Advice that jumped out at me!

October 19, 2013 at 12:00 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

shutterstock_136287662This week I stumbled across a piece of advice that renowned author and speaker Mike Robbins received from one of his mentors. In reading one of his blog posts around ‘The Power of Authenticity’ he wrote about, “….some guidance on both an important meeting I had coming up and on the approach I was taking in some writing I was planning.  She said to me, “Mike, get out of your head and into your heart.  Remember, the truth can’t be rehearsed.” This piece of advice and the themes explored within the post really resonated with me.

I think back to a yearly review meeting many years ago when I explained to my manager what I loved most about my job. As an outdoor educator working with the groups that came through the centre I loved the facilitation process and deep connection that was experienced, opening myself up to the possibilities and providing opportunities for participants to connect with me, themselves, each other, the environment and any teachable moments (transferable skills, attitudes or behaviours) if they chose. Each program was a journey of potential, one that I had spent time preparing beforehand but also one that was not so tightly held that real or authentic connection and learning couldn’t be achieved.

It then made me think of leaving university and beginning the journey as a teacher. Those first times walking into a classroom ‘in charge’ of the learning process and all that it involved. Suddenly some of those doors to real or authentic connection felt harder to open as I tried to establish behaviour management routines but allow for individual complexities, navigate a crowded curriculum and timetables but allow for spontaneity and joy within learning, communicate honestly and proactively with students and parents but allow for the questions and understanding that these interactions could raise, explore and develop my own knowledge and skills but deal with being challenged and uncomfortable. The list could go on and on and on.

These journeys I have described above are not just unique to my professions. They are also not just unique to our professional selves. We are each on an individual and shared journey of potential, not defined by what we do but obviously influenced by elements of the many things that make up our days. As with all journeys we can choose to stretch our comfort zones, make empowered decisions, foster supportive networks and view and experience life through a lens of courage. Being able to embrace rather than push against the vulnerability that is such an integral part of the human experience provides those magical moments where we get out of our head and into our heart, allowing for that deep connection and growth.

I could tell you about many times where I also didn’t get it right. The choices I made either didn’t work out as I had hoped or I wasn’t open to the vulnerability and missed an opportunity. This is all apart of authenticity. It is a journey and not a destination. Our potential is so much more than our current or past thoughts, words or actions. It is being present in the moment or as Dr. Brené Brown articulates;

“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”

I still love the facilitation process, now through the vehicle that is Explore Discover Act and our connection programs. I feel privileged to share my truth from the heart with each of the groups I have the pleasure to support. The EDA Way is a journey of Explore the possibilities, Discover your potential and Act authentically. We strive to embody and foster this philosophy through all of our connections. It is both a personal and shared journey and is lived through empowered daily thoughts, words and actions that provide opportunities to make a difference for self, others and the world around us. It is also a journey that encompasses both successes and challenges.

Watch Mike Robbins TED Talk linked below and consider your own stories or connections to ‘The Power of Authenticity’. I will finish with this great quote;

“Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway.” – John Wayne

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Ready for take off?

October 4, 2013 at 11:13 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely” – Unknown

Being ‘ready’, a question that is pondered often (hopefully not fretted on) by ourselves or others as we navigate the journey that is life. Whether it is as a child is preparing to start school, a team training for the big game, an applicant stressing before the important interview, or any number of potentially challenging situations we may find ourselves in, we soar through adventure, after adventure, after adventure. As the picture above depicts, we are all in the pilot’s seat, goggles on and ready to launch into engaging with a truly global village. So are we ever ‘ready’ or does it have more to do with what we see through those goggles that counts?

I love hearing people tell the stories of their childhood, their faces lighting up as they recall things like backyard tree houses, family camping trips and getting away with what they did to younger brothers or sisters. It is interesting though which events stick out as most important to different people. Some automatically launch into stories of wonder and gratitude, while others delve into stories of despair and desperation. The experiences being recalled could’ve been similar in many different ways but how the individual has chosen to view, process and interpret them could result in completely different stories being told.

“We must look at the lens through we see the world, as well as the world we see, and that the lens itself shapes how we interpret the world.”  ― Stephen R. Covey

Like Michael Marantz, I believe that stories can change our world. His TED Talk linked below shares some of his own story and is an example of the way he uses his gifts and talents to engage, empower and inspire others. I also believe in the potential of each individual, with a deepening connection to self, others and the world around us influencing that and the important difference we can all make in our own and others lives. Our stories are a vehicle that assists this process. They allow us to connect through a shared awareness and appreciation of our human journey. The hopes, the dreams, the successes, the challenges, important people, important events, our human needs, what is real and what isn’t. As Michael remarks, “You may just want me to succeed just a little bit more,” after you’ve heard some of his story.

We as individuals can’t know, do or understand everything. What we CAN do though is be open to exploring the possibilities, discovering our potential and acting authentically. We don’t get to control all the things that happen to us but we do get to choose the lens, or goggles, we see our experiences through. Like the theme from Michael’s short film portrays, ‘The future is ours to create’. The way we do this is through empowered daily thoughts, words and actions. Life is a journey of opportunities: interdependent, ongoing and with varying degrees of complexity, navigating many successes, challenges and choices. Remembering that, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts” – Winston Churchill.

So what stories are you telling other people? And what about to yourself? As Michael reflects in his closing statement of the talk, importantly “Tell the best story you possibly can to yourself and others, and live it.” I hope you enjoy watching the talk and have a great weekend!

“Growing up happens in a heartbeat. One day you’re in diapers, the next day you’re gone. But the memories of childhood stay with you for the long haul. I remember a place, a town, a house like other houses, a yard like a lot of other yards, on a street like a lot of other streets. And the thing is, after all these years , I still look back… with wonder” – Kevin from ‘The Wonder Years’

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