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Dec. 28, 2021

Impactful Leaders Absorb Chaos, Give Back Calm, Provide Hope

Impactful Leaders Absorb Chaos, Give Back Calm, Provide Hope

#21.  Dr. Paul Pryma has devoted his life to empowering people through education.  Thirty-five years as a teacher, coach, administrator, and consultant inspired Paul to write Coaches of Chicago: Inspiring Stories about Leadership and Life.  As principal of Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, Illinois, he celebrated a learning community of 2100 students and 400 employees focused on critical thinking, writing, student engagement and kindness. 
Dr. Pryma has learned many valuable secrets about developing excellence, building programs, earning trust, and inspiring people to become champions.  His presentations to coaches, educators, and business people are born from his days at Fenwick, St. Patrick, St. Ignatius, Highland Park, Evanston, and Glenbrook North High Schools. Paul leads with heart, hope, and humility.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Transformational education through athletics
  • Alignment between the classroom and extra-curricular activities
  • Positive mindset in education
  • Building relationships and then self-esteem of students/athletes
  • The power of hope

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Transcript

Luke:

This is episode 21 of The "I" in Win

Paul:

Her job as a leader, was to absorb the chaos, give back calm, provide hope period.

Luke:

Welcome to another episode of The "I" in Win podcast. Excited to welcome our guests who has 35 years of experience in education as a teacher, a coach and administrator in both private and public schools. He is the author of coaches of Chicago, inspiring stories about leadership in life. Welcome Dr. Paul Pryma

Paul:

Thanks, Luke. Great to be here. Thanks for what you do.

Luke:

Well, thank you for being on and thanks for all that you have given to the world of education. And I've had some past guests on, I mentioned to you before we hit record, they were all like, you have to get Dr. Pryma. And this guy is just a wealth of experience and most importantly positive mindset. So I'm looking forward to getting into that. And one thing you talked about in your book that I just loved was athletics is a great example of transformational education. So why are athletics such a profound platform for learning in your opinion?

Paul:

Well, great question and a reason why, uh, why I've done it all these years. Well, just your basic games. Every, I don't know if you've had a chance to read daniel pink or young Zau. Some of these writers that everything comes back to the core human beings are curious people. They're problem solvers. They want to solve problems. And young people are the same way. We just, sometimes we don't provide them with a forum that allows themself problems to use critical thinking to use their social skills. Share who they are with other people and learn to harmonize with other people socially and most valuable thing we do in schools. I don't care if it's preschool or university level. It's this concept of being in an environment with other people. And building the trust in that environment so that it can harmonize so that it can be healthy so that we can breathe and grow and live happily and together. I know it sounds Pollyannish, but that's at the core of the value of sport. We take sports individually. I've become quite a golfer in, uh, my, some air retirement and wish every student was required to play golf. It's such a, such a, you mean the frustration level that occurs and the better you get, the more frustrating it becomes because you're confronted with challenges and problems. It's all you're doing. And it's just like every other sport you're confronted with a set of circumstances that you need to respond to. And, um, I don't think there's a more authentic way to live. Then athletics. And I think it, it really connects well with the classroom environment when done properly. The problem is, and I you've, you've mentioned it earlier. I'm not sure that schools are built in a way that can really celebrate the value of athletics. They seem to be their own separate entity and maybe schools should be separated from athletics. I'm not, I don't know. But when you go back to Plato and the idea of a well-rounded citizen and someone who is both physical and mental and spiritual in the way they approach life, the way the Christian brothers tried to teach us back at St. Pats you and I. I think those are all motivators as to why I feel athletics are such an important contribution to our world.

Luke:

Well, that's a great segue. As you just touched upon alignment of schools and athletics. How important is alignment between what happens in the classroom and what happens in extracurriculars in relationship to values, culture, pedagogy, expectations, et cetera.

