Positive Professional Development Tool: Career Stepping Stones

Stepping Stones

In our ongoing career and professional development, there are times when it's helpful to look at our past. It may be that we're bored and contemplating a change. We may have been laid off and had change thrust upon us. Even as part of our ongoing reflective practice, mining our past experiences can give us great fodder for the future. 

One way to look at your past is to use a technique pioneered by Ira Progoff as part of his Intensive Journaling process called "Stepping Stones." This process allows you to create a sort of career timeline that can give you greater insight into current career dilemmas and possibilities for new directions. 

What Are Stepping Stones?

Stepping stones are "the significant points of movement along the road of an individual's life." A stepping stone is  an event, image, sensation, a thought, or milestone of your life that comes to mind when you review your life from the beginning to the present.

Stepping stones aren't tied to fixed periods of time. One stepping stone may last a few months and the next may last several years.  To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, here are my career stepping stones.

  1.  What Will I Be When I Grow Up?
  2. I'm going to be a lawyer
  3. College teaches me that I'd HATE being a lawyer.
  4. HR Manager 
  5. Kids make careers complicated
  6. Government work
  7. Turning my job into self-employment
  8. My Slash Career
  9. What's Next? 

Stepping Stone 4 lasted a couple of years, but Stepping Stone 7 was about 7 years; you can see that time isn't really how you define a stepping stone. It's more about a phase of life that hangs together naturally. 

Finding Your Stepping Stones

To find your Stepping Stones, follow this procedure:

  1. Find a quiet space where you'll have between 10-15 minutes to yourself.
  2. Sit back and breathe deeply for a few minutes, letting your mind play over your life and various career experiences. Keep in mind that sometimes your career isn't about working. Notice that in my example, there was that period of exploration that covered childhood and college, times before I was working but when I was still thinking about what I wanted to do when I grew up. I also had a period when I was home with my children, but I still consider it part of my overall career trajectory. 
  3. In a few words or phrases, capture the essence of a particular stepping stone by writing it down in a journal or career notebook. You may find these in chronological order or they may show up in chunks. When I did this, I actually started with my last stepping stone and then went back to the beginning to trace to the present. 

Don't spend a lot of time evaluating and thinking about this. Usually your stepping stones will appear relatively easily and should fall into place without a lot of critical analysis. 

Working with Your Stepping Stones

Once you have a list of your stepping stones, it's time to work with them. You can do this  in a few sessions or in one marathon session where you go through all of them. I've found that it's better to take them in chunks--maybe 2-3 at a time. 

To start the work, first read through your entire list, trying to keep a neutral frame of mind. Suspend judgment if you can help it. Look for patterns or themes. Is there something that ties together two or more of your stepping stones? How do you feel looking at your list? Do some of the items evoke particularly positive or negative reactions? I've found that it's helpful to write down these general observations and reactions before I move into working with individual stepping stones.  

Once you've looked at your overall list, you then want to turn your attention to individual stepping stones, describing them in greater detail. Some questions to consider: 

  • What was happening in your career at that point? How were you feeling about your career?
  • What else was going on in your life? 
  • How did your career and life fit together during that time?
  • What kinds of questions and issues were you dealing with then? 
  • Were there any roads not traveled? 
  • What relationships were important during this time? Were there bosses, colleagues and/or mentors who were particularly important? How did those relationships impact your career? 
  • What lessons did you learn during this period? What did this time of life teach you about yourself and what you did/didn't want in your career? 

A good way to begin your description is with the phrase "It was a time when. . . " This can be an excellent springboard into the memories and feelings of that period of your career. 

Using Your Stepping Stones

Once you've described your stepping stones in greater detail, there are many ways you can use the information. 

Usually particular patterns or themes will emerge that you can use in decision-making and growth. For example, you may notice that the more postiive, growth-filled points in your career coincided with the times when you had a mentor to guide you. Or you may notice that you tend to get bored and need a change after somewhat predictable periods of time. 

