Can you give me an example?

August 14, 2017 at 4:34 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I love listening to the lived experience of leaders. It’s definitely an adventure when we purposefully use our daily thoughts, words and actions to make a difference in our own and others lives. It’s so inspiring to hear about all the ripples being created through a particular individuals and/or groups efforts. And of course hear about what passion, energy and courage lies beneath all of that.

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what type of difference you want to make.” – Jane Goodall

The other week I got to spend a day facilitating at a new client school. What was really fun was that the Assistant Principal had organised for this years elected leaders (Year 6) to learn beside the whole Year 5 cohort (105 students) on the day. This opened up the privilege of chatting to the elected leaders about their experiences so far this year. What they shared at different times throughout the day summed up beautifully the full spectrum of our learning and leadership journeys.

“It’s not about perfect. It’s about effort. And when you bring that effort every single day, that’s where transformation happens. That’s how change occurs.” – Jillian Michaels

Many spoke about how at the beginning of the year leading things like assemblies was challenging, but as they did it more often and realised they could support each other it got easier. One girl spoke about how a challenge was other peoples expectations of them as they navigated the year, like if they made a mistake another student might remark, ‘Aren’t you meant to be a leader?’ Others shared how much of their time they had to commit to meeting, planning and preparing for various roles and responsibilities that they had, but overall they were glad they were doing it. But it was one boy’s story in particular that became a powerful connection on the day about how we can bring about change wherever we may find ourselves.

“I want to make a difference with people who want to make a difference, doing something that makes a difference.” – John C. Maxwell

This Year 6 boy is ranked highly in Australia in skateboarding and was so clearly passionate about it as he spoke. He started thinking at the beginning of the year that others might enjoy and get something out of the activity as well, so he took the time to research it further so he could take a proposal to the school. He was able to, through negotiation, have skateboarding added to the list of sports the school does, with the response being really positive so far from both students and teachers. It was a powerful reminder to himself, and others, that if you care about something deeply, and the ripples created by your efforts will make a difference in your own and others journeys of potential, then the daily thoughts, words and actions involved to bring about change are most definitely worth it.

“Leadership is no longer about your position. It’s now more about your passion for excellence and making a difference. You can lead without a title.” – Robin Sharma

This boy, just like the other elected leaders at the school, didn’t need a badge to be able to lead. The position may open up opportunities but it’s what we do that brings leadership to life (‘leadership is action, not position’ – Donald H McGannon). This is why I love being involved in the development of leadership potential within Primary School settings. It’s inspiring how many school communities are looking at how they can empower their student cohorts through exploring, practicing and celebrating the purposeful skills, attitudes and behaviours of being a leader. Below is the feedback we received from the Assistant Principal on that day. Thank you for the opportunity to help make leadership real at your school, we look forward to again supporting you soon.

“From the moment Cameron started the program our students were engaged. He shared a clear message about what it takes to be a leader and showed our students that they all have the potential to lead. Thanks for a fantastic day!”

 

Anybody Got Feedback?

August 7, 2017 at 3:19 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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During the past week I got to spend two days training 40 Year 6 students who are taking on the role of Ambassadors within their school community. It’s the start of a brand new program that I’m helping the school develop, and what an inspiring two days it turned out to be. I had worked with the whole Year 6 cohort at the beginning of the year (our L.E.A.D. with Courage™: Stage 3 Leaders Program), then reconnected with their 12 elected leaders a couple of weeks after for a day, but now I was back to support those courageous students who had put their hand up to be a part of this brand new school initiative.

“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” – Bill Gates

There were so many highlights that came out of the experience but one particular aspect of the process really shone through as vitally important. Giving and receiving feedback are skills that need to be practiced. Being open to and filtering feedback are also skills that need to be practiced. Carving out time for and then using the constructive feedback we receive are again also skills that need to be practiced. This list could keep going on and on but as the quote above suggests, the reason for this type of practice is that feedback is vital if we are serious about wanting to improve in anything. And these students, and the client school, and us at Explore Discover Act, are definitely serious about continual growth and development.

