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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Develop Potential: The Inner Game

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Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It’s helping them to learn rather than teaching them.” -Tim Gallwey

 

Develop your potential, improve learning and enjoyment with

  • focus
  • relaxed concentration

and by

  • overcoming doubt
  • overcoming fear
  • being conscious.

What is The Inner Game?

In every human endeavor there are two arenas of engagement: the outer and the inner. The outer game is played on an external arena to overcome external obstacles to reach an external goal. The inner game takes place within the mind of the player and is played against such obstacles as fear, self-doubt, lapses in focus, and limiting concepts or assumptions.The Inner Game is a proven method to overcome the self-imposed obstacles that prevent an individual or team from accessing their full potential. Learn more at theinnergame.com .

As a coach, teacher or leader who is driven by a desire to improve learning and performance, how might you incorporate these principles into your professional practice with your coachees, students or team?

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.”

Collaborate to Solve Problems

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Photo Credit: student in my public speaking class

What a great week! Co-teaching, co-planning, co-learning and collaborating with a great teacher and awesome group of students in Public Speaking. Below is an overview of collaborative learning, taken from CTI at Cornell University, which will help you better understand some of the key ideas and elements that our class will engage in through project-based learning this semester. This is the beginning of the semester and we are just getting started so stay tuned for more about our progress this semester.

Purpose of PBL in Public Speaking Spring 2018: To engage students in critical thinking about authentic problems and prepare them to communicate effectively about their proposed solutions to those problems.

What is collaborative learning?

Collaborative learning is based on the view that knowledge is a social construct. Collaborative activities are most often based on four principles:

  • The learner or student is the primary focus of instruction.
  • Interaction and “doing” are of primary importance
  • Working in groups is an important mode of learning.
  • Structured approaches to developing solutions to real-world problems should be incorporated into learning.

Center for Teaching Innovation, Cornell University

I love bullet number 1 – “The learner or student is the primary focus of instruction.” I spent a great deal of time yesterday researching each student’s background so I can begin to see them as individuals instead of a sea of humanity. Teacher’s cannot successfully plan for a class of students they do not know. At the secondary level where you can have upwards of 200 students, this can be a challenge. A challenge, but not impossible… We teach students, not subjects.


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In the slideshow, you can see our human graph in which kids self-rated themselves on their current speaking skills. We will measure again in the middle and the end of the semester to gauge for improvement. Using the scale of distinguished, proficient, apprentice and novice, most students rated themselves as apprentice in the area of public speaking with the next highest rating being novice.

Measuring the Impact of PBL in Public Speaking Spring 2018: We know we are having an impact when every student is engaged so that growth mindsetself-efficacy and academic outcomes improve.

What is the impact of collaborative learning or group work?

Research shows that educational experiences that are active, social, contextual, engaging, and student-owned lead to deeper learning. The benefits of collaborative learning include:

  • Development of higher-level thinking, oral communication, self-management, and leadership skills.
  • Promotion of student-faculty interaction.
  • Increase in student retention, self-esteem, and responsibility.
  • Exposure to and an increase in understanding of diverse perspectives.
  • Preparation for real life social and employment situations.

-Center for Teaching Innovation, Cornell University


PSGoogleClass

We are also using Google Classroom this semester and it’s working well so far for posting bell ringers, assignments, video of model speeches, and assessments. We are also using a Google site that I built as a hub for the project work.


I’m so excited to be a part of this class of students who are engaged in learning how to be effective and polished public speakers. Thank you to Mr. Goodlett for welcoming me into his classroom and for sharing his students with me this semester. The students, Mr. Goodlett and I are all going to learn so much and do so much to improve our community and ourselves.

Now off to plan for next week! More co-teaching, co-planning, co-learning and collaborating. 🙂

 

Celebrate!

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learningXhibit-1000VIEWS-1-14-18I promised myself recently that I would celebrate once I surpassed 1,000 views on my professional blog and portfolio. I just checked and today’s the day.

CELEBRATE! 🙂 

Thanks to everyone who has viewed, commented, followed or shared my posts and encouraged me to keep writing. This online professional blog and portfolio has been one of the best professional learning experiences of my career. If you are thinking about building an online portfolio or blog, I suggest you read my post Work | Create | Share.

I’m so HAPPY! Sing along with Pharrell and me. LOL! YAY! HAPPY day! 🙂

Photo Credit: flickr

 

Listen

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Reflections

This week I was fortunate to participate in a professional learning experience in which participants studied and practiced Cognitive Coaching strategies. The foundation of effective coaching is having a trusting relationship with the coachee and relationships are built upon open communication. Therefore, if I want to be an effective coach it’s imperative that I become proficient in the area of listening and fully attending to the person with whom I’m engaged in conversation.

