Jacqueline M. Baker is a speaker, author, leadership consultant and advisor known for her unique approach to modern etiquette and leadership. As the author of The Unexpected Leader: Discovering the Leader Within You and Leader by Mistake: Becoming A Leader One Mistake At A Time, she frequently speaks and writes on the leadership-for-all concept.
Her inspiration and expertise comes from more than a decade as the founder and principal consultant for Scarlet, a consultancy that provides leadership training to Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, community organizations and individuals across the globe. She also leverages her experience serving in a number of corporate board and community service roles.
An avid dinner-party hostess, Jacqueline creates space and opportunities to gather groups for compelling conversation, delicious cuisine and untraditional ways for continued leadership development. She is also the host of the podcast, Just Start™: From Ideas To Action.
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Discovering The Leader Within You
Can you relate to this? I am my own worst enemy. There’s haters and there’s times when I receive feedback that is very difficult. But none of that compares to what I say to myself. I’m making a commitment this year to stop that. It’s something that I need to do. Coach friend of mine working with me said, you need to be kinder to yourself. And she was right. I encourage you to do the same. So I wonder if you could relate. And I also wonder if you are similar to me. You know, back in the day, I actually didn’t consider myself a leader. It was one, a friend of mine, D’Andre, saw leadership skills in me and called them out of me that my mindset started to shift. And yeah, there was the fact that I was okay supporting like 20, 30 schools and that AVID program in Chicago Public. And it was like, whoa, look at the variety of leadership here. So that did change my mind as well. And then I heard from the stage, I’m sure you’ve heard this story right from the Global Leadership Summit, that everybody wins when a leader gets better, which turned into our mantra here at BLBS. When you get better, when you Ruckus Maker get better, everybody wins. But believe it or not, this guy, the coach and mentor to so many leaders, the bestselling author, the principal development and retention expert, the host of this show, which ranks in the top 0.5% of all podcasts out there in the world, 3 million shows back in the day. I didn’t see the leadership skills I had. We’ll start our conversation there with today’s guest and hear so much more about all the value that she has for you. You’re gonna love this show. Hey, it’s Danny, chief Ruckus Maker over at Better Leaders, Better Schools. And this show is for Ruckus Makers. That means you, that you can continuously invest in your development. You challenge the status quo and you design the future of school. Now, I will be right back after some messages from our show sponsors.
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Hey, Ruckus Makers, we are happy to have Jacqueline M. Baker on the show today. She’s a speaker, author, leadership consultant and advisor known for her unique approach to modern etiquette and leadership as the author of the Unexpected Leader, discovering the Leader Within You and Leader By Mistake, becoming a Leader, one mistake at a time. She frequently speaks and writes on the Leadership for All concept. Her inspiration and expertise comes from more than a decade. As a founder and principal consultant for Scarlet, a consultancy that provides leadership training to Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, community organizations, and individuals across the globe. She also leverages her experience serving in a number of corporate board and community service roles. An avid dinner party hostess, Jacqueline creates space and opportunities to gather groups for compelling conversation, delicious cuisine in untraditional ways for continued leadership development. She’s also the host of the podcast. Just start from Ideas to Action. Welcome to the show, Jacqueline. Thank you for having me. We’re gonna start with some mildewy letters, but I might come back to the bio because I have so many questions about What’s in there too, but you Found some mildewy letters. And they reminded you of greatness. What’s the story there?
