I’d Rather

January 30, 2017 at 5:35 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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A really interesting conversation I had last week got me thinking about a few important things. Curiosity definitely has me listening closely at the moment to the thoughts, words and actions that get us moving forwards, as I strive to embody this year’s mantra of bridging ideas into action. The sentence within this conversation that really grabbed me started with two simple words. As I wrote last week I love when we as individuals and groups are able to get under the surface, and what this young man was describing was definitely an invitation into what was bubbling underneath for him. I’d rather…

“If you never try, you’ll never know what you are capable of.” – John Barrow

The young man (about 20 years old) was talking about how he has really been trying to intentionally get into his stretch zone over the past few years. Navigating social anxiety has been his ongoing struggle, with him highlighting during our conversation recent examples of when it has reared its head. Hearing him talk so openly about how he’s initiated opportunities to purposefully challenge himself over the past few years (things like joining a drama group) were truly inspiring. But what was most inspiring was how a few days earlier he had put himself out there within a facilitation role and why this sentence starting with I’d rather had such importance.

“Try and fail, but don’t fail to try.” – Stephen Kaggwa

He hadn’t gained the specific internal qualification he had been attempting that few days ago within his university holiday work environment. This work environment was also one of the initiated opportunities to purposefully challenge himself as many aspects of being around so many people involved a lot of stretching for him (and sometimes teetering on panic zone). Confidently he explained how he’d rather have tried and failed on that particular day, than never tried at all. The self awareness and learnings he was describing became the conversation we then had. Was it really a ‘fail’?

“Failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.” – Arianna Huffington

He now knows what he has to work on in order to try for this internal qualification again. He now has a contact (permanent staff member) who can support him as he develops the necessary knowledge and skills to try again. He now has a new level of confidence developed through having the courage to engage fully and honestly within this process. He now has another opportunity to again remember why his ‘I’d rather’ is so important. These are just a few of the things he described. He doesn’t want to be defined or ruled by one part of who he is, one event that has happened or one version of what’s possible. What he wants reminded me of why our name is so important to us, and the clients we engage with, Explore (the possibilities), Discover (potential) and Act (authentically).

“I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it.” – Vincent Van Gogh

So this is our hope: that all the students who have today (or over the coming days) walked back into classrooms for another school year, and the teachers who bring with them such a diversity of skills, knowledge and experiences, as well as the families and/or carers who will to the best of their ability provide support, love and encouragement, that all of them and us all will remember as we navigate all that this year will bring;

  • That our daily thoughts, words and actions matter.
  • That our journey will involve both successes and challenges, remembering that, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts” – Winston Churchill.
  • We are all capable of making a difference in our own and others lives.
  • We are all in this together!

Getting Under The Surface

January 23, 2017 at 11:00 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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One thing I just love is when I have the opportunity to support groups of educators. Last week again provided for one of those opportunities. This group of camp leaders were inspiring for so many reasons. But one of the biggest reasons is that they allowed themselves, and ourselves, to go there (individually and collectively). And the ripples created were incredible.

“Maybe you are searching among the branches, for what only appears in the roots.” – Rumi

One of the things I love most about outdoor education is the deep levels of connection that it opens up for and to self, others and the world around us. But, there’s a big but (there always is when we are talking about connection). Are we as individuals and groups willing to show up fully, remain open and then hold that space for each other (with all the vulnerability that involves) so that we can get under the surface? It’s where the magic happens. But it’s also where we can sometimes be fearful to let ourselves go.

“Look within. Within is the fountain of good, and it will ever bubble up, if thou wilt ever dig.” – Marcus Aurelius

What a privilege it is to be able to open up pathways for this type of stretching, so that growth and development can follow. Hearing the camp leaders talk about the impact the support they received had on them (individually and collectively) reminded me why getting under the surface is so important. I can’t wait to hear how these individuals make real and embody the learning they’ve taken away. And most importantly, hear about how the kids who they support in the future will be positively impacted through their continued empowered thoughts, words and actions.

“Opportunities to find deeper powers within come when life seems most challenging.” – Joseph Campbell

Remembering

January 16, 2017 at 10:57 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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I’m a huge believer in wisdom. Individual. Collective. And everything in between. This deep belief shows up within my journey of potential in an assortment of ways. A particular question though I ask of participants at some stage within a program day reminds me consistently of wisdoms depth, breadth and potential to empower. I’m always left feeling so privileged, inspired and grateful as students courageously open up and share what’s real for them.

“Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself.” – Chinese Proverb

If you’ve ever worked with groups you’d know the full spectrum of engagement, energy and contributions you get from different types of questioning within a reflection. Lets face it though, if you’ve ever interacted with other human beings you know this feeling as well (ever experienced a child’s response of ‘nothing’ to the common question ‘what did you do today?’). It’s an element of the experiential learning process that I’m passionately curious about. I love being a facilitator; having the opportunity to be apart of experiences that foster exploring the possibilities, discovering potential and acting authentically.

“It’s not what is poured into a student that counts but what is planted.” – Linda Conway

So the question; it’s definitely intentionally worded. Participants are asked what they remembered? Not what they did. Or learnt. Or saw. But what they remembered. I’ll usually offer a short pause so the students can connect to what’s being asked. The intentionality is a pathway for each individual to really tap into their own wisdom. What begins rising comes from a deep place, carrying with it a real sense of knowing. Then without fail the vast majority of those in attendance express they’d like to share with the whole group.