Like many of us, I tend to focus on my own thoughts and ideas and listen with the intent to speak instead of understand the speaker. I’m also very action oriented and impatient so often I want to rush to a solution. (Because, my gosh, there are so many problems to solve! We’ve got to get busy… Hurry up! Solve those problems! There’s no time to waste!)

“You cannot listen when you have an agenda. You cannot listen when you are just waiting for a pause in the conversation so you can insert your opinion. You cannot listen when you presume to know what the problem is before it has even been explored.” – Jesus, Life Coach: Learn from the Best, Laurie Beth Jones p.210

“They [poor listeners] listen only long enough to get the topic of your conversation, and then they proceed to tell you all the thoughts in their mind regarding that topic. Or, if you present them with a personal struggle, they will quickly move to give you an answer by telling you what you ought to do in that situation. They are adept at analyzing problems and creating solutions. But they are not adept at sympathetic listening with a view to understanding the other person.” The 5 Love Languages: Singles Edition, Gary Chapman p.85

Human beings are very social and that entails talking AND listening. Now, we’ve got the talking part down pat. Most of our problems stem from not listening or simply listening reflexively.

Reflective listening takes place when you not only pause and consider what has been said, but are able to repeat it back accurately to the speaker. Reflexive listening is waiting simply for your chance to insert something into the conversation.” – Jesus, Life Coach p.211

Ouch! Many of us in the Cognitive Coaching sessions felt this sting; the sting of awareness that we are not fully attending to the speaker or listening with the intent to understand but only to give our own point of view.

“If there is any one secret to success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as your own.” How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie

Actions

If I intend to fulfill my professional and personal vision and mission with a servant heart, then I must PRACTICE until I perfect my listening skills. If I want to improve my coaching and “mediate thinking,” then I have to COMMIT to becoming a better listener.

“…whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:43-45 (ESV)

“If I can listen to what he tells me, if I can understand how it seems to him, if I can see its personal meaning for him, if I sense the emotional flavour which it has for him, then I will be releasing potent forces of change in him.” Barriers and Gateways to Communication, Carl Rogers and F. J. Roethlisberger

In addition to the Cognitive Coaching strategies, I will practice the following skills.

Sympathetic Listening – The 5 Love Languages: Singles Edition

  1. Maintain eye contact when you are listening to someone.
  2. Don’t engage in other activities while you are listening to another individual.
  3. Listen for feelings.
  4. Observe body language.
  5. Refuse to interrupt.
  6. Ask reflective questions.
  7. Express understanding.
  8. Ask if there is anything you might do that would be helpful.

Effective Listening – 10 Steps to Effective Listening  

  1. Face the speaker and maintain eye contact.
  2. Be attentive, but relaxed.
  3. Keep an open mind.
  4. Listen to the words and try to picture what the speaker is saying.
  5. Don’t interrupt; don’t impose your “solutions”.
  6. Wait for the speaker to pause to ask clarifying questions.
  7. Ask questions only to ensure understanding.
  8. Try to feel what the speaker is feeling.
  9. Give the speaker regular feedback.
  10. Pay attention to what isn’t said – to nonverbal cues.

As I practice listening, I need to be sure to focus on PAUSING. During some of our Cognitive Coaching practice activities, I was reminded of how much I detest silence in conversations. (Eye contact makes me nervous, too, but for now I’ll focus on pausing. 🙂 ) During our planning-conversation practice, a colleague and I really struggled to keep a straight face as we made eye contact and tried to paraphrase and pause. I felt so exposed as I tried to keep eye contact, juggle all these different thoughts, paraphrase AND listen! (This is going to take a lot of practice:/ )

“From the time Americans are small children, we are taught to dislike silence. The punishment of being sent to one’s bedroom for “quiet time” or “time out” causes children to plead for mercy and promise to be good. And what is the dreaded sentence they wish to avoid? Silence.” – Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work & in Life, One Conversation at a Time, Susan Scott p.222-223

Conclusions

All things considered, I am excited, hopeful and prepared to continue this journey – the journey of not only becoming a better coach but also becoming a better human being. It’s tough, but we’re all in it together and we need one another and if listening makes the journey better, then just do it!

“If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” – Proverbs 18:13 (ESV)

“…let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak…” – James 1:19 (ESV)

“A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” – Proverbs 18:2 (ESV)

Photo Credit: flickr

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