inspiration

#POWERFUL words, #POWERFUL choices, #POWERFUL actions! Find your words to become a #Learner, #Leader, #Lifer!

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Each of us is on a journey; a journey towards self-discovery, self-improvement, self-awareness, and hopefully self-actualization. While we are on our individual journies I believe that each of us has the capability to choose the words that guide us as we head towards our personal destinations. I believe that we have a responsibility to be thoughtful about those choices, and that we can effectuate positive changes in our worlds and the worlds that those we care about. I believe that if we do this we can all become expert #learners, #leaders and #lifers. Meaning, those that choose to learn, lead others, and appreciate each moment that lif has to offer. 
I bring this challenge to you to focus on the words that can support you on your journey. This challenge would be to take a look at the picture below that contains a number of words that I have dubbed #POWERFUL words, and to make some choices for yourself. Choose the words that reflect who you are as a #POWERFUL person. Maybe you are a #learner, a #leader, or a #lifer, like me, or maybe you are simply seeking to be a little better than the day before, or quite possibly you are seeking to change the world with your magical powers. I think that no matter which level your journey is on that you can choose to make it a #POWERFUL one by forcusing on the words that give you your internal power.


For me, my current set of words includes: #Positive, #Outstanding, #Wise, #Empowered, #Resilient, #Forthright, #Unbelievable, and #Loving. Let me explain:
#Positive: Each moment of each day I choose my attitude. I choose to be positive, to look on the bright side, to relish the good that occurs in front of my eyes, and then I seek out the good that might go overlooked. Sometimes its the simplest of actions that people, I don’t even know do, such as holding a door for someone, or picking up a piece of trash that lays before them, to witnessing the engagement of an exceptional educator who is guiding the development of a group of students and educators all day long. 
#Outstanding: As I maneuver through my day I seek to be a shining light to those that might catch a glimpse of me in action. Not that I need to be the star of the show, but it’ that I feel a sense of responsibility to seek to be my best for the people I serve. I strive to give others an authentic look at how I go through life with what I hope are exceptional behaviors, actions, and positivity. I want to get that smile from an onlooker. I want to include people in my life. I seek to engage, and be present in what I hope is a memorable way towards the good.
#Wise: I have had the opportunity to learn many life lessons, to become a learned man, to build a set of skills that guide my decisions and actions. I learned these things from life, from my parents, from those in my lives, from my teachers, from my colleagues, my children, and if I don’t act with regard of these lessons that I have learned, then I think that I wouldn’t give justice to these life experiences. I want to be thoughtful, be cognizant of the intelligence I have, use it for good, and allow my thoughts and actions to demonstrate who I truly am.
#Empowered: It is my life. It is my choice. It is my heart, mind, and soul, that creates me, so it becomes a real action to be empowered through myself. If I were allow myself to be only directed by others, would that be enough? If I allowed myself to be swayed one way or another because of popular belief or persuasion or group mentality, would that be enough? I think not! To be empowered is to be aware, to know you have choices, then to choose consciously, and to let yourself recognize that you have independent thought and have acted on your own accord.
#Resilient: If you know me at all, you know that at my inner core, the issues of resilience ignite my life. Having the capability to come up against adversity, then to battle, fight, overcome, be the relentless individual that I can be, to persevere through any hardship that presents itself, is truly a learned skill set that I use each and every day. I also seek to help others recognize that they too have experienced resilience, and that each of our minds are afforded opportunities continuously to overcome the roadblocks paced before us. This power word is essential to my and my development, and for me represents a deep commitment to living.
#Forthright: While there is always the need for tact and courtesy in providing information to people, especially information that might not be seen as positive to all ears, none of us have time to beat around the bush or to engage in miscommunication about important issues, topics, concepts, or with feedback that is designed to improve the lot of children, their parents, or those that work to build communities. So, to me, I feel a need to know my stuff, to know my positions, to know what I want to have occur, and then to work to communicate effectively with those that have interest or motivation to make things better. I find that by being thoughtful in my approach I am better able to hold crucial conversations with those in my life.
#Unbelievable: Our world is filled with common and general experiences. Going to get gas in our cars, stopping by the grocery store to pick up a few things, or maybe even making a quick pit stop on a long journey to take care of business, are several of those common experiences. I want to give people an unbelievable experience when I am with them. Maybe it’s with my greeting, maybe its my customer service, maybe its just offering a warm hand to shake, or possibly its by exceeding someone’s expectations in a meeting, offering just a bit more that they were thinking our conversation would provide to them, or by busting out in a little song to lighten the mood. It isn’t always about showmanship, but the style in the show that you decide to provide.
#Loving: I care about people. I truly want each person to succeed in their lives, and and I strive to be a loving person in my interactions with others. I love having an opportunity to work with people, to communicate with others, and to work in the education arena, where what we all do on a daily basis matters, and supports our shared future world. I love my family, my friends, my career, and my life. I love it! I am a #LIFER! What I mean by this is that I work to focus on the precious moments that I am given, and value the good and difficult moments that occur in my day, and I hope that you will join me in loving your life.
The beauty of engaging in a process such as this and reflecting on the #POWERFUL words presented in this challenge, is that you do not need to choose my words! You can choose your own. You also do not need to choose words that I have provided as you can add your own. Your choice, your power, your actions, your opportunities to grow yourself, and then your opportunity to work to build the #POWERFUL attributes in each person that are in your world. Think about it, if each person you know actually focused on choosing their words, and enhancing their powers, then worked to build themselves up, and then focusd their energies to build the powers of others in their worlds, then we could actually instigate a dynamic change to our collective world by simply building on the super powers we all have to improve the world! 
Rob Martinez, Ed.D. is known as @ResiliencyGuy and AKA @DrRobM_FSUSD on twitter, and can bfound as “Resiliency Guy” on Facebook. He is becoming well known for his presentations on Transformational Resilience across California, and serves the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District as the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources. 

