What a Way to Finish the Year!

December 26, 2016 at 6:25 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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A week ago I was gifted with the most perfect challenge to round out 2016. With my mantra this year being ‘Remembering to Rumble’ (adopted after reading Brené Brown’s book Rising Strong), I couldn’t of scripted a more appropriate test for what I’ve been practicing all year long. The rumble happens within the stories. Those we tell ourselves, others and the world around us. It showed up for me this year as a willingness to get curious around, challenge and reality check the narratives I create as often as possible in real time.

“THE RUMBLE: OWNING OUR STORY – Get honest about the stories we’re making up about our struggle, then challenge these confabulations and assumptions to determine what’s truth, what’s self-protection, and what needs to change if we want to lead more wholehearted lives.” – Brené Brown, Rising Strong

Friends in the Blue Mountains told me we’d be going on an adventure. I’ve done some amazing canyons with them over the past few years so I was excited about what this opportunity would bring on my short visit a week ago. I trust them implicitly. But of course, like any good challenge, this was going to involve stepping out of my comfort zone (with support). My friend made one particular comment as we left the house that I rumbled with on the walk over to Boars Head. He used the phrase ‘can be intimidating’ when offering an answer to a question I asked about the climb out after the abseils we’d be doing.

“Choosing to be curious is choosing to be vulnerable because it requires us to surrender to uncertainty.” – Brené Brown, Rising Strong

The abseils were so much fun. The various gullies and ledges we traversed were stunning. But now here I was at the section of the adventure that definitely required me to remember to rumble. 140m of rock face below me. 45m of rock face above me. The way out, up. This was something that I’d never navigated before. It would require me to stay present, focussed and determined, all the while getting curious around, challenging and reality checking the stories I created (some of them were incredible) in real time. I was so grateful for this perfect challenge and its timing as 2016 comes to an end.

“We don’t have to do all of it alone. We were never meant to.”- Brené Brown, Rising Strong

My friends were incredible. Their expertise and demeanour puts you at ease and allows you to stretch so that learning and growth can take place within the challenge. I did it, and was so proud of what was accomplished. So here’s to all the learning and growth that has taken place in 2016. And more importantly, here’s to all the incredible individuals and groups that I’ve had the pleasure of exploring the possibilities, discovering potential and acting authentically with throughout this year. I can’t wait to see what 2017 will bring. Happy New Year!

“The rumble is where wholeheartedness is cultivated and change begins.” – Brené Brown, Rising Strong

 

 

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Permission to Struggle

December 19, 2016 at 6:01 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I could sense this struggle was going to be an important one. And that it definitely needed to happen. I could also sense that the accompanying teacher was really curious about what was unfolding. And she was also fighting an internal battle of wanting to ‘fix’.

“For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain.”  – Henry W. Longfellow

This was during the first major challenge in our morning session on our last program day for the year. The Year 5 cohort got to choose who they’d undertake these set of activities with and were spread out in the hall in teams of 4. The teacher commented how interesting it was that a lot of the other groups had taken my advice of not necessarily choosing only their ‘best’ friends. But this group of 4 girls had and were recreating a pattern of rockiness that apparently plays out often within a normal school day.

“Sometimes in life, your situation will keep repeating itself until you learn your lesson.” – Brigette Nicole

As I walk around to each of the groups I offer some observations and then keep moving. The teams are so engrossed in what they’re doing, except one. A remarkably empathetic boy from another group goes over and tries to ‘fix’, but returns after he realises his attempts are futile. We discuss, the teacher and I, the internal battle she is having, stemming from navigating the busyness and complexity of ‘control’ within a school classroom environment.

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” – Frederick Douglass

The girls got there. Just. They brought what they’d built over to participate in this first group challenge of the day. But more importantly through having permission to struggle (with support around them if it was really needed) it set them up for the day that they ended up having. Before the second challenge all the students were given the opportunity to make any changes that might need to be made (the remarkably empathetic boy even went over and offered to switch groups with the girl who was struggling most). But they wanted to soldier on.

“What is the difference between an obstacle and an opportunity?  Our attitude toward it.  Every opportunity has a difficulty, and every difficulty has an opportunity.”  – J. Sidlow Baxter

Now there was the beginnings of TEAM. All heads, hearts and hands were starting to come together. They encountered a stumble (metaphorically), took a few moments to regroup, and then resiliently went at this second challenge again, together. There was laughing. There was joy (even within the struggle). There was a new sense of what was possible. And then came the moments that reminded the teacher and I why it is such a privilege to be involved in the educational journey.

“Forgive yourself, you are not perfect. Show yourself grace, you’re still learning. Be patience, you’re on a journey.” – Unknown

Towards the end of the morning session we undertook a group reflection. Each of the participants walked the edge of the room searching for a quote card that resonated with them. This particular girl was drawn to one that made so much sense to her teacher and I from what we’d witnessed that morning. It read: “Only you can control your future.” – Dr. Suess. She was still wrestling with it as we discussed what it meant to her but I could sense that having to navigate the struggle for a longer peiod of time (once she’d exhausted all those established patterns of disconnection and disengagement) may have contributed.