Paul:

Well, I think one of the reasons why schools have embraced athletics enthusiastically, or as enthusiastically as they can. Is simply building community. Think about our own background. We went to St. Patrick high school athletics was a very important part of that the Friday and Saturday nights and the gym cheering on our brothers. I think there's a important piece of, of community that is built there. So I see why, why there's value in the connection between schools and athletics. But I, as you mentioned, I think we've, we missed the boat in, uh, how can I put this? So it's not offensive. I've probably hired well over a thousand people in my career and many of them teachers. And when I look at a resume and I look at what that teacher can bring to our institution, It's rare that I would ever hire anyone that doesn't have a passion for some type of extracurricular school needs to go beyond three o'clock. We need to provide options for kids that can inspire them beyond the three o'clock hour and so many athletes. Um, I was one of them. I was just a very poor student. It took me a long time to mature to understand how much I loved. But had I not had athletics, I would not have stayed in school to the degree that I did. Athletics was a real important connection for me. And I think for a lot of kids.

Luke:

Well, it's funny what you just said in the hiring process. At least in my inner circle, a complaint I often hear is that they feel a lack of support from the administration in terms of hiring that sometimes they may be shy away from hiring a coach or a moderator and extracurricular, because they're worried that that's what that person is really all about. And I know, you know, speaking for myself and the coaches that I align with, it's just the opposite. And I agree with you. It's, it's really fresh. To be someone who gives everything, they have to a school and see teachers whipping out of the parking lot at three o'clock. It's very frustrating when administration doesn't recognize the added value that extracurricular moderators, coaches, whatever you want to name, bring to a school. But that's a different conversation, but it is a good segue into advice you would give to a coach. If he or she finds themselves in a situation where they're not in alignment with the administration, what do you do?

Paul:

Well, I don't think that's an unusual situation. It gets, uh, for a lot of reasons. I was, I was so fortunate, Luke. I, I worked in some of the finest schools in this nation and there was an alignment. There was a, a recognition of the value of people. At Glenbrook north, we never hired anyone that didn't come in with an understanding that they were going to. Not only teach our kids during the day, but would be available to build our community after the day and on weekends as well. You think about the hundreds of thousands of dollars each school spends on professional development every year. Why would we at three o'clock let all that brilliance, all that experience, all that investment that we've made in these educators. Leave and then bring in people that are just kind of, uh, just not non-educators but coaches and there's no, I'm not criticizing them. I'm glad that they're stepping up and filling these roles, but in really healthy schools, like a Glenbrook north and not to name drop. I would venture to guess that almost a hundred percent of the head coaches at Glenbrook north are teaching in the building. I would venture to guess that 90, some percent of the assistant coaches are in the building as well. So that's where it all comes full circle. And when you look at schools that aren't aligned the way you're mentioning, you're going to find that there isn't that respect for the total community within that particular community. And that could start at the school board. It could start with the superintendent. It could start somewhere along the line. Somebody has to step up and courageously say, this is part of our educational piece too. And then you get into the, the pragmatic piece, you know, CPS schools in particular. Coaches are paid. I mean, they're, they're just, it probably works out to be about 50 cents an hour when you really look at it. And how are you going to inspire people to spend you think about your own coaching background? You're probably spending 20, 30, 40 hours a week during season coaching. How are you going to inspire people to do that? A top of a full-time teaching job? Um, unless there is a great celebration from the leadership of that school and the community itself.

Luke:

Well, I think a big part of this, and I'm pretty sure you would agree with me is, you know, a positive mindset approaching these elements that we're discussing right now. And I think it. From parents to administrators, to coaches, to teachers. And there's a spot in your book where you talk about teachers being decisive elements in the classroom. So therefore I think we could assume that coaches are decisive elements in athletics. So with that being said, why is a positive mindset from a teacher, from a coach, so paramount to learning and to success on and off.

Paul:

