Creating Safe Learning Environments

With the new school year quickly approaching, I’m taking the liberty of re-posting a blog from earlier this year.

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” Benjamin Franklin

This has always been a favorite quote of mine and I think predominantly because it is a direct reflection of the way I learn. There is no question that we are all different in our learning styles and what works well for one person, may not for another. The ability for a teacher, leader, or parent to appreciate these different styles is paramount to the success of the learner. I’ll use myself as an example. Although I have a decent memory, it’s simply not the way I learn. I learn by doing which is in direct  alignment with experential learning theory (Kolb, 1984). In order to learn by experience however, we need to know that we are in a safe environment. One where we feel comfortable to try new things. One where we feel confident that we won’t be ridiculed for trying. One where we know we can try repeatedly and fail until the penny drops. And when that penny drops, there is no sweeter feeling!

The fascinating thing about creating safe learning environments is that it is transferable in many aspects of our lives. Whether at school, at work, at home, in social settings, and especially in a coaching session. We want to know that the level of trust that is present will support our level of perceived risk. We want to feel supported. We want to be in a position to trust others and to be trusted. In his study on the psychological conditions necessary for employee engagement to occur, researcher Kahn (1990), found that “supportive, resilient, and clarifying management heightened psychological safety”.  Although Kahn’s work was focused on individuals in a leader / follower context, I believe these same characteristics hold true in any learning environment. Take a parent child relationship for example. If you make your child feel supported, encourage resilience in order to bounce back and make feedback very clear, your child is going to feel safe and trust the process of learning. I believe that we can take any of these examples of relationships and use this same formula to create safe learning environments.

To Benjamin Franklin’s point, involving a learner by allowing the process of learning to unfold through engagement can only be a good thing. While others don’t “give us” courage to try new things, what they can give us that is even more powerful is support and encouragement without judgement. As my clever friend and colleague, Dominique O’Rourke from Accolade Communications reminded me of recently, courage is embedded in encourage. There is likely a reason for that!

So the next time you are looking for a safe learning environment to try something new out in, surround yourself with those who will support and encourage you. If you are looking to create a safe learning environment for others, be one of those people who involves others. Trust them to learn in their own way and at their own pace. Trust the process of learning.

Whether you are a leader in an organization, a teacher, a colleague, a parent, or a friend, we all have the ability to step into a supportive coach position to enable learning. What are some of your examples where you felt very supported to learn?

Yours in learning, Glo

(C) 2012 – True Bliss Coach Gloria Higdon

Making the cut…

If you are anything like me and many other people I know, at one time or another in your life, you’ve probably wondered if you would make the cut. Even the most confident person, has likely felt that churning in their gut. Whether it was for a new career opportunity, or required grades to get into a specific program at school, or the ability to kick butt at try outs and make it on a  particular sports team or submitting your pony tail(s) for a good cause…that looming feeling just sits there until you find out…will I, will I, will I? Will I make the cut? I don’t necessarily believe this is all about being competitive either. It may be for some but for others it may be more about acceptance. Will I be considered as having the leadership potential required, will I be smart enough, will they think I am creative enough, am I someone people want to work with, am I interesting enough, am I fast enough, am I fit enough, am I too grey?

Yes, that’s right…am I too grey? This week was an important week for me. I have been growing my hair out for over 1 1/2 years to donate to a great cause, Pantene Beautiful Lengths. Pantene makes wigs for cancer patients with the many donations they receive. According to their website, it takes 6 full head ponytails to make one short haired wig. There are however, fairly strict guidelines to making the cut. I ended up with 6 small ponytails and they were certainly long enough but it’s possible that my ponytails have too much grey (more than 5%). The hairdresser thought I would be ok. It was suggested that I send them in anyway and wait and see. So…I sit here wondering if my 6 ponytails will make the cut and help someone in need.

