In my last article, “Learn How to Learn” I introduced the fact that we all learn differently. Unfortunately, our educational systems have “experts” at the top telling students what they are going to be taught and the method is one size fits all.
Leaders of top organizations understand this educational culture will not be effective in business. Good leaders want higher performing organizations composed of life-long learners. A life-long learner is self-directed, searches for professional and personal growth, and is inspired going to work.
Leaders, I want to embrace, cherish building something greater than them. They create environments for other people’s success. Retired Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Charles Krulak, focused the Marines 11-week basic training on team projects that emphasized individual and team action. These training exercises took young men/women from all walks of life and put them in an action-oriented environment so they can learn internal locus of control. This means each Marine trains to understand that their action determines their future and their team’s future. The individual Marines generate trust and respect as they take personal responsibility to figure out how to complete the team-based experiments. The company commanders at Camp Pendleton gain the trust and respect of the new Marines by creating an environment for their success.
Leaders learn articulating and staying true to one’s purpose is the inner sanctum that guides all. Purpose is driven by one’s heart and soul. It is one’s meaning in work. It serves as your guide in order to understand what and how you want to do.
As Simon Sinek points out in his book, Start With Why, a clearly articulated purpose addresses the emotional aspect of our limbic portion of our brain. The emotion triggers our decision-making allowing facts and words to be heard. The following is my purpose.
“Freedom, joy and meaning through life-long learning.”
I’ve thought a lot about the articles I’ve written over the past months. First, I haven’t done it alone. I was smart enough to hire a Social Media Coach, Zach Bullett. Zach is a young, life-long learner, a recent Colorado Mesa University graduate and a leader. I say leader, because Zach and I have created an environment for each other’s success. His intelligent support breaks my isolation as a sole practitioner. His expertise in social media allows me to write, along with the freedom to create and publish. My expertise in coaching, what I write and our discussions deepen his new coaching reservoir.
A number of wonderful events have happened as a result of writing articles. Publishing articles is a vehicle to share my purpose. Publishing my messages is a way to coordinate my thinking and my behavior. It is a way to trust and respect the freedom bestowed on me by my predecessors.
Writing about ways to make people’s lives better through positive learning strengthens freedom. Some of us have an easier path to freedom than others. All of us who have the freedom to learn have a duty to respect the sacrifices others have made on our behalf.
The poignant memories I have of my father are feeling his love and leadership. I will never forget steaming into New York harbor early on a July morning in 1958. My father spoke to me about his emotions of gratefulness returning from WWII on the Queen Mary (converted to a troop ship during WWII) and seeing the Statue of Liberty. I was privileged to share the experience with him 12 years later. Dad set the stage for me, advocating learning, creating a more enjoyable and successful life for me. My father’s leadership that early morning fashioned an environment where I viscerally experienced my meaning of freedom. He was brilliant and loving, because he didn’t try to teach me. He chose to create an environment so I could learn for myself!
A number of years ago dear friends of ours included us on a trip to Israel and Jordan. This loving couple exhibits marvelous leadership by organizing many trips to Israel so Americans, Israelis and Jordanians can learn. They organize the trips in a way that creates an environment for all of us to find more joy and meaning.
We were never taught or told what to think. We each had our own life-long learning which created more enjoyable and successful lives (for the Israelis, Jordanians and us). Deep learning sometimes comes with a certain amount of shock and awe, some pain, some uncertainty and that is why leaders “Hold the space for us to learn (Patricia Qualls, Ph.D.).”
My professional coaching is relegated to people leading and managing organizations. Whether my coaching sessions are via telephone or in-person it is all about, “Creating an environment for our success.” The main foundation to this successful relationship is learning.
This is a responsibility of both my client and myself. While our roles may be different our responsibilities are similar. My skills lie in helping my client understand that he/she holds the cards to positive learning, not me.
My challenge as the leader is “Holding the space for someone to learn” not telling them what to learn. We start each session with the question, “Please tell me what is going exceptionally well in your life?” I ask this question, because so many of us don’t focus on the good in our lives. The second question is, “What would you like to work on today?” Exploring these questions is all about becoming a leader in one’s own life.
I find great joy in being able to write these articles and share them with the public! The greatest compliment to me is if you would pass this along or share it with others if you found my information helpful!