Category Archives for Mindset

Turning Points

Footpath winding through colorful forest

For the past six months, almost since the pandemic began, a dedicated group of Learn and Get Smarter community members have met every Saturday for two hours or more, to discuss how to survive and thrive during these unprecedented times.

We shared our personal reflections and professional expertise to gain deeper insight into what works when dealing with high levels of uncertainty and risk.

This past Saturday for the first time in six months, only two people in addition to myself attended the meeting. I had received thoughtful emails in advance from several community members, explaining that they wanted to come but needed to be at a conference, a study session, or an event of some kind.

The thought that occurs to me is that as a group, we may have reached a turning point. Maybe people weren't coming to talk about how to survive and thrive during these times, because they were just too busy out there actually thriving.

It's fall and a turning point feels underway. People are settling in to this new reality, whatever form it takes for them, and thinking about how they want to learn and grow in the weeks and months ahead.

Falling Autumn leaves before sunset

This feels like a time of transition.

🍂Some processes that have been in the works for a long time, are coming to completion and winding down.🍂

🌱And at the same time, the seeds of new growth are quietly germinating, as yet unseen, underground. 🌱

mug with autumn squashes

The most recent cohort of the Course Design Formula® Master Course has completed learning the steps of how to design a highly effective and engaging online course.

Now  that group has moved on to Course Crafters Camp™, our hands-on workshop-oriented community for Course Design Formula® Master Course graduates..

 This past week at Camp (it's a virtual learning space, not an actual physical place), Rhonda Anderson Lauritzen of Evalogue.life workshopped a presentation on storyboarding.

It was so meaningful to experience Rhonda's  masterful teaching informed by instructional design best practices.

Rhonda had us all in the palm of her hand with her mesmerizing presentation. Tapping into the power of story was a profound experience.

Rhonda offers a variety of courses including memoir writing and writing about sensitive subjects. If you have been thinking of writing your life story, I recommend her courses very very highly.

Seeing students successfully put into action the skills and abilities they've learned in  your course,

 is a powerful moment for any teacher.

Productivity expert Chris Bailey points out that  it's important to take time to both rest and celebrate after completing a big project.  Teaching your online course, publishing a book, or any large creative project would fit into this category of life events.

Woman relaxes on mountain lakeshore at sunrise


For me, there is so much joy in the journey, 

that I feel a bit of sadness upon actually reaching the destination.

 I don't want the journey to be over!

And of course, it's not over...it's just turned a corner and entered a new phase.  

Internet communities can have shifting identities, like tide pools... springing up suddenly as the need arises, and then changing again when conditions change. 

It's possible that the sparse attendance at last week's community meeting was just a fluke... and we'll pick up again next week.

 It's also possible that the need for the community has changed, in which case, time will tell.

If that's the case, I'm thinking of making the Saturday  morning time slot into my weekly "office hours" ... when anyone in the community can stop by to ask questions about instructional design or course creation.

Colorful Starfish in Tide Pool

So here are my turning points:

  •  I'm getting ready for the January, 2021 cohort of the Course Design Formula® Master Course. 
  • I'm working on various aspects of my business: from honing my products and services to delivering private coaching to amazing clients.
  • I'm quietly taking the pulse of the times to get a sense of where people need help creating powerfully transformative courses that really teach, at a deep level.
  • I'm watching with gratitude and awe as colleagues, students, and friends take off on their own journeys, and achieve success after working so hard for so long.

I'm thankful to be part of this moment in history, together with all of you.

 I really can't think of a more exciting time for us all to be working together to shape the online learning space.

What turning points are you experiencing in your business and teaching practice? 

What's new and coming up for you?

 I'd love to hear about it ...in the Facebook group or via email at Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com. 

And of course, I hope you will join me next Saturday at the Learn and Get Smarter community meeting, so we can continue the conversation as a group, if that's what the group wants to do.

Come to the community meeting

Saturday, October 3rd,  2020

9 AM Pacific/ 12 Noon Eastern

many people online in a conference call

Who are you here to serve?

