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The thought of bittersweet pumpkin aroma rising above layers of foam, whipped cream and spice is enough to drag most latte lovers out of bed on mornings when the wind starts to carry a bite.
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Companies everywhere are looking at how to drive up engagement scores and results. Yet, research tells us that the most significant factor in engagement is the relationship employees have …
“To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” — Aristotle, ancient Greek philosopher.No one enjoys criticism, but sometimes we need it.No matter where you stand in an organizational hierarchy, you can always improve your game. While many of us claim we’re our own harshest critics, that’s rarely true. It’s usually more helpful to have someone else point out our flaws — if you trust the source.Criticism can be difficult to hear, but pain helps us learn and improve ourselves. As former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill once stated, criticism is necessary because, like physical pain, “it calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”How to accept – and act – on criticismOnce we feel that pain, we can take measures to correct it.As a leader, you’ve probably received more than your share of criticism. I know I have! My audience members frequently complete evaluations after my talks, and I receive many suggestions weekly.Some of these I can dismiss; if someone obviously means it to be destructive, consider the source and move on. But when people you respect (and who respect you) take the time to lay out what they perceive as your weaknesses, listen. They’re almost always trying to help you become a better person and a more skilled worker.If you have any doubts about what they’ve said, seek a second opinion from someone else you trust who knows you well.I recommend these tips for accepting and acting on constructive criticism:1. Shut up and listenCalmly absorb the criticism, and think hard about what the critic has to say.Don’t interrupt with excuses or denials, and never try to scapegoat someone else. In fact, choke down all defensive reactions, refusing to let your emotions get the better of you.Feedback of any kind is incredibly useful, and you need it in order to improve your performance. Think back on it, and you’ll realize your entire childhood and school career — from Kindergarten on through grad school — was a constant back-and-forth session of criticism, feedback, and self-improvement.2. Accept criticism graciouslyEven if you disagree with your critics, don’t react negatively.Thank them for their feedback and consider it. You may ultimately decide the criticism has no merit, but don’t just dismiss it out of hand. Some may be right on the money.I know an editor who not only helps writers improve their books through copy editing, but also provides manuscript evaluations, pointing out strengths and weaknesses in characters, plot, and story. He tries not to pull any punches during his critiques, believing that to do so would be a disservice to the writers. Nearly all the writers respond positively, rewriting to match his suggestions.3. Ask for specificsIf people offer an offhand bit of criticism, don’t dismiss it or obsess about what they might mean.Just ask for a specific example, and if you think it might help, ask what they suggest you do about it.4. Take corrective actionWhether it involves signing up for an advanced English composition class to improve your writing skills, or learning to use Oracle to take your skill-set to the next level, do whatever it takes to move to the next level.Often your organization will help you with the cost; but if it doesn’t, do it on your own dime.5. Follow upYou may need to speak to your critic again at some point (either before or after your corrective action) to expand upon the original criticism and where you need to go from there.Take a deep breath and schedule a meeting. Then, once you’ve taken action to correct the criticism and sufficient time has passed, follow up again to determine whether your performance has improved eyes.I particularly recommend this step if the critic is your supervisor.No pain, no gainIf life were always a bed of roses, we’d never get up and try to improve ourselves.Sometimes you have to deal with the thorns; ironically, the pain they cause will stimulate you to grow as a person. So listen and act on constructive criticism.Even when you’ve fixed the problem, focus on continuing to improve. Eventually, you’ll get so good at what you do that you’ll never need to worry about that particular task or topic again, as long as you commit to maintaining high standards of performance.Then you can go on to the next thing you want to fix — because there will always be a next thing.This was originally published on Laura Stack’s The Productivity Pro blog.
Many of us watch movies as a form of escapism. For 2 hours we are transported into another world and into a life that is often more exciting than our own. We fall in love with these characters. We share their adventure, their intrigue and their success.All from the safety of our own homes of course.Obviously, it’s easier to live your life vicariously through the actions of others than it is to get up and start creating your own adventures.That takes effort; and is probably the main reason why a life worth living is the exception rather than the norm.But what if we could be the heroes of our own story? What’s stopping us?Get out of the house. Start saying ‘yes’ and embrace the opportunities that come your way. Take risks and be the person that you see in your mind’s eye. Accept your fears and cast them to one side.A hero is courageous. Who they are at the beginning of the story is not who they are when the credits roll.They take action. They change. They overcome.So, do you want to be the hero of your own story?Here are 5 ways to get you started …
1. Why you must get the girl (or boy)Everyone needs someone in their life.People aren’t psychic – they have no idea how you feel. You can wish and want with all of your heart but until you choose to take decisive action, they will forever remain out of your grasp.Love can be dangerous. A true story of romance will include many obstacles that you may not see coming, but don’t let that deter you. It has to be challenging because adversity brings out the best in us.That person whom you spend all day thinking about, ask them out on a date – give yourself a chance of happiness by stepping into the unknown. Your parents, your grandparents, their parents and every line stretching back to your ancestors all had one thing in common.They found each other because they had the balls to go for it.
2. Stand up to the bad guysEvery good story needs a true antagonist – the mortal enemy that stands in your way and strives to prevent you from reaching the end of your quest.The Apollo Creed to your Rocky Balboa – the Johnny Lawrence to your Daniel LaRusso – the Titanic to your blossoming relationship. Life always throws something in the way to test our resolve but without it complacency sets in and we allow fear to overwhelm and consume us.These ‘end of level’ bad guys will pop up everywhere, but you have invincibility mode enabled – you’re bulletproof.
3. You’re the underdog but you can prove everyone wrongDo you often feel like the unlucky loser? As a kid were you picked last during team sports or found yourself on the side-lines whilst everyone paired off at the school disco?As an adult do you feel like your height, gender or class somehow prevents you from realizing your potential? I’ll let you in on a little secret; we all feel inadequate somewhere. It’s human nature.But that doesn’t mean you have to allow your previous failures to dictate your future. From this point forward, everything starts afresh. Get out there and take on your biggest rivals at their own game.The best part of being the underdog is that no one will see you coming. The element of surprise is your biggest strength and as that timer counts down to zero, your sheer effort, grit and determination to succeed will triumph in the face of adversity.
4. Ignore the haters – this is your lifePeople will try and drag you down. Those who are afraid to embark on their own journey will do their utmost to stand in your way.They don’t mean to – it’s not a conscious decision.It’s fear. They’re afraid of being left behind. Your ambition reminds them how paralyzed they feel in their current life situation.It’s easy to get sucked in to their world.Newsflash – other people are not your responsibility. It’s not your fault they haven’t found the courage or the determination to succeed. This is your life, so the only barometer of success is the one you measure yourself with.If you follow the path that leads to success – those who believe in you will come along for the ride.Everyone else…At least they have each other.
5. Your reality is what you make of itYou’ve written the screenplay and you’ve given yourself the starring role. The question is; are you going to give an Oscar worthy performance?Be the hero of your own story – I dare you.Read more at http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/hero-story/#SHksb6EA7OJYmpLw.99
A hero is courageous. Who they are at the beginning of the story is not who they are at the end.
NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he has called President Barack Obama to express his frustration over what he says is long-lasting damage caused by the U.S. government's surveillance programs.Posting on his Facebook page Thursday, Zuckerberg wrote that he's been "confused and frustrated by the repeated reports of the behavior of the U.S. government. When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we're protecting you against criminals, not our own government."Though Zuckerberg does not name the National Security Agency, the post comes a day after the news site Intercept reported that the agency has impersonated a Facebook server to infect surveillance targets' computers and get files from a hard drive. The report is based on documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.The NSA called the report "inaccurate.""NSA uses its technical capabilities only to support lawful and appropriate foreign intelligence operations, all of which must be carried out in strict accordance with its authorities," the agency said in a statement.White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden confirmed that the president spoke with Zuckerberg Wednesday night regarding "recent reports in the press about alleged activities by the U.S. intelligence community." She gave no further comment.Technology companies including Facebook, Google Inc., Microsoft Corp., have been increasingly vocal about frustrations over the U.S. government's spying programs. Last month, top executives from the companies, along with others from Yahoo, Twitter, AOL and LinkedIn, called for changes that would include a government agreement not to collect bulk data from Internet communications.In Thursday's post, Zuckerberg called on the government to be more transparent, but added that, unfortunately, "it seems like it will take a very long time for true full reform."In January, Obama ordered a series of changes to mass surveillance programs that included ending the government's control of phone data from hundreds of millions of Americans and ordered intelligence agencies to get a court's permission before accessing such records. Tech companies took the president's speech as a step in the right direction, but said that more is needed to protect people's privacy — along with the economic interests of U.S. companies that generate most of their revenue overseas.U.S. Internet companies are worried that people, especially those living overseas, won't trust them with personal information if they believe such data is being collected by the U.S. government."The U.S. government should be the champion for the Internet, not a threat. They need to be much more transparent about what they're doing, or otherwise people will believe the worst," Zuckerberg wrote.The ongoing strife over surveillance could threaten what's been a cordial relationship between Silicon Valley and the president. The region has voted overwhelmingly for Obama in both of the past two presidential elections. Nearly 70 percent of Santa Clara County, which is home to Facebook, Google, Yahoo and a slew of other tech giants, sided with the president in the 2012 elections.Obama held a Facebook "town hall" meeting at the company's headquarters in April 2011 and earlier that year had dinner with a group of tech leaders that included Zuckerberg, Google's then-CEO Eric Schmidt and others.
By Meghan M. Biro
It’s the great challenge of leadership: how to inspire employees to bring their best selves to work and deliver consistent, stellar performance. It is accepted wisdom that happy (ok, I will even take content) employees are better performers. While there is much truth to this, it can lead to some common leadership mistakes.Yes, the perks in the form of benefits, free food, a gym, casual days, game rooms, etc. are important tools in creating a positive culture that makes people feel appreciated and happier. But these sweeteners don’t necessarily translate into increased productivity and performance.Creating a Work Zone of Zen Think of your own life. When you’re fully engaged in what you’re doing, to the extent that you lose track of time and even of your surroundings, don’t you feel a sense of total engagement, stimulation, energy, satisfaction, and happiness? I know I do. It’s almost a Zen place, the zone, and when I’m there I almost always perform a little bit better than other zones. Nothing – and I mean nothing – beats that feeling of a job well done. It gives our career life meaning in a profound way.So how do leaders and employees make the work matter? 5 Steps to Make Work Matter: 1. Build a community of support. It’s tough to focus, which is essential for getting into the Zen zone, when you don’t feel that you’re in a supportive culture that allows you to ignore distractions, i.e. anything that pulls focus away from the work. Employees who feel a sense of community in the workplace, who know that their interests are covered, that the distractions will be handled by their colleagues, can slip into a cocoon of concentration that leads directly to the zone.2. Link the work to the mission. Nothing is more demoralizing to an employee than the feeling that what they’re doing isn’t really adding much value. Make sure people know how important their contribution is. Be clear and explicit. And this applies to people at all levels in the organization. People will feel pride in their work if they understand its importance to the whole enterprise. This will boost focus and facilitate “zoning” in.3. Give people space. This means both literal space and figurative space. Yes, wildly decorated cubicles can be fun, but they can also be concentration killers. What works at Zappos may not work at your organization. Quiet can be a beautiful, inspiring thing. To the greatest extent possible, create a workspace that accommodates people’s spatial needs. As for figurative, don’t be a helicopter leader – no hovering! It’s hard to get into the zone when someone is breathing down your neck. Trust your people, we’re all grownups here. Within the needs of the project, give them free rein and let them run with it.4 . Watch the workload. If people have too much work, they stress out and shut down. They start to attack it mechanically, desperate to get the load down to a manageable size. This is a zone killer. On the other hand, make sure people have an engaging project. It’s so depressing to see employees killing time in random ways. Hours socializing, playing video games, surfing the web, organizing excursions, etc. do not lead to the zone.5. Play to people’s passions. It’s much easier to be fully engaged and in the zone when you’re working on something that excites you, intellectually and emotionally. Obviously, not every project can thrill us. But to the greatest extent possible, help people connect what they’re doing to what they care about. This gives work real meaning.Work Will Matter, But Not ForcedHappiness is a loaded word in our culture, and in our workplace cultures. It’s important to keep in mind that we all have our own personal definition of happiness. But I firmly believe that a fulfilling career is a direct result of doing work that matters – that engages us mind, heart, and soul. Leaders can’t force employees into the zone, but they can certainly facilitate and nurture the process and make this more of a reality by making decisions that keep this in mind. And for employees – it’s a satisfying challenge if you decide to make it matter.
Organizations which feel like community will be more successful than those where teams are constructed by the managers. Community suggests support and fluidity that allows different people to step up and lead at various times based on their strengths.
As a follow-up to my earlier post about the brain and gut decisions, I want to share my conversation with Erica Ariel Fox for my Leadership: A Master Class about how intuition can factor into good decision-making. Erica Ariel Fox is a lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, and part of the internationally acclaimed Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.“Let’s look at Malcolm Gladwell’s concept of thin-slicing. My interpretation: you are in fact cognitively perceiving data, it’s just that you’re doing it so quickly. With pattern recognition from past experience, what you experience as intuitive is actually just unbelievably quick cognitive processing.There are also arguments that when the emotional part of the brain is damaged, people can’t make decisions: you need the right and left hand side of the brain, the cognitive and the emotional. I think that is right for certain kinds of decisions, such as when you’re gathering information and trying to make meaning or make sense out of information.But these approaches to decision-making don’t address what might be called direct knowing: I know this, but I don’t know how I know it. I didn’t read it in a book. Nobody told it to me. I didn’t have an Excel spreadsheet that laid it out for me. Nonetheless, I know it.I think we have a set of skills that coaches and leaders who work with teams might call “reading the room.” Others call it attunement or discernment. It’s not data processing and thin-slicing, and it’s also not having an emotional evaluation of decisions. It’s a sensing. When I work with a team in crisis, tuning in to the group’s feelings and emotions really helps me ask the right questions about what’s happening.People will be shocked when they think back over the course of their lives, ‘when I made that decision, I actually knew it was wrong, but I didn’t trust the part of me that was telling me not to do it.’ Or they say, ‘It was the craziest thing. I made this decision. Everyone in my life thought I was insane, but I just knew it was right, and it turned out it was the best decision I ever made.’”How does this concept resonate with you? How would you explain intuition in relation to decision-making?