“Feedback is a gift. Ideas are the currency of our next success. Let people see you value both feedback and ideas.” – Jim Trinka and Les Wallace

Many times throughout the two days the teachers and I were left in awe by the way these Ambassadors stepped out of their comfort zones and made real a piece/s of feedback that they, other individuals or the group as a whole received. They themselves were the catalyst for most of the valuable, compassionate and explicit feedback that was being shared, either through informal or formal opportunities within the program, or through our living walls that were being filled up with questions, ideas and connections. I can’t wait to hear all about the incredible contributions that these students will continue to make within their school community as Ambassadors, purposefully using their thoughts, words and actions to make a difference in their own and others journeys of potential.

“One of the things that I’ve learned is to be receptive of feedback.” – Ben Silbermann

I’d just like to leave you with the reflections of one the teachers who I had the pleasure of working with closely throughout this process, and over the past few years. Her commitment, and the schools, to providing the students with engaging, challenging and inovative learning opportunities continues to energise and inspire me. What a privilege it is to get to do what we get to do!

‘WOW!  What an amazing 2 days. I have walked away feeling energised and inspired, as I know the students have as well (their body language said it all). On behalf on Emma and myself, I’d like to acknowledge the wonderful work you did with our students, your professionalism and expertise to get the most out of them was wonderful to witness.

Over the 2 days I reflected on the students responses and engagement and felt proud that they were able to articulate all the passions they have for our school. It was satisfying to hear them talk, discuss and have a valued voice to share what they believe our school to be on such a deep level. It demonstrated that the aspects we have been putting into programs is truly making them confident young people.

Thank you so much again for an engaging 2 days.’ – Year 6 Teacher/Assistant Principal

How often?

July 31, 2017 at 7:06 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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“Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.” – Brené Brown

It’s Saturday afternoon as I’m writing this. I’ve just finished facilitating the July session of our year long Let’s L.E.A.D. Program with SCARF Youth here in the Illawarra (Strategic Community Assistance for Refugee Families). I’m feeling so inspired (again). But also reflective. So much of what came up within the session today, plus what a Year 5 girl said during one of our program days a week ago, keeps bouncing around my head.

“Leadership’s not a title. It’s a behaviour. Live it!” – Robin Sharma

As you know I’m passionate about leadership. I love learning more about it. I love talking about it. I love noticing it. But I guess what’s even more important than all that is how often do I embody it and make it real through my thoughts, words and actions? As the Year 5 girl remarked so wisely within our program day last week, if leadership was a form of transport I’d choose a boat, they’re popular but how often do we use them?

“The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own example.” – John Wooden

The challenge of leading inspires me (the purposeful use of my thoughts, words and actions to make a difference in my own and others lives). I love that the Year 5 girl’s comment, the work being undertaken by the participants involved in our year long Let’s L.E.A.D. group and my own reflections on those above are not mired in judgement, but rather are a part of the process of staying curious, compassionate and purposefully aligned (and continuing to realign) along the leadership journey. It’s definitely not about perfection. I’ll take progress and creating ripples over that each and every day.

“Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.” – Vince Lombardi

Journeying Beside

June 26, 2017 at 8:00 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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As schools around NSW prepare to break up this week for the winter holidays I thought it’d be a good time to reflect on something I think regularly about. I love language. How it sounds. How it connects. What it means (or doesn’t mean). But I also love digging deeper into where it has come from.

“All assessment is a perpetual work in progress.” – Linda Suskie

‘Assess’ is definitely one of those words that is used a lot in educational settings. So as students take home their half yearly reports this week they will include results, observations and findings gathered through a wide range of assessments. Some will have fallen within the general category of formal assessments. While others would of been gathered informally. Putting these categories aside for a minute though, the origin of the word ‘assess’ can really assist us as we navigate its purpose and practical applications.

“Origin and Etymology of assess. Middle English, probably from Medieval Latin assessus, past participle of assidēre, from Latin, to sit beside.” – www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/assess

I absolutely love the phrase, ‘to sit beside’. It immediately fills me with pictures in my mind of the most powerful assessment tools that I’ve used myself or witnessed others using over the years. We are all learners. So we’d all know the feelings of when assessment is used to engage, empower and guide the most effective navigation of our individual and shared learning journeys. Unfortunately though, assessment can sometimes feel like a weapon being used to judge, separate and stifle. Reflecting on this original meaning regularly reminds me of the purposeful thoughts, words and actions that make the biggest difference in our own and others lives.

