Common Sense is NOT Common Anymore

common sense magnify search“That is just plain common sense” said one of the participants in my Business Professionalism class. “Everyone knows not to do that.” I heard another person snicker.  Is this true? Does every employee in your organization know what to do and what not to do because of simple old fashioned common sense?

Webster’s dictionary defines common sense as “good sense and sound judgment in practical matters.”

Sense is defined as

  • a sane and realistic attitude to situations and problems
  • a feeling that something is the case

Thomas Payne wrote the book on common sense, literally.  His book, Common Sense was published in 1776.  He noted, “Common sense is sound practical judgment concerning everyday matters, or a basic ability to perceive, understand, and judge that is shared by nearly all people. The first type of common sense, good sense, can be described as ‘the knack for seeing things as they are, and doing things as they ought to be done.’ The second type is sometimes described as folk wisdom, ‘signifying unreflective knowledge not reliant on specialized training or deliberative thought.’ The two types are intertwined, as the person who has common sense is in touch with common-sense ideas, which emerge from the lived experiences of those commonsensical enough to perceive them.”

So, common sense is basically a feeling or an attitude?  It is a judgement call indeed.  How do we get these feelings or attitudes?  How can we all have the same sense as others in all situations?  Obviously, we don’t share the same feelings or attitudes of everyone in our organization.   Read on to discover some theories about why common sense is not so common.

As the T-shirt saying goes, “I wish common sense was more common.” In the Business Professionalism class, we play a game called “Appropriate or Inappropriate”.  Each participant gives me a thumbs UP for appropriate or a thumbs DOWN for inappropriate. The game is easy enough.  At times they respond “it depends” so that would a thumb SIDEWAYS.  Some of the participants mentioned that a lot of the examples were basic common sense. For example, keeping your voice low and not yell down the hallways at others or make sure you are on time for work everyday.  However, when I facilitate this class for different organizations I get a different response to these common sense statements.   I realized that common sense depends on the culture of the organization.  Also, if the organization is very diverse common sense is NOT common at all.

At Organization A, employees would never yell down the hall to others. People worked in cubicles and if someone yelled down the hallway they would be disturbing at least sixty people in 5 different departments.  Many people were on phone calls and wearing headsets but could still be disturbed. The hallway was empty, however, all at Organization A knew never to yell down the hallway but to walk quietly even if they saw the person at the other end.  At Organization B, employees would yell down the hall to others.  That was common sense because the hallway was long and if they saw the person they were looking for they would yell for them to stop and turn around.  This hallway was in a manufacturing firm, there were windows that separated the hallway from the noisy machines inside.  Sure, they might disturb some of the folks who had offices behind the glass, but it was worth the disturbance because they didn’t have to walk all the way down the hallway and it was noisy anyway.

In the next example, the statement was, “coming to work 5 minutes late, everyday”.  Organization A would never tolerate being late to work.  They worked in manufacturing and they had to punch a clock. If they were late, the prior shift would be upset because they could not go home on time.  Organization B had a flextime policy.  If an employee got to work 5 minutes late, they would simply work 5 minutes later or take a shorter lunch.  So you can see in these examples, sometimes common sense (as the participants of my class stated) is based on the culture or policies of the organization.

I realized that it takes people a while to understand the culture of an organization.  Usually, we do it by trial and error.  I remember when I changed jobs from a start up company to a University, I went through some culture shock.  Common sense told me that if I need resources, I should just ask for them and my boss would provide for me.  Also, not to waste time on small talk.  Well, that “common sense” came from my last organization.  At the University resources were in short supply.  I had a limited budget.  This was very different from my last organization where I could go into the break room and get free food and drinks.  I also chose a wonderful LMS system for the organization.  No money for an LMS at the new job.  Another example of the differences would be small talk. At the start up company, we didn’t learn too much about each other.  We just jumped into meetings, people were virtual and we got things done quickly and efficiently.  Not to say that we didn’t get things done quickly and efficiently at the University but let’s just say there was usually no urgency unless it was “hurry up then wait”.  At the University they valued the Monday morning 15.  That’s what I called the 15 minutes after I got to work and before I started being productive.  Everyone asked about my weekend and expected me to ask about their weekend.  Things were much more social at the University. It was common sense to ask about someone’s hobbies, pets, and weekend plans.  At the start up company it was common sense to get to work and get the work done quickly.  Sure you would get to know people, but usually at company parties, free lunches, and picnics.

I also realized that common sense is not just about organizational culture.  It has to do with our family of origin.  For example, when I was young my dad ruled the house. He yelled to get our attention and never asked, but demanded.  As the oldest of 3 girls I did the same with my sisters.  It worked for him and it worked for me in our family.  At many of my jobs in different organizations the boss yelled.  She yelled at everyone to get her point across.  When I got my first team, I did the same, until I realized that the bosses who did not yell had the best teams.  Some of my bosses never yelled.  They listened, they asked questions, they helped me understand concepts myself instead of demanding that I just “get it” or “do it”.   It took me a while to learn how to do this skill but, now I am so appreciative that I’ve learned.  I now listen what others have to say, I don’t yell or raise my voice, and I don’t demand – I ask.

I grew up in the United States.  Many of our co-workers did not. Many times we forget about cultural differences when we discuss common sense. Each culture has different examples of common sense, for example, personal space, eye contact, and direct communication.  In Germany we stand farther away from our co-workers than we would in Puerto Rico.  In the US we look people in the eye, not so in Japan.  The UK values getting to the point and speaking directly, however, in Italy they love to talk and indirectly get to the point.  Is it common sense to stand 5 feet away from your co-worker, look them in the eyes and communicate directly?