Without reading the article, I would say yes. When I read the article, it bore that out. Complexity science literature points out we use intuition largely below the radar.
The SEC may not tighten the vise on brokers after all.Under the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial regulation, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has the option–but not a mandate–to require broker dealers to meet the same fiduciary standards as investment advisers when dealing with retail clients.But comments from SEC Commissioner Daniel Gallagher show the SEC isn’t necessarily keen on enforcing these standards for brokers.“At this point I’m not sure we have to use it. I’m not sure, quite frankly, that the majority of the commission believes we should use it,” Mr. Gallagher said yesterday on a panel discussion in Washington hosted by advocacy group the Financial Services Roundtable.Mr. Gallagher added that the topic was “very much an open issue”, and that the SEC was concerned that new rules could have the unintended consequence of limiting investor choice, because broker dealers could scale back full-service brokerage accounts for retail investors.The remarks come after the SEC last year asked for industry feedback as it considered standards for broker conduct in their work with retail clients, acknowledging that broker dealers have a fiduciary responsibility to those clients under certain circumstances, but not across the board.Brokers are already regulated by Wall Street’s self-regulator, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, and the SEC.In a 2011 report, SEC staff recommended two potential ways forward: writing new rules to create a uniform fiduciary standard of conduct for brokers and investment advisers in dealing with retail clients, or harmonizing rules for both to avoid confusion among retail clients.Mr. Gallagher’s comments run counter to a vote by the SEC’s Investor Advisory Committee late last year to recommend the broker standard. The issue also underscored the complexity of regulators’ ongoing efforts to hash out the granular details of post-crisis regulation.Even without new rules, Mr. Gallagher pointed out that the SEC still has the power to crack down on wrongdoing. It’s important, he said, for the SEC to bring more enforcement actions.“Wherever there is money involved there are going to be bad actors, but there’s no one rule that can keep bad actors from that space,” he said.
Joss Stone performing Dusty Springfield's 'Son of a Preacher Man' at the UK Music Hall of Fame on 14/11/06.
Great performance as she walks around barefoot!
Exclusive: web's inventor warns neutrality under sustained attack from governments and corporations The inventor of the world wide web believes an online "Magna Carta" is needed to protect and enshrine the independence of the medium he created and the rights of its users worldwide.Sir Tim Berners-Lee told the Guardian the web had come under increasing attack from governments and corporate influence and that new rules were needed to protect the "open, neutral" system.Speaking exactly 25 years after he wrote the first draft of the first proposal for what would become the world wide web, the computer scientist said: "We need a global constitution – a bill of rights."Berners-Lee's Magna Carta plan is to be taken up as part of an initiative called "the web we want", which calls on people to generate a digital bill of rights in each country – a statement of principles he hopes will be supported by public institutions, government officials and corporations.Advertisement"Unless we have an open, neutral internet we can rely on without worrying about what's happening at the back door, we can't have open government, good democracy, good healthcare, connected communities and diversity of culture. It's not naive to think we can have that, but it is naive to think we can just sit back and get it."Berners-Lee has been an outspoken critic of the American and British spy agencies' surveillance of citizens following the revelations by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. In the light of what has emerged, he said, people were looking for an overhaul of how the security services were managed.His views also echo across the technology industry, where there is particular anger about the efforts by the NSA and Britain's GCHQ to undermine encryption and security tools – something many cybersecurity experts say has been counterproductive and undermined everyone's security.Principles of privacy, free speech and responsible anonymity would be explored in the Magna Carta scheme. "These issues have crept up on us," Berners-Lee said. "Our rights are being infringed more and more on every side, and the danger is that we get used to it. So I want to use the 25th anniversary for us all to do that, to take the web back into our own hands and define the web we want for the next 25 years."The web constitution proposal should also examine the impact of copyright laws and the cultural-societal issues around the ethics of technology.While regional regulation and cultural sensitivities would vary, Berners-Lee said he believed a shared document of principle could provide an international standard for the values of the open web.He is optimistic that the "web we want" campaign can be mainstream, despite the apparent lack of awareness of public interest in the Snowden story."I wouldn't say people in the UK are apathetic – I would say that they have greater trust in their government than other countries. They have the attitude that we voted for them, so let them get on and do it."But we need our lawyers and our politicians to understand programming, to understand what can be done with a computer. We also need to revisit a lot of legal structure, copyright law – the laws that put people in jail which have been largely set up to protect the movie producers … None of this has been set up to preserve the day to day discourse between individuals and the day to day democracy that we need to run the country," he said.Berners-Lee also spoke out strongly in favour of changing a key and controversial element of internet governance that would remove a small but symbolic piece of US control. The US has clung on to the Iana contract, which controls the dominant database of all domain names, but has faced increased pressure post-Snowden.He said: "The removal of the explicit link to the US department of commerce is long overdue. The US can't have a global place in the running of something which is so non-national. There is huge momentum towards that uncoupling but it is right that we keep a multi-stakeholder approach, and one where governments and companies are both kept at arm's length."Berners-Lee also reiterated his concern that the web could be balkanised by countries or organisations carving up the digital space to work under their own rules, whether for censorship, regulation or commerce.We all have to play a role in that future, he said, citing resistance to proposed copyright theft regulation.He said: "The key thing is getting people to fight for the web and to see the harm that a fractured web would bring. Like any human system, the web needs policing and of course we need national laws, but we must not turn the network into a series of national silos."Berners-Lee also starred in the London 2012 Olympics, typing the words "this is for everyone" on a computer in the centre of the arena. He has stuck firmly to the principle of openness, inclusivity and democracy since he invented the web in 1989, choosing not to commercialise his model. Rejecting the idea that government and commercial control of such a powerful medium was inevitable, Berners-Lee said it would be impossible: "Not until they prise the keyboards from our cold, dead fingers."Creator of web free to use for everyoneAs a boy growing up in south-west London, Tim Berners-Lee was a keen trainspotter, which led to his interest in model railways and then electronics.But computers were already familiar concept in the family home – both his parents worked on the creation of the world's first commercially built computer, the Ferranti Mk1.Berners-Lee got a first in physics at Oxford and then worked in a series of engineering roles. But it was at Cern, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, in Geneva where he embarked on projects which would lead to the creation of the world wide web.His aim was to allow researchers all over the world to share documents and his first proposals were judged as "vague but interesting" by a manager at Cern.He combined existing technology such as the internet and hypertext and combined them to produce an immense interconnected document storage system. Berners-Lee labelled it the world wide web, although his Francophone collaborators found it difficult to pronounce.The web was first open to new users in 1991, and in 1992, the first browser was created to scan and select the millions of documents which already existed.Although the web has seen the creation and loss of countless fortunes, Berners-Lee and his team ensured that it was free to use for everyone.Berners-Lee now works through various organisations to ensure that the web is accessible to all and that the concept of the neutrality of the net is observed by governments and corporations.
