PMP358: Inspired to Be Faithful with Timothy Alexander

This week Will Parker interviews Timothy Alexander as he shares his inspiring story and how he uses it to reach students.

Timothy Alexander, a faith-driven leader from Birmingham, Alabama, has become a symbol of resilience and inspiration. Ranked the #8 high school football player in the state during his time at Erwin High School, his life was dramatically altered by a car accident in 2006 that left him paralyzed from the neck down. Despite the incident, Timothy pursued his education at Wallace State Community College and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), double majoring in Criminal Justice and Communication Management. His strong spirit allowed him to make history at UAB as the first paraplegic to receive a football scholarship. In addition to his academic achievements, Timothy led a movement that successfully reinstated UAB’s terminated Football, Bowling, and Rifle programs, raising over $40 million in support. He is also the recipient of the Student of Excellence Award for his outstanding academic and athletic performance. A pillar of his community, he is known for sharing his story with students and educators across the nation.

Key Discussion Highlights:

Your Connection with Schools:

  • The essence of purpose aids students in self-identification. It’s the ‘who’ that holds prominence over the ‘what’.
  • Guiding and inspiring them remains crucial, underscoring the significance of perspective and guidance.
  • Telling the truth to the students helps them feel related to and disrupts their thinking in a positive way. No one truly gets them more than someone who has been in their shoes.

 Expectations when Schools Engage You:

  •  Authenticity, forging connections, resonating narratives, and constructive disruption of thought processes.
  •  Encourage challenging traditional norms. Make students challenge the status quo 

Insights from Student Feedback:

  • The yearning for recognition stands out. Students feel seen when adults spend time to truly get to know them. Queries arise, questioning educators’ cognizance of students’ familial struggles.
  • Principals ought to earmark time for student interactions. Take two minutes to connect with students. It can be transformational. 
  •  The need to momentarily veer from curricular mandates, investing in forging connections is highlighted.
  • Value lies in conducting exit interviews with both outgoing seniors and incoming freshmen.

Personal Habits for Aspiring Leaders:

  • Slow down and listen to yourself. If you don’t listen to yourself, how will you be able to listen to anyone else?
  • Emphasis on attentive listening, extending genuine concern for others.
  •  Prioritizing self-care and showcasing vulnerability by sharing personal challenges.
  • Reflecting on the philosophy of Pause, Breathe, Flourish: “To hasten, sometimes one must decelerate.”

How leaders can practice holding others accountable while also maintaining trusting relationships:

  • Remind them of what they signed up for. We say to students, “Oh well” because we don’t need it to be easy, we just need it to be possible. Remind students, “If it was easy, everybody would be doing it.” 
  • Listening to whatever struggles students are having, and holding them accountable to work through them. 
  • Have a story that connects with them.
  • Academics first. Focus on the small things. Major in the minors.
  • It goes back to perspective. Remind them in that moment of what they truly signed up for. 
  • Hold yourself accountable. 
  • Hang up your titles. 
  • Avoid Stinkin Thinkin: the negative thoughts that hold you back. 
  • Don’t be a Titanic story. You lose your people because you don’t have any relationships.

How can listeners stay connected with you and find out more about inviting you to their school?

Use this link to connect with Timothy Alexander or schedule a follow-up:

Listen into the entire conversation for great takeaways!

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William D. Parker
William D. Parker