Conversation Starter

August 8, 2019 at 9:17 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Catching up with a particular friend recently has taken on a whole new element. He rides his bicycles everywhere, but a new addition to the repertoire has been quite the conversation starter. A milestone birthday saw family having a custom built penny farthing made for him. He’s loving riding it, and it’s definitely piquiing the interest of many while he’s out and about.

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” – Benjamin Franklin

There’s been many stares. Lots of questions. Some remincing from elder members of the community. And quite a bit of puzzlement. My favourite comment so far came from someone who was completely perplexed. She exclaimed, ‘I really don’t know how I feel about this’.

“Not the cry, but the flight of a wild duck, leads the flock to fly and follow.” – Chinese Proverb

What conversations are being opened up by your daily thoughts, words and actions? We love this proverb above. And my friend referenced in this post definetly chooses to lead this way within his spheres of influence. What about you?

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Ready

June 19, 2019 at 12:56 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I’m in a reflective mood. It may have a lot to do with it being the middle of another inspiring year. But it also has a lot to do with a simple response I’ve heard from one particular Year 6 student over the past few months.

“The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.” – Vince Lombardi

Each week she enthusiastically came bounding into the room. Her energy remained infectious right throughout each of the program experiences (our L.E.A.D. with Me Program is facilitated over 10 weeks). She, and the three class groups I am referring to here, were truly amazing to learn, grow and contribute with. But back to her simple response that’s had me reflecting.

“Of course leaders are born. Then they are made.” – Anonymous

When I greeted her each week with, ‘How are you?’, she always replied, ‘Ready to be a leader!’ At first I didn’t think much of it. I found it fun. But as the weeks went on its significance started to resonate deeply with me. She was locked in.

“Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.” – Vince Lombardi

What I love most about going on leadership journeys like these with groups is embracing the full spectrum of learning. Just because we (individually and/or collectively) are locked in, doesn’t mean we become immune to challenge, struggle, uncertainty and conflict. But by showing up ‘ready’, we give ourselves every advantage to be able to respond, rather than react, when we encounter these growth opportunities.

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thank you to all the inspiring individuals and groups were privileged to lead with. I’ve loved reading this groups messages over the past week, I’m so filled with gratitude for the impact these learners/leaders have had on me. I’ve included a few below. Thank you to all the 85 students who took the time to share their thoughts, reflections and illustrations of what leadership means to them.

‘Dear Cameron, Thank you for helping us grow in being great leaders. I have changed a lot over the past few months.’

‘Dear Cameron, Thank you for inspiring me to chase my dreams and to never give up. It’s people like you that make the world a better place.’

‘Dear Cameron, Thank you so much. I know during L.E.A.D. I am a bit quiet but it is because I am so busy soaking in all the inspiration, and trying to put it into my own doings. I love how you express leadership.’

The Courage to Build Empathy and Empathise

May 1, 2019 at 8:24 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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One of the best things about holidays is they provide a little bit more time to be surrounded by those you love. There’s more chances for catch ups. Longer time spent in conversation. And an opportunity to dig deeper into what’s going on below the surface of our individual and shared journeys of potential. One particular conversation with my niece over the Easter holiday break really reminded me of this. It highlighted the courage involved in first of all building empathy, and then secondly choosing to empathise.

“You can only understand people if you feel them in yourself.” – John Steinbeck

My niece loves dancing. Sorry, I should have used caps lock because she really LOVES dancing. It’s inspiring to watch her commitment and dedication to improving each and every day. She lights up when she’s talking about, participating in or really importantly sharing her passion through being a student teacher within the dance studio she’s a part of. I love seeing this aspect of an athlete or performers journey. The decision to step out of their comfort zone and care deeply enough to give back and pass on their passion to others.

“I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it.” – Maya Angelou

Teaching is such a vulnerable journey though. It’s an incredible privilege, but also very challenging. You may be passionate about what you’re sharing, but that doesn’t remove or eliminate the feelings of exposure throughout the facilitation process. Throw in the complexity of others watching on while you’re instructing and that’s a lot for an adult to navigate, let alone a child. As my niece was describing what she’s learnt through this experience she said something really powerful. Turning to the family members in the room who are/were teachers she remarked, ‘I don’t know how you do it”.

