hours and most of the time prefer not being noticed. Our reward comes in watching others thrive.

Care even if others don’t. Principals are some of the most caring professionals. Sometimes we care to a point of worry, and that isn’t healthy. Lucky for us, the teachers who surround us care just as much as we do. We create a community of care that allows students to succeed. Even small efforts mean a great deal to a child – things like arriving early to make sure the walks are cleared, or staying late until everyone is picked up from an event, helping with a food drive, or supporting a community project. Principals show countless ways of caring daily.

Consider how you show love, service, and caring this month. Then, take a moment to pat yourself on the back for a job well done. If you feel it is necessary, challenge yourself to greater action. Be a positive influence on others. You are making a difference in many lives, and as Jon Gordon says, through love, service and caring you are finding the keys to happiness.

Follow Jon Gordon on Twitter at @JonGordon11.