This post isn’t about my hair though. What inspired me to write “Making the cut” was that this experience reminded me of how much many of us strive to fit in and to be accepted. To be part of social circles and to engage with others who have seemingly interesting lives. We see this with kids who have been bullied. One thing that strikes me is that if we want to “fit in”, what might we do to ensure that we are accepting of others who are trying to do the same thing? Accepting people for who they are, what they stand for, and bringing them into the fold, is a simple act. Diversity enriches our lives immensely if we are open to it. I think we can all benefit tremendously from surrounding ourselves with people who want nothing more for us than to see us make the cut. Even more important, by being one of those people.

Cheers, Glo

(C) 2012 – True Bliss Coach Gloria Higdon

 

 

 

Collaborating with Connections Creates Communities

“A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm.” ~ Henrik Ibsen

For some reason I’ve got the word community stuck in my head lately. It’s rolling around in there doing flip flops. It used to be that the first thing that would pop into my mind when hearing the word community was my neighbourhood. This is no longer the case. When I think of community now I think in broader terms: work, school, and play to name just a few.

Strong communities are such powerful forces for supporting individual and collaborative efforts. They are an opportunity to be social and to engage. They create space for people to belong and share in meaningful discussions and outcomes. In an organization when people from different work groups come together to brainstorm and generate new ideas, they are creating a community. At school, when students work on group projects and join various teams and organized groups, they become part of a community. For people who have hobbies, often it is through the connections which are made at meetings and organized events that a community evolves.

 What about the communities which form and don’t fit into any of the scenarios above? What about the people you meet during professional development training sessions that you are in regular contact with long after the training has finished? I see this example with my coaching colleagues and the community of like minded people it attracts who continue to support one another. What about social media? It certainly has the power to create some pretty strong and engaging communities. Ask any parent who has a child or children in competitive sports or in any organized activity about community. Often times, the parents are as connected to one another by the end of the season as the kids are.

After all, who doesn’t want to be a part of something meaningful? Communities provide us with an opportunity to collaborate, to share in learning and in success, to support one another, to laugh together, and to grow individually and collectively. There are many key factors to creating strong communities. Of the communities that I’ve been privileged to be a part of, the strongest ones typically had shared goals, were diverse, embraced challenge, demonstrated respect, and trust.

Goals:  Having a common end goal is critical to the success of a community. Even if you don’t necessarily agree on how to get there at the front end, sharing a purpose is so rewarding and moves us forward.

Diversity:  Different pools of knowledge and learning get thrown into the pot in a diverse community. This creates even deeper insights resulting in a very rich cultural feast.

Challenge:  Some of the most rewarding experiences come from times when we’ve been the most challenged. Allowing ourselves to be open to the process of inviting feedback may create multiple wins for the community as a whole.

Respect:  Valuing the opinions of others without placing judgement is not always an easy task. Deep down we all want our voice to be heard. Strong communities have big ears and respect flows like a river.

Trust:  Without trust, a community is nothing more than a group of people. With trust however, a community can create change, achieve goals, identify and cultivate individual and collective talents.

What types of communities do you want to belong to? I vote for the type that uses collaboration as a tool to generate creative ideas and positive outcomes which lead to building strong communities of purpose.

Best wishes, Glo

(C) 2012 – True Bliss Coach Gloria Higdon

 

 

 

Safe learning environments

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” Benjamin Franklin

This has always been a favorite quote of mine and I think predominantly because it is a direct reflection of the way I learn. There is no question that we are all different in our learning styles and what works well for one person, may not for another. The ability for a teacher, leader, or parent to appreciate these different styles is paramount to the success of the learner. I’ll use myself as an example. Although I have a decent memory, it’s simply not the way I learn. I learn by doing which is in direct  alignment with experential learning theory (Kolb, 1984). In order to learn by experience however, we need to know that we are in a safe environment. One where we feel comfortable to try new things. One where we feel confident that we won’t be ridiculed for trying. One where we know we can try repeatedly and fail until the penny drops. And when that penny drops, there is no sweeter feeling!