When leaders of the organization set a tone of either aggressiveness or curiosity the culture follows.  If a new president or VP comes into an organization, they can change a culture for the better or for the worse.  I believe that it is important to onboard all of our employees and introduce them to the culture and values of the organization. Sure, some places have an inspiring mission, vision, and values on their website, however, none of the employees know the mission (but, that is another blog).  So, common sense can depend on the organization’s culture, an individual’s culture, or our family of origin.

Next time you believe something is just common sense, think again.  Let me know examples that you have seen where people thought what they do is common sense.

#commonsense  #organizationculture  #culture  #familyoforigin  #emotionalintelligence

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 Sharing a unique Relationship

Wide book shelves with blurry effect on book cover“She’s a real piece of work”, Debbie said as she was describing her cousin.  “But she lives in Sarasota and knows the area.  You should meet her.”  That was was my first introduction to Karen, a daunting first impression.  Little did I know what this relationship would teach me.

I didn’t know anyone in the area when I first moved to Sarasota so I didcall Karen.  She met me at a quaint restaurant for lunch. It was filled with Seniors taking their time, visiting and eating.  Karen was not like the other seniors.  She was filled with energy and seemed to have a huge sense of purpose.  She told me tales of her times with the DC three-letter agencies and her escapades in business.  She was one of the only women in a man’s world in the 1960s.  Karen is very opinionated and when she started talking about politics; there was not a doubt that she is a democrat.  Karen asked me about my business and gave advice. She seemed energized by my business challenges and had more than enough to say to help me.  She also told very interesting stories.  It seemed that I was not with the same person that Debbie had described.  I looked forward to our next meeting.

She invited me to her house for our next visit.  The first thing that I noticed was her book collection.  OK, that is an understatement.  I love books and have a modest library full of business/education and spiritual books. Karen has at least 6 bookcases full of murder mystery novels in every room in her house (except the kitchen).  When I told her that I love to read murder mysteries for fun she gave me the grand tour.  We went into each room and she showed me how her collection was organized.  I knew some of the authors and had read all of their books, however, there were authors that I had never read.  She gave me the first books of five authors that she thought I might enjoy.  We spent about an hour chatting about our children and our lives over iced tea. Before I left she “checked me out”.  I had no idea that she has each book catalogued on her computer.

I visited a few more times that year, mostly in the late afternoon.  We drank wine from her crystal glasses that I had admired.  I told her that I collect crystal and she told me the story of how she bought the glasses on a trip to Ireland years and years ago.  She said she didn’t use them much but why not now?  We talked about politics.  Actually, she talked about politics and I listened. I used to joke that I practiced my listening skills because once she started talking politics she got passionate. I checked my books into her library then checked more out. We talked about different authors and plots.  I did not like the French author, I loved the books about LA murders.  She gave me books in a plastic bag and sent me on my way.

The last time I visited Karen at her house, we drank wine, told stories, and discussed mystery books. She had a cough, but everyone in Florida has some type of allergies.  I thought nothing of it.  Her pool cage had been damaged in the hurricane and the workmen were fixing it.  It was a busy day for her.  She said that she was getting older and did not like to drive at night but she drove her friend to a doctor appointment.  She told me about her son’s father in-law who wrote a book and gave it to me to read along with six other mysteries.  I check out my books and went to my 6:30pm toastmasters meeting.  I hugged her and rushed out because I was running late, and one cannot be late for Toastmasters.

Thanksgiving for me means going to Debbie’s house in Virginia.  I had brought some of Karen’s books to read while I was there and the conversation turned to my visits with Karen.  Debbie didn’t think we knew the same person.  Debbie told me the Karen story.  Karen never wanted to be a mom but had two sons to appease her family in the 1960s. She left her family to pursue a career in business with the government in Washington, D.C.  The Karen that Debbie knew was stubborn, selfish, and opinionated beyond belief.  She was a loner and didn’t visit her family.  The Karen I knew was generous, giving, and funny.  Debbie and I shared stories then went about our Thanksgiving festivities in Virginia.

When I got back to Florida it was holiday season.  I was so busy planning for the holidays and surprising everyone by getting married. January was full of work.  I poured myself back into my business and didn’t take a breath.  I did think about Karen, I had not read all of the books and it had been almost three months.  I was surprised that she had not called me so I called her and left a message.  I got busy and forgot returning my books to Karen’s library.  I still had not read all of them.  I always thought about her each time I read another one of the books.

It was almost Valentine’s day when, Debbie called me and said that Karen was in the hospital.  I was surprised but busy. I had huge deadlines that week and said to myself that I would go see her on the weekend.  I had a training Saturday morning and had forgotten about Karen being in the hospital.  In the middle of the training I saw my phone flash a picture of Debbie, so I stepped out and took the call.  “Karen is not doing very well; she is in some hospital in Sarasota”.  I decided to go see Karen right after the training and not wait until I got home.  I called the closest hospital to her house and got her room number.  She was in Re-hab.  That sounded good – Debbie seemed to think she was not doing well at all. Her son’s were with her.  One traveled from Baltimore, the other from New York.  I decided to visit and cheer her up.

When I got to the hospital room about 2pm her sons were sitting in a chair and Karen was asleep in the bed in a sitting position. Her sons were about my age and I knew they did not have a great relationship with their mother.  I remember Karen had told me about what each of them did for a living when we talked about our families.  The men told me that they were going to make some calls and would be back in about an hour.  Nurses were coming in two hours to take Karen to hospice.  HOSPICE!

