At St. Margaret’s, we try to leave space for new frameworks of possibility. As a small school, we strive to be nimble and sensitive to the individual hopes and dreams of our families. We are intentional in where we focus our energies while also being open to the opportunities that come our way. Our size, niche, and limited resources require us to be thoughtful about what opportunities we pursue, while taking calculated risks to remain leaders in our field. At St. Margaret’s, we are extremely good at what we do always being mindful of whom we serve (GIRLS) and where education is going (personalized learning, design thinking, experiential learning, global citizenship.)
The ability to provide a framework of possibility relies on people’s willingness to share their dreams, the ability to fuse ideas and actions, and a powerful vision that says, “I believe.” It requires us to draw upon unencumbered enthusiasm, full engagement, and contribution from everyone. It also requires people to assemble around a common purpose – a sense of community that is based on relationships and the belief “together is better.”
In my previous blog, I spoke about honouring the quiet ambassadors and the importance of “leading from any chair.” The ability to draw from the strengths of individuals will positively impact what we choose to pursue and what we hope to accomplish. The synergy of confidence and competence combined with the notion of possibility can have a very powerful impact on our capacity to go beyond what we believe we are capable of doing. The action of possibility enables us to be more generative in our thinking – creating new ideas, being open to multiple perspectives, yielding to the power of context, and stretching beyond the world of measurement. Creating a framework of possibility will help us challenge those assumptions that prevent us from seeing new pathways or block us from doing things differently.
In his book entitled The Art of Possibility, Ben Zander encourages people to shift their thoughts and actions by answering the following questions:
What assumption am I making,
That I’m not aware I’m making,
That gives me what I see?
What might I now invent,
That I haven’t yet invented,
That would give me other choices.
By exercising the ability to push beyond current constraints of past experiences or assumptions, we can move beyond the limits of scarcity and fear. We want our girls to develop the ability to see the world from a place of abundance with the confidence to choose the path towards new possibilities. Rather than seeing life as an obstacle course, we want them to view life as a journey of exciting opportunities that shape who they will become.
Last week, we saw a group of girls put forth their vision of St. Margaret’s during the panel discussion for Head, and Deputy Head, Girls. They pushed past their vulnerability, demonstrated courage, and presented numerous ideas about how to help SMS become a school of one – inclusive of the oldest and youngest, day and boarding. They clearly saw possibilities! I am confident that our girls have extraordinary creativity and capacity to innovate. At the end of the day, education is meant to prepare us for a future that we can’t yet see, but one that invites us to create frameworks of possibility.
“We know what we are, but not what we may be.”
The Art of Possibility. Benjamin Zander. 2000
A Beautiful Constraint: How to Transform Your Limitations Into Advantages and Why It’s Everyone’s Business. Adam Morgan and Mark Barden. 2015