Play to Learn: Failure Doesn’t Exist

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“Think tactically: not emotionally.” – Kobe Bryant

Failure is an emotion that gets in the way of your analysis of a failed attempt. Instead of getting stuck in the emotional distress and disappointment of failing, you need to FOCUS on determining why your attempt failed. What weakness(es) or circumstance(s) contributed to the failed attempt and what steps can you take to correct the problem? So, when an attempt at something doesn’t work, you can tactically analyze the problem, pinpoint the issue and take action to make corrections.

In Brett Ledbetter’s video, he highlights an interview with Kobe Bryant in which he was confronted with the poor performance of his early career and the brutal public criticism that accompanied it. Listen closely to Bryant’s explanation of why he feels failure doesn’t exist.

 

Bryant’s comments about failure are so fascinating! His perceptions of failure are based on the fact that “the story continues.” If you fail on Monday, you have Tuesday to try again. Bryant goes on to explain that the only way to fail is to “stop and to not learn.” So, if you learned from the failure and go on to grow and improve your game, it wasn’t a failure.

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Wow! What an idea… You have the power to flip the script. You can measure your success by how much you grow and learn: not by the outcome. Be the best that YOU can be; don’t measure your success against the success of other people.

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In the game of life, you must discover the “game” worth playing —  the game YOU were meant to play. Next, you have to FOCUS on growing and learning; don’t give into temptation and wallow in the disappointment of a failed attempt. Keep moving forward and don’t play to win or lose; play to LEARN and GROW.

“…I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead…” — Philippians 3:13b

 

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Practice, Practice, Practice

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How to define goals and implement deliberate practice in order to grow professionally – based on the ideas in chapter 7 of Grit by Angela Duckworth.

“Each of the basic requirements of deliberate practice is unremarkable:

• A clearly defined stretch goal

• Full concentration and effort

• Immediate and informative feedback

• Repetition with reflection and refinement”

~ Create a goal for professional growth – identify a weakness ~

“…experts strive to improve specific weaknesses. They intentionally seek out challenges they can’t yet meet.”

“Even the most complex and creative of human abilities can be broken down into its component skills, each of which can be practiced, practiced, practiced.”

~ Target efforts toward growth goal ~

“…with undivided attention and great effort, experts strive to reach their stretch goal.”

“…experts practice differently. Unlike most of us, experts are logging thousands upon thousands of hours of what Ericsson calls deliberate practice.”

~ Seek out and utilize feedback ~

“As soon as possible, experts hungrily seek feedback on how they did. Necessarily, much of that feedback is negative. This means that experts are more interested in what they did wrong—so they can fix it—than what they did right. The active processing of this feedback is as essential as its immediacy.”

~ Repeat, Reflect, Refine ~

“And after feedback, then what? Then experts do it all over again, and again, and again. Until they have finally mastered what they set out to do. Until what was a struggle before is now fluent and flawless. Until conscious incompetence becomes unconscious competence.”

Stop & Reflect

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“The easiest form of reflection, in my opinion, is to keep a journal. Just the act of writing can summon ideas that may not otherwise have surfaced just noodling around in your head. It allows you to dump everything out on paper (or a screen) and then sort it out and make sense of it.

It’s a good idea to do this once a day or once a week for five to ten minutes, or whatever time you have to spare–I’m sure you’ll find the experience beneficial. The idea is to get into a habit so that, for example, every Friday at 2pm you’ll stop and make some notes. The important thing is that you state the situation and what you learned from it. And it’s ‘the what I learned from it’ that’s the important part.” – Take a Look Back at Your 2014 Year With These 5 Questions, Geil Browning

Coach & Learn

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Reflections on the first week of my first intensive coaching cycle.

Monday, Sept. 25th, marked the first day of my implementation of an intensive, educator-centered coaching cycle and 8 of the 9 teachers chosen for this four-week cycle are engaging in the process. The process is fully described in the book, Instructional Coaching in Action.