The fascinating thing about creating safe learning environments is that it is transferable in many aspects of our lives. Whether at school, at work, at home, in social settings, and especially in a coaching session. We want to know that the level of trust that is present will support our level of perceived risk. We want to feel supported. We want to be in a position to trust others and to be trusted. In his study on the psychological conditions necessary for employee engagement to occur, researcher Kahn (1990), found that “supportive, resilient, and clarifying management heightened psychological safety”.  Although Kahn’s work was focused on individuals in a leader / follower context, I believe these same characteristics hold true in any learning environment. Take a parent child relationship for example. If you make your child feel supported, encourage resilience in order to bounce back and make feedback very clear, your child is going to feel safe and trust the process of learning. I believe that we can take any of these examples of relationships and use this same formula to create safe learning environments.

To Benjamin Franklin’s point, involving a learner by allowing the process of learning to unfold through engagement can only be a good thing. While others don’t “give us” courage to try new things, what they can give us that is even more powerful is support and encouragement without judgement. As my clever friend and colleague, Dominique O’Rourke from Accolade Communications reminded me of recently, courage is embedded in encourage. There is likely a reason for that!

So the next time you are looking for a safe learning environment to try something new out in, surround yourself with those who will support and encourage you. If you are looking to create a safe learning environment for others, be one of those people who involves others. Trust them to learn in their own way and at their own pace. Trust the process of learning.

Whether you are a leader in an organization, a teacher, a colleague, a parent, or a friend, we all have the ability to step into a supportive coach position to enable learning. What are some of your examples where you felt very supported to learn?

Yours in learning, Glo

(C) 2012 – True Bliss Coach Gloria Higdon

Full Engagement

What does it mean to you to be fully engaged? We hear the terms engaged and engagement so often these days. This can refer to employee engagement in an organizational context, student engagement and participation in learning, and more generally, being fully engaged in the moment. When I was doing research for my paper on coaching for engagement, it was specifically in reference to employee engagement. What I have since realized however, is that it almost doesn’t matter what the environment or context is. One on one, group setting, work, school, family or play, being fully engaged allows us an opportunity to be fully present and to be contributing at a very deep level creating meaningful experiences. Whether you are thinking, speaking, listening or doing something, being fully engaged makes us feel alive. Even more, being fully engaged can make the other party we are with, feel valued.

One question this poses is, who do you believe is responsible for your level of engagement? With the theory of Rotter’s (1954) locus of control, we know that people with an internal locus of control believe that their actions strongly influence their outcomes and external forces are not a major factor. Whereas, people with an external locus of control believe that outside forces influence their outcomes for example; fate or other people. If this is the case, who is responsible for your engagement? You or the people you are working with or for or learning with and from? Interesting question worth exploring.

Playing devils advocate I can see that an internal might believe they are 100% responsible for their own engagement and if so, what might be some of the actions an internal would take to ensure full engagement? What might be some of the ways that even an internal can make appropriate use of external influences? What might be some ways in which engagement can be further enhanced through external resources? For example, is receiving challenging work assignments or school projects under your control? How can you make it so? Perhaps by demonstrating to others that you are capable of doing more and then simply asking for it?

For someone with an external locus of control, what might be some ways to look at internal influences for a change? What questions might you ask yourself or actions might you take which would demonstrate your own personal level of responsibility in the outcome? Just suppose that even though you believe in fate, you were to believe that you were master of your fate for a day? How might you think about this differently? What might you do differently? Perhaps the person you are working with doesn’t seem into the work and so it makes it boring for you too. What might you ask that person to increase their engagement in the task at hand? How might their increase enhance yours leading to an upward spiral?

What this all means is that we have choices to make when it comes to our level of engagement. Whether it is at work, school, at home with our spouse and kids, or at play, we choose if we play a small role or if we play the game full out and reap the rewards associated with it. Engagement is a two-way street with plenty of lights and stop signs amongst the stretches of long open road. Full engagement can lead to deeper and more meaningful relationships, higher levels of performance and, connectivity to self and others.

Regardless of where you are, create environments where people feel valued, trusted and able to engage fully. You and everyone around you will benefit.