Something I noticed in my stepping stones is that every 3-4 years I need to find a new challenge--some new skill to master or some new area of research to immerse myself in. Recognizing this helped me to better understand that this is a theme for me, something I can anticipate and actively nurture. Some people have seen a pattern of foregoing career dreams in favor of the "practical" approach, while others have found that they repeatedly sacrificed their own career goals to help someone else. 

The process of detailing your stepping stones can remind you of long-buried bits of yourself--interests you used to have or skills you haven't used in years. Once revealed to you, these can become nuggets to build on for the future. 

Looking at your career life as a series of stepping stones can be a powerful way to mine your past for insight that you can use for your future. It can help you uncover long-lost career dreams as well as patterns of self-sabotage or "playing it small." 

The point of the stepping stone exercise is to help you place your current circumstances and career issues in a longer timeframe. You are where you are in part because of decisions and experiences from your past. Exploring your stepping stones can help you put your present into context and give you new ideas for moving forward.  


Diagnosing and Treating "Stuck"

Last night I did an Image Center session with a friend who is going through my Getting Unstuck course. I had her do two images--one that shows where she is now and one that shows where she'd like to be. 

Here's the image for where she is now:

Picture 27

And here's the image for where she wants to be:

Picture 29

It wasn't hard to figure out why she feels stuck. She has too much going on! That first image is just an explosion, radiating out from the explosion of fireworks in the middle. She's being pulled in 50 different directions and has a hard time putting focus into just a few of the most important places. 

Working with my friend reminded me that being stuck comes in two different varieties and that it can be helpful to know which is your personal brand of "stuckness." 

Diagnosing Your "Stuck"

In my experience, there are two distinct types of "stuck"--the stuckness of the over-thinker and the stuckness of the over-doer. 

Are You An Over-Thinker?

The first type of stuck is the muddy slog of inertia that is the domain of the over-thinker. Often (but not always) these are the introverts who are naturally drawn to thinking before acting.

When these people are stuck, it's because they are so busy worrying about making the "right" move, they make no moves at all. They are the perfectionists and the worriers, the people who need to do just one more piece of research or talk to just one more person before they feel comfortable making their next move. But somehow they never actually move. They are stuck in the reflection part of the Act/Reflect cycle

Or Are You an Over-Doer? 

The other version of "stuck" is where my friend is at. It's the obsessive do-er's type of stuck. These are often the more extroverted types who thrive on activity and being in the outer world. 

In this brand of stuckness, I find people who are constantly moving, taking no time to reflect on what they are doing or why. Action is what counts and they have a hard time creating the space for reflection so that their actions are more intentional and in alignment with what they want. These people are stuck in the action part of Act/Reflect. 

When you're stuck, it's helpful to try to figure out which camp you fall into because treating your stuckness will depend on whether you're an over-thinker or  an over-doer. Your stuckness is really an imbalance in the Act/Reflect cycle. 

Treating Your "Stuck"

 While both over-thinkers and over-doers can benefit from doing some de-cluttering, moving out of stuck is essentially a different process for each type. The over-thinkers need more action and the over-doers need more reflection. 

Over-Thinkers

If you're an over-thinker, then the way to get out of "stuck" is by bringing more action into your life. Over-thinkers need to make a commitment to just doing things, rather than thinking about doing something. And that action cannot be doing one more bit of research or asking one more person what you should do. It has to be action that is in alignment with your vision of where you want to go and that is designed to actually move you in that direction. You need to experiment with different identities and trust the mess that comes with action. You have to let go of the need to do things perfectly and just embrace doing anything at all. 

Over-Doers

Over-doers have a different task. You need to create space for yourself for more reflection so you can be more intentional about what you are doing and why you are doing it. You may need to start saying "no" more often and streamlining your life to make room for more thinking. Try incorporating some reflection rituals  to create a reflection habit. Your task is to put some real intention and focus behind your actions, rather than being caught in an endless loop of mindless activity that doesn't really go anywhere. Embrace your power to do, but put some mindfulness behind it. 