Seeking Balance, and Allowing Resilience to Lead You Forward

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When stress and anxiety are provided a window of opportunity into your heart, mind, soul and body, they quickly focusing on creating imbalance in your world in order to be able to invite their close friends depression, anger and frustration to the party. Seeking to find and keep your balance, and allowing your resilience to support you in moving forward, are ways to limit these windows of opportunity that tend to pull us even farther off the balance we seek.

Is there a sure-fire way to avoid stress, anxiety and their friends from attempting to tilt you over? Of course not, and yet, if you take action on several or all of these steps to build your resilience skills you will be better able to walk tall, keep your alignment more steady, and ward off these mental beasts that seek to tear you down.
A few simple excercises to stay in balance:
-Be thankful: Yes, be aware of what has been provided to you, what you have access to, and that you can use to take care of yourself. Be it food, shelter, clothes, or even crumbs, consider that you have something. If you have family, loved ones, a job, a place to call home, a place to visit, you have something to be thankful for, and 
-Be kind: Taking a moment or two to provide an act of kindness, to care for someone else, or to provide something to someone that needs a pick-me-up.
-Be active: By getting your body going (walk, jog, run, ride, bend, stretch…) you inform each and every cell of your body that you are alive. You let your whole system know that this life must be lived, that you want to be part, and that you are readying yourself for your next great adventure.
Be present: If you work, be at work, and take care of the things that work calls for without allowing yourself to be engaged in, for lack of a better word, “DRAMA” that pulls you away from your work. If you are at home, be at home, be there for those that need and depend on you, yes, that is your life, these are the people you love, and they deserve the very best of you each opportunity you have to be with them. By being present, you remain an active part of your life, their lives, and show them the way to engage, stay in control, remain calm, fight your way through, and to be ready for a new day! 
Build your skills: Personal, professional, creative, or even athletic skills must be targeted and focused on. If you recognize you should, and want to improve in a given area, you must put in the work to advance your skills. If it’s by becoming a better person, well, maybe you start by reading a little blog such as this, or it’s by taking a class, or it’s just by having a conversation with someone you know. If it’s professional, again, focus on the area of need, target that specific skill set you have identified, and get yourself going. If you want to develop a new part of yourself, there are literally millions of ways to “Google” it, and then take action. It is your life, you are the lead of your own show, and you can modify the script as you see fit.
BOLD CRAZY SENTENCE: You, are only the you, you believe yourself to be, and if you want to be a new you, well then identify a path, take a step towards your journey, and seek to become the new you you long for!
Here’s hoping that you each find your balance, that you seek to engage in being: thankful, kind, active, present, and that you build your skills accordingly. While I can’t guarantee that the stress and anxiety won’t be able to find you if you engage in these behaviors I can tell you with assurance that you will have more skills at hand in your resilience tool kit if you do, and that you will be more able to right yourself should you feel yourself tilting one way or another.
So, with that, Happy Thanksgiving to each and everyone, and I do hope that you reflect and plan on bringing the best you to each and every day. Remember, some of the best days of your life may have not happened yet.

