10 Reasons Why Asking Questions is Important to Your Development

Photo by Artem Maltsev on Unsplash

To question, or not to question? Hm. How many times do you remember being in a class, with a group of friends, or in a work environment where you wanted to ask a question, yet didn’t? Yep, me too. Really, we all have those memories.

Many people are afraid to ask questions, to speak up generally. Why? Afraid of looking silly, asking the “wrong” questions, not being taken seriously, or being made fun of. Has happened to all of us at some point.

Yet, the ability to ask questions, to discern relevance out of a context that is unclear, to move toward more clarity, while acquiring more knowledge and adding to the knowledge-base within the context is really important. Why?

Well, let’s ask Socrates, shall we. Here we go.

True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.” – Socrates

Goal Cast

And this one.

The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” -Socrates

Goal Cast

Powerful. Simply, there is so much unknown about life and the world, that to not ask, to not speak up in a way cheats ourselves and all of humanity out of possible progress.

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

The topic of questioning is so important. Important to life, the world, the production and eventual dissemination of knowledge, and, yes, it is also very important to our development. Why? Well, I’ve got 10 reasons.

Ready? Very well, let’s go.

  1. Learning
    1. Seems simple, yes? The more questions we ask, the more we learn. Though this concept is simple, in practice, many people struggle to ask the questions they have deep inside them. They do. As was aforementioned, though an extrovert, I too once struggled with asking my questions. The issue? When we don’t ask, we actually carry that question around. Literally. We have it within us, unanswered, which can cause us pain, and frustration.
  2. Knowledge
    1. When we ask our questions, we gain knowledge, and we also contribute to knowledge acquisition. Yep. In every question there lives the possibility of more knowledge. We know so little about life and the world. Yet, with every question that we ask, we create the opportunity for us, and everyone else, to learn more.
  3. Clarity
    1. The more questions we ask, the more clarity we have. And, the more clarity everyone else has. As we learn, so does everyone else. And, as we all learn, we transform the nature of the context we’re in, to a context where questions are possible. A context where those that are fearful of asking questions, as you are, or once were, will be empowered to ask their questions. Powerful.
  4. Collaboration
    1. Asking questions is also the breeding ground for collaboration. When we ask questions, we are naturally contributing to a collaborative context, where learning from each other is embraced. We are actually fostering a collaborative context by asking our questions. Seriously, it is true.
  5. Strategy
    1. Asking questions is also super important to developing and executing on strategy. Without questions, you will only ever produce what was produced yesterday. Questions are the birthplace of strategy. And, with strategy, both concepts and execution, we get movement, and with movement, eventual traction in whatever it is we are doing.
  6. Innovation
    1. Like strategy, innovation depends upon asking questions. Creation and innovation are intertwined with curiosity, and those that are curious ask tons of questions. They have to, they are curious. With questions comes the possibility of innovation, and new ways of seeing and experiencing the world.
  7. Vulnerability
    1. When we ask our questions, we are also being vulnerable. We are modeling an attribute that is a necessity for development. Developmental growth is dependent upon being vulnerable, and when we accept our own vulnerability, even enter into vulnerable spaces intentionally, we will ask our questions.
  8. Leadership
    1. Well, if questions are important to strategy and innovation, they are equally important to leadership. Leaders are interested in what others think, know, and feel. They have to be interested, it’s part of being a leader. And, to learn how people think, know, and feel, you must ask questions.
  9. Trust
    1. When we ask questions we also contribute to a context or environment of trust. When we are actively interested in someone else, and what they know, or how they feel and think, we are modeling trust. Especially when we get back questions from those around us, which by leading through asking questions, we will definitely get.
  10. Relationships
    1. Asking questions means that we get to learn more about those around us, which also means that we get to deepen our relationships with those people. It is inevitable. Learning about someone necessitates a relationship. And being in a relationship means knowing about that person, and to know, we must ask questions.
Photo by bantersnaps on Unsplash

Alright, there are 10 reasons why asking questions is important to your development. Let’s take a look at how they are interconnected. Ready? Here we go.

When we learn, we know more, and when we know more we have more clarity about our life, yes, and of the lives of those around us. Learning and knowing are part of development. And clarity is an output of learning and knowing more.

When we collaborate with others we get to know people better, and we also get to know ourselves better.

Knowing others better will always shine a light on the parts of ourselves that we want to develop. It is normal, and is also very healthy.

Within a collaborative context that embraces strategy, we also create the possibility of developing an innovative culture. And, inside of an innovative culture, we create more innovative possibilities, which also contributes to future strategies. All of which contributes positively to our development and growth.

Photo by qinghill on Unsplash

I’ve written in other posts that vulnerability contributes to and fosters innovation. Vulnerability is actually where the seeds of innovation will eventually grow. And, like innovation growing through vulnerability, we also develop and grow when we are vulnerable.

Relationships are created, in part, through trust. When we trust each other, we can be real, be vulnerable, learn more from each other, and grow together. When we are open to each other, we get so much more from each other.

Knowing that we, as Socrates might say, know so very little about life and the world. Knowing this fact is at the center of development and growth.

Leadership is dependent upon all of the aforementioned. And, I am not only writing about leaders in the traditional sense. I am also writing about every human on the planet. We all have the opportunity to lead. Lead from within, and from without.