“The only way to change someone’s mind is to connect with them from the heart.” – Rasheed Ogunlaru

But she does, she’s courageously showing up each week and making a difference in those students lives with her empowering teaching style. I chose to dig a little deeper in our conversation, asking if this empathy she’s building has transferred into other areas of her life. Straight away she shared how it’s made her interact with casual teachers at her school differently. There’s now an understanding as to what they’re going through. It’s amazing the ripples created by experiential learning. If we can stay curious, out of judgement, and courageously build empathy and empathise, we’re able to more effectively as individuals and groups contribute while moving ourselves and others forward.

“Empathy is connection; it’s a ladder out of the shame hole”  – Brené Brown

Thank you to all of you who are also courageously building empathy and empathising within your spheres of influence. Those ripples help remind ourselves and others that the comfort zone stretching we are doing is necessary, valuable and to be celebrated. We’re all in this together. We just need to keep remembering that as we navigate all the complexity life and learning throws at us!

Building

March 19, 2019 at 8:22 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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At Explore Discover Act we are students of and passionate about developing leadership potential. It’s a privilege to watch participants courageously accept the invitation to stretch, grow and contribute, as they build their capacity to be difference makers. We walk shoulder to shoulder with students, staff and school communities as we help foster ‘informed, connected and empowered individuals believing deeply in their own and others potential’.

“Leadership is no longer about position, but passion. It’s no longer about image, but impact. This is Leadership 2.0.” – Robin Sharma

Why is this important though? To us? To school communities? To the participants? Last week we were again provided with another powerful reminder as to why the answers to these questions matter. It’s an ongoing journey. But we are so glad we’re on it.

“Teaching is only demonstrating it is possible. Learning is making it possible for yourself.” – Paulo Coelho

A participant had previously completed our 10 week L.E.A.D. with Me Program in 2017 whilst in Year 4. I remembered him from within that cohort; he would often sidle up during or after our sessions to share connections he was making or to say thank you. Last week he was back. Now participating in our L.E.A.D. with Me Program experiences as a Year 6 student. What he shared with me this time though left me in awe of his courage, strength and the embodiment of his ongoing growth.

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” – Helen Keller

He said, ‘I just wanted to say thank you, all that I learnt in Year 4 has really helped me, especially when my dad passed last September’. My heart filled with empathy, even though I’m so privileged to still have my mum and dad in my life, I could feel with him how hard it is to lose those that we love. My first words were, ‘I’m so sorry’, which were met with such a sincere thank you, then I shared a few reflections of how he’d inspired me working with him in 2017, and then again today.

“Courage starts by showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” – Brené Brown

I remember feedback we received from one of the Year 4 teachers after working with that cohort back in 2017. It read, ‘Thank you so much for delivering such meaningful and lifelong lessons to year 4 over the last 10 weeks.  I know that they will take away understandings that will not only serve them for their future but that they will remember and pass on to create the ripple that you so often talk about.’ These words came flooding back to me as I interacted with this inspiring participant last week. It’s such a privilege to help build; connection, character and capacity!

“No significant learning without a significant relationship.” – Dr. James P. Comer

Constantly Inspired By

March 7, 2019 at 6:25 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Today I had the pleasure of meeting with an Assistant Principal from a new client school. Later in the term we’ll work with their students for the first time. It’ll be with their 12 elected student leaders on that visit, helping them develop a School Action Plan that they can implement throughout 2019. Then later in the year we’ll be back at the school over a couple of days working with the whole Year 5 cohort (220 students) as they prepare for their opportunity to lead as Year 6 students the following year. I walked away from our meeting feeling again so inspired.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

It’s always the same feeling I get after speaking with staff from within our network of client schools. Educators are such passionate people. Teaching and working within schools is complex, challenging and really busy. But I’m constantly reminded of and inspired by the commitment those who work within school communities have for enriching the lives of those in their care. Educators will never fully know where the ripples they create end up. But we’re so grateful for their dedication each and every day to purposefully creating them.

