Please check your ego at the front door (by Jen Wagner)

It is very easy to get full of yourself when people seem to like what you have to say.
It is very easy to get full of yourself when you notice your cluster map showing little red dots all over the world or your technorati rating is soaring or if you have thousands of followers or you are asked to be a feature speaker.
It is very easy to get full of yourself when you…… well, you fill in the blanks.

It has been a good year and there have been several “WOW” moments this year in my life. 10 years of hosting projects and suddenly they seem to be getting a lot of attention, more participants, and there is an excitement this year brewing like there has not been before.

And it is very easy to get a bit heady about it.

To counter this, I find that it is very necessary to have friends, good friends – both online and F2F friends – who are willing to come along ever so often and yank the rug out from under me, knock me a couple of rungs down the ladder, and remind me “hey, here’s a pin, time to burst your ego a bit.”

As leaders of technology – which many of us are who write for this blog – and you, who are reading this blog post – it is easy to slip into the mode of “know it all” or “tech guru”. Sometimes the stamp is placed on us by others and sometimes we assume it ourselves.

Often we, and you, are seen as the expert in our chosen tech genre. Perhaps it is projects, wikis, blogging, video, audio, etc…….and again, whether it is self-appointed or given by others….you find yourself being sought after for information, for guidance, and for vision.

This is a good thing. It is important to be able to share information, to be a help to those who ask.

However, my question to you and my question to myself becomes a question of asking not WHAT are you sharing but rather WHO are you learning from?

For a long time I have had a quote on my wall in my office – I had attributed the quote to Bill Gates but just recently learned that the quote was from George Steinbrenner, owner, New York Yankees. The quote is: “Surround yourself with amazingly intelligent men and women.

Who are the intelligent people that you are allowing into your life? Who are the people who you learn from each day? Who are the people you see as your mentors, the ones you look up to, and the ones you seek for guidance?

Because, the bottom line, we are all in this for the betterment of our schools, for our teachers, and most importantly for our students. We all learn from each other and if we think we know all that there is to know…it becomes a sad sad day.

This is a year of learning. Finding new ways to do perhaps old things. Implementing new ideas. Learning new opportunities. Achieving new victories. Sharing new stories.

And if in this next year you see me act like I have “arrived”, I give you all permission to knock me down the ladder.

Because most importantly I wish to be a learner in 2009/2010 and I don’t want my ego to get in the way.

George Steinbrenner: