The Courage to Ask ‘What If’?

August 10, 2015 at 7:34 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


“At first, I see pictures of a story in my mind. Then creating the story comes from asking questions of myself. I guess you might call it the ‘what if – what then’ approach to writing and illustration.” – Chris Van Allsburg

Last week I was talking with an Assistant Principal about particular students who are experiencing challenges within their school environment. The students lack of engagement and empowerment within various aspects of the social, emotional and learning processes at school is of concern, along with how certain behaviours of theirs are impacting others within that space. As we spoke I was reminded of the quote above. Not because of the specific context that the quote relates to, instead because of the unfolding process that it describes. How many of our limiting thoughts, words and actions that impact our unfolding individual and shared journeys of potential are a result of not taking the time to or having effective skills to ask questions of ourselves (through a growing awareness) as we create the stories that make up our lives?

“You cannot change what you refuse to confront.” – Author unknown

Our thoughts, words and actions (whether positive, neutral or limiting), consciously or unconsciously, are fulfilling our needs at that given time. Many ‘pictures of a story’ bounce around our heads as we navigate complex interactions with self, others and the world around us each and every day. When those ‘stories’ (fear based thoughts, connections and learnt patterns) that we have created are left unchecked in any challenging interaction, we can witness unskilled behaviours. We all have created habits over time based on our ever developing values, beliefs and attitudes. These habits will remain in place until they are found to be wanting, or a new ‘what if’ is imagined, developed and practiced.

“What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.” – Gretchen Rubin

As the Assistant Principal and I spoke last week I was again inspired by each schools commitment to believe in and support the journey of potential of every student in their care. This journey is definitely not an easy one, with so much time, effort and personal vulnerability of staff members going into offering targeted programs and curriculum to best assist all those who walk through their doors. It is a privilege to support our clients through the various student programs that we offer, but also through consultations such as this example. Presenting a variety of pathways to engage, challenge and inspire a diversity of students within their learning and leadership journeys keeps us motivated as we strive to embody exploring the possibilities, discovering potential and acting authentically.

“Someone else doesn’t have to be wrong for you to be right.” – Author unknown

So now the fun part begins, actioning the consultation and planning that has taken place. Experiential learning, learning by doing with reflection, and plenty of time to practice what is being developed has got underway. Props have been purchased, new games and challenges trialled and dedicated spaces created to make real the conceptual framework that the Assistant Principal will use in this program. A new ‘what if’, growing awareness and journey to engagement and empowerment has begun.

“If you don’t like something, change it.  If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” – Mary Engelbreit


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