Well, again, you and I were most fortunate. We had educators like Joe Schmidt and Rudy press lek and max Kurland. And I could list dozens of people from St. Pats, but I was a very unhappy kid in high school. You like so many kids in high school, and those were the people that kind of broke through the barrier and develop. I just knew that they kind of cared about me. They acknowledged me. They asked about me. They looked after me in particular, really press Lac and Paul and some others. I mean, they, that's where it is. You just have to love the children. You have to view if you love your kids. And that's the beauty of successful teachers, too. Kids are loved and they know they're respected and loved. You're not going to have any discipline issues in your classroom anymore. The kids are going to want to come to class. That's another thing. They at Columbus north, the attendance rate and that school is incredible. Kids go to school every day. No one's avoiding school. They want to be there. And why is that? Because we spent such critical care in hiring the right people. To these multi-million dollar contracts. Over 30 years plus pension, we were very, very careful about how we brought people into our institution. And again, we had to identify people, you know, some people have brilliant minds that can't connect with children in a way that we needed them to. So, but beautifully, there are a lot of brilliant minds out there that can, and you just have to identify them. And then it has to be supported from parents, from the kids, from the teachers, from the administrators to the school board, to the superintendent, it all has to flow. I can't afford not to have a positive day. And when you look at the responsibility we have as teachers, that's what it is that the time we have with these children are so precious and they're moving on. And the ripples that we can create in society by properly modeling who we are. You mentioned gene Pingatore in our, in our pre, uh, show conversation. I met him. Similarly, I was in center field player for St. Pat's. We were in warmups and we were at St. Joe's and he comes sprinting out of the building to say hello to my coach. So Paul Deimos and he walks right by me. He could have just walked right to, you know, but here's this strange centerfielder from St. Pads. He doesn't know me at all. He said, Lots of dandelions out here. We gotta take care of this outfit. You need some bad hops out here with a big smile that all this charisma basically welcome to St. Joe's. I'm glad you're here. If every administrator, every leader, every coach could approach the workplace like that every day. And try to maintain that positivity that only will it enhance their own happiness as educators, but man, will it create an environment of trust and love and understanding and truth.

Luke:

Well, I think one thing that impacts the positive mentality of coaches in particular, Matt talking about teachers in this one, but with coaching is. The time commitment. And it's really difficult. I mean, we all understand the job as the job, but it's, it's a struggle to be a parent to worry about your own personal fitness, to be cognizant of your own mental health and to be present and available and love the children. As you said, So how do coaches find a little bit more balanced? Because more than ever, we're losing great people in this profession because of burnout.

Paul:

So great question and a challenge, systematically, wouldn't it be nice for people that. No. It's like, uh, I don't know if you're a west wing fan, but there was a program in west wing where they focused on the state of education in America. And one of the chief players in the, in the cabinet was saying, we can do anything. We just can't do everything. But we could, if we wanted to, this is the silver bullet. We could solve a lot of societies, you know, If we choose to invest in it in the way that we can, you know, again, I, I keep bringing up Glenbrook north, but I think it's a tremendous example. If you ever have a chance to visit the school, it is incredibly gorgeous, welcoming, integrating. And when people walk in that building, when kids walk in that building, it pops and it wa that costs a lot of money and the salaries in a place. You know, the best, the best public schools and the best private schools in Illinois and the Chicago land area, it costs money, but there is a way where we could probably loosen the load a little bit less than the load, a little bit for people, um, in balancing it a little bit better than we do now. But in answer to your question, I think we need to. We need to take care of ourselves. You know, Stephen Covey wrote in one of his books, first things first, and as a coach, and I think coaches are better at this than most folks. They get the calendar out way, way back in July and they start mapping out what their days are going to look like. And they take care of first things first. And that's where I think we, a lot of us get lost. I was guilty of this. It's easy for me to pontificate now because when I was at added, uh, I was driven to do whatever I could to become the very best teacher and coach I could be. And sometimes they have bled into a lot of healthy family life and just a breathing life and contemplative time and, and sleep. And. Got into some really bad eating habits because you're eating on the road all the time or you're not eating. And then, and then just, uh, you know, eating anything in sight when you have a free moment. So I think it's important to take care of yourself. So first things first, like write down your calendar and make sure that you are including time for your family and for you to rejuvenate. And in mid season, that's really hard to do. Sometimes you just got to buckle up. And hang in there with that. But, I also think that systematically, we could probably do a better job in providing support or, you know, as simple as, you know, schools that recognize the value of athletics, they find a way for their coaches to have the last period of the day free. So that. No properly prepare for their next segment of teaching in that school. You know, I think that's a really important piece. I think professional development days, this is what one thing is as a principal I learned. And I'm so glad that I did. I mean, we had our faculty meet. They were downright spectacular. If I do say so myself and I didn't do them, I delegated that to people who I knew would create a 45 minute experience for folks to really learn and grow and take care of the things that we needed to do well. That takes immense preparation to. And sadly in our world, a lot of times meetings are slapped together at the last minute. Then you're sitting there in a meeting and there's 15 minutes in and you're thinking, where is this going? What's the value? Why are we spending time doing this? And I think we can all get better at that as a, as administrators. So I'm sorry. I have a big roundabout way of trying to answer your last question.