When the sons left it suddenly was too quiet.  Karen’s breathing seemed loud and rough.  Her eyes were closed and every once in a while she would twitch and turn her head and swing her arms.  She did not look comfortable leaning back against the pillow in her elevated hospital bed.  It seemed to me that she absolutely did not want to be there and was confused at why she just could not go home, read her books, and watch the news.  I was not sure what to do or say, so I held her hand. Not one for being quiet, I talked to her as I always did – about my reactions to the books and the authors. It seemed strange that she didn’t talk back to me – so I could practice listening.   Suddenly, she got very agitated and started thrashing.  The nurse came in to check on her.  She gave Karen more drip.  I kept holding her hand and talking about what was going on with my life. I told her about my business and asked her unanswered questions.  She never woke up.

I stayed with her until her sons came back.  They thanked me for visiting and gave me their phone numbers.  I left after the hospice transport team came in to take her to the building a mile away. I walked out the door and down the quiet, stark halls of the hospital. I felt sad.  Karen had so much life in her.  She had hobbies, friends, and interests.  She had her own little library.  I hoped that she would miraculously get better.

One month later I was sitting in Karen’s favorite restaurant in Sarasota with Debbie, Karen’s sons, and two older ladies.  We were sharing stories about Karen and our times with her.  We raised our glasses and toasted to her life.  Karen had died hours after I had seen her.  She passed quietly in her sleep that night.

Karen’s sons gave me some of her books and each time I pass the mystery section of my library I think about her. I contemplate about the disconnect between her relationship with me and the one with Debbie. Family dynamics are usually so different than other relationship dynamics.  If Karen had not been in Debbie’s family, I doubt they would have been friends. Karen and I had our passion of murder mysteries and the love of books in common. I don’t know why I went to see her at the hospital that day and I am so glad that I did.  I learned to follow my intuition and value my unique relationships.

Do you have friends or relatives that are different with you than they are with others in their lives? Do you follow your intuition? Feel free to share your insights and similar stories with me.

Lori blog

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#relationships  #friendship  #family  #books  #intuition

 

 

Focus: 9 tips to help you stay on track

Focus AcronymWhy can’t I focus? Have you asked yourself that question?  I have been hearing the word FOCUS over and over in the classes that I facilitate and from my coaching clients.  Many people have been telling me lately that they don’t even try to do one thing at a time.  They just can’t concentrate at all or get things finished.

What is focus?  Merriam-Webster describes it as “to concentrate attention or effort”.  Follow One Course Until Successful is a great acronym for FOCUS. But, how can we concentrate on one thing until we complete our task?  According to my clients, focusing is getting more difficult.  Also, younger people don’t even try to focus at all.  They seem to enjoy the chaos of ever constant media interruptions.

We have so many things that compete for our attention that it can be difficult to focus.  Here are some tips to help you concentrate for a longer period of time so that you may start or finish a project.

  1. Be intentional.  Decide that you will focus at a specific time.  Prepare to focus on a specific task.  Take a few deep breaths and start.
  2. Play the 10 minute game.  Tell yourself that you will focus for only 10 minutes then take a break.  If you can focus for that long, try for 15 minutes the next time.  If you can’t even focus for 10 minutes start with 3 or 5 minutes at a time.
  3. Know your time of day.  I have always been a night owl.  I know that I focus, study, and retain best after 7pm.  I would rather stay awake until 2am to finish something than wake up early. If I try to wake up early to finish something it is an utter disaster.  My body and mind don’t work as well in the early morning.  Know what time that you are at your best.
  4. Don’t turn it on.  When I worked in an office when Instant Message (IM) was new and everyone loved to IM all day long.  I never turned mine on because I knew that it would take away my focus.  If there is some type of media that you know will take away your focus don’t even use it.  It is OK not to use the latest fad app out there.
  5. Clear away distractions. Think about your 5 senses.  If there is anything around the place where you hope to focus – try to eliminate it.  Make sure that your desk is clear, noise is minimal (or use white noise), and there is nothing to get your attention.  Yes, even smells can make you lose your focus.  Have you ever smelled chocolate chip cookies cooking in the oven?  That would absolutely make me lose my focus.
  6. Give yourself a goal.  Huge goals are very imposing so break them down into bite-sized pieces.  OK not bite sized (I’m still thinking about the cookies), but smaller goals.  Use your 10 minutes (or how much time you can focus) to complete the small goal.
  7. Reward yourself.  After you have focused for your amount of time that you desired, take a break.  Go onto Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram.  Watch that video or listen to some music and dance!  One of my coaching clients decided that she would watch a lifetime movie after she completed one of her smaller goals.  Do what works for you.
  8. Use an affirmation.  Tell yourself a positive statement and believe that you will stay focused.  Say to yourself, “I will complete this task.  I will stay focused” when you find your mind drifting.
  9. *Try the rubber band method.  When I seriously have to focus this method always works for me.  I put a rubber band around my wrist and when I find attention wandering I literally “snap” out of it.  I pull the rubber band and let it snap against my wrist.  It does sting a bit but it wakes me up and helps me get back to business.

I hope that these tips can help you start learning how to focus.  Try different methods and soon you will be able to stick to one thing for a while.  Build up to concentrating on only one thing at a time.  This is difficult for those of us who love to do many things at once.  Multitasking is a myth.  Research has shown that our brain can only do one thing at a time.  So, work on your focus.  Get things done and you meet your goals faster and be happier in life.

Let me know how these tips work for you.

*Please use this method responsibly.

 

Lori blog

#multitasking  #focus  #tips  #goals

 

 

I died again

woman at computer

I died again

I put down the joystick and look out the window

The blue sky is mocking me

You should be happy, go outside

 

I go outside

The sunshine burns my skin

The birds are in chorus

You should be singing, free as a bird

 

I look in the pond

My reflection shows a young beautiful girl

I shake my head and walk back into my parent’s house

You should be going out with your friends

 

I unpause the video game

Ready to die again.

