Posts from the ‘summer writing’ Category
August 15, 2014
After spending a full day at the Global Leadership Summit (and on the brink of embarking on Day 2 conference-ing) I have a confession to make…I love being a leader.
I love the power and influence that comes from seeing a team enact a vision that was birthed late at night and that maybe seemed too crazy or too far out or too whatever and yet turns out to be the absolute perfect thing at the right time. I love the scale and scope that being a leader affords me. I love being part of a team and intentionally (and continuously) working toward moving us from a disjointed group of people into a cohesive tribe. I love empowering my people to take risks and try new things and step into the giftings that I see, by virtue of my own vantage point, to be so clearly written into their lives.
August 13, 2014
I’ve recently arrived back from a month+ in the mountains filled with playing, running, drinking, and generally relishing the laid back life of a pseudo-cowgirl rather than a hard working urban academic/freelance graphic designer. This basically means (for all the people who don’t self identify as laid back pseudo-cowgirls) substituting divergent-thinking and cosmic question-asking for academic journal reading and anything that even remotely resembled formalized educational theory. And eating…lots of eating. Oh, and a sprinkling of rhinestones, boots, and fancy cocktails since the range is a thirsty place!
But now it’s August, which means September is right around the corner, which means formalized education is soon to replace my free-spirited adventures. So…time to, among other things, get back to writing and reading and seeing how (or even if) all the loose ends of the summer might actually weave into the bigger narrative of my dissertation and connect in hitherto unknown ways. It feels a bit like beginning to exercise again after you’ve taken a long time off…you know in your head it’s going to be good for you (and getting cute new exercise clothes is fun) but you also know it’s going to be really really hard and all your body really wants to do is sit on the couch and surf twitter, eat cheese puffs, and in your cute new exercise clothes. It feels like right now I’m the chubby awkward kid in gym class who just wants to hide when teams are being picked because I know the first time the ball comes to me I won’t be brave and catch it…I’ll scream and cover my head and wish that the ground could swallow me.
But…this isn’t my first rodeo and I know, no matter how terrible things are to begin with, at some point the endorphins will kick in, I’ll learn to ignore the school yard bullies who seem to live inside my head, and things will click.
So…welcome August…and now, back to work.
July 8, 2014
…creating a space that allows learners to feel fine about not knowing something, feel energized/self-motivated to start the exploration of discovery and explore their resources, feel at peace to reflect as much as they need to on the process, and feel empowered to share their own unique voice with the world.
(Musings inspired post-cohort chat and built upon things spoken about with the awesome members of Cohort 6 who remind me yet again how community, through connection, sparks ideas like glorious fireworks in my own head. If I could figure this recipe out with my students and profs…ahh….it would be golden. I hope it’s on the horizon.)
June 27, 2014
Changing spaces is hard. When you are at a brick and mortar campus, it means there’s a ton of dust and stairwells are blocked off and hard-hat wearing construction workers outnumber your team members. And then things like your office space change and your live out of boxes and it’s just an all around messy process.
It turns out, changing spaces in an online campus is just as messy but in a super sanitary manner (if that dichotomy is even possible.) At the school I work for, we’re in the process of doing a massive migration where over the course of four weeks everything from our LMS to our lecture delivery system to our student records database is changing. The first three weeks were manageable and I was able to assume a zen-like sense of calm as I did bite-sized chunks of work each day but never let myself get overwhelmed. This week (aka final week before we go live)…not so much. It seems the closer the deadline gets the more everything seems to fall apart, go down, or just get janky. The only thing zen in my life this past week has been the calming chant music I’ve been listening to and even that is beginning to wear thin.
June 20, 2014
Coming up on my sixth month in the not-so-new-to-me position I now hold, I’ve been thinking a lot about leadership and what I’ve learned so far. At the beginning, one of my major concerns wast that I’d burn out or that I just wouldn’t have what it takes to command attention and actually lead. Good news is I am still going strong (and oddly enough way more intentional about personal boundaries than I ever was in previous roles) and I have a team that not only says yes to things but actually says yes with an excitement to them when I propose new and somewhat madcap ideas! So I’d say the leadership thing is something I definitely can hack.
Here’s what I think is the best crazy thing I’ve learned in my tenure thus far: When you are leading a team, the most important thing isn’t that you are always in control or you always dictate the next move, rather it’s that you take the time to get to know your team members well enough so that you can arrange for them to enter into positions where they will shine—where their strengths will kick in to turbo gear and they will take off. As a leader, I have the unique agency to create those situations and as a leader, there’s nothing better than seeing my team members hit their stride because the synergy from that is endless.
