I was recently asked what advice I would give someone considering applying for a principalship. I think the most important thing I can share – get ready. When the opportunity presents itself, it’s too late to prepare.
A first step to take is to ask yourself why you want this position. Do you want this position because “it’s just the next step”? Maybe you’re tired of your current position? Does someone else want you to have this position?
These are all answers to the question that I heard when I was a supervisor to college interns and other individuals considering a principalship. Those are not necessarily wrong answers; but I challenge you to think a little deeper.
In my own journey, I was blessed to participate in Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People at the beginning of my career. It’s still probably one of the best trainings I’ve participated in for both personal and professional growth. We did a lot of work on our purpose and the legacy we wanted to leave – both personally and professionally. We began with the end in mind (Habit 2). Beginning with the end in mind means that when you make choices today you consistently take into consideration the values you stand for. You determine what you find important in life, what you stand for, what you want to accomplish. How do you want to be remembered? What do you want to be known for? You then determine how can you start working towards that today.
Discovering one’s “purpose” basically means finding those one or two things that are bigger than yourself and those around you. Those things that you are passionate about AND that you have a talent for. This gives you direction.
I chose to go into the principalship because, identifying my own purpose (to help people grow and add value to others), my impact would increase, and I could reach more individuals – both adults and students. Knowing my purpose was an important first step in figuring out the direction I wanted my career to take. When your purpose becomes clear, it enables you to find the courage to take risks, stay motivated when things get hard, and make a greater impact through your work.