My Vision

This page will provide you with an opportunity to develop and refine your vision and explore ways in which you can advocate that vision.

People who become teachers and school leaders often do so because they have a desire to make a difference. Many are motivated by a vision of how the world could be. However, we all know that under the daily pressures of life and work it is easy to start losing sight of this vision and purpose.

The activities in this session can be used to re-ignite that passion and purpose; to put colleagues in touch with why they came into education and how they are making a difference to the lives of children and the community.

The first activity is an opportunity for personal reflection on individual purpose. The second activity is a chance to (re)connect their vision with a larger vision. Both activities can be used on a staff training day or during a process of review of the school vision.

What is my purpose in life?

Adam Leipzig has overseen more than 25 films as a producer, executive and distributor. In this TED Talk he explains how he returned to a college reunion and discovered that 80% of his college classmates were unhappy with their lives even though they were technically successful in worldly terms. The 20% who were happy could answer five simple questions.

Activity 1: Know your life purpose in 5 minutes!

Watch Adam Leipzig's TED Talk and then try to answer the same questions.

You can learn your life purpose in the next five minutes by be able to answer the following five questions:

  • Who are you?
  • What do you love to do?
  • Who do you do it for?
  • What do those people want or need?
  • How to these people change or transform as a result of what you give them?

Now try and write your personal Elevator Pitch .

Visions of life

Schools are vision and mission driven organizations. This activity can be used as a discussion starter with your leadership team or whole staff team. Using the Quotes that speak to me protocol is a helpful way to structure a discussion around vision.

Activity 2: A vision that inspires me

  • Individually look at the ‘Quotes that Speak to me’. They are printed below. Try to read everyone. Then choose the quote that most speaks to you.
  • Table groups - each person picks a relevant quote
  • Tell “story” and significance to rest of group and explain how it exemplifies your life.
  • Have a group discussion around the quotes.
  • Which themes come out of your choices – how the quotes shape your life, how they may affect your professional role in school.
Our deepest fear

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.' We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

(Nelson Mandela Inaugural Speech, 1994)

Imagination is the highest kite you can fly

“If you want to be a creator or an innovator – a ‘weaver’ of thoughts – you need to school your imagination.”

Astound ourselves

What counts as success?


Being Human

In 1953 a principal of a school in America sent the following letter to his teachers on the first day of term, to remind them what education is really about:

Dear Teacher,

I am a survivor of a concentration camp.

My eyes saw what no man should witness:

Gas chambers built by learned engineers

Children poisoned by educated physicians,

Infants killed by trained nurses,

Women and babies shot and burned by high school and college graduates.

So I am suspicious of education.

My request is – help your students become human.

Your efforts must never produce learned monsters, skilled psychopaths, educated Eichmanns.

Reading, writing, arithmetic are important only if they serve to make our children more human.

A Splendid Torch

“This is the true joy in life, being used for a purpose recognised by yourself as a mighty one… being part of a great enterprise rather than a feverish selfish little clod of ailments complaining that the world won’t devote itself to making you happy. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the more I work, the more I live. Life is no brief candle to me. It’s a sort of splendid torch which I’ve got hold of for the moment. And I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”

(George Bernard Shaw)

Seeing with new eyes

“The real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands but seeing with new eyes.” (Marcel Proust)

The invitation

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.

I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting, your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon.

I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain! I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own;

if you can dance with wildness and let ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, or to remember the limitations of being human.

I want to know if you can be faithful and therefore trustworthy, I want to know if you can see beauty even if it’s not pretty every day, and if you can source your life from God’s presence. I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of a lake and shout to the silver moon, “Yes!”

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.

I want to know what sustains you from the inside, when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself; and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

Do not confine

Being here for the sake of each other

A desire for knowledge       
A desire for knowledge“If a school sends out children with the desire for knowledge and some idea of how to acquire and use it, it will have done its work. Too many leave school with the appetite killed and the mind loaded with undigested lumps of information. If a school is unable to teach its pupils to work things out for themselves, they will be unable to teach them anything else of value.” (Sir Richard Livingstone)

Reflection: What is your Ikigai?

The Japanese have a concept called ikigai - it is the reason for being, the reason you get up in the morning. Everyone, according to Japanese culture, has an ikigai. Ikigai is about fulfilling your life's potential.

A person's ikigai lies at the heart of three interconnecting circles - in the diagram it is shown as a person's purpose.

  • Do you know what your ikigai is?
  • Are you doing something that you love? That the world needs? That you are good at?  And that you can be paid for?

If you wish to find out more about ikigai click here to access an article.

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