“Teachers have three loves: love of learning, love of learners, and the love of bringing the first two loves together.” – Scott Hayden

I’ve been privileged to have many of these sorts of conversations over this first six weeks of the new school year. There’s been school communities looking to review and update their learner guiding principles. There’s also been school communities looking to develop new initiatives to increase student voice and difference making. There’s been the incredible success stories of students who have come so far within their learning journeys. And of course there’s been the open and honest reflections on the ups and downs of life as an educator. Thank you to all those teachers we are lucky enough to now know, have built connection with and support through our program experiences and ongoing communication.

“Teachers affect eternity; no one can tell where their influence stops.” – Henry Brooks Adams

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

February 14, 2019 at 3:57 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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So it’s Valentine’s Day. A day for professing love. Celebrating love. Maybe even being curious about love. But when it comes to leadership, you may ask, ‘What’s love got to do with it?’

“A team is not a group of people who work together. A team is a group of people that trust each other.” – Simon Sinek

Leadership is about people. And it starts with us. If we are to build trust, influence and make a difference within our journeys of potential, then leadership needs to be grounded in connection. To self. Others. And the world around us. Leadership is a heart word.

“When you approach challenging situations from a place of love, solutions emerge.” – Lorrie Thomas Ross

When we love someone, something or some place, we’ll courageously look for ways to work it out. It’s not always easy. But we’re willing to stay with it a bit longer, navigate the messiness, and seek out solutions. Rather than just getting bogged down in the problems. This is what leaders do.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” – Leo Buscaglia

When we think of those real leaders in our communities who inspire us, it’s usually lots of intangibles that come to mind. As expressed in the quote above, they seem to focus on those small acts of caring that leave people feeling seen, supported and that they belong. They’ve got a ‘strong back and soft front’, confidently letting compassion guide their daily thoughts, words and actions.

“Great leaders may be found at the top of a mountain looking back upon their challenges, but the greatest leaders are often found at the foot of the mountain still helping others reach that summit.” – Robert Clancy on Lead from the Heart

Thank you for the love that you let shine within your individual and shared journey of potential. It’s how we help shape the families, communities and world that we dream of. Connection really is the glue that holds our humanness together. Love and leadership, they’re definitely linked. Happy Valentines Day!

L.E.A.D.

February 6, 2019 at 12:18 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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We’re asked often what L.E.A.D. means? People obviously recognise the combination of letters together, but notice for us it forms an acronym and so are curious. L.E.A.D. is the philosophy that underpins all that we do. But really importantly, like we again experienced yesterday, it’s not only about what it means, it’s also about how it leaves you feeling.

“Leadership is not about being in charge. Leadership is taking care of those in your charge.” – Simon Sinek

I’d just finished the middle session for the client group, passing the Year 6 students back to their teachers. As I began packing away some of the equipment we’d been using, two girls walked up to me. Their faces were lit up, I could tell they were bursting to tell me something. They’d decided it couldn’t wait until after listening to their teachers instructions about the lunch procedures. What they said next is why we love being a part of the learning and leadership journeys of students from within our client schools.

“The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” – Ralph Nader

Gratitude began flowing. They were just so appreciative. Certain activities, and the reflections that followed them, had seen them completely come to life. I loved it when they said they’d been paired for a particular creative activity and hadn’t started it for so long because ‘the deepest conversation’ was opened up from what they’d been a part of learning during the day. They just kept saying, ‘Thank you for helping us see what real leadership is!’

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams

Yesterday’s group, like all that we are privileged to work with, are incredibly inspiring in the way they keep bringing leadership to life right throughout the day. When we’re able to build an individual and shared understanding of, connection to and authentic pathways for making leadership real, that’s where we experience the true meaning of L.E.A.D.. It’s so inspiring to be a part of the participant’s growth and development within our program experiences, but what we love most is then hearing about the positive difference that they continue making well after we have gone. We can all L.E.A.D. each and every day!

“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” – Ken Blanchard

Why We’re So Excited

January 29, 2019 at 9:41 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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One more sleep. That’s it. The start of our 2019 school programs journey is almost here. THIS is why we’re so excited.

“Purpose is the reason you journey. Passion is the fire that lights the way.” – Unknown

As you know our passion comes to life through developing leadership potential! Why, because when individuals and groups are curious about, inspired by and own their capacity to be difference makers (lead), it’s not only them who benefit. We ALL benefit. We love walking shoulder to shoulder with our clients on this journey. As Louisa May Alcott’s quote explains, ‘It takes two flints to make a fire’.

