Leading from the ‘Cor’ in Courage

April 27, 2015 at 7:09 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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“The original definition of ‘courage’ . . . is from the Latin word ‘cor,’ meaning ‘heart.’ And the original definition was to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart. And so these folks had, very simply, the courage to be imperfect.” – Brené Brown

When I think of the leaders who I most admire (remembering that when I use the word leader I don’t just mean visible leaders who hold a particular position) it is probably their ‘heartful’ connection within their daily thoughts, words and actions that inspires me most. They seem to be people (regardless of their gender, age, circumstance, etc.) who are very aware of their humanness, are happy to be ongoing learners, are not trying to hide where it is that they have made mistakes, they seek out the help of others and are excited and grateful about their opportunities. They seem to have taken the time to reflect on what’s true for them and have decided to lead from their Cor (heart), realising that they won’t always get it right, that they can’t do it alone and that even though it might be challenging that they couldn’t imagine leading any other way. Very importantly in this process they have accepted responsibility for the fact that they can make a difference!

“One man with courage makes a majority.”– Andrew Jackson

To me, this is the true embodiment of ‘being the change we wish to see in the world’. None of us as humans are perfect, getting it right all the time or having all the answers. The leaders journey is definitely ‘not about perfection, it’s about progress’. It can be very challenging and vulnerable to engage and interact with the world from the Cor in Courage but we would all have experienced before the feelings associated with not listening to what’s true for you. It just doesn’t feel right to make a habit of putting ‘heartful’ connection within our daily thoughts, words and actions to the side. I guess this is why courage and heart are so inextricably linked through this original definition, we really couldn’t have one without the other.

“Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognise the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences – good and bad. Speaking from our hearts is what I think of as “ordinary courage.” – Brené Brown

Can we be ‘informed, connected and empowered individuals who believe deeply in our own and others potential’ without courage? Why is being able to display ‘ordinary courage’, speaking from our hearts (the good and the bad experiences), so important? How can we most effectively support each other as leaders in this courageous journey that we are all on?

“It’s OK to have butterflies in your stomach. Just get them to fly in formation.” – Helen Keller

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Excited To Launch Our New Program

April 20, 2015 at 5:08 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Our Vision: Informed, connected and empowered individuals believing deeply in their own and others potential.

It is so exciting to launch our second Explore Discover Act signature program this week. We have been so grateful to be able to support such inspiring School Communities over the past few years within our L.E.A.D. with Courage™: Stage 3 Leaders Program, a shared journey of exploring the possibilities, discovering potential and acting authentically. Throughout this journey we have reflected on the way the participants have engaged with the program, their developing purposeful skills, attitudes and behaviours, and how they have so inspiringly made L.E.A.D.ership real in their own spheres of influence. We have also connected and spoken with the teachers to see where we can be of even greater assistance to their School Communities, and ultimately followed our passion and belief in our Vision that is listed above. So it is with great pleasure that we get to share with you today our new Stage 2 Program.

We at Explore Discover Act believe:

“When we as individuals and groups make Choosing Kind a practice, we journey from the head to the heart, opening us up to deeper levels of presence, connection and compassion.”

The I’m Choosing Kind™: Stage 2 Connection and Mindfulness Program is an individual and shared journey that fosters a growing awareness and appreciation of the role of connection and mindfulness in our lives. The program provides the participants with an opportunity to develop understanding, tools and practices that support their personal and social growth and development. Experiential learning and ongoing communication are used to engage, inspire and empower participants as they integrate I’m Choosing Kindprinciples:

For ME (Effectively navigate empowering and limiting thoughts, words and actions)

With YOU (‘Strong Back, Soft Front’ – Practices that help us S.O.A.R.) 

Connecting US (Informed, connected and empowered individuals believing deeply in their own and others potential)

“How beautiful a day can be when kindness touches it!”
– George Elliston

The quote above is used to frame our I’m Choosing Kind philosophy. As individuals and groups we can easily fall into the trap of believing that our contribution doesn’t matter, we don’t have a choice or that feelings of being ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ justify harsh judgments or actions directed towards self, others or the world around us. This type of thinking drives disconnection, disengagement and disempowerment, therefore impacting our journeys of potential through limiting the difference we are able to make in our own and others lives. So how can we ‘be here now’ and effectively navigate our 21st Century world, full of busyness, technology and distraction?

“Mindfulness can be summed up in two words: pay attention. Once you notice what you’re doing, you have the power to change it.”
– Michelle Burford

Therefore, the I’m Choosing Kind: Stage 2 Connection and Mindfulness Program consists of opportunities for participants to, “Pay attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally” (Kabat-Zinn). By exploring daily tools and practices that allow this to happen more consistently, and discovering the associated benefits of connection and mindfulness that ripple into all areas of our lives, the participants journey from the program inspired and motivated to build on what they have experienced. Explore Discover Act then further supports the participants and Stage 2 teachers through our EDA Kindness Crew Challenges and Newsletters. These form part of our commitment to fostering meaningful action beyond the program experience.

