Dare To Be Unrealistic

Jacob Sokol asked the following question to 48 online experts:

What is the most “unrealistic” thing that you’ve ever accomplished and what did you learn from the process?

I highly recommend reading through the whole post but here are a few of the most inspiring highlights for me:

When you choose the “unrealistic” choice every day, you’ll be surprised how uncrowded and welcoming it is.
Derek Sivers ··· CD Baby

I learned that if you REALLY REALLY REALLY want to do something and you’re committed to going for it and willing to work on it thru the inevitable “WTF am I doing moments” you can pretty much do anything.
Brian Johnson ··· Philosopher’s Notes

What I learned (or rather, an affirmation of what I knew before that): Focus on value, and money will fall in place itself. While I track my income, I have never once set income as a primary goal and have always focused on coming up with best ideas that will bring the best value for my readers instead. This has translated itself into results in all areas.
Celestine Chua ··· the Personal Excellence Blog

You have to take the first step. Then, do that everyday until you reach your goal. If you keep moving, you can do anything – write a novel, be a good parent, quit your day job, get out of debt, lose weight. Just focus on one step. Repeat.
Melissa Gorzelanczyk ··· Peace and Projects

As for myself, I feel some unrealistic things brewing. Last year, my Master’s thesis was reformatted and published as a book. Now I have the desire to author more content. I got more serious about blogging and found myself as a guest blogger on Brandon Hall’s Workplace Learning Today. This is just the beginning for me and it has opened up other opportunities which I am exploring.

Another relatively unrealistic thing I did was a few years back when I lost a great deal of weight, 75 lbs in fact, and I felt fantastic. Unfortunately, life took over and I lost that focus and I gained quite a bit of it back. But I’ve done it once and I can do it again. But this time, I’m wiser, I’m stronger and I can anticipate hurdles. I’ve got practice and experience on my side and there is no reason why I cannot do this.

The most common question I get is: How did you manage to accomplish this? and the answer is simple: I set a goal and just do it. I combat resistance daily, but I keep my eye on the prize. Also, I reflect regularly on what kind of person I want to be. The following quotes are some of my mantras:

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.
― Seneca

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
― Gandhi

Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.
― Steven Pressfield

Reference:

Successful People Work at Being Successful

Doug Belshaw wrote a great reflection piece yesterday on the qualities of being successful.

Talent doesn’t make you successful because talent is just a word which sums up three different character traits. These can all be developed; they’re not ‘innate’.

People who are successful tend to be:

  1. Confident
  2. Tenacious
  3. Articulate

I quite like Doug’s perspective as it suggests that if someone applies themselves, they have the capacity to be successful. I compare this perspective the Roman Philosopher Seneca’s quote:

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

Equally as powerful is a quote from motivational speaker Bob Nelson:

The biggest mistake in life is to think that you work for someone else. True, you may have a boss and you may collect a paycheck from a company but ultimately, you are the master of your own destiny. You decide what potential you reach in your career and what you will eventually accomplish in your life.

The bottom line is that people aren’t just successful or lucky, but rather they work at it.

Reference:

Initially published on Brandon Hall’s Workplace Learning Today

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Influences on our Digital Identit(y/ies)

Great reflection piece by Andy Coverdale about Digital Identities.

I’m convinced that both the intrinsic (critical practice) and extrinsic (confessional practice) influences are necessary for properly forming identity. I’m still wondering what the particular influences are in the digital realm. I might have to dig out Sherry Turkle’s Life on the Screen

Coverdalle's Diagram of Postmodernist Social Practices

In researching approaches to digital identity, I recently came across a model which i found particularly interesting. In their schema of experiential learning, Usher, Bryant et al. (1996) describe how lifelong learning can be understood in relation to two continua (autonomy to adaptation, and application to expression) which create four specific contemporary social practices: lifestyle, confessional, vocational, and critical.

