How Am I Sabotaging My Future? (Part 11)

Successful people learn and grow before they have to.  A baseball player doesn’t just submit a resume and interview for the World Series.  He learns the game, works out, practices the fundamentals and gains experience at many levels.  People in all walks of life earn the privilege of playing in their industry’s “World Series” only when they prepare and “pay their dues.”

While most folks are willing to prepare once they see an opportunity, a whole new level of success comes to those who consistently, intentionally and strategically prepare for opportunities that don’t yet exist. Are you up to the challenge?

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
— Benjamin Franklin, American Founding Father

“The will to succeed is important, but what’s more important is the will to prepare.”
— Bobby Knight, College Basketball Coach

Preparation is a simple process: enlightenment, engagement, empowerment, repeat.  Although simple, it is not always easy.  Preparation is part intellectual, part experience, part emotional, part belief, part conditioning, and part repetition.  Here are the three stages of growth.

Enlightenment

It’s true for you, me and everyone else — we don’t know what we don’t now.  Enlightenment, the first stage of growth, is the passing from ignorance to awareness and from awareness to understanding. Sounds simple, right?  It can be for those with curiosity.  Curiosity is the inspiration that causes us to ask “How?” and “Why?”  It’s the energy of learning.  Growth begins with a healthy measure of curiosity.

“Curiosity killed the cat, but where human beings are concerned,
the only thing a healthy curiosity can kill is ignorance.”
— Harry Lorayne, Memory-training specialist, magician

“Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.”
— William Arthur Ward, Author

Engagement

So, you learned something new.  Now what?  The next stage begins with a choice.  You can reject the knowledge or you can file it away for the future.  There’s a third radical option you can apply it!  The value of knowledge grows with application and your understanding along with it. While sorting the useful stuff from the rest, take a few whacks and see what happens.  Be creative.  Look for interesting ways to use your new knowledge and practice your new skills.  You might be surprised.

“The strongest principle of growth lies in the human choice.”
— George Eliot, Novelist

“You don’t know how much artists go through to make it look so easy.
It’s all in the practice.”

Lauryn Hill, Singer, actress

Empowerment

There’s value in the first two stages.  But, the greatest value is not in having knowledge and experience.  It’s the empowered person you become during the process.  This new and improved person gains confidence and a preference favoring the newfound knowledge and capabilities over the old.  As the growth process continues, preference transforms into conviction.  That’s real growth — that’s empowerment!

“Between stimulus and response there is a space.
In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
— Viktor E. Frankl, Holocaust survivor, psychiatrist

“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.”
— Napoleon Hill, Author

In a rapidly-changing world, success comes to those who have a hunger to grow even when there is no apparent urgency.  People who learn only when they have to are sabotaging their futures.

How Am I Sabotaging My Future? (Part 5)

Curious George was always getting into trouble.  I guess the little monkey didn’t know or didn’t care that “curiosity killed the cat.”  Comedian Steven Wright cares.  He once said, “Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was a suspect.”  These perspectives suggest that curiosity is risky business.  And maybe it’s true.  But, without a healthy measure of curiosity, where would creativity come from?  Curiosity is the seed of creativity.  Maybe a candle metaphor is more appropriate.

“Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.” — William Arthur Ward

Where would we be, individually and collectively, without creativity? Creativity is not a special emotion reserved for the fine arts and the field of entertainment.  It is woven into life itself, at least any life worth living.  Without  creativity, human life would be a robotic sort of pre-programmed existence — mediocre, monotonous and perhaps impossible.

“People die when curiosity goes.” — Graham Swift

In thinking of the challenges we face each day at work, creativity is without a doubt, a career requirement.  Every new problem calls out for creative solutions.  Without it, people would not be able to think outside the box and struggle seeing the options inside the box.  What value do employees have who can’t bring creativity to bear on problems?

The language of our times suggests that we’ve become lazy with our curiosity.  “Been there, done that” and “whatever” have replaced the exuberance of “Wow!” and “Cool!”  I’m suspicious that fear of curiosity may be causing creativity to go into hibernation.  Are you afraid to ask “Why?” or “What if?” questions.  Whether its laziness or fear, when curiosity is absent, creativity and the ability to solve problems are right behind.  Without realizing it, you have sabotaged your future.

Stimulating creativity is not difficult.  Just break a few patterns.  Try taking a different way to work or changing radio stations.  Eat dinner at a different time or order something different from the menu.  Talk to someone on an elevator.  Read a book.  Get up 30 minutes earlier.  Learn a new word and use it in conversation.  Attend a workshop.  Call a friend you haven’t seen recently.  Do something that’s hard.  Add something to this list that your friends would think is strange.  (Then, do it!)