When we lead by asking questions, we model our interest and support of contexts that are open to development and growth. We create more possibilities for ourselves, and for everyone around us.

Possibilities to learn, to know, to have more clarity, to build collaborations and strategy, which foster vulnerability, trust, and relationships; and, that is leading.

Ask your questions, and develop yourself and everyone else around you.

#clarity, #collaboration, #development, #developmentandgrowth, #growth, #growthanddevelopment, #growthmindset, #innovation, #knowing, #knowledge, #known, #leadership, #leadershipdevelopment, #learning, #questionsandstrategy, #questionsarestrategy, #relationships, #socrates, #socratesandknowledge, #strategy, #trust, #unknown, #vulnerability

Storytellers and Meaning-Makers Part 1: 5 Ways to Create More Power Over Your Current Reality

Photo by Melanie Deziel on StoryFuel.co

I’ve written several posts about the fact that human beings develop narratives about what they know, what they see, and what they are told. All of us do. We are natural storytellers, and meaning makers. It is how we make sense of the world. However, there is an issue here. Can you see it?

As we create stories about our reality, about what we believe to be true about the world, we can get stuck inside of faulty thinking. And, inside of this faulty thinking, we can begin to create realities, which are not really real. Yep, it’s true.

Example? Okay. 

Right now, on the west coast of the United States we have a raging wildfire issue. At this same time, we are living in a pandemic, and have people all across the country in the streets, like they have been in Portland, OR, for months, protesting against systematic and institutional racism. The issue with the latter, of course, is not the protesting, it is the fact that systematic and institutional racism still exists.

Okay, what’s the issue with these issues, you ask? Hm. Let me explain it this way. Here you go.

Photo by Anne Nygård on Unsplash

Connecting Disparate Events and Situations

I’ve talked to several people this past week that are connecting these disparate events, creating stories about the compound effect of this year. However, these issues, while severe and highly problematic, are not connected. They are separate, and are just happening.

Because we are storytellers and meaning-makers we create something more out of what is happening than is really happening. We make these connections. That we do this is not a judgment or a demerit. It is how we are programmed.

However, it doesn’t help our mental health when we connect disparate events. Why? Because when we do, we can go into overwhelm more easily, and start blaming these situations on other people, and, yes, even ourselves. It happens all the time.

Think about a time when you failed a test, or didn’t get a job; and, in that same week or during that same timeframe, a friend or coworker upset you, and then a family member did something you didn’t expect, which also upset you. Well, did you pull these events apart, or did you rather, like most humans, connect them? Important distinction.

If you did connect them, you are not a problem. You are human.

Understanding that our brains work this way instantly creates a new awareness, which can be used to our advantage. How? By understanding that when events happen, they just happen.

We may not like them, or understand them, however, that is part of life. And, these events that just happen are not connected to each other. They are separate.

When we fully grasp this, we have more power over our reality and our life. How? Hm, okay. Here are 5 ways you can create more power over your reality by understanding that disparate events are just that, disparate.

Photo by Ian Stauffer on Unsplash

5 Ways to Create More Power Over Your Reality

  1. Notice when you are making connections between events that are disconnected the first step is always to create more awareness about how our mind works. Knowing that all human beings are storytellers and meaning-makers instantly creates a new awareness. Now that this awareness is there, notice when you are making connections between disparate events. Just notice.
  2. Pull those events apart, separate them – when you start to create stories about your reality, which include connecting events or pieces of information that are disconnected, you can pull them apart. Separate them, and leave them that way. More power.
  3. Reorient yourself to the current reality – now that these events, situations, and or information have been separated, you can reorient yourself to the reality as it is, instead of the reality you’ve been creating. Be with that reality, connect with it, really see it as it is. 
  4. Notice the difference in how you feel – as you practice noticing your mind and how the mind connects disparate events and information, notice how you feel. How do you feel when you have the power to pull those events apart? Empowered, maybe? Excellent. If you don’t feel empowered right away, don’t worry, keep practicing.
  5. Repeat – building healthy habits, as has been aforementioned, takes practice. Humans also like patterns, or habits, so continue to practice noticing. It takes time. Know though that the only way to become experienced in this practice, like anything, takes doing it again and again. There is no one way, and there is not right and wrong. There is just doing. Again, and again, and again. And, you will get better at it.

There we go. Now what?

Well, if you are so inclined to do so, practice. If not, that’s okay. What I can say is that there was a time when I suffered from terrible anxiety. Much of my anxiety had to do with the stories in my head, which were, of course, not really real.

They were created through habitual thinking. Through connecting disparate events about the world, myself in the world, and about information contained in my head.

You do have a choice. Today, right now. You can choose a different path. One with more power, and empowerment. It takes time. Yet, anything worthwhile always does.

Be well. Choose well.

#connectingdispirateevents, #covid-19, #creatingmorepoweroveryourreality, #creatingpower, #developingnarratives, #development, #faultythinking, #growth, #growthmindset, #humandevelopment, #institutionalracism, #makingmeaning, #meaningmaking, #mindfulness, #psychology, #reality, #selfdevelopment, #stories, #storytelling, #systematicracism, #thepowerofchoice, #wildfires

3 Reasons Why Creating Alignment With Your Why Is Important; And, 3 Simple Steps to Create Your Why

Photo by Dewang Gupta on Unsplash

Have you ever thought about why you do what you do? Maybe you already know, and maybe not. Either way, know that knowing why you do what you do is very important.

You can think about your why as the part of you that drives you to be the person you are today. It is something emotional, not intellectual. It lives deep within us, gives us our sense of purpose, and it also gives people that we know the knowing of who we are as human beings.

Here is a great Ted Talk by Simon Sinek about why your why is so important.

Simon Sinek

Though Simon’s Ted Talk is framed as a leadership principle, it’s applicable to all human beings. To anyone interested in connecting with other human beings on a deeper level.

As I was thinking more about my why this past week, it occured to me that creating alignment with our why, connecting it to those we know, teams we lead or work on, organizations we work within, and communities we belong to is also very important. Why?

There are three main reasons.

Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

1. Connection

When we connect our why to those closest to us, we create and have a deeper connection with them. We are able to better understand their why through the connection we see in our why.

And, the converse is also true. People can better understand our why through the connection they see in their why. And, this holds true even if they don’t know their why, or we don’t know ours. Really.

Further, we can also deepen our connections with people that know us very little by creating alignment with our why. Why? Because inside our why, they can see aspects of themselves. Really. Think about a time when you were moved emotionally. What happened?

Chances are you felt a deep connection with the person, company, movie, insert here whatever you were engaging with. When we are moved deeply, we can see aspects of ourselves in that which we are engaging with. Powerful.

Photo by Adam Winger on Unsplash

2. Relatability

Creating alignment with our why creates more relatability with those closest to us. And, when we connect our why through all of our relationships, the relatability connects us on a deeper level to everyone in our lives, including our teams, organizations, and community.

We instantly become more relatable as a human being. Again, this is so because people can see aspects of their own humanity in your why, or your story.

These deep connections keep us coming back for more. Really. Think about all the people in your life. Think about their why, even those that are unspoken, or unrealized. What do you see? Still thinking? That’s okay. Here is what I see.

I see that we are pulled closer to those we can relate to and understand. We are also pulled closer to those that move us, inspire us, and touch us in some way. Why’s are powerful.

Photo by Danica Tanjutco on Unsplash

3. Purpose

Simply, when we create alignment with our why through all of our relationships, our connection is deeper, there is more relativity and relatability, and we also create alignment with our purpose, or vision.

When you share your why with others, and intentionally create alignment with your why, you create a very special context. A context that welcomes a shared vision of a future that you are creating together. Whether that is within a relationship, a team, an organization, or a community. It works the same way.

Working within a vision is a much different experience than working without one. Truly. Visions are powerful. Visions are created from why’s.

3 Simple Steps to Create Your Why

If you’ve already created your why, awesome. If not, create one. It’s not difficult. Really. How, you ask? Here are 3 simple steps you can follow to create your why.

  1. Write down why you do what you do.
    1. Now, I’m not talking about pay, benefits, or some other intellectual reason why you do what you do. I’m talking about your emotional-self. The part of you that is inspired to create change in the world. Now, with this frame, answer why do you do what you do, and write down all the ideas that come into your head and heart. All of them
  2. Pick your top 3 reasons from the list
    1. Pick your tops 3 reasons from the list that resonate most with you. You know, the ones that send tingles up your arms and through your body. The ones that make you smile really big, giggle even, as you think about creating that outcome, or result. Yep, that’s it. Those are the ones.
  3. Create your why statement
    1. Now take those three reasons and fashion a statement. Sometimes it will be a single sentence, sometimes it will be a paragraph. Depends. There are no rules here, except that it needs to move you, inspire you, touch you in some way. If it does, it will move, touch, and inspire others. Trust me.

There you go, nice work.

Alright, that’s 3 reasons why creating alignment with your why is important; and, 3 simple steps to creating your why. Pretty simply, yet very powerful.

Next time we will take a look at 5 simple steps you can take to create alignment with your why.

Until then, keep creating. Creating your why, aligning your why with other why’s, and keep inspiring others to do the same.

#businessalignment, #creatingalignmentinyourwhy, #creatingconnection, #creatinginspiration, #creatingpurpose, #creatingrelatability, #creatingvision, #creatingyourstory, #creatingyourwhy, #development, #growth, #humanconnection, #humandevelopment, #inspirational, #leadership, #leadershipdevelopment, #organizationalalignment, #selfdevelopment, #simonsinek, #teamalignment, #vision

Developmental Growth and Transformation: A Distinction

The Transformation Video Series #1

#creatingchange, #development, #developmentalgrowth, #growing, #growth, #leadership, #leadershipdevelopment, #leadershipinaction, #leadershipmindset, #leadershipprinciples, #personaldevelopment, #professionaldevelopment, #teamdevelopment, #transformation, #transformationalgrowth

Coping With Our Emotions: Why Hope And Despair Are Two Sides of The Same Coin

Photo by Ron Smith on Unsplash

Have you ever considered hope and despair at the same time? Hm. I’m not sure that I have. I would like to. Thoughts? Well, let’s do a cursory look, and see what we get.

In 4 Reasons Why Language Is Power, I wrote about the power of language. We don’t typically consider the power that lives inside the language we use. It is very important. It shapes experiences, expectations, and trajectories that we set our lives on.

Similarly, in The Social Construction Series Part 1: 7 Reasons Why Understanding Social Constructions Is Important, I wrote about the importance of understanding that all things are socially constructed. All of them. Hence, this post is also a social construction.