 

Being "stuck" is really about imbalance--choosing either reflection or action at the expense of the other part of the cycle. To get unstuck,  you have to restore balance to the cycle of Act/Reflect. Knowing your own tendencies towards one or the other can help you quickly figure out how to get moving when you find yourself stuck in one place.  

The next time you feel stuck, consider whether your stuckness is a result of over-thinking or over-doing and then look at what you can do to restore the balance. 

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If you need help getting unstuck, you might want to try one of my Career Clarity Image Center session packages. We can explore what's keeping you stuck, where you want to go and how you can get there. 

 


Tough Questions for Your Professional Development

Everywhere questions

Through a friend, I discovered the In Good Company blog and this excellent post on 5 tough questions entrepreneurs should be asking themselves.

Reading through the questions, I thought they could easily be adapted to anyone, whether they work for themselves or for someone else, so here they are. Just replace "business" with "job" if you're working for someone else.  

1: If you could wave a magic wand to instantly fix three things in your business, what would they be? 
(be honest, don’t just say “get more clients”…what do you KNOW is broken)
* What prevents you from fixing these things on your own?

2: What three things would you stop doing for the business if you didn’t have to?
* Why don’t you? What would make doing them better?

3: What are you doing only because you feel like you “should”?
* What would happen if you didn’t?

4: What important thing do you never seem to have “time for”?
* Why? What makes it hard to prioritize?

5: What have you given up for your business or to be an entrepreneur?
* Are you OK with that sacrifice?

How does answering these questions create movement for you? What new questions open up for you? 

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I have another career visioning session coming up on February 21. It's a great opportunity for you to get a clearer picture of your career in just a few hours. More information and the sign-up form are here


Emotions and Your Career

Emotions

With my Career Clarity Camp, we're entering the home stretch and starting to integrate the lessons we've learned. One of the things we're working on this week is looking at the emotions we feel about the work we've been doing, which got me thinking about the power of emotions at work. 

Emotions at Work

One thing I've learned about work is that being "professional" often (usually?) means being unemotional. On a regular basis we are asked to check our emotions at the door, especially any negative emotions we may have like sadness, fear, anxiety, confusion, etc. But positive emotions, like joy, aren't often welcome at work either.  I think it's because emotions have a way of getting messy and "out of control." They are also distractions from just getting things done.  

The other issue with emotions at work is that so often we are rushing to DO things that it's hard to notice what we are feeling in the first place. We are just dealing with the the next thing on our "To Do" lists and it's hard to stop for even a few seconds to reflect on what we may be feeling. 

 All of this blocking of emotions, though, takes a toll. Emotions aren't really amenable to blocking. They just go underground until they explode in some way we would prefer they hadn't. Or they coil up inside us, clogging our creativity and our connection to ourselves. This blockage, in turn, leads to boredom and apathy. 

Working with Our Emotions

It's unfortunate that we spend so much time keeping emotions out of our work because they can be some of the most valuable clues we have to work with. Noticing where I feel energized or inspired or where I feel frustrated or anxious can tell me a lot about what I want more of and what I want less of at work. My emotions show me where there are problems or issues I need to deal with--work relationships that aren't' working or tasks that need to be looked at more closely. 

One thing I've encouraged the Career Clarity Campers to do is to make time in their days to pay attention to the emotions they're feeling as they go about their work. I've suggested that they stop once per hour or even 3-4 times a day to check in and ask themselves:

  • What have I been doing? What activities have you been engaged in? 
  • How do I feel about it? Note particularly the things you do that leave you feeling energized and interested. These may be things you want more of. 
  • Who am I doing it with? See if there's something about the people you are working with or the conversations you are having that feels energizing to you. Or are you doing things alone? What does that tell you? 

 They then write down these experiences and their reactions and look for trends and themes over time. 