 
Dr. Martinez is the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources for the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District and is also known as @ResiliencyGuy on @twitter. He can be found on Facebook at “Resiliency Guy” and is Co-Moderator of #Resiliencechat that occurs each Monday, at 7:00 PST on @Twitter 

#Resilience Chat with Crystal Middle School Students, 10/28/16

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Had a fantastic opportunity to share some thoughts about #resilience with some of our students at Crystal Middle School.

Some of the audio quality is not the best here, however I think that some of the video segments are pretty good examples of connecting to students, and that I was able to connect with them about what #resilience is all about.

I presented them with the concept that adversity comes in all shapes and sizes, and that I believe that if they have more #assets in their control that they will be better able to get through any roadblock that gets in their way.

I targeted four areas of development: #academic focus, #value development, social #competence, and #self-#empowerment as ways to build their personal #resilience skills.

I am hoping to hone this type of presentation, and I seek to reach more and more of our students, and possibly students across the states.

Let me know what you think.

Dr. Rob Martinez is the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources for the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District, and is known as @ResiliencyGuy on twitter, and throughout northern California. He is focusing more and more on sharing his knowledge on #resilience development with both #educators, #Students, and our broader educational communities.

 

#Resilience Reflection – Each Moment An Opportunity to #Inspire

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As many of you might be aware I focus a lot on the issue of #resilience development, its importance as a personal skill for all, as an essential asset for our students, and as a trait that can be nurtured in each of us. 

 

Well, I heard a story of a student at one of the elementary schools in my district, who, a few days ago was identified by a teacher as simply sitting alone during the day, when he should have been in class engaged in a learning opportunity. She explained that this boy appeared to be  seemingly lost in personal thought, and possibly in need of a friendly smile or kind interaction. The teacher sharing this story with me said that she was drawn to this young boy to check on his welfare. 
She shared that once she said “Hi” to him, he seemed to be generally fine, and though indeed, he was lost in thought, he came around after this brief interaction. He re-entered the learning environment, and this simple action changed the direction of his day. He readily accepted the friendly gesture, re-engaged in the lesson at hand, and enjoyed the remainder of his school day.

 

You might ask, what’s so special about that? Well, in my work as a school psychologist, as site administrator, and even as an administrator in Human Resources, I often try to focus on the little things that might go unnoticed in our day-to-day activities with children and with each other, and I seek to positively impact those little things to make a stronger impact on the big things. 
What I noticed about this simple story was that the teacher telling me this story took notice. She noticed a boy, seeming lost to his thoughts when he should have been engaged in his class and learning opportunity. She noticed that he needed a kind, reassuring, guiding voice, to re-engage him in his learning environment, and she took action, and he responded. She noticed that a child, a human being, had removed himself from his opportunity to learn, place where he could advance his knowledge, participate with his peers, and have an opportunity to change his life, and she knew that she needed to make a difference for him. She didn’t wait for him to care before interceding, she took action!
 