Yet, knowing this frees us from the fetter of worrying about attaching ourselves to social constructions, or concepts that we agree with or disagree with.

Alright, let’s define our key terms.

hope

Pronunciation /hōp/ /hoʊp/ 

Translate hope into Spanish

NOUN

  • A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.‘he looked through her belongings in the hope of coming across some information’

despair

Pronunciation /dəˈsper/ /dəˈspɛr/ 

Translate despair into Spanish

NOUN

  • The complete loss or absence of hope.

Well, look at that. Hope is defined as a feeling of expectation and desire about a result. Hm. Interesting. And, despair is defined as the lack of hope, or lack of such a feeling of expectation and desire about a result. Mm, this will be fun.

Photo by Stephen Leonardi on Unsplash

Expectations and desires for a certain [result] thing to happen

If hope is, at least as it is defined here, associated with an expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen, when we hope we are essentially concentrating on a result.

And, if that result doesn’t occur? Then we may fall into despair, which is the lack of the expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. The issue?

We cannot have hope without despair. They go together. If you can feel hope, then it is equally possible to feel despair. Not a problem. Important, however, to understand. Why?

Often, people get upset or frustrated when in despair. Yet, as we can see from the language itself, it is only natural. If you subscribe to the feeling of hope, then you will sometimes feel despair. And, vice versa.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Another way to look at hope and despair

Another way to think about hope and despair is as two sides of the same coin. The world is full of these opposites. Sad and happy, life and death, and so on. For the world to occur as it does, they are needed.

Yet, we can create more power over these concepts by understanding that they always occur together. Meaning that if you are sometimes hopeful, you will sometimes feel despair. It is a must.

When we understand this as true, we can shift our thinking, and mindset to incorporate this apparent paradox with a new understanding.

The new understanding is that these concepts are one. Think about the coin analogy I’ve used in this post. A coin is one thing, yes? Yet, it has two distinct sides; head and tales. Hope and despair are the same. As are all pairs of opposites.

Photo by Simon on Unsplash

When do we run into trouble with these concepts?

When we expect hope, for instance, to show up more than despair. Why? Because then when despair shows up, we get down, frustrated, maybe even angry. Not helpful.

By accepting that despair is a part of hope, as sadness is a part of happiness, we increase our awareness about the fact that despair will come; and, guess what?

When it does, it’s okay. It’s normal to feel despair sometimes. Just as it’s normal to feel sad sometimes. If you never feel sad, or despair, then happiness and hope will elude you. True.

It is also important to welcome despair as much as you welcome hope. Why? Because when we resist feeling despair, we avoid it. And, when we avoid things, we actually attract more of those concepts into our life.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

I avoided sadness for such a long time, that I was often sad. Really. Did I look sad all the time? No. It was internal. Yet, believe me, it was there. As was despair.

Yet, when you openly accept that all feelings happen, you create a space to be with them when they come. No judgment. Being in despair or sad doesn’t mean anything.

You are not having “issues” because you sometimes feel despair. Funny how we create language around “negative” emotions and associate them with problems. Not helpful. In fact, detrimental, and untrue.

What can you do?

When you are hopeful, notice. And, be hopeful. Be just as you are in those wonderful moments of hope. Or, happiness, joy, or elation.

And, when you are in despair, notice. And, be in despair. Be just as you are in those wonderful moments of having despair. Or, sadness, melancholy, or misery.

Our emotions come and go. It is important to expect them all to show up. All of them. And, to welcome them all. When we welcome them all, they stop having power over us.

In that moment of acceptance, we create a space to be with our emotions in a completely new way. Free of judgement and created meaning that one emotion is better, or should be more expected than another.

Remember that our emotions just are, and that hope and despair are two sides of the same coin. Just like the heads and tales of a coin, hope and despair are one.

#copingwithemotions, #despair, #development, #developmentandgrowth, #dualism, #emotional-development, #emotional-intelligence, #emotional-self, #emotions, #emotionsareone, #growth, #hopanddespair, #hope, #leadership, #leadershipconcepts, #leadershipdevelopment, #personaldevelopment, #personaltransformation, #selfdevelopment

From Confusion to Clarity Part 0: Change As A System of Related Parts

August 16, 2020

It occured to me after writing, From Confusion to Clarity Part 1: From Confusion to Clarity in 5 Simple Steps, that there was a need to create a post about the context of change. How and why change occurs, prior to thinking about the distinction between developmental growth and transformation.

I created the above video for this purpose. Let’s also discuss it here for a few moments.

A system of change?

Change is actually a rather ordered system. Meaning that it always occurs, and in a similar manner, no matter how small or large. Important to remember that even when we don’t notice, change is always happening. Always. Alright, let’s take a look at this system.

Here are the four parts.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is yan-ots-ff14fkgecym-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Yan Ots on Unsplash

1. Order

We live, work, and love, and we do so in an ordered system. Yes? Meaning that we order our world. It’s different for everyone, yet everyone has some sort of way they order their lives. Even if we don’t write out our goals, objectives, and priorities, we have them, and know them. At home and at work.

We believe that how we order our lives is unchanging. Solid. Stable. Then what?

Something Changes

Most recently, COVID-19. Massive amounts of change. Changing all that we thought we previously knew about our ordered lives. At home and at work.