“Wisdom is the daughter of experience.” – Leonardo da Vinci

It’s not that this is the only reflection we use that elicits an enthusiastic, profound or perceptive response. But I’d say it’s definitely one that I’ll use when I want to really celebrate the wisdom that lies within us all. Sometimes we get caught in our heads and second guess, worry about or dismiss the wisdom that is resonating within from an experience. And what’s even more disheartening is that we can as a result miss opportunities to make a difference in our own and others lives. So finding ways to remember, and then act from this heart space, seems like an important tool for us to practice if we are to bridge ideas into action.

“Learning is not a spectator sport: So lets PLAY!”

Reframing

January 9, 2017 at 4:18 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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How often do you get caught believing that there’s only one way, solution, possibility, truth, etc.? Maybe it’s only for a split second and then we catch ourselves. Maybe it’s for as long as a particular interaction is happening and then we catch ourselves. Maybe it’s for an extended period of time and then something finally clicks and we catch ourselves. That old adage of ‘nothing changes until you do’ definitely rings true for me as I reflect on our ability to reframe within our journeys of potential.

“Our key to transforming anything lies in our ability to reframe it.” – Marianne Williamson

A certain conversation the other day got me thinking about reframing within a leadership context. My friend was describing a recent adventure that had taken him out of his comfort zone in the Christmas period. As he described the navigation of new terrain he got to the part that had my curiosity peaking. It had to do with who (his friend or he) would take on the most challenging lead climb within the trip they were on and the way the two of them always decided choices like this.

“Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.” – Wayne W. Dyer

I love scissors, paper, rock, and so was very excited to hear that this playful method of deliberating was their way of deciding important decisions like this one. Even though my friend is a highly experienced and accomplished climber there’s always going to be times when his courage, skill and determination are tested. This trip was proving to be one of those times. When I heard he won (not sure if it was best of 1 or 3) I blurted out, so did you make your mate go first? I assumed now having the choice he may take the breather and climb second on this most challenging pitch. His response and the subsequent conversation had me so inspired. “The winner always takes it on”.

“If a problem can’t be solved within the frame it was conceived, the solution lies in reframing the problem.” – Brian McGreevy

It’s a mindset thing. Leadership isn’t about using some perceived or real power to deflect, shirk or redistribute responsibility. Instead leadership is brought to life in being prepared, willing and ready to use your empowered thoughts, words and actions to make a difference for self and others (even while we’re stretching within the struggle). Importantly, this type of self awareness can also assist us to be honest with ourselves and others in the process. It doesn’t mean that we won’t feel fear, doubt or uncertainty as we courageously lead. It just means that we’re willing to work through these feelings when they arise, without letting them define us, knowing why our thoughts, words and actions are important and that there’s support around us if we need it.

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.” – Marcus Aurelius

If we are to bridge ideas into action then reframing seems to be an important tool. But like anything, reframing by itself won’t actually bring about change, growth, learning or transformation. The windows it opens needs to be followed by courageous action. It’s why the quote that underpins our L.E.A.D. with Courage™ philosophy remains, ‘Leadership Is an Action Not Position’ (Donald H. McGannon) as we explore the possibilities, discover potential and act authentically, TOGETHER.

Bridging: Ideas into Action

January 1, 2017 at 10:22 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I wonder what 2017 will bring? There are certain things that are already booked into the calendar or are being planned, but obviously there is also so much open possibility as well. Within this open possibility there can be a focus on resolutions relating to outcomes. We’ve all done it, I’m going to ___________ (fill in the blank – lose 10kg, get a new job, etc.). And then in a few weeks time as we navigate choices, complexity and challenges the resolution seems to slip away. What we’re planning again this year is a mantra to guide our thoughts, words and actions focussed on process.

“An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.” – Buddha

Our plan: being passionately curious about how we as individuals and groups bridge ideas into action. Why: we believe so strongly in potential and in the difference that we are all able to make in our own and others lives. We also know (as described in the image above) that it is action that changes things. The bridge between knowing and doing though can be a challenging one. So, to be most effective in creating purposeful and powerful ripples ourselves and also serving the communities whom we support so they can do the same, making learning a priority is a must.

“Action expresses priorities.” – Mahatma Gandhi

How: to start with by asking questions (and plenty of them). We’ve already started on Twitter (@ExploreDiscAct) our Question of the Day to keep us focussed on this vital element of embodying this year’s mantra. We’ve also started organising conversations with inspiring individuals and groups who are being the change they wish to see in the world. Curiosity will lead the way. We can’t wait to see what we learn through engaging with and listening to all those we have the chance to interact with this year. Then finally we’re going to continue to share. Through our program experiences, ongoing communication with clients and of course through our various social media platforms like this Blog.

“Our real problem, then, is not our strength today; it is rather the vital necessity of action today to ensure our strength tomorrow.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

We love being involved in the development of leadership potential within our spheres of influence. Our vision remains, ‘informed, connected and empowered individuals believing deeply in their own and others potential’. Our programs are delivered predominantly in Primary Schools so we can assist in fostering purposeful skills, attitudes and behaviours in 21st Century learners. Having the courage to make a difference is a practice. One that we’re committed to fostering within participants from an early age. But most importantly, one that we’re committed to fostering within ourselves first. It’s in the process, not the outcome, that we have the opportunity of being the change.

“Nothing changes if nothing changes.” – Multiple attributions

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