Today is the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web. http://www.webat25.org/
Great discussion on open data usage by the awesome Alex Howard. A very interesting interview with the creator of the Web, Tim Berners-Lee,.
They almost look like stuffed animals.
Love this pic from @BabyAnimalPics #Kittehs
Time Magazine recently put “The Mindfulness Revolution” on its cover, which could either be seen as hyping the latest business fad, or as signaling a major change in the thinking of executive leaders. I believe it’s the latter.The use of mindful practices like meditation, introspection, and journaling are taking hold at such successful enterprises as Google, General Mills, Goldman Sachs, Apple, Medtronic, and Aetna, and contributing to the success of these remarkable organizations. Let’s look at a few examples: With support from CEO Larry Page, Google’s Chade-Meng Tan, known as Google’s Jolly Good Fellow, runs hundreds of classes on meditation and has written a best-selling book, Search Inside Yourself.
General Mills, under the guidance of CEO Ken Powell, has made meditation a regular practice. Former executive Janice Marturano, who led the company’s internal classes, has left the company to launch the Institute for Mindful Leadership, which conducts executive courses in mindfulness meditation.
Goldman Sachs, which moved up 48 places in Fortune Magazine’s Best Places to Work list, was recently featured in Fortune for its mindfulness classes and practices.
At Apple, founder Steve Jobs — who was a regular meditator — used mindfulness to calm his negative energies, to focus on creating unique products, and to challenge his teams to achieve excellence.
Thanks to the vision of founder Earl Bakken, Medtronic has a meditation room that dates back to 1974 which became a symbol of the company’s commitment to creativity.
Under the leadership of CEO Mark Bertolini, Aetna has done rigorous studies of both meditation and yoga and their positive impact on employee healthcare costs.These competitive companies understand the enormous pressure faced by their employees — from their top executives on down. They recognize the need to take more time to reflect on what’s most important in order to create ways to overcome difficult challenges. We all need to find ways to sort through myriad demands and distractions, but it’s especially important that leaders with great responsibilities gain focus and clarity in making their most important decisions, creativity in transforming their enterprises, compassion for their customers and employees, and the courage to go their own way.Focus, clarity, creativity, compassion, and courage. These are the qualities of the mindful leaders I have worked with, taught, mentored, and interviewed. They are also the qualities that give today’s best leaders the resilience to cope with the many challenges coming their way and the resolve to sustain long-term success. The real point of leverage — which though it sounds simple, many executives never discover — is the ability to think clearly and to focus on the most important opportunities.In his new book Focus, psychologist Dr. Daniel Goleman, the father of emotional intelligence (or EQ), provides data that supports the importance of mindfulness in focusing the mind’s cognitive abilities, linking them to qualities of the heart like compassion and courage. Dr. Goleman prescribes a framework for success that enables leaders to build clarity about where to direct their attention and that of their organizations by focusing on themselves, others, and the external world — in that order. Cultivating this type of focus requires establishing regular practices that allow your brain to fully relax and let go of the anxiousness, confusion, and pressures that can fill the day. (Editor’s note: here is Daniel Goleman’s related HBR article, The Focused Leader.)I began meditating in 1975 after attending a Transcendental Meditation workshop with my wife Penny, and have continued the practice for the past 38 years. (In spite of this, I still do mindless things like leaving my laptop on an airplane, but I continue to work on staying in the present moment.) All of our family members meditate regularly. Our son Jeff, a successful executive in his own right, believes he would not be successful in his high-stress job were it not for daily meditation and jogging.Meditation is not the only way to be a mindful leader. In the classes I teach at Harvard Business School, participating executives share a wide range of practices they use to calm their minds and gain clarity in their thinking. They report that the biggest derailer of their leadership is not lack of IQ or intensity, but the challenges they face in staying focused and healthy. To be equipped for the rapid-fire intensity of executive life, they cultivate daily practices that allow them to regularly renew their minds, bodies, and spirits. Among these are prayer, journaling, jogging and/or physical workouts, long walks, and in-depth discussions with their spouses and mentors.The important thing is to have a regular introspective practice that takes you away from your daily routines and enables you to reflect on your work and your life — to really focus on what is truly important to you. By doing so, you will not only be more successful, you will be happier and more fulfilled in the long run.
"The use of meditation, introspection, and journaling are taking hold at successful enterprises."
“Don’t handicap your children by making their lives easy.” -Robert A. HeinleinWith the plethora of shopping opportunities, the ability to communicate across the world in an instant, and electronic entertainment coming from every direction, life in today’s world is fast-paced and full-on. Anything seems possible. And with so many options and devices at our disposal, parents can be tempted to make their kids’ lives very easy.Want that $2 toy? Okay, you got it. (Better to avoid a melt down, right?)However if we want our children to stand up to the inevitable challenges they will face in the future and keep going despite disappointment or frustration, we need to help our children develop resilience. This means they need to practice coping skills, and therefore need some challenges to practice these skills with.After all, life is not about figuring out how to turn off a thunderstorm or switch on the sun – no matter how much we would like this to be possible.Our children will learn to be much happier, more resilient people, when they can enjoy the sunshine when it is around and dance in the rain when there is no other choice.25 ideas for how you can teach your kids resilience:The list below is not your typical “do and don’t” list but rather a set of prompts to begin reflecting on ways we can teach our children resilience through simple interactions every day.* Give your child independence to try new things they initiate, such as climbing at the playground or opening a container, even if you think it is “too hard” for them.* Encourage your child to serve others or let others go first when sharing food.* Give your child the opportunity to wait patiently when it is required (such as in a restaurant or during a car ride); do not always provide entertainment.* Show your child that it is worth making a good decision for the long run even if it’s not the easiest, such as choosing healthy foods over junk foods even if they take longer to prepare.* Do not give your child every single physical thing they desire (toys, food, clothes, etc) even if “everyone else has it.”* Enable your child to give toys and clothes away regularly to charity, and teach them that material possessions are simply tools and not answers to happiness.* Give your child opportunities to help others younger than them, starting with simple ways such as showing the other child pictures in a book.* Teach your child to identify struggles as challenges to overcome, not tests to avoid, and teach them phrases such as “this too shall pass” or “every challenge makes you stronger” to spark this outlook.* Encourage your child to maintain a positive attitude about chores or homework by teaching them creative ways to find fun in work.* If your child is older, give them the chance to wait for family meals instead of snacking any time they want.* Remind your child to be patient with a younger sibling’s interference with their toys; teach them that relationships are more important than *things*.* Help your child learn self control regarding electronic mediums and entertainment by demonstrating your own restraint.* Allow your child to experience the extremes of temperature by dressing accordingly, not hiding away from the weather.* Resist the urge to run to your child’s rescue immediately, such as when you see them having trouble putting on clothes or feeding themselves.* Do not allow your child to interrupt when adults are speaking to one another; set up an age-appropriate method for them to practice taking their turn.* Give your child many opportunities to share their belongings and their food, by inviting guests over and setting up ways they can be generous.* Introduce new experiences to your child which will help them step outside their comfort zone, such as playing with children who speak another language and trying new foods.Resist the urge to run to your child’s rescue immediately, such as when you see them having trouble putting on clothes or feeding themselves.* Do not allow your child to interrupt when adults are speaking to one another; set up an age-appropriate method for them to practice taking their turn.* Give your child many opportunities to share their belongings and their food, by inviting guests over and setting up ways they can be generous.* Introduce new experiences to your child which will help them step outside their comfort zone, such as playing with children who speak another language and trying new foods.* Do not give in when you have set a limit, such as an amount of TV they can watch or how much dessert they can have.* When your child wants to find something, let them look for it.* Teach your child how to be responsible for their own clothes as early as possible: to sort and wash and put them away – including washing clothes by hand and hanging them out to dry.* Remind your children to do their best on school work, even if it means taking longer than they would like or staying up a bit later than normal.* Require that responsibilities be completed even when your child does not feel like it, such as making beds, taking a bath, feeding the pets, and brushing teeth.* When your child really wishes they had something, teach them to be grateful and find the best in whatever situation they are in.* Let your child own their feelings, even if they are challenging, by not belittling the emotions but giving them a way to maintain perspective through phrases such as “Every challenge makes me stronger” or “A rainbow will come after the storm.”* Enable your child to gain perspective about their reality by volunteering for charitable organizations that serve people who do not have the same life circumstances.
