Am I the Teacher or the Student?

It’s overwhelming trying to boil down my coaching adventure to Uganda to a couple of blog posts. Words don’t seem sufficient in trying to describe the people, places, and emotions I experienced during this entire journey.

The overall experience of coaching the young people of Nikibasika was both enriching and enlightening. I was excited to meet the young people who I’ve been raising money for several years now… but nervous whether my coaching skills would jive with this group. I committed to staying curious to what I could learn from them. I had a feeling that perhaps I was meant to be the student on this journey, not the teacher – I was not expecting how much I would learn from them.

Such a caring and loving group. There were tears, embarrassed giggles, wide eyes, and confusion at times – but such innocence. On the other side of the innocence though, these young people carried an unparalleled wisdom and hope that only comes from enduring extreme hardship, and being part of difficult moments that most of us could never imagine. As I helped each of them craft their career plans, each and every one of them included helping others less fortunate. This is a level of resilience that is difficult to truly understand, but so humbly impactful, and inspiring.

“I will forever look at the world differently because of them.”

One of the group members, Rogers, a kind hearted, beautiful young man, knit me a scarf and spoke poetically about the light of the moon when he gave it to me. He said that the moonlight shines down on him and reminds him of Nikibasika because like the moon, it has lit his path and showed him the way, adding, “The light will always shine on those people who are grateful and loving, and to people who help each other.” Such wisdom!

While I travelled halfway around the world to learn from these young people, I wonder how many of us in leadership positions are willing to reverse the roles and learn from their ‘students’? As humans, we all have so much that we can learn from each other when we give ourselves permission to be open and stay curious.

daveLooking at becoming a more compassionate leader? The EDGE3 Team can help. David Graham develops good leaders who want to become spectacular leaders!

 

Reconnecting with Young People

Recently, I found myself enjoying a Sunday afternoon concert with one of my best friends – FRED PENNER! Yes, that Canadian childhood favourite, Fred Penner.

My girlfriend and I danced and sang along to our favourite songs from days gone by. And it was a TRIP to watch a bar packed with parents and kids experience this afternoon of whimsy.

When he sang his songs, I listened to his lyrics… sharing, kindness, being silly, equality, sandwiches… all of the good stuff and more! And it made me think, “Why am I not spending more time with young people? When did we get away from this feeling?”

To date I’m a child free adult (that could change?) who LOVES spending time with young people! At the concert, it was just a spirit lift to watch the uninhibited joy spreading throughout the room. When I’m in Auntie mode, I watch my unofficial nieces and nephews explore the world with an abundance of curiosity and fearlessness. These are all good things and I can only hope I’m absorbing the value of their approach!

This past March, I was travelling the UK with twenty-nine teenagers, ages 15-19, and am again reminded of the value of being in the presence of young people. Between giving out hugs for homesickness, having thoughtful chats, and getting my hair braided (teenaged gals really know how to lock and load a solid braid!), I felt like these young women reminded me about confidence, self-worth, resilience, and reaching for our goals.

So what’s the bottom line here? I know my position may be unique – I’m not a parent having to do all the parenting stuff, and am often the ‘cool’ adult that comes around for the fun stuff – but I’d like to know how many of us are carving out time to just hang out with young people and see what unfolds?

I think as adults, some of us move away from our inner child – and that’s okay… often life demands that of us – but what do we do to reconnect and check in with that spirit?

As leaders, there’s huge value in diversifying the breadth, scope and experience of our trusted advisors and mentors. So why not loop a child, tween or teenager in that circle? Their level of honesty allows us to notice things about ourself, our work, and our approach. They will call us adults out if necessary, and give real feedback from a truly unique perspective. And they also ask lots of good questions, keeping us on our toes! I think when we’re open to a young person’s influence, we can celebrate the strength in our experience, and continue to honour our own current and future life moments… and make adjustments as necessary. Young people are truly a worthy and insightful reset!

How can you connect with your young spirit, and what does that reveal about your current experience?

edge3_dec16_01aDevon Domanski plans dynamic client workshops, team building and appreciation-themed events. She feeds her curiousities with writing, food dreaming, and adventures in all things beautiful!

So many ideas… start with the first!

Recently I went to a marketing conference, “The Art of Marketing” and I left with a plethora of ideas. Growing the business, reaching out, connecting with our network, marketing our services. It ALL seems so overwhelming (exciting?!) at times. My journal’s bursting with a whack of ideas.

