All posts written by Johnflurry

Offering whole

Do we offer more than pieces of ourselves to others?
There may be an endless list of reasons why we offer ourselves in pieces. Shattered dreams, wounding words, broken promises or worse yet betrayals leave us connecting with only part of our selves.

Yes we’ve all been hurt. Offering only part of ourselves makes an agreement with those past pains instead of leaning into trust, hope and love. Offering more says “something new is going to happen”. It is an opportunity for change. Yesterday there may have been winter but today shows the promise of spring. New friendships, new discoveries in old relationships and best of all forgiveness.

We forgive ourselves and others. We look forward to wholeness.

Permission to engage

Recently a friend had the opportunity to visit with a woman who was speaking on feminism. During her talk Liz Forkin Bohannon encouraged the men in the audience to engage with her on the topic of gender equality. She was inviting them into a conversation she believed they had been excluded or felt they had no right to say or add anything to. The invitation was given with respect and expectation.

We need permission to engage with others on tough issues. Most of all we need to give others permission as well.

Permission to engage with each other allows opportunities. It opens the dialogue instead of shutting each other down. Like Bohannon, we can invite others into not only seeing each others point of view but also partaking in the solutions. It does not always mean we will agree with each other but it does give us a chance to be human, find common ground and hopefully understanding instead of dismissive.

See Liz present on feminism and gender equality here.

Checking our baggage 

We carry conditions, pre-conceived notions and assumptions into every conversation we have. 

Let’s call it baggage.

What would happen if we checked it, like baggage and went light instead before our next conversation. 

With our new freedom maybe we would find the other person has grown. Maybe their first impression isn’t representative of who they really are. Maybe we would finally see the deeper things that make up the other person. 

Craig Mconnell in talking about people’s effect on each other uses the above portion of an iceberg as an illustration of what we see when we see a person. What lies below the waterline is the true person. And there is so much more. 

Maybe no baggage allows us see more and allow others to do the same with us. 

Student Day

Today is Student Day at GDC (The game Developers Conference) in downtown San Francisco. Hundreds of student will be able to get free passes and access to the masterminds behind the world best and brightest in the video game industry.

For the rest of the world, every day is student day.

For every person that tells a student ‘they can’t” we can tell them they can.

We get to listen to their dreams, be their much needed advocate.

Maybe we can invite them into a job shadow or offer an internship and ask them the heart questions with expectant ears.

Possibly we have the honor to say “I choose you”.

Better yet, how much more value can we add when we encouraging them to choose themselves.

Once they do that we get to offer them a hand up, maybe buy them a much needed tool or connect them to others.

Happy student day.

Straight to the heart

“What is your passion?”
I asked our driver this after he said he had no time for video games (he was driving us to The Game Developers Conference 2016).

“Oh I love to fish” was his reply.

He next explained how he and his father used to fish all the time on the local pier. Then in only a 10 minute drive we got to know him well.

“This is why I drive for Lyft” stated another driver right before dropping us off the next day. She is an entrepreneur who loves to connect and learn from those in business. She dreams of starting something soon.

How do you get beyond the usual pleasantries when meeting someone new? Focus on the heart.

Asking questions that get to the heart of someone quickly puts them at ease. People are used to small talk, being ignored or worse yet, used. You stand out when you stop and asks them a question about their life. It will catch them off guard.

You can learn from a master interviewer Cal Fussman of Esquire Magazine. He explains to Tim Ferriss just how he does it. It was a great refresher for me. Check it out here.

Unoticeable

There are no missteps, arguments, confusion or wrong orders.

Everyone has a role, played in unison with the rest of the team.

This happens every night at Ryoko Sushi Bar in San Francisco.

Their team is synchronized. You really don’t even notice it as a customer. That is why people are delighted. That is why there is a line down the street even on Sunday nights. People come back every time because of what is not noticeable.

To have a team like this there needs to be buy-in.

A culture needs to exists where people own their work, their craft, their mindset.

To work here they chose excellence over drama.

Coworkers care so much that when someone is sick everyone picks up the slack. That is why customers only notice the sushi, the laughter, their friends delight. And they come back over and over again.

It is how it should be. Everywhere.

Fresh Stories

I caught myself telling a stale narrative last night.

It was story that had become over-used and actually worthless.

I knew that I had better things to share, even as I told it.

We all do this.

Every day has many events. Like bricks in a wall they build build our overall story.

We often, just as I had, fall back on old stories. These are standbys, cheap filler added to what really is a rich life.

Why do we do this?

I have many theories. Here are a few.

We often have little margin to reflect on our daily lives.

Without it we are like speeding trains going about our day without perspective, evaluation and reflection. This is a great reason to write daily, why journaling is so helpful. We are able to see when we’ve drifted from my own narrative or become distracted by the many things that can easily clutter a story.

Another is the belief that we don’t have a significant story. I have never met an uninteresting person. I have though met many people that have told me they don’t have a story though. It doesn’t take long, if someone asks the right questions and spends time to listen, to show how untrue that is.

Last, many people fall into a common trap. They believe (even if they won’t admit it) that they are stuck and there is no way out. These are are the worst offenders. If you spend enough time around them they will tell the same stories over and over.

So now that I have discovered this stale story I will today as I connect with people, stop and choose another one. Or better yet, maybe I will be silent and listen more.

How about you?

Leaping

The time comes when we have to leap.

That final paper draft is just that, a draft. It has to be placed in the inbox.

The resume and cover letter must get mailed, as is.

The huge project launch has to launch.

Yes, check it over several times but then …. ship.

Sometimes we have to leap with out all the variables known.

Take marriage for example.

How many couples say “I do” and later are so thankful they didn’t know what “in sickness and in health” really meant. (Aaron and Leith McHugh have an amazing story on that. Listen to it here.)

Knowing everything would keep us from doing anything great

So go ahead and ship, mail, submit, send, say yes, I do, I will.

In my own journey taking 1000 cold showers helped.

But that is another story altogether.

Our path to communicating and connecting

Alix Generous’s story is filled with detours, hardship, heartbreak and victory.

Alix has aspergers.

Her journey to communicating with others involved dozens of medical therapies and many mis-steps but ultimately she found her path. And it is a beautiful one.

The truth is simple. No one is a GREAT communicator. We are all learning, testing, trying and failing.

The trick is to stick with it.

I am thankful Alix never gave up.

Take a glimpse into to her journey through her TED talk.

From remembering to creating

Introducing a student to a new concept could be the beginning of a journey of creating for them.

That should be the reason we teach.

Education without creative vision leaves the student at memorization.

Those learning poetry may know how to compose a perfectly constructed poem. But is it a lifeless regurgitation of method?

Now consider sciences or business. Focusing on knowing the “right” answers won’t help innovate or reach the next breakthrough.

Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning illustrates all the needed steps in between to have students, who on leaving school, will have the ability to not only know the subject but be able to contribute their “own verse”, as Walt Whitman penned it.

Yes testing is an important part, but so is reflection, reaction, analysis, argument and application. That is why so much can be accomplished in one well done field day as opposed to the classroom.

Giving students real world problems to tackle sparks creative genius.

We need world changers, ones who connect the undiscovered dots, ones that surpass even us with unconventional methods.

They need more windows and fewer walls.

On this note I am reading through Seth Godin’s eBook published on Medium called Stop Stealing Dreams.
I invite you to join along. I will post more education and learning related blogs as the topic inspires them.

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