Let me return to the story for a moment. At the end of that day, the boy was participating in class, connecting with other students, and even hugged this teacher prior to leaving for the day. A simple interaction by a teacher brought about a significant change to a situation where a student had removed himself from his learning environment. Indeed, this story could have gone so differently. If the teacher might have judged this child, took his detachment personally, or felt that some form of punishment was needed to “get his attention” this situation could have been escalated quickly, could have deteriorated this boy’s thoughts about education, and possibly confirmed for him that people don’t care. Again, it could have gone badly.

 

A few days ago I went by the school to meet this young man. I talked to him about his #resilience. I asked him about the other day, and he remembered. I shared with him that I thought that he had the power to make positive choices each day, and that he truly demonstrated resilience that day by returning to class, by participating, by taking hold of his own education, and that I believed that he has the ability to build on his success. I asked him if I could check in on him next month, and he said, “Sure.” 

 

I share this story with you because I see it as a significant reminder that no matter where we work, no matter what our formal job or position is, that we can all work as individuals to positively impact our students every day. Whether it’s through a kind, reassuring, guiding voice, whether it’s by providing the most engaging lessons and instruction that we can each day, or even if it’s safely driving our students to and from schools if we are a bus driver, we can all positively impact our students. We can all afford a smile, a kind word, a positive engagement moment, or even simply by lending an ear to a child.  It doesn’t cost a lot of money to be #kind, #compassionate, #empathetic, and to make a connection. In fact, it cost nothing at all, except for your time and energy to do so.
I challenge you to take advantage of each moment that you have with children/students and let’s strive to make a connection with them whenever possible. I implore you to let children know that you care, and that you are there to assist them in building their personal skills and assets, especially their #resilience.

 

Each Day an Opportunity to #Inspire!
Dr. Rob Martinez is the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources for the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District, and is known as @ResiliencyGuy on @twitter He strives to build the capacities of his employees in fostering #resilience across his District. Follow Dr. Rob at @ResiliencyGuy on #twitter and #intagram, and on Facebook at “Resiliency Guy”

Focus on Transformational Resilience

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My focus is on #Resilience development, and my concept is simple to comprehend. I believe that each person has the capability to support others with developing #resilience skills. I also firmly believe that it is an obligation for adults, especially educators, to build environments for children, and especially their students, that foster the development of the latent ability to be #resilient that resides in each child. 
I believe that there are steps that each person can take to support the advancement of #resilience skills, and this simple graphic is representative of those actions that can be taken to build these skills in our children.
Ask yourself these questions and reflect if you are taking steps to build or hinder #resilience development:
1. Am I acting to #engage my students? Meaning, Am I offering relevant interactions that are intended to build their skills, knowledge, creativity and innovation skills?
2. Am I offering #positivity to my students? Meaning, Am I focused on the growth, the development, the advancement of my students, while providing authentic meaningful feedback that encourages my students and inspires them?
3. Am I being #thoughtful in my approach with my student? Meaning, Am I considerate of the unique needs and interests of my students, and I am reflective in my process, and then, in turn, able to be flexible in my approach to connecting with them as individuals?

 

4. Am I #supportive towards each of my students no matter what? Meaning, no matter the needs, no matter their behaviors, no matter the trauma that they may have been exposed to, do you accept them, without reservation, and do you recognize that they deserve the best you can be?

I believe that working to support our children is the most important work that can be accomplished by educators, parents, and adults. If we don’t, who will? If we don’t act, how will our children learn and grow? If we don’t accept this responsibility, act as mature, well-functioning adults, how in the world can we expect our children to become more advanced well-functioning adults? It is that important! It is the most essential work that we can do! It is up to each of us to build environments for children where they can grow, flourish, and activate the latent ability to be resilien! Please join me in this effort to help our children grow in peace!

Dr. Rob Martinez is the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources for the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District, and is a proponent of supporting #resilience development in all of our learning environments. He would be happy to assist you and your schools in building and fostering environments where #TransformationalResilience can grow!

You can follow Dr. Rob at @ResiliencyGuy on #twitter as well.

Transformational Resilience: Putting the Puzzle Pieces Together!

