Week Four Leadership Post

This was a weird blog post to sort through.  I didn’t expect it to be so hard but I am in a very different situation than most students I feel.  I grew up in Europe and that in many respects has kept me from feeling like I really fit in once I got back into the US.  I have always felt that my progressive views kept me from fitting in within my own family so the idea of finding someone in a leadership position that I admired was hard.  I have worked for the Democratic Party through very unsuccessful times and hugely victorious ones and have been lucky to meet charismatic and highly intelligent policy makers who try their best and believe in doing what’s right.  So many of these in fact, it is difficult to pick just one.

In struggling with that, I though about an amazing boss I had when I was first living away from home as an adult.  As a child of a seriously dysfunctional family that caused me to almost always be an adult in dysfunctional relationships, I didn’t have much of a grasp on how to be a grown up but I tried.  Part of that was applying to work at the Civilian Personnel Office in Fort Meade, Maryland when I came back from Germany.  Once hired, I was assigned to work at the One Stop under the supervision of Janine Sinclair.  Janine was a force of nature, vibrant, compassionate, and wicked smart.  She loved her family and treated each one of her employees as such.  On every holiday, she gave each of us gifts, but not the standard stuff, very specific to each one of us.  She learned our personalities, dreams and strengths and worked hard to celebrate those qualities in each of us.  When I mastered my assigned duties and told her I would like more responsibility, she delivered, seeking training, certifications and promotions for me as much as I could take.  She knew that she was not just accomplishing the mission of her particular position but she was helping to mentor and grow valuable long-term employees.  I excelled far past what I thought I would there and it was 100% due to her kindness.  I left the area and relocated with my spouse at the time and I regretted leaving her many times over the years.  Every boss since has been measured against what I knew was possible in a supervisor.  Most have fallen short.

As I have grown up, become a parent, been in professional capacities and learned to motivate people, I most hope that my friends and contemporaries look at me much they way I viewed Janine…an advocate in the highest order for sparking possibility in those around me.  It is not always easy because some times, people don’t take the opportunities that you offer or don’t capitalize as much as they could.  I am trying still to cope with the disappointment that sometimes makes me feel.  Hopefully, it makes us all better community members just because we try.

Week Four Comment Carol Satta

my comment:

“It’s unproductive, because the only people we can change are ourselves.”

Isn’t this both so true and one of the hardest life lessons to internalize?  For some reason, everyone that I know who has figured this out is post-40 but wouldn’t it be great if you could understand it fully and wholly at say, 18 years old?  GEEZE the difference it would have made in my life!

“Sometimes life is going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love.

The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work, and the only way to do great work is to love what you do . . . . Keep looking. Don’t settle.”

This too is one of most favorite things to hear and certainly Steve Jobs understood better than most how to put this into practice.  I keep hoping that the more I practice that one day I will suddenly wake up and all of this is absorbed, full knowledge effecting every decision going forward.  Right now, feel I am operating sporadically at decoding this thing called life.  That’s why its called a practice, right?  🙂

original post:

Wk 4 Reading – Art of Possibility Ch. 9-12

One thing that stood out to me from chapters 9-12  of  The Art of Possibility was the practice of “being the board.” It’s about taking responsibility for my own actions and not blame-shifting. These are certainly important habits to cultivate. Since the Garden of Eden, when Adam blamed God for giving him Eve and Eve blamed the serpent for tempting her, we have been blame-shifting. It’s unproductive, because the only people we can change are ourselves.

2655889793_b3acd12d23_zI found Steve Jobs’ commencement address inspiring because working on this whole EMDTMS program was a leap of faith for me. I’m doing it to follow my passion. At times I’ve despaired that all the effort and money might not result in any tangible changes in my life.

Here are some of his words that resonated with me:

It was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college, but it was very clear looking backwards ten years later. . . . You can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future . . . . Believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart.

Sometimes life is going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love.

The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work, and the only way to do great work is to love what you do . . . . Keep looking. Don’t settle.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other people’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.

Resources:

Creative Commons License: Campbell, M. (2008, July 10). Big possibilities [photograph]. Retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/photos/melodycampbell/2655889793/

YouTube: Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Speech 2005 posted by peestandingup, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1R-jKKp3NA, retrieved on 05/13/2013.

Zander, R. S., & Zander, B. (2000). The Art of Possibility [Adobe Digital Editions].

 

Week Four Comment Jesse Silver

my comment:

“Offer that which lights you up.”