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” – Oprah Winfrey

Tomorrow its 150 enthusiastic Year 6 students ready and raring to engage with the games, challenges and reflections we’ve got planned. Friday, we back it up with a Year 6 cohort of 105 at another one of our client schools. We can’t wait to launch into 2019, with all of its opportunities to positively impact those within our spheres of influence.

“We rise by lifting others.” – Robert Ingersoll

We’re on a mission, and it has a lot to do with the quote above. Leaders build. Connection. Character. And Capacity. Not at the expense of others. But WITH others. Thank you to all we’re privileged to be able to share our passion with.

When We Don’t Slip Into Distraction

January 22, 2019 at 10:12 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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If you’re a parent with kids currently on school holidays then I’m guessing you’ve probably heard this quite a few times – ‘I’m bored’. It’s probably followed up pretty quickly with a request to get on whatever technology is closest by. Am I right? We all experience boredom, that’s for sure. But what we do next (or don’t do) is where outcomes vary significantly.

“Boredom always precedes a period of great creativity.” – Robert M. Pirsig

Last week I got to spend some time with a facilitator friend. We always love chatting about the art of facilitation, but also always get lost in questions and ideas that grab our attention within the conversation. As we spoke we got stuck on the concept of fun. And the cycle that he shared to achieve it was such an important reminder for us all.

“Boredom has an important function, because pushing through it can unleash creativity.” – Amy Dickinson

A lot of times people think of fun like a theme park. Entertain me. Thrill me. It’s someone else’s responsibility to create it. We just have to turn up. Hence why we grab for the iPad and think that’ll solve all our boredom issues. But they’re just distractions on most occasions. If we’re interested in real fun, the fun that builds connection and gives us deep contentment and joy, there’s another direction we need to turn.

“Creativity is a wild mind and a disciplined eye” – Dorothy Parker

The ‘disciplined eye’ referred to above I feel is sitting within the boredom for long enough (without choosing distraction) so we can get to creativity. This is because it’s through creative expression that the real fun I described above is unlocked. It doesn’t mean that technology can’t be a part of this process at all. What it does mean though is just mindlessly grabbing at distraction (in whatever form that takes) keeps us at arms length from feeling lit up by how we’re spending our time.

“Don’t try to ‘fix’ the child’s boredom – rather, let the child find his or her inner resources.” – Julia Cameron

So I wonder, what’s your tolerance level like when you experience boredom? Are you a quick trigger to distraction? Or a slow burn to induce creativity that can lead to real fun? There’d be a situational element to your responses I’m sure, but it’s interesting to reflect on our patterns of thoughts, words and actions that impact significantly our journeys of potential. What practices do you use to mindfully navigate bypassing the easy slipping into distraction? And how do you then choose to model, support and foster those within your spheres of influence?

Window Wound Down

January 16, 2019 at 9:46 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Mini moments of connection, with strangers, are just so inspiring. I love their unexpectedness. And the important reminders/learning they open up. One that I experienced recently has still got me thinking. It was only made possible though because this stranger chose to have his window wound down.

“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you’ve gotta put up with the rain.” – Dolly Parton

I’d been down the beach and was now walking home. It’s only a short walk and not a very busy area to navigate. As I’m approaching a driveway there was a car with it’s indicator on getting ready to pull in. I naturally came to a stop, then a subtle difference jolted me out of the routine I had just initiated.

“No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings.” – William Blake

The stranger gestured to me to cross first. As I walked I said, ‘Thanks’.

The response, ‘Always pedestrians first, everything else second’.

I shoot back sincerely, ‘Thank you’.

That was met with, ‘Have a great day!’

“Jump, and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall.” – Ray Bradbury

It was such a simple interaction. Not unlike so many we’d have within a day. What made it feel different though was his sharing of the values that was driving his actions. We’re absolutely all in this together. And it’s not that our individual and shared values will always align completely. But it seems to be important that we have the courage to have our windows wound down as we interact with self, others and the world around us, and share what’s most important to us (both individually and as groups).

 

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