Best wishes, Glo

(C) 2012 – True Bliss Coach Gloria Higdon

Life Lessons From Our Dog, Sandi

As I was walking the dog on this beautiful May morning, I was reminded of all the many life lessons she has taught me. Like most family dogs I suppose, she is always on the lookout for the next walk or crumb to fall on the kitchen floor. She is almost 13 and these things haven’t changed. She lives the good life and in fact, her bed says “living the good life” right on it! Enjoy these words of wisdom from her. They are simple but true.

When in doubt, go for a walk. It clears your head and allows you to see things from a different perspective.

You can never give or receive too much love. Love that is unconditional is even better.

Enjoy your treats. It’s important to eat well and follow a healthy lifestyle but treats were invented for a reason too.

Be grateful for simple pleasures. When we have pizza, Sandi always gets a few pieces of the pepperoni. She sits quietly waiting. When she scores, the way she licks her lips, you’d think you had given her a 10 ounce steak.

Take a different route at least once a week. Different smells, sights and sounds will make you feel more alive and aware. It makes you curious about what’s coming up around the corner.

Stop and smell the flowers (or the hydrant). Take your time. Learn to practice patience. Enjoy the small things. Live your life with purpose and meaning.

Put your attention, energy, and focus on what you do want (thanks Marlene). This is how you will get more of it. This seems to work well for Sandi. She knows when we’re going out and she knows how to swindle her way into coming with us. She LOVES the car.

Take power naps when you can. 10-15 minute snoozes rejuvenate you and create a whole new energy.

Leave your footprints everywhere that matters to you. If you want to try something new or go somewhere new, make a realistic plan and follow the steps to get you there. Better to have left your mark than to have wished you had.

Feel good about your ability to sit and listen without speaking. This can be the greatest gift you offer someone in need of an ear.

If you need to help to get up on the couch as Sandi does or to do anything else, ask. Asking is a sign of courage and strength. Take comfort in knowing that.

Once in awhile, turn off the air conditioning in the car. Roll down your window and enjoy the breeze on your face. Let the wind soak into you and fill you with a renewed sense of energy, of being fully alive.

Look directly into the sun and towards the light. Let the warmth sooth your skin and fill your heart and soul with delight.

It’s a good life…

Enjoy the sunshine! Glo

(C) 2012 – True Bliss Coach Gloria Higdon

Learning environments: Online or F2F?

I’m always curious to hear what preferences people have for learning environments. Do you prefer online, face to face or a mix of the two? Perhaps it depends on the subject matter or duration of the course itself. Maybe decisions are made differently for one-time training sessions versus higher education. Differently again if there is an opportunity to apply what you’ve learned on the spot versus a presentation of material. And maybe your values come into play as well in this process. If you value freedom for example, the online environment may be more appealing to you. Although I believe there will always be a place for both, with advances in technology today, there are so many options and advantages for online learning. It is great to be able to embrace both and discover the many advantages of each.

Depending on the type of learning environment, online may offer more flexibility to your busy life. For example, you may be able to go to school and work at the same time. Online learning can be synchronous where everyone is online at the same time learning in real time via a webinar or listening to a live lecture. It can also be asynchronous, where the online learning experience is used to share information regardless of time of day or location. People can jump on when it suits their schedules and participate in the discussion or listen to a pre recorded lecture or webinar. One thing that I’ve noticed about the online environment is that I find people who don’t typically feel comfortable participating in a face to face environment, will contribute openly to online discussions. It may be the distance factor which may help to alleviate some fear and insecurities therefore creating a safer environment. Some may be encouraged by the ability to take their time to formulate and provide an appropriate response. Online learning typically opens doors to learning from more people with diverse backgrounds because the world suddenly becomes much smaller. Anyone with an internet connection can attend and participate.

Face to face learning is always synchronous in that it is always in “real time”. There are many advantages to this environment as well. Getting to know one another tends to happen faster in a face to face environment.  If you want to know if your audience is present, it is often easier to determine that in a face to face environment. There is no delay in time so decisions can often be made faster. Many people find it easier to connect through the non verbal cues and body language only seen in person. Some people find it easier and more effective to engage in person than via written text as is often the case with online environments. Completing classroom work may be more effective in person where the instructor is readily available to answer questions.