Group of people on peak mountain climbing helping team work , travel trekking success business concept

In honor of Father's Day, which just passed, I'd like to send a note of appreciation to all members of the Learn and Get Smarter community who are Dads.

Fathers are powerful teachers, not only in their own children's lives but for the community as a whole, and I'd like to share some wisdom that I learned from my own father, that is relevant to the endeavor we are all engaged in: creating effective and engaging online courses that really teach, at a deep level.

My father had a reservoir of stories and anecdotes, many of which were passed down from HIS father in the form of wisdom tales, and I'd like to share one with you now. It goes like this (and please keep in mind that this is intended purely as a humorous teaching story, and not as a theological treatise or commentary of any kind).

Once upon a time in a faraway land, there was a man who, unlike all of you, did not lead an exemplary life. He wasn't like you at all, because he wasn't kind, he wasn't caring, and he didn't do good things to help others. So, unfortunately, after he passed away he ended up in... well, let's just put it politely by saying, he didn't get to go to a very nice place.

Instead,  he found himself in the nether regions being greeted by a guide who offered to give him a tour of the facilities.  

The man, however, was very surprised by what he saw there! He was expecting to see all kinds of punishments... but instead he saw a lush banquet table piled to the brim with delectable goodies.

How could this be? People were seated on both sides of the table, and in front of them was every kind of delicacy imaginable!

"I'm confused", the man said to his tour guide. "I thought that being down here was supposed to be a punishment?"

"Look closer," his guide admonished, and when he did, the man saw  that the people at the table had been given extra long forks... forks that were longer than their own arms.

Even though all sorts of delicious food was right in front of them, the people were not able get it into their mouths.

"Would you like to see what it's like upstairs?" his kind guide  asked. "You can't stay there, but you can get a quick glimpse of what you're missing."

The man was very curious, so he jumped at the chance to see what the reward of a virtuous life would have been like.  When they got there for the tour, though, he was even more surprised.

At first glance, it looked JUST like what he'd seen downstairs! He saw the same banquet table, piled high with the same delectable treats! And he even saw... the same long forks!

"Now wait just one minute," the man exclaimed in confusion. "How is this any different than what we just saw downstairs?"

"Look closer" his wise guide told him.  

And when the man looked closer, he realized in a flash what the difference was.

Here, the people were not trying (and failing) to feed themselves using those extra long forks.

Instead, they were using the long forks to feed each other across the table."

And that one difference in perspective, the perspective of focusing on serving others, was what made all the difference .


At the Learn and Get Smarter community meetings, and in this blog, we've considered how our own missions and businesses can contribute to overcoming inequities and creating a better world for all.

When I think of the people who make up this learning and teaching community, one thing stands out:

 This is a community focused on using online courses as a way of serving others. 

The courses we are working so hard to create, are our own "long forks". 

At last week's community meeting, we touched on the issue of leadership as an important factor that determines whether individuals, families, communities, nations, and our planet as a whole, can survive and thrive.

The pandemic throws these issues into high relief, creating a learning opportunity--a learning NECESSITY--for our planet as a whole.

When leadership at any level is focused in self-serving ways (trying to feed ITSELF with those long forks), not only is the result unsatisfying, but everyone ends up feeling terrible.

Enlightened leadership, on the other hand, is focused on SERVICE.


Service can include:

  • Promoting physical health and well-being for oneself and others
  • Strengthening positive relationships between individuals and among groups
  • Developing business practices that support the good of all
  • Creating opportunities for others to learn and grow
  • Building communities that enhance the well-being of all their members
  • Working towards local and global economies that sustainably meet everyone's needs

Online learning is at the epicenter of the shakeup that is happening in the pandemic's wake. Creating online learning that truly serves the communities we are called to work with, is not just a job, a profession, or a role.

Transformative online teaching is a calling, and if you're reading this, you have heard, and answered, that call.