Oh my gosh, I so appreciate this question because this question is how you know someone has read your book, first Of all. It was a story that was in the second book, the Unexpected Leader discovered the leader within You. Essentially what happened is my father passed away just about a year and a half ago, and my father and I had an interesting relationship. I’ll say that to spare everybody from all the details. We’ll never get on to question two if I keep going. But my father also tended to have a reputation to be a hoarder of things that weren’t his. And I have had a personal private reputation of not really feeling like I was smart. Although I have a list of things I’ve accomplished, and I am internally proud of them. I’ve never said I’m a smart person, or I’ve never academically even reflected smartness, if I’m being honest with you. I didn’t have the greatest GPA. And so when my father passed away and his wife called and said, Hey, I have an envelope for you that is some things that I think you would like to see. I collected the envelope and I brought it with me. As I’m driving back to my cousin’s house where I was staying at the time, I was like, what is the stench? What is the smell? And as I got to my cousin’s house, I opened it up and realized that it was the collection of all the certificates that I had gotten from maybe kindergarten of perfect attendance and scholar of the week, and just all these certificates that clearly reflected that I did have some academic abilities and were smart, and accomplished. And I just did not feel, I never felt that way. I was comparing and thinking that smartness or being academically astute meant a certain thing. And number one, it was alarming because I didn’t realize my father had collected these things. The reason why they smelt mild-dewy is because we had a house fire as when I was a child. And so clearly there was some water damage, but he had been holding on to these things and I was very grateful to get it, number one, just to have them. But then two is a reminder. Sometimes you need things that you’ve been doing or reflections of who you are. You need to prove those things. And so those certificates were just an unexpected surprise that have helped me to see more about who I am in ways that I didn’t expect or I didn’t anticipate. And my heart is on fire in that story and ask that, ask that question.
Great. I guess maybe in some respects it was like a personal highlight reel. So if you needed those reminders here, they were in letter form and that was pretty cool that your dad had kept them. It’s interesting because sometimes we don’t see ourselves as leaders, even if we have the title or whatever.You’ve encouraged others to see themselves as leaders. But you’ve struggled with it, as you mentioned, even in this first story. So talk to us about that, that struggle. And maybe other than getting this great collection of letters, like how do you get over that struggle?
I would recommend that on your journey of considering where you are in the leadership realm, on your leadership levels, is to know what the levels are. And within our world at Scarlet, we really think about leadership in four different realms or four different levels. There’s self-leadership, there’s the leadership of others, there’s leadership of communities, which might include your workplace. And there’s a leadership of movements, which can be things like the PTA association, national Breastfeeding, mothers of America, these movements. That transcends organizations and individuals. And often we forget that there is an important level at the surface that is the most important one, and it’s the leadership of self. So many times we’re waiting on someone to come and tap us on the shoulder, or you’re waiting for a certain dollar amount to pop into your bank account, or all the sometimes extra things that come along when we have the opportunity to say today without without permission, and without a particular role, position, status, or title, that I am a self leader.
And the reason why that’s so important is because once you start to give yourself permission to see yourself as a leader, you start to give yourself permission to do a whole bunch of other things. And so before you, before you wait on your boss or your partner or your friends to deem you as a leader, really the first step and the most accessible step is that you start to see yourself as one. And within the book, I talk about lots of different leadership characteristics that many of us already have within ourselves, or that we practice on a personal level. And many of you are responsible for organizing your annual family reunion. You’re responsible for your girls trip each and every year. You’re responsible for pushing back when your child’s not being taken seriously or taken advantage of. And these are all leadership qualities.
I would impart upon your listeners and your physical visual viewers to remember that, number one, you have the opportunity to see yourself as a self leader. And two, to just look around and see what are the daily things that you’re engaging in and the leadership qualities that you already have within you that maybe you can now give yourself permission to take into the workplace because you’ve been leaving ’em at the front door. One of the most tangible examples that I can think of is delegation. So many people at work say, I’m not a good delegator. I hoard all the work when at home you’re delegating out all day long so that you do the dishes, you do the blah, blah, blah. And yeah, it might be a little bit different in your home where a lot of things are different in your home. Perhaps you have the position of power as the parent or the adult. But it truly is the act of deciding what are the tasks that we can divvy out the ones that I don’t necessarily have to be responsible for, and how can I delegate those out to my children or to the people in my workplace. The mindset at work isn’t too much different. Like what are the rubber balls. Not the glass balls that I can divvy out to other people to help them grow on their journey. And so that’s how I would encourage your listeners to think about that.
