What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. Ralph Waldo Emerson
Courage. It was the first thing that came to mind when I sat down and started conceptualizing what my firstFrom the Editor’s Desk commentary would look like. Looming like a big billboard in my head; white background, black block letters…COURAGE. Not one to look past inspiration when it’s granted, I decided to spend some time thinking about courage.
Recently, in our house, courage has been a pretty hot topic. I have a five year old daughter about to start kindergarten, and she’s the only one from her pre-school class to go to this particular elementary school. We get lots of questions as her start date draws closer, “How will I know who my teacher is?”, “How will I know where my classroom is?” “What if I get lost going to the bathroom?”, “Will the other kids like me?” And each time, we sit her down and gently try to allay her fears with both facts and the things you say when kids ask you questions that you hope you know the answer too, but can’t say for certain. As much as we are talking about having courage with our daughter, mom and dad are also learning a lesson in courage as we tackle a new school, teacher, system, rules, policies and more “growing up problems” than we’ve ever had before. It is an almost daily reminder that change doesn’t come cheaply and courage is easier talked about than practiced
If I’ve learned anything taking this journey with my daughter, it’s that courage comes in many forms. Certainly courage to change, to risk and try new things, to believe in yourself, are all themes we talk about in our house as our daughter prepares to head off to “big kid school”. I believe, however, there is more to courage; the willingness to stand for something, to align with something, to work passionately for something. No more so than now can we see in our world, people exercising courage in these ways, and it’s inspiring.
In my courses, I find that I tell my students that I don’t care what they think, I care that they think. I want them to find the courage of conviction- to believe in something that they are passionate about. To do so opens a world of possibilities! Can it be scary? YES! But in being scary, it can also be exciting or encouraging! As I sat, reflecting on this first Editor’s Desk commentary, I found myself embracing that dichotomous feeling, scared and yet excited about the very possibilities that lie ahead and finding courage in our foundations, our supporters, our readers, authors, and reviewers, and the very exciting future that lies ahead as JOLE rolls head long into our second decade.
Over the past several months, JOLE has made some changes that will position it to be recognized as a high quality scholarly publication in a variety of arenas. We know what kind of great work is being recognized in our publication, and you deserve to have a wider and deeper exposure for that work. While many of the changes will have little tangible effect on our authors and readers (they are administrative changes, new process software, etc.), some of those changes are important to note: JOLE now has a rolling submission/acceptance instead of static deadlines, page limits versus word count limits, and new evaluation rubrics. While each of these, on their own, may seem quite small, together, they are substantial steps forward. In the coming months, move changes will be rolled out, as we continue to work to solidify JOLE as a top tier scholarly publication recognized as such in many venues. Change doesn’t come cheaply, but I take courage in the strength of the foundation we are building upon, the enthusiasm of our authors, the wisdom of our editing managing board, the passion of our review board members (now numbering more than 200), and the conviction of the JOLE support staff.
The second decade of JOLE is BRIGHT! I’m excited for what the future holds. I look forward to working with the authors and readers of our publication and sharing the amazing work happening in leadership education.