In the Course Design Formula® Master Course this week, we will be delving into market research. One can think of market research as a way of learning more about the people we are here to serve, and how we can best serve them. Who are they? What are they dealing with? What help do they need that we are able to provide?

Whether you are in the course, or are able to come to the community meeting next Saturday, or not, let's all take some time this week to reflect on the people sitting across from us at the long banquet table of life. What can we provide them with, to make their lives better? How can we promote perspectives of service in our courses, our businesses, and in the world?

We'll continue to explore these ideas together, at the community meeting next Saturday. I hope you can join us and share your thoughts.

Come to the community meeting

Saturday, June 27th, 2020

9 AM Pacific/ 12 Noon Eastern

many people online in a conference call

Click on the green button to register for the meeting.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Group of Multiethnic Diverse World People

Online education as an antidote to racism

White letters on black background that read

How does the mission of your business address racism?  

What can each of us do as online educators, to address this systemic problem?

At the Learn and Get Smarter community meeting on Saturday, June 6th, in the midst of one of the most tumultuous weeks in American history, we took a hard look at our businesses and our areas of expertise. And we found some surprising and encouraging connections.

For example, this article from the New York Times points out that the African American community is being affected more adversely than other communities, by the move to online learning, for reasons relating to computer ownership and internet access among many others. But while many people don't have computers, most do have smartphones.

What this means for online educators is that it's critical to make sure our online courses are mobile friendly and responsive, so that people accessing them from smartphones have the same opportunity to learn as those using computers.

One might not have thought of "mobile first" as a tool for fighting systemic racism.​

It may be a small tool, but it's an important one.

In fact, while large sweeping changes are certainly required, it may be small micro-shifts that hold the most power. As one of our brilliant community members, Janice Fingler, pointed out, " Microshifts are very valuable right now... on an individual scale. Making shifts in how we interact with each other becomes a way of slowly nudging the system."

What micro-shifts can you make in your business, to contribute to fighting racism?

What is YOUR business mission and your purpose for teaching online?
How do these promote justice, fairness, equality and opportunity for all?

Ben & Jerry's provides an inspiring (and tasty!) example of powerful business values that really pack a punch (as well as a pint). 

While remaining true to their core business focus on providing delicious ice cream, Ben & Jerry's also focuses on promoting social justice. As they explain on the "Values" page of their website, they begin their focus on values "inside the pint", by supporting local sustainable farming. 

I thought about this example with reference to my own business. What are MY main ingredients and how can I use them to fight racism?

My main supplier is my licensed image subscription. I work hard to ensure that the images of people on my website and in my courses and marketing materials represent and include all races, and not just in token ways.

Over time I've been able to train the search algorithm to show me more diverse groups of people and specifically, more African American people, so that my web page and course materials reflect the values I hold of being a place of welcome for all.

Chocolate ice cream in a cone bowl

Being mobile friendly? Showing diverse images? These are small things. These are micro shifts. But they lead to big things, because  online learning must be both accessible and welcoming if people of all races are to benefit from it.

But the big shift that my business makes is the shift to online learning that really delivers on the promises it makes. 

How does that fight racism?

Education has always been a tool in the fight against racism.

Lack of education, poor education, and education that does not contribute to the empowerment and well-being of all people, are the equivalent of missing, broken, or even dangerous tools. 

The Covid19 pandemic has adversely affected people of color more than others due to the effects of systemic racism. The pandemic has also shifted the focus of education online, much faster than would have happened otherwise.

It's critical that education delivered online be not only accessible and welcoming to people of all races, but also highly effective at actually teaching what is promised.

Parents and community members may need to step into the gap to ensure that students of all ages are able to learn as well online as they used to in physical classrooms. 

Helping my students and clients create effective online learning programs helps THEIR clients and students, who can be of any race. My goal is to provide opportunity for all through highly effective online learning that really WORKS.

My mission is to ensure that as you create your own online courses you have everything you need to provide powerful, effective tools that promote positive change and deliver real transformation for the people you are here to serve.