And that’s a great concrete example. And I think people struggle. Ruckus Maker might struggle thinking that there’s a lot more glass balls than rubber balls. But in my experience, really upon closer investigation, oh, what looked like glass was actually rubber. And it’s not, not actually that many class Pauls and, ooh, now that I have this insight, how does that change my relationship to work and leadership and all of it? So that was great. I can really relate to what you’re saying too, is that self-leadership portion, I don’t know if you can see that behind me. I’ll take, for those that are watching the video, this is like, this is the number one foundation of BLBS. When you get better, everybody wins, which is what you’re talking about, self-leadership, but it’s not selfish. When you are elevating your skillset and everything, like everybody else, JFK said. Rising tide lifts all boats. It’s the same concept. Thanks for highlighting. It’s such a powerful concept. And yet we are our worst critics at times. I beat myself up way worse than anybody ever could.
Do you Danny?
Yeah, I do. And a friend of mine, Ruth, I don’t know Ruth if you’re watching or listening, but we recently had an event in Miami. I was doing some work with her, some work, and she was coaching me through something. You need to be kinder to yourself. I was like, whew. I almost started crying, to be honest. I do need to be nicer and kinder, gentler to myself. I don’t know if you could relate maybe one of the Ruckus Makers watching or listening, what do we do? Do you have any advice around dealing with that negative inner critic?
I do. I resonate with you on this because I just taught, I just finished teaching a speaking in public presenting class just a short while ago. And the class went great and I felt really good about it. And the good thing about this class is that you get immediate feedback. We encourage surveys immediately, which is great. You can go check it. But then I taught a class two weeks ago that didn’t go as great. It wasn’t horrible, but feedback or critical feedback sometimes just stings. It just is. And I remember after that session, like literally beating myself up about it and sort of, kind of in the pits for a couple days until I shook myself out of it. I realized that feedback is a good thing. Feedback is really, really good in order to see where you stand and where you have the opportunity to grow. And I had to for a moment, remember the advice that I gave out. I say to people all the time, although I’ve been speaking and presenting for decades now, I am not safe from self-doubt and imposter syndrome and anxiety. And just like I teach people how to be stronger leaders, that doesn’t mean that I’m exempt from sometimes beating myself up just like you are as well. What I had to do was, number one, remember my default, I don’t know if you connect with this Daniel, or if any of your listeners connect with them, but I definitely am someone who identifies as a catastrophizer. I am someone You expect the worst in. Which most people would never assume this about me, would never
No, I don’t get that Energy from you at all.
I know. Well, let me tell you why that is. So many times the reason why you are the way you are is like deep rooted. It’s something that happened for me. I had a lot of disappointment as a child, particularly for my parents, and honestly. And there were a lot of things that were promised that did not come to fruition. And so I developed this muscle of expecting the worst. I expected disappointment because when I was disappointed, it didn’t sting as bad as a kid. Oh, you’re coming to get me. Oh, we’re gonna do X, you’re gonna buy such and such. Okay. But I don’t expect it. And so when it didn’t happen, okay, like my feelings aren’t as hurt. The problem is that that muscle that served me well has followed me into adulthood and I don’t need it anymore.
But I got so good at it that now it’s my default. And so the first thing I would encourage people to do, and especially if you are on this journey of trying to not to be kinder to yourself as a growing leader, is to recognize your default. For me, although I know I’m still the catastrophizer, and to be honest with you, Danny, I haven’t quite shaken myself out of it, and I don’t know if I ever will because I got so good at it. What I have done is I’ve cut the response time, or I’ve cut the reaction time. So previously I could have been in the dumps about any number of things for hours or days. Now I can shake myself out of it in seconds. Like, if you call me outta the blue next week, Danny, I will, when I see the number pop up, I’ll think, oh my gosh. Danny must have feedback and the podcast went wrong. Like, that’s the first thought, to be honest with you.
Yes. But after three, after four seconds, I’m like, wait a minute, this doesn’t make sense. Whereas a year ago, or several years ago, I would’ve been in it like for a long time and maybe not even answer. Brought him back. Call you back. So all that to say is for us to all be honest about ourselves, some of us have polarized thinking, some of us filter, some of us just have all these defaults that cause us to respond in ways that might connect to other places in our life. And to give yourself permission to accept, like, okay, that’s my default right now. Maybe it’ll change, but then give yourself permission to shake yourself out of it. And I do that and I recommend you do that by asking yourself questions. Like, wait a minute, what’s the worst thing that can happen there? Here is a realistic thought. is a hassle or a horror. What advice would I give to a friend? That’s a really powerful one. ’cause Most times a friend’s really good advice. And so I will say that on that journey of trying to not be so critical and not beat yourself up, is to, number one, recognize by default, like, how are you? And you might, you may discover this through personality assessments or just being a self reflector. And then ask yourself really logical questions to shake yourself out of it. And give yourself permission to grow, to be who you truly wanna be.