“For teachers, as for students, the most effective evaluation comes from someone who sits beside us and helps us grow.” – Carol Ann Tomlinson

Thank you to all those incredible teachers, students and school communities who have courageously chosen progress over perfection during this first half of the 2017 school year. Enjoy your upcoming holiday break, and we look forward to continuing to explore the possibilities, discover potential and act authentically with you as Term 3 kicks off in a few weeks time.

In Partnership With

May 1, 2017 at 7:53 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Last Friday we woke up to the most beautiful blue skies. We set up for our Camp Adventure Day experience at the most beautiful sea side park location. And we welcomed the most beautiful Year 3 and 4 students into an action packed program that explored the role of resilience in our journeys of potential. What a great day it was! The photo above is of some of the participants from the red group challenging themselves and having so much fun on the rock climbing wall.

“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.” – James Cash Penney

As the day progressed I started thinking about how being in partnership with multiple individuals and groups made the day even more special. The rock climbing wall is from a company who we are able to partner with if one of our client schools wants to add this to the experience. Council are always so accomodating with the use of public spaces that support the requirements and outcomes of a particular program day. And of course working in partnership with the client school and participants fosters the incredible relationships we enjoy with them.

“We cannot accomplish all that we need to do without working together.” – Bill Richardson

We are just so privileged to be able to explore the possibilities, discover potential and act authentically together with those who we are in partnership with. The feedback the accompanying teachers on the day left us with (below) highlights this interconnectedness best. Whether it’s school, home, local community or us as external providers, we all want the same thing. To see that the students have the opportunity to be engaged, challenged and inspired so that they can continue to grow, learn and make a difference.

“This always proves to be an excellent character building program. It is very well received and appreciated by parents. The local community find the program interesting and we get many positive comments on the day. Great job Cameron – we always love working with you and your team.” – Stage 2 Teacher

A Question To Reflect On

March 27, 2017 at 6:28 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The other week I was asked a particular question that’s had me thinking. It’s one of the joys of working with kids, there’s definitely plenty of curiosity bouncing around. I had worked with the whole Year 6 cohort two weeks before. Then on this particular day I was back supporting the Year 6 elected leaders who were preparing to implement a new Ambassador Program within their school community.

“Never lose a holy curiosity.” – Albert Einstein

During one conversation I was asked, why are you so passionate about other people’s learning? The list of things that I’ve been asked over the years is diverse, but this questions directness, and the context of what we were discussing at the time, made me stop. I immediately thanked him for the question. I was then flooded with memories of the gratitude I feel for the way my family, teachers and others have shown up for me within my learning and leadership journey. Then really importantly I was reminded of why.

“People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.” – John C. Maxwell

Why our vision, fostering ‘informed, connected and empowered individuals believing deeply in their own and others potential’. Why our mission, ‘provide experiences and ongoing communication that promote exploring the possibilities, discovering potential and acting authentically’. Why influence, not control, as the way we lead and make a difference. And above all else, why I am so privileged to do what I do.

“Leadership is not about a title or a designation. It’s about impact, influence and inspiration.” – Robin S. Sharma

The context of what we were discussing was how this boy wanted to make other Year 6 students feel when he shares activities with them as the program is rolled out. He made a connection to how he had felt two weeks before, and then on this day as well. As founder and lead facilitator of Explore Discover Act, I am proud to offer programs and experiences that reflect our deep belief in the potential of each individual. I can’t wait to hear about the ripples created by these courageous leaders thoughts, words and actions as the year goes on.

“Human potential is the only limitless resource we have in this world.” – Carly Fiorina

The Heart of Leadership

March 13, 2017 at 6:30 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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“Compassion is a verb.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

I absolutely loved this video above when I watched it last week. It made me stop. It made me think. It made me feel. And then most importantly it moved me into action. All week since I first watched it I’ve been hyper aware of the role of compassion in leadership. I think it lies right at it’s heart.