During the cycle, my coaching roles and responsibilities will continue with all teachers in the building, but the educator-centered model provides a structure for focused coaching in which teachers can experience leading the coaching partnership. Teachers have the final say on the purpose and activities of the four-week cycle and coaches ensure that teachers have what they need to meet their PGP goals for the year.

During the initial meeting, we developed background knowledge about the model, outlined a plan of action to support the teacher’s professional growth plan (PGP) and scheduled observations and debriefing meetings for post-observation reflections. Each meeting went well, as measured by teachers who were prepared with their PGP goals and my facilitation of the meetings; we accomplished meeting goals and kept within the timeframe (30 min.- with the exception of a couple of meetings).

During this first week, I was also able to get in an observation followed by a reflective conversation with the teacher so that this teacher will be ready to implement a new classroom management plan after fall break.

In between meetings and other duties, I was able to combine block scheduling ideas and learning strategies into a guidance document (it’s in draft form as others review and provide feedback on it). Once it has been reviewed, I will share the document with all staff. Hopefully, it will support the implementation of classes within a block schedule as well as supplying ideas for differentiating instruction.

Now, I’ve given a brief overview of intensive, educator-center coaching and some of my experiences during the first week, but what did I learn?

What did I learn?

  • Listen with your eyes as well as your ears. Not everything you need to know will be said with words; be very observant.
  • Keep moving forward. You will make mistakes; keep believing in the process and learn from it.
  • Be vulnerable. You are not an expert; you are learning along with your colleagues.
  • Admit your weaknesses. Cultivate an environment in which it’s ok to admit your weaknesses; we can’t improve until we are totally honest with ourselves.
  • Develop strength. Be brave enough to look at yourself through the lens of your struggles which highlight your weak points. (Thank you to the teacher who showed me that bit of wisdom during our debrief session.)
  • Have some fun! Live a balanced life every day. Laugh at yourself; in a hundred years from now, no one will remember the little details that are bringing you down.

Give Thanks

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8292524381_b60676ca4f_mI am taking a moment to give thanks for all the great people I work with and who are helping me become a better instructional coach. On the days that are a little more challenging, I can look at this and remember to give thanks in all things and that the dark times are only temporary.

I can count on the dark to give way to the light and sooner than later if I will focus on the positives and be grateful for the blessings. Even the struggle has a purpose and will make me stronger and wiser if I choose my attitude.

So, if any of my WC colleagues read this post, THANK YOU! I’m so glad to be working and learning with you. 🙂

Photo Credit: flickr

 

Tell the Story

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While most Americans celebrated Independence Day today, I spent the day finishing Cole Knaflic’s book Storytelling with Data. I’m sure that spending my day like this today makes me the queen of all nerds. 

I’ve never been a numbers person, but I got involved with strategic planning several years ago at work and added data analysis to my professional growth plan, which has taken up residence there. Do you ever really get to a point of taking data analysis off of your growth plan? Maybe for some, but I’m sure it will always be an area of growth for me. Both professionally and personally, data analysis will always be one of my growth areas that will require focus and dedicated time spent learning how to better collect, analyze and share data in a narrative that invokes action. 

What drew me to Knaflic’s book was this video. In the video clip, she speaks to the need for creative and artistic data visuals that help you tell the story you’ve discovered in your data.

Leverage design to indicate to your audience how to use and interact with your visualizations.

As I read the book, the importance of pretty and functional visuals was not lost on me. I’ve seen some graphs and visuals that did nothing to help me understand the purpose for which they were intended; a lot of bars, lines and dots colorfully displayed but devoid of a conclusion that I should reach. 

If there’s a conclusion you want your audience to reach, state it in words.

By keeping it simple, highlighting what the audience needs to see and framing the data in a story that the audience can emotionally connect to, you help the audience understand the importance of what you’ve discovered in your data analysis. 

In conclusion, if you bother to take the time to collect and analyze your data don’t lose sight of the most important part – design visually appealing data communications that pinpoint a call to action for your audience. 

If you know any data visualization experts who might have time to mentor or coach me as I practice what I’ve learned, leave me a comment or send a private message via email. melsuzfer@icloud.com