Confidence, The School Bus and Taking the First Step

We went through the drill.

Retracing our footsteps from both Wednesday's Open House and our quiet Thursday night visit to the empty middle school, we talked through bus drop off, locker location, homeroom and the 3 classroom periods. The lunch routine will vary from elementary school but she had the basics down: hop in a food line, make healthy choices and remember your lunch code. Find your lunch buddy, grab a seat and sit down to eat.

Homeroom #801, Language Arts #818, Math #814, Art #675.

Two elementary schools converging onto 1 middle school and 350+ 5th graders walking alongside those from 6th through 8th. One common area with 4 classroom wings, separate but together, curious but not really all that interested in anything but finding friends from last year and <maybe> getting to homeroom on time. 

What should I do if the teacher is not by the bus? Not by the lockers? Nowhere in site? Head for the homeroom kid, that's where she'll wind up. But, but, but . . . no worries, you'll be wonderful. A little nervousness is natural but there's nothing to fear.

I know you are ready for this. You are much better equipped for this than I was. Your goals are to make a new friend. My goal when I was your age was to not make eye contact with any one. Yes, really. What? Are you laughing at me? Does it make you feel better? Good. That's what I am going for.

Now, put on your confidence clothes, grab your back pack and let's hit the road. The first step you take onto the school bus this morning will be the biggest step you'll take today. You've got this one kid. It's all down hill from here.

Ride For The Brand

This guest post is authored by Ben Eubanks. Ben is an HR professional from Huntsville, AL. He lives much of his life online. Don't believe it? Catch him on LinkedInTwitterRocketHR, or via email. His blog, UpstartHR, is about many things, including HR, leadership, and zombies.

In a recent employee appreciation ceremony, one of the senior leaders in my company got up to make a short speech that really resonated with me. He spoke about a traditional cowboy phrase that showed pride and dedication, and I think it has some interesting applications for each of us. The phrase?

"I ride for the brand."

He went on to elaborate on the literal and figurative meanings of that statement. While the cowboys were literally riding every day, the were also representing the organization every time they put on their uniform. I've heard a lot of talk about employer branding, but this message showed me how it applies in a whole new way.

Our employees may not ride horses and wear an uncomfortable amount of leather, but they "ride" for a brand, too. The brand they ride for signifies integrity, respect, and unwavering dedication to the mentally and physically disabled individuals we serve.

Another important point to focus on is that the employees are proud of what they represent. Their own pride in the service they provide gives it a special "flavor." Think about yourself. What brand do you ride for? Do you realize the significance of what you really embody when you go to work each day? Do you represent it with pride? If you can't honestly say that you're proud to "ride" for your brand, then why are you associating yourself in something you aren't comfortable with?