You need to be in control and have control but I think when the cool stuff happens it really is when you let go of that control and just sit back and allow yourself to be dazzled as everyone comes alive.
And here’s the hardest thing I’ve learned in my tenure thus far: Sometimes the best thing for people isn’t to be on your team anymore and yet they don’t want to risk the move. Change is scary and unknown and the mediocrity of where they are is preferable to the potentially awesome but also potentially awful beyond. I don’t know how to deal with these people yet…navigate these places and be this sort of brave.
Overall these six months have been so so so good for me and also for my school. Legit I am itchy in my job (as I seem to be in any situation after about a week and once it’s moved from total fear to being somewhat routine…it’s a sick sick thing that I can both totally fear change for all its newness and also secretly crave it like nothing else.) But for now I am committed to learn and I could not ask for a better team to lead as I do.
June 15, 2014
So Week 2 of MOOC-land is almost over. I’ll admit this week I’ve become dangerously close to being a drop-out statistic. Don’t get me wrong…I didn’t mean to not log in, not read, not post, and generally disappear but things got busy and World Cup started and I had a dinner party, changed my hairstyle, and did summer-life-stuff. And…to be completely honest I was a little turned off by this week’s topic, namely “Literature Review.”
I’ve never done a literature review but in my mind it seems like in order to do one you just have to sit and read and read and read some more and everything has to be dry and boring and “academic” and it will mostly turn into one giant slog-fest of boredom. “Experts” feel old, stuffy, and dated to me and while I know that’s both unfair and untrue to them…I still can’t quite erase the idea from my head.
And then everything changed…..
June 11, 2014
My new thing to be a bit obsessed with is how to help students (and even ourselves/our staff) navigate and delight in the world of knowledge abundance that we’re living in. I recently watched a YouTube of Bonnie Stewart talking about abundance and scarcity and it was awesome stuff. Thus far I’ve got nothing composed but hand-lettering but….I think this is a super important topic and one I want to dig a bit more into.
June 9, 2014
So, last week I began a MOOC (I’m going to tentatively call it my first MOOC ever…I tried to start one back in January but didn’t really do it because everything started in January…good news is I was in it just long enough to meet a new member of Cohort 7 and establish a great Twitter friendship but that’s another
So, last week I began Understanding Research Methods from Coursera. I thought that the whole research methods thing would be a great way for me not to lose all I’d recently learned in 802 and the somewhat structured environment of a class (even a class as free wielding as a MOOC) would keep me more accountable…more likely to actually live as a doctoral student in the day to day part of my identity and not just as an impressive bit of party trivia at summer soirees.
Turns out…it’s pretty awesome. Though I’m only a week into things there are a couple standout moments which I’ll just list because it’s late and I’m tired (but also a bit guilty feeling because I’ve not written for a few days. Actually no…I’ve been MOOC-writing so maybe I should just stop all this rambling and go to sleep. But I’ve made it this far so an orderly list with clever and pithy numbered points won’t kill me.)
MOOC Epiphanies From Week 1
(from a girl who admittedly was a little skeptical because even though she’s being supervised by the original MOOC-creator…she’s kind of read enough articles and sipped enough anit-MOOC kool-aid to kind of think that maybe all the cool kids are more in the ironic + skeptical camp than the believer tribe therefor she should be too…)
June 5, 2014
Two posts in one day because I’m kind of an overachiever. Haha..not. But I am almost finished with my faculty presentation about massive change, burn out, and other such fun topics that make everyone feel warm and fuzzy inside. This is one slide and kind of encapsulates the some of the style of it all for right now. Actually, who am I kidding…this kind of encapsulates my style for everything. Open, minimal, modern and of course…orange-love.
June 4, 2014
First new blog adjustment in over a year means I now have a space in my menu bar (on the upper right corner to be exact) to record random, iterative, questions-with-no-answers. In addition the other pages I never updated anyways (“books”….seriously, who reads anymore? “travels and people to meet”….ditto. who travels anymore it’s all webcam all the time, right?) have been hidden for a while.
Unfortunately the graphics are still at the bottom because I really like them and can’t quite remember how to unlink them….but I’m thinking at some point I’ll remember. Maybe that’s a good question to add to my new page….