It has been a terrific trip to Australia. The work has been engaging, inspiring, invigorating and highly creative.
I have experienced being with leaders who were willing to view their professional relationships from a fresh perspective and to approach their work in new ways. This takes courage, the courage to question and reassess attitudes and behaviors that may be outmoded and no longer serving them. These leaders have been willing to begin the powerful and extraordinary work of transformation through dialogue and self-reflection.
I call these conversations 'courageous conversations'. While courageous conversations validate what works and what is consistently effective, at the same time they stretch us to think beyond the boundaries of what we know.
A courageous conversation invites us, through thoughtful questions and dialogue, to stand on the edge of our own thinking. They encourage us to set and achieve goals that stretch the heart and mind to achieve more than ever before.
In the programs I have just completed, leaders team up as 'Master Mind Partners'. The purpose of the partnership is to ensure that each person 'wins'. This means that each partner supports the other in 'raising the bar' so each consistently achieves their goals and intentions. Partners actively help each other to raise their resiliency and confidence to the point where each dares to do what is difficult in their professional arena.
A great big thank you to the leaders who have actively embraced this powerful work of raising the bar for themselves and helping their partners do the same! We look forward to hearing of your accomplishments. Thank you to each of you who have emailed me personally!! I would also love it if you would post a note on my blog!
Lynne and I are beginning our final week in Australia and look forward to meeting more wonderful people and great leaders!
It has been another wonderful week of friendship and connections. Lynne and I are so excited because our Aussie family is expanding exponentially! Thank you! It is a joy to connect with all of you! My Hawaiian family knows that to someone like me from Hawaii, family is everything. The word for family in Hawaiian is OHANA and I put it in caps to show how important that word is in our culture.
In the video titled Lilo and Stitch (for all you moms and dads who watched it with your children) they had a saying which captures the feeling of ohana for us. "Ohana is family with no one left out!"
Lynne and I love the feeling of having our Australian Ohana expand. The connections have been more than magical. They have been enriching and nurturing, candid, genuine and authentic, warm and empowering, elevating and inspiring... and we have shared much laughter together during our time together.
As usual, pictures can sometimes express so much more than words. In this case I believe the words augment the images and vice versa.
To all of you in our extended ohana, please share your thoughts with us. I would appreciate your thoughts, feedback, questions or insights about our time together and the work that you and I are engaged in.
AND HAVE FUN WHILE YOU'RE DOING IT!!
Lots of Aloha, Trinidad
The #1 law in the universe is: RELATIONSHIP IS EVERYTHING! And the AU tour has been no different. Day after day Lynne and I have had beautiful connections with delightful people from various backgrounds.
It's amazing to engage with 50 or 60 individuals all with an incredible history that they bring with them. Each person has family and friends as well as a rich support network. Each comes from different professional backgrounds from the government level to school principals, deputies and educators.
The sharing and team participation has been amazing. Something very magical happens when people get together and connect with hearts and minds. I'm not sure there are words to describe the feelings that these sort of interactions inspire...
Authentic, rich, genuine, energizing, electrifying, nourishing, animated, exciting, motivating, uplifting--- creating a kind of synergy not always experienced in our day to day professional lives.
Until Barbara came along, I had never done a course specifically for women. It was through Barb's realization of the importance of women in the workplace and the very special contribution that women leaders have to make, that I started these programs eight years ago. Thank you Barb! The Women in Leadership courses have grown every year, because of you and the work you do through CSE.
If only photos could really express the magic of minds and hearts working together! They may not do it completely, but they often seem to do it better than I can with words alone. So enjoy these few snapshots...
And please forgive me, I wasn't sure of all the names, but faces and hearts, I recognize!
Much Aloha from Down Under, Trin
It's been a fabulous 2 weeks so far. Lynne and I have visited Sacred Hearts School where principal Erin MacDonald brought 3 schools together for a wonderful full day program. Over sixty people attended and we had a magical day full of activities, discussion and exchange. Our Aloha goes out to Erin for all that it takes to organize a day as well as John and Kerry for bringing their 2 schools on board.
Then on to Gennazzano on Tuesday where we did a three hour training for the school leadership team, thanks to Penelope Karsividis for connecting us and Rob and Phil for making sure everything was in order with setup. Thank you, team, for the support!! (Sorry to say I forgot to get any photos! My apologies to the group!)
Wednesday and Thursday were spent with Greg Duthie of the TLN and two groups of principals from Melbourne. Our 3 hours on Mindfulness - Staying Cool Under Pressure is one portion of a five week course designed to help principals manage stress while balancing mental, emotional and physical health in the process. Download Storybrd Use Here are the 12 uses of storyboards as promised.
Here are the slide updates for both of those groups. Please enjoy!Download Anatomy of mindful 1
I have done much reflecting on the meaning of life over the years. And I have come to realize that while success is a step along the upward path of life, it is not the highest peak on the mountain. Beyond the summit of success lies another even higher crest. It is the crowning jewel of the upward climb and provides the greatest source of joy. This is the capstone of significance.
To live a life of significance is to live a life of meaning and purpose. It is to live a life of giving rather than taking. It goes beyond personal achievement to concern about the achievement of others. Einstein said it simply and succinctly when he said, "Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value."
You can imagine a life of significance as a life lived in flow, like a vast river, or a reservoir released, flowing outwards from its source. A life of significance energizes the hearts and inspires the minds of all those it touches along the way.
Deep inside of each of us is a desire to make a difference, to have our
lives count for something. This is the desire to live a life of significance. This desire is basic to all of us, for at the very heart of our hearts as human beings, we recognize our intrinsic connectedness. When this is expressed at its most basic level, we want to make a difference in the lives of those
around us. When felt at its most profound level, we experience being part of a greater extended
family, the family of humanity.