Creating a necessity to pivot businesses, and create new goals, objectives, and priorities. Yes, in business, and yes, at home. Both. Personally and professional, we’ve all been affected.

When this happens we all go into disorder. With the scale of change that COVID-19 created, the whole world went into disorder.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is sharon-mccutcheon-tn57ji3cewi-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

2. Disorder

In disorder, we are trying to understand what is happening. Confused, worried, fearful, yes. And, at the same time, we are in survival mode. What can we do? How can we do it?

Moving anything and everything forward that we can. Personally creating new ways to shop, to exercise, to socialize. Professional, creating new business models in our new reality. Everything delivered remotely. New engagement methods, new financial models, new everything. Right? Phew.

And then?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is edgar-chaparro-r6mbxuhnxbk-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Edgar Chaparro on Unsplash

3. Reorder

Professionally, we begin to once again create longer term goals, objectives, and priorities. Sometimes going out a year, and working backwards to priorities for the next quarter, then the month, and then the day. Beginning to create a sense of order once again.

Personally, we also begin to think about longer term goals. Creating new ways to think about living inside of our new reality. What’s possible? How can we create it?

Then?

4. Order

We have a new order. Phew. Lot’s of work. And inside of this new order, we continue to move forward. Creating, moving, creating, moving, creating, moving. Again, and again. Life.

Something Changes

Of course inside of this new ordered system, we must keep in mind that it is inevitable that another change will occur. It has to. It’s part of the system we call life.

And, what happens when that change occurs. The cycle starts all over again. Really, it does. Here.

  1. Order
    1. Change
  2. Disorder
  3. Reorder
  4. Order
    1. Change
  5. Order

And so on.

Another thing to note is that even the most subtle changes cause this system to move. It is always moving. We may not notice it, yet it is there. In the background it is always functioning.

Usually, it takes larger changes for us to notice.

Alright, that’s thinking about change as a system, which I think will be helpful in engaging with the aforementioned post on developmental growth and transformation.

Be well. Love well. Live well.

#change, #confusiontoclarity, #covid-19, #creatingnewpossibilities, #decreasingconfusion, #development, #disorder, #fromconfusiontoclarity, #growth, #increasingclarity, #livingunlimitedlives, #mindulness, #order, #orderedsystems, #reorder, #selfdevelopment, #systemofchange, #systemsofchange

A Blogger’s Diary 8/15/20: 4 Months In

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Four months in, almost 100 blogs, and SO MUCH learning. Phew. What a ride. I’ve loved every minute of it. Every minute. What have I been up to lately? Hm.

Well, like most of you, writing, creating new ways to engage, and learning a lot about myself along the way. A lot.

I’ve finally made the decision to merge my two sites into one. It will take some time, yet it is time. My oldest son, Justin, will be assisting. Fun. So funny. When I started blogging in April, I created 5 websites. Phew. That was a lot.

Since that time, I have whittled them down to two. And, now there has been a natural confluence of the two sites. I am really excited about merging them in the coming weeks. It will help me focus, and I think it will be much more efficient.

This past week, I’ve been reflecting a lot about transformation. I’ll be doing a new blog series, actually it started today with, Developmental Growth and Transformation: A Distinction, and a new video series over the next several weeks.

Photo by Max Felner on Unsplash

The series will cover, change agents versus the status quo, integrity, vulnerability, communication, and a couple of other topics. I am also working on a new series on sociology called the social constructionism series.

Super excited about both of these series. I think they are very pertinent right now, and I hope you all get something from them. I know I will get many things from reflecting upon them and writing them. 🙂

And, here are a couple other blog topics I am currently working on.

  • The illusion of control
  • Confusion to clarity: order, disorder, reorder, order
  • Why letting go is so hard

Work? Busy. I’ve been working more on my social media presence, especially on LinkedIn. If you’ve not connected with me, and would like to, please do. You can find me here.

Photo by Kelli Tungay on Unsplash

We are almost ready to launch fall classes. We will have over 120 remote community education classes on offer. Pretty amazing. If you’ve never taken a remote community education class, and would like to, you can email me at fleschj@linnbenton.edu. Registration opens on 8/31.

Personal? Spending time working on me. Like many of you, I would like desperately to be with other people right now, yet know that is not helpful, or necessary. So, I am spending my time writing, reading, watching a show here and there, meditating, and going for walks and hikes while the weather is so nice.

Because the theme of the next couple of weeks is about transformation and the social construction of life, here are a couple quotes on these two topics.

“Yes, your transformation will be hard. Yes, you will feel frightened, messed up and knocked down. Yes, you’ll want to stop. Yes, it’s the best work you’ll ever do.” -Robin Sharma

Awakenthegreatnesswithin

“Transformation isn’t sweet and bright. It’s a dark and murky, painful pushing. An unraveling of the untruths you’ve carried in your body. A practice in facing your own created demons. A complete uprooting, before becoming.” -Victoria Erickson

Awakenthegreatnesswithin

“Human existence is, ab initio, an ongoing externalization. As man externalizes himself, he constructs the world into which he externalizes himself. In the process of externalization, he projects his own meanings into reality. Symbolic universes, which proclaim that all reality is humanly meaningful and call upon the entire cosmos to signify the validity of human existence, constitute the farthest reaches of this projection.80 b.”
― Peter L. Berger, The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge

Goodreads.com

Forgive the highly gendered language in the last quote. It was written a long time ago. Actually, let’s write it again, with more appropriate language. Here we go.