When people are intentional about breaking patterns, curiosity returns and creativity grows again.  When curiosity and creativity replace lazy habits and fear, people are able to see new opportunities and new solutions.

“One of the secrets of life is to keep our intellectual curiosity acute.”
— William Lyon Phelps

Well, I wouldn’t say it’s a secret, just a forgotten truth.  All that’s needed is a reminder in a blog and a role model like Curious George to whip those creativity muscles back into shape.

— CC

Teaching & Developing

The ABC’s of Professionalism

Describing a teacher as “one who has a teaching certificate and works in a school” is incomplete and a slight against all others who contribute toward the development of people. Teachers are known by many names such as: mentor, tutor, trainer, advisor, counselor, leader, educator, coach, guide, role model, instructor, advisor, demonstrator, therapist, lecturer, rabbi, preacher, Jesus, supervisor, co-worker, friend, parent, relative, neighbor and author.

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” — Charles W. Eliot

“And they were astonished at His teaching, for His word was with authority.” — Bible, Luke 4:32

In reality, everyone is a teacher and a developer of people in some capacity or another. Teachers are givers. When a teacher shares information with a student who receives and understands its meaning, learning has occurred.

“There are three things to remember when teaching: know your stuff; know whom you are stuffing; and then stuff them elegantly” — Lola May

Development is a special phenomenon of teaching that goes beyond learning. Transition from learning to development occurs when a teacher helps a student cross the threshold between “potential change” and “actual change” or between “knowledge” and “application.”

“Teaching is what you do to people; development happens within the individual. Teaching is an action; development is a process” — Gary Lear

“Education is not filling a pail but the lighting of a fire.” — William Butler Yeats

“The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.” — Mark van Doren

This transformation is made possible through the expertise of caring teachers who share knowledge AND inspire students to creatively integrate it with their beliefs and behaviors.

“Change only occurs when the beliefs are impacted” — Gary Lear

“No man can be a good teacher unless he has feelings of warm affection toward his pupils and a genuine desire to impart to them what he believes to be of value.” — Bertrand Russell

For each of us, as teachers engaged in people-building activities, two questions need to be asked: “What impact can I have?” and “What kind of teacher should I be?”

“Be an opener of doors for such as come after thee.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions.” — Anonymous

Because learning and development beyond learning are critical to personal and societal success, millions of people train for years and make a lifelong commitment to teaching and learning.  What about the rest? How can we all become a more effective teachers? What kind of teaching model should be adopted by a professional who is not a career teacher? Three words come to mind: enlighten, engage and empower.

Enlighten

Enlightenment is the intellectual dimension of development that presents new information and processes then challenges the student to consider the relevance of both the old and new information as it relates to experiences and current situations. Some would call this “learning to think outside your box.”

“I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.” — Socrates

“Real education must ultimately be limited to men who insist on knowing, the rest is mere sheep-herding.” — Ezra Pound

“We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself.”— Lloyd Alexander

“The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.”— Kahlil Gibran

Engage

This is the action dimension that creates opportunities for experiences to apply the new information, philosophies and processes so as to produce new and improved results. Some would connect this to the enlighten dimension by saying, “This is where the rubber meets the road.”

“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.”— Chinese Proverbs

“The two most engaging powers of an author are to make new things familiar, familiar things new.”— William Makepeace Thackeray

“We can teach from our experience, but we cannot teach experience.” — Sasha Azevedo

“Play is the beginning of knowledge.” — Anonymous

“Every extension of knowledge arises from making the conscious the unconscious.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

“Not to engage in the pursuit of ideas is to live like ants instead of like men.” — Mortimer Adler

Empower

This is the emotional dimension. With help from an inspiring teacher, a learner discovers his desire to continue developing and applying new information and processes until they become a new pattern. In response, confidence builds and momentum increases causing real and lasting change to occur.