Luke:

No, it's a, it's a dense question. And it's one that I'm glad people are recognizing that we need to address. Because as I mentioned earlier, we're losing great people and I'm 20 years in. I'm not as much of a veteran as you, but I'm not a newbie either. And one thing I have so much clarity on that I did wrong early on in my career, especially when I got named head coach. Was not worried about my own family, personal fitness and mental health. And I understand now more than ever, if I take care of myself, then I could take care of others. And I think as teachers, we are selfless by nature. That's why we got into the business and we feel almost guilty putting ourselves first sometimes. And I'm glad that we're starting to realize that we will have the most impact. When we're at our best, and you're not going to be at your best when you're eating unhealthy, you're on three hours sleep and you're letting the stress just grind at ya on top of the fact of maybe neglecting your own home life and feeling guilty about that. But the reason we do all this, and I know we will agree on this as well, is the profound influence that we can have as coaches on communities. And with that said, Why is there so little professional development given to coaches because, and I'm sure a lot of people have this narrative. I got into coaching because my former coach was like, Hey, I need someone please coach, you know? And I'm sure you felt as an administrator sometimes you're there. Wasn't a lot of people always out there and sometimes you're, you're just grabbing, I hate to use the term able bodies, but budgie are so given the profound influence that we do have. aren't we providing professional development for coaches? Is it too expensive? Is it unrealistic? What are your thoughts on that?

Paul:

I'll flip the question for you. List 20 schools that you feel are good educational places, I'll bet. In of their top 50 teachers half of them are coaches. So an awful lot of understanding that we learn by being authentically working with kids in problem solving every day and the relationship building that is required to have a successful athletic program. Those are lessons that I think the basic classroom teacher, every teacher needs to have as well. So we're learning, like you said, you're learning on the run, but you're learning really important, uh, elements. And I feel that I feel that we could, as an educational institution, as a educational conference, we could improve our understanding of teaching by really learning more about coaching and melding. Our coaching experience in professional development for teachers that being said, your question was, how can we improve professional development? That's one of the reasons why coaches are so good at what they do. They, they find their own, you know, I, I listened to your podcast with Tom live Latino and he's one of the finest teachers I've ever seen. I, I incredible what he is able to. The development and the kids that he has over time. And it's because of the passion that he shares with them. And that same passion is what inspires him to seek out all the opportunities he can to continue to grow and learn the other piece too. And I really feel for you, Luke, I know is with, as a young, with a growing family and you're trying to balance all these pieces. You know, it's, it's one thing to like my extended family struggled with, uh, my real role as a coach, they just, you know, Hey look, your, uh, your high school basketball coach. Why can't you spend Thanksgiving with us? Why can't you, where are you at Christmas? What w you know, it's not like you're a doctor or a lawyer or a running, uh, uh, you're not a CEO. Yeah, we kind of are, and yeah, we're not compensated for it, but the responsibility for us to do it really well, it is a 60, 78 hour work work week. And we just have to make sure that we find time to rejuvenate those batteries. But it, it getting back to the professional development piece. You know, I, I think that we all need to get a little bit better at that? I've been very fortunate. I was an athletic director for many years and I advocated for our programs. And I had worked with a principal who was spectacular and she supported what we were trying to do. And I learned that so that when I became a principal unmanned that we have an advocate, John candelabra was the athletic director. Oh my goodness. If he would just be at, by door twice a week, say, look, we're going to have an opening here for sophomore, a girl soccer. Here's a list of candidates that we're really interested in. I mean, he was all over this and we made sure that all of these potential candidates got an audience with the department chairs and the department chairs all understood that it was all hand in glove with. We had to work together in this to, uh, improve the quality of education in our school.