Human existence is, ab initio, an ongoing externalization. As [humans] externalize [themselves], [they] construct the world into which [they] externalize [themselves]. In the process of externalization, [they] project [their] own meanings into reality. Symbolic universes, which proclaim that all reality is humanly meaningful and call upon the entire cosmos to signify the validity of human existence, constitute the farthest reaches of this projection.” (Berger, 1966.)

Alright, that’s it for this entry. I hope that you are all doing well, living well, loving well, creating well, and developing well.

Citation

Berger, Peter L, and Thomas Luckmann. The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. , 1967. Print.

#blog, #blogging, #confusiontoclarity, #development, #diary, #growth, #illusionofcontrol, #lettinggo, #linkedin, #socialconstruction, #socialconstructionism, #transformation

Developmental Growth and Transformation: A Distinction

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is franck-v-miwgz02clki-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

Have you ever thought about the difference between developmental growth and transformation? Or, have or do you consider them the same? Hm.

There is an important distinction between developmental growth and transformation, which is important to both personal and professional development. Let’s take a look.

First, let’s define the terms.

development

Translate development into Spanish

NOUN

  • The process of developing or being developed.‘she traces the development of the novel’
    1. A specified state of growth or advancement.‘the wings attain their full development several hours after birth

transformation

Translate transformation into Spanish

NOUN

  • Thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance.‘its landscape has undergone a radical transformation’
    1. A metamorphosis during the life cycle of an animal.‘Both the molting process and the metamorphic transformation from larva to pupa are coordinated and regulated by hormones.’

Ah, do you see the dinsticiton? Either way, let’s work it through.

Development

When you are interested in development, meaning available to it, you occupy a space that welcome’s learning. You stand outside of what you believe to be true about the world, and how you occupy it, and welcome new knowledge, new types of understanding, and new ways of being. Simple. Or is it?

Well, because we have an ego, or, wait, do we? Well, for the purposes of this post, let’s assume we do. Because we have an ego, we don’t like being wrong.

We are constantly seeking validation of what we know. Why?

Because it fits into our worldview. It is what we know. When information comes in, we assemble it into the the narrative of our worldview and who we believe we are. We confirm our ego.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is iulia-mihailov-91racj7xmxe-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Iulia Mihailov on Unsplash

If the information doesn’t fit into our current worldview, we really only have two choices.

Deny the existence of this new information, or become open to it.

Denying this new information is called denial. We are actively denying that another way to look at a situation or event is possible. Egocentric.

However, when we are open to the possibility that there are other ways to think about a situation or event, we have now entered into the developmental arena.

Meaning, that we can now take this new information in, make sense of it, and do something with it.

Even if the information doesn’t fit into our current worldview, if we are open, we can incorporate it into our worldview rather easily. It is all about being open to new information, new ways of understanding, and new ways of being.

The simplest example is to consider development at school and work. When we are confronted with new information, we have a choice. Assimilate and incorporate that new information into our existing worldview, creating new knowledge, or reject it.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is saketh-garuda-shy-ckpyjre-unsplash-1.jpg
Photo by Saketh Garuda on Unsplash

Example.

I am always in conversation with the team about our goals, objectives, and priorities. Recently, I was asked about hiring someone to run Zoom technology for the upcoming professional development trainings.

I, however, was unsure about the need. Didn’t know. I needed to think about it.

Well, the next week, I ran a Zoom meeting with the team. The meeting was 90-minutes and was about creating our next 30-day priorities. Part of the meeting was creating breakout rooms, which you can do in Zoom. The meeting was a complete disaster. Really, it was. What did I learn?

That you absolutely need someone to run technology while the person running the meeting does just that, runs the meeting. I learned through doing the meeting that hiring someone for a Zoom tech position was absolutely necessary. We are hiring someone right now.

I moved from questioning the need, reflecting upon it, to learning that we definitely needed the new position. I developed.

Alright, that’s development. Opportunities for development are available every day. If you don’t see them, it might be that you are avoiding them or in denial about them. It’s not a demerit. I didn’t develop for a long time. Really. I wasn’t interested. Not a judgement. Just a fact. Let’s now look at transformation.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is suzanne-d-williams-vmkbfr6r_jg-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Suzanne D. Williams on Unsplash

Transformation

Now, transformation implies a complete change to the object, thing, or person. Yep, that’s right. How then does transformation differ from development?

While development requires an active openness, as we’ve discussed, transformation requires openness and a complete and total letting go of what was, in favor of what will be. It requires a shift from a focus on the external to the internal.

Transformation is about questioning all you know. Every ounce of what you know, or beleive you know, must be questioned.

Further, you must be willing to let go of how you previously viewed the world. Open to a continual process of creating new information, new ways of understanding, and new ways of being.

The distinction is that with transformation you actively seek out opportunities to question the ways you think, act, and occur. Internally focused.

You are continuously interested in disrupting your old habits and ways of thinking while creating new habits and ways of thinking.

Let me give you an example to help with the distinction.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is disruptivo-i0ypwvhnzni-unsplash.jpg
Photo by DISRUPTIVO on Unsplash

Let us say you want to develop leadership skills. You can develop leadership skills in lots of ways. You can take classes, read books, even put leadership principles into practice in your life. That is development.