Tweet A few weeks ago, I read an interesting article titled On the Job, Nice Guys May Finish Last. The title immediately caught my attention, and I had to take a look.
“If your number one goal is to make sure that everyone likes and approves of you, then you risk sacrificing your uniqueness, and, therefore, your excellence.” ~UnknownI can remember many times in my life when I was afraid to stand out.When listening to a lecture or panel discussion at school, I always had questions to ask, but the moment I finally raised my hand, my heart would start palpitating and gravity would force my arm down.The same thing happened in business meetings. I struggled to articulate my ideas, although I was sure they could have brought some new impulses. In the end, I felt miserable, as I’d missed another chance to join the debate.Why was it so difficult to speak out on the topics I was interested in? I’d missed so many opportunities to contribute and make my voice heard; to crack jokes or wear the clothes I wanted to wear; to try crazy things or be the only one on the dance floor.I missed out on being me, but I couldn’t manage to overcome my fear of standing out.What would others think of me?What if I said something stupid?What if they laughed?What if everybody stared at me?Why don’t we dare to stand out more often?Starting at a very early age, we learn that standing out is not desirable. When children speak their mind or they’re loud, playing wild games, adults tell them to calm down and be quiet. Many parents fear their offspring standing out in a way that might not be flattering, whereas when it comes to competing with others, kids are absolutely encouraged to stand out.In school, when articulating an opinion or questioning what they’ve learned, students are often labeled rebellious. Few teachers manage to appreciate uniqueness, because it means work.In adolescence, we’re torn between the desire to express our individuality and the urge to be accepted. Many times, we prefer to fit in because we’ve learned that we’re only going to belong to a group if we are like others expect us to be. But deep inside, we feel that something is missing.
Showing Your True ColorsDaring to stand out means being your true self, speaking your mind, dressing the way you want, or laughing out loud, even if you’re the only one who finds something funny.It means being different, following your dreams when no one believes in you, speaking up when no one else does, and making a difference in your life or the life of others by being who you are.Standing out implies being in the limelight, even if your audience consists of only one person.Whether it’s changing your life for good, getting a style makeover, asking uncomfortable questions and touching on sensitive subjects, joining a charity or keeping your lonely neighbor company, taking part in a local theater play or quitting your banking job to buy your own food truck—that’s what makes you stand out, because you dare and care.
All Magic Comes at A PriceWe all have talents and aspirations, some small, some big. Some might not be mainstream. This is when things start getting complicated and uncomfortable: in one way or another, we might rub someone the wrong way.We will never be able to please everyone.When standing out, we show the world that we’re here, and that we’re part of it; that we have something to say that might inspire others or even brighten their day.Take a deep breath, step out of your comfort zone, and reveal the person you really are.
What’s to Lose?If others don’t want you to stand out, it’s because they don’t want you to grow. If you started to live the life you wanted, it might make them feel uncomfortable about themselves. Don’t let that hold you back.You might lose some acquaintances or false friends, but true friends will encourage and support you. And a lot of people will admire you for your courage. Even better, you will be loved for who you are. Isn’t this one of our deepest longings?
3 Daring Steps to Let Your Unique Inner Self ShineIt requires some courage to tackle the fear of standing out. You can always start small and take it one step at a time. But, if you feel adventurous, you might want to try one of these three daring steps to let your unique inner self shine.
1. Go against the flow.If you don’t enjoy what everybody likes, stand by it. If you have another opinion, say it. If you don’t want to join your friends for the hottest event of the year, don’t go.What matters is that you feel good about yourself. It might mean not being part of the majority. So what? Dare to be a splash of color in a society of uniformity. You will always find like minded people you can connect with.
2. Dare to be unpopular.If the only way to popularity is by compromising your true self, then turn down the offer. Let others know what you want and what your boundaries are.Accept that you can’t be loved by everyone, and choose not to make your well-being dependent on others. The less glamorous but sustainable kind of popularity comes with authenticity.
3. Embarrass yourself.A moment of embarrassment by choice can be very liberating. You’ll learn that you’re not going to die, and the ground won’t swallow you up (even if you wished for it).Quite often, others don’t even notice whatever you’re feeling embarrassed about. It’s mostly in your head. So next time you’re invited to a karaoke bar, grab the microphone and sing your heart out.–In school and in business meetings, whenever I was anxious to take part in the discussion, the majority of other participants didn’t raise their hands, either, and remained silent like me.I wasn’t the only one but didn’t realize it. Instead, I was focused on the chance of embarrassing myself. The fear of standing out is rampant.Yes, standing out means being vulnerable, and it opens us up to the risk of being ridiculed, but it also gives us the possibility of letting our uniqueness shine and showing others who we really are. Does this feel so bad after all?
Let your light shine bright! This is easier said than done. ~ "Standing out means being vulnerable, but it also gives us the possibility of letting our unique self shine and showing others who we really are."