That’s so good. Especially, I mean, it’s really having a lot of self knowledge and being aware of what goes on within you, noting that. Identifying it and then questioning, investigating just like the glass and the rubber ball. Okay, is this serving me? What kind of changes do I wanna make? And I love that idea of coaching yourself. I invest a lot of money in coaching and I’m proud of that. And through coaching, it’s helped me again that everyone wins. It’s elevated what I’ve been able to do. Accomplish things that I never thought were possible.
Danny, were you an early adopter of coaching? Or did it take you a while?
I woke up in a moment where, at a conference, the head facilitator, like this idea, said, “When you get better, everyone wins. That was basically said in a similar, similar fashion, which was that everyone wins when a leader gets better. That was said from a stage at a leadership conference I was at Jacqueline. And that moment I heard it, I thought, what a responsibility. Like, it’s so true. And I looked at my calendar, it was a mirror moment. Where else am I really working and investing in my growth and honesty and the honest answers? There wasn’t a lot to show on the calendar. Not only that I could throw a big pity party for the world’s most underutilized school administrator. Or at that moment I decided to launch this podcast, talk to the Jacqueline’s of the world, learn from your story, success and failure, and most importantly take action on one idea. And I knew my skill set would grow. So I had to hear that. And the first coaching I received was around podcasting. And at that moment, I had never spent, it was $1,200. A hundred bucks per month. And it felt like billions at the time. Now I look back and that looks like a penny because I’d invested so much in coaching. So that’s my answer. But the other connection, I promise I want to turn the mic back to you. The other connection I had is I’ve thought to myself, well, what if I stop working with all the coaches? I’m not going to, but I’m so effective coaching the Ruckus Makers. But rarely do I give that, Sit and give that advice to myself.
I asked you that question. I wouldn’t say selfish reasons,to be honest with you, out the gate, I wasn’t a believer in coaching. Mainly because we came from humble beginnings and I had a hard time understanding before I understood coaching, understanding how I would pay someone so much money for what I thought was advice. That it’s different. And I went through my journey of understanding a bit more, but I wasn’t a believer in the beginning. But I am a believer now in so many ways?
Yeah. I had stories around money and we grew up and there were certainly challenging times. I know it influenced me greatly. But once I got over that hump and saw the speed and the acceleration and what I could accomplish, then, I was all in for sure. Let me ask you one more question before the break here. What I want to ask is how have weddings taught you about order and protocol?
Oh, you’ve been digging in my bio and in my books, Danny. So my first entrepreneurial venture was as a wedding and event producer in my early twenties. And literally how we started that business is I was working at Wayne State University as a pseudo event planner, which is where I got my undergrad in graduate degree. And one day, me and my good friend Zeman, were disgruntled about our job. I don’t know why. And we decided we were gonna go start our own wedding and event production company like the next day. And we did, we went down to the City county building and started this company and just figured everything out. And so we definitely took the harder route versus going to some accelerator that taught you about event management. We literally, like learned trial by fire, which sure is fine. But what I will say, I think independent of, if we would have gone a packaged route or the way that we went self-taught, I learned a couple of key things. Number one is, while I didn’t fall in love with wedding and event production, long ti long-term, I fell in love with ordering protocol, as you just said, which is what eventually led me to Launch Scarlet, which is now a leadership consultancy. But Scarlet First started out as an etiquette company, specifically targeting teen girls. We’ve grown to be a leadership consultancy over time. But there are two lessons that I wanna pull out of that question and out of my answer. And one is, it’s amazing when you give yourself permission to start things, start a business or start your learning journey, the lessons that you get from it that you never anticipated. The unexpected. I learned how to be a relationship maker. I learned how to negotiate, I learned how to have hard conversations from my experiences with mothers of the bride. And it’s as usual mothers of the bride in wedding situations were the toughest, especially if they were paying, especially if they were paying. They had a lot of answers for me. A lot of feedback when most times it was the Bride who hired me. And so I don’t know where the money came from and that doesn’t matter. I’m loyal to whoever the contract is with, but I learned quickly that it’s important for you to keep your head on a swivel and pay attention to all the players in the room and understand sometimes you gotta have tough conversations. You need to understand how to negotiate. So I learned a lot of those key skills during my wedding and event production days. But I’ll also say that on that journey of giving myself permission