Do you enjoy going through the routine of life? Have you ever felt like you were created for so much more? The fact is, most people just don’t know how to leverage their true potential. This blog post is the first in a series about rising above the status quo, finding passion, and increasing personal effectiveness each day…
Eagles are fascinating creatures! They stir our adrenaline and captivate our attention like no other bird in the world. When we see an eagle flying high in the sky, time just seems to stand still. These “King of Birds” overcome the law of gravity simply by stretching their wings. Next thing you know, they’re soaring effortlessly through the sky. While all other birds are busy flapping their wings trying to get from place to place, the eagles just soar through the mist of every storm.
For centuries, the eagle has been the symbol of royalty, power, and authority. Eagles are referenced at least 32 times in the Bible, and they have appeared on statues, flags, and currency for centuries. While Benjamin Franklin strongly supported the turkey, the Founding Fathers ultimately selected the Bald Eagle as the national emblem of the United States of America in 1782. The eagle also has symbolic meaning for most Native American tribes, who still perform the traditional Eagle Dance when they have a need for divine intervention.
Eagles are known for their strength, size, keenness of vision, and gracefulness in flight. An interesting fact is that eagles almost always feast on fresh food. Unlike a vulture, an eagle does not eat what it finds, it finds what it wants to eat! In the same way, we have to be careful when choosing what we consume (remember, we are what we eat!). Our diet has a direct impact on our strength, energy, attitude, and effectiveness. Thus, discernment for our appetite must be clear: we must hunt, find, and consume that which we most desire.
Why do we get so uncomfortable with things we haven’t experienced before? Because, at the very core of our nature, we don’t like change. Yes, I said it: we don’t like change. We spend way too much time conforming, when what we should be doing is transforming! Many of us have wings, but always seem to be flapping them all over the place. Some of us lack passion and act as if our wings were clipped. We are neither hot nor cold, and we splash around in a bird bath of lukewarm water. We want more excitement in our life, but don’t know what we are really passionate about. What do we really need to focus on? To find out, answer these two questions:
1) Each day, what do you primarily spend your time and energy on?
2) Where would you like to spend most of your time and energy each day?
How you answer question #1 will help you to identify the priorities in your life. The answer to question #2 will help you define the gap between where you are today and where you want to be tomorrow.
There is more to come in this blog series, including the topics of Eaglets, Vultures, Molting, and Soaring. If you enjoy this blog, please share it with others. I welcome your questions and appreciate your comments. Thank you!
To Your Success,
Attitude Determines Altitude! It’s a phrase that has been used many times to highlight the impact attitude can have on individual behavior, learning, and success. Have you ever been amazed by how quickly your attitude improves after achieving a small success? Or how a complete stranger with a poor attitude can drag you down in a matter of minutes? As much as we try not to admit it, the truth is that our attitude is constantly shifting and can be dramatically affected by external forces.
But why is ATTITUDE so important? Because the more positive our attitude towards gaining new skills, stretching our creativity, and enhancing our perspective, the better we learn as adults. The better we learn, the more we retain. The more we retain, the more effectively we apply. Effective application leads to increased competence. Increased competence enhances our self-confidence. Enhanced self-confidence leads to personal success. Personal success leads to increased motivation to succeed again, which positively influences our attitude towards learning. Simply put, our attitude plays a key role throughout the cycle of adult learning, motivation, and success!
ALTITUDE: How high can your motivation to learn and succeed take you? Denver sits at approximately 5280 feet above sea level and is appropriately labeled the “Mile-High” city. While leading high-performance teams in the past, I consistently reinforced the importance of each team member’s attitude towards learning and how motivation can help everyone succeed. Attitude really does determine altitude, which is why our slogan was “Mile High and Taking It Higher!”
What motivates you to learn? My initial response to this question was, “To further develop my skills in order to attain a job promotion, make more money, and/or because of others’ expectations.” However, I quickly came to realize that these external reasons aren’t the most important factors. As I continued to ponder my individual learning motivators (as a adult learner), one thing was clear: I am very focused on changing myself from the inside-out, not nearly as much from the outside-in.
Congruent with my own realization, Malcolm Knowles points out that the most potent motivators that make adults respond come from “internal pressures” (Knowles 2010, 68). Internal pressures include, but are not limited to, improved quality of life, enhanced self-confidence, increase in self-esteem, and higher job satisfaction. Knowles challenges us to consider the intrinsic value and the personal payoff. My personal internal motivators include: personal happiness, sense of accomplishment, recognition, increased awareness, and expanded perspective.
Motivation is not simply an on/off switch- there are many layers to motivating adult learners. Last year, at the University of Denver, I met a (surprisingly) non-traditional professor named Greg Giesen. “Geese” was my instructor for a graduate course entitled, “Leading High-Performance Teams.” My personal motivation for taking this course included personal interest and experience, plus it was a requirement for my Masters program (external driver). The classroom learning activities were structured in a way that they fostered a highly interactive environment. This made the course fun and somewhat competitive as well! I believe being able to experience a sense of accomplishment and reinforce internal intuition on various projects led to a higher degree of personal learning and real-life implementation than had the course been structured in the more traditional sense (lecturing).
When teaching adults, I believe setting the tone through personal connection and helping training participants feel important can be effective methods in addressing the principle of motivation. At the very start of a training session, it is wise to welcome the group, introduce yourself, explain why you are training the course, and reveal what your personal payoff will be. By asking the participants to do the same, you communicate that you are interested in them and can learn more about what motivated each of the participants to sign up. Once you more about why each individual is attending, you may be able to leverage this information during the training to more effectively connect the learning to the participants.
From the Inside-Out,