When adopting technology in the classroom, one of the key concerns for teachers and administrators is classroom management. I am often asked if there is a way to “lock down an iPad screen” or “ensure students cannot go to inappropriate websites” (e.g. Social Media). In other words, how do we keep students on task and are not distracted by the novelty of gadgets or communicating with friends via texting or social media. Often, teachers will take up devices (such as mobile phones) to avoid the issue of students texting or checking Facebook on their phones (eliminating access to a powerful, pocket computer in the process).Classroom management is a challenging skill which I consistently strive to improve on a regular basis. Often, people believe that managing a classroom that has employed technology requires a whole new approach and skill set. However, I have found that many traditional methods of classroom management readily translate to the technological rich schoolroom – with some slight modification.Establish Clear ExpectationsJust as I start out the school year with “Class Rules” that we make and agree to as a group, we also establish expectations for when we use technology. The general topics are: civility, staying on task, and adhering to the honor code. In reality, this is no different than I would expect in a non-technology classroom. The one additional rule that I add, as it pertains to smart phones, is that when not in use they are to sit, face-down on the desk in front of them. I have found that having students “put them away” can create temptation and they are more likely to “sneak a peek” at them from a pocket or a sleeve. However, if the phone is always face-down on the desk in front of them, they are less prone to “sneak a peek” at a text from a friend or check their Facebook status and to stay on task when employing it during my lessons.In addition to establishing expectations, you may also want to ensure that you lay out consequences for violating your established policies – this can be loss of technology privilege, a note home, confiscation of the device, meeting with the Dean, whatever you decide to ensure that everyone understands what is expected of them and the natural consequences of violating them.Let them “Get the Giggles Out”If I’m introducing a new tool, app, piece of software, or device, I often give students some time to “get the giggles out.” For example, if we are using Today’s Meet to do a Backchannel, they have 2 minutes to say hello to all of their friends. If we are using iMovie on iPad, I will encourage them to make one silly video before they delve into the assignment. Some of the problems of using new technology arise from the novelty of the device. Let students get passed the initial excitement so that they can be more focused when they delve into their work.Engagement is KeyI will be the first to argue that as educators we are not entertainers. Lessons should be engaging and require students to stay on task at a solid pace in order to complete them. Ensure that the assignment requires students to stay engaged; this can include playing to their passions, setting firm due dates for assessment, and scaling the assignment for students who finish faster. Students become bored when they are not challenged or find their assignments meaningful and challenging.One of my favorite uses of cell phones during the class, for example, is to engage in bell-ringer exercises (activities students must complete at the start of class) or exit-tickets (something they must complete before leaving). Using an app like Socrative, students can use their mobile phone to complete a brief activity that is then assessed. Not only does it keep them focused on a task, but it provides meaningful assessment for the teachers to gauge student progress.Two Eyes, Two FeetCarl Hooker, an educational technology innovator on the cutting edge, coined the phrase “the two eyes, two feet app” in response to faculty and administration concerned about inappropriate use on cell phones, tablets, and/or laptops. The biggest shift for educators when technology enters the classroom is that you cannot be static or stable. The best way to ensure that students stay on task is to walk around the room, look at the work they are doing, discuss and engage with them about their progress. The more active and mobile you are in the classroom, the easier it is to ensure that your students are on working on what they should be. If you notice that children are quickly closing browsers windows when you come near or “double tapping” the home button on their iPad (a sign that they’re switching apps) then take the time to investigate what the student is doing and have a discussion with them if necessary.Know When To Put Technology AwayEven though I am the Director of Educational Technology, my classes are never “all tech all the time.” Sometimes, it is not appropriate to use technology for an assignment or activity in class. In those cases, the technology goes away – in fact, I’ve been known to collect cell phones during certain activities (like mid-term exams or quizzes). Use the appropriate tool for the appropriate context – and sometimes that is a pencil and paper. Beth Holland and Shawn McCusker wrote a great article on this topic entitled “When to Put the Tech Away in a 1:1 Classroom.” As Shawn argues, when technologies interferes with class culture, it’s time to put the tech away!Overall, classroom management is an organic and individual process. You must find what works for you and with what students. I will admit that I have classes that are easier to keep on task than others, students that are more readily distracted than their peers, and activities that just do not succeed as I hoped. At the end of your activity, pause, assess, and adjust as needed!
As told through her latest (and greatest?) album… Bangerz. Her distinct and deep knowledge of HR is woven into the tapestry of her latest album. Don’t hate her because she’s got a really long, slightly bleached pointy tongue. Hate her because she knows HR better than you. Haters hate. Leaders lead.
Let’s analyze the HR gospel that is Bangerz. Her words, our world.
Track One: Adore You
“When you say you love me, Know I love you more, And when you say you need me, Know I need you more. Boy, I adore you, I adore you.”
This song is clearly about employee engagement. We want employees to love us. We want to love employees… not in the overly handsy Christmas party way… but really love employees. Reciprocal work love seldom occurs.
Track 2: We Can’t Stop
“It’s our party we can do what we want, It’s our party we can say what we want, It’s our party we can love who we want.”
This song is about generations at work. Boomers are done. Gen X is ready to lead but no one really likes them and Millennials aren’t ready to lead. It’s the merry-go-round clash of generations. I think I can speak for Miley here–I can’t wait for the millennials to lead.
Track 3: SMS (Bangerz) (feat. Britney Spears)
“She be strutting that stuff, that stuff, that stuff, She be strutting that stuff, I be strutting my stuff, She be strutting that stuff, that stuff, that stuff.”
This song is about high potentials. How do we actually support the most valuable assets in our company? Remember 80% of the value of your firm comes from 20% of the employee population. Strut that!
Track 4: 4×4 (feat. Nelly)
“I’m a female rebel, can’t you see?”
This song is about developing women leaders/promoting from within. The “can’t you see?” lyric is especially haunting. Truth is… we’re terrible at developing talent from within. My gut tells me that great talent is amongst us all the time and we just don’t see it. (shakes fist)
Track 5: My Darlin (feat. Future)
“What happened to that feeling? We’ll never get it back.”
This song is about failed performance reviews. It’s lazy to say that performance reviews suck. I’m lazy… see what I did there. I kid. It’s the missed expectations of performance reviews that we really get wrong. What you thought versus what I thought… it’s an apples-to-erasers comparison. We have a moment of understanding and we (typically) squander it; moreover, we rarely get that moment back.
Track 6: Wrecking Ball
“All I wanted was to break your walls, All you ever did was wreck me, Yeah, you, you wreck me.”
This song is about millennials at work. Turns out, millennials hate the way we work. Hate. As well they should. Our love affair with work is dumb. So, yeah… they are not so secretly trying to break down our walls. Um, we call those best practices and $h!t.
Track 7: Love, Money, Party (feat. Big Sean)
“Money ain’t nothing but money, When you get to the money, it ain’t nothing but money.”
This song is about total rewards. We know this. Money is the only driver to employee happiness. It’s important, but it isn’t the be-all, end-all. What’s the total package we offer employees? And how do we find out what is/isn’t important to them? Those are darned good questions, Miley.