to start things and even all of your listeners and your Ruckus Makers giving themselves permission to be Ruckus Makers, while you might have an intention in one area to be flexible and fluid enough to have your eyes open for other areas. And I say that because all those Scarlett truly did start as an etiquette company that was targeting teen girls to make sure that teen girls were confident all just all the things that come along with etiquette training. About six to seven months into doing this work, Danny, the Detroit Lions called sort of randomly and asked if we teach etiquette to their rookie players. And that’s when I realized, oh, wait a minute. Like there is a bigger audience for this. So that actually, that kicked off me realizing that there was an opportunity for me to teach etiquette and then what would become leadership skills to Fortune 500 and 100 companies all across the country and beyond. And that’s an important lesson on everyone’s leadership journey. And making sure that you are being flexible, you’re being fluid, and you’re not so stuck in, well I was hired only for this, or I went to school specifically for this and never being flexible enough to look around. ’cause A lot of the spaces that I’m in right now have nothing to do with what I formally went to school for or what I thought I would be doing. But boy don’t I enjoy these spaces. So that’s truly how we navigated it or how I navigate it from wedding and event production to fully the world of etiquette to now operating a leadership consultancy that also teaches etiquette as a part of what we do.
An awesome story. It’s a good place to hit pause. We’re gonna get some messages in from our sponsors. Before We get back though, Jacqueline, I’d love to talk about your most recent book, the Unexpected Leader. In post Pandemic Classrooms, student talk is crucial. And when classrooms come alive with conversation teachers and students both Thrive, Teach FX helps teachers make it happen. The Teach FX instructional coaching app provides insights into student talk, effective questions, and classroom conversation quality. Teach FX professional development compliments the app and empowers teachers with best practices for generating meaningful student discourse. Teachers using Teach FX increase their student talk by an average of 40%. Imagine 40% more ownership over the class by students. Ruckus Makers can pilot and teach FX with their teachers. Visit teach fx.com/better leaders to learn how that’s teachfx.com/betterleaders. If your students are struggling to stay focused and your teachers are showing signs of burnout, you need to act now. The good news is that there’s a path forward. It is possible to lay the foundation for learning and to re-energize your teachers. And that’s found in executive functioning skills. When students get practiced with these skills, they can better self-regulate and they are more successful academically. Our friends at Organized Binder have released a new self-paced course that will teach you how to teach these executive functioning skills and set your students up for success. The goal of this course is to help your students be more successful and get teachers back to the work they are called to do. Learn [email protected]/go. Help your students be more successful and get your teachers back to the work they’re called [email protected]/go. So we are back with Jacqueline Baker and what an awesome first half of the conversation. Now I wanna turn our focus to your most recent book called The Unexpected Leader, discovering The Leader Within You. And that’s an interesting title. Jacqueline, what’s this book all about?
This book is about discovering the leader within you. tagline did a good job. But stemming from the story attached to the question that you asked earlier about the mildew certificates attached to many other stories that exist in the book. I really didn’t spend a significant amount of my life feeling like a leader or seeing myself as a leader. And I have had a lot of conversations with a lot of people throughout the various stops in my career. And many other people have felt that same way. And when you feel that way, when you feel like you’re not a leader, it stops you from seeing opportunities. It stops you from believing that you’re capable of certain things. It stops you from believing you can use your voice. It stops you from launching that million dollar idea that’s gonna change the way you and your family and your community lives. And so I went on this mission after my first book, which is called Leader by Mistake, becoming a Leader, one Mistake at a Time of developing Tools and Resources and really developing transparent stories or really calling transparent stories to help other people see themselves as a leader as well. That book or this book has just been a wonderful journey to not only launch the book, but to also of course still be in launch mode. Because the book is probably just about six or seven months old at this point. But what I’ve heard so far is that so many people use it as a reference tool. They use it as an opportunity to identify the skills that are deep within them, even personally. And now they can give themselves permission to take those skills to the workplace or into other places that they deem places that they want to count in and the places that they want to show up. Well. And so truly the book is all about discovering the unexpected leader within you and elevating to your next level, whatever that level is for you.