I agree with you picking this particular quote.  It would seem that the way to bring out the best in others is to show the best in yourself.  I think that is a challenge for parents/educators/supervisors because you are expected to be your best at all times, as there are many who are looking up to you and looking to you for guidance.  This can be so difficult because you most certainly will not be perfect, 100% every day!  This is a practice that I want to work on this year in hopes of seeing its benefits.

“Collaboration can be horrible.”

I love our statements here.  Collaboration can definitely be HORRIBLE!  I am so glad that someone else thinks that too.  I think that in theory school and work situations should be able to function as a group but that is not always possible if it is going to be most effective.  Maybe the trick as a supervisor/educator here is try to determine when something is applicable for “team building” and when tasks are best performed singularly?

original post:

C Week 4 Entry 1 (Reading)

Posted: May 20, 2013 in MAC Month 11

Screen Shot 2013-05-09 at 8.44.56 PMChapter 9 (P. 126)

“…the practice of enrollment is about giving yourself as a possibility to others and being ready, in turn, to catch their spark. It is about playing together as partners in a field of light. And the steps to the practice are:

Imagine that people are an invitation for enrollment.

Stand ready to participant, willing to be moved and inspired.

Offer that which lights you up.

Have no doubt that others are eager to catch the spark.”

To me this was the most impactful section of the chapter. The practice of enrollment exemplifies the act of teaching and the act of remaining teachable.

Chapter 10 (P. 142 &146)

Part one – “I am the framework for everything that happens in my life.”

Part two – “…you take your practice one step further. You ask yourself, in regard to the unwanted circumstances, “Well, how did this get on the (chess) board that I am?”

The above quotes summarize the main idea of chapter ten. From my understanding, the idea of this practice is that individuals are ultimately responsible for everything that happens in their life. Individuals are like chessboards. In addition, when unwanted circumstances occur, individuals should not complain, but instead ask, “How did this get on the chessboard that I am?”

Chapter 11 (P. 162)

“The foremost challenge for leaders today, we suggest, is to maintain the clarity to stand confidently in the abundant universe of possibility, no matter how fierce the competition, no matter how stark the necessity to go for the short-term goal, no matter how fearful people are, and no matter how urgently the wolf may appear to howl at the door.”

Are leaders born or taught? In either case, a leader must maintain clarity to stand in the universe of possibility. In conjunction, standing firm in the fierce, competitive universe of possibility requires vision.

Chapter 12 (P. 183)

“…we have distinguished a new entity that personifies ‘togetherness’ of you and me and others. This entity, the WE can be found among any two people, in any community, or organization, and it can be thought of, in poetic terms, as a melody running through the people of the earth.”

Chapter twelve expresses the idea of harmonious collaboration. Collaboration can be horrible. However, when two or more people are perfectly in sync, the results are beautiful. Successful collaboration stems from the practice of enrollment.

Zander, R. S., & Zander, B. (2000). The Art of Possibility [Adobe Digital Editions].

Week Four The Art of Possibility Part 3

In reading the rest of The Art of Possibility this week, I am a bit sad that it has ended.  I have felt that this book had more to offer me than any book I have had in an academic situation because it applies to the whole of my life at every age.  The best part of chapter nine for me was the idea that certain things are better done in person.  Because we live in such a detached, digital society, I think this is 100% true.  While we think that the internet is “progress,” and although it does allow for tremendous educational activities, our society has taken to living their lives entirely online.  Updating a Facebook status has become a higher priority than picking up a phone and calling a friend.  Answering a text message outweighs even paying attention to driving.  It’s astonishing when you think about it and with more than 50% of divorces now citing a social network as partial cause for the trouble that is insurmountable, you have to admit that something is rotten in the state of digital communications.  If only we had to face people when leaving a comment on their words or speak to someone in order to “unfriend” them.  Some things are better done in person.  In chapter ten, I felt very uncomfortable.  When thinking about it, it covers concepts that I struggle with most.  When bad things have happened to me at the hands of others, I do not find it easy to not assign blame.  This is particularly difficult when someone becomes abusive.  I reject the idea that any choice, consciously or unconsciously, can result in you being responsible for someone causing you mental and physical harm.  In most situations when I have known of that happening, the person trusted the person they fell in love with and that person betrayed that trust.  I don’t see how any of us who have been betrayed can take even partial responsibility in that.  Maybe that’s just me thought.  Chapter eleven’s most memorable point for me was the quote “I am here today to cross the swamp, not to fight the alligators.”  Sometimes I think we can take on TOO much responsibility to fix things and try to control situations when you just have to let them be.  I have a very wise friend that once said to me “You don’t have to make a decision today.”  It was a liberating comment that I have reverted to many times in my life since.  We can get so caught up in the details of “What am I going to do” when really the answer is really just put one foot in front of the other and let the big stuff work its way out.  That can be VERY hard but not living that way can drive you crazy.  I am not really good at it but it’s a practice so at least I feel I get better in reactionary situations as I go along.  Chapter twelve has the best advice that can only be articulated by quoting:

 

1.  Tell the WE story, all of the threads that connect us all to possibility

2.  Listen and look for the emerging entity

3.  Ask what do WE want to have happen here

What is best for US

What’s OUR next step

 

That is very much a practice I am going to work on and possibly the reason I was meant to read the book.  Practice makes perfect!

