Monday, 12 October 2009

'When the going gets tough, the tough get going.'

As many of you know I've been dealing with a lot of difficult things, difficult people and difficult issues and I am grateful to those colleagues and friends who have helped me manage my demons recently,. Those of you who have made me laugh at myself as I rage against the world, made me cry with my colleagues as I watch and talk to our wonderful young people and again made me recognise how lucky I am to work here in Leeds with so many brilliantly talented colleagues who are releasing the magic in so many ways...

On Monday I started the week having lunch with Paul Napier and Nicola Megson from the Yorkshire Evening Post before having tea with the governor support service and their new colleagues. On Tuesday I visited Seven Hills and Stanningley Primary Schools before meeting the press to discuss the latest chapter of the National Challenge story, before attending corporate leadership team. On Wednesday I went to London to meet Kate Chhatwall who heads up the National Challenge team at the DCSF. On Thursday I started the day having breakfast with the North West family of schools' headteachers at Ralph Thoresby High School before a series of meetings and briefings on: the next Education Leeds Board meeting; the review of Children's Services here in Leeds; the next Executive Board Meeting; the National Challenge; and the other challenges we currently face. And finally, on Friday I attended the 2009 Stephen Lawrence Education Standard Celebration recognising the achievements of 47 schools and a Children's Centre. It was great that Ed Balls MP, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, managed to attend some of the event. After watching Rawdon St Peter's CE Primary Schools brilliant presentation following Eva Schloss' visit to the school for Holocaust Memorial Day - he announced that the DCSF would support us in showcasing our work to all authorities across the country and recommending the Stephen Lawrence Education Standard as a toolkit to address community cohesion, tackling racism and building tolerence and respect.

What you realise when the going gets tough is that success is all about attitude, determination, persistence and hard work. If you want to be successful in any aspect of your life you need to be persistent and determined and release the powerful forces that keep pushing you on when that little voice in your head is telling you to quit. We must nurture that intense desire to succeed and trust and empower our colleagues to be their brilliant best. And we must never forget that there are so many fantastic things happening across the city. This week's school visits and celebrations have helped me realise that there are seven steps which help us manage the impossible:
  • Step 1: Remember that problems are what we make them.
  • Step 2: Remember that you have a choice in how you handle challenging things.
  • Step 3: Remember to never give up or give in when faced with a challenge.
  • Step 4: Remember to deal with your emotions and let colleagues help.
  • Step 5: Remember that problems and difficulties help us to grow as individuals.
  • Step 6: Remember to learn to laugh at your situation and mistakes no matter how bad they are.
  • Step 7: Remember that no one is perfect and that we all need help and support.
We must all work harder, step up and be more persistent than ever. So whatever you do when the going gets tough, hang in there!

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