The idea of identity formation is particularly evident in the two opposing practices of the confessional and the critical

So how does identity formation within these two practices translate to the formation of digital identities and reputations, and to the representation of self on the social web?

Reference:

The New Paradigm of Advantage

Great take by Umair Haque on the necessary paradigm shift that companies must in order to be agents of change rather than simply agents of opportunity. Author Umair Haque writes that the 21st century demands from firms of all stripes: a paradigm shift in the nature of advantage.

Here’s something you might not know. There’s enough food in the world to feed pretty much everyone. So why are more than 1 billion people — nearly 20% of the world’s population — either starving or malnourished? And why, over the last two decades, has global hunger steeply risen?

The answer has everything to do with the past — and future — of advantage.

The past of advantage was extractive and protective. The future of advantage, on the other hand, is allocative and creative.

Allocative advantage asks: are we able to match people with what makes them durably, tangibly better off — and can we do it 10x or 100x better than our rivals?

Creative advantage asks: is our strategic imagination 10x or 100x richer, faster, and deeper than our rivals?

Extractive advantage asks: how can we transfer value from stakeholders to us, 10x or 100x better than our rivals?

Protective advantage asks: are buyers and suppliers locked in to dealing with us, 10x or 100x more tightly than to rivals?

He even makes a Prezi about it.

Reference:

Can a Goofball be Taken Seriously?

We all have our expressions. One of mine is goofball. It’s not too rude (mind you I’m careful about who I call a goofball), and kind of silly, and reminds me of this guy. Sometimes I use it with affection, sometimes with friendly sarcasm and sometimes when faced with adversity. I even refer to myself often as being a goofball, goofing off, goofing around, etc.

I like to laugh and make people laugh. I’m even goofy sometimes when I’m teaching; it’s my way of being entertaining. It doesn’t always go over well, not everyone appreciates my humour. But more often then not, it does. And people find me approachable because I’m not all stuck up, but rather a bit goofy. It’s like if you spend any amount of time with Thiagi, an ultimate goofball, you’ll hear him refer to himself as stupid. Of course, he’s goofing around.

However, I sometimes wonder if it might come across as unprofessional. Janet Clarey actually raises some important questions about how we perceive professionalism in a blog post about business communication.

But Chris Brogan got me really thinking about this with his blog post entitled The Importance of Being Funny. He displays, what I would characterize as, a picture of him being a goofball (Chris, I say that with the utmost respect 🙂 ). Chris tackles the issue of how funny is perceived and how it is sometimes necessary and how it impacts storytelling.

Ok, so every picture tells a story. A picture is worth a thousand words. Yadda3. So when my good friend Sonia decided to do a photoshoot for me a while back, we narrowed the best pics down to about 10. The picture on the left is the one I use 90% of the time when I have to submit a professional picture. The picture on the right is my friends’ favorite. Why? Well Sonia, the photographer, said it was the picture that captured me the best. It tells the best story about who is Kristina Schneider. My response was that these were business photos… I’m rethinking this right now.

Can you take a goofball headshot seriously?
Can you take a goofball headshot seriously?

 

Steve Woodruff wrote a blogpost entitled Your Personal Brand – Does it Matter? in which he argues:

People often question if they “need” a personal brand. Here’s the news – you already HAVE a personal brand. The only questions are, what is it? And are you projecting it effectively?

I think this is bang on.

But can goofballness be part of that brand or does it harm that brand?

Ultimately, can a goofball be taken seriously?

Or perhaps, how well known do you have to be before you can get away with being a goofball.

References:

Blog Content Pirates – Advice Needed on How to Deal with Them?

There is one word to describe how I feel at this moment: Ick.

And the reason is feel this way is because I discovered that the entire blog post I made yesterday was copied and pasted and reposted on someone else’s site. Oh, the heading states that I (or technogenii) as the source, but there is no link to my blog. Actually, I was able to discovered this incident because I linked to another one of my blog posts in that post and received a pingback request.

