Today’s post is the first part of a prologue to my 2021 year-in-a-blog digital book publication: #abetterway: Using Inner Resources to Create your own Algorithm.

🛑 the nonsense.

To use language I originally integrated from the schoolwide SEL curriculum Leader in Me (based on Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People): The leader is IN me. I am in charge of me. I lead my thinking. I lead my feeling. I lead my actions. I am a choicemaker and a problem solver. Now THIS is me.

(I since added the choicemaker and problem solver.)

It was during the time I was actively engaged in a Leader in Me school, I was concurrently engaged in learning how to use assessment tools to evaluate students for school services.

Evaluating humans for school-based ‘disabilities’ was new to me as a school social worker. I assume most social worker ‘types’ find the word dis-ability to be not all that empowering. Language can be dis-abling, as can be categories and definitions.

Differences to how a majority access the needs of a particular environment can qualify a human for resources available to ‘level the playing field’.

Resources are available. Each human is a resource. When we humanize, we expand our capacity to use resources to problem solve.

A human is born to grow and thrive as they expand into their own becoming.

The easiest way to get onboard with big ideas that can shift the collective, is to get onboard with you first.

T or F I am in charge of me.

T or F The leader is IN me.

T of F I lead my thinking.

T or F I lead my feeling.

T or F I lead my actions.

T or F I am a choice maker.

T or F I am a problem solver.

Hemet, California

At some point during the 2002-03 school year, a co-worker took me to look at some new builds during lunch. As far as I can recall, I was just along for the ride. I was 31 y/o. I had the maturity of someone at least ten years younger, and that’s generous. I liked the small, simple, three bedroom ranch homes that were being built in a cul de sac at the end of a street with several sprawling established homes sitting on the edge of a cliff overlooking a riverbed that bled down from the San Jacinto mountain range and ran through, what I assume was, the indigenous land of the Soboba Indian community.

I wrote a $100 check to buy a $172,000 home. In the fall of 2006, that purchase afforded me $72,000 to give to the University of Denver. I gave them all of that plus an additional $40,000 loan for two years living expenses. The result was a Master in Social Work in 2007.

One thing I did not receive from the $60,000 price of tuition, was a mention of Executive Functions.

I suppose I could be wrong.

To my best guess, I first heard of Executive Functions in the 08-09 school year. The school pyschologist often used the term in student meetings for learning plans.

I would just nod my head as if I knew what they were.

I did that for almost ten years until I once again hit the deadend of Avoidance Lane.

I learned early how to avoid the discomfort of school work by using my personality to exaggerate truths to extend deadlines or lower expectations. I also was not above paying others to do things I didn’t want to do.

If you have read the book Atomic Habits by James Clear (I am listening to it on Audible and maybe 90 minutes in. I originally heard of the book via Brene Brown – Dare to Lead podcast), I created my own atomic habit. Once schoolwork became hard, confusing, or just not interesting, I spent my energy figuring out how to avoid what I didn’t want to do.

My atomic habit got me through a four year college program in six years.

The habits were a misuse of my inner resources called Executive Functions.