“True compassion means not only feeling another’s pain but also being moved to help relieve it.” – Daniel Goleman

We’re all navigating complex and challenging journeys of potential. Some of that complexity and those challenges are visible for all to see. Some of that complexity and those challenges are shared with only those closest. While some of that complexity and those challenges are kept within. No one in our global village gets a free ride. So how we grow our awareness around, foster and practice compassion towards self, and then let it ripple out to those within our spheres of influence is so important.

“The best leaders blend courage with compassion.” – Robin Sharma

Leadership is purposeful. And that purpose comes to life when we use our thoughts, words and actions to make a difference in our own and others lives. It’s vulnerable to put yourself out there like that though. To notice. To care. And then have the courage to act from that heart space. It’s in the ongoing micro moments, day after day, week after week, month after month, that we’re able to embody the quote, ‘leadership is action, not position’. That’s where the magic happens.

“Compassion is the ultimate expression of your highest self.” – Russell Simmons

What connects with your highest self when you watch this short video? How do you want others to feel after you’ve interacted with them? What daily thoughts, words and actions might require courage if we are to lead but create the types of ripples that help ourselves and others to ‘be the change’? What do you believe is at the heart of leadership?

“Compassion doesn’t weaken leadership, it makes it stronger.” – Rudy Giuliani

What Happens Next…

February 13, 2017 at 5:32 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I often express our belief that leadership is a shared endeavour, not a solo sport, to the participants we support. As the lens is widened to the difference we can make, instead of just focussing in on the position might take, a diversity of opportunities to engage, challenge and inspire are opened up (both for us individually and collectively). Our learning and leadership environments play a big part in our growth and development as well. This is why environments like the one I walked into on Thursday excite me so much. It has a lot to do with the quote below.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African Proverb

At the beginning of each year a large group of schools in a particular area of Sydney send their school leaders away for 3 days. Amazingly dedicated teachers organise a diverse and meaningful program at the camp that empowers and strives to set up for success the Year 6 students for the year ahead. They’re interested in action, what happens next, but most importantly they’re interested in also creating support networks around these leaders so that they can confidently stretch, grow and contribute within their home school environments. I love having the opportunity to facilitate two half day sessions amongst the incredible schedule they’ve created.

“The role of leaders is not to get other people to follow them but to empower others to lead.” – Bill George

The sessions were such a pleasure. Watching, listening to and sharing amongst these student leaders had my inspiration meter peaking. But what happened next tipped me over the edge. It was the final circle of the day. 80 students invited to finish the session as it should be, in their hands. How they did this, what it looked, sounded and felt like, and what was shared was up to them. I stepped out and was privileged, along with the teachers present in the room, to be apart of something special.

“The task of leadership is not to put passion into people, but to inspire and elicit it, for the passion is already there.” – Ty Howard

Moderation, if required, was a shared responsibility. Inclusiveness and contribution were celebrated. When one girl stumbled sharing a quote she thought was important, the next to share compassionately related her reflection to without mistakes we can’t ever get to success. It was dynamic. It was authentic. And most importantly it reminded us all of what’s possible when we hold space for, foster and then embody the vision of ‘informed, connected and empowered individuals believing deeply in their own and others potential’. What happens next is absolutely in their hands. I can’t wait to hear about the ripples that are created as each student explores the possibilities, discovers potential and acts authentically each and every day.

A not The

February 6, 2017 at 7:08 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Sometimes you’re gifted with a participants phrasing during a reflection that will resonate so deeply. Phrasing that will never leave you after that moment because of its transferable wisdom. It’s the biggest privilege as a facilitator when someone languages something with such succinct beauty. Last Thursday provided for one of these occasions. I am extremely grateful that this participant had the courage to share what she was processing throughout the experience.

“Leadership is based on inspiration, not domination; on cooperation, not intimidation.” – William Arthur Wood

This girl responded within the reflection that she’d be taking away a desire to become a leader not the leader. It may seem like a subtle difference but to us it is such an important one. Imagine a global village where we as individuals and groups owned our ability to make a difference in our own and others lives each and every day. Imagine a global village where we as individuals and groups embodied leadership as inclusive, collaborative and inspiring. Imagine a global village where we as individuals and groups sought to influence and build, rather than control and fix. We imagine this every day; and have the privilege of working with incredible students who imagine this as well.

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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