You incorporate new information into the preexisting way you already think about leadership. Simple. How then to create transformation? Mm. Different.

You must be willing to let go of all of your preconceived ideas about what leaders are supposed to do, how they are supposed to act, and how they are supposed to be. All of them. Then what?

You leave your ego at the door.

And, everything you think you know about leadership. Start over. Really. Let it all go. And, create from there.

Transformation can only occur when we let go. Know also that the letting go will need to happen again, and again, and again. Over and over. Why? Because you are disrupting what you held to be true, and creating something new. Key. You are not adding, you are creating.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is arnaud-weyts-4hbszgi3z0c-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Arnaud Weyts on Unsplash

Example

Let’s see. Okay. Here we go.

When the pandemic began here locally, we were approaching the last week of the term at the community college where I work. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I work in community and continuing education. It is all experiential. All of it. Which means that it is in-person. All of it is, or was.

Within one month of the pandemic beginning here, we let go of all the concepts we held to be true about our business model. All of them. What happened?

We created an entirely new business model. A model that is transformational, as all aspects of it are completely different than the previous model. All of them.

We created all new processes and systems for how we do business. New ways we market and engage with the local community, new ways that instructors teach their classes, even the content that is delivered, while similar, is still completely new. Why?

Because a completely new context has been created. And it was created intentionally by believing something else was possible. Which then replaced our current belief system of how we all viewed our work.

All of us. now our actions follow that new belief system. That is transformation.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is jen-theodore-hbkwmj41y0i-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash

When you intentionally create new ways to be, new ways to think, new ways to believe, new ways to be a human, you are creating contexts that are transformational. Never seen or experienced before. Transformation.

How are development and transformation similar?

One key way. When you develop, whether you want to or not, you give out your development to others. If those around you are open, they will learn from you and also develop. And, it is the exact same for you. If those around you are developing, and you are open you will also develop.

It is the same with transformation. If you are creating transformational contexts that change the nature of what’s possible, those around you, if they are open, will also transform. If they are open. If not, then they won’t. Same for development.

Can development lead to transformation?

Oh, yes, absolutely. In some ways, they sort of go together, which is why I wanted to write about the distinction. Whereas they are different, they both are about being open to and participating in creating change.

Here is a distinction on the difference between change and transformation.

“Change is about using external influences to modify actions to achieve desired results. Transformation is about modifying beliefs so that natural actions achieve the desired results.”

cioinsight.com

See the difference? One is externally driven, and one is internally driven. Very similar to the distinction between development and transformation. Important.

How do you begin to develop or transform?

Really it’s pretty simple, yet not easy. A paradox, yep. My suggestion?

  • Be open to everything around you. Being open is probably the key to both development and transformation. Both become possible when we are open to new information and new experiences.

When we are open, the world opens up. It really does. There is so much to learn and to experience. Being open creates an immediate possibility. The possibility that you will learn to be more. More of either how you already occur, or more by occurring in a completely new way in a completely new context.

#beliefsystems, #changeandtransformation, #covid-19, #creatingchange, #creatingnewcontexts, #creatingnewknoweldge, #creatingnewwaysofbeing, #creativity, #development, #developmentalgrowth, #distinction, #distinctionbetweentransformationanddevelopment, #ego, #growth, #humandevelopment, #leadership, #letting-go, #personaldevelopment, #selfdevelopment, #transformation

Leadership in Practice Series Part 3 – Community and Continuing Education and COVID-19: A Brief Exploration

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is swapnil-dwivedi-w46trf64qnc-unsplash.jpg
Photo by SwapnIl Dwivedi on Unsplash

Have you ever heard of community and continuing education, or noncredit education? Yes, no? Either way, that’s okay. Most people know very little about the breadth, accessibility, and availability of community and continuing education.

Before taking my current position, as the Director of Extended Learning at Linn-Benton Community College, I knew very little about community and continuing education. Sure, I’d heard of community classes, yet they were not something I had access to growing up.

Learning, then, that community and continuing education, of which corporate training, professional development, and small business development are also a part, are far more accessible and available than I knew, and many people know was enlightening. And, right now, access to these classes is needed more than ever.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cyrus-gomez-x4hjxzooixu-unsplash.jpg
Photo by cyrus gomez on Unsplash

Community and Continuing Education

Why?

Now more than ever people need a place to connect with other people. Humans are social beings. Regardless of whether you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert, people need to be with other people. And, right now, that’s hard. Really hard.

Community and continuing education provides such a space. Yep, even right now. Though, for sure, COVID-19 has presented unprecedented challenges for educators all across the country, some organizations have found ways to continue to serve. How?

Creating new ways to deliver education that is typically considered and associated with an in-person experience. Prior to COVID-19 becoming a local reality, the Extended Learning Department at Linn-Benton Community College had only a handful of remote classes and training. Starting this fall?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is my-life-through-a-lens-bq31l0jqaju-unsplash-1.jpg
Photo by “My Life Through A Lens” on Unsplash

What?

The Department will have over 120 Community Education classes, 4 cohorts (all full with a winter term waitlist) of Professional Development training, at least one Driver Education class, and over 10 Small Business Development Center classes and workshops. And, yep, they are all remote. Phew. Unprecedented change. Why does it matter?