 

This poem wrote itself. I am not addicted but, many people are addicted to computer games, phone games, and screen time. Young people think they can get make a living playing games or they just want to live off of mom and dad. One might think that this is a Gen Y issue but that is not true.

My niece, Alyssa, told me that her brother records himself playing computer games and others will pay to watch.  She said this is a way that some people can make a living.  Zachary, my nephew has made a grand total of $12.00 (friends?).  This type of job is similar to the one in a million chance that we have of making the NFL, being a top recording artist, or an oscar winning actor.

About ten years ago, I had an intern named Robin who I thought was interested in training and development.  As we were walking to a training session that I was facilitating I asked her if she would like to facilitate one day.  She said, “No. I want to do what my brother is doing.”  I was happy that she had goals, but when I asked what her brother does she told me, “He plays video games all day long at my parent’s house.”  He was 23 years old.

My former husband played computer games constantly during our marriage.  This is one of the reasons we divorced.  He said that it was his way of relaxing.  He once reasoned with me that I escape in a novel when we go to the beach.  Granted, that is true and I see his point, however, I am pretty sure he was addicted to the screen.  In 1995 I was in the process of writing a book called, SMASH the monitor or how to live with your computer addict.  I did not finish or publish because I did not want to hurt my husband.

Being addicted to video and computer games is an issue in US society that is not discussed because it is so new.  Addiction is a strong word.  It means that your life does not “work” because gaming is getting in the way.  I believe that this addiction is growing.  People are too tired to work, get a job, or take care of themselves.  They do not realize that they should have limited themselves when binging on Netflix or playing first person shooter games.

Even though I am not addicted, I try to limit my screen time.  I don’t play games at all but I still connect on Facebook, text my friends, and watch Youtube videos.  I also get lost on the Internet while researching.  One click can take me to far away places or educate me on how to make a bird house.  I’ve lost hours in my years of researching.  Have you lost hours?  Do you have issues online?  I have decided to limit my screen time (except Game of Thrones on Sundays) each day.  I vow to work on my relationships by visiting and talking to people.

I challenge you to limit your screen time.  How will you do this?

#screentime  #addiction  #computergames  #gaming

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Thinking about Change and Purpose

surf

I just can’t understand how a person would never consider why they are on this earth.  Since I was a young girl I have always wondered, “Why am I here? What is my purpose in life. I’ve read so many self-help books… How to find your purpose in life.  What is your mission in this universe?  Why are you here?  I was amazed when I spoke to a friend and she told me that she never wondered about any of these questions.

One beautiful spring day in the Washington, DC area, I was sitting on my deck writing in my journal. In was in my mid thirties and still contemplating my mission in life.  Then, I heard it clear as day – in my head.  You’re only here to help. For some reason, I was truly disappointed that I was not here to solve the world’s problems, cure cancer, or do something to help all of humanity.  ONLY here to help.

Even so, I continued to set goals, to get better at my profession.  To be a better person ala Ben Franklin.  I journaled, I read, I learned about how to win friends, get rich, make a difference in the world. I changed, evolved, and transformed.  I volunteered, I donated, I listened. I thought that allpeople in the world wanted to know more about themselves so that they can be better at what they do best in order to help the world become a better place.

Why would I think this crazy idea?  I hear the news.  People do things that are immoral, illegal, and unethical all of the time.  Some people are just out for fortune or fame. Lyrics to popular songs send horrible messages.  There is a drug epidemic because people are depressed, anxious, and can’t cope with life. There is so much self-medication with alcohol, food, retail therapy, etc.

Some people think they can’t change.  Some people don’t even try to change.  Some people do not even consider that they would ever want to change for the better. I can’t even imagine not reflecting about my life.  I hope it is not because I am self-absorbed.  I aspire to think that it is because I want to find out what I do best and do my best to help the world.  I just want to find my place to make the world better.  And when I say the world, I mean maybe just my little piece of the pie.  People I meet.  People that I get to know.  People that I love.   NOTE: After reading this paragraph again I counted the number of times the word “I” was written (13?)

Finally, I embraced my purpose of being “only here to help”.  Have your embraced yor purpose? Do you want to learn more about yourself?  Do you hope to find out what you do best and why you do things?  Do you wish to learn more in order to make yourself a better person?  To live a more purposeful and intentional life in order to help those who you love?  Why are we here?  How do we help other people?  How to we transform to get better?  What is better?

How do we win at this game called life?  Do we needto win?  Do we want to win or just hope to be?  We are human be-ings.  Maybe we shouldjust be.  I am not sure I can just be.  I know I can be me.  At least I know who I am, what my values are, what I believe, what I love.  And I am still learning more about myself.  I enjoy challenging myself.

I think about these questions most of the time.  How can I do better?  What can I do to help others?  Where am I supposed to go next?  How can I figure out a job where I can use my experience, knowledge and wisdom to help other people do what they wish to do best?  How to I help other people love better?  How do I help other people learn more about themselves so they can figure out how they can help the world?  I think that is what this world is about.  We were put here for a reason.  People come in and out of our life for a reason, both good and bad circumstances happen for a reason.  The reason? I think it is to learn and grow. Maybe life is about learning, growing, and loving.

Maybe each of us can figure out how to adjust to our circumstances in life with grace and kindness. Not just adjust to our situations, but to make the best out of all that we encounter.  We should strive to make each interaction a loving, peaceful, and respectful moment.  My wish is that we start with self compassion and then help other people in our own unique way.  What is your purpose?  What is your passion?

