Category Archives for Mindset

Groundhog Day, Mindset Change, and the Value of Constraints

groundhog standing up in a field

The 1993 movie Groundhog Day provides an insightful example of the value of constraints in producing positive mindset change.

Trapped by his fixed mindset in the hell-scape of having to live the same (boring) day over and over again, main character Phil Connors eventually finds ways to use the narrow constraints of his strange new world to incrementally change his mindset. 

What he did in that movie was learn how to make the most of the present moment…to be here now, to optimize his interactions with people, place, and time.

He did this by switching from focusing on what he could get for himself (which had never made him happy) to focusing on how he could be of service others (which ended up bringing joy to everyone, including himself).

His new mindset broke him out of the fixed mindset of living the same day over and over in an ego-focused echo chamber, as his life expanded outwards through meaningful connection with others.

Circle of People Pulling on Connected Ropes


Groundhog Day is a classic that is both fun and rewarding to watch again and again and again (do we see an ironic theme here? 😉) ... because new insights emerge every time you see it.

What makes Groundhog Day such a great teaching story

 is that it demonstrates the power of CONSTRAINTS

 to produce meaningful mindset change.

Educational researcher and theorist Robert M. Gagné taught that the first step in achieving effective mindset change (as opposed to just paying lip service to what people want us to say), is to get deeply in touch with WHAT’S NOT WORKING FOR US. 

At the beginning of the movie, Phil is not aware that his selfish, egocentric mindset isn’t working for him. He doesn’t even realize he’s unhappy (he just makes everyone around him unhappy, instead). He’s fooled by the outer accoutrements of his prestigious job and fast- paced lifestyle, into thinking that he has it all. 

It’s only when he’s prevented (by mystical quirks of quantum physics and brilliant screenwriting) from dashing mindlessly onward in the way he’s used to doing, that he has to stop and notice other people and their needs.

And from there, through trial and error, he slowly discovers ways of being, doing, and relating that will work better for him.

Discovering what will work better for us is the second step in achieving effective mindset change. 

Being restricted to slowing down and living the same day over and over again, is the constraint that both requires and facilitates this positive change for Phil.

What is it about constraints that help us change?


Constraints force us to slow down, look within, and examine our priorities. 

When we run out of choices … whether with respect to health, time, energy, money, relationships, or anything else…

we are forced to prioritize.

If we are limited in our ability to change things in the outer world, 

we are forced to change OURSELVES.

Every medium, system, situation, business, person, society… anything that is, has constraints.

We are all constrained