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” — William Arthur Ward

“A master can tell you what he expects of you. A teacher, though, awakens your own expectations.” — Patricia Neal

“The best teacher is the one who suggests rather than dogmatizes, and inspires his listener with the wish to teach himself.” — Edward Bulwer-Lytton

“Every act of conscious learning requires the willingness to suffer an injury to one’s self-esteem. That is why young children, before they are aware of their own self-importance, learn so easily.” — Thomas Szasz

“In motivating people, you’ve got to engage their minds and their hearts. I motivate people, I hope, by example – and perhaps by excitement, by having productive ideas to make others feel involved.” — Rupert Murdoch

Enlighten, engage and empower are interdependent dimensions of a comprehensive personal and professional development approach. Enlightenment points the way, but by itself has no action. Engagement and empowerment without enlightenment produces directionless action.  Empowerment breathes the life of momentum into enlightenment and engagement. All three legs are needed for development that goes beyond learning.

Understanding this framework is helpful in selecting an effective teacher. More importantly, adopting them will help you as a professional more effectively fulfill your teaching responsibilities. Take a moment to reflect on the many ways you help teach and develop those who are under your care. Then consider specific ways the Three E’s can help you become a more effective teacher.  In closing, here are more thoughts about teaching, learning and development beyond learning.

“You can teach a dog new tricks for rewards, but developing a better-natured dog will require patience and a want on the behalf of the dog to change.” — Gary Lear

“The test of a good teacher is not how many questions he can ask his pupils that they will answer readily, but how many questions he inspires them to ask him which he finds it hard to answer” — Alice Wellington Rollins

“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.” — Sydney J. Harris

“Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.”— Oliver Wendell Holmes

“The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called ‘truth.’” — Dan Rather

“The best teachers teach from the heart, not from the book.” — Anonymous

“You do not get out of a problem by using the same consciousness that got you into it.”Attributed to Albert Einstein

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”— Alvin Toffler

 

God bless,

— CC

[ S=Service | Index | U=Understand ]

© Copyright December 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
Read more “Clancy’s Quotes” at: ClancyCross.WordPress.com

Service With a Soul

The ABC’s of Professionalism

I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.

— Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), English author, poet.


What is Service?

The types of service typical of a professional include basic kindness and courtesy, just simple acts that make people smile.  Beyond these, service also includes the sharing of valuables such as: money, goods, time, energy, attention, knowledge, wisdom and creativity.  In keeping with the theme of professionalism, it would be convenient to refer to service as “professional service.”  However, this pair of words has already been applied to favors that are transactional in nature.  You’ll see what I mean shortly.  The special type of service I wish to define for professionalism is one which comes from deep within the heart.  To eliminate any further confusion between this and “professional service,” let’s call it “service with a soul.”

“Service… Giving what you don’t have to give. Giving when you don’t need to give. Giving because you want to give.” — Damien Hess

“After the verb ‘To Love’ … ‘To Help’ is the most beautiful verb in the world.” — Bertha Von Suttner

Service with a soul presupposes two concepts known as responsibility and discernment.  Sharing with people what they need can differ significantly from irresponsibly giving them what they desire.  Giving a drink to a drunk comes to mind as an example of the latter.

“Philanthropic humility is necessary if a giver is to do more good than harm, but it is not sufficient – philanthropic prudence is also needed.” — Marvin Olasky


Who Shall Serve?  Whom Shall They Serve?

For purposes of efficiency, it is appropriate to dispense with the first question by simply answering, “Anyone who can must.”  Likewise, the second question could be answered, “Anyone who is in need.” But, this begs the question.  The following passage from the Good Book offers a deeper understanding of serving, one that explains the “who” and “whom” in service with a soul.

Jesus said, “‘… for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’  Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’”

— Bible, Matthew 25:35-40

The results of serving reach beyond the front-line participants.  From this Bible passage one can imagine a ripple effect that touches many others on its way back to God.  Imagine the far-reaching impact each of us has when we practice service with a soul.

“In helping others, we shall help ourselves, for whatever good we give out completes the circle and comes back to us.” — Flora Edwards

There are circumstances demanding that one be the server and different situations where it is necessary or appropriate for that same person to be served.  Professionalism applies to both.

“The simplest and shortest ethical precept is to be served by others as little as possible, and to serve others as much as possible.” — Leo Tolstoy

Anyone who can serve, must serve. Always serve with grace and be served with gratitude.

“Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace; a soul generated by love.” — Martin Luther King, Jr

“Learn and grow all you can; serve and befriend all you can; enrich and inspire all you can.” — William Arthur Ward

 

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person.  Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” — Albert Schweitzer


When Should We Serve?

Service with a soul is intended to be a lifelong endeavor, an everyday deal, and the appropriate response to needs whenever they appear.  It’s disheartening to hear an adult say, “I’ve paid my dues, let someone else take over.”  Other reasons for not serving are just as selfish and not befitting of a professional.