Tuning in to your emotions this way can be a great 30-day experiment.  Paying attention in particular to the things that are inspiring or energizing so you can bring more of it into your work is also one of the best ways to increase the awesome.

I've found, too, that when I focus on the emotions I'm feeling in a work day, I do a better job of connecting with people and with building richer relationships. I notice when an interaction feels particularly positive and I can acknowledge that with the person I'm talking to. This always creates an even deeper bond. I can also see where emotions like boredom or frustration are telling me that I need to revisit how I'm handling something. This often leads to more fruitful conversations on how I can revise what I'm doing. 

Our emotions should not be left at the door when we go to work each day. Not only does that not work anyway, but our emotional lives are rich sources of learning and connection. They are our authentic selves communicating with us about our experiences and relationships. We need them to do our best work and to have conversations that matter

So what role do your emotions play in your work life? Do you bring them with you to work or do you check them at the door? 

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Working with the Questions

Under the questions

Last week I wrote that one of the key 21st century skills I think we need is a more advanced capacity for questions. Questions are a topic I've explored frequently here and they are a skill I'm trying to develop in myself for both professionald and personal reasons. 

Tenneson Wolf has an excellent post on different types of questions that can be asked that I think provides us with some great fodder for conversation. This is his list of question types:

  1. “Wait-a-minute” -- The ones that make us pause and realize there is more to discover. 

  2. “Sit-on-it” -- Questions that can’t be answered when they are asked. They require some time to think, and perhaps even let go of for a time.

  3. “Address-the-grand-assumption” -- Or as Hani, one of the participants challenged, address even the smaller assumptions. Karen, one participant from a team of county planners, asked this type of question regarding her work -- “well, when did we start believing that we needed to pave all of our roads?” She was thinking systemically, aware of the cost and resource implications of that assumption.

  4. “Name-the-elephant” -- The unspoken that many people know and feel, and that if left unaddressed, renders the work less meaningful or real. 

  5. “Still-cooking” -- The ones that keep us actively learning. Or even better, reaching, stretching, letting go, reorganizing, innovating. 

  6. “Antenna-out” -- Yes, another variation of continuous learning and attention giving. But even further, an invitation to be learning on behalf of the whole. 

  7. “Me/I” -- These shift responsibility back to fundamental accountability and relationship of us as individuals, rather than unintentionally being lost in the bigness of we or them questions. I’ve seen this shift many times. Me/I questions harvest what emerges in expansive thinking to give clarity and responsibility of first next steps of action.

All of these questions can be applied in a career/professional development context. For example, an "address-the-grand-assumption" question I frequently ask people is "Is working for a company (as opposed to working for yourself) the best way for you to find career satisfaction?" I find that many people think in terms of "jobs" and that they haven't considered the possibilities of working for themselves

A good "wait-a-minute" question is asking people to consider what would happen if they think about their current job as a home base, rather than as a prison. How does that shift their understanding of their situation and how they can use it to their advantage? 

One of the hardest types of questions to ask in a career context is the "name-the-elephant" question. For example, people may be reluctant to make a career change because they've assumed financial responsibility for their families. But what happens if they ask the "name-the-elephant"question about their partner (or other family members) assuming that role for awhile? 

And "Me-I" questions are critically important. One of the most crucial is "Are you the cause or the effect?" 

I'm constantly working on trying to find the great questions that will help me move my work forward. This framework can be a really helpful way to do that. 

What questions are you asking? How do these types of questions help you expand your questioning ability? How do they help you improve your work environment?

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I'm running an online career visioning session on January 17 to help using the awesome VisualsSpeak online Image Center. You can find more information and the link to register here


Are You the Cause or the Effect?

Cause and effect

Accountabilty is the willingness to acknowledge that we have participated in creating, through comission or ommision, the conditions that we wish to see changed. Without this capacity to see ourselves as cause, our efforts become either coercive or wishfully dependent on the transformation of others

Community will be created the moment we decide to act as creators of what it can become. This requires us to believe that this organization, neighborhood, community is mine or ours to create. This will occur when we are willing to ask the question "How have I contributed to the current reality?" Confusion, blame and waiting for someone else to change are a defense against ownership and personal power. 