“Where do I start?” I tweeted of the keynote speakers (our collective favourite of the day!) and he replied, “…with the first one.” Clever response I thought.

How do I make a greater impact? How do I create a legacy? How do I grow a business I love? All great questions and things that I explore with our EDGE3 Team every day.

I find I ask MYSELF one simple question that gives me the most forward momentum… “What’s one small step that you can take right now?” That is the approach that I have started taking with all of my own goals. “What is that one thing that needs to be done today to make the day worthwhile?”

Sometimes it’s building a killer proposal or finishing a presentation. Other times it’s getting to a yoga class, renewing my passport, or sharing time with my mom.

Innately we know what that one thing is…

We just need to leave some silence to hear it loud and clear. Tackle “THAT ONE THING” first!

The rest of the to do list will still be there and you’ll still get that adrenaline rush of crossing things off the list. But by overwhelming our brain first thing in the morning we can create chaos right out of the gate. Shut ourselves down rather than opening ourselves up to a day that is full of possibility.

In this way, we trick our brain into thinking that it is possible rather than shutting it down all together.

So do I still have a whack of ideas? Absolutely! But I agree, and think I’ll take your advice, Ron Tite.

I think I’ll start… with the first one.

daveLooking at becoming a more compassionate leader? The EDGE3 Team can help. David Graham develops good leaders who want to become spectacular leaders!

 

“NATURE IN THE CITY” RETREAT

Blog PIc Nature in the CityJust a few short weeks ago, the EDGE3 team came together in west Toronto to host another “Ultimate You” retreat. The guests signed up through our network to participate in a day of self-exploration, coaching, action planning, and connection with an amazing group of people.

This retreat marked the first time our entire core team (shall I call Dave, Megan, Sarah and I the “fab four”?) had the opportunity to work as a collective on the same project – what an amazing feeling!

  • It was blissful to watch the faces of more than 20 people sit in 30 minutes of stillness to explore their inner self through guided meditation.
  • It was empowering to see people team up to coach one another to unlock powerful insights.
  • It was exhilarating to explore nature and just notice what presented itself, on a day as cold as it was bright, leading to more introspective, and enlightened moments.
  • It was rewarding to observe the creative spark and committed approach people took to set their goals, bring them to life, and celebrate them.
  • It was transformative to see guests leave with a refreshed and renewed perspective, a powerful purpose, and a unique plan to reach the new heights they set to achieve.

There were moments of magic happening all around us, making the energy in the room uplifting and exhilarating. People were connecting on so many different levels, and we as facilitators had just as many moments of discovery as our guests. That made the exchange even more meaningful, powerful, and authentic.

Simply said, the day was beautiful. And I can’t wait for us to create more experiences like this.

Watch a video of the retreat here and drop us a line at retreats@edge3.ca for information on our next experience on Saturday, June 3, 2017.

How can you tap into the skills and passions of your team? 

edge3_dec16_01aDevon Domanski plans dynamic client workshops, team building and appreciation-themed events. She feeds her curiousities with writing, food dreaming, and adventures in all things beautiful!

Tapping into the Team’s Resources

creativeteam

Dave and I were doing an interactive coaching workshop with a group of people that worked in a highly creative field, and wanted to dial into one another to catch up with everyone, share successes and carve out greater efficiencies. We did a lot of different exercises, activities, and reflections to help uncover the roots of their success, and set benchmarks for continued excellence.

And then something beautiful happened.

We asked the group: what skill would you love to share with others, and what skill would you like to learn? Their responses could be professionally, or personally driven. Some people were specific and focused on work, “I want to learn more about Mary’s approach to logistics” Others wanted to share something more personal, “I’d like to teach a photography session to inspire people to capture and share more of our work.” And others were more out of the box, “I’ve always wanted to learn to play the banjo.”

As people shared their thoughts, we captured the teachers, and the teachable topics. We helped them connect the dots so that everyone who wanted to teach something was linked up with the right audience, and the people seeking to learn various things could pursue something new, exciting, and/or useful. People were excited. And laughing. There was an abundance of positive vibrations in the room.

All of these things weren’t necessarily designed to happen in the work place, nor were they meant for EVERYONE to participate in. It was simply driven by people’s interest. Some provided resources on shared drives to review in one’s own time, others scheduled lunch and learns to bring people together, and some committed to linking up with each other before/after work to pursue a little FUN!

