The first day. - July 25, 2018
I awoke with excitement (or were those nerves?) to a morning full of promise, hope, and a tinge of the “what if this happens". New job, new home, new colleagues, new office and the metro. The day started with rain and dreariness—at least on the outside. Inside, the new building and the new work that awaited felt anything but dreary. New Orleans well-wishers sent flowers, new colleagues brought wonderful surprises like a beautiful candle, orchids, and my favorite red wine. I was invited to lunch, coffee, and was included in many interesting conversations. The anticipation of what could be and what might be possible filled the air. I heard over and over again, “Welcome to your first day.”
Odd isn’t it that we do not normally summon up such feelings each new morning? Why is it that the first day emits so much joy, promise, and hope? As I sit here writing this, I can’t help but wonder why every day can't be a first day? What would it take for us to approach each morning with a fresh look? I went back for Day Two determined to keep the levity and seriousness of purpose in equal measure.
Who’s counting? - October 11, 2018
Eighty one days have passed since that first day. I still wake up with anticipation, which now holds depth to what the day may hold. There is certainly a consistency of hearty morning greetings (much to the chagrin of those that aren’t morning people), more laughing with students and colleagues, and I'm now diving more deeply into the work that we are privileged to do. I am beginning to know my colleagues and discovering what matters most to them in terms of their work.
This begins the season of building trust, open communication, believing, as Susan Scott in Fierce Conversations writes: “While success is often measured by an accumulation of titles, acquisitions, and the financial bottom line, little or no attention is paid to the power of each conversation to move us toward or away from our stated business and life goals.”
Scott’s main point is that “our lives succeed or fail gradually, then suddenly, one conversation at a time. While no single conversation is guaranteed to change the trajectory of a career, business, relationship or life, any single conversation can. The conversation is the relationship.”
Both having conversations that begin with “what is the most important thing we should be talking about”, and establishing the trust that goes with candidness and care are critical to our success in deepening our experience with each other, our colleagues, and, most importantly, our students.
There are no more days to count now, only seasons. Clearly this season has opportunities for us to review our professional values, individually and as a band of colleagues. We are capable of asking each other and ourselves if we are willing to be known and that will take grace and courage.
I'm proud to be your colleague and I'm proud to be our students’ dean of their student experience. Let’s work hard and have fun together, remembering “we must extend to others what we want to receive."
It begins with us.