The Course Design Formula Master Course starts June 16th!

Make this YOUR summer to make a powerful difference for the people you're here to serve.


 If you're willing to devote 2 hours a week to class and 2 hours a week to creating your course, you'll be ready to teach online in a way that really makes a difference, by fall.

Write to Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com to reserve your spot!

The Learn and Get Smarter community is diverse demographically and geographically, while being united in shared goals of service, transformation, and making a difference through teaching online.

Online teaching can create jobs and promote entrepreneurship  for everyone. Being one's own boss is a great solution for anyone who faces a glass ceiling (or worse) in the traditional workplace. 

There are many role models of highly successful African American entrepreneurs in the online learning space, such as Xayli Barclay and Danielle Leslie.

There are many vibrant, dynamic and successful experts and entrepreneurs of all races and backgrounds, within the Learn and Get Smarter community.

(Perhaps some of them would like to step forward and showcase their work in this space in future weeks. That's an option we can discuss at the Learn and Get Smarter community meeting on Saturday, June 13th). 

I hope to see you there as we continue to explore our work and service in the context of these challenging and historic times!

Register for the meeting

Saturday, June 13th  2020

9 AM Pacific/ 12 noon Eastern

Many people portrait on a tablet screen

Exploring Solutions and Finding Synergy

Groups of people working together to solve complex problems

At our Learn and Get Smarter community meeting on Saturday, May 2nd, we started filling in the content for the course we're creating about how to survive and thrive under changing conditions imposed by the Coronavirus pandemic.

We started by sharing solutions we've each found, that are working for us, to take good care of ourselves. 

Each solution, we realized, creates opportunities for entrepreneurs to move in and help fill new niches, including some that never existed before.

Solutions we found

that create opportunities for:

Setting up a home office

Home ergonomists, office planners, Feng Shui experts, professional organizers, furniture sales

Practicing meditation and mindfulness

Mindfulness coaches

Getting support and building community with others who share a vision of building online courses that make a difference. 


Being in the midst of people who help us make sense of what's going on.



All of us in the Learn and Get Smarter community

Keeping a positive outlook. Acknowledging there's a cloud, and then looking for the silver lining in it!

Laughter coaches, humor writers, YouTube video creators, Meme masters

Finding ways to have fun.

Mind-mapping ways to have fun

Taking care of our physical selves through movement, exercise, and dance.

Physical trainers, dance, yoga, pilates and exercise instructors

Reflecting on how our vision for what we need to accomplish, has changed... and how it needs to change. Creating vision boards. 

Life coaches, productivity planners, success coaches, therapists

Creating daily structure and schedules, with focus and purpose and gratitude.

Creating planners and journals. Doing Facebook Lives to teach our methods to others. Creating things to sell that have inspirational messages to give as gifts. Opportunities for home organizers, professional organizers, motivational workers. Opportunity to build social capital and goodwill. 

Focusing on things we had meant to do before the pandemic but  never had time for (cleaning out that closet, learning to bake bread, developing a skill.)

Creating online courses on ANY topic or skill

Developing a feeling of competence and control by creating new structures and systems and schedules that work with the current reality. Creating daily and weekly schedules that work efficiently and are predictable.


(Some of these are better than what we had before.)

Instacart workers, people who want to help others by doing errands. Writing blog posts. Creating online processes for ordering and delivery and other systems for doing business while keeping people safe.

At next week's community meeting we will continue exploring solutions we're finding to take care of ourselves and our families...and brainstorming the business opportunities these solutions create for our community of online course creators.

Explore solutions 

and find opportunities

many people online in a conference call

Come to the community meeting on Saturday, May 9th, 2020

9 AM Pacific/ 12 Noon Eastern

Speaking of taking care of ourselves and our families: how are you feeling? How are you doing?

What solutions and opportunities are you finding to cope with the pandemic?