Though taking a class or a training during a massive pandemic may seem like the wrong time, it is exactly the right time. There has never been a more “right” time to be connected with other human beings. Never been a more right time to continue to learn, to grow, to move ourselves and everyone around us forward. It is just so. The right time.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is kyle-glenn-f8ssjfhd1k-unsplash-2.jpg
Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

How?

Easy. You sign up for a class or training you want to take, and take it. Simple. Now, we’ve experienced lots of technological challenges in delivering these new remote classes. A wonderful learning experience. And, like anything, there is really only one way to learn something, and that is to do it. Simple.

“Fill your life with experiences. Not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.” -Anonymous

Awaken the Greatness Within

If you are unsure where to look, take a look at the local community college, University, or Parks and Recreation department where you live. Will they have remote classes? Don’t know. However, many have been offering remote classes, and I think more will follow. And, if you don’t have access? Well, you can always reach out to Extended Learning at Linn-Benton Community College. Yep.

It is most important to know that there are classes and training happening right now. Whether it is in the community you live in, or in another community miles away. Because these classes and training are remote, the miles matter less, than knowing that they are available and accessible.

For more information on how to access Linn-Benton Community College Extended Learning classes and training you can email Jeff Flesch at fleschj@linnbenton.edu.

#accesstoeduction, #communityandcontinuingeducation, #communityeducation, #communityeduction, #continuingeducation, #covid-19, #creativity, #development, #education, #experience, #experiential, #growth, #leadership, #leadershipinaction, #leadershipinpractrice, #noncrediteduction, #professionaldevelopment, #smallbusinessdevelopment

The Blog + Video Series 10: Developing and Managing Your Resilience During COVID-19

Developing and Managing Resilience

I’ve been reflecting a lot about developing and managing my own resilience this week; and, just how important both are right now. So important. What is resilience you ask? Good question. Here is the definition.

Resilience

(also resiliency)
Pronunciation /rəˈzilyəns/ /rəˈzɪljəns/
Translate resilience into Spanish

NOUN
1. The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.‘the often remarkable resilience of so many British institutions’

2. The ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.‘nylon is excellent in wearability and resilience’

Oxford Languages

Essentially resilience is our ability to face adversity, walk through it, learn, and repeat. Again, and again.

I’ve also been thinking about a video I’m going to do soon on resilience for my Developing Servant Leaders site. The idea looks something like this.

First

What we are facing right now is a huge gap between that which we once knew to be our reality, and the current COVID-19 reality. A large gap. Inside of this gap, we are all being asked to face ourselves and each other in new ways, with new tools, in entirely new contexts. Hard.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img-2993.jpg
August 1, 2020

For those that are less resilient, even harder. Resiliency, like all developmental traits, lives upon a continuum. It is not that someone has resilience or does not. Everyone has some, some have more. Alright, next.

Second

When you connect the four points of the above whiteboard, you can see the space that we are being asked to navigate and step into. A distinction. Stepping into reality is different from hiding, and running from reality.

It means taking the action you know is there to take, even, maybe especially, when it is hard.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img-2994.jpg
August 1, 2020

Now, you can see the above box, yes? Alright, then within that, let’s call it the COVID-19 developmental box, there are lots of other little boxes, which represent each of us and our comfort zones.

Yep. Meaning that as we interact with, and bump into each other, we are continuously floating in the COVID-19 developmental box. Then how, you may ask, do we develop our resiliency?

Third

We step outside of our box and into the reality that is in front of us. What is stepping outside of your box? It is doing. Again, and again.

Learning, practicing, falling down, failing – AND, getting back up again. Every time.

Know that we don’t have to continuously live outside of our box, or comfort zone. We can, what a friend of mine calls it, blip out, and blip back. Here you go.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img-2995.jpg
August 1, 2020

And, guess what? Everytime we go outside of our box, represented above by arrows, and do something that we consider uncomfortable, we grow. Yep, our box or container gets bigger. Here is one more illustration.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img-2996.jpg
August 1, 2020

As you can see from the above illustration, some people will grow, boxes labeled with a G are now larger, some will not. It’s not a demerit, or a problem if there is no growth. It is, however, a missed opportunity to learn more about yourself and being human. Alright, last section.

Fourth

Also know, especially when you are feeling overwhelmed, that all there is to know and to be experienced in this world, is much larger than this present moment. The COVID-19 moment. Last illustration.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img-2998.jpg
August 1, 2020

Let us say that the entire whiteboard is what is knowable. Got it. Okay. Then consider that the super small box you see is what we’ve been calling the COVID-19 developmental box or gap. Yep. Pretty small in the proper scale.

Remember this distinction when you are confronted with uncomfortableness; and, remember it when you are feeling overwhelmed.

Though today COVID-19 feels like everything there ever was to know, on a universal and historical scale, there is far more to know and experience. Seriously remember that.

There are countless opportunities to develop your resilience today. More opportunities than most people would care to have. Really. And, believe me when I tell you that there are days when I feel the same way. Really. It’s hard.

Yet, like all of life, it is a paradox. Because the opportunity to develop and to learn how to manage our resilience is also a wondrous process. Yep. Hard and wonderful. A paradox.

Photo by Gia Oris on Unsplash

#covid-19, #covid-19andresilience, #covid-19developingresilience, #covid-19resilience, #developingourselves, #developingresilience, #development, #developmentandgrowth, #develping-resilience, #growth, #growthanddevelopment, #managingresilience, #resilience