“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”

“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”

—Louisa May Alcott, 19th Century American author of Little Women

Image from Unsplash by Bobby Burch

If you enjoy good stories with wonderful characters, please go see the movie Little Women, or by all means, read the book.

In our daily lives we can all be coached by the times we see others face and overcome their challenges and obstacles. Doing so can instill the belief that we, too, can do the same.

EXERCISE:

Where in your personal or professional life are you facing considerably rough waters?

In what ways can and will you face these challenges boldly and courageously to chart your course toward a brighter future?

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

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

—Dr. Seuss, pen name of Theodor Seuss Geisel

Image from youtube

I am a big fan of Dr. Seuss. I love the idea of imparting wisdom through his unique and colorful characters and stories. Today’s quote is from I Can Read With My Eyes Shut. A few more of my favorite Suess-ful nuggets of wisdom are:

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

“You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself any direction you choose.”

“Today was good, today was fun, tomorrow will be another one.”

“Just tell yourself, Duckie – You’re really quite lucky!”

EXERCISE:

Select a book you have yet to read and commit to reading it in the new year. Consider making this a monthly goad to help you learn more and take you to more places you wish to go.

“I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.”

“I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.”

—Eartha Kitt, 20th Century American singer, actress, dancer

Image from Barry Demp Coaching

Have you ever done a values clarification exercise? You know – the ones that ask you deep, probing questions such as:

At the end of your life, what would you like people to say about you?

Beyond the usual thoughts of family and making a difference in the lives of others, I would include being a student, a teacher, and of course, a coach, supporting the growth and development of others.

EXERCISE:

How important is the process of learning in your life?

What current and future developmental efforts and contributions will you have shared with others when you move on from this world?

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”

—Maya Angelou, 21st Century American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist

Image from yadvashem.org

During our visit to Israel, Wendy and I had the profound experience of visiting the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem.

Unrelenting pain and deep sadness cannot fully express this dark period in human history.

This museum and the tragic story and inhumanity it conveys cannot be unlived. It is a brilliant and courageous reminder for all mankind of the importance of a “never again” stance against some global behaviors.

EXERCISE:

What are some of the big and small lessons that are part of your personal and professional history?

In what ways have these experiences provided you the courage to never travel these paths again?

“Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.”

“Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.”

—William Arthur Ward, 20th Century American Author

Image of a small candle burning

Image from Unsplash by Chirag K

There’s a lot of chemistry and physics behind the beauty and light of a candle flame.

Essentially, all waxes are hydrocarbons that, when heated, become vaporized when the flame melts the wax near the wick.

The wick’s key purpose is to draw up the liquid wax by capillary action, similar to a tree drawing up water and nutrients from its roots to its leaves.

EXERCISE:

What are some ways you can fan the flame of curiosity to take your personal and professional learning efforts to the next level?

“The chief function of the body is to carry the brain around.”

“The chief function of the body is to carry the brain around.”

—Thomas Edison

Sillhouette of a child with drawing of a brain

Image from NorthTexasKids

Tomorrow is my grandson Weston’s first birthday. There are so many people in his life that want to celebrate this special day that my daughter rented a pavilion in a local park to accommodate everyone.

Watching the transformation of Weston’s body and brain this year through visits and video calls has been a delight. Rolling, crawling, cruising, and of course being carried and taken many places has revealed an exponential development of how he takes in and interacts with the world.

EXERCISE:

Where will your body take your brain today? What wonderful sights, experiences, and people will you meet to bring new lessons and growth opportunities into your life?

I’ve been afraid of people playing their life away with too many toys

“I’ve been afraid of people playing their life away with too many toys.”

—Ray Bradbury, late American author and screenwriter

Image of two toddlers playing with a computer

Image from Unsplash by Jelleke Vanooteghem

Take a trip down Memory Lane and look at the toys you played with as a child. For me, the top three were a used sled for winter, a banana-seat bike for the rest of the year, and of course, a pimple ball for all sorts of games we would invent.

I vividly recall that before the age when I could venture out with friends, my mom would give me a bucket of water and an old paint brush. I would express my artistic talents on the sidewalk before the summer sun erased all traces of my work. It was like an Etch-a-Sketch without the cost!

Fast forward to today and look at the toys you and your children or grandchildren play with. How many are digital? How many can be and are often used alone, instead of with friends or family?

EXERCISE:

Where would taking more of a “The Best Things in Life are not Things” approach help you lead a simpler and more satisfying life?

In every man there is something

“In every man there is something wherein I may learn of him, and in that I am his pupil.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson, 19th Century American essayist and poet

Image of two people talking at a business meeting

Image from Unsplash by raw pixel

There is a wise saying about the fact that we have one mouth and two ears, and should use them proportionately.

For most of us, coaching, teaching, advising, and mentoring others, although with good intentions, plays into the fact that we often prefer to be interesting rather than interested.

Consider yourself an explorer or a miner looking for the gold in “them thar’ hills.” To reap such riches, the only tools you would need would be an open set of eyes, ears, and of course, an open mind.

EXERCISE:

In what area of your life is it far more important to be the pupil rather than the teacher?

What is it that you most wish to learn to support either your personal or professional life?

Who are the specific teachers in your world that hold the wisdom you seek?

we learn by taking action

“We learn by taking action and seeing whether it works or not.”

—Patrick Lencioni, Author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Image from Unsplash by Rawpixel

In the book BOLD – How to Go Big, Create Wealth, and Impact the World, authors Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler point out key strategies to achieve breakthrough results.

It seems that most innovative and pioneering organizations and people use a form of rapid experimentation and iterations to come up with amazing products and services. Those products and services eventually come into our lives just like a delivery from Amazon.

One example is the process Google X (or just “X”) uses to support their prolific product development. Their “Never Fail to Fail” innovation principles use this rapid iteration process to fail frequently, fail fast, and most importantly, fail forward.

EXERCISE:

How can you increase your level of action and experimentation to create far more innovative solutions to better your world?

Pick up a copy of BOLD to examine many other ideas to make a far bigger dent in your own universe.

There is no greater education than one that is self-driven

“There is no greater education than one that is self-driven.”

Neil deGrasse Tyson, American Astrophysicist

Image of a notebook with a checklist

Image from Unsplash by Glenn Carstens-Peters

Elementary school, middle school, high school, and college are what we call traditional education. If you were lucky, perhaps your upbringing included books, encyclopedias, and of course, highly committed parents who emphasized education as a key doorway to a bright future.

For many, once we complete our traditional education, we slow down or even stop our efforts for continuous learning. Somehow that song, “No more teachers, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks” was ingrained in us, and we decided we were finished.

EXERCISE:

Consider yourself as your own home-schooling professor, creating the perfect curriculum just for you. The topics you choose are both important and relevant to a fully engaged and happy life. What could this self-driven education include that would result in a PhD in Thee?