That’s great. I think that’s what drives me these days. ’cause I know People Would be impressed with some of the things I’ve already accomplished. But, speaking of coaching, I had a coaching call today. And she helped me see that for me it’s about like the next challenge that really inspires me and so that’s what I’m hearing Talk About when it’s like that unexpected thing that’s within you. Jacqueline, what’s the leadership wheel and how does it work?
The leadership wheel. So the Leadership wheel is a tool that helps you to find out what your default leadership style is. This is an important tool because for so many people they go into compare mode. I don’t do it like Danny, then I’m not a leader. If I don’t do it like Mandela or Beyonce or Oprah. Then I’m not a leader. And the truth is, you’ll never do it Like Mandela, you’ll never do it like Danny. ’cause You’re not Danny. Like there is one Danny out of all the 8 billion people that exist in the world.And so what the leadership will allows you to do is outline your values, really evaluate your relationship feedback outline, just how you approach different things so that you can come to a conclusion on, okay, of the nine leadership styles that I lay out in the book, everything from autocratic to servant leadership, transformational, et cetera, for you to say, okay, this is the style that I probably am by default. But to also not give people permission to stop there. While Danny, you and I and everyone we know usually gravitates towards one leadership style that is default and feels good to them, that’s not gonna work. Because every situation is different. So it’s about recognizing what my default is, just like the catastrophizer conversation we had here, but then embracing situational leadership and knowing how I handled that situation last week, how I will handle the situation next week, how I will handle the situation in five years. It’s gonna be necessary for me to pause and evaluate, okay, what’s the situation? What are the skills I have? Who are the people around me? And what leadership style do I need to adopt in this scenario? And so the leadership will allow you to assess where you’re at, but it helps you to ultimately get to the point of saying, okay, my default is this, but from a situational leadership standpoint, I need to be flexible to embrace any nu any number of them at any time.
Which I know for some people is challenging. Some people never want to see themselves as an autocratic leader. You’re like, I don’t wanna be a dictator. But think about it, Danny, you and I both know this when a crisis is going on, we want a definitive leader. I want somebody telling me, yes, Jacqueline put your mask on Jacqueline. You want people that you like definitive guidance, which could be seen sometimes as autocratic. So the leadership will, is yet another tool that’s in the book to help people to identify their leadership style and empower them to embrace situational leadership.
Makes a lot of sense. And it sounds like You Have a natural leadership style, but depending on the context can there be some fluidity within you? Some awareness: Knowing what would serve people best. We highly recommend every Ruckus Maker check out Jacqueline’s book, the Unexpected Leader And if you pick up a copy, let me know what you think too. Let Jacqueline know what you think. Before I get to my last questions for every guest, I just wanted to ask you really quickly about your life thesis document and if you could share a little bit about that.
Yes. Danny, first I gotta ask you, do you feel like you have a busy mind? Like is your mind busy? Are you a little idea factory or not so much?
I am THE idea factory.
Smart. And stop it, Danny.
Yeah. It’s hard stopping me, but I’ll just say like I would love it if there was somehow a challenge or competition to see who can come up with the most ideas. I’ll go toe to toe with anybody for sure.