I can fully appreciate the value in each. One thing I will say from experience in doing my coach training and my M.A. Leadership, is that a mix of the two for a longer duration program certainly provides the best of both worlds. Developing meaningful relationships can also happen in either environment, provided the learner is open to it. Engagement is less about environment and more about meaningful learning outcomes built on trust.

What might be some of your favorite things about each of these learning environments? I look forward to hearing your thoughts and experiences.

Yours in learning, Glo

(C) 2012 – True Bliss Coach Gloria Higdon

Developing mindfulness: presence of mind, body, and soul

The practice of patience guards us against losing our presence of mind. It enables us to remain undisturbed, even when the situation is really difficult. It gives us a certain amount of inner peace, which allows us some self-control, so that we can choose to respond to situations in an appropriate and compassionate manner, rather than being driven by our disturbing emotions. – Dalai Lama
 
After reading this quote by the Dalai Lama on facebook, it triggered the desire to write a post about meditation. Meditation and mindfulness have brought tremendous value to my life. Whenever something has a positively profound effect, I like to share my experience with others. The practice of meditation has been around for a very long time. I think we each have our own visual of what meditation might look like on the outside. Some of them are probably all zen like in some ashram in India or a Buddhist temple. Some, related to nature, water, mountains, and or the sky. Perhaps the posture for seated meditation with fragrant incense or candles burning. Lying on the ground practicing various breathing techniques and creating an awareness of all of your senses. Maybe it’s at the beginning or end of a yoga class. Whatever images you conjure up, you are in essence creating a vision of what it feels like to practice mindfulness. Presence of mind, body, and soul.
 
For those who are keen to be fully aware of the space internally and externally and or for those who are looking for inner peace and a sense of calm, or looking to create a powerful sustainable energy within, I highly recommend giving meditation a try. If you are weirded out or skeptical about the benefits but still curious, try it at home. So many of us in our busy day to day lives, could benefit from this approach to slowing down. Even leaders in organizations, and their direct reports, can benefit from leading and living with mindfulness. In fact, a favorite HBR article which highlights the need to slow down and smell the roses is Slow Down, You Move Too Fast by Tony Schwartz. And a coaching colleague and friend of mine, Adam Kay, is embarking on a PhD with a focus on mindfulness and leadership. So there must be more and more interest on the subject even from a scholarly perspective. A link between mindfulness through yoga practice in entrepreneurs has been referenced in Namaste: What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Yoga. If you have an interest in losing weight with a focus on mindfulness, I encourage you to visit the website of Marlene Keys and Anna Varriano, partners in Mindful Weight Control . Like everything in life, however, I don’t believe meditation is for everyone but I do believe we can all benefit from slowing down and being more mindful. Interested? Keep reading as I offer some suggestions for resources.
 
There are many resources available today to help us ease into a practice of mindfulness, many of which are low cost and provide us with the flexibility to practice in the comfort of our own home if we wish. As I enjoy the solitude of early morning, I use a DVD by Rodney Yee called A.M. P.M. Meditation which offers short 25 minute meditations. I really like this DVD for a number of reasons. It includes some great breathing techniques, very basic yoga stretches, and has the power to take me away while being fully present. I’ve learned to embrace and expand my reach. This DVD can be purchased online or in person at any Chapters, Indigo or Amazon for under $15.00.
 
