One of the aspects of the curtailment break that I enjoy most is having the ability to recharge and get inspired for a new semester and a new year. This inspiration for me comes from being with family and friends, taking a slower pace, listening to the creative and insightful ideas of others – like through podcasts or books, and getting outside to enjoy the wonderful California weather (even in our winter!). These things collectively help me determine what my goals and resolutions will be for the upcoming year. While goals have an end product (i.e., a “thing” that one can point to as having been accomplished), resolutions are often less concrete; resolutions are simply more of a decision to change some aspect about your life, a decision to move in a new direction. I have written about goal setting here, and now want to share what will be my four leadership resolutions for the year. The resolutions I chose were largely informed by the past year I have spent serving in an interim leadership role on campus, an experience for which I am very grateful as it has given me many important leadership insights. But, it also meant that I put some activities on hold. Thus, I want to re-engage with some things that I see as important to my continual leadership development. Here are the four resolutions I have chosen for 2018:
- Get Out There: I have had the pleasure to volunteer with my professional association for many years. I served on conference committees and in various other leadership roles, but that long string of professional involvement ended last year. However, after attending the 50th anniversary celebration for our own Public Service Center in October, I was reminded that there are many needs, opportunities and challenges for community involvement found directly here on campus or in the larger Bay Area. It also reminded me of the profound impact that giving back to the community can have for those being served, as well as those performing the service. This focus on giving, particularly as applied through a social justice lens, is a core value of our campus, so my plan is to take some time early in 2018 to determine how best to use my time and talents to engage in public service. If you have any good ideas, or a cause for which you are passionate, I’d love to hear about it!
- Reconnect: I have had the opportunity to work side by side with many amazing and talented colleagues during my time in Student Affairs, both on the Berkeley campus as well as at other campuses nationwide. These collegial relationships have provided professional support and encouragement, opportunities for learning and collaboration, and a way to sharpen my own thinking. Given the way I dove into the interim duties that I assumed last January, I found it necessary to redirect my energies and attention to the daily matters of the position, leaving less time to invest in these relationships. In this new year, I plan to devote more time to reconnecting with colleagues through lunches, coffee or phone calls, especially those located away from Berkeley, as I have missed these interactions and the enrichment they provide me.
- Express gratitude: It is my humble opinion that finding ways to have gratitude in our lives should be on each and every resolution list. There are so many ways to see gratitude daily, including expressing our thankfulness to colleagues for the good work they do and the ways they make our campus a better place. Nominating a colleague for an award or special recognition is one specific way to share that gratitude. Whether it be a Chancellor’s Outstanding Staff Award or a Berkeley Advising Award, or other awards, our campus has many methods for bestowing recognition upon amazing and deserving colleagues. I plan to devote more time to nominating colleagues for unique professional honors as a way of expressing my personal gratitude for their work.
- Tell Stories: I saw a TED talk recently by Nancy Duarta (check it out!) where she expressed a connection between the development of our individual ideas and the creation of compelling stories. If Berkeley is anything, it is place of ideas! And that means that Berkeley is about stories. One of the things I enjoy most in my daily work is hearing the amazing things that our students, faculty and staff experience, achieve and accomplish. It is truly amazing. Being able to communicate the essence of who we are as a community – the ability to tell stories – is important in my growth as a leader, so I will resolve to practicing my storytelling. Since we all have the capacity to be storytellers, maybe this resolution is for you, too!
These are my four leadership resolutions for 2018. I welcome hearing from you about your resolutions!