Soul Food for October 19, 2012

Happy Soul Food Friday!

Community Engagement:

Get Out Much?

In the past week, I had the opportunity to speak to both the KIPP: Adelante Preparatory Academy downtown,

and at a Dollars for Scholars Scholarship Showcase Reception at SDSU

While the audience was different some of the main themes were consistent with respect to Soul Food, so I thought I would share them and the inspiration behind them with you.

As most of you know ‘not everything that counts can be counted’. In people Character Counts. In organizations Living your Values and your Culture counts

At Mission Fed, Serving our Community thru Education is integral to our organizational DNA and it is who we are!

First some level setting:

There are certain things that are totally changing how we experience our lives not the least of which is the Rate of Change. For example, it took 150 years to go from thee and thou in old English to the common use of you and me. Compare that to how little time it has taken to go from typing on a keyboard to using a touch pad.

It took 38 years to sell 1MM TVs. Compare that to the fact it took less than a month to sell 1MM iPads.

Today the shelf life of knowledge is approximately 18 to 24 months

That means, much of what we are learning at the beginning of our college experience is already obsolete or irrelevant by the time we graduate!

This presents a challenge. How do we possibly equip young people for a world we cannot even anticipate?

First, rather than focus on one particular skill I believe it requires developing a battery of meta- cognitive skills that equip us for how to think, as well as how to learn.

I liken it to the Google metaphor as a meta-search engine or search engine of search engines that today has become the dominant force and a verb!

(more on this in a subsequent topic)

Second, today’s Networked, Interconnected world, now more than ever requires the social intelligence skills of Questing and Collaborating.

Questing comes from YOU!
You must be passionately and purposefully focused on your success
You must decide on your quest and keep your eye on the prize
You must turn Can’t into CAN
You must ignore your doubters and silence your critics
Questing comes from YOU!

Collaboration on the other hand comes from those around you
We ARE indeed judged by the company we keep
With a smartphone, and there are more smartphones on this planet today than toilets, you are within striking distance of whatever you need information-wise anywhere on the planet
Mentors and a support system scaffold you, as you architect the blue print of your life!
They are your sage advisors, your real friends and your guides
Whether as a “sage on the stage” or a “guide on the side” let us not underestimate the role each of us can play as co-collaborators in the success of other people’s lives!

Back to Questing:
Good old Tony Robbins (I got to hear him speak at Dreamforce 2012, in San Francisco) says there are three S’s you can focus on- to move the needle on your success outcomes.
These are in reverse order of importance

The first is your Strategy
What is your plan?
Do you have one?
Remember the 7 Ps: “Proactive Proper Planning Precludes Piss Poor Performance”

The second is your story
What is Your Story?
If you don’t like your story, can you change it?
The Past is not what happened but how you interpret what happened
The Future- can you create a powerful compelling vision of what you future will look like and then do everything within your power to make that a reality?
(We will get to the Present in a moment, get it J)

Some of us, as part of our story have been given labels including being labeled as “one of those kids”
Getting over labels like bad, crazy and lazy, poor, stupid, underprivileged, etc. is not easy
Rest assured, they don’t know what they are talking about. Make sure you reframe the labels

I have heard and share some of your stories of challenge and triumph. We know the degree to which you have struggled and worked to become who you are. Just like clothing, don’t wear labels that don’t belong…

As Jonathan Mooney, who I got to hear at the Empower Youth Symposium two weeks ago (see below likes to say), we must recognize we are NOT broken, we are not in need of being fixed. In many cases it is the system that is in dire need of fixing. Kids don’t suffer from dyslexia. Our culture suffers from dysteachia as a one size fits all, industrial age educational model is not the most effective and efficient to account for various learning styles, paces, intelligences and differences!

