January 3

Messy Middle or Magic Maker

Fresh Starts

By and large, January represents fresh starts and clean slates.

We fervently announce new commitments. 

We painstakingly pick pristine planners, prepping the pages with meticulously manicured minute-by-minute months, gilding our goals, and admiring our ambitions. 

We embrace exercise, welcome water, and distance demons. 

We declare ourselves reinvented, changing our courses and turning our proverbial leaves.


And yet, amid all this optimism, January also brings fresh pressures, magnifying our anxiety, uncertainty, and not-enough-ness.

January marks the midpoint – the very messy middle – in our academic year.  

This is when we know the good, bad, and ugly of who we are (as faculty and students), what gains we need to make, and how our timeline in which to accomplish all of this is rapidly waning. At this point, we’ve been experimenting with the how-to-get-there for more than four months, and in many instances, my friends, the only place we feel like we’re getting is nowhere.

This isn’t a COVID conundrum. 

Year after year, educators take on the timeclock, pitting relationships against rigor, connection against curriculum, hedging bets that our tried-and-true tactics will prove to be enough, oftentimes throwing the figurative and literal kitchen sink at challenges.


The midpoint is messy. It’s mangled and manicial, full of reworked lessons, redirected conversations, and reworded explanations, scribbled and marked out, revised and rewritten, crumpled up and smoothed out, only to be crumpled up again.

With all the messes leading up to it, January stresses me, and I’ll be honest, on more than one occasion, I’ve decided the best way to handle these types of messes is to throw them into the bin, trashing the wasted efforts and attempts, and learning absolutely nothing. 

This year, I’m trying something different. 

I’m taking some of my own advice and rebranding January from irritable messy middle to innovative magic maker.

QUOTE: Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better. Maya Angelou

Innovation requires us to improve upon previous efforts. To do so, we have to reflect and take stock, auditing our nows to reveal our status quos, status nos, and status grows.

So here’s to making messy magic, innovating our efforts to better improve our practices, and continually evaluating our progress so we can make our bests better.

Ready to rebrand your January? Download my guide to innovating efforts here.

note from bri

January is the darkest, dreariest, coldest month.

Look around. 

For many of us, things seem bleak.

Our lists are longer. Our enthusiasm deflated, our eyes more tired. Those who once shouted our superhero status have grown quiet. Increasingly pressure-filled matters appear at every turn with growing urgency.

In these dark days, it’s easy to name our challenges. In fact, if we're honest, it's awfully tempting to hit the road.

Don't go just yet. Leaving town doesn't have to be the answer. 

Let's connect today.  

We'll pull together a just-for-you itinerary that will have your culture and communication careening to success with you in the driver's seat. Dibs on shotgun 🚙


culture, vision

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January 3, 2022

Fresh StartsBy and large, January represents fresh starts

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