10 Strategies to Ensure Success in School, Work, and Life

Screenshot 2019-02-19 08.10.09

Click the image above to view my presentation slides.

1. DON’T Accept the Default

  • Seek out an option that is BEST for YOU.
  • Make it your mission to fight: “We’ve always done it this way” thinking.
  • ALWAYS find a BETTER way!


  • Remind yourself that failure is an important part of learning. FAIL FORWARD!
  • Understand the power of positive self-talk. Change your words; Change your mindset.
  • Look to examples of famous people who failed multiple times before achieving success.

3. Be so GOOD They Can’t Ignore You

  • Do MORE than the default – Arrive early and stay late!
  • PRACTICE what you don’t know. WORK on your weaknesses.
  • Be AVAILABLE at ALL times!
  • Volunteer for everything.
  • CRUSH the competition!

4. NEVER Stop Learning

  • Embark on self-directed, passion-based professional and personal development.
  • Listen to podcasts, view webinars, and READ whatever you can get your hands on.
  • Become an expert in your field at your own blistering speed. “The standard pace is for chumps.” Kimo Williams
  • Curate and share content with colleagues/friends.

5. CREATE as Much as you Consume

6. SHOW your WORK

  • Brag about your successes, your creations and your workplace on social media.
  • Don’t hold back because you worry that it’s not good enough or original enough. “To be original, you don’t have to be FIRST, you just have to be DIFFERENT and BETTER.” ~Adam Grant
  • Create a website, a digital newsletter or a YouTube channel to spread the word.
  • As a job-seeker in the new millennium, you are your own personal brand. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to promote yourself.

7. Establish a POSITIVE and PROFESSIONAL digital presence for yourself

  • Understand that your digital footprint (tattoo) is permanent and you have total control over the content you put out there. So keep it positive and appropriate!
  • THINK before you POST!
  • REMEMBER that employers will VET your social media accounts.

8. GET Connected

  • Discover the VIBRANT community of AMAZING professionals on Twitter. Follow hashtags! This has been a true GAME-CHANGER for me! I’ve learned more on Twitter in months than in years of traditional PD.
  • Grow your PLN (Personal/Professional Learning Network).
  • Go to meetups, conferences, and workshops (the topic matters less than the people you connect with).


  • Keep a journal and or blog about your successes and failures in school and the workplace.
  • Take pictures, make “Best of” slide shows, and share your work: product and process.
  • Keep a digital portfolio of everything you do with your students.
  • Digitize your resume using apps like Smore/Canva and continually update it.


  • and you will rarely be disappointed!

The 50-50 Rule of Technology Integration

Technology, when used to create content and connect students with authentic audiences, empowers learners and prepares them for jobs that don’t even exist yet. It is critical for schools to facilitate and promote a culture of content creation. Educators that teach students how to use tech tools to actively create content are EMPOWERING these learners by giving them the skills, strategies, and experiences they’ll need as they move into the future.

To begin, schools must work to create an equal balance of content consumption and content creation in their classrooms. Too many school systems have spent millions of dollars to equip students and teachers with the latest tech tools only to utilize them in the wrong ways.


Rows of silent students completing digital worksheets on their Chromebooks or iPads is not what one would call effective technology integration.  The digital use divide between passive consumption and active creation must be closed!


Teachers in classrooms should subscribe to the 50-50 Rule of technology integration. If students CONSUME content in the classroom for 25 minutes, they then need to CREATE content for the same amount of time in that classroom. For example, if I direct my students to passively consume content by completing assignments in Castle Learning, IXL or ReadWorks Digital, I must allow them to spend the same amount of time creating content using their devices.


This can be done in a variety of innovative ways including creating How-To Videos for Genius Hour projects, making Google Slides presentations for Iron Chef Jigsaw lessons or writing a new post for the class blog. It’s very important to strike this balance between consumption of content and creation of content on a regular basis. It could also include students putting tech devices away for the remainder of the class and making something in a Makerspace-like environment.


What do you think about the 50-50 Rule of Technology Integration? Would you suggest a different ratio? Please write a reply in the comment section at the end of this post.


Fear vs. Exhilaration


Fear = I don’t know if I should share/try/deploy this new tech tool/teaching strategy/business model. It could fail catastrophically!

Exhilaration = I can’t wait to try this out with my students/teachers/employees. This is going to make things so much better!

I used to worry about sharing my work here on this blog and on social media. I was afraid that someone would “steal” my stuff. I imagined that another educator would scoop up my idea and claim it as their own in an article, a book or a tweet. But then I read Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work by Austin Kleon and my mindset was TRANSFORMED!

Mr. Kleon writes that you don’t have to be a genius (I’m definitely not) to share your work. He claims that we should make an effort to share something small every day emphasizing that you can’t find your voice if you don’t use it. Kleon also states that you should stick around and not give up so easily. It takes time to build a following and those of us who have continued to share, post and tweet are reaping the benefits of establishing and maintaining a vibrant PLN (Personal Learning Network).

This quote has inspired me to transform my fear into exhilaration and I plan to reflect on it when the “worry whispers” begin to create feelings of anxiety and doubt.