3 Things that made the difference for Mooney that might resonate for you:

1. People told me I was broken but it was the way I was treated that was  broken!

There are many ways to  get to successful!
“Difficult children make interesting adults”
– Questing means we are Intrinsically motivated by autonomy, mastery and purpose

2. The PEOPLE in our life make a difference!- Longitudinal Studies validate THIS is the predictive variable in success

We need:

    a. Advocates at home
b. Connectors in the School
c. Mentors in the world
Teaching style and pedagogy are not nearly as relevant as the capacity to CONNECT!
Questing and Collaborating seem to be the critical determinants of one’s success

3. Not just about remediating weakness but about SCALING STRENGTH!

It is about balancing the two aspects; a remediation agenda with strength agenda. Make sure adequate time is invested in what you are good at!

Oddly we focus on generalist skills in education but the real world wants specialization. To get good at something requires 10,000 hours! (Outliers) but with some caveats
Practice makes permanent, perfect practice makes perfect. We must do the right things right…

Mitigate weaknesses via:

  • Support
  • Teams
  • Technology

The biggest part of Story is “Unlearning how I was taught to see myself”

Nearly 45% of entrepreneurs (have Dyslexia)
Innovative, Creative and Entrepreneurial qualities are not despite, but precisely because of learning differences!

The third S is your State!
Practice Fiero!  As Happiness Guru and bestselling author Grethen Rubin who spoke recently at the Atlantic meets the Pacific conference says.
Fiero is that universal body language we all exhibit when a goal is scored in soccer, or touchdown in football.
Motion creates emotion
“I can” physiology gets you game ready in the moment
Practice it now…

Any control freaks out there? The one thing we can all control is how we choose to respond to what happens to us. We are not a statistic

This is where the final ingredient in today’s mix comes in
The final ingredient, the icing on the cake is Resilience. Tal Ben-Shahar, a Positive Psychologist (not to be confused with a positive thinker) spoke eloquently to this characteristic in Deconstructing Happiness: the Science behind Contented Lives at the Atlantic Meets the Pacific Conference. Resilience is “An ability to recover from, or adjust to misfortune or change”.As serendipity would have it, it is another translation for the name of our karate school. Become a student of Research Resilience and make it part of your Mindset and Heart-set.

You deserve every success. You deserve to be happy but that doesn’t mean it is going to be easy.

My aspiration and blessing for you is simple…
There is only ONE you. Be yourself. By your best self.
Yourself is not narrowly defined at the limits of your skin. Your definition of self can expand to include everyone in your ecosystem. Bring in closer, those that are most committed to your success and that can help you get there.

Those with narrow definitions of self, lead narrow lives.
Those with wider definitions, lead lives not limited by self, but transformed by a new definition of what is possible.
Remember, challenged and challenging kids make for interesting people…

So to summarize:
Like the most interesting man in the world of Dos Equis Fame says “stay thirsty my friends”- keep that questing spirit fired up
Master the skills of collaboration– they will take you far
Fine tune your strategy and when you need to- refine it
Revisit your story and if you don’t like it, REWRITE it!
Change your state in this moment to make sure when opportunity knocks you are totally ready to answer the call.

I am so proud of you
You are redefining what is possible
I honor you, I salute you, I wish you only the very best on the next leg of your journey!


“LOVE is our Soul Purpose”

Empower Yourself and Others:
More on  Jonathan Mooney at:
More on Positive Psychology at:
More on Grethen Rubin’s Happiness Project at:

There are also huge breakthroughs in educational technology! I am particularly impressed with Roger Stark and some of the results his team at Learning Enhancement are getting with their software.  Click here

Ok if you read this far it has been a touch heavy, so let’s lighten things up…

Push Button for a little drama in your life

For Your Artistic Side:

Enjoy These Amazing Sand Sculptures

Click here!

Special thanks to KIPP: Adelante Preparatory Academy, Dollars for Scholars, Atlantic Meets the Pacific, Jonathan Mooney, Roger Stark, Paul S. and Larry H.

Pay it forward!

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