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Resilient Individuals

Individuals who demonstrate resilient behaviors tend to be able to recognize and manage their personal perceptions and feelings, and are cognizant of their personal locus-of-control. They can perceive and understand feelings of others, understand that they matter to others, and also see that they can make a positive impact on the world. They tend to believe in themselves, reach out to others when required, and accept help from others. They insulate themselves from self-blame, and deprecating behavior, make peace with negative events, and live a healthy life. Meaning they eat well, get their rest, excercise, and accept change. 

The tricky part is of course building environments that support and promote health living, engage minds, create places where these skills can develop and flourish, and where resilience thrives! Is it doable? Can we create healthy environments where it becomes the norm to develop resilience skills? I surely hope so, and with some specific strategies we can all be on our way to these types of schools!

Action Steps For All Educators, Parents, Students:

-Encourage the Development of Positive Attitudes: By connecting with students, and providing positive feedback, encouragement, connections, and communication we can elicit healthy responses. We can keep barriers from building that stifle growth, positive attitudes from developing, and connections with other people from propelling students forward.

-Increase Support Networks for All: Ensure that each person in the environment has someone to be with, talk to, chart with, share with, and create a culture where listening to others is a premium behavior that is rewarded, over and over again. How many times do we see students talk at each other without really listening? The skill of listening has been demonstrated to be a consummate winner in evolving our societies. Listen people, just listen!

-Encourage the Building of Trusting Relationships: By fostering mutual respect for each other as people first, whether the relationships is between students, students/teachers, parents/teachers, etc. It is imperative that we build a culture where each one recognizes that we are there because of the others that are present. An old South African saying, “I am because you are,” shared often by Bishop Desmond Tutu, means that I exist as part of your world, and we are in this together. Let’s build schools where we are all in this together!

-Increase Student Engagement: We must build schools and deliver instruction for the students we have, and in response to their needs. We must be flexible in our methods, styles, instruction, curriculum, performance, measurement of success, supports, and work to provide meaning to the learning that matters to our students. If we continue to treat students as they have always been treated, then why would we expect a different result? The time is ripe for change!

-Foster a Positive and Inclusive Ethos: Our students need to be connected and belong to their environments. Hence, we must work to ensure that each student not only feels a part of their school, but that they truly identify themselves as being part of the school. By including them in decisions, acting on their interests, celebrating their diversity and uniqueness, and authentically connecting with them first as people, than as supporters of their development we provide more opportunity for them to belong to, not just attend school.

-Enhance Extracurricular Activities: The days of after-school sports need to be modified in order to provide both #Access and #Equity to all students. During the day school clubs, technology, activities, sports, visual and performing arts, drama, (and the list goes on), must become a thing of the present to support our students with having opportunities to engage, connect with, and pick up a multitude of talents. Especially for our students who may be marginalized, and/or who cannot afford after-school activities, we must ensure that their opportunities are provided and enhanced!

-Make it #FUN at Every Level: Schools, school communities, classrooms, extra-curricular activities, staff meetings, must all have a component of fun! If not, then what is the purpose, really? As humans, we laugh, we giggle, we smirk, we guffaw, we snort, we are silly beings, and if we are not engaged and having fun, we generally look for something else to do. So why, not? Why not make it all fun? Why not take your class outside to hunt for moon rocks (ala Dave Burgess, “Teach Like a Pirate” guy? Why not bring some wild music into the classroom, and see how it livens up the place? Why knot? (The word knot was used to see if you were paying attention, and to make you laugh!)

-Develop Life Skills: Possibly through internships, service-learning, taking leadership roles in the classroom, or at school, or volunteering to help younger kids read, or by simply being a buddy to another student, there are ample ways to help students realize that their life skills matter, that they can have a positive impact on people in their worlds. As students develop it could become so easy to simply allow each one to believe that they are the most important child in the world, and if we work just a little bit, we can help them realize that they could in fact become the most important person in the world to another person who needs them. If we did, we sure would have some tremendously skills children on our hands. 

Summing up: I do believe that as educators come to not only recognized the need for these types of supports, and that we collective begin to act on them to build the types of schools that are surely needed, we can positively change the world, one student, one classroom, one school at a time. And, if we really get to it, we can change our communities for the good that much faster!

