Learn. Grow. [on Not So Flawed Wednesday]

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Today is a special day. After reading what Kerri wrote on this Not-So-Flawed Wednesday, I decided the best I could do is silence and point you to her words. Here’s a link to her thoughts on turning 60. Happy Birthday, my most beautiful wife.

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if you missed it above, read Kerri’s thoughts on VISITORS

 

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Expand Your Bubble [on Merely A Thought Monday]

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Everyone has their insurmountable mountain to climb. Everyone has their fear to face. Everyone bumps against the edges of their comfort zone. Everyone.

And, the beauty of this life is that the insurmountable mountain is different for everyone. What seems easy to you might be impossibly scary to me. You show me it is possible. I show you it can be done. We inspire another look at what’s possible.

In the film, FREE SOLO, Alex Honnold says that, for him, fear is not something to be conquered. Comfort is something to be expanded. And, comfort is expanded through exploration and practice. Through experiences and reaching. Testing and discovery. Trying again and again until what once looked like a monster becomes known. It’s remarkably practical. It is what education is supposed to be.

How we ask the question determines the paths we see or don’t see. It’s all in the language we use. “Facing a fear” is oh, so, warrior-esque. We are inundated with “going to battle” metaphors. Defeating a part of myself in a battle against myself seems…contrary to the bigger picture. Win by losing. Division as the only available route? Armor, armor everywhere.

There is wisdom in putting down the swordplay. There is hope in choosing cooperation instead of conflict. Instead of picking a fight, instead of perpetuating the power of the fear, how much better might it be to turn and look. Really look. Study. To reach and test. To take a step. To try and fall down so that you might try again with a little bit more experience. Study. Open to possibilities.

It’s a pattern. Focusing on the obstacle, fighting the fear, is learned. It’s a great strategy for keeping yourself afraid and encased in armor. Other patterns are available and far more productive. It’s possible to climb like Alex: study your mountain, learn the terrain, practice the difficult moves over and over, internalize safety, and one day, when you are ready, when you have a relationship with something other than fear, climb your once insurmountable mountain.

 

read Kerri’s blog post on COMFORT ZONES

 

 

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Spin A Web

from the Yoga series by David Robinson

from the Yoga series by David Robinson

Quinn’s study smelled of cigarettes and books. There was always a red felt tip pen and a yellow pad for note taking or for his latest composition. Quinn didn’t type and I doubt that he ever touched a computer. He had to feel the pen move across the paper. He was a sports writer though, in truth, he was more a poet philosopher. For Quinn, sports were a path to illumination. He filled his articles with haiku, analogies to chaos theory, Michael Murphy, and George Leonard.

One day while sitting in his study, talking about athletic achievement and success, he said, “You have to cultivate your serendipity.” What a terrific phrase! Serendipity is one of those paradoxical words that imply both coincidence and destiny. So, according to Quinn’s coupling of “cultivate” with “serendipity,” we must either promote coincidences or encourage destiny. Or both.

I responded, “So, in other words, the harder you work, the luckier you get.”

“It’s more than that,” he said. “It’s much more than that. Of course you have to do your work. But you also have to share your work. You have to show up, be visible, ask lots of questions, and seek the masters in your field. You have to show what you don’t know. In fact, you have to operate from what you don’t know. There’s always a better way to make a shot or shoot a basket. To cultivate your serendipity is to never stop learning, never stop improving, never assume that you’ve got it.” He paused and then said, “What you don’t know can be an obstacle or it can be connective tissue.”

Quinn watched me take it in. I knew we were talking about more than athletic achievement. He was trying to help me. At the time, I was an accomplished introvert and was wrestling mightily with sharing my work. I had no problem painting the paintings but telling galleries about my work seemed an utter impossibility. Sharing meant I would have to talk to people. It meant I’d have to say, “This is my work and it is good work.” It meant claiming my gift beyond the thoughts and opinions of others. Quinn was teeming with blarney and always seemed at ease in a crowd though I knew even then that we shared a similar demon. He doubted his gift. He recognized my struggle because it was his struggle.

After a moment he lit a cigarette, blew the smoke and continued, “It’s like spinning a web – and the silk, the connectivity, is spun from seeking what you have yet to learn. The more you share your gift, the more you ask others what they see, the more people know about your gift, the higher the odds that a path to success will open. You have to spin the web.” I nodded my head, taking it in. I remember being daunted by what he was telling me. He leaned back in his chair, his eyes filled with mirth, and said, “Success is really about letting yourself learn; always learn.”

I nodded and stared at the floor. He took a drag on his cigarette and as he blew the smoke he added, “No one does this alone.”

Go here to get my latest book, The Seer: The Mind of the Entrepreneur, Artist, Visionary, title_pageSeeker, Learner, Leader, Creator…You.

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Create A New Circle Of Thought

746. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

I am cleaning out old files and rediscovering some small gems. This one is useful for educators and the national non-conversation we continue to have about education. This gem is from the Circle Project years when Patti and I used Vicious and Virtuous circles with our clients as a way of clarifying their challenges. We also used them to clarify our challenges or to prepare for a training/teaching session. This Vicious circle came from our preparation to lead a train-the-trainer session. Imagine the phrases move clockwise around a circle so that the final phrase returns to the first. The challenge, of course, it to discover and change the premise of the vicious circle, transforming it into a virtuous circle:

I Am The Expert, requiring that I have all the answers

And when I must have all the answers, I can never say, “I don’t know.”

And when I can’t say, “I don’t know,” learners and questions become dangerous,

And when questions become dangerous, controlling the learner is my primary intention.
And when I need to control the learner, I train against surprise,

And when I train against surprise, my training becomes transactional,

And when my training becomes Transactional, I relegate the learner to a “passive receiver,”

And when the learner is relegated to being a passive receiver,

I am The Expert, requiring that I have all the answers…

Everything we need to know to revolutionize education: interrupt the loop OR do the opposite. Begin with this phrase and see what new loop you might create:

I refuse to be The Expert, requiring me to help my students find their own answers,

And because they must find their own answers, we begin by saying, “I don’t know.”

And when we can say, “I don’t know,” learners become questioners so there’s a reason to learn,

[the rest is for you to create – or go back and alter my start. Have fun revolutionizing a system badly in need of your new circle of thought!].

Sense Half A Breath

690. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

Last year Carol learned to sail. She went to the Center for Wooden Boats and took lessons from a man who’s been sailing all his life. He taught her that a sailor must learn to feel and see the elements just a moment ahead: he said she needed to sense what was a “half a breath ahead.” With the lead of “half a breath,” she could adjust, anticipate (not with her thinking mind, but with your knowing presence) what was coming. He taught her that it was folly to think that she could be any further ahead than half a breath, any further ahead and the conditions will have changed before she got there.

Today I stepped into my day believing I knew what I was going to do. The winds changed, the rains came, the sun broke through, the café closed, the phone rang, the rehearsal ended, the phone rang again, and finally I gave up and was surprised by Doctor Who. I stepped into the day invested in my folly fully believing that I could see beyond half a breath. I am still learning to sail and need to bring my sights much closer to my present moment. I close this day recognizing my folly and my lesson, sitting more easily in my boat, no further ahead than a single breath, knowing that although I am closer than I was this morning, I am still too long in my anticipation by half. And I hope that is always true.