I notice that as time goes on, we may become better at handling the basics such as how to get food or cope with being at home, while finding the  emotional aspects of social distancing more difficult to take.

One thing I find challenging is not being able to go out into nature (I realize that for some this is not an issue, while for others it is).

So I'm going to start exploring virtual reality as a way of experiencing environments other than the walls of my own home.

(This is an example of how the pandemic can create an accelerated learning curve... which may end up being a good thing.)

What new methods, modalities, and systems are you using to cope? 

Write to Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com and let me know... and/or, come to the meeting and share what you've discovered that works!

The current pandemic and learning

Social distancing, keep distance in public society people to protect from COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak spreading concept, businessman, woman keep distance away by drawing circle with virus pathogens

At the most fundamental, biological, level, learning is the process of adapting to one's environment in ways that promote survival. 

Which means that all of humanity is currently facing a learning task of tremendous proportions.

One of the things I've heard most often during the past week, is that we can't know how to adapt, because we are dealing with an unprecedented situation that has many unknown factors. As a society, we have no prior knowledge of how to deal with this pandemic.

In our community discussion last Saturday, we came to the realization that while we don't have the answers, we do have an important question:


What is the most helpful MINDSET we can adopt,

 as individuals and as communities,

to cope with the tremendous learning challenge we all now face?

We decided that this coming Saturday,

we will use the format and structure of a mindset change course to guide our discussion of these issues.

Following the format of a mindset-change course, here's what we will discuss:

Orange Colored Pencil Standing Out From The Crowd
  • What  unhelpful or ineffective attitudes and behaviors have contributed to the current crisis?
  • What attitudes and behaviors will be more helpful and effective, going forward?
  • What is our personal and collective motivation for adopting the helpful attitudes we discover?
  • Can we find some role models of successful adaptation to a crisis of these proportions?
  • How can we  provide each other with long term ongoing support to reinforce the helpful attitudes we discover?


Come join the discussion on Saturday. 

I'll limit it to two hours

(if we need more time, we can continue the following week).

Learn how to set up a mindset change course by creating one together as a community.

Let's brainstorm and create synergy as we focus on discovering helpful, effective ways to contribute to positive change in the face of this crisis. 

I can't think of  a deeper, or more relevant, definition of "learning" than that. Hope to see you at the meeting!

 Saturday April 4, 2020

9 AM Pacific/ 12 Noon Eastern

many people online in a conference call

Register here to receive the meeting link and password.

Love and Learning

Illustration of hands raised in the air enthusiastically

Love is the greatest motivator for learning, that there is.  We're biologically hard-wired to make it so. When we are newborn and helpless, our parents...the people who (hopefully!) love us most in the whole wide world, are our first teachers.

Incredible amounts of learning take place in early childhood. A baby dropping the spoon over and over from the edge of the high chair is learning about gravity. Does it work EVERY time? It DOES!!!! 

A crawling toddler who puts everything in their mouth is learning about how the world feels, smells, and tastes.

(Have you ever asked yourself if you somehow "know" how rubber tastes? How metal tastes? How the sidewalk tastes? I think most of us DO know how those things taste, and I shudder to think how we learned that, lol!).

A toddler's healthy interest in exploring the world is supported by the safety and security they feel in their parents' love.

Create learning people LOVE

Make your content DELICIOUS and enticing!

Love and learning go hand in hand at every stage of our lives.


If you think back to the most positive learning experiences you've had, can you see how love was involved?


Maybe you loved the subject matter and it held deep fascination for you.


 We are much more likely to persist in a learning task, even a very difficult one, if we are strongly motivated to do so by a deep love of the topic.


Or perhaps you were inspired by a teacher who clearly loved the subject, or loved teaching itself. 

Or perhaps (admit it...because I think we've all done this...) you were trying to impress that special someone with your amazing knowledge of ... whatever topic would impress them.

As educators, we want our course participants to LOVE our courses! It's an amazing feeling to see people all over the world engaged and motivated to learn what you've created for them based on your knowledge and expertise.