Luke:

Well, that's great that you were, again, it goes back to that alignment piece. You guys were, it sounds like you were completely aligned, which is a credit to you as, as the principal of the school that you're able to do that because unfortunate, there are places that, that doesn't exist in, and it's very hard if everyone's operating within their own lens without looking as one. General lens of, of a school

Paul:

Let me interrupt you for just a second loop. I was just part of it, and I'm not saying that humbly, I'm saying that truthfully, the level of trust that was developed over decades, we wrote on that while I was there and continued to try to build it. And again, the aligned to keep using alignment, which is right on the. We were so well aligned and it just, it came from the courage. you know, you look at, look at these school board meetings that are out of control across our country. Right now, people are afraid to be courageous enough to provide common sense to the greener communities. And they're allowing the loudest voices to dominate, uh, social media and whatever else is out there. And again, it just comes from courage and alignment is nothing more than having the courage to develop trust over time. The problem is it takes decades to develop trust, but you could lose it in a very, very short time. And sadly, we're seeing that in the educational community as well, route because we're dealing with so many issues, including the pandemic and other things. I have brought tremendous complexity to, uh, to the schools and much like police officers, school teachers are being asked to do much more than I think they originally were intended to do. Schools are kind of a place right now that we're cleaning up at a lot of areas that are not being tended to by society.

Luke:

That's a great point. And I, I think a very important piece to all of this is understanding people and the power of relationships and the role that education plays and understanding the role education plays. And you have a great coach. And your book, which was only, you know, the only way, sorry that the coach K quote is the only way to lead people is to understand people. And the best way to understand them is they get to know them better. One struggle for teachers and coaches. There's only one of them, right? And there's so many kids. And I do believe that teachers and coaches do want to get to know their students and our athletes. But there's time. There's practice planning. There's lessons to be had. There's so much curriculum to get through. Do you have some simple strategies that you could give to our listeners that they could implement into their classroom, around the athletic fields to get to know their kids better?

Paul:

Yeah, I read a couple of Phil Jackson's books. You know, I, you can be a Phil Jackson fan or not, but the wisdom comes through and how to meaningful relationships with the people around you. Are you a soccer guy loop? Do you follow a world soccer?

Luke:

So my daughter has played soccer since she could walk. She is still playing soccer in high school, and I do not follow a sport nor do I even understand all the rules to be totally honest with you.

Paul:

Have you enjoyed, have you enjoyed Ted Lasso?

Luke:

I absolutely love it. I want to be honest with you. I was resistant to it. I had people texting me like, Hey, you're a coach. You're going to like this. And I'm like, oh, this is gimmicky. And I watched the trailer. I'm like, oh, this is just a gimmick. And I love it. I mean, it's actually, uh, it's, it's not only the comedic undertones, but there's great value in leadership in that show.

Paul:

You have all people I think would really connect to that show. But this is a long way of me to, to get to the coach of Liverpool is a kind of a celebrity. He's kind of a mad survived scientist who coaches this Liverpool team in Liverpool. If you, their culture is such a team oriented, uh, culture. And I would not know any of this, except my daughter and her husband are big fans of Liverpool soccer, but he has a rule that any time he has a meeting with his team, he knows what his first sentence will be when the meeting begins. And then doesn't really know what's going to happen after that. And as you know, one of the problems we had in so many of the schools I taught in, when you have world-class teachers, sometimes teachers take the discovery away from the kids and they, they begin to pour it into their brains. And instead of allowing. To take the steps and sometimes the missteps so that they can experience the discovery of learning as opposed to some expert telling them, which just doesn't have any kind of inspirational value whatsoever. So getting back to your question about how do we build relationship with kids is one thing I, I learned a long time ago. The higher you ascend as a leader, the fewer words you ever use, you don't use you don't, you don't speak. I mean, there are days when I would have meetings stacked on top of meetings and that's another issue. We can talk another time that we got to prioritize, like Stephen Covey would say, but there are days where I didn't say a word I'm just was absorbing. Trying to get an understanding of our culture. And then following those meetings, going behind the scenes to address the issues that were brought up in those, in those meetings. I had two spectacular councils that I really leaned on. One was our faculty council and we had about 20 people in it. And we met once a month. And it was a good hour, hour and a half, two hour meeting. And it wasn't pleasant. It was, I need you all to tell me and us, I had my other administrators there. What is going on from your perspective? And some of those meetings got to be really highly, uh, anxious and contested, you know, contested and. Boy, did we get an unvarnished understanding of where our school was? And then it gave us an honest way to proceed and sometimes folks are afraid to confront that they're afraid to put things on the table. I worked for, uh, a gentleman named Mike Riggle, who was the superintendent and when I was principal and he was, he was the principal at GBN when, when they had this big hazing incident many years ago. Like many schools, they could have put a bandaid on it and kind of moved alone, but it was a major growth point for our, our community. We put it on the table and it was raw and it was painful and it was hard, but we got through it and I think it set the table for trust to continue to develop as we proceeded. It's the same thing with relationships and building, uh, with people, you know, You gotta be open to them. The other group that I met with twice a month was a student group in that grew to be 50, 60 kids. And I was very open. It was like, I would start, start the meeting off. Okay. What do I need to be concerned about? And it, you know, sometimes you got to have that pregnant pause and make sure that they're, you're giving them a time to, to respond for a question of that depth. But once the ball starts rolling and then the kids. Really piping up and saying, I learned so many things that I just thought we were on top of that we weren't. And some of the best initiatives we took and that school over the last 20 years came from the mouths of our students. But it takes courage and you, it takes humility. You gotta be willing to be out there in front center, kind of naked to the world. And just constantly exude the love that you have for, uh, the people you're coming to work with.