#questions  #self-awareness  #emotionalintelligence  #lifelonglearning

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What is refreaving?

cheers.png

I was a military brat for 13 years from birth.  Dad was a marine and we were never in one state for more than 2 or 3 years.  That made it difficult to keep friends and I was not one to write letters or think of relationships at that young age.  I went to high school and college in Michigan after he got out of the military, but as soon as I had my degrees I quickly moved some place warmer, the Washington, DC area.  I moved around the DC area from Maryland to DC to Virginia.  My husband, then an FBI agent, was at the whim of his “military”.  We moved to the Dallas, Texas area for 3 years then back to headquarters in DC. I now live in Florida. I’ve lived in a lot of states.

When people ask me where I’m from, I tell them the United States because I have no “home town.” Most people can say they are from somewhere.  Many of my friends had the opportunity to live in one place and now have friends that they have known since they were born.

How am I so lucky to have friends that I can talk to like we just talked yesterday?  Even if it had been more than ten or fifteen years between? Susan McDonald1 calls this a “picking up where we left off” lifetime kind of friendship.

Larry, my dear friend from Texas, emailed that he will be in town for 24 hours.  I had not seen him in over 10 years and of course, I said “Come on Down!”  When he walked in the door, I gave him a big hug and we talked like he was just here yesterday.  We had both gotten “blonder” hair but, still had our back and forth banter.  This is when I realized that I have quite a few friends where I can “pick up where we left off”.  In fact, I knew that Larry would be the perfect person to help me figure out a word for this concept.

We went back and forth on the word “re-connecting”, but this concept of “picking up right where we left off” encompasses more than connecting. In fact, we didn’t even need to connect at all.  The connection was already there.  Then, there was the idea of time or the lack of time passing.   He called it “time losing its length.”  We decided that there is no word for this, so he and I floated many ideas in the air between us.  It is amazing how Larry and I, two extraverts, can actually “see” ideas “floating” in the space between us.  Fortunately, for me, I have a few friends with whom I “bat around ideas.” But, that is a subject for another blog.

The two of us decided that soldering and bonding were good words but we landed on weaving.  Friendships are woven and we can keep weaving new material into the tapestry of our friendship.  So, we settled on friendship and weaving…Freaving.  But, we still needed to add the concept of “time losing its length” and meeting again.  Refreaving is what we decided to call our new word.

Refreave is the new word to use to stand for the “picking up where we left off” in a relationship after much time has passed.  It can be used in many different instances.  For example, my friend Robbin and I see each other about once a year, at one point it had been over 10 years.  We seldom talk on the phone or text but when we do see each other, we experience refreaving. See?  This word describes the concept in only one word and not an entire phrase.  Larry and I talked about how we refreaved on his trip to Florida.

Is there another word to express this concept or have we created a new word?  I challenge you to find that one word or to jump on the bus to new word creation!  The young adults and teens of today are creating all kinds of new words.  I was “on fleek” the other day – or was it just my eye brows?  How about “buddymoon?”  This describes a honeymoon to which the married couple’s friends are invited. And we can’t forget all of the words made up because of technology such as:  google, laptop, flash drive, cell phone, iPad, PowerPoint, email, and many others.

Let me know some other words that are brand new.  Share a concept or idea that needs a new word.  Let’s get going!

1https://www.providencejournal.com/entertainmentlife/20160811/susan-mcdonald-why-picking-up-where-we-left-off-friendships-last

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YET Mindset

I believe - seagull

As most of you know I am a goal setter.  I set goals in December/January for the entire year. Last year I set too many goals, but this year I have only 4.  I help employees learn about SMART goals and daily tasks.  I thought I had adequate knowledge and skills in this part of my life but, my son recently taught me about “yet” goals or the Yet mindset.

“Teaching” runs in my family.  My mom taught grades 1 – 5 for her working life.  I love to help adults learn and have 35 years of education and experience in the adult learning profession.  This is my life’s passion.  My son, Mick, will graduate from the University of Miami with a degree in Music Education and a teaching certificate. He will soon be teaching music/band to high school (or middle school) students this next academic year (September).

When Mick came home on Winter break we had a discussion about teaching and what are good practices for adults and for middle schoolers.  He and I have a lot in common about our interests to help people learn. I love to learn what new ideas he gets from his professors so I can possibly apply them to my audience.  They say that pedagogy, the art and science of teaching children is based on different theories than andragogy, the art and science of helping adults learn.  But, I have realized that at times both sets of theories may work on high schoolers or adults.

For example, when Mick was 4-years old he got a bike for his birthday, it came with training wheels. He wanted them to come off when he was 5-years old.  He tried to ride the bike with no training wheels and he failed time after time – that day. He kept saying, “I can’t ride a bike!”  Young Mick decided he will not ride this bike. When he turned 10-years old all of his buddies were riding bikes and he thought he should be able to ride.  He got a “big boy bike” and it had no training wheels.  I remember taking Mick to the local park and assisted him in learning how to ride that bike. I was so afraid when he went down the hill on a back road filled with rocks.  But, by the end of the hour he was riding like the other kids.  He could ride a bike.

A YET mindset is used when a person is in the situation of 5-year old Mick.  He thinks he cannot ride a bike.  He says, “I can’t do this at all” or “I will never be good at this!” Or “I can’t do it.”  A good teacher would use the YET mindset to say, “You can’t do it…YET.”  This is a true statement and helps the person realize that they need to practice and try again.  It does take time to learn how to do anything.  Young Mick was used to things coming easy to him.  School was easy, music was easy, talking to adults was easy. He liked doing what he was best at accomplishing.  He used his talents and his strengths.  However, when he came across a challenge such as riding a bike, he gave up because it was difficult.

