Leading with motivation, inspiration and resilience

Resilient Leadership

Its still challenge and churn and chaos out there, I know.

Last week a colleague put it all in perspective for me.  His district, like so many others, started the year with high hopes of returning to normal only to find a return to the chaos and churn of COVID impacts.  Let me share his story.

A motivational metaphor … from a colleague

My wife had hip surgery recently.  She is in healing mode.  Her doctor told her that it takes time to overcome the trauma of major surgery.  And he urged her to give her body time to recover.  Pushing too hard, he said, risked re-injuryNeeded is slow and steady progress.  Progress over perfection.

Meanwhile, she needs help.  She can’t drive herself yet.  Things she used to do just fine now take more time and often the help of others.  That’s fine.  No matter how much she wants to bound up the stairs, she needs to give herself grace and go slowly up the stairs.

With help and rest and recovery, she will recover and be stronger and healthier when healed.

…And how it helps us

We, like my wife, have been through trauma.  We are all in healing mode.  Much as we may want to make the push toward normalcy, “we can’t push recovery without risking re-injury.”  We need to give ourselves grace.

Many of you I know–and many of our students–continue to suffer from fear and stress and loss.  Managing the COVID complexities at home and work is challenging.

All of us, as professional colleagues, are dealing with the trauma of Delta resurgence.


Stephen Covey urges us to stay in Quadrant 2 by keeping the focus on the important more so than the urgent.  Yes, the tyranny of the urgent wants 100% of our time. And there are far too many important issues to address immediately.

So, for now, let’s focus on the important issues within our sphere of influence.  For me, that comes down to two things:  safety and relationships, caring for each other.  Let’s focus on providing help for each other, just as I am trying to help my wife recover from her surgery.

Look out for each other

Thanks to my colleague for pointing the way … not overly optimistic … or pessimistic.

Thank you for the reminder that we are all in recovery.  We are not at 100% yet.  We all need help.

That with help is okay and, with rest and recovery, we will recover and be stronger and healthier.

Building back better is slow and steady work.  Progress over perfection.

My take-aways

Story touches our heart better than any other approach.

Empathy helps us name and frame the emotions we are experiencing.

Relationships help us get through hard times together.

Looking out for each other is so important right now.

Progress comes before perfection.

Thanks to each of you

Never has the job been harder.  The work is harder, the understanding and appreciation at an all time low.  Yet, each of you continue to display hope, empathy and resiliency.   Thank you for the support of the staff, community and students in our care.  Thanks to you students are back re-learning the importance of challenging and hard work.  That is a legacy that will live on beyond this time of intense challenge.




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Larry Nyland speaking

Larry Nyland – Leadership Coach and Consultant.
Seattle Schools superintendent 2014-2018

To talk about growing extraordinary "high capacity" leadership for your team …
Contact: Larry@Larrynyland.com | 425-418-4398 | LarryNyland.com