What is passion?

It’s when we are driven to do what we do by something deep inside, when we have unbridled energy and enthusiasm, when our desire to achieve our goal or target or purpose makes us feel invincible or gives us the courage to leap tall buildings in a single bound. it is the thing which gives us that belief, that certainty, that focus to keep on and on and on until we get where we want to be, until the change that we so deeply want, happens. It is the thing that compels and engages and scares the people round us because it is so on show, so alluring, so out there, so in your face that all they can do is ride on the emotional waves that you create. So don’t keep your passion hidden, don’t ignore the power it can bring.

What is your passion? It’s time to find it!

Google Hangouts

Getting started with Google Hangouts

So we are all getting a bit social, using Facebook to find people we spent our whole school lives avoiding, twitter to see what the pub gossip is about X Factor and thinking about Skyping (it’s a word) our parents and kids as an alternative to the Sunday phone call. But what about work? what are we doing with all this great new technology to make our work better, more interesting, more accessible, more connected?

Well we are going to be experimenting with various bits of technology to see how we can use it to make our work better, to see if we can make connections better and to see if we can share our ideas and thinking better, and we are going to start off by trying out Google Hangouts

What makes Google Hangouts interesting

  • They are free
  • They include text, voice and video chat for free
  • They are available on virtually all platforms (Windows, Mac, iOS, Windows Mobile etc)
  • You can have up to 10 people concurrently on a video call
  • You can share your screen and documents on screen
  • You can be live stream and recorded via YouTube – great for webinar like sharing

Are there any negatives

  • You have to have a google+ account to access it
  • There’s a new interface to learn
  • It relies on technology to work

So how do I get started?

Get a Google+ account

If you have a goole account (even one you hardly ever use) then you are almost there already so skip down the page a bit, if you haven’t then you need to sign up for a google+ account

Screen Shot 2013-06-18 at 15.28.07

You don’t need to link anything else to this account and you don’t need to give Google access to your data if you don’t want to, but it is helpful to have your usual email connected to your google+ account so invites go to the right place. There is a helpful walk-through to connect your existing email to Google+ here.

Get your browser ready

You will need to download a plug-in for your browser to use Hangouts. You will be prompted when you first try to join or start one or you can be prepared and visit Google’s plugin page and follow the instructions.

What next

That’s it!!!

You can now start hanging out and watch out for our invite to one of our hangouts.

My best learning experience “ever”

So what’s my best learning experience, what a tough question because as soon as I hear the question, in my head I add EVER to the end and that makes it a really big question. What’s my best learning experience EVER? Boy does that ramp up the pressure. And the problem with “Best Ever…” lists is that we have such poor memories, how else can you explain that fact that every “Top 20 tracks of all time” will have 10% from the current year, half from the current decade and all the rest from the Beatles?

I’m only saying all this because I found it hard to come up with my best learning experience, I just couldn’t easily identify one event, one situation, one experience that was IT. What I needed a little bit of a framework to figure out what made a learning experience great for me, I needed my judging criteria to stop me defaulting to the Beatles every time.

So what does it for me?

  1. It’s got to be right for right nowFor a learning experience to be great for me it needs to be the right thing for me to do right now and by that I mean I either need to know now or I really want to know now. It’s no good sending me on a course that might be relevant in 6 months, I’ll be a god boy and attend if required but will it stick, I don’t think so. Mandatory training teams beware MY motivation plays a big part in the learning hitting home.
  2. I need to failIt needs to be a challenge, it can’t be easy, where’s the fun in learning something easy. To be sure it’s nice to try things that I’m good at but a great learning experience is a challenge. And that means I’ll fail, so it’s important to have space to practice, practice, practice and test myself with a safety net in place and some patient encouragement and feedback to remind me what I’m aiming for and keep me on track.
  3. I need to make it realGreat learning experiences are the ones that have made a difference to the way I do things or the way I think about things in the real world not just in the classroom, and they continue to make a difference long after the experience.
    And here’s where the light bulb really flicked on, for me the learning experiences that really are great, that have an impact and make a lasting difference are the ones I have in the real world, where I can take something I have started to learn and put it into practice in a real situation. When I apply the theory and make it stick, when I play with the techniques and hone my skills and when I test out my thoughts and clarify my ideas, that’s when I have really great learning experiences, I can’t do it in a classroom bubble.