Instead of pushing him, I waited until he was ready.  Of course, I never got the How to Raise a Perfect Child Handbook.  I wish I had known about the YET mindset at that time. Mick also told me to use this mindset in these ways:

  1. Be thankful for something you have not finished YET!
  2. If you have not done it —-Yet
  3. I you don’t know how to do it —Yet

As Mick works with his students, he notices that at times they are negative and say, “I can’t play that song.  It is too difficult.”  He replies with, “You can’t play that song…YET.”  Mick then tells them that he too needed years to practice to get as good as he is now.  He reminds them that playing the saxophone will be possible with effort and time.

As any good researcher and educator, I looked up “yet” goals on google.  I found nothing except SMART goals. Sure, there were articles with yet in the title but nothing on Yet goals.  I had to go back to the source – Mick.  He told me that this was a theory he learned in one of his Music Education classes or a Teaching ESOL class.  The term was not “yet” as he described it to me but, the Growth Mindset vs the Fixed (or static) Mindset.  This idea of the Growth vs Fixed mindset is based upon the research of Carol Dweck, Ph.D.at Stanford University.  This theory describes the beliefs people have about learning, intelligence, and motivation. For example, when students are positive and believe they can do the task, they understand that they need to put in the time and effort. This leads to higher achievement in school and in life. In her new updated book,Mindset: the New Psychology of Success; how we can learn to fulfill our potential (2007),she describes the two different mindsets and how educators (teachers) can use this theory to change the mindsets of students from static or fixed to a growth mindset. I have not heard of her mindset research before Mick told me recently.  It reminds me of a positive vs a negative mindset but more specific to learning.

mindset Dwack

Mindset graphic

I use a positive mindset with myself and my coaching clients.  I keep our discussions positive, and have used appreciative intelligence/Inquiry methodsfor solving issues.   Usually, this method is used for change management for organizations, but I’ve used it for problem solving at an individual level. I believe these positive mindset theories help in keeping adults motivated and determined to learn.

How do you use positive mindset in your business?  Please let me know by commenting.

#mindset  #motivation  #self-development

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Dog Fight brings about Adult Learning

remmy crop

Christmas morning would never be the same. I woke up before my early-bird husband, brushed my teeth, took a shower, got dressed, and quietly opened the bedroom door. Angel, my husband, is always awake before I even think of opening an eye, so this morning I planned to make him a great breakfast.  We planned  to be at my sister’s house for Christmas day around noon!  But first, I had to take the dog outside for her walk or shall I say visitation.

Our dog Remmy was rescued from Nate’s Honor Rescue.  The nice folks at Nates called me a foster-failure, because I was only supposed to foster Remmy for a week until their flood receded.  My son and neice decided that Remmy was such a great social dog that we had to keep her. I fell in love with her and so did Angel.  So, foster-failure it is!

Everyone was Remmy’s friend. She loved to sniff all of the other neighborhood dogs and even had play-dates with her to girlfriends on the corner.  They have a fenced-in yard and all three dogs play, run, and wear themselves out! Remmy wants to visit everyone and sniff everything that sometimes she doesn’t have time to do her business.  Most of our neighbors have dogs and even the ones who do not, love Remmy and give her dog treats.

So back to Christmas morning.  I put on my flip-flops, my hat and sunglasses, put Remmy on her leash, and walked out the front door.  Immediately we saw Jerry walking Ozzie, his little furry mutt.  We tease that Ozzie is Remmy’s boyfriend.  They are always on the leash as they greet each other by sniffing then ignoring.  Remmy really likes Jerry; she knows that humans usually have dog biscuits! We saw Shirley walking with her two mops Harlee the party dog and Lilly.  Harlee is on a leash but Lilly does not need one.

As Shirley walk up to us, both Jerry and I did what we always do. We moved so all of the dogs could greet each other.  Remmy got a bit tangled in Ozzie’s leash as she went to say hello to Harlee.  Then all of a sudden, Remmy started growling – she never growls unless she is in the pool area and smells Racoon!  I pulled her back as she started pulling harder on the leash making wild dog sounds.  Somehow, I fell onto the driveway and dropped her leash.  She went after Harlee and bit his collar around his neck and shook him like he was a rag dog.  Both of my neighbors just stood there in shock.  I jumped up and grabbed Remmy by her bandana (her Christmas treat). I pulled her away and hit her. “Bad dog, sit!”  She did sit but she would rather not.  I calmed her down and asked Shirley if Harlee was OK. Harlee was wearing a large leather harness that covered most of his neck and back.  He was OK.  But we weren’t.  I quickly put Remmy in the house and went back to the scene of the crime.

Shirley said that she was happy that nothing happened to hurt anyone because everything is closed for Christmas. Jerry thought that Remmy was being territorial. I was just shocked that after having Remmy for almost 2 years that she would suddenly attack a dog that she has always known.  Then Shirley asked if I was hurt.  I looked down and my foot was bleeding and I had scraped my knee and hand.  I didn’t feel anything…yet.  I said good-bye and went into the house.

I put on a couple of band aids and thought “if Angel had been there that would not have happened.” He treats Remmy like a dog.  Angel is the Alpha and that is the end.  He says that I love her too much.  I decided that Remmy needed to go to dog training. We never took her when we got her because she was already a great dog.  She could walk on a leash and listened to us most of the time.  Why did she do that?  She was such a bad dog.  She needs training!

Then I took a breath and decided that I needed to go to dog training.  It was my fault that I did not control my dog.  Yes, that was totally out of character for her, but it was my fault.  It took me a while to realize and re-frame my thoughts.  I needed training.

