302 Thoughts Fireside Chat: Reclaiming Your Purpose as a School Leader

by | Jan 15, 2022 | 0 comments

6 min read

Suffering arises from trying to control what is uncontrollable, or from neglecting what is within our power. ~ Epictetus

Open any news source or social media app and it is easy to become disillusioned, questioning where we are headed as a country. COVID-19 is still affecting many parts of the world, and with the variants, it seems to be something impossible to beat. One thing that we do know is that we are incredibly resilient as humans. However, resilience is only ever possible when it’s coupled with purpose. The greater we understand our purpose, the more focused and resilient we become. In this month’s 302 Thoughts we identify how to reclaim your purpose so that you can reignite your passion and desire amid challenging times. 

We are also not naive. We realize that purpose has become a management watchword. Too many purpose statements aren’t written well or don’t mean much to the so-called user. But, “many people—not just Millennials—want to work for organizations whose missions and business philosophies resonate with them intellectually and emotionally.” Purpose, when done well, matters to both productivity and fulfillment. 

What we find in times of uncertainty is that people lose track of the reason they brought themselves to their work. They feel shaky about their world, and they often can’t see the fruits of their labor. That’s why we built our model for getting grounded and reclaiming our purpose in schools. The model is a framework with action steps for getting grounded. Getting Grounded requires an unbridled effort to identify those things that are most important to your personal and professional core values. This works in life as well as it does in school leadership, and it’s necessary if we want to demonstrate our passion to our students and staff. We invite you to take a look at the model, read the show notes below, and listen to our discussion about reclaiming purpose as school leaders. If you haven’t heard our interview with Todd Whitaker and his definition of purpose–making a difference–check that out too. 

Model for Reclaiming Your Purpose: Getting Grounded

Joe and T.J. Discuss the Concept of Purpose for School Leaders


In this episode, Joe describes the process and power behind introspection:

  • I know my purpose at work each day.
  • My purpose at work directly corresponds with my daily activities.

Considering the statements above, are you clear on purpose and is your daily work aligned? Or consider your family. If spending time with your kids is important to you, are you ensuring you are creating enough time in your week to meaningfully be a part of their day?

Looking within ourselves and willing asking and answering the tough questions is essential to purpose because it is empowering. 


In this episode, T.J. reminds us of the power in praising others for working toward a predefined purpose. Praising others empowers them to continue on their path with confidence. In turn, when we look to praise, we gain an awareness of all of the great things within our lives, which produces a feeling of gratitude. Gratitude leads to positivity and a better attitude. You can’t be negative and grateful at the same time.  

We never like to conclude a show without providing some tangible resources for our audience that will make a difference in your work as a school leader. This month, T.J. discusses our REPSS survey, which can be found in our Building a Winning Team book. This survey is designed to give administrators keen insight into their faculties’ perceptions within key areas. In order to move in the right direction and focus on the right aspects of your school culture, including purpose, school leaders need to understand what to focus on as priorities. The survey results are a clear source of information that will lead to better navigation as a leader. Here’s a free copy of the survey

Joe focused on a resource for women called, Career Contessa. This site “…helps working women be more fulfilled, healthy, and successful at work.With online courses, career coaching, and more, the site helps women find and fulfill their purpose as leaders. 

Our 302 Thoughts are monthly free live podcast recordings that help leaders to lead better and grow faster. It’s like school leadership training without having to leave the comfort of your office or home. We hope you’ll join us next month. Look for the dates in our newsletter.

Let us know if there’s a topic you want us to cover by leaving a comment below or by contacting us at contact@dereka206.sg-host.com. And don’t miss our leadership newsletter every week by subscribing on the site. 


We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.

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