“We learn the rope of life by untying its knots.” – Jean Toomer

As we played a very animated game towards the end of the middle session this girl was now radiating pure joy. The teacher and I both looked at each other and smiled, again remembering the privilege it is to witness the ups and downs associated with a journey of potential. We both spoke about how it’s not that she (or any of us for that matter) was now ‘fixed’ through the experience. Rather by giving permission for ourselves and others to struggle, asking for and giving support where needed, we remember and can practice effective ways of being and making a difference in our own and others lives. The struggle will continue. But that’s ok.

“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” – Napoleon Hill

We’re Live – Thank You

December 12, 2016 at 3:00 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Our new website is live, jump over and have a look – http://www.explorediscoveract.com.au

The 2016 school year has been so much fun. Lately though, alongside facilitating our program experiences, there’s been time for exciting new connections and opportunities (like in last week’s post ‘Buzzing’), strategic planning and program development, making sure we thank all the incredible school communities we’ve had the privilege of supporting again this year, and of course going live with our new website linked above. Have fun exploring it, then we’d love to hear from you with any feedback you’ve got.

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” – William Arthur Ward

We love it (this is version 3 since launching a few years ago), and we are so thankful to our very talented, creative and patient website developer Luke. He has again delivered us with a site that helps our new, as well as existing clients, better understand how we can assist them in the development of ‘informed, connected and empowered individuals believing deeply in their own and others potential’. You’re a legend mate, thanks for exploring the possibilities, discovering potential and acting authentically with us!

“The only impossible journey is the one you never begin.” – Anthony Robbins

Next year we will be celebrating our 5th birthday (time flies when you’re having fun). The other day I took the chance to reflect a little deeper on our journey as we welcomed a new client school into the Explore Discover Act community. The Principal from the school where we delivered our very first L.E.A.D. with Courage™: Stage 3 Leaders Program day experience has during this year moved schools. Liaising with her in preparation for supporting her new school’s Stage 3 cohort in 2017 opened up a flood of memories. Here’s the feedback we received from the accompanying teachers on that very first day:

“Cameron, it was a brilliant day. The children gained a lot from it and have leapt into their leadership roles with enthusiasm. Your explanations about leadership were fantastic and appropriate for the age level. It was an engaging and meaningful experience for all our students. Thanks for the great day.”

We have, the L.E.A.D. with Courage™: Stage 3 Leaders Program has, the Primary School programs we offer have, and of course our community of clients schools has grown significantly since that first day. It is such a privilege to be able to engage, challenge and inspire Primary School students within their learning and leadership journeys. Last Friday’s program day was also with a client school who’ve been with us since the beginning. What was exciting though was I had the opportunity to work with a new teacher at the school with the Year 5 cohort on the day. Thank you for your generous feedback below and the schools continued commitment to the development of leadership potential within your student population.

“The ‘droplets’ of key leadership attitudes and qualities were empowering. Other staff members have raved about the program and now I know why! BRILLIANT.”

Here’s to a safe, refreshing and connection filled holiday break for all the students, teachers and school communities we support (as they begin next week or having already begun). We look forward to seeing you all again in the new year!

Buzzing

December 5, 2016 at 6:38 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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What an amazing week! It was definitely one that was full of moments that left me buzzing. From spending a weekend away for a friend’s birthday, an inspiring meeting with the woman who runs student leadership at the University of Wollongong, fantastic program days with new and existing clients, and finally a friend’s joyous and connection filled wedding yesterday, I was left with so many reminders as to what’s most important as we navigate our journeys of potential.

“Joy is not in things; it is in us.” – Richard Wagner

The tree swing I’m on above was from the weekend away for my friend’s birthday. It was such a playful weekend (not surprising I guess with the amount of Outdoor Ed leaders who were present). There were plenty of impromptu games and stories, giant swings, surfing (trying to learn for me), beach cricket, archery, walks, dance off’s (inevitable with a Michael Jackson themed party night), and everything in between. Such authentic people, giving generously of their time, energy and spirit, ripples joy throughout the moments shared whenever we have the opportunity to get together.

“Collaborate with people you can learn from.” – Pharrell Williams

I’m so excited to be collaborating with SCARF (Strategic Community Assistance for Refugee Families) over the next 12 months, offering a year long leadership program for their youth. In our first introductory meeting a few weeks ago I got chatting to the Youth Program Coordinator about all things leadership. From that conversation he then connected me to the inspiring woman who runs student leadership at the University of Wollongong. Before, during and after that meeting this week with her I’ve been constantly buzzing. The opportunities we discussed have me so excited for what’s coming in 2017.

“The real gift of gratitude is that the more grateful you are, the more present you become.” – Robert Holden

I am so very grateful for all of our existing and new client schools. I love how present, purposeful and humbled I feel as I am facilitating our program days. It is such a privilege to be able to engage, challenge and inspire Primary School students within their learning and leadership journeys. Last week was no different, as we explored the possibilities, discovered potential and acted authentically together. I was definitely left buzzing as the students courageously and honestly shared and contributed in such real, diverse and wise ways.

“Joy is a decision, a really brave one, about how you are going to respond to life.” – Wess Stafford

Finally, it was my friends wedding yesterday. Such an incredible ending to an amazing week. The wedding was so welcoming for all involved. What stood out most was the drumming that welcomed the bride and groom into the church, the minister mixing between English and Kiswahili to remind us of the cultures coming together through this union and the joy full expressions of love, connection and generosity right throughout the day. So much buzzing, and then a good nights sleep. I wonder what’s in store this week!

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