Alright Gang - I'm going to try to do this one with a little structure, but include some story too.
I'll try to use the suggested questions as a framework.
What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?
There are two answers here: Obviously my favorite and still continued exercise is Twitter.
My favorite discovery has actually been rediscovering my love of writing through my blog. I am so grateful for this. In short it has been therapeutic and life-changing. In the last few months I can even tell when I haven't been blogging as much as I need to as I felt my anxiety level rising.
The blog allows me to remind myself to be Jimmer, i.e. the real me. I've tried to be sure not to make Jimmer a character, to not talk about myself in the third person, except for maybe when it was appropriate for a piece. This is not a character by any stretch. This is Jim Brochowski about as exposed and open as I've ever been, reaching out, reflecting, trying to give myself another chance by simply being myself.
Two recent examples make me think I'm on the right track.
The first is a situation wherein I was pretty much asked to prove that this wasn't all just lip-service. I believe the reviewer is convinced.
The second is a comment from a friend at CML. She told me I could quote her.
I have loved following you on Twitter. Like I said in a recent tweet, your willingness to self reflect and share that process has been heartwarming. As we all reveal a part of ourselves through social networking, new relationships are being created and others are being rekindled. It is so cool to watch it and experience it. Of course my follow-up tweet said this, “Now you have become more than just the guy who drinks coffee all day.” I’m sure you understood why I said this. The only time you and I had ever had any interaction is when you passed by the Greeter Desk on the way to the Java Master, coffee cup in hand. We are communicating on a whole different level now, and I think it is great. Looking forward to the continuing conversation…..
That means a lot more than I think I can verbalize. Thank you Type A Librarian.
How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?
My lifelong learning goals all relate back to 3 things. Three discoveries I've made about myself in the last few months / years. These are my base.
Because the 23 Things for me has been so much more than just Learn & Play, I think it is obvious that this program has been more than just those things. It has provided an avenue to learning, a way to reconnect and show people who the real Jimmer is.
So, what are the three things you ask?
The first thing - a customer came into the library to print something out. He had no idea whatsoever what he was doing so what he ended up doing was taking it out on our staff. Cussing up a storm, swinging his arms, banging the equipment and not getting what he needed in the process.
I don't know how or why, but something struck me. I was never more calm as I said to him - "It's okay. What do you need?" Looking puzzled he stared at me and said "Huh?" I repeated what I had said and he told me what he wanted. Together, we accomplished his task in a little less than five minutes. That was weird I thought, but I didn't really understand the magnitude of the situation until I received a copy of a note / "say it" the customer had left commending me for being helpful while he was "irate."
Reflecting on this I realized that what I had done was recognize that this man's true intent was not to create a disturbance. He simply needed to accomplish something he had no idea how to accomplish. Huh?
I began to think long and hard about how I was interacting with people. Was I recognizing what their true intent was when they came to me with a question for example? Was my Mother's true intent really to frustrate me every time she visited?
Wait - My Mother - Oh the poor woman. I really needed to work on this when interacting with her.
So, I set two goals for myself, and made them my New Year's resolution and Lenten promise until the end of time. 1. Be nice to my mother and do everything in my power to make her feel welcome in my home. 2. Always try to consider peoples' true intent when interacting with them and respond accordingly and without bias.
Note: As far as I can tell - True Intent in this context is my own thing. I don't think there's any great concept out there. Hmmm... Maybe I should write a book or something. "True Intent" copyright 2008 Jim Brochowski ;-)
The second thing - When I tell the story of Meghan Joy I always include the following quote:
"From Meghan and because of Meghan we learned to attack each day with enthusiasm. We learned to reach out and make things happen for us instead of waiting for them to happen to us. We learned to face each new challenge head on, with our entire being. We now know the value of living and giving a total effort. Many years ago I lost my daughter. As I look back on her story and what effect it has had on our lives I see that I’ve tried to live my life from that point exactly as I’d promised Meghan I would. I guess it sounds like a cliché, but life is short."
It's almost like a prepared text pulled from the pages of her story, but when I saw it in print at our golf tournament this year it was abundantly clear that I was not keeping my promise. I began to do some deep soul-searching, looking at the man in the mirror as they say and trying to find better ways to change.
The third and final thing. This one I owe to Randy Pausch. In his final lecture he talked about, among other things being a Tigger or being an Eeyore, i.e. an optimist or a pessimist. He also talked about how he had lived his life, doing things for his kids, and his wife. It is an incredible lecture. If you haven't watched it I assure you it is an investment of your time you will not regret. He also wrote a book titled "The Last Lecture" which I highly recommend.
I really admired Randy's viewpoint, but I didn't know how valuable it would be to me personally until my daughter Delaney started school this year. Delaney was a worrier, the "what if" person if you will and I was having a hard time convincing her that it would be good to go into school with a positive attitude, charging ahead, being a leader and so on. But she wasn't getting it. Finally, I looked at Delaney and remembering Randy's lecture I said; "Are you Eeyore? Or are you Tigger?" Instantly her eyes lit up. She got it. She really got it, and she now tries to be a Tigger in every way.
Having had this talk with my daughter I knew I needed to ask myself the same question. Jim, are you a Tigger or are you an Eeyore? Yes, I needed to change my answer too.
These three things are my base. I try to check myself regularly on these, and I encourage you to check me as well. Go on. I'll listen. ;-)
Were there any take-aways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?
I have been pleasantly surprised by the sense of community that has been created at CML. This exists throughout the Web 2.0 community. I have been able to reconnect with my colleagues at the library in several locations, and I have made new connections via Facebook, and by following the "rock stars" blogs.
I think my new career goal might be to be one of those rock stars. Look out Michael Stephens. Kidding ;-)
Seriously, this program has provided me a way to reflect by moving forward. For that I will always be grateful.
What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?
My old self would have said something really badass, like: "Don't you dare change a thing about this program." But that's not me anymore.
I think what I would say now is don't ever forget the term "Perpetual Beta." Please always be willing to consider the next idea, the next thing and embrace them. Try them even if they don't initially seem to be so great, even if they require radical trust, even if the benefits aren't immediately obvious.
I believe there are so many organizations, companies, and even industries that are being held up by their reluctance to change and adapt, to try new things even.
I think my biggest pet peeve right now is people who say; "I don't have time for all that Web 2.0 stuff, that new fangled techno stuff and so on. I've got real work to do." I wonder if they have ever considered how much more work they could get done if they would get on board and let that new fangled techno stuff work for them.
I'm trying to bring Web 2.0 technologies to my foundation with a new board later this month. I am very hopeful they will agree with me on this. I think The MJB Foundation can accomplish so much. Please wish us luck.
Oh and consider this your formal invitation to follow The MJB Foundation on Twitter. (Updates should become more frequent soon.)
If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you again choose to participate?
This one is simple and requires only a few words - in a heartbeat.
One more you didn't ask:
What has been the coolest thing about this program?
As a teacher, trainer, and a coach the coolest thing for me are the "Aha moments," when you can see folks really get it, When they are really connecting and helping themselves succeed. When they are engaged. I've been fortunate enough to see more than my fair share of these over the years and Learn & Play provided that many more. My favorite saying in these instances is "this ain't my first rodeo dog."
Of course this rodeo has been quite a bit different.
14 hours ago