                    --Peter Block, Civic Engagment and the Restoration of Community

One of the most challenging practices I've been engaging in this year is asking myself "How have I contributed to the current reality?" Another way to ask the question is:

What have I done to contribute to the very thing I complain about or want to change? 

I've found that repeatedly trying to answer this question is both empowering and ego-threatening. It's also well worth continuing to ask. 

It's empowering because it puts the power for changing the situation into my own hands, rather than having it rely on getting someone else to change. It gives me another avenue into figuring out how I can create a new situation or dynamic. 

At the same time, it is ego-threatening because it invites me to consider the ways in which I am all the things I complain about the most. How am I apathetic or not present or too focused on problems or constantly complaining about what's wrong? How often am I critical, refusing to challenge my own world view, listening poorly and pushing my own agenda?  

When it comes to career and work life, I've found that too easily, I can embrace the idea that bad situations are created by other people. I am the victim or else the savior, riding in to save the day. Either way, I am on one side of the situation and everyone else is on the other side. This "me vs. them" dynamic can be very damaging.

Forcing myself to see how I co-create the very things I want to change, though, has given me another way to be.  It is teaching me to be more understanding and compassionate of where other people may be coming from. Not that I'm always able to feel this understanding, but when I can, it has shifted my interactions. 

More importantly, it consistently reminds me that I must be clear about what I want more of and that I must embody those things in my interactions with people and situations where I want to see change.  I can't control what other people do, but I can bring more of what I want to create change. 

For example, a few weeks ago, I asked where the meaningful conversations are at work. Since I asked that question, I've been looking at the ways that I have created situations where meaningless conversations continue. How much work do I put into crafting questions that help people go deeper? How am I expanding my skills and tools so that I create the space and opportunity for those kinds of conversations? How does my own inertia, sense of helplessness, difficulties with conflict and discomfort with being in a place where there are no clear answers contribute to these situations? 

This question--how am I contributing to the situation I want to change?--has been one of my most powerful tools in shifting my understanding of how I fit into any situation. Not only can I see the negative ways in which I contribute, I also become accountable for finding the positive strategies I can use to shift the conversations. 

This question is critical to my reflective practice. Although challenging to ask and answer, it's been well worth the effort. 

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Career Clarity Camp starts January 9. Info on the Camp and the sign-up form are here


Intuition, Scarcity and Experimentation

Intuition

When I first started planning several months ago for more seriously offering career clarity and professional development workshops, one of the things I was considering was pricing. What do I offer and how do I price it? 

At one point a thought popped into my head. I could offer everything I do for free, asking people to only pay after they received the service according to how much value they felt they'd received. Basically, set your own price based on the worth of the service. 

This felt right to me on some deep level. It tied in with my reading of Lewis Hyde's book, The Gift, which talks about how certain kinds of transformation shouldn't be commoditized by turning them into transactions. It also was related to my sense that when you are trying to offer something to the world that's based on your own sense of gift and purpose, this should be done freely, without turning it into a transactional process. 

But then, I began to question my inutition. I started going into scarcity mode, thinking to myself "Well how can I support myself this way? What happens if I offer everything for free and no one finds value in it and I don't get paid? I still have a mortgage and bills. I must be CRAZY for considering this idea."

The more I thought about the notion, the further away from my initial inspiration I got and the more I got into the negative, scarcity mindset. My ego, which loves to remind me of all the ways a situation can turn bad, went into full-on damage control, trying to get me to understand that this is just NOT the way to do business. 

Still, the thought persisted. 

Last week I stumbled across a post from Nancy White on the concept of social artistry. What I discovered is the topic of another post--very meaty, important ideas there--but two things about social artistry took me back to my original pricing thoughts.