Listen, we need to start an idea factory club because I Threw him a little idea factory. And I appreciate that. I help people start the things they wanna do. I help them to be better leaders. Like it’s important. And I do have ideas to help push them along, but that little idea factory that I have will get me in trouble because you can’t go execute every idea that comes to mind, which is why I have some systems in place. I use task management software for me to just dump my ideas in and come back to ’em at a later date. But I have a life thesis. It helps me to focus, it helps me to say to myself, yes, Jacqueline, you have this new idea. You wanna launch this thing. You think it’s such a great idea on the inside, but Jacqueline does this ladder up to your life thesis. And it keeps me focused. At the end of the day, Danny, when it’s all said and done, I want nothing more and for people to say about me that I help them start the things that they wanna do and elevate to their next level of leadership. Yes. And everything that I do, every podcast I decide to take or not take, every client I decide to say yes to or no to, is they all go through that, do They go through that filter and they, and they have to, because if not, Jacqueline would be out here doing everything right, because it’s a good idea. And so I encourage all of your listeners, independent of if you are a little idea factory, like Danny and I are not to take yourself through the process of developing your own life thesis. To come up with a statement that you can quickly run things through before you go trying to sign up to start this job, start this project, do these things that at the end you were like, I really don’t, this isn’t Really what I wanted to do. I just did it ’cause my ego said so, or whatever it is. I appreciate you asking that question because I think that this tool honestly is one of the most important tools in the book. But because it helps you to narrow down and focus on what’s truly important to you.
That’s so good. For me, I have a life principle, which is to be an intentional catalyst. I know in every space that I share with other people, I’m accelerating change for better or for worse. So it’s a reminder of self-awareness, how I should operate. But my Ruckus Maker rules for myself. If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a hell no. I do only things that gimme energy, honor my relationships in fitness or health every day. So it doesn’t mean I have to do some Olympic level, but just like moving around and calling friends, that kind of thing. And then the last one, only work with leaders. We have a bias for action. Otherwise we’re wasting too much time. I don’t have time for that. I could talk to you for the next three hours, but I promise, and I’m being real. I wouldn’t say that Let’s wrap up with the last three questions that I asked all the guests. So Jacqueline, if you could put one message on all school marquees around the world for just a single day, what would your message be?
Just start. That’s it. Just take action and just start. I believe that so many of our questions get answered in the action. And while I know there is not a whole bunch of subtext behind just starting, I do believe that once you start to give yourself permission to start anything. Start a sport, start tutoring, start whatever if your questions get answered in the action. And so it is all day. Just start.
If you were building your dream school, there were no constraints.Your only limitation was your ability to imagine. How would you build that dream school, Jacqueline, what would be your three guiding principles?
Three guiding principles. One is to give yourself permission to explore unknown things and explore the unknown. Two, embrace and experience failure. Three is to enjoy the process, enjoy your process, whatever the process is that you’re in. love number one, I love number one and number two, but I’ll say number three is so important. Because you and I were talking earlier, I think before we even went live, we were talking about rushing from thing to thing. And I was even telling you my experience with my book, the Unexpected Leader, that sometimes I feel like I should be sprinting, but it’s really a marathon. And to just sit back and enjoy your experience, whatever it is. Because if you don’t do that, you really just mindlessly and aimlessly wandering from thing to thing without living in it. Without living in whatever it is. And so I think just giving students or giving people the tools, the resources and the space to just enjoy an experience versus rushing from thing to thing. I think if that’s taught early, that could really change things in the world.
We talked about a lot today. A lot of great stuff. Everything we discussed, Jacqueline, what’s the one thing you want a Ruckus Maker to remember?
You have value and you have the opportunity to change your world. And I say that because sometimes, many times we believe that if we’re not changing everybody’s world, then we’re not doing anything. If we, if we’re not on the front page of whatever, if we don’t have a gazillion followers, really just give yourself the opportunity or give yourself permission to be impactful and to change your world for the better, even if it’s three people around you. And so that’s what I would encourage Ruckus Makers to take with them. And of course, to just start.
Thanks for listening to the Better Leaders, better Schools podcast, Ruckus Maker. How would you like to lead with confidence, swap exhaustion for energy? Turn your critics into cheerleaders and so much more. The Ruckus Maker Mastermind is a world-class leadership program designed for growth-minded school leaders. Just like you. Go to BetterLeadersbetterschools.com/mastermind. Learn more about our program and fill out the application. We’ll be in touch within 48 hours to talk about how we can help you be even more effective. And by the way, we have cohorts that are diverse and mixed up. We also have cohorts just for women in leadership and a BIPOC only cohort as well. When you’re ready to level up, go to BetterLeadersbetterschools.com/mastermind and fill out the application. Thanks again for listening to the show. Bye for now and go make a ruckus.
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