by Ryan B. Jackson, Ed.D
Can I change your life in 600 words? Wait. Too grandiose. Instead, can I get you to stop, momentarily pause the machine, in order to inspire you just enough to kindle an ember of clairvoyant optimism?
That’s my objective. My mission.
I, too, have been bitten by the #OneWord bug – the creativity of encapsulating entire movements or ideologies into a single word. Some of you know I founded the #FitLeaders movement. However, sometimes I think the #FitLeaders movement founded me – the new me. Always fancied myself as a change-agent: forward-thinking, results-driven, fightin’ for the Underdog. However, what separates Dr. Ryan B. Jackson of 2018 from previous years is my newfound commitment and passion for perpetual improvement. I am perpetually improving myself: physically, professionally, spiritually. Not a day goes by that I don’t practice some form of life-tuning. The idea started a few years back (been sober five years, so we’ll say five years ago) but as I’ve crept closer to 40 years old, my commitment to the long-game – the marathon of life – has intensified.
The often misquoted Charles Darwin declared neither the strongest nor the smartest survive, but instead only those most adaptable to change. Change is perpetual – in a world of uncertainty, change is our only absolute. I am an educator. Specifically, I am executive lead principal of The Mount, America’s first pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade STEAM campus. I have secured partnerships with industry heavyweights such as Parker-Hannifin and NASA – I know the Artificial Intelligence revolution is much closer than most think and that Earth’s moon may very well be the catalyst for the next world war. I also know that Baby Boomers are retiring at approximately 10,000 people a day and at this rate we don’t have enough qualified young people to fill the skilled-trade void let alone be well-prepared for the AI revolution that’ll produce jobs only Elon Musk can describe.
Somehow, however, in the midst of unfathomable change, I have grounded myself in a perpetual homeostasis that allows my physical stability to support my divergent thinking. This approach to life is the core, the epicenter, of the #FitLeaders movement. Our penchant for betterment, based on the timeless assumption that change itself is perpetual, culminates in an almost ironic peace of mind that allows for uninterrupted forward-thinking supported by a healthier, more durable physiological state – one capable of withstanding the harsh effects of gravity coupled with time. That’s heavy, I know. But as an educator it rings so true: We’re in a constant battle against time; The weight of our students’ challenges and our limited resources can feel crushing. Finally, the culmination of intense pressure and ever-increasing demands exacerbates hypertension (aka stress or high blood pressure or the silent killer or a leader’s quiet nightmare. You get the point.) Still we fight. We have to – we must – the war to educate children is both imperative and perpetual.
So maybe I am a bit grandiose. Maybe it’s pure hubris to think the #FitLeaders movement can be the catalyst for systemic leadership change, where the age-old “health is wealth” adage gets a Bitcoin, crypto-currency makeover as forward-thinking leaders at various levels of ubiquitous industries find the resolve and discipline to perpetually fine-tune and recalibrate ourselves in order to weather each and every one of life’s storms. And since the moon is being jockeyed as a launch pad for deep space exploration, specifically a Mars colonial mission, it’s worth noting that Mars’ volatile climate can change from hour-to-hour, making a #FitLeaders physical stability, anchored by an acceptance of perpetual change, a future-ready Tour de Force.
Join the #FitLeaders movement!