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”
– Dalai Lama

So now comes the fun bit, from planning and preparation, to facilitating, learning and developing this program to most effectively embody our vision, mission and core values. If you are interested in finding out more about us or our programs, head over to http://www.explorediscoveract.com.au

The Power In Each Thought, Word or Action

April 13, 2015 at 5:40 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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“I never wear a watch, because I always know it’s now – and now is when you should do it.” – Steve Mariucci

Good old nostalgia. It used to be… simpler, there were stronger connections, less busy, etc. etc. etc. Have you ever had one of these thoughts or heard someone else pondering the virtues of a different time? What about aspirational gazing? If… When… etc. etc. etc. Ever catch yourself in those moments of believing that yours or others thoughts, words or actions will change when something else external does first? But what is real in each of these moments, and what is the ‘story’ that we have created to keep us from owning the power in each thought, word or action?

“Be here now.” – Ram Dass

Projecting our fears, insecurities, challenges and humanness onto others or external circumstances can be very common. Growing our awareness, or catching ourselves while we are doing it, can pass back the key that we have given away in these moments. This key, when we take it back, opens up owning the power available to us in each thought, word or action. Our goal then within our individual and shared journeys of potential is not to eliminate fear, insecurities, challenge or our humanness from our lives, or judge ourselves or others harshly when we will inevitably engage in these ways of being, but rather as the quote above reminds us, keep coming back to ‘be here now’.

“Comparison, a great teacher once told me, is the cardinal sin of modern life. It traps us in a game that we can’t win. Once we define ourselves in terms of others, we lose the freedom to shape our own lives.” – Jim Collins

Change and growth are incremental experiences. Whenever our minds slip into various forms of comparison, like nostalgia or aspirational gazing, we can be kept frustrated, fearful or disempowered as the perceived destination or memory should be here now, rather than embracing the reality of being here now and using the power within that thought, word or action to make a difference in our own or others lives. If the feeling or why associated with the nostalgia or aspiration is important, we have the opportunity to embody it and allow those purposeful ripples to help shape the families, schools, workplaces and communities that we aspire to live in. Nothing just happens overnight, it is our commitment to empowered daily practices that provides us with opportunities to, “Be the change you want to see in the world” – Gandhi.

What reminders do you use in your life to catch yourself and bring yourself back to ‘be here now’? What’s possible when we (individually and collectively) create purposeful ripples within our families, schools, workplaces and communities grounded in embracing reality and owning the power in each thought, word and action? What change and growth do you wish to be?

“Each of us has the opportunity to change and grow until our very last breath. Happy creating.” – M.F. Ryan

If You Don’t Ask…

April 6, 2015 at 6:31 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Every person in this life has something to teach me – and as soon as I accept that, I open myself to truly listening.” – Catherine Doucette

As the Easter long weekend comes to a close, and with two weeks school holidays upon us, I am mindful of the themes explored in the TED Talk linked above. Enjoying some time away from our normal routines and work schedules can open up moments of time to stop, reflect, hear and share the stories that matter with our loved ones (or with total strangers if you like). These conversations and interactions allow us the opportunity to further deepen our connection to self, others and the world around us. So sitting around the table yesterday, sharing a meal with all my family members who were there with us on Easter Sunday, I thought about what questions I would ask each person if we found ourselves sitting across from one another in a StoryCorp booth?

“Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.” – Margaret Wheatley

I’m sure we could all think of at least one time in our lives (probably more I’m guessing) when we wished we had of just asked. Maybe it was a question for a grandparent, parent, sibling, friend, son or daughter, or maybe it was simply a question that we should of asked ourselves. We can’t change what could of, should of or might of been, the only thing we have is the present moment in front of us. Especially in this 21st Century world, full of its technology, busyness and pressures, saying ‘I’ll get to that later’ can become an all to common occurrence if we’re not careful. That’s what I loved most about this talk, it was a real call to action, coupled with a practical tool to assist people with that process.

“The art of conversation lies in listening.” – Malcom Forbes

I hope you and your family/friends have enjoyed this Easter long weekend period, and have had time to stop, reflect, hear and share the stories that matter. What a privilege it is to share this space and time with each other, with the way we engage and listen playing an important part in honouring the individual and shared journeys of potential that we are on. So what questions will you ask, to who, and when? Imagine what’s waiting there to uncover, as we explore the possibilities, discover potential and act authentically.

“Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.” – Doug Larson

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