Essential Question: What are your teachers thinking when they look at their students? Are they teaching the course to the students? Or, are they teaching the students the course?
“Here’s Laura’s metaphor: You buy your dream car and it happens to be red. Suddenly you see red cars everywhere you look. Why? Because you’re focusing on red cars…
“You get more of whatever you focus on!”–Laura Goodrich
Seeing Red Cars has two important messages for school leaders:
1. We get more of what we focus on. Why? Because we are “teleological” beings–we move toward and become like that which we think about and focus on. The problem is that most school leaders don’t have a clear vision of what they do want, in part because they spend so much time putting out fires in the present that they don’t have time to think about the future.
2. Most people spend more time focusing on what they don’t want as opposed to what they do want and as Wayne Dyer says, “We never get enough of what we don’t want.” The sad truth is that most school leaders have a lot of detail about what they don’t want. In other words, they have a clear vision of what they want to avoid. So, if we are focusing on what we don’t want, we are moving inexorably toward it. That’s precisely how we get stuck in a rut. Don’t believe me. Check it out for yourself. Begin asking people about “what they want.” Most will immediately begin telling you what they don’t want, which is a clear sign that they are in a “stuck state.”
School Leader’s Action Step: Begin by talking with your staff about what you do want and the things that you can control. Begin today to develop your vision for every aspect of your school from the cafeteria and hallways to classroom instruction. If you can’t picture it, you won’t see it.