I do not advocate the view of online courses as a source of "passive" income. If you create your course right, in the way that will make people love it, there's nothing passive about it.  

A more accurate term for the income you make from an online course is "asynchronous" income. That  means, you get paid at one time for work you did (creating the course) at another time.

Teaching online in a way that inspires deep love for the subject matter and for the learning experience you create, requires a lot of hard active work. But it's work that is well worth it.

Teaching online is one of the most profound ways you can share what you know with people all over the world.

Learning how to teach online in ways that optimize engagement and promote learner motivation, will enable you to create deep impact and leave a lasting legacy.

Most importantly, taking the time and putting in the effort required to learn how to teach beautifully, online, is a demonstration of the caring and appreciation you have for the people you are here to serve: your course participants.

What do you love to learn, and teach, about? 

What learning experiences stand out to you as being connected to love, whether for parents, teachers, peers, or that special someone?

I'd love to hear about it! 

Write to Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com and let me know!

Happy Valentine's Day -- may it be a time for you to express love and caring to everyone in your life who could benefit from knowing that they are truly loved and appreciated. 

Here are some virtual Valentine's Day chocolates for you to enjoy. These are made from pure pixels of light. All the calories have been removed.(You're welcome! 💖)

Valentine's Day (or any day!) is the perfect time to think about how you can create luscious morsels of learning in your online course!

luscious Valentine's chocolates

What are your three words for 2020?

Hand coloured circular stripes background patter

Master business storyteller Chris Brogan has come up with a fascinating and creative way to set himself and his business up for success for a new year. He calls his technique "My Three Words" and you can learn about it on his blog at https://chrisbrogan.com/3words2020/.

Chris has been using this method since 2006, and in the process he's discovered that it's important to choose exactly three words to define what you want for the year ahead.

Why three words?

Whether you are dealing with physics or metaphysics, it takes three points to establish a circuit through which energy can flow. There's the positive pole, the negative pole, and the magnetic field established between them.

In selecting three words for the year, we are creating a focused three-part lens through which energy can flow into our lives. We are selecting what we will notice and observe, and that in turn helps determine what there IS to observe.

My three words for 2020

Prosperity

Service

Joy​

Why and how did I choose these three words? 

Prosperity: My goal for 2020 is to grow my business, and help you grow yours, by designing and delivering online courses that really teach, at a deep level.

I am envisioning prosperity for myself, my students, and clients. 

My vision of prosperity includes abundance in all areas of life:

  • Good health
  • Good relationships
  • Solid, steady, and abundant financial support
  • Connection with, and guidance from, one's highest and best self

Service: A community that I belong to recently lost a great leader, teacher, and man. His sudden and unexpected passing makes me reflect on what it truly means to teach. When you teach someone something that provides value to them in their life, you are giving them an eternal gift. If they then go on to teach others because of what you taught them, that gift gets passed on through time, in perpetuity. And all of those blessings come back to you, as well as to them, in an eternal virtuous cycle.True teaching, at its highest and best, IS service: service to the growth of humanity and the progress of civilization. (If those words sound lofty and ideal, it's because they truly ARE). I believe that teaching is the noblest profession, and that we are lucky indeed to be engaged in it. If I can help people teach at their highest and best, in a way that enables them to reach a global audience, I will have fulfilled the purpose I was born for.

Joy: And that, in turn, will lead to joy.... for myself, for my students and clients, and for THEIR students and clients as well. My mission is to light up the planet, one mind at a time, by helping people teach beautifully online. There is nothing like the joy of seeing the lights go on when someone "gets it" and learns something in a way that truly works for them. I want that joy for myself in the year ahead.. and more importantly, I want that joy for you.

How about you?

What three words would you pick, to help you make 2020 the year you want it to be for your business and life?

Come on over and let's talk about it in the Facebook group, or write to me at Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com.

I wish you and yours a very happy and totally fabulous New Year!

2020 A Happy New Year logo