Sir Winston Churchill once said “For myself – I am an optimist. It does not seem to be much use being anything else.” Do you walk around thinking that your cup is half-full or half-empty? I choose to see my cup as half-full. I choose to see the positives in everything that happens to me and around me – because I believe that everything in life is a learning opportunity. Even the negative things that happen to you, and trust me there will be plenty of them, are really positives if you choose to look at them from a different point of view. (It also helps if you believe in fate) I believe everything that happens to you in life – happens for a reason. Whatever happens today is preparing you for what is going to happen tomorrow.
Worth Remembering … “The bend in the road is not the end of the road unless you fail to make the turn” – Amanda Curtis Kane
I believe I am without a doubt the most optimistic person you will ever meet. But besides being an eternal optimist I’m also a realist. (I do have my Dr. Phil moments of clarity) I know that I can’t control everything that goes on around me. I know most outcomes are out of my hands. But I do know that I can control how I choose to react in any given situation. I know that in that space between stimulus and response that Dr. Covey talks about – and what Dr. Viktor Frankl knows to be true from his own experiences – that I must react in a way that is going to get me what I want.
Worth Remembering … “Everything can be taken away from man but one thing – to choose – ones attitude in a given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way” – Frankl
Viktor Frankl was born into a Jewish Family and ended up being shipped to a German Nazi Concentration Camp along with his wife, mother and father during the Second World War. He lost his wife to the camp at Bergen-Belsen, his father to the camp at Theresienstadt and his mother to Auschwitz. Viktor considered himself one of the lucky ones who managed to survive the camps. Viktor understood the power to choose. Viktor understood that no one else but he could decide how he wanted to react to any given situation.
Viktor believed that the most powerful motivating and driving force in one’s life is the quest to find meaning in one’s life. He believed that it is that search for meaning which motivates us to carry on. And in some cases to endure tremendous hardships with the thought that there must be a better future waiting for us. Viktor believed that although the Nazi’s had taken away all that was dear to him – his prized manuscripts, his wife, his loving parents and friends – they could not take away his ability to choose.
Worth Remembering … “When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound; rebuild those plans and set sail once more toward your goal” – Hill
Everything you do – is a matter of choice. You may not like the choices that you have to pick from – but it is a choice. You can choose to do nothing – and see what happens – or you can choose to do something and hopefully end up with what you want. Like Viktor – we all have choices. If you change the way you look at things – the things you look at will change. It’s a matter of choice.
You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink it. The trick is, find out how to make him thirsty. Team leaders, supervisors and managers will be judged not by what they know, but by their ability to teach someone else. But trust me – teaching someone else what you know isn’t easy. If that was the case, superstar athletes would go on to have superstar coaching careers after their playing days were over. And we know, in most cases – that just doesn’t happen.
Answer this question: If you understood how I like to receive and process information and how I prefer to be taught, and if you applied what you knew about my learning preferences, would it make the teaching experience more enjoyable for you and for me? Would I be more receptive to what you were saying and therefore more likely to try? We both know the answer would probably be a resounding yes! Some Adults learn differently – therefore you need more than one teaching style.
Adults Can Learn New Things
Adults can learn new things – given the right set of circumstances in an environment that is conducive to learning. Think of ways that you could apply these five principles of adult learning to create a positive learning experience.
- Adults learn when they understand why something is important to know or to do. Make sure everyone understands the “why” in what you are trying to teach them. They may not agree, but they need to know your reasoning. And it can’t be just because you said so. You are working with adults here – not children. (Although, I don’t think saying “because I told you so” works with children anymore either. At least not in my world)
- Adults learn when they have the freedom to learn in their own way. Try and incorporate all of the senses in your approach to ensure learning has taken place. Remember that visual learners rely on pictures, auditory learners listen to what is being said, and kinesthetic learners need to physically do something to fully understand what it is you are trying to teach them.
- Learning is experiential. Adults like to relate or link new knowledge to past experiences. Any activity that gets your learner involved makes that learning experiential. Group discussions, role-playing, building something – any activity at all will work. Activities are also a great way to keep people energized and engaged, especially activities that involve getting up and moving around.
