In Chapter 7, we’ll bring it all together so that we can maximize our personal and authentic legacy as educators. It is only through perseverance and resilience and by developing a fail-forward mindset through adversity that we can make it happen.

I hope that these resources have given you additional things to consider, allowed you to dive deeper in conversation, provided you with some new resources, and supported your journey forward.

Thank you for the work that you do each day. It matters. The work is hard, but our kids are worth it!

Your story isn’t finished yet.


Stop & Reflect / Study Guide Questions

  • Tom shares a story of a pro athlete that didn’t “measure up” by the standard assessments that are used to define future success in his field. However, years later, he’s known as one of the best to have every played. Without breaking any confidentiality, reflect on and describe a student that didn’t perform well on standard metrics, but had the skills needed to thrive in life? How did that child’s perseverance and resilience lead to their success? How did you support them in the process?

  • How do you model perseverance and resilience to those around you? What personal and authentic learning experiences do you oversee that promote the growth of these life skills?

  • Have you ever felt like you weren’t modeling what you asked your students or staff to do? How did you remedy the situation?

  • When’s the last time you failed forward? How were you impacted by the experience? If at school, how were your students affected?

  • Tom shares many examples of people that failed in their career, only to become household names down the road. Besides these well-known examples, who inspires you to fail forward? Who needs that same inspiration from you?

  • Tom writes how “Moments of uncertainty create opportunities for your leadership legacy. Failing forward with perseverance disciplines our own expectations, pushes us to keep trying, and ultimately empowers us to lead from within. It is your display of humility in the best of times and your fail-forward mindset and perseverance during the difficult times that will make those around you want to follow.” How do you model this type of mindset to those around you?

  • (Personal Reflection)
    Which student in your classroom is discouraged and needs additional support to fail forward? How will you support him/her?
    Administrators: Which person on your staff is discouraged and needs additional support to fail forward? How will you support him/her?

  • What’s something recently that you’ve had to unlearn and then relearn? What emotions did you feel in that process? What type of growth occurred? 

  • Every educator works to help students own their learning. How do you model that to students in your role? 

  • How can you help students develop both agency and empathy? How do you model empathy in your daily interactions with those around you?

  • Tom shares another story that has impacted his life about an interaction he had with Gus, a professional shoeshiner. Do you know a personal and authentic person like Gus? What lessons does that person model of how to be an incredible educator?

  • What is it that gives you hope as an educator? What hope do you have for your students and those who serve kids alongside you each day? Do they know you feel that way?

  • What’s next for you? What is it that you commit to do to continue to move this work forward? What steps will you take?

#AuthenticEDU CallOuts

Download the callout quotes from this chapter and use them as part of your book study, team discussion, upcoming presentation, to share on social media, or in any way that can support you as an educator!

Related #LeadershipMinutes

Additional Resources to Support Your Personal & Authentic Journey

Author’s Note: The resources contained within this page are not intended to be an exhaustive list, but are intended to provide conversation starters, pre-reading/watching, and inspiration on your journey. If you have additional suggestions, please share them so that they can be included for the benefit of others.