I was thinking, how could I give you some inspiration right now. It’s week 8 of a long 11-week term and you could be in the thick of reports, exams, marking, possibly submitting curriculum documentation, and because interview season is fast approaching, you might also be applying for your next job on top of all that.

I wanted to encourage you forward in whatever you were tackling right now and help you to see the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ in a few weeks. Things get hard about now, it’s often difficult to keep one foot ahead of the other, keep your planning up, people around could have the sniffles, plus its cold.

Last night I was clearing out a few things and I found some notes I made from the very beginnings of my business, back in 2006.  I found some notes that I had written from a coaching session. It resonated with me because the session was all about keeping momentum, keeping moving forward even if it was only small steps each day or each week. Just so long as there was forward progress.

The notes could apply to so many people right now. You are all very busy, so dedicated to your work and so passionate about the success of your students and your school.

The situation back then was about a middle leader, relatively new to his role, and required to make his first presentation to the leadership team. It was about this time of year, the presentation was about a new curriculum initiative he wanted to propose and he was nervous, lacking in confidence, and had never done anything like this before.

He had spent hours preparing his presentation and knew his material. That wasn’t the problem. The problem was he feared the response. What would they say? How would he respond to their queries? How would he respond to their objections? Would there be any objections? What had he not covered? What had he not thought about? This fear is so common to all of us. It’s the unknown. The uncertain.

The ultimate truth, however, is you can never control other people. You can only control yourself; your thinking, language, demeanour and response. If you know what you want and why you want it, then you can hold your focus and response.

What he needed was to believe: believe in what he wanted, believe in its worth and the impact it could create. He need to be bold and back himself.  And so do you!

In coaching, the coach’s mindset is based on the thought that people are doing the best they can with the resources available to them. I wanted him to appreciate the pivotal position he was in, the power to positively influence and the strength in his proposal to affect the learning of the students. So I took him through some mindset exercises based in neurolinguistic programming (NLP).  

I also encouraged him to view a TED Talk by Amy Cuddy, who talks about the power of body language. Here’s the link so you can view it too. https://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are?language=en

Here are the mindset exercises in summary.  Remember, whatever you are facing:

  • What you focus is what you get – keep in your mind you want this
  • Physiology creates psychology – dress the part, relax into the experience, walk tall, breath deep, keep your shoulders square
  • Trust yourself – you are a dynamo
  • Do the Amy Cuddy thing beforehand to help you feel truly strong and capable
  • Focus on clear communication – speak succinctly, listen, clarify, respond and be flexible in your approach
  • Questions often come from not knowing, so explain it, again and differently if needed
  • Requests for more information are good, it means they are willing to explore
  • If they raise something you haven’t YET thought of, thank them for the insight, and positively respond that you will look into it and get back to them
  • Keep breathing. Stay focused. You want this and it’s a good thing
  • Share the result it can bring, share the positive impact
  • Be bold and back yourself

I hope this gives you some inspiration. I’m a sailor from my teenage years so a favourite quote of mine has always been “we cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails”. So stay on course, finish the race, its only 3 weeks away, just ‘tack’ a little differently to get there and regardless of the size of the step, a step forward is a great step and that’s all it takes to maintain momentum.


Janine Stratford, is a leadership coach, working with teachers and leaders in schools across Australia and New Zealand. A former teacher (Chemistry and H&HD actually) and school leader, she is passionate about developing great leaders as role models for their schools and their students. You can find out more about Janine at www.coachingfocus.com.au