100 days of CHALLENGE- 4/5/2020

Things are so different but I have definitely found maintaining my CHALLENGE routines and practices have provided me a sense of normalcy during these unprecedented times.

Today marks 100 days of #oneword2020- CHALLENGE for me. As I described in my 12/29/2019 post, I determined in late 2019 that CHALLENGE would be my focus and thought of multiple ways that I could implement its use in 2020.

Many of the ways I determined to CHALLENGE myself were inspired by two books that I had read during Winter Break- Be Real by Tara Martin and 5 Things Successful People Do Before 8 AM by Terri Savelle Foy. In my 12/27/2019 post, I shared how after reading both of these inspirational books, I realized that out of "Terri's 5 Things," reading a lot and writing and reviewing my dream and goals regularly were things that I had previously done at night, which often led to them being skipped.

The ideas of reading more and reflecting more were also reflected in Be Real. As Tara discussed her framework, many ideas kept popping into my head.

R- Was I a multiplier or a diminisher when I worked with my staff?

E- Was I truly exposing vulnerabilty as I documented my journey?

A- How could drive-bys influence my approachability?

L- How was I using my blog and website to document my learning journey?

All of these questions led me to develop the goals listed to the right.

I began journaling every day and monitoring these six goals on December 27, 2019. In my 1/17/2020 post, I shared my progress 21 days in. In my 2/8/2020 post, I shared an update at six weeks. Since February, I have been continuing to monitor all these goals. Today as I journaled, I noticed it was Day 100. I couldn't think of a better time to give an update.

So after 100 days of CHALLENGE, I am proud to share my update. Like any goals, some things I have definitely made more progress on than others, but I am happy to report that progress has been made on all six of my goals.

This goal is one that historically I have struggled with. I am an emotional eater and in times of stress, I struggle with this. But I am proud to share that I have lost about 9 pounds since starting this CHALLENGE and have kept it off. Slow and steady, but making progress.

Starting the day off with a morning routine has been essential for me. At first when COVID-19 struck, I slacked off from this routine for a few days, but quickly realized that was a mistake. My morning walks with my dog have proved to be invaluable. With a few exceptions, we have walked every day. These walks have helped to center me, especially through challenging and stressful times. Self care is so important- I have realized over the last 100 days that this needs to be the way I start my day. When I do so, everything is more manageable.

Reading to learn was one of my most ambitious goals. When I look at the amount of amazing books I have enjoyed in the past 100 days, it seems unbelievable. I have read close to 18 books. (I am still working on book #18.) Here are the books I have enjoyed as part of my am reading. I highly recommend them all. They have helped me to grow so much as an educator and as a leader.

Innovate Inside The Box by George Couros and Katie NovakDrive by Daniel PinkLead Beyond Your Title by Nili BartleyStart Right Now: Teach with Excellence by Todd Whittaker, Jeffrey Zoul and Jimmy CasasThe Secret Solution: How One Principal Discovered the Path to Success: by Todd Whittaker, Jeffrey Zoul and Richard DonlanCreatively Productive by Lisa JohnsonSocial LEADiab by Jennifer Casa-ToddMaster The Media by Julie N. SmithEduProtocols Vol. 2 by Jon Corippo and Marlena Hebron
Ditch That Textbook by Matt MillerEscaping the School Leader's Dunk Tank by Rebecca Coda and Rich JeterThe Interactive Class by Joe and Kristin MerrillMultipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter by Liz WisemanDesigned to Learn by Lindsay PortmoyLearner Centered Innovation by Katie MartinLive Your Excellence by Jimmy CasasSanctuaries by Dan TricaricoDare to Lead by Brene BrownBalance Like a Pirate by Sarah Johnson, Jessica Johnson and Jessica Cabeen

This goal has really fueled me. I have definitely found that I have a passion for both of these things. Since December 27, 2019, I have written 23 blogs including this one. These blogs have served as my personal time capsule, sharing joyous moments like Happy Birthday, Techy Notes and hosting my first Twitter chat. They have also shared challenges such as Hacked and A New Normal.

I have also loved journaling daily. After reading Creatively Productive by Lisa Johnson, I started adding bullet journaling to my daily journaling. Checking in and journaling each day has helped to keep me centered and reminds me on a daily basis about my goals.

Another one of my goals was to apply to present at conferences. Since December 27, 2019, I have applied to present at five conferences. At the end of January, I presented at my district's edtech conference on Empowering Student Voice. I have also been accepted to present four sessions at Techpalooza in Danville, VA in June (fingers crossed that it does not get cancelled.) In addition, I have been accepted to present two sessions at UTC- Upstate Technology Conference in Greenville, SC in July. As of the writing of this blog, I am still awaiting word from TechSplash in Abington, VA in July and Charlestown Innovation Summit in Charlestown, SC in June.

My last goal was to CHALLENGE myself to take more risks. One of the biggest risks that I have been undertaking is working on a draft of my book. Each week, I take some time to work on my ideas and add them to my draft. It is definitely coming along. As Dave Burgess shared in his interview with Tara Martin on "The Real Journey Show," it is a process and I have begun to get down my ideas. I look forward to refining them and my message as I begin to present more. I also wrote two guest blog posts. One post was featured on Rachelle Dene Poth's blog- Creating an Action Plan through Reflection. The other piece will be released in the spring on the Teach Better blog. Oh, and I can't forget that I moderated my first Twitter chat. Lastly, I released an audio blog on the Teacher Blogs podcast. I am so grateful to all the multipliers who have encouraged me to take risks including Tara Martin, Tim Cavey, Katelynn Giordano, Margaret Sisler, and many more amazing educators.

Wow, it seems so hard to believe that it's been 100 days. I started this endeavor, this CHALLENGE during Winter Break in a pre-COVID-19 world. Now, 100 days later, we are beginning Spring Break in a COVID-19 world. Things are so different but I have definitely found maintaining my CHALLENGE routines and practices have provided me a sense of normalcy during these unprecedented times. As I look towards the future, I know the next 100 days will be happening under this "new normal." In Virginia, schools are closed for the remainder of the school year. Who would have known an additional CHALLENGE was heading all of our ways? But even though we are physically apart, we can all still connect and I appreciate all of you would take time out of these crazy days to listen to my story.