The first is the idea that social artistry is about "using who you are to open space for learning." This idea of using who you are reminded me of my earlier Lewis Hyde reading and that gift of transformation. 

The second concept was "radical imagination." Social artistry is about using radical imagination to create social change and transformation. What could be more radical than trying to make a living from "free"? What is more radical (for me, anyway) than trying to live from an abundance mindset, rather than from scarcity? 

So what does all this have to do with careers?

First, it reminds me that sometimes we receive inspiration about our next move from our intuition. It can be a whisper or a shout, but at some point, some voice inside us will say "you should try this!"

But then, what do we do with that? If you're like me, sometimes you let the "voice of reason," (who is really the voice of scarcity and fear) talk you out of that inspiration. You will then head down a path that seems "reasonable," but on some level, really wrong for you and where you want to go. Realizing that you're on a path that feels wrong and unsustainable is part of the journy back to your inspiration. 

Another way to handle that initial flicker of an idea is to experiment with what your intution told you. Experiments aren't permanent. They are a way to test out your intution, to try out that idea that seems "crazy," but just might actually work.  In my case, it's experimenting with how I run my business. In your case, it could be experimenting with a new identity or activity that takes you a little closer to where you want to be.

The point is that we don't want to let our scarcity and fear thoughts talk us out of experimenting with what our intuition suggests. As Jonas Salk said, "intution can tell our thinking mind where to look next." Our gut instinct can be our BEST source of knowledge, but only if we choose to at least try it out. 

So in the next few days, I'll be announcing my new pricing structure as an experiment in what happens if I trust my gut, rather than going with what seems "reasonable." 

What intutition will you experiment with today? 


Acting, Reflecting and the Cycle of Learning

Thinking RFID

Most of us, if we're honest, work like this:

 

Act-->Act-->Act

 

We rush from task to task, often trying to multi-task in a vain attempt to be more productive, with barely room to breathe in our frantic days. 

The problem with this cycle, from a learning perspective, is that when we're constantly acting, we can't learn from our experiences. There's no space to ask what's working, what isn't and what can we do to improve?

We need to insert a pause, so that our days start to look like this:

 

Act-->Reflect-->Act

 

With the addition of Reflection to the cycle, we can begin to learn from our actions, to explore what happens as a result of our behaviors and to glean from that new information and knowledge. Reflection is the white space in our days that can help us get clearer about what we are doing and why. 

 

Once we have mastered this cycle, though, to truly create change, we must alter the cycle again, so that it looks like this:

 

 

Reflect-->Act-->Reflect

 

When we start with Reflection, followed by Action, we are acting with intentionality. We are engaging in action, not activity, because we are clear about what we hope to accomplish with our actions and, therefore, clearer about how to act. We are not acting for the sake of doing something. We are taking action to accomplish or achieve something. This is a subtle, but profound difference, a lesson we all need to absorb. 

To learn, we must insert reflection into the cycle. To change, we must begin with reflection. 


How Do You Know When You're Stuck?

Smile

I've been writing a lot lately about positive professional development, trying to think differently about how we approach our own learning and growth. But it occurs to me that for many of us, thinking about career and professional growth can be tough if we're feeling stuck in our current careers. All this "positive" stuff can start to sound like the manic ramblings of a crazy person. Who has TIME for positive professional development when you're just trying to keep your head above water? 

Having been in the "stuck" place (I accidentally typed "suck" place and think that might have been more appropriate), I know how it can feel to be around people encouraging you to be positive. In fact, experts suggest that random "Be Positive!" stuff can actually be toxic. So it can help to first know when you're stuck and to acknowledge what that might be doing to you before you launch into anything else. 