- The time is right for them to learn. There is an old Buddhist saying: “When the Student is ready, the Teacher will appear”. Adults like to learn in their own time. And what they learn must be relevant and applicable. Adults, for the most part, only want to know what they need to know and only when they need to know it. They aren’t looking to stockpile information on the chance that they might need it in the future. (Unless they are a huge fan of Trivial Pursuit.)
- The process is positive and encouraging. As a teacher you are trying to get people to step out of their comfort zone into the growth zone. Be very mindful of the fact that they are most likely trying something for the very first time. They are going to make mistakes.They need to know that you aren’t going to zap them when they do. They need to know that they can trust you, that you won’t belittle them in front of their peers. And they need to know that they can ask you a question – no matter how trivial you might think it is – and you’ll answer it without sarcasm. Teachers need to have patience in spades because some people learn quicker than others.
Be their biggest fan. Cheer them on with each small victory by praising their performance and giving them words of encouragement. If you truly want them to be successful, and I don’t know why you wouldn’t – then your praise and words of encouragement will sound sincere. Adults can tell when you’re being condescending and insincere. They don’t like to be patronized.
Worth Remembering … “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I will learn.” – Benjamin Franklin
“Lack of confidence is not the result of difficulty. The difficulty comes from the lack of confidence” – Seneca
Developing Confidence in Yourself
What is your biggest obstacle to more self-confidence? I think it’s your internal dialogue – the way you talk to yourself. If you think negative thoughts – than negative things will happen. It’s the law of attraction happening in real-time. A low self-image translates into a lack of confidence – which causes us to think negative thoughts – which in turn causes us to hold back and give up easily rather than to face tough challenges.
“The better people think they are, the better they will be. A positive self-image creates success’ – Liisa Joronen. World class athletes, like world-class actors visualize a Gold Medal – Oscar-winning performance. They set themselves up for a positive experience by visualizing in their mind’s eye what their performance will look like. And then they go out and replay that winning performance in real-time.
You need to visualize how a great manager looks and acts and then play that video for real. The more you do it – the more you will become it. (Think it – Act it – Become it) Here are some helpful tips on how to boost your self-confidence.
Five Ways to Develop Confidence in Yourself:
- Look for a role-model or mentor. What is it about their style that you like? What do they do that makes them appear confident? (Their walk, the way they look or the way they talk?) Act like they act and you’ll eventually begin to act the same way. I love Tom Peter’s style when he delivers a speech (Author of “In Search of Excellence”) So when I first began giving speeches I emulated his style and it eventually became my style. I created a “Habit” and I now do it without thinking about it. (A good habit is a good result – plain and simple)
- Focus on your achievements rather than your failures. Focus on what you did well and what you are going to do better the next time you have the same opportunity. We can all improve. We’ve all done things that in hindsight we would have done differently. I’m forever critiquing myself. But it’s the only way I know how to get better at what I do. How often have you had an exchange with someone that turned ugly? And after you calmed down you went over it again in your mind and realized that you could have handled it better? Remember – No body is perfect but everyone has the capacity to grow and get better.
- Set reachable goals for yourself. (Set SMART targets) Break down difficult tasks into more bite sized pieces. Anyone can eat an elephant one bite at a time. I love the feeling I get when I get to cross an item off on my To-Do list. It’s even better when I’ve completed everything on the page and I get to tear it out of my notebook and throw that page away.
- Be prepared for every task. Nothing beats thinking and planning it out. You can’t be prepared for everything but you should be able to predict the kinds of things that could happen and how you’ll react to them. You should be able to anticipate the kinds of questions you are going to be asked and script your answers in advance. If you have prepared well you’ll look confident and the other person will think that you are. (Communication is 93% non-verbal. It’s not what you say that people remember – it’s how you went about saying it that people remember the most)
- Remember to be your authentic self. You are not in competition with anyone else but yourself. You are unique. You are who you are. You can only do what you can do. Strive to be the very best You that you can be. Feel good about yourself knowing that you gave 100% of yourself. You can’t do better than that. There is no try – you either do it – or you don’t. And don’t is OK if you gave it 100%.
Someone who is confident in their own abilities and is comfortable in their own skin won’t need to hold anyone else down so that they can feel better about themselves. What do you want people to think and say about you? Think it, act it, become it. Be that person.