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Step one:

Consider these thematic words and/or others related to your life and identity as a leader. Choose
one for each column and do some brainstorming. Come up with specific short statements related
to themes you choose.
For example: This I believe about communication: The words I dont say might influence as
much as those I do.
Here are some words to consider: communication, relationships, practice, the future, my
influence, limitations, potential, intention, wisdom, abilities, identity, faith, ethics, mentorship,
change, turning points, inspirations, ! Choose any theme, but focus on leadership.
This I Believe About relationships

This I Believe
about my influence

This I Believe
About communication

People must feel valued.

I must have a concrete I must clearly communicate


plan before I can hope why changes are necessary.
to change others
minds.

I should try to affect peoples lives


positively

I must have
reasonable goals.

I must be respectful of all and


redirect, rather than disagree.

People working together toward a


goal is more effective than one
person telling people how to
achieve a goal.

I must find others to


collaborate with to
create change; I can
do little alone.

I cannot pretend I have


everything figured out; I need
input from others.

Step two:
Continue the thematic idea of each column, and think about connected specific stories.
For example: I remember how being elected a student leader as a junior pushed me in a
direction of influence I hadnt envisioned until then.
This idea came alive for me
or is best demonstrated in
exactly this/these moment/s

I see/saw this in my life when


(be specific):

This thematic idea most clearly


bring this/these specific
experiences to mind:

Ive always felt that if we


forget that we need to affect
people positively, we
become selfish and
uninteresting people.

When I used to have


problems thinking up ideas
for my classes, talking to
John Dols always creates
much better ideas than I had.

We created a new class that


several of us had been asking
for, but it wasnt until we
gathered together that it was
accepted.

When trying to restructure


LI, my opinion didnt
matter, but rather, the whole
team needed to be on board.

When presenting an idea to


the principal, Ive always
needed to have the entire plan
mapped out, or else it seems
too intangible to move
forward on.

My personal complaints have


not created change, but when
we have provided data about
lack of student success, changes
have been made in curriculum.

Step three:
The core of it all (we think) is relationships. Include people with whom you have had influence
or from whom you gained insight related to these themes and ideas. Continue the column and
stick to the theme of each. (If column 1 above is mentorship I might brainstorm both mentors
and those whom I feel I have mentored.) Make these people you know, not historical or
contemporary figures you may admire (thats the next step!).
For example: I remember how the kind words of my second grade teacher boosted my
confidence to keep reading.
People I think of when I
consider this theme or idea of
relationships

People I think of when I


People I think of when I
consider this theme or idea of consider this theme or idea of
influence
communication

John Dols always strives to


get along with people; it is
then easier to work with
them.

I got into teaching because I


disliked the job some of my
teachers did.

Case Unverzagt is very


pragmatic with his
brainstorming, always asking
questions about how ideas
will be received.

Case Unverzagt has been a


great department head and
made us a tightly knit
department because of our
positive relationships.

I feel more motivated to care


about an element of my job
when my vice principal,
whom I like and respect, tells
me why it is a necessary task.

I disliked a former presidents


communication because it
seemed false and
condescending.

Step four:
Finally, communicate what puts this idea at the front of your thoughts about leadership. Share a
quote, verse, song, poem, novel, or event which centers you as a leader or person of influence.
Again, try to relate the quote or big idea in each column to that columns theme from above.
For example, if my column were focused on integrity or identity, I might choose Proverbs 10:9
Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found
out; or consider what Miss Maudie says in To Kill a Mockingbird, "Atticus Finch is the same
in his house as he is on the public streets. If my column related to the theme of potential, I
might draw on the wisdom of Mohammed Ali: It's the repetition of affirmations that leads to
belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.
Inspiring big idea related
to this theme

Inspiring big idea related to this


theme

Inspiring big idea related to


this theme

English is the most


cohesive department in
my school, so I dont
have one crystallizing
moment, but my time at
my school has shown me

If you are given a


chance to be a role
model, I think you
should always take it
because you can

"The two words


informationand
communication are often
used interchangeably, but
they signify quite different
things. Information is giving
out; communication is

how effective a cohesive


group can be, over
groups with more
tension.

influence a person's
life in a positive light,
and that's what I
want to do. That's
what it's all about.

getting through." - Sydney


Harris

Tiger Woods

As with all creative writing, please feel free to adapt and change the assignment in ways
that help you expand and develop ideas. Maybe youll answer different questions or offer a
spin on these ideas. Thats fine. Just dig in.