Make Your Mark, Trailblazer.

October 7, 2017

When one adopts the Innovator’s Mindset, they press for “new and better things” or innovation to occur within a system and are often met with pockets of resistance–creatures of habit, those who might fear change. Trailblazing can be a laborious process. Seeing the need AND taking action steps advances the movement to a whole new level.

I once read this excerpt in a book which quoted Emma Stone as she accepted her MTV Award in 2012. I appreciate how she defines “trailblazers” and encourages the viewers to embrace their originality. 

“So, I looked up the actual definition of trailblazer, and it means someone who blazes a trail to be followed by others. And that’s an honor to hear you’re being associated with a concept like that.

“But the only thing I can hope that an award inspires is originality,” After thanking her icons, Stone offered some inspiration to others.

“Those people are my creative trailblazers, but I’m not following any of their paths, and what’s incredible about them is they help make me want to be more myself because they’re all originals,” she said. “And I hope that you’ll find your trailblazers. But that you’ll continue to harness your own originality and what makes you unique ’cause I know that when you’re a teenager — sometimes when you’re an adult — what sets you apart can sometimes feel like a burden and it’s not. And a lot of the time, it’s what makes you great.”

Emma Stone

Determination Breeds Confidence

When visualizing the act of trailblazing, my vivid imagination has me considering all of the obstacles to making clear a path that others can follow. I imagine cutting down trees of tradition that are dying and collapsing.

I can feel the thorns of doubt scraping my arms and penetrating my skin as I attempt to uproot them.

I must rely on my own unique talents to strategically choose the branch next to carefully adjust and unblock the way.

It’s not easy and might feel lonely at times, but when I know my why–my purpose–I can continue with determination and recognition of who and what I’m capable of with confidence.

One might feel lonely and alienated from others during the trailblazing phase, but taking action is essential for innovation. You’re not really alone; you are just doing your part by yourself. You are “innovating within the box.” Own it. There are a lot of innovators in the world making their mark, too.

When we do our part we embrace “change as an opportunity to do something amazing.” ~George Couros

Make Your Mark

What if we embrace our unique talents with confidence not fear of failure or judgment?

How might this affect innovation systemically?  

I love the words of my friend, PJ Caposey, “Remember, alone you will not create systemic change, but you CAN create conditions for change.” Do your part.

Embrace your individual talents–your weirdness.

Trail-blaze. Clear a path.

Foster an Innovator’s Mindset in those you lead. Our students and staff members deserve it. Heck, the whole population of the Earth deserves it.

If you haven’t read the Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros, that is your next step to trailblazing in education. If you’re reading it now, don’t just keep the information in your mind…live it!

Act. Do your part.

Make your mark and encourage students and colleagues to do the same!

I’d like to read you a little picture book that reminds us to make our mark on this earth!

 Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld

(4 minutes you won’t regret–no matter your age)

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  • Reply Michael Buist October 14, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    Trailblazers can’t fear what others think about their actions or behaviors. The only fear they should have is of not blazing a trail, taking risks, carving out paths for others to follow. But us who are trailblazers can never rest on our laurels. There will always be new paths to carve out.

    • Reply Tara M Martin October 14, 2017 at 4:22 pm

      Thanks for sharing your reflections, Michael. Couldn’t agree more.

  • Reply Kristen Nan October 8, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    Love it Tara! “Knowing your why”… it’s your purpose and passion that leads to pride! #P3. Keep blazing those trails! ??

    • Reply Tara M Martin October 10, 2017 at 7:33 am

      Thanks for sharing your reflection, Kristen. Keep trail-blazing, too, my friend.

  • Reply Mike Mohammad October 7, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    So inspirational, Tara. It is so tough to be a trailblazer since you are literally fighting against nature. These are brave words I’ll keep in my pack when I’m brave enough to stake out my own path.

    • Reply Tara M Martin October 7, 2017 at 10:10 pm

      Thanks, Mike. YOU ROCK, Mister. You are already trailblazing, my fellow innovator. Love your comment, “literally fighting against nature”…wow! That’s a nice addition. So true.

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