 

 

 

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Week Three Leadership

The decision I made to publish remains the same.  I will submit to will be TechTrends-Linking Research and Practice to Improve Learning.  They are a publication of the Association for Educational Communications & Technology and the one that best seems to fit my project ideas.  I don’t have a second choice as my project is very specific in a way that seems to rule out many of the others that are available today.

You can follow along with the process by checking out my post from Week 1 and Week 2.  My rough draft of my Leadership document can be read HERE.

Week Three Comment Jesse Silver

My comment:

It is a very good observation that there are situations in which Rule Number 6 would be inappropriate.  I was so excited by the idea of it, I hadn’t really thought of the down side.  You are right in the assessment that if you were filing a complaint, someone saying that to you from that company would be exactly what was needed to push you over the edge!  Hopefully the people trained to respond to complaints would know not to further escalate an issue that way.

I also agree with your statements regarding had you been taught this concept earlier in life.  This is one of the reasons I am having my daughter read the book.  Mistakes happen but sometimes our responses to them can make things worse all the way around. I too believe I would not have been so hard on myself before and maybe made different decisions had I had a better self-image.  When you don’t learn to take mistakes and learn from them, the downward spiral talk can often cause you to pile problem on top of problem for yourself.  If only we just knew to stop, breathe and not take ourselves so seriously!

Original Blog Post:

MAC Week 3 Entry 1 (Reading)

This week’s reading was interesting to say the list. There were several things that stood out to me however, if I pick just one, it would be Rule #6. What is Rule #6? Rule #6 is simple yet powerful. Rule #6 is, don’t take yourself so seriously! I am paraphrasing. So as to not endorse this rule fully, I will comment on it in this manner. Rule #6 has definite merit in specific situations. One such situation is when you mess up. Personally, there have been times when I have gotten so embarrassed by making a mistake that it has led to anger. If I had learned Rule #6 at an earlier age, I probably would not have the self-worth issues I have today.

With that said, I also believe there are times when Rule #6 should not be claimed. One such situation is when a person files a complaint. There have been many times in my life when I have had to file a complaint with a particular company. In those times, if the person whom I was speaking too said, remember rule #6, I would have lost it. In these times I genuinely believe empathy works better.

 

 

Week Three Comment Tracy Jenner

My comment:

 

This is a great statement:

 

“We need to diversify to suit the learners we have, and demonstrate that we ourselves are learning no matter our age”

 

Too frequently I think people in any given profession can become complacent when in charge of others.  Continuing education is critical throughout one’s lifetime to ensure that you keep pace and can identify with those you intend to teach, lead, influence or mentor.  I find it interesting that there are only a few professions in the US that REQUIRE continued education.  Can you imagine the shift in this country if every job required you to keep learning?

 

Original post:

 

Week 3 Reading

Posted on May 17, 2013

Leading from any chair in Chapter 5 is teachers period! Through modeling we help to develop our next generation of community.  The chair is the educational environment as a whole, and the traditional room of teacher at the front has gone. We need to diversify to suit the learners we have, and demonstrate that we ourselves are learning no matter our age.  Chapter 6 teaches that we must enjoy learning, and passing on our knowledge. If too serious we become mundane and interest is lost. Treat our educational path as the biggest adventure we are on. Learn from the pitfalls, and embrace the highs. Even this leads back to the “Chair” as we again model for our audience. Chapter 7 was interesting. Aiming higher will always help to meet our goal. It is important to find a starting point that challenges, but not overwhelm and then try.  I challenge myself all the time and will finish what I start. I will accept criticism and learn to meet the challenge. If expectations are high we will always strive to do our best, and no one can ask any more. Lastly Passion in Chapter 8.  Controlling one’s environment is important. Loss of control brings stress and then frustration. The result nothing is gained. I am passionate about learning, and enjoying what I do. Everyday I strive to help others, and encourage all that their life is special. My biggest passion is to never let anyone think they are a failure, and I guess this is why I am where I am now.