This video is from Bilbao in front of the Guggenheim Museum. I was in Bilbao for the launch of Vistage in the region.

In my courses I often have participants who hate following standard processes. Sometimes this is a good thing. When you decide to break the rules, you better do your homework and preparation so that what you deliver is excellent. Too often, “creative” people break the rules of structure… but don’t do the necessary work to be excellent in delivery.

If you liked this video, you might also like Performance Excellence: Deliberate Practice and the 3 Models of Mastery and Self Discipline will make you a Better Leader.

This is a guest post from Joyce Wilson.  Joyce is a retired teacher with decades of experience. I asked her to share her experiences about how parents can contribute to their kids thriving at school.  Joyce has created TeacherSpark.org to share creative ideas and practical resources for the classroom.

Over to Joyce...

Top Tips to Help you Child Thrive in School (from a retired Teacher)

As a parent, one of your priorities is to support your child in ways that encourage academic success.  That success involves more than good grades and scholastic achievements.  It also includes a healthy social life, consisting of positive relationships with peers, teachers, parents, and others.  With some thoughtful considerations you can help your youngster to flourish in these important aspects.

  • Structure Daily Life
  • Designate a Study area
  • Eat Meals together
  • Stay involved
  • Encourage Friendships
  • Model Behaviour
  • Help your youngster thrive

Structure daily life

Providing structure to your child’s days is a key element to success in school.  As The Telegraph notes, a structured upbringing encourages success for children during their childhood as well as future adulthood.  Providing structure and routine encourages confidence and inspires better discipline as adults.  When they reach adulthood, children raised in a structured lifestyle are more apt to be able to find employment, find direction in life, and remain hopeful about their futures.

Designate a study area

Establishing a place and time for homework is a great way to encourage structure and success in your child’s school life.  Allow your child to help decide where she or he will work, which will give your youngster ownership in the decision.  Create a designated workspace based on your kid’s input.  Chicago Parent recommends organizing the area with an assortment of school supplies so everything your child needs is at hand.  If space is at a premium, consider purchasing a corner desk. Corner desks don’t take up much room, yet still provide your youngster with an appropriate place to study.

Eat meals together

While it may seem unrelated, one of the most important activities you can do to support your child is eating together as a family.  According to some researchers, families that spend time together preparing and eating meals encourages children to do well in school in many ways.  Kids who experience family mealtime develop better vocabularies, higher self-esteem, and have healthier eating habits.  They are also less inclined to abuse substances such as drugs or alcohol.

Stay involved

It’s vital to talk with your children in order to hone in on any issues with their social life or school work.  Ask your child open-ended questions, like, “What happened today that made you happy?”  And ask, “What homework assignments do you have?”  Staying on top of things through these simple queries tells your child you are interested and supportive.  If you feel there is a problem, don’t overreact.  Get all the facts first.  When warranted, reach out to teachers for assistance with school assignments, low grades or other issues.

Encourage friendships

A healthy social life, along with good communication and coping skills begins very early in life.  In fact, some studies show that preschool friendships help kids to start developing emotional and social skills while increasing their sense of belonging and reducing their stress levels.  By interacting with their peers and with other adults, kids gain a foundation they will use for the rest of their lives.  It’s through those childhood relationships children begin to understand the importance of seeing other people’s viewpoints, learning the unwritten rules of conversation, and age-appropriate social behaviors.  Friendships also have tremendous influence over a child’s school performance and encourage or discourage socially unacceptable behavior.  The evidence is so strong that friendships can help children flourish, some school systems are going out of their way to place children in classes with friends.

Model behavior

Your child looks to you for how to act, so being a good role model is extremely important.  Nurturing your own friendships will send a positive message to your children, and modeling good relationship skills provides examples for your child.  Look for teachable moments.  You can share how you feel about a situation, or help your youngster label feelings by asking questions like, “When the butterfly died, that make you feel sad?”

Help your youngster thrive

There are things you can do as a parent to encourage your child’s success, both academically and socially.  Provide structure, stay involved, and demonstrate healthy behaviors.  Your child can flourish with thoughtfully chosen parenting strategies.

