It’s a bird… Yep, it really is a bird!

September 21, 2015 at 4:39 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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“You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.” – Winston Churchill

Our lives are full of potential distractions, whether we like it or not. Some of these distractions can seem or are real and urgent, while some can be very welcomed surprises. Other distractions can form part of limiting recurring patterns of behaviour, while others are unavoidable and are mindfully factored into our days. Within our programs we regularly discuss their breadth and depth with participants because as the quote above suggests, if we are to purposefully choose a journey of exploring the possibilities, discovering potential and acting authentically (so as to make a difference in our own and others lives), we will have to effectively navigate many and varied distractions on the way.

“Be deeply interested in what you are doing, and ignore vagrant ideas.” – Grenville Kleiser

Two weeks ago, while working with a Year 5 group, an unsuspecting bird played an important role in one of our debrief sessions. We had just completed an activity that had the participants working in groups to connect the wholeness (purposeful thoughts, words and actions) of their learning and leadership journey. Inspiring thoughts, ideas and connections were coming out when we had our, ‘It’s a bird… Yep, it really is a bird’ moment. Through the one opened door of the hall came a soon to be very confused bird, with it quickly realising that this is not where it really wanted to be. Myself, 85 students and 3 teachers could do nothing but turn our attention to the plight of our new friend.

“One way to boost our will power and focus is to manage our distractions instead of letting them manage us.” – Daniel Goleman

Amongst inevitable oohs and aahs, one teacher moved calmly over to the controls for the roller door that may have given the bird the best chance of getting out. Just before the teacher got there the bird who had been madly circling the hall made a skilled exit out the door it had come in some 30 seconds ago. What better way to dig a little deeper into this theme of distractions with the group than a real life experience that we had just all been through together. It could of been a message over the school PA system, or the Principal coming in to ask for a few of the students, or a coughing fit by one of the participants, inevitably distractions are ever present in our lives, some just get a better reaction from a big group than others.

“The difficulties of life should not distract you from the pursuit of your goals. Graciously pursue your goals.” – Lailah Gifty Akita

 As a group we reflected on some themes like;

  • how the distractions presence was acknowledged and how this particular distraction would be very challenging for us as individuals and a group to ignore,
  • being aware of options we had to navigate the distraction and each of our responsibilities in those options,
  • understanding that we all respond differently to distractions and how the choices available to us as individuals and groups in these processes can be developed through awareness and practice over time,
  • how the distraction was not as important as the experience we were involved in so focusing back in to what we were doing was important after the bird had left the hall,
  • how being kind to ourselves and others when distractions do pull us away from where our focus was can positively impact our ability to get back on track.

This is just some of what we discussed. I am always so grateful to the experiential learning process as there are so many teachable moments to explore as we learn by doing, with reflection. What distractions play the biggest role in your journey of potential? What daily practices are most helpful for you as you navigate the inevitable distractions present each and every day?

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