Training.  One of my favorite adult learning theorists and Malcolm Knowles’s mentor, Eduard Lindeman (1885-1953) defined adult education as “a co-operative venture in non-authoritarian, informal learning – the chief purpose of which is to discover the meaning of experience” (as cited in Brookfield, 1987, p. 122).  Well, I need to discover the meaning of that dog fight experience with other dog owners and a trainer.

I am a life long learner. In fact, I am going to become certified by Lumina Learning on three assessment tools in January.  I am looking forward to learning more about my field and being up to date on the latest assessments and tools.  But, dog obedience school? I have researched different types.  One trainer takes your dog for 2 or 3 weeks and when you get them home – boom – they are trained.  Another comes to your house twice a week for two months of training.  Can we say expensive? I want to go to a good dog training class with a lot of other people and dogs.  I’ve seen them in parks.  Those cute little puppies being “trained”, running all over the course, with their people calling “Marcos, Spotify, Tiffany, Zoe.”  Chaos, but fun to watch.

Remmy and I need to find this special type of training and sign up.  I also need to change my mindset.  I have started by saying, this is my fault, I have to take the blame. At first I was blaming the weather, the fireworks, and my dog.  Mindset can be difficult to change.  I needed to work on my words first.  I need to reframe my mindset.  I get to go to dog training with Remmy.  I need to learn how to control my animal.  Coach Sheri Kaye Hoff blogs often about managing your mindset.  I have learned a lot from her and I will put this into action!

Remmy1

I love to snuggle my pointer mix.  She is so cute and loves being petted.   She even loves the pool, her lounge chair, and a bath.  She does not sit on the furniture in the house, however, she can sleep on my son’s bed when he is home. She has 3 plush doggy beds around the house.  One of the beds is in my office where she is resting right now.  After her walk and breakfast I say to her, “Let’s go to work” and she bounces up the stairs to the office and sits on her bed.  She never fails to snuggle me at least once an hour so I can get out of my seat and stretch.

My dog needs me and I need her.  I will master my mindset, accept the responsibility, and take action to schedule a doggy obedience class.  But, it will be “doggie and me” training.

Let me know if you need a change of mindset or have gone to doggie training recently.  I’d be happy to get new ideas.

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#mindset  #adultlearning  #lifelonglearning  #self-development #training

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Who cares what I have to say?

Junger Mann verkündet mit Megafon

I was at a Mexican restaurant in Texas having dinner with my friend Larry. We were catching up on our jobs, families, and our lives since we had not seen each other in over a year.  Larry and I worked together at two different organizations in Texas. Larry and I ate lunch together at least 3 times a week. We were best friends at work. Now, you would call him my work husband and me his work wife.  He taught me much about politics and taking care of yourself in an organization but I taught him something that day.

Our server was a very friendly lady, June, who was telling us the story of her life while bringing chips and diet coke.  Larry and I were having a great conversation but stopped to listen to her each time she was at our table.  She told us about how she was going back to school to get her degree because she got pregnant and couldn’t finish when she “should have.”  Her little girl was now in school and she has time during the day to work and go to school.  June was talking about how tough it was to balance her time and have quality time with her daughter.  Larry and I listened, looked sympathetic, and made the appropriate comments and uh huh sounds in the correct places.  She told us about her challenges but also how she was doing it by herself and not relying on anyone.

When June left the table, Larry asked me why didn’t I say anything to her?  He knew that I just had a baby, had my own business, and was in the middle of getting my Ph.D.  He continued, “You knew exactly what she was going through because you are doing it too. And you are working over 60 hours a week teaching MCSE classes.”  I took a deep breath and told him that I was having a great lunch and relaxing.  Also, the more I learn the more I realize how much I don’t know.  I told Larry that she was telling herstory.  She seemed proud of herself being able to manage everything to accomplish her dream. I didn’t want to rain on her parade. She really didn’t care what I had to say.

At this point Larry asked me, “How do you know that she didn’t care what you had to say?  You could have inspired her or let her know she was not in this alone.  You could have given her advice.”  I simply told him that she never asked us any questions.  He marinated on that for a while then said, “huh”.   We sat quietly, each eating our spicy food, thinking to ourselves.  “My wife does that,” he said, “do you do that to your husband?”  He continued, “I get in trouble because she thinks I interrupt her. She just wants to talk and talk and talk.”  After we laughed for a while I told him that we call it “venting”.  My best friend, Carol, and I give each other the head’s up when we just want to vent.  Then we know not to speak or ask questions, but just give verbal sounds at the right time. When she finishes and asks a question then it is my turn to speak.

Many times people want to talk to be heard, and for no other reason.  I have found through my coaching that when I let people talk and vent that they end up solving their own problems.  During my classes on communication and questioning techniques, I have the participants complete an exercise that I call “Socrates”.  He invented the Socraticmethod.  I have the participants get into pairs. The idea of the exercise is for one person to have an issue, challenge, or problem.  The other person is “Socrates” and must onlyask questions to help the other to solve their issue.  The caveat is that Socrates cannot ask leading questions such as, “Have you tried ____ or “why don’t you ____?”  Then they go for a 20-minute walk.  For the first 10 minutes one person is Socrates and asks questions then they switch.  When they come back into the room I am amazed with the results.  Many times, a challenge that they have had for a while is solved.  They just thought a different way than they had before because of the excellent questions that helped change their perspective.  I am fortunate that I get to use this exercise often because the weather is usually great in Florida (unless it is too hot).  Also, the participants would rather walk in the sunshine than be cooped up in a classroom.