Ultimately, this discussion uncovered the untapped resources that were a collective skills bank; allowed people to pursue things that they were excited to teach/learn; empowered the team to go after the things they wanted to grow in both their work and personal lives – acknowledging the employer supported this balance was a big deal to the team (KEY TAKEAWAY FOR LEADERS!). And yes. We found someone who was able to teach our new friend the banjo… and someone who REALLY wanted to duet with her.

So when we’re reflecting on the things we want to give, and receive from others, tap into your surroundings.

The places, the people, and resources that are in close proximity around us can help us reach greater enjoyment, and feel more connected to one another. And help us feel like those things we ‘always wanted to do’ can happen when we just put it out there. How great and easy does that sound? I bet you’re asking your colleagues who can teach you the banjo right now…

How can you tap into the skills and passions of your team? 

edge3_dec16_01aDevon Domanski plans dynamic client workshops, team building and appreciation-themed events. She feeds her curiousities with writing, food dreaming, and adventures in all things beautiful!

The Gate is Closed

business man with luggage waiting in the airport

My intentions for a perfect morning of air travel came to a sudden halt when the check in machine spit out a receipt saying, “We cannot complete your check-in, proceed to the TICKET counter,” NOT the “Proceed to GATE” message I was looking for.

I missed my flight.

That’s never a good feeling. It gives you a sinking, churning-in-your-gut sensation… similar to bungee jumping – but not nearly as much fun.

I took my disappointment to the counter, acknowledging that I started the chain of events by poorly timing my morning, and mentioning the conference calls I scheduled through the day, timed ever-so-carefully around arrivals and layovers. I was expecting an eye-roll or an, “I am sorry. I can’t help you…” But I got something different. Karen, the Air Canada ticket agent, said, “I am up for the challenge!”

This was 7:30 in the morning. What was she on?

Then I saw it. She was in her groove. She got an undeniable charge out of problem solving. After a flurry of keyboard activity, shuffling of papers, and a final clunk of the stapler, she had me sorted out! I was going to make my connection, and each of my conference calls after all.

She had a look of satisfaction and accomplishment. Right person, right job! She came from a place of service. She diffused my anxiety with her commitment to the process, and her reassurance.

As I walked toward the gate, I turned and said to Karen, “Thank you for making this so easy for me. You are really great at your job.” She probably knows she’s good at her job, but she deserved to hear it from someone who earnestly appreciated her. Karen was the hero of my morning! She nodded to me, and approached the next customer with an even bigger smile. I hope she reaped the rewards of that exchange, as much as I did.

When do you find yourself truly engaged on the job?

How can you get more of that feeling every day?

How can you spark others to great work?

 

DaveDavid Graham is a Leadership Coach & Chief Exploration Officer of EDGE3.  Want to tap into your team’s ultimate potential? We help leaders build high-performing, super-focused teams! Call us for a free team assessment.

How Do I Start The Reset?

Sometimes I wish I could be more like my technology; when not performing optimally, just power off or unplug, then restart in hopes of better results.

For people, it SHOULD be as easy as turning off and starting again – “I’m going off the grid so I can face the world again, refreshed!!” – it’s sadly not, for many of us. Aside from why you don’t really NEED a reset, or HOW hard it would be to do that, are you saying you wouldn’t WANT a reset?

Of course a lot of us WANT a reset, but we have trouble actioning this. I think a lot of it is justifying WHY we would do this, and lack of understanding HOW we can go about doing it.

The Why…

Frankly, I think too many people feel uncomfortable admitting when they’d like an opportunity to put themselves first. I think there’s a fear in sounding selfish. Or maybe some have never placed value on self-care. But here’s the thing… whether it’s a huge life event or a subtle spark of outside inspiration that’s caused you to pause and consider a reset, do it! Your internal messaging is letting you know something’s got to adjust. Sure – sometimes easier said than done. But taking time for yourself, is less selfish than you might think. When you invest in yourself, you’re able to invest more of yourself in others.

The How…

Sometimes we bite off more than we can chew – I’ve been guilty of this, too! So I think when people consider a reset, it can become overwhelming figuring out where to start, and how to accomplish goals. I don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all response to this. Some people may want a life overhaul and feel the best decision is to quit their job, sell their house, and move away to work on a beach. Okay, sure. If that’s your plan, and it suits you, work it! But that’s not realistic for everyone, nor is it what everyone needs. Sometimes a reset can be a simple acknowledgement of a behaviour, committing to noticing when it shows up, and focusing on the steps to make the changes you’re seeking. Maybe a temporary change of scenery help’s some move their process along like a weekend retreat, time away with loved ones, or a self-guided all-inclusive beach vacation. Depending on what you’re looking to achieve, adding activities (yoga class, coaching sessions), and hobbies (volunteering, racing cars), can make a big impact (just as subtracting those bad habits, too!). And whatever you decide to commit to, tell someone. It’s great to hold yourself accountable, but there’s often a greater feeling of accountability once you’ve articulated your intentions to someone in your life.

