See what happened there? Those three simple letters changed everything. All of a sudden it wasn't that I couldn't do something...but that I couldn't do it at this moment. And, if I wanted to, I could do it in the future.
To again be clear, there's nothing high-and-mighty about any of this. People don't give me what I want because they think I'm all that. People give me what I want because I ask for it. Stay with me. This isn't as obvious as this sounds.
I am a sixty-five-year-old college professor standing in front of a class of seniors when my lecture suddenly veers wildly off course and I find myself talking about Irene McKee, my fifth-grade teacher. Here's what I tell them.
Instead of fearing what might happen in the unknown, instead of imagining and trying to pre-control worst-case scenarios, we can plan as best we can... and then move forward with a sense of curiosity. We can let things progress, and then respond as needed.
I am submitting my annual Christmas list with the hope that you will recognize how good my fellow college presidents and I have tried to be during the past year. We have strived to remain student-centered, faculty-friendly, alumni-attentive, constituent-conscious, and donor-diligent.
Starting now, we need to get over ourselves. We need to know that, sometimes, looking bad is actually a good thing...because it means we're trying something new, we're stretching ourselves, we're taking on a new adventure.
I'm encountering much that is familiar, much that is new, much that will require the best in my new campus family and me. It makes the season of moving in all the more exciting, demanding, and maybe a little disconcerting.