Dr. Robert A. Martinez, AKA “Resiliency Guy” on Facebook, and @ResiliencyGuy on #twitter @twitter strives to support the ideas of Transformational Resilience #TR to all who come in his path! He co-moderates #Resiliencechat on Monday evenings on #Twitter at 7:00 PM PST. Join him in his quest to create schools where children can “Grow in Peace!” He is currently the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources for the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District. 

My Brother, My Brother–A Thanks to My Brother George!

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My brother, my brother, you made me do it, and in turn you helped to make me!

Many moments, many smiles, many tears, many laughs, many songs, many moments, many challenges, many amazing adventures, George, you often made me do it, and as you did you helped to make me!

As a child, to me, you were a Superhero! You were a blur, as an athlete, a musician, a good looking son-of-a gun, a wild one who drove fast cars, wore super wild clothes, lived in the fast lane, yes, you were a stylin’ metro man, well before your time. 

George, you made me laugh, you made me cry, you made me clean your shoes, you made me wash your car, you made take care of your dog, you made me clean up after myself, you made me make dinner for us (even if it was just some boloney in a tortilla), you made me share my beer with you, and as you did you helped to make me!

As a teen, to me, you were a quite the mystery-man.  Who else could pull off working at a diaper service during the day, and play in a wedding band on the weekends all at the same time.  To me you were a world-traveler, a true bohemian, one who wasn’t ready to settle, one who wanted it all, and yet, you loved the simplicity of a cool beer on a summer day, a winter day, okay, day, night, whenever…

George, you made me wear a tie, you made me go to school, you made me sell my car, you made me get a job, you made me buy a Gremlin-3-speed cause it was safer, you made me bring home pioneer chicken (for free-fo-sure), you made me keep my room clean, you made me help with the yard, you made me go to Vegas with you, and wear a matching suit–(think Mexican Rainman), and by doing so, you helped to make me!

As a young man, to me you were an amazing role model, a man who enjoyed life at every moment, who demonstrated a commitment to his profession, who continued to enjoy his music, who focused on his friends and relationships, who loved the swapmeet on Sunday, the beach any time of day, and then as a man who would share all of his love with his wonderful wife, and children.  

George, you made apply to college, you made me find a better job, you made me question my choices, you made me see the world of possibilities that was out there, you made me reach out and reconnect with dad, you made me get car insurance, you made me want to do better, you made me want to become the father I am, the husband I am, the professional I am, the friend I am.  George, by doing so you helped to make me!

As an adult man, to me, the way you battled the cancer beast, year after year, and never let it capture your heart, mind and soul, i was always reminded of how I viewed you as a child-one with superhuman internal strength, as one who would ccontinue the fight to out-maneuver the pain, as one who would love to spend a day by the beach, enjoying a frosty one, and listning to some music with those he loved, and the hats, those beautiful styling’ hats. 

George, you made me feel grateful for every moment I’d see you on facebook, you made me smile with every text you sent, you made me smile with every outing you were on, you made me wonder in awe of your perserverance as you would seemingly never, never, never give up! You made me think about my own relationship with God, and I really do believe that you are now traveling through space and time with mom, with Brandon, with Stephanie, and now joined by Hildi and other loved ones seeking out new adventures. George, my dear brother, by doing all of this you helped to make me!

Yes my brother, you helped to make me, by making me a better person, by being there for me, by being my best friend and father for a number of years.  I truly could not imagine where my life might have been if not for you.  I know you know, and it can probably go without saying, and, just to be clear,  I love you, I’ll miss you always, and you will forever be in my mind, heart and soul. 

My brother George took me in when I was sixteen years old and had very limited options. He cared for me as a brother, a son, a friend, and our relationship as you might tell from my writing will be un-matched in my life. I hope that these words resonate with you as you may consider how much you mean to those you love, and those that love you. My hope that you all have a Brother like my George in your life, and that you can be like this for another.

Peace to you, Rob

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