I have just returned from the School Library Journal Leadership Summit in Austin, Texas. Besides re-connecting with librarian friends I usually see only at ALA and AASL Conferences, I met a host of new ones who are going to be a great addition to my Personal Learning Network. While the people contacts mean a great deal to me, these gatherings are about learning and sharing how we can better do our jobs and demonstrate why we are vital and indispensable to students and our professional colleagues.
By now you may be wondering about the title of this week’s blog. It is a mash-up word I learned at the Summit and one I will be using often, combining Challenge and Opportunity. I strongly believe our mindset influences how we look at our world and feel about what we do. With all the grim news about cuts in library positions and budgets, it is easy to have a pessimistic attitude about the future which affects how you interact with others on a daily basis.
Chopportunity changes your mindset. Instead of viewing a situation as a problem, consider it a challenge. The shift puts you in charge of the situation rather than feeling like a victim of what is happening around you. What challenge are you (and your teachers and administrators colleagues) facing? OK—there are a number, but just focus on one.
Now think like an entrepreneur. A challenge means the status quo no longer exists. You have an opportunity to do things differently, bring in new partners, and find an exciting approach to reach core goals which would not have been considered as long as people were satisfied with how things were going. (Do check to be sure your core goals are not rooted in the past. The past is dead.)
By changing your mind set, thinking outside the box (or discarding the box entirely), you can generate enthusiasm and lead the way in your building and/or district. Your vision and solution-oriented approach will draw others to you. You might look back on these years and see the “challenges” were the best way to move forward.
Do you see Chopportunities in your school or district? What are they? What are you doing about them? Let’s get a discussion going.