Track 8: #GETITRIGHT
“Don’t make me wait, Don’t make me wait.”
This song is about meeting employees where they are. Smart HR executives have known this for years. You meet the audience where they are. In other news, no one likes to wait.
Track 9: Drive
“You told me you were coming back, Right back, Promised it was real and I believed that, But if I fall for it again, I will be a fool.”
This song is obviously about training and development. We make so many mistakes in T&D. Most of all, we fail because we don’t invest in enough training. It’s weird; we think training increases the odds employees will leave us. Not so. It helps them love us. Train, yo.
Track 10: FU (feat. French Montana)
“What makes you think I’ll stick around, I’m not as stupid as you sound, And you sound really dumb right now.”
This song is about retaining top talent. Turns out, pimpin’ ain’t easy. The number one job in HR is retaining top talent… it’s also, coincidentally enough, the hardest job in HR.
Track 11: Do My Thang
“I’mma do my thing, I’mma do my thing, So don’t you worry about me, I’mma be okay, I’mma do my thing, ’cause I’mma do my thing.”
This song is about creating/supporting a winning corporate culture. Culture is fluid. Letting employees be themselves within the corporate context is KING. That is culture.
Track 12: Maybe You’re Right
“Chapter one we started happy, The second that you said you loved me, Started questioning us, Are we really in love?, Trying to figure out chapter three.”
This song is about employee communications. Right time, right message, and right audience–tons of moving parts and we’re generally terrible at communicating with employees–outside of benefits communication… seems like we mastered that. Well, until ACA undid all of our momentum. Thanks, Washington.
Track 13: Someone Else
“Love is patient, Love is selfless, Love is hopeful, Love is kind, Love is jealous, Love is selfish, Love is helpless, Love is blind.”
This song is about corporate values. Hiring, promoting and living your values every.single.day. Turns out, corporate values are more than words on the backs of business cards. Miley nailed. Albeit, I would add love is trusting… but then again, who am I to judge?
Track 14: Rooting For My Baby
“So hold on, In a minute it’ll be over and gone, Gone, gone, gone, gone.”
This song is about persevering through tough work assignments. Not every day is easy and glorious. How do we help our employees grind it out? How do we support them when work sucks balls? Dunno… but we should probably work on that.
Track 15: On My Own
“You will never listen when I need someone to talk to, So you switch the subject, cause, cause it’s beyond you, And when you talk about your dreams, I’m never included.”
This song is clearly about bad managers. We all know how bad managers affect our work lives. HR should be re-branded as the “Riding The World Of Bad Managers Department.” #rtwobmd Can I get an “I know, right?”
Track 16: Hands In The Air (feat. Ludacris)
“I remember dreaming bout, The things I do right now, Like I climbed onto a cloud, Scared to look back down.”
This song is about creating a successful on-boarding program. Connecting the dots between why we recruited a person to we’re so glad you’re here to do the job. We should really be better at on-boarding. Turns out, it’s tantamount to the romance phase of marriage.
Well ladies and gentlemen–that’s the Bangerz album. Who knew Miley knew HR? So young and yet so wise about our world. Preach, Miley, preach.
Insight via song lyric? That's my style, too. Love it! Funny and informative. ~ V.B.
By Lindsay LaVineWe’ve all been there. Your boss schedules an emergency meeting on top of an already jam-packed day. A client calls with a last-minute project. And your new mattress delivery has been rescheduled for a week from Thursday (again).Instead of letting a crummy call or series of unfortunate events set the tone for the rest of your day, try one of these tips to help you step away from the stress and move on.
1. Get up and move.Removing yourself from the situation, even for 10 minutes, is helpful. Roy Morejon, president of Command Partners, a Charlotte, N.C.-based digital marketing agency, takes his Fitbit Force and hits the stairs in his building. Climbing 10 flights allows him to clear his head while getting in some exercise, he says.Leigh Steere, co-founder of Managing People Better LLC, a Boulder, Colo., management research firm, suggests clients “change state” after a stressful event before continuing with their day. For example, go outside and carefully observe something in the environment, such as the color of a flower petal. “If you are thinking about the specifics of the flower, it’s harder to continue to hold the stressful event in your mind,” she explains.
2. Indulge in a soothing treat.Whether it’s a piece of really exquisite chocolate or a cup of chamomile tea, treat yourself to a little luxury. Lisa Reinhardt, founder of Wei of Chocolate in Phoenix, studied meditation in the Himalayas for more than a decade before returning to the States to craft organic chocolate whose branding incorporates meditation principles into the workday. “We instruct people to unplug for two minutes while letting the chocolate melt in their mouth without chewing it,” Reinhardt explains. “Enjoy it, revel in it, totally abandon yourself in the deliciousness of the present moment, and when the last of the chocolate melts away, your breathing is deeper, your mood is transformed, and you’ve got that gentle smile on your face."
3. Perform a positive act.It might not seem like the most logical thing when you're buried under work, but taking the time to do something nice for someone else can really shift your mindset, says Caroline Adams Miller, a Maryland-based author and psychologist specializing in Applied Positive Psychology (the science of happiness). If you haven’t properly thanked a colleague for their help on a project, for example, go down the hall and thank them. “Altruistic behavior gives you the ‘helper’s high’ and there are many ways to do something generous or kind in a few short minutes,” Miller says.Another way to quickly rebound is to put a pen between your teeth and nod your head as you think of returning to a place of calm and resilience. Why does this help? The pen forces you to smile, and nodding has the same impact on the body as a smile, says Miller.4. Write it down.If all else fails and your mind keeps returning to stressful thoughts, write them down, Steere suggests. Provide a brief synopsis of what's stressing you out, why, and how you plan to follow up when you have more time--be it a conversation with your boss or a call to an angry customer, for example.Then make yourself a promise: “Now that I have developed an action plan, I am making a conscious choice to set aside this stress and focus on my other projects.”
"Come On Get Higher" by Matt Nathanson
One of my faves.