Luke:

Well speaking specifically to coaches. I believe it's unintentional, but a lot of times coaches negatively impact self-esteem of their players. And again, I do think it's unintentional. How can coaches build self-confidence build self-esteem while still doing the job that they're tasked with doing, which is putting a winning product on the field.

Paul:

Well, again, I in the book 65% of Americans don't know where they stand in their own workplace. They don't know. They just, you know, maybe they have an annual review, but it's short and it's checkboxes and it's not, they really don't know the value that they have. And one of the best things for me, because it was therapeutic for me as well. But whenever I saw something that was really valuable to our school, whether it was, you know, a concert or a school play, or it was just a practice of walking the practice fields. And that's another thing just as a leader in your school too, you need to be what you need to be out of your office. And I know that's a it's trite, but it's. We talked about this a month ago at St. Pat's. I don't know if it was like that when you went there, but you walk in in the morning and there's 15, 20 faculty members in the front door, just laughing. And you know, they all have coffee in her hands ready to go, but they're talking to the kids as they're coming in, they're talking to each other, they're having a blast they're front and center. Um, the visibility was obvious. The principal was there. That's such an important piece and walking the halls. I loved walking our halls and wherever I heard laughter I would open the door just cause I wanted to know how much go something cool is happening here. And it's how I opened the rest of the seat. You know, look Mr. Martins, what what's going on in your class right now? It's it's created such energy. And then that would give me an opportunity to say in front of those 30. You know how lucky you are to have this guy as a teacher. I mean, my God make sure you're taking care of him and take care of each other. And it's real simple, but those are simple things that can go a long way. I have many of my former colleagues and I'm hoping that this doesn't sound as a self, uh, back slapping or backing as I'm probably doing. They've told me that they've held onto certain voicemails that I've left them. And voicemail was such easy invention, because you don't have to sit down and worry about your penmanship or misspelling or, or typing or whatever it is. You get an, a voicemail and you just saying, Hey, look, I watched your practice today. Holy smokes. The way you're connecting to those kids. And then the key to the whole thing. Be specific. So when you brought, Bobby over to the side and you looked him in the eye and you said, no, this is why you need to be filling that lane at this angle. And, and he got it. You know, they're just the specificity of seeing the artistry of teaching and celebrating it. And it's there, there's hundreds of opportunities every day for a leader looking for it. And you can do that with your own teams. If you're a coach, When a student does something that is demonstrates a selflessness and love for his teammates or her teammates or just something creative or imaginative or, or something, you know, just wherever that's a chance for you to support that student and just let them know. And that's something that Rudy Presley did so well at St. Paul. He would notice things and he would let you know, that's why you're valuable to us as players, Luke, this is why you're so important to us specifically. And then the beauty of it is you're going to eventually have to say, Hey Luke, you haven't hit a, you haven't hit a three-pointer in a month. We need to look at this. Let's look at all your skills and all the things that you're. Three point shooting. Isn't one of them, but you could have that honest conversation because you've developed the rapport and the relationship over time, that player knows you love them. And, uh, it works that way.