About Joyce Wilson

Joyce Wilson is a retired teacher with decades of experience. Today, she is a proud grandmom and mentor to teachers in her local public school system. She and a fellow retired teacher created TeacherSpark.org to share creative ideas and practical resources for the classroom.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

The Top 6 Reasons why Leaders Seek Coaching

  1. Creating a 90-day plan
  2. Navigating Organization politics identifying tactics to deal with “politics”
  3. Managing work and life priorities achieving a workable “balance”
  4. Developing a strategy to grow your leadership presence
  5. Accelerating momentum in your current role
  6. Clarify goals and pinpoint how to achieve them

Be careful what you wish for… In the Zoo, the animals are safe in their cages, they are fed 3 meals a day, the fence keeps out predators and competition (isn’t that what Trump promised?).

We have to be careful what we wish for.

Freedom comes with a price, and that price is called responsibility. We need to practice the responsibility that allows us to deal with true freedom.

From Peter Drucker:

“The Nature of Freedom

Freedom is never a release and always a responsibility.

Freedom is not fun. It is not the same as individual happiness, nor is it security or peace or progress. It is a responsible choice. Freedom is not so much a a right as a duty. Real freedom is not freedom from something; that would be licence. It is freedom to choose between doing or not doing something, to act one way or another, to hold one belief or the opposite, It is not “fun” but the heaviest burden laid on man: to decide his own individual conduct as well as the conduct of society and to be responsible for both decisions.”

If you liked this, you will like reading Freedom is Not Fun.

I spoke with one of my mentors in Madrid this week.  We spoke about success in business.

What is business success?

  • What price is worth paying?
  • What are the ingredients of achieving success?
  • Is Business Success due to Great Decisions, or is it due to Excellent Implementation?

I share his answer in this video.

PS 99.9% of business (and life) success is due to Commitment, rather than Brilliant Ideas or Decisions

This video is from up in the French Pyrenees.  It is about learning to ski.

It takes a few days of hard knocks to get to a level where you can even basically enjoy it.

The skills that turn out to be passions in your life, they will take time to develop. Many people give up after 1 day of frustration – they give up on skiing, they give up on speaking in public, they give up on learning a new language.

The easy stuff gets boring quickly. The harder skills can give a lifetime of enjoyment… if you can get through the initial pain.

If you liked this post, you will also like What is the hardest thing you ever had to work for? and Finding Purpose and Defining a Vision for your Life.

What skills are you working to improve in 2018?  What areas of your life will you dedicate time and energy to make changes? I’d love to hear in the comments below…

“The only thing that matters is what you choose to be now”
Po from Kung Fu Panda

The number 2 film on my “all time most watched” list is Kung Fu Panda 2.  It was my daughter’s favourite during many of our travels together over the last decade.  It is a film that had something for a young girl and something for her father.

We begin with Po, the Kung Fu Panda, frustrated with his life and feeling lost.  Over the course of 90 minutes, Po learns to accept who he is and find inner peace.

Any guesses on the film I have watched most in my entire life?  Check out this comment on the blog post for the answer!

This video is about the 4 seasons of nature, and the 4 seasons of our life.

Farmers understand the seasons – they don’t plant in autumn and try to reap a harvest in winter… they know that spring is for planting, summer is for nurturing and autumn is for reaping.

In our own lives we have these seasons. If you can recognise the seasons of your life, you can keep a better perspective and clarity about what you are seeking to achieve.

Stay strong… and remember: all winters come to an end and spring, the window of opportunity will come again.

I mentioned Brandon Dempsey’s blog post: How to cautiously and successfully reap the rewards of your hard work

I'd love you to leave a comment and tell me the answer to this question: Who is the most enthusiastic person that you know? 

Thanks, Conor

Last night, I asked a retired inspector of schools: “What makes a great school?”

His answer… “Music.”

He said that infallibly he would find a thriving musical scene in every great school that he had visited.

When you are surrounded by enthusiastic people, you are willing to take risks and learn; brave tries are celebrated. When you are surrounded by cynics and apathetic people you don’t take risks and any effort at bravery is laughed at and mocked.

On Friday I attended the YouTube Creators day in Barcelona. It struck me just how powerful a room full of enthusiastic people can be. There was no cynicism and no apathy. All efforts at Learning, trying and courage to take risks were celebrated.

Making movies #YouTube

A post shared by Conor Neill (@cuchullainn) on

PS My own answer is: Florian Mueck (http://www.florianmueck.com/florian/)