As we press forth to achieve success, the more the deepest hidden desire for significance finds its way into our vision just beyond the summit we've achieved.
Yesterday afternoon I spent a couple of hours at St. Kevin's School speaking on Maximizing your effectiveness as a teacher, balancing IQ, EQ, SQ (Intellectual, Emotional and Social Skills). I thought I might follow up with all of you from St. Kevin's by offering a few extra immediately useable storyboard activities for the classroom as well as the PDFs for storyboards.
Included you will find the team activity that we discussed yesterday as well as 7 other uses for the storyboards. Many of these were contributed by your colleagues in other schools. I invite you to post some of your ideas with us also! Download Storyboard Uses St. Kevin's
The 4 box is for the younger students including Kindie through year 3 or 4 or so depending on the development of the students.Download 4 box A4 copy The 9 box is for year 4 or 5 & on through the year 12 groups. Download 9 box A4 copy
Before doing a storyboard activity, I get students engaged by teaching them how to do a storyboard. I do this in stages:
- Using your favorite 2 colors, draw a simple border around the first 2 boxes.
- Now try a little more complex borders around the next 2 boxes.
- Then do some background colors using highlighters instead of bold color.
- Then draw some symbols on the board or ask students what are some of the symbols they might use on their storyboards to show different thoughts or ideas. (Examples might be a light bulb, a bolt of lightening, a smiley face etc.)
And here is another.
Notice how different the interpretations and uses are. No two storyboards from two different students will be alike! I'm sure that you can immediately guess that the one on the left was done by a 17 year old male student. (Notice the habits burning up in the fire!)
For all of you, please enjoy the activites and let us know how you do once you have a go at it!
Without my home refrigerator, I've been keeping my sticky notes as 'NOTE TO SELF' in my mind's eye. It's been a great few days in Australia so far. We kicked off the tour with a management training for the Department of Education & Early Childhood Development of the Eastern Metro Region.
It was a fabulous two days with an incredible professional team. I'm always amazed and inspired by individuals and teams when they commit to raising the bar and the then go for the leap!! And that is just what they did!
To my great regret, I was so immersed in the people and the event that I completely forgot to take any pics, and there would have been lots of good ones... There are stunning visual indications in the faces and the body language as units of people turn into teams. I'm so sorry that I did not document some of the two days.
We closed with Lisa, one of the team members, singing Bobby McGee. Lisa started playing the guitar when she was 7 years of age and she is, in my humble opinion, truly gifted and exceptionally good!
But there you go; I missed a great photo op!! So instead we have a photo of AU by night. It's nice, but it doesn't quite take the place of the light in people's eyes when they have an insight, or the beauty of individuals totally engaged in a meaningful dialogue. I promise to get some photos of the team when we return for another day in August!
Anyway, mindfulness rules! The NOTE TO SELF in my mind's eye is working. All is good. I even kept a positive mind set even when the pilot surprised us with the news that we had to land in American Samoa to refuel on the way to Sidney. The reason... the plane wasn't built to do long distance travel and didn't have enough fuel tanks to make the long trip.
So how did your refrigerator practice go? I was doing it again myself and found that I made it through about 4 days. I had a situation that triggered me.
It happens! Life happens! And just when you think you're doing well something unexpected hits your buttons and pushes you to the next level. Then I remembered my own advice from last week...
"Do a bit of mindfulness training and start with a commitment to keep your thoughts positive for just one day. Make
a game of it and keep a calender on the fridge or at the office. Track
each day, but only commit to one positive thinking day at a time! See
how far you can go in the process.
Try this thought: "For just this day, I will keep my thoughts positive in every way." Remember
it takes 24-30 days to change a habit. So every time you think a
negative or judgmental thought about anyone or anything, including
yourself, take it from the top and start again."
So there I was back in the middle of a negative thought and I had to take my own advice and start over and then over and over again!
I had to review a few other of my notes to self: Growth is not over till it's over! And... if you're on the planet, there is more growth to be experienced!
First stop Sidney. Then on to Melbourne for the rest of the trip.I'll let you know how it goes as I take my mindfulness training on the road.
ALOHA FROM HAWAII for now,
Just because we don't see our thoughts, doesn't mean they aren't real. As we discussed in the last post, some of the most powerful light waves are not visible to the human eye. Thoughts fly out from our minds in the same way that sound travels out from its source. And, the more emotion you add to the thought, the more powerful it is.
Now let's go back to the phrase that set off this discussion. Let's consider the possibility that Thoughts might be things.
If thoughts were things, then I would definitely want to stop my
judgmental as well as my negative thinking. After all, we all know we make a difference. But these 'I make a difference team ' words have become merely a catchy phrase and we often tend to skim over its deeper meaning.
As a leader, my thoughts permeate the environment. At the level of leadership, I have to be responsible for my thinking regarding each member of my team as well as for my thoughts concerning the results we want to achieve. The power of our positive intention affects the department and/or the organization. It also affects the energy of the team and how our customers view us.
Not only do we make a difference, we ARE the difference. Begin to observe your thoughts and you will begin to notice the impact these thoughts have on those around you. Do a bit of mindfulness training and start with a commitment to keep your thoughts positive for just one day.
Make a game of it and keep a calender on the fridge or at the office. Track each day, but only commit to one positive thinking day at a time! See how far you can go in the process.
Try this thought: "For just this day, I will keep my thoughts positive in every way." Remember it takes 24-30 days to change a habit. So every time you think a negative or judgmental thought about anyone or anything, including yourself, take it from the top and start again.
Let us know your results. I'd love to hear.