Lost… And Found.

I was lost.  Literally lost.

55 S. 22nd St. Philadelphia, PA.

That was the address I plugged into my iPhone, but the building I was looking at didn’t look anything like the website.  Further, there was an adult bookstore across the street and I thought it was odd that they would put a high school across the street from that type of establishment.  The school was only 4 years old and this bookstore looked much older.  I could just see that high school junior sitting in English class looking down and watching people (neighbors?) walking in and out of this bookstore.

It was 8:55, I was supposed to be there by now.  I hate being late, so my blood pressure was raising, my anxiety increased, and I was pissed.  I’m not supposed to get lost.  Not today.  Not for this.

I pulled out my iPhone and searched for the school.  And I waited.  And waited.  And waited.  The minute it took for the school website to download seemed like an hour.  Not that it was, but I was late and nervous.  Finally, the website popped up.  There was the address.

55 N. 22nd St. Philadelphia, PA.

North!  North!  Not South!  Uh, I was on the right street, but in the wrong hemisphere!  I started walking… fast.  Three block north and under the highway overpass, there it was, the building I had seen on the website.  I opened the door to the cafe, raced up the stairs and hastily opened the door and entered the library.  Twenty-two sets of eyes turned and looked at the “late” guy crashing through the door.

“Hey, someone had to get lost,” I said.  Will, looked at me and said, “No worries, join us.”

Will, of course, was Will RichardsonSheryl Nussbaum-Beach welcomed me shortly thereafter.  The school was The Science Leadership Academy, I was in beginning Day 1 of Powerful Learning Practice’s Web2.0 Bootcamp for Educational Leaders and my professional life was about to change.

A year ago today and upon returning from Philly, I started a journey that has made a profound change in my life, I started this blog.  Geared to chronicling my journey toward transparent leadership, it has ebbed and flowed, shifted focus at times, generated discussion (yeah!), shared many personal vignettes of my life and been read by more than 6,500 readers all over the world – which blows my mind.  It has become a sandbox of sorts, a place where I can share my thinking, express my concerns, offer praise and reach out to a community which has embraced my presence so much that I regret not doing this earlier in my career.  Combined with Twitter, this blog has afforded me the opportunity to cultivate my thinking more than any formal graduate class ever did and connect with similarly passionate learners.  Moreover, it has allowed me to find my voice and I am incredibly humbled and indebted to all of you who have pushed me to do so.  It is not a stretch to suggest that I have learned more about what it means to be a global and lifelong learner through the informal connections that I have made over the past year than I did in 10 year I spent in post-graduate programs.  For that, I offer a heartfelt, “Thank You”.

I was lost a year ago.  No, not as describe above.  I was lost professionally.  Worse, I was rudderless.  I’m not sure I have completely found my way, in fact I think I have a long way to go but, I now have a voice and I have a growing community of learners to lean on for support.  That humbles me and pushes me to continue to learn and grow more than any formal program ever did.

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14 Responses to Lost… And Found.

  1. Dan Callahan says:

    I started on the Twitter road about two years ago, and i absolutely agree with you that it has completely changed my professional life for the better in so many ways. I would be a significantly less knowledgeable teacher without nearly as many opportunities as i have today all thanks to taking a chance at sharing with others online.

    • tbaldasaro says:

      Dan, your comment, “taking a chance” is interesting. I remember when I began to put myself out there, I was very fearful and nervous about what might happen. Looking back on it now, I don’t see the “chance” I had to take as one nearly has big as I thought it was.

  2. sschwister says:

    Happy (re)birthday, Tony. And thanks right back at you.

  3. crudbasher says:

    Nice story! I have been blogging and PLNing for 7 months now and I feel exactly the same way. I look at it as a journey, not so much a destination. Would you agree?

    • tbaldasaro says:

      I think you are on to something when you say that it is a journey. Part of the act of blogging includes reflection, relearning, unlearning, revising, so it is very much like a constant opportunity to grow and learn.

  4. Glad to be connected to you.

    • tbaldasaro says:

      It’s amazing how a quick little sentence can change a person’s day. Thanks, Dean. You did that for me today.

  5. WE are so humbled by the value you have continued to give back through the work you do with us Tony. Thanks for so freely sharing with others and helping them find their way.

  6. Tony, you have articulated the “moment” for so many of us so well. Thanks for sharing this and for all you do. Onward!

  7. Mike Quinn says:

    Your blog has not only helped you find your own voice, but it has also provoked my thinking and encouraged my own search for direction. While I’m a relatively recent follower, I have been impressed with the elegance and humanity with which you write. I’m impressed with and envious of your ability communicate so creatively and intelligently. It seems effortless.

    Thank you for sharing yourself in this way.


  8. Pingback: geek.teacher » Blog Archive » This week’s comments elsewhere (weekly)

  9. Tony,

    I know exactly where you were (S. 22nd St). Luckily you weren’t to far from where you were supposed to be. You’d have been shocked at 1522 S 22nd St! So maybe there’s a metaphor there, too. Last year you were just on the wrong side of Market Street and needed to be guided a few blocks in the right direction. I know that you had the will and the desire to be a better leader and a better person. I’m happy that your journey has brought you to where you wanted to be!

    Mary Beth

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