The Greenbrier School District met together for its annual back-to-school professional development Aug. 6 in the fine arts center on the high school campus.

The group heard from motivational speaker and leadership coach, Jimmy Page, who shared with the educators a simple concept he has found works to help him and others live a life of impact.

In 1999, Page, Dan Britton and Jon Gordon, discovered the One Word concept; focusing on one word for an entire year to change a person's mindset and heart.

Since, the group said they have witnessed many others experience the same change's they did, realizing their need to share the life-altering concept with as many as possible. In 2013, the trio wrote and published their book, "One Word that will Change Your Life," which has sold more than 150,000 copies and has seen 1 million YouVersion downloads.

The first chapter of the book states that 87% of adults create a New Year's resolution, but by the end of January, 50% failed to keep theirs.

“We’ve learned firsthand that the secret to a simplified life is, ‘One Word,'" an excerpt from the book reads.

It continued, stating that words like serving, purpose, power and discipline, "have shaped and molded" the group in "amazing ways."

"By embracing, owning, and living a single word for 365 days, our lives changed," the book states. "Instead of being weighed down with unrealistic resolutions and unmet goals, [']One Word['] provides a whole new perspective on how we approach our year. It frees us up. [']One Word['] gives us renewed purpose and meaning.”

As Page gathered with the group of Greenbrier educators last Tuesday, he said he was all too familiar with the school kick-off feeling, sharing that his father was the superintendent of schools in Rochester, New York for many years.

"So, I understand some of the chaos and some of the craziness that's happening before we start, but also, I understand the incredible optimism and positivity and the expectation that comes with it," he said.

Diving into the "One Word" concept, Page told the audience if they hadn't already figured out what their one word was, they would by the end of the session, helping them unpack the significance of it all along the way, his belief being in the power of focus to change lives.

"First of all, I know a little bit about you because you have a reputation for excellence, would you agree to that," he asked, the crowd cheering in reply. "The reason that matters, of course, is that there’s probably no other environment outside of the family with greater influence than our schools.”

Greenbrier School District starts Aug. 13 and Page stressed to the group, the ability they have as teachers and educators to make a significant impact and influence on students — in major ways including character, future, helping students experience their unique potential and purpose in life and becoming productive citizens — as they join them for the new school year.

He said that is more needed now than ever.

“If you impact the student, you impact the classroom," Page said, stressing the weight and responsibility of the situation each was in. "If you impact the classroom, you can impact the school. If you impact the school, you can impact the community. If you can impact the community you can impact the state … your world. That’s what's at stake here.”

Every person that ever was, knows what it's like to be hit with challenges they weren't expecting and blessed with positive outcomes in their lives as well; the good and bad news.

Page encouraged the group to think about why some are able to overcome those obstacles while other's can't ... success in spite of circumstance.

"You don't live your best life by chance, you live it by choice," he said.

It's always a bunch of small, little choices that add up along the way, Page said, including helping student discover their potential as well.

“They will fulfill their potential if you positively influence them to discover that," he encouraged. "You have to be focused and intentional … intentional about the way you live.”

As educators, Page said the group is contagious — which can be good or bad — and it's important to make sure each is positively impacting the environment around them, standing tall, not weakened by challenges and disheartened by things that don't go their way; an opportunity they have every day to make an impact.

“When you have a positive expectation, you transform the culture around you," he said. "You are a contagious leader. There’s no better place to demonstrate that than in our schools. There’s no better opportunity than here to do that.”

So much of the horrible acts of violence and other negative situations are committed by people who don't understand they have purpose, Page said. As teachers, they are called not just to find their own drive and potential, but also to help their students develop that as well.

"Our job in this room is to see things in others that they don't yet see," he said.

Focusing on one word for 365, Page said, can help them do that mentally, physically, emotionally, relationally, spiritually and financially.

"'One Word' sticks," the books states. "By living a single word that is meant for you, you'll find renewed purpose and meaning throughout the year."

Staff writer Hilary Andrews can be reached at handrews@thecabin.net.