Whether you’ve been considering a personal or professional reset, ask yourself the following: where am I at, where am I going, what do I want, and what do I need to do to get there? Enjoy the first step of your reset.

NEED HELP GETTING YOUR RESET STARTED? Check out our upcoming EDGE3 RETREATS! http://edge3.ca/events/

Devon Blog PicDevon Domanski plans dynamic client workshops, team building & appreciation-themed events. She feeds her curiosities with writing, food dreaming, and adventures in all things beautiful!  

The Greatest Show On Earth

IMG_6794

Every day we have a free, all access pass to the greatest show on earth. Some of us view it from our window, while the rest of us can go for a short walk to capture an unobstructed view.

Two shows daily, and no need to RSVP, or order tickets. There is no expectation other than to pause and take notice.

The curtain rises in the morning and the sun hits the stage for a breathtaking opening act.

  • What am I most grateful for?
  • How can I be of service?
  • What do I hope to accomplish?

The finale begins as the light dips below the horizon, cascading a dazzling array of light for a spectacular encore that continues long after the show is over.

  • What did I get done?
  • How did I rise to the occasion?
  • How can I be even better tomorrow?

Each day sets the stage for a stellar show; be clear with your intentions and let the beauty of nature inspire your performance!

Dave

 

As Chief Exploration Officer of EDGE3, David Graham is passionate about getting leaders and their teams out of the boardroom and into nature!

Comfortable with being uncomfortable

iStock_000002510080_Large

After 16 years of living in the same area, we are making the move to a different neighbourhood. It has been an emotional journey that has reminded me that change is not always comfortable.

As a coach, I encourage my clients to step out of their comfort zone and embrace change, but perhaps rather than pushing out of what’s comfortable, we should gently ease into the discomfort, and slowly accept the change.

Not too long ago I was facilitating a workshop and one of the participants who was struggling to have a difficult conversation with a co-worker, leapt to her feet and exclaimed, “I am comfortable with feeling uncomfortable!” She had been putting off the meeting for quite some time and she finally accepted that it made her uncomfortable, and she was going to do it anyway.

Like a baby bird being nudged out of the nest,

A tender sprout finally poking through the hard soil,

An awkward fawn taking its first steps…

Take the leap! Make the commitment! Gently lean in and let the discomfort serve as a reminder that we are in a period of growth. Victory is on the other side.

Dave

David Graham coaches good leaders who want to become spectacular leaders.  

What is one small change that you could you embrace that would make the biggest difference in your growth as a leader? Let’s talk.

Breaking the Ice

 

IMG_6879

It was one of those magical days that I’ve only experienced a few times before, a hot sunny day in April when the ice on the lake begins to thaw.  It lasts for only a short time when something gives and the thick layer of ice turns to slush.  It’s the most amazing time to be in a kayak! With every stroke you chip away at what has been still for months and with new life the ripples are in motion again.

We create ripples each day, but we don’t see it as clearly as we do when we break the ice.  Sometimes it takes a hard blow to crack the surface and other times it separates smoothly like slush in a frozen cocktail.  Either way, it’s a temporary transition, for eventually it will melt and the water will flow effortlessly.

I suppose that I enjoy kayaking on a frozen lake because it’s a short-lived gift, a brief fleeting moment in time with the promise of sunny days ahead.  As I break through the ice, I can almost hear echoes of children splashing about and cheers of laughter as they leap off the dock in utter joy.

On the flip side, I see the ripples from my paddle cracking the ice in the distance, as far as the eye can see.  It reminds me of the powerful effect that each of us has on the world around us.

  • What are the ripples of intention that you are sending across the lake?
  • What is the impact of your actions when they reach the other shore?

Dave

As Chief Exploration Officer of EDGE3, David Graham is passionate about getting leaders and their teams out of the boardroom and into nature.  These unbelievable outdoor experiences build lasting connections, strong bonds and ultimately takes a team’s performance to the next level.