What makes the cut?

Actually quite a lot, some of the big stuff that we forget we ever learned like walking, talking and riding a bike, all that makes it in and there’s loads of work stuff that starts with a classroom or book or blog and heads to a great learning experience when I take it out to the real world.
It definitely happened the last time I added a new Psychometric to my kitbag (see what I did there). I was very motivated, having loved the experience and insight I had on the receiving end and I was sure I had a place to use it straight away. The theory was fairly detailed, the classroom work challenging, lots of practice and time outside that comfort zone with support, feedback and encouragement from guys with real expertise.

But the great learning experience didn’t really happen for me until I had my first session with a real client. I knew the theory but the pressure of really applying this in the real world, of prepping for a real client, wanting to do a great job for them, that changed something, suddenly I needed to be the expert and didn’t have a safety net. Then there were the questions they did come up with, the ones I didn’t know the answers to immediately that forced me to go away and research and rethink and relearn and finally there was the learning and insight they got themselves, giving me a new perspective and the warm glow you get when you know that you’ve hit the mark, followed by the desire to hit it more cleanly next time.
That was a Great Learning Experience when I really learned about that tool, that and every time I’ve used it in the real world since.

So was it my best learning experience? Well that’s going to change with the wind isn’t it, and I know there will be some top learning experience choons right around the corner, so not sure it’s my best but it’s in the top 20…for now, right alongside the Beatles.

This was originally a guest post on Trainers Kitbag

It’s getting on my wick!

Why do we love to moan so much? It’s getting on my wick!

Over the last billion years of working in and with teams it seems to have been one of the constants, we whinge to our colleagues, we grumble to our loved ones and we moan to our mates in the pub.

For (insert deity of choice)’s sake we even invite a moan as an opening to a conversation “what’s up” a how many times has a meeting started with “what could we improve” “let’s have a look at what went wrong” or some other euphemism for “let’s all have a good old moan about how crap it is here and spend the next hour wingeing about all the spilled milk that’s passed under the bridge ‘cos a good old moaning session Is cathartic isn’t it.”

It may well be cathartic, who knows, what i do know is that it never feels productive to me. The problem I find with starting with the negatives (whether they be the moans from the past or the difficulties of the future) is that it seems to lock you in to a negative mindset. The focus is on the things that didn’t work, that we didn’t do or the stuff that we still need to overcome or will derail us and sometimes (ok quite often actually) that stops us from moving a single step further forward at all.

So my scientific research proves that we all love to moan and naturally fall in to this ‘mode’ if allowed, what can we do about it. Well here’s the thing, as a coach or facilitator we have a chance to help our charges change their focus and look at the world through a different lens. And this is where I love to be relentlessly positive, gushingly appreciative and wildly optimistic to help folk to see the world a different way.

This isn’t easy and can get you labeled as some half-wit who doesn’t understand the risks. But believe me it can help folk move forward and is so much more fun than being a grouch all day.

So when reviewing something I like to ask questions like “what went well?” “what are we proud of?” “What do we want to do more of?”

When looking to the future I want to know “what do we want to be famous for?” “What would you like to achieve?” “when it’s brilliant in a few years time what’s it like?

When deciding on options “which of these do you really love?” “which one gives the best outcome?” “Which will work best for you?” “which gives you most energy?”

And when making plans “what actions will make this work?” what is the best thing that you can do now?” “what will help you move towards your goal?”

This relentless chirpiness takes a fair bit of energy and sometimes folk don’t like it, they want their opportunity to let off steam and share their woes. But remember our role as coach or facilitator is not to collude in some whinge-fest or to let folk fester in their rut, we’re there to help them move forward and leap further.

So I smile and ask them again “what went well? What are you really proud of? What do you want to be famous for?”

(HT to appreciative inquiry for all it has done for me)

This was originally a guest post on David Goddin’s blog

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