Sylvia Martinez

Today I’m turning over Ed Tech Journeys to Sylvia Martinez, a leader in the movement to restructure education by empowering our students. – pete

Peter Reilly, who is the technology leader of the Lower Hudson Regional Information Center in New York, tagged me with a “meme”. Wondering what a meme is? It’s popular on blogs these days–sort of a virtual game of tag mixed with a chain letter.

Thea Westra, an Austrailian leadership and life coach, started a meme called “Simply Successful Secrets.” The purpose of this meme is to:

”List the top 5 to 10 things that you do almost every day that help you to be successful. They can be anything at all, but they have to be things that you do at least 4 or 5 times every week. Anything less than that may be a hobby that helps you out, but we are after the real day in and day out habits that help you to be successful.”

I’m stunned that Peter thought of me. If you read Peter’s list, his secrets are Zen master impressive. I’m afraid when I look at my life, it’s a lot more couch master than Zen master. People consider me really organized and together and this will blow my cover. But it’s cool and I’ll give it a shot. Here goes:

1. Snooze alarm. It’s a big part of my morning. Next comes the negotiation with self about not going to the gym. Sometimes giving in to the warm blankets is right thing to do. When the gym wins I feel accomplished and decisive. Either way it’s good.

2. Read the newspaper. I start my morning with the L.A. Times, a truly great newspaper. I love their commitment to longer stories and real journalism. I may spend the rest of my day online, but I start with the LA Times. And Dilbert.

3. Write obsessively. I spend about an hour a day getting 80% of my work done. I do what I need to do all at once, without stopping. I can do it pretty much do it as needed, which helps with writer’s block. People say, “how did you get that done so fast?” I consider it a gift, but I practice it every day.

4. TV. I’m watching American Idol as I write this. Next up is Dancing with the Stars. I watch HGTV and the Food Network a lot too. Watching other people get things done makes me feel like things are possible. My husband is a Tivo addict and constantly records things to watch later. Thanks to his amazing editorial powers I see nearly every important event, every political announcement, and lots of celebrity news.

5. Think like an engineer. My college degree and first career was electrical engineering. I find that even though I’m not doing that anymore, I think more clearly if I try to move myself out of what I do now (mostly talk and write) and view things as systems that can be changed.

6. Google. I use Google dozens of times a day. It’s magic. I just type whatever I want to know into Google and it answers.

7. Check email constantly. I know it’s supposed to be bad, but I like it.

8. Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. I make myself stop and eat something healthy. It helps me think better and feel better about myself.

Pete connected his list to educational change and being a leader worth following. I view myself more as a conduit. There are so many great ideas in education and so few of them get into widespread practice. Here at Generation YES, we work with great teachers and students every day. A big part of what I do is try to capture the heart of what good teachers do and translate it into tools, materials and resources that others can use. The hard part is to guide without demanding conformity. The most interesting part is to leave space so that people can insert their own passion and experience.

This requires that I put myself in other’s shoes. The more I know about the world, the better I can do that. The more I accept my own quirks, the more I accept my audience’s right to self-expression.

I almost forgot – the last part of the meme is to tag the next people. I’d like to hear from: Miguel Guhlin, Karen Greenwood-Henke, and Lucy Gray.

4 thoughts on “Sylvia Martinez

  1. Sylvia,

    Thanks for participating in the Simply Successful Secrets project!

    Although I can’t boast your 80% completion rate in only one hour, I do recognize that pattern as I tend to do things in a flurry of activity myself. It’s all about focus, and I’ll give you big props for having enough focus to come anywhere even NEAR 80% – great job!

    Other comments: Yes, Google IS magic, you are surprisingly not the first person to list TV as a success secret, although I do believe that you are the first who listed the snooze button!

    Having had that gym vs. blanket conversation with myself many times, I can officially adopt the term “coward” since I withdrew from that battle. I now exercise between 9:00am and 11:00am – long after I’ve left the safety of the blankies! 🙂

    Thanks a bunch for participating and sharing your thoughts, Sylvia!

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