I've shared in the past the times when I've felt stuck, as in in this post. Re-reading it, I can see that for me, there are always clues to when I'm feeling burnt out. See if these ring true for you:

  • Bored
  • Work is a chore that I have to slog through. I find myself devising weird little incentives, like "if you do this task, you can do mindless web browsing for 15 minutes." And I dread sitting down at my desk in the morning. 
  • Isolated and wanting to withdraw from people around me. I tend to go into my little cave when I'm in stuck mode. Of course while I'm in there, I think I'm the only person in the world who feels stuck and I can also go on a pity party for myself. 
  • Anxious and stressed out. Often I will wake up in the night with 5 million things on my mind that I can't shut down. The more I think about these things, the more anxious I feel. 
  • Difficulty focusing on one task. Multi-tasking becomes the norm, but in a very scattered way, disconnected from any real strategy. It's activity, not action

The thing that I've found is that "stuckness" can sneak up on you. It's a sort of quicksand that you wander into indavertently and don't realize is killing you until you're up to your neck in it. You become the frog in boiling water

The trick I've found is to try to pay attention to when you're getting stuck, so you can act sooner, rather than later to derail things. For me, the best way to tell is to keep daily journals so I can see when I'm trending toward stuck. I also try to monitor myself for some of the symptoms I described above. 

So here's my question for the day. How do you know when you're getting stuck? Is this something you try to monitor on a regular basis? And how do you monitor it? 

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I'm running two free Positive Professional Development Camps on July 26 and 28. Check out this post for more information and to sign up. There are only a few spots left, so I'd encourage you to sign up quickly! And if you can't attend, go ahead and fill out the form anyway, just to let me know you're interested so I can see about scheduling additional sessions. 


Positive Professional Development Online Day Camps

Girl Scout Day Camp

UPDATE! The Postivie Professional Development Online Day Camps are filled as of July 13, but I'm starting a waiting list in case anyone ends up dropping out. If you're still interested in attending, fill out this form and I will add you to the list. You can also complete the form if you are interested in attending, but can't make these particular dates/times. Depending on interest, I may look at scheduling additional sessions. 

 

Last week I was exploring how we can use positive questions to support professional development. I wrote a post here on how to prime the pump and another one on how to use positive questions to decide what you want to learn about. Then I looked at some strategies for exploring positive questions and how to translate insights into action

I've been wanting to experiment with doing online "day camps" where we use visuals, positive questions and a community of like-minded learners to engage in professional development and it occurred to me over the weekend that these questions offered a perfect opportunity to do that. 

So. . . here's what I'm planning. 

The Process

For both online day camps--described below--we will be using the Exploring New Options Image Center to consider some key questions. For each camp, we'll log-in to the Image Center and call in to a conference line (which I will also send out to you). We'll have the chance to create our images in response to the prompts and then talk about what we've created. I'll also send out some follow-up information and exercises you can use to dig more deeply into the topic. 

I'm not trying to make this super-complicated. I just want to experiment with using the Image Center and the positive questions to see where it takes us. I'm also really interested in the conversational aspect--what happens when we share our ideas and how can we move from vision to action? 

Positive PD Online Day Camp 1: Priming the Pump

Tuesday, July 26, 2011 from 7-8:30 p.m (EDT)

In this session, we're going to explore what we can create for ourselves in terms of a learning environment that best suits our needs. We'll use some of the questions from this post on Positive Questions for Professional Development: Setting the Stage--which ones will be a surprise!  We will then identify how to move from insights to action and what we can do to move forward. 

Postive PD Online Day Camp 2: Defining a Vision for Learning

Thursday, July 28, 2011 from 7-8:30 p.m (EDT)

In the second camp, we'll use the questions from this post on Developing a Vision for Learning--again, the specific questions will be a surprise. The goal will be to come up with an inspirational learning plan that supports where we want to go with our professional development. Again, we'll end by looking at how we can move from insights into action and what steps we need to take to implement our visions. 

UPDATE--Since I posted this, the class has filled up. I have created a waiting list, however, so if you want to join it, you can fill out this form. If someone drops out of the class, I will go to the waiting list and notify you. Also, if you are interested in the Day Camps but couldn't participate on these dates, then use the form to let me know you're interested in future sessions.