All that said, I’ve recently been introduced to a few new resources suggested through friends. One is an app on the iPAD called Mindfulness which although I have yet to try it, comes with many different settings and options and at a very low cost. Another low cost app is MentalWorkout with 5 programs, one being Mindfulness Meditation. Another friend suggested a book called Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation by author Sharon Salzberg. I also came across a very cool resource on facebook called YogaGlo which offers yoga and meditation classes through live streaming. I was initially intrigued by the name because whenever I tell people my name is Glo, they look at me funny. I always have to explain my name is Gloria but I truly prefer Glo. I recall having a good giggle over that one! Anyway, after doing some research on their website, I realized what a terrific concept this was. Glo in this case stands for “Global” enabling participants from around the world to benefit from some world reknown instructors at a nominal cost and without having to leave the comfort of your own home. I also recommend following their page on facebook because they have great tips, articles and blog posts on practicing yoga and mindfulness. I confess that I have yet to try a class but I know I will in time. YogaGlo has a Beginners Center and is located in Santa Monica, CA.
 
Hopefully this blog post has been helpful in creating further awareness of how the practice of meditation and mindfulness can be accessed. Although there are many links to external resources and articles, I believe they will prove useful as you embark on your journey of discovery. If you have any additional suggestions for resources, please drop me a comment. I would love to read about them and share with others.
 
Namaste, Glo
 
(C) 2012 – True Bliss Coach Gloria Higdon
 
 

Developing Empathy: Your competitive advantage

Many leaders today indicate that one of their top developmental priorities is to improve communication and engagement. At the heart of successful communication and engagement is empathy, your competitive advantage. Often touted as an “innate ability” to see things through the eyes of another, successful executive coaches would argue otherwise claiming proven success in working with clients to develop this leadership competency. It is however, fully acknowledged that for some individuals, particularly those with autism and individuals with conditions such as that of a psychopath, empathy is hard-wired in the brain and cannot be developed.

Having empathy in written communication provides meaningful insights to ensure the “message sent” is perceived as was intended. In face to face communications, demonstrating empathy is most apparent in how we listen first and then respond. Identifying what is most important to the other person. Empathy often confused with sympathy, is not about feeling sorry for or agreeing with someone. Empathy enables a person to deliver a message whether in written form or face to face knowing that you will get maximum effect because it was written or formulated with the other person’s perspective in mind.

Like any other learned skill, developing empathy requires awareness, attention, and focused commitment that leads to sustainable change. The beauty of this approach to improved communication is that it is relevant for all levels within an organization. From classrooms to boardrooms to relationships in our personal lives, empathy is a valuable tool to have in your toolbox. With a significant increase in today’s global interactions through virtual teams and various platforms such as social media, developing this competitive advantage is key for those who want to succeed in building meaningful relationships.

While the degree to which empathy can be developed may vary from person to person, working with an executive coach and using assessment tools to measure and then develop empathy is a great solution for achieving long term results. There are however, a few simple strategies that you can apply today to test your awareness, place your attention, and demonstrate your focused commitment toward an enhanced level of empathy.

  1. Awareness – Consult someone you trust implicitly to tell you the truth. Explain to them that you are trying to assess your empathetic approach and invite them to play along. Engage in a conversation about something meaningful for 5 minutes. Then write down the 5 key points that you “heard” as being most important to the other person. Read it back to them and ask them to score you using a scale of 1-10. With 1 being lowest in terms of your perception of their view and 10 being highest.
  2. Attention – Find a quiet place that you are able to do some reflective thinking. Now take a close look at the scaling responses received from the previous exercise. Determine what you have learned from them, both individually and collectively. Ask yourself questions such as: Where might you place your attention so that it has a greater impact on your intention? What might you have done differently or thought of differently to have a more empathetic approach? What skills and abilities do you currently have that might help you with being more empathetic? What did you notice about their facial expressions? Did their voice change frequencies or pitch at all when using certain words? What might you have noticed about their body language when speaking? What might you pay closer attention to the next time you are conversing with someone in person? For written communication, ask yourself:  What word or words jump out at you as being repetitive? Why might this message have been framed this way? If I were the writer rather than the receiver, what would I be trying to achieve with this message?
  3. Commitment – Like all change, we need to commit to taking the first step. Make a date with yourself to try out what you’ve learned from this exercise. Take it seriously. Put it in your calendar. Find someone else whom you trust and try this same exercise out on them. Compare your results and continuously look for ways to improve. Question your assumptions and seek feedback from others. If the commitment is there, results will follow.

