Childish Learning

Wednesday 18 April, 2018

Imagine if someone followed you around all day, observing what goes on around you and asking questions. Questions about what’s happening with you and the interplay between external events and your perception of those events. Imagine if that person had the singular focus to make sure you gained as much from the day as possible, halting the process where necessary to ask for your appraisal and your feedback and then giving you theirs:

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Think Before You Rescue

Monday 24 April, 2017

When we see someone struggling and we think we have the answer to their problem, it seems only natural, logical and humane to want to intervene and help them. But we should think twice before stepping forward. We should be more patient, ask ourselves why we want to help them, and what might be the effect if we don’t. There is a lot to be said for standing aside and allowing someone to go through their process – whatever that process may be. The likelihood is that they will learn so much more from the experience if they are left to live it fully, than if someone were to intervene too early.

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Yesterday I Was Clever

Wednesday 22 February, 2017

A common desire which people express about their interactions with others, is their wish to see the other person change, or grow, or at least move away from what seem to be unhelpful ways of doing things. We all recognise it. We have all felt the same about someone close to us – a friend, a colleague, or a loved one. The thing is, we cannot change anyone, and the sooner we learn this, the better it is for everyone. The title of this post is taken from a poet’s words about the desire to change others and the wisdom it eventually brings:

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It Takes A Village

Wednesday 12 October, 2016

It takes a village to raise a child.’ That’s how the father of the bride began his speech. I was in California again – the place where I had first met the happy couple, curiously, on the very same day they had met each other. Throughout his speech, which marked the various milestones of his daughter’s ambitious and adventurous life, he took the time to thank all the ‘villagers’ who had played their part in looking out for her along the way. Some were present at the celebration, some were not, whilst others were simply names of people he had never met, but who carry his gratitude for what they did for his family.

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Humanity’s Olympics

Friday 19 August, 2016

For two weeks every four years, a group of dedicated individuals come together to fulfil their dreams and show us what is possible when we devote ourselves to one goal. The Olympic Games are inspirational; millions of hours of concentrated, focused effort reaching their peak in the most joyous and global celebration of humanity I have ever witnessed. Everything that is good about our species is exhibited during this festival of achievement and togetherness which includes the full spectrum of athletes – from multiple gold medal winners to those whose greatest accomplishment is simply to be there.

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What Are You Going To Do About It?

Thursday 7 February, 2013

It was one of the most powerful questions I heard during my personal development training. We were always being told to verbalise whatever was going on inside, but not to indulge too much in the emotions attached to our issue. If such indulgences went too far the question ‘What are you going to do about it?‘ would snap us back to the practicalities of what to do next.

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Progress Means Never Getting There

Tuesday 22 January, 2013

A disheartening title perhaps, but the point I’m making is that whenever we reach a goal in our development, it’s time to decide where to go next. If we don’t, we stagnate. Top athletes across all sports can be heard saying of their achievements: “There will be plenty of time to enjoy my successes (after I retire). Right now I have to train for my next match.” It’s important to reflect on our progress as we go, but it is equally important to keep going.

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Challenging Our Assumptions

Wednesday 19 December, 2012

A week ago I was challenged to leave my comfort zone. I saw it coming and my immediate response was to resist. Fortunately my motivation to take up the challenge was greater. It was all part of a coaching course I was attending and during this particular session I had been talking with one of the coaches about my reluctance to make the first move in social interactions. At best I feel awkward; at worst, anxious and ready to leave. The coach knew my travel arrangements for that evening and our closing dialogue went something like this:

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We Change Anyway

Saturday 24 November, 2012

This week was the final session. The last in a series of nine workshops I have been running over the last six months with a team in Amsterdam. The main goal was to enhance the group’s communication and personal development by raising their level of awareness. This post is a reminder to them that they have achieved more than they may realise. It also highlights that the power of development work can be found in the simplest of comments.

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People’s Patterns

Sunday 28 October, 2012

We assume people will change. We’ve watched loved ones suffer or complain. We’ve dealt with the consequences of a colleague’s below-average performance, and it’s possible we’ve had a frank exchange with a friend to clarify how their future behaviour needs to be. Some of those people have even acknowledged their problem areas, so surely they will have learnt their lesson? Surely it will be different next time? But it isn’t. And if we’re not careful the whole process of expectation, frustration and disappointment will repeat itself.

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Taking The Time To Listen

Thursday 20 September, 2012

I have worked for a number of bosses: the workaholic who only ever looked up from his paperwork to find out why his coffee cup and ashtray were not where they should be; the too-soft middle manager promoted beyond his ambitions by virtue of years of service; and the arrogant one lacking any self-awareness, who could never be as good or as respected as he imagined himself to be. There were other more inspirational leaders too. Two in particular spring to mind. Partly because I worked for them longer than any of the others, but mostly because they had so many qualities in common.

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All Day, Every Day

Monday 13 August, 2012

That’s what he kept saying. The fastest man ever. “All day, every day.” The Olympic Games have come and gone, and the essence that remains is contained in those four words. I saw people in tears because they had won a gold medal and I saw people in tears because they hadn’t. Others rejoiced because they finished third, or simply because they had made the final. Some were elated just to be there; to be part of the Olympics and to know they would forever be an Olympian. Being present, pushing themselves and competing at the very highest level with the best in their field had been their goal. All day, every day.

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Supporting Each Other

Friday 11 May, 2012

This post is inspired by an entry from my training journal in which I was challenged to provide support to another member of the group. The entry itself doesn’t appear in this blog although I did comment on it in another post, ‘Be Firm With People & Contribute’. The following paragraph is an extract from the unpublished entry:

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Men & Women

Thursday 31 March, 2011

We’re different. And the day we realise this, our lives and our worlds become better and easier places to inhabit. When I began my training in 2000 I was invited to join the men’s group run by Karaj, my trainer. I had been a very keen footballer and many of my greatest moments in life had been as part of successful teams together with other men, working with and for each other.

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