It is an interesting concept to balance talking with listening. Most of us talk more than we listen or we do not really listen with intent.  We seldom use questions to help the other person sharpen their train of thought or to bring up different perspectives. We often ask the question, “have you thought to do it my way?” or we give advice.  In your next conversation I challenge you to wait for the question, so you can be sure that the other person actually wants to hear what you have to say.

Please let me know how this idea works for you.  I am still learning and practicing.

#communications #questions #mindset  #venting

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Its’s all about your Mindset

thankfulI had to go to the conference.  I was speaking in a concurrent session.  I was also presenting a scholarship with a sponsor who was flying in from Texas.  But, I knew that some people who were running the conference did not want me to be there.  When I volunteered to help, I was told that I was not needed.  In fact, a very good friend and colleague was told the same thing. She decided not to attend the conference at all.  I was feeling sorry for myself.  I did not feel welcome.  I felt left out and not part of the planning.  Not part of the core group.  Not wanted.

So, I told myself I did not care, I was going to apply the minimum amount of effort and leave the conference early.  After all, I was not wanted.  I would get there later than I usually would and leave right after I spoke. That would work because I was scheduled for the first session after the keynote speaker. I figured I would wing the intro of the scholarship and get it over with as soon as possible.  Then, I would hurry to my room to set up. Speak about the topic and not involve anyone.  In fact, I wouldn’t even spend time updating my presentation.  Then, I could leave by 11am and get home to my dog who appreciates me.

But, that did not happen.

About two weeks before the conference, I spoke with my coach and we talked through the situation.  Yes, I did have a right to feel that way.  I was told that I was not wanted.  I was told that I can’t be a part of the group.   I was sad and felt betrayed.  He told me that anyone would feel the same way. I was justified to feel those feelings.  Then, my positivity kicked in.  That person is not me!  I give 100 percent.  My mission in life is to help others.  “I’m only here to help” is what I found to be my life’s mission.   I realized that I was being selfish.  After all, this was not about me and my woes.  I was put here on earth to help others. And that is what I decided that I would do.  Ignore all of my “poor me” self-talk and concentrate on how I can help anyone that I could.  I would start by forgiving.

Forgiving is an interesting theme.  Some people hold grudges for years.  I have never been one to hold a grudge and that was exactly what I was doing.  So, I forgave those I felt were bullying and betraying me.  That did not do anything to them.  They had no idea I was forgiving them.  They probably had no idea how incredibly hurt I was about the situation. Forgiving is about the person forgiving.  After, I let that go…I felt free.  A weight was lifted from my soul.  I truly did forgive and I felt relief.  I was ready.

I went into the week prepared.  I called all of the people to set up the scholarship presentation.  The scholarship sponsor was so generous and I wanted her to have the best experience at the conference.  I prepared for my presentation and my session with the audience in mind.  I followed up with a lovely woman who graciously sponsored a gift in the raffle.  I did this all with love in mind.

There were not many people at the conference when I arrived early.  I was happy; feeling good, and excited about how many opportunities there would be to help others.   I recognized my scholarship sponsor immediately when she walked into the main room.  She was also a bit nervous and excited to present the scholarship and tell the audience about her business.  We had five minutes right before the key note speaker.  Of course not everything was perfect.  She had overnighted a gift for all attendees and I noticed that they were not in the S.W.A.G.* bags.  Everyone was helpful and the staff at the location went out of their way to help me find the gift that my kind sponsor had donated.   In fact, they gave it to me five minutes before I was about to be introduced.  I ran to the person I knew would help me get them on the tables for the audience because I knew my sponsor was going to talk about them in a few moments.  As I ran back to the table, I was introduced to come to the stage.  Whew!  All was good.

I introduced the sponsor of the scholarship with a bit of nervousness, but did the best I could, hopefully my toastmaster training came in handy.  She got to mention her business and noted the gift for all of the audience.  She happily introduced the winner of the scholarship.  The winner was very proud, happy, and smiling as photos were taken.  My sponsor had an excellent experience and she was also very pleased.  Whew!

When I facilitated my session there was a lot of interaction.  The attendees got grand ideas.  They wrote their action plan on large post it flip charts.  When I finished, I told them that they got to take home a valuable parting gift…their flip charts.  That would motivate them to take action and make their dream a reality.  They all thanked me and said they got a lot from the session.  I was very happy that I made a difference.

At lunch I made plans to sit with another sponsor who I had never met in person.  We hit it off like we were old friends.  She identified another person in her company who I had also spoken to but had never met because she lives in Ohio.  She asked me to follow up with her because I may be able to help her. (Aside — I did and it was amazing!) My sponsor and I talked too much at lunch, but still made time to introduce ourselves to others at the table.  This was excellent because one of the women at our table won the books that my sponsor had donated in the raffle.  I followed up later and got pictures of her with the books to send to everyone.

I attended other sessions, met people, even finding four people who needed to be connected.  I ran into a woman I worked for recently and we made plans to meet again so I could assist her with a project.  I heard some gossip about the people who I felt had betrayed me and decided to ignore it.  I was in an excellent mindset.  There were people to meet and to help.  All in all it was a great conference.

The best part of the day was that I texted a a friend who lives in Tampa near the conference.  She was available, so we met for happy hour and dinner.  I briefly told her about the conference, but we spent most of our time talking about her family and mine.

Because I made a conscious effort to change my mindset, the day was wonderful instead of miserable.  I had my signature positive attitude and connected others who could help each other.  What could have been a disaster turned out to be a master experience for everyone.

Is there something in your life that you need to reframe?

 

*S.W.A.G. stands for… Stuff We All Get

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