I’m sure we have all been in situations whereby someone could have benefitted from having used a more empathetic approach. Perhaps, that person was me or you. Empathy is often associated with having good listening skills because we are hearing not only the words that are spoken, but the ones in between too. The ones which are most important to the other person. Put your feet in someone else’s shoes and walk around a bit. Notice a new perspective?

Best wishes for a more empathetic approach!  Glo

(C) 2012 – True Bliss Coach Gloria Higdon

It’s a small world…

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss was a wise man. I love to read, and on a broad range of subjects bringing the world just a little bit closer. I just finished reading Abundance: the Future is Better Than You Think by authors Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler.  While Abundance focuses on important global issues (feeding the planet, clean water, energy, healthcare, and education to name a few), it does so from a positive perspective, offering research based facts which support being optimistic about the future. For anyone who cares about people and the planet, enjoys their life, has a passion for technology, and or has children or grandchildren, this book is for you.

After watching a 16 minute video clip that I saw on a friend’s facebook page of Peter Diamandis: Abundance is our future, I was quite excited. As a solution focused coach, it was so refreshing to learn how far we have come in terms of making progress on these important global issues. It’s the glass half full as opposed to half empty approach. From this brief video clip, I was also reminded of a favourite book we read in school for a sustainability course, Capitalism at the Crossroads by Stuart Hart. As it turned out, Stu Hart’s book is referenced in Abundance. Yes, it’s a small world and getting smaller with connections at every turn. Being personally motivated and inspired by meaningful work, doing work that matters runs deep within. I was curious to learn more and learn I did.

When I shared the Abundance is our future video, Lisa Larter, CEO of The Social Business Academy, commented that the book was fantastic which piqued my curiosity even further. Within a few hours, I had downloaded the book to my iPAD using the kobo e-reader. True confessions here. This was a first for me, and another reason for the title of this post. I’ve read countless academic journal articles lately and several short e-books online but up until that time, call me old fashioned but I had no interest in reading a book without a spine. Holding a book in my hands is like peanut butter to jelly. It’s quite ironic that Abundance was the first one I downloaded because Abundance speaks to the ability of technology to make the world a smaller place where accessibility creates opportunity for abundance. It was simply amazing to read about how the world has changed for the better with advances in technology. Specifically, how social entrepreneurs are popping up in remote parts of Africa with the invention of the smart phone. Furthermore, how the world will only continue to change for the better with inventions in healthcare for example “Lab-on-a-Chip” with a goal of zero-cost diagnostics, and advances in education with successful global initiatives such as “One Laptop Per Child”. These are not pie in the sky ideas. These are real and they are happening all around us.

Interestingly, I made many connections to coaching while reading this book. Primarily because when we focus on innovative and creative solutions, we are able to engage the cerebral cortex brain system which has the capacity for future visioning. This is very important and powerful when comparing it to “getting stuck” in the problems.  Often times these situations are fear-based, and engage the reptilian brain system based on fight or flight responses, and in the case of the emotional brain, clinging to sameness also known as our comfort zone. As Abundance points out, fear can be a very powerful motivator creating extraordinary risk taking. From a coaching perspective however, fear can also be completely paralyzing causing feelings of anxiety and thoughts of “I can’t” rather than “I can.” When we combine the learning from a book such as Abundance and engage the whole brain system however, our capacity for creating abundance on a global level is only magnified. Finally, we can see the forest through the trees. The best part? We all have this potential!  

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  ~ Margaret Mead

Times have changed and the world is getting smaller. We have the ability to create change on the other side of the world without even leaving our living room. Global news travels across social media platforms in the blink of an eye. From individuals to organizations, people are doing some pretty amazing things to create change.

Are you curious? Want to make a difference? Watch the video, read the book, learn how to engage your whole brain system, and look for ways to do your part in making the world an even better place. Please, by all means, share your ideas here. I would love to hear them.

Best wishes for engaging your creative genius. Glo

(C) 2012 – True Bliss Coach Gloria Higdon

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