Wednesday, October 21, 2015

"I know, let's pretend to be ourselves." The Mad Hatter

It was a quick line uttered by The Mad Hatter last night and I barely heard it. My family and I spent last night at Mickey's Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom. Our oldest kids were off to Neverland, or Space Mountain after the stage shows and fireworks display and my wife and I were touring the property with our youngest watching for Disney characters and treat stands where they passed out candy.

Now, there are several characters I enjoy watching perform while they are on stage, and The Mad Hatter is one of them. So, we paused to listen in and observe as others stood in line for their photo opportunity with Hatter and Alice.

As the group, including the characters, lined up for their photo, that's when I heard The Mad Hatter say, "I know, let's pretend to be ourselves."

I love the play on words. I especially love the deeper meaning behind it.

I also believe they are words of wisdom for virtual schools. In my Virtual School Manifesto one of my Nine Essential Ingredients is Be a Specialist.

On the surface being a specialist means you serve a niche instead of attempting to be all things to everyone. At a deeper level it means virtual schools know who they are, why they exist, who they can best serve, and then carve out a space that is uniquely theirs. It's more than merely differentiating from competitors, It's more than merely positioning and branding. Being a specialist is knowing who you are, owning who you are, and being who you are.

Then the story you share with the world is an authentic one because you are pretending to be yourself instead of someone else.

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