Luke:

Yeah, what's changed me, Paul, as a coach. Having kids of my own playing sports and getting to see what happens when an athlete comes home from practice, it's been very eyeopening. And when they get into my car immediately, if they received feedback from the coach positive or negative, that's the first thing they talk about. And when it's positive feedback, They're glowing. I can not believe how powerful five seconds of their coaches saying great practice today. You really, like you said, specificity, whatever it may be blown away. Completely changed me as a coach. Now I realize, you know, everyone again, it's trite. Every once at all, I put my arm around that kid after I yell and let them know. I love him. Yes. I think that's really important. But. Yeah. I mean, just I'm blown away, Paul at wow. Just the, how important it is to talk to every kid. And you know, you're a football coach with 65 kids. It's tough, but that's why you have assistant coaches, right?

Paul:

Well, and you just hit it too. Yeah. And it has to be authentic if it, if it looks, if it looks to the kid that, oh yeah, we're getting, I'm getting another, oh, the coaches is going to say the same thing. He says all the other kids then that it's lost, but like your. If you're delegating responsibilities to important people in your organization so that, you know, it's like Jesus in the fishes, you gotta, it's all ripples it all ripples out. And then eventually you're modeling to a point where Bobby is going to tell Johnny, Hey Johnny, Hey, that was cool. You know, his own teammate is now learning the master of, I've got a quote in my book that I wanted to share that really helped me grow as a, as a leader. A leader is best when people barely know he exists, not so good when people obey and, uh, claim him worst when they despise him, but have a good leader who talks little when his work is. Is aim fulfilled. They will say we did it ourselves. And that's a true art form for all coaches. to be able to sublimate their own egos and allow the other kids egos to bubble up so that the kids own the team. You're just a facilitator. The success of that team is gonna really be upon the kid's shoulders, which is what we want.

Luke:

Which goes back to what we talk about in the classroom, too. We have to recognize as teachers and coaches, we are not the gatekeepers of information anymore. It's a different world. Facilitators, maybe that's the right word. We're collaborative learners with them. And the sooner we do that, and it is humbling, but the sooner we do that, the more learning is going to occur. The more winning is it going to occur more importantly, the more self-esteem and the betterment of people, which ultimately leads to the betterment of the world. I'm not being sarcastic. When I

Paul:

No, no you're right on it.

Luke:

what's going to happen.

Paul:

You're right on the money.

Luke:

So. Well, one thing that I really, really enjoy talking about, and sometimes I will admit I lose this myself, but you talk about the power of hope in leadership. And I, I do, it's so important. And part of the impetus behind this podcast is I'm burned out of the negativity in the world. Paul, I'm just, I'm tired of turning on the TV or looking at a social media. Or just being around a group of friends and everything just turns to negativity. I don't think it's productive and it's exhausting and it starts to weigh me down personally. I think hope is very powerful. And I do agree with what you said. It's often overlooked and probably underutilized within the realm of leadership. Again, going back to that Ted lasso example, right. I mean, this country was built upon. Hope, right. I mean, the American dream is that tomorrow will be better than today. And there's all these studies that are, and I only know this because I used to teach English three, which was American lit. And that was kind of like the thematic question. Does the American dream still exist today? And it's sad that so many people think that it doesn't, which tells me that's a loss of hope, but getting off my soap box, discuss the power of hoping leaders.