. . . one of the most difficult lines to toe in the complex world of play-based learning is the one that separates “too involved” from “disengaged”. . . This list captures my guiding principles when it comes to accompanying children through play-based learning. The Ten Commandments of Play-Based Learning10. Always say YES unless safety or reasonableness are threatened. Because, you know, a whole tub of glitter right before lunch when there is only one of me present isn’t reasonable, and 4-year-olds using the real, live babies in our program as their pretend baby dolls isn’t safe. When you create a limit, offer an alternative in the form of a YES, helping children internalize the limit while affirming their intrinsic exploration, creativity, and autonomy. “We can use glitter after lunch, or tomorrow” and “I can help you find a baby doll to dress, but Desmond has to stay in charge of his body.” Alternative-less “no’s” shut down curiosity and developing competence faster than ice cream melting on an Iowa summer day, and despite the oft-touted responsibility of adults to “maintaining authority”, these hard-won power struggles undermine all sense of relationship9. Never interrupt a child deeply engaged in activity. Our agenda, imposed on a child already deeply engaged, distracts and sends a message that the child’s internal drive is unimportant. Exceptions can be made, as in the event of mealtimes or time to leave for swim lessons, but care should be taken to respect the process of the child. Transitions – regardless of how necessary – require leaving one task for another, and often, require children setting aside their efforts in order to accommodate our desires. Involving children in protecting work across a transition time validates the importance of their efforts. Photos to document work, special designated “saving spaces” in the room, or quick sketches can provide documentation to support continuity.8. Respect the zone. Thanks to marvelous work by Lev Vygotsky, we have a theory known as The Zone of Proximal Development, which in its essence says individuals who are in the zone are learning at their highest level. On the days when children are in the zone, there is a palpable buzz. Children move from one activity to the next with purpose and intentionality, materials serve their purposes as supports for flexing cognitive muscles, and clusters of children solve problems quickly on the way to the next challenge. Children who are working in the zone should never be interrupted. (See commandment #9)7. Love yourself, your friends, and your space. These are our guiding principles at Abundant Life, and comprise my intervene-o-meter signalling urgent intervention. If the self-directed, exuberant play of young minds at work doesn’t impinge on care of self, friends, or space, then I can observe before deciding my role in the play.6. RESPECT. The child’s process, the child’s space, the child’s body language, the child’s choice of friends, the child’s anger, the child’s needs, the child’s non-verbal communication. [side note: I recently heard that 98% of all communication is non-verbal. How do we foster that when we always require that children "use your words!"??] Showing respect for each element of a child’s being communicates the very powerful message that their whole body is worthy of respect.5. Honor thy child’s “No!” You mean, it’s not all about obedience and conformity? One of the foundations of early childhood interactions is that giving children a voice over their experience teaches them to have a voice over their experience long-term. One of the richest grounds for developing this voice is through play-based learning. Play is a child’s domain, and when I enter, I am a participant, and the child has the opportunity to remain full-of-voice. If I ask a question that offers “no” as an answer, and I get “no” as an answer, I must operate with “no” as an option. [another side note: if "no" is not an option, I must refrain from asking a yes/no question]4. Always ask. Challenging, especially when coupled with #5. “Would you help us clean up?” “Would you like help to wipe your nose?” “Would you like to have some peas on your plate?” Asking a child’s permission before engaging has a two-fold purpose. On the one hand, preserving autonomy insures that children have practice knowing their bodies, limits, and voices. The drive for autonomy is so strong, that as human beings, we will do almost anything to resist commands. On the other, we must model for children the socially appropriate ways to meet our needs. (See #1)3. Speak clearly and directly. Helping children play by offering phrases like, “share your toys” or “be nice” isn’t helpful. Children need real, concrete language to define their experience. “Thank you for giving the toy to Simone. That was friendly.” “It looks like Tekoa would like a turn with the flowers. One way to solve the problem would be to take turns. After two minutes, maybe you can give the flowers to Tekoa. Does that work for you?” (nod to #4)2. Apologize. Let’s be honest…when have we succeeded in parenting perfectly? Show of hands? Okay, now that we are all being honest, In those moments when we don’t do exactly what we want to do, we apologize from the truest parts of ourselves, modeling authenticity and integrity. And then we move on, and look for ways to connect.1. Embrace our inner model. As Joseph Chilton Pearce says, “What we are teaches the child far more than what we say, so we must be what we want our children to become.” We work at nurturing ourselves so we can be present for our children – acting in the heated moments out of our reserves, not out of our stress and anxiety.
Read the full post: http://abundantlifechildren.com/2012/06/15/the-ten-commandments-of-play-based-learning/
As a mother and a trainer, I really like this list. I think many of these principles would apply to adult learners as well. Adults benefit from a fun environment where they have the opportunity to play and collaborate as a team. Happy playing!
Play is central in the writing of many of the great educational thinkers and needs to remain there.
What are the odds of living to age 100? They're improving every year. The 2010 U.S. Census counted 53,364 people age 100 and older in the United States, a 66% increase since 1980.Turning 100 used to get you a mention on the Today show. Now, so many Americans pass this milestone that Hallmark sells 100th birthday cards.To make it to 100, doctors recommend good health habits and a strong social support system. But how do you afford a retirement that lasts 35 to 40 years? These five strategies can reduce the chance you'll outlive your savings even if you hit the century mark.Save more during your careerA four-decade retirement will cost a lot of money. A career of strong saving is one of the best ways to build up the assets you'll need. Consider saving 12% to 15% of your pay each year for retirement, including any contributions from your employer.The earlier you start saving, the better, as younger workers are much more likely to see a long retirement. A 2011 study by the United Kingdom Department for Work and Pensions estimated a one in four chance that a 20-year-old woman would live to 100 (one in five for a 20-year-old man).Fortunately, if your career is just starting, you're in the best position to prepare for a decades-long retirement. Your money has all of your working years to grow.But no matter your age, there's never a bad time to save more for retirement.Own a diversified portfolioTo build up enough money to last through a long retirement, you will probably need market gains in addition to the money you contribute to your retirement plan account. That means investing in a diversified portfolio.During retirement, keeping some of your money invested in stocks can help you stay ahead of inflation while you withdraw income from your savings. Of course, diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest.Vanguard often suggests that investors with a long-term point of view consider investing in stocks. And who could have a longer point of view than someone who anticipates living a century?Make disciplined withdrawalsTo make your savings last through an extremely long retirement, you might have to withdraw it in very small increments. Many financial planners recommend withdrawing no more than 4% of your savings in the first year of retirement, and increasing your withdrawal by the rate of inflation each year so your spending power keeps up with the rising cost of living.But that advice is designed to stretch savings over 30 years. Studies suggest that investors looking to draw income for 40 years withdraw even less, say 3%. When the stock market has a sudden drop, it can make sense to further reduce your withdrawal rate for a while.You can learn more about creating income on our retirement income website.Choose joint-and-survivor benefitsIn the United States, centenarians are overwhelmingly female—and widowed. Many depend to a large extent upon their late husbands' Social Security benefits or pensions.That's why it's important to consider the impact your retirement planning might have on your spouse. For example, you might consider signing up for a 100% joint-and-survivor payout on any pension. That way, your survivor would continue to receive 100% of your pension benefit after your death.Similarly, delaying Social Security benefits could mean more money for a long-lived survivor.Lock in lifetime incomeThe guaranteed income* of an annuity can help you maintain your standard of living with little risk that you'll run out of money. One common retirement strategy is to purchase an annuity to cover basic living expenses like housing costs and groceries. With your basic needs covered, you could continue to invest the rest of your savings.When shopping for an income annuity, you should seek an insurance company that is highly rated, meaning it is considered financially strong enough to honor its obligations.*After all, you would need the insurance company to make the payments on your annuity even when you live to be 100.*Product guarantees are subject to the claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company. The underwriting risks, financial obligations, and support functions associated with the products are the responsibility of the issuing insurance company. The issuing insurance company is responsible for its own financial condition and contractual obligations.
Good suggestion from Vanguard.