“Faithful servants never retire. You can retire from your career, but you will never retire from serving God.” — Rick Warren

“Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us daily.” — Sally Koch

“How can I be useful, of what service can I be? There is something inside me, what can it be?” — Vincent Van Gogh


Where Should We Serve?

It doesn’t take much thought to realize that the Dr. Seuss story “Green Eggs and Ham” is about the value of trying new things and how it leads to discovery and personal growth.  Discovering service with a soul could be your green eggs and ham.

Say!
I like to serve my fellow man!
I do! I like him, Sam-I-am!
And I would serve him in a boat.
And I would serve him on a goat…

And I will serve him in the rain.
And in the dark. And on a plane.
And in a car. And in a tree.
That would be good, so good, you see!

So I will serve him in the jail.
And I will serve him on a trail.
And I will serve him at a show.
And I will serve him in the snow.
And I will serve him here and there.
Say! I will serve him ANYWHERE!

— Clancy Cross, with sincere apologies to the late Dr. Seuss (i.e. Theodor Geisel).

Service with a soul has no geographical limitations.


Why Should We Serve?

To a professional, “why” and “how” are the most important aspects of serving because they are the purpose and methods behind who, what, when and where.  Service with a soul is not just an action.  First and foremost it is about the attitude behind the action.  Service with a soul is not only noble, it’s healthy and emotionally fulfilling.

“We shall serve for the joy of serving, prosperity shall flow to us and through us in unending streams of plenty.” — Charles Fillmore

“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” — Albert Schweitzer

Serving helps create order, which is the rationality behind our duty to serve.  But at its core, serving is both emotional and spiritual, especially service with a soul.

“The only way you can serve God is by serving other people.” — Rick Warren

“Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave–just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” — Bible, Matthew 20:26-28


How Should We Serve?

Serving in a way that reflects our “why” has a couple of important trademarks.  Consider “favor,” which is another name for service.  If given with “strings attached,” favors resemble transactions more than services.  Whether or not a favor is returned, if the giver harbors any expectations, the favor becomes a transaction.  Business services as well as business favors are transactions.

“You can’t have a perfect day without doing something for someone who’ll never be able to repay you.” — John Wooden

Another type of service transaction is performing an act expecting praise for the act.  Like the previous example, whether or not the praise is forthcoming, the expectation of it makes it a transaction.

“He who confers a favor should at once forget it, if he is not to show a sordid ungenerous spirit. To remind a man of a kindness conferred and to talk of it, is little different from reproach.” — Demosthenes (384 BC – 322 BC)

Expecting third-party recognition for a good deed is also transactional in nature.  The way to keep the service from becoming so requires the act to be performed in secret. Work behind the scenes – don’t talk about what you did.  If the secret is inadvertently discovered, the professional will graciously accept the unexpected compliments or awards and humbly share the credit.

“But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.” — Bible, Matthew 6:3-4

“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.” — Bible, Matthew 6:5

There is no intent to demean transactional services nor is there any implication that such services are not based on noble intentions.  Simply that its reward is built into the transaction whereas the reward for service with a soul is nothing more than the good feeling that comes from doing the right thing.  Serving from the heart makes it easy to serve generously and with a smile.

“But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” — Bible, 2 Corinthians 9:6-8

“The fragrance always remains on the hand that gives the rose.” — Gandhi

On the receiving side of service, a professional expresses gratitude with words and deeds in such a way that it does not imply an “I owe you” mentality.  That would disrespect the giver and cheapen the favor.  Keeping a mental “favors balance sheet” (tit for tat) is a transactional mindset.  Simply remember and do something nice out of love and respect for the person.  There’s an even better option sometimes called “paying it forward.”

“If you can’t return a favor, pass it on” — Louise Brown

By now it must be obvious that service with a soul is extremely personal.  Still, consider the need to delegate certain matters while guarding against making this a cop-out.  Delegation can easily turn into abdication.   As previously noted, Truman called it “passing the buck.” Professionals keep it personal.

“Serving God is doing good to man, but praying is thought an easier service and therefore more generally chosen.” — Benjamin Franklin

Start with prayer, remembering that YOU may be God’s answer to someone else’s prayer.  If so, don’t hesitate.

“From now on, any definition of a successful life must include serving others.” — George H.W. Bush, 41st U.S. President.

God bless,

— CC

[ R=Responsibility | Index | T=Teach ]

© Copyright December 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
Read more “Clancy’s Quotes” at: ClancyCross.WordPress.com