Paul:

I learned this from Donna Carroll of a Dominican university. podcast Her job as a leader, was to absorb the chaos, give back calm, provide hope period. So as leaders. we need to be able to do that. Well, how can you do that as a leader? If you're fractured yourself. And that's another epiphany that I had as a, as a young administrator, a young coach, real leader, your kids are fractured. Most of them, most of their parents at home are fractured. Their homes are just in many times fractured. My colleagues were fractured at times. I was fractured. We have to be sensitive to all of those pieces as we provide hope for. And, uh, what are they? Favorite quotes, Dr. King? We can live weeks without food days without water minutes without air. We can't live a second without hope. And you mentioned it to me. You're right. Wherever we look right now, what we're being bombarded with? Negative messages. Natalie negative messages, but angry, unstable misinformed, negative messages in there coming at our kids too. So how, how do we provide hope to that? Well, for one, the pendulum has to swing and we have to figure out a way to shut that out. We have to go back inward, we've got to start appreciating the arts and music and meditation and the self healing, we have to find ways and create strategies to teach kids how to do that in a better way. So that was one piece, the Ted last or showy joked about it. But the people who created that there, that it was intentional, they recognize that the world is starving for positive messages. I don't know if you're a fan of John Battista, but he's the music guy behind the Cole bear show. But if you ever get a chance to your, your listeners ever get a chance to really do a deep dive into John Battista and what moves him, he's just a genius. And he is trying to live his life in a disciplined way. Exactly what you're talking about. He's like Renoir the painter. I only paint beautiful things. The world has enough ugliness. It needs to see beauty and we need to be intentional about finding beauty so that we can revel in.

Luke:

Well, that's a great way to wrap up. I'm really enjoying the conversation. I'd like it to continue, but like that in that positive note. And I think that's really important for all of our listeners to remember that. All we have is hope sometimes, and we can't lose sight of that. So

Paul:

And we have each other.

Luke:

Yeah. And we have each other. Absolutely. And hopefully, uh, you know, you are the one that's providing the, the positive mindset because as I'm sure you would agree with a positive mindset as contagious as a negative one. There's enough positivity in the world that we need to fight back against this negativity. And that's what we're trying to do on this podcast. So thanks so much for being so giving of your time. I really appreciate it again. I really did genuinely enjoy the conversation and I think there's a lot more things that we could dive into. And there's probably some, excuse me, questions that our audience and our listeners may still have. So is there an email address or something you could share in case there is a listener like the in touch? Do a deeper dive into some of these leadership concept we discussed.

Paul:

Absolutely. ppryma@gmail.com and I, I know this is going to sound self-serving, but the book that I wrote, I worked hard in that book. And if you can, I highly encourage your audience to take a look at it. It's available on Amazon, very reasonably priced but some really good messages that may answer some of the challenges that, uh, you're looking at right now.

Luke:

And I'll link both, Dr. Prime, his email address and his book coaches of Chicago in the show notes. And, and, and I will say, I read the book and I told you before we hit record, I absolutely loved it. And it's nothing that is unique to just Chicago land, anyone in a role of leadership. And I had someone on my podcast a couple of weeks ago, that is a corporate leadership advisor. And he mentioned that there's so much crossover and there's so much that the corporate Laurel can learn from coaching and teachers. And if we all learn from each other and use each other's resources, We're all going to make this world a better place. So definitely take a look at his book. As I mentioned, I will have it LinkedIn in the show notes. So with that, Dr. Primer, I wish you health and happiness and upcoming holiday season, and hope to talk to you soon. So thanks so much for being on.

Paul:

You too Luke. Thanks for having the courage to proceed in the manner. You are good luck to you and your.

Luke:

Thanks again for listening to the "I" in Win podcast. If you found value from it, please share with a friend and consider leaving a review, which is linked in the show notes. You can also post on social media and tag me @LukeMertens be sure to subscribe so you're notified as new episodes are released and sign up to receive my free weekly notes containing main takeaways from each episode. Info for both can also be found in the show notes and with. Please remember the more eyes we impact in this world, the more everyone wins. That's The "I" in Win!.

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Paul Pryma

Education and Business Consultant

Dr. Paul Pryma has devoted his life to empowering people through education. 35 years as teacher, coach, administrator, and consultant inspired Paul to write Coaches of Chicago: Inspiring Stories about Leadership and Life. As principal of Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, Illinois, he celebrated a learning community of 2100 students and 400 employees focused on critical thinking, writing, student engagement and kindness.
Dr. Pryma has learned many valuable secrets about developing excellence, building programs, earning trust, and inspiring people to become champions. His presentations to coaches, educators, and business people are born from his days at Fenwick, St. Patrick, St. Ignatius, Highland Park, Evanston, and Glenbrook North High Schools. Paul leads with heart, hope, and humility.