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Monday, November 15, 2010

Mirrors and Windows, part 2

A response to outstanding reader input via e-mails.  OK, In part one, below, I wrote about mirrors and windows.  In that post I touched on the journey between two way points; where we are and where we want to go in life.  Teaching, facilitating, and equipping someone to take the journey between these two points is no easy nor simple task.  I will start by saying there is no way a few words here will do more then just create an awareness of a life process.  There is a tremendous temptation to help students create a structured life plan.  Setting goals and establishing objectives through time lines has been the standard when it comes to achieving "success".   Most students will follow such a plan if they have someone keeping them accountable.  I believe however that most life plans are abandon because they are made with limited information about how life will actually unfold.  We tend to create these plans to create purpose or to fulfill needs without understanding what those needs are to start with.

Take my own life for example.  as a young man I wanted to be a marriage counselor and started my college learning off with psychology and sociology.  I had a structured plan and time line, but I had no idea how to follow it.  After a few years I changed my plan because life was unraveling me.  And here is the problem,  I only learned how to "pack" for that destination/plan.  I have since learn to "pack" in such a way as to allow me to handle any direction life's journey takes me.  So when I work with others I do not spend time with time lines nor worry about accountability regarding their destinations.  I teach the journey or the traveling.  Equip the student with internal ability and the rest, life, seems to just make happen.  So what is the internal ability?  There are many words we can use here; fortitude, courage, preserver, patience, and so on.  But when it comes down to it, even though we know the definition of such words, applying them to our life seems much harder.

I have often talked about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and Fraklin's Reality Model.  Understanding what our needs are as human beings is very important.  These needs unveil why one might tend to be co-dependent, oppositional defiant,  authority aviodant just to name a small morsel of issues we humans deal with.  The next area of focus I have is one's belief structure.  Why do I believe in what I believe?  These two areas, needs and beliefs, dictate how I will choose my behaviors.  My behaviors dictate how or if I can make the journey between the two way points of here and there.  How do we equip another to be able to risk in life?  How to teach others to embrace the risk of failing? How do we teach that failure is not trying?  How do we teach students to take responsibility for their life, their journey?  Why do we teach the destination and not the journey?  Awe, there it is.  We focus so much on the destination, we put so much pressure on the destination and we forget or fail to teach the journey.

Live your life!  Attempt much and expect much!  Become that which you dream one step at a time.  The only thing I ask of my students is that they contribute to the greater good along the way.  I really do not care what their destination is.  Become whatever you want!  Give more then you take!  In my life, every step has played into my journey.  I may not be a marriage counselor, but I have benefited from that learning experience.  Every piece of the journey is what life is.  Will I become this or that?  I have no idea, but I do know that I am living life and giving more than I take.  I will leave you with a quote that I often use;

Be careful of your thoughts, they become your beliefs.
Be careful of your beliefs, they become your words.
Be careful of your words, The become your actions.
Be careful of your actions, they become your destiny.


Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Mirrors and Windows.

I have been facilitating behavior change in groups and individuals for over 26 years now.  As I teach new facilitators on how to drill down into the issues that haunt human souls I have come to realize that simple imagery works best.  I preach asking questions opposed to having answers to the point that it has become my mantra. But how do we break questions down so the facilitator can create a clear path of understanding?  It is here, in this place of confusion, where most people loose the impact of the question.  So where do we start?  My first "waypoint" question is  one I asked internally.   Is the behavior functional or dysfunctional?  The answer can only be verbalized by the person who we are working with.  And the answer must address the issue of their journey.  I can look at some one and make a judgment about their behavior being dysfunctional.  But that is not my job!

Their Journey?  Simply put, where are they now, and where do they want to go?  When they put their head down on their pillow what do they dream about becoming?  No one that I have ever met dreams about having less, being less, or doing less in life.  What is their dream?  As with all journeys, we can verbalize where we want to go.  So is the behavior in question helping them get to, or move them towards their dream?  Is it functional behavior?  If the behavior is moving them forward toward the dream then our work is done.  If not, if the behavior is dysfunctional and not getting them to their dream we ask another question.  Is it dysfunctional because of the lack of desire or the lack of ability?  The answer to this question will determine our course of action in the facilitation process.  To we motivate or educate?  Do we inspire or teach?

This brings us to the mirrors and windows concept.  If you are like me, you will hear a lot of "I don't know" answers being delivered to you.  It is important, I think, for the facilitator to realize that humans do three things.  We cognate or think,  We emote or feel, and we behave or act.  Creating change in any one of these areas will have an effect on the other two.  So I ask my students to tell me what the see (active looking as a behavior), think, and feel when... When you look in a mirror, what do you see, what do you feel, and what to you think.   Once my student has answered these questions, I now move to the window.  When you look out the window what do you see, feel, and think?  I now have a basic idea of what my student whats to become, what their self image is and how they feel and think about themselves as well as, what their perception is of their environment.  Now we are ready to take a journey.  Now we can begin to move toward their dream with some clear understanding of what needs to change and why.


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