But even writing “Source: technogenii” in the headline, in my opinion, is not enough. I understand that because I’ve published my post in the public domain that it isn’t protected by copyright. But isn’t there some kind of an etiquette amongst bloggers? There is an ethical way to point to another source on the Web without republishing it without permission.

I’ve been blogging for about a month now. So I’m looking for the advice of more seasoned bloggers on how to deal with this time of online rip-off.

Over / Under Thinking and Perception

[or How I Finally Snuck my Love of Shopping into a Blog Post]

Yesterday, I went shopping with my neighbour who is 26, 10 years my junior. I followed her into a “young girl store”, the type of store with the high cut tops and the low cut pants and other garments that would ultimately reveal my penchant for “sitting” rather then “sit-ups”…

We wandered in. The sales girls (they weren’t women yet) smiled at me and addressed her. One even said to her “out shopping with your sister?” Ok, so we are both blue-eyed blondes, but still!

However, in that loud, colourful, flashy seemingly “way too young for me” store, I found the most perfect pair of Cargo Capris. It’s like they were made for me. It just goes to show that sometimes we need to venture into that place we avoid out of fear and see just what we can find.

In a recent post entitle How clear cut is cause and effect?, Karyn Romeis talks about jumping to conclusions.

One worrying consequence of the results-driven society in which we live is the perception that there must be a clear cut explanation for everything.

Karyn’s post was about “overthinking” to which I commented that sometimes, we underthink:

I think people look for and draw cause and effect conclusions much too rapidly. I also feel that it is at the source of much of the prejudice we see. […] I believe that people will stop looking for these black and white answers once they start learning to look at things with a broader and more critical perspective.

In Karyn’s response to me, she resumed the dichotomous issue quite accurately, in my opinion:

So, on the one hand we’re oversimplistic and on the other, we have a tendency to behave like ‘sheeple’ where it is not tolerated to have an opinion that differs from that of the masses? You’re probably right.

[Our exchange digressed into shopping, which makes me think Karyn & I share a weakness 😉 ]

In a recent blog post about Reframing Questions, Dave Pollard discusses false myths:

The problem with the false myths are that they can blind you to the truth if you accept them uncritically. They can constrain your imagination of other possibilities that are contrary to the false myth ‘conventional wisdom’. They can lead you to make very bad decisions.

He’s obviously arguing against the oversimplification side of things:

The problem with limiting generalizations is that they can lead you to oversimplify (“to get ahead in business women have to think and act like men”), to draw false dichotomies (“we either have to find new domestic oil or be forever dependent on foreign suppliers”) and to stereotype (“working class whites will always vote Republican” which can lead you to draw false inferences from correlations, to write off classes of people, and to inhibit your creativity.

Dave offers a helpful comparative table of ten false myths and limiting generalizations that he regularly encounters and reframe questions that might show another way to see the situation.

References:

Information R/evolution

I’m almost done editing my 165+ page thesis which I’ll be defending at the end of the summer. When I look at this video, I cringe to think of what it was like to write a thesis back in the olden days!

Reference:

Dropping the “e” – A Sign of the Times!

My title has recently been changed from Director of eLearning to Director, Blended Learning Strategies. Yesterday I received my new business cards and had the opportunity to hand them out for the first time today. They were well received. Actually, one of the comments was “oh, so you do more then just eLearning then?”, which is exactly the response I was looking for.

I think a few years ago, when there was the second boom of eLearning, it was strategic to have such a title. However, lately I found that it limited me more then anything, and more often then not, I was grouped with the IT people rather then the education, training and performance people. Of course I’m a bit of both, and this new title is more representative.

And perhaps also strategic. Since we can learn just about anywhere, anytime and with a multiplicity of methods, the idea of segregating the “eLearning” for the rest of the learning process is in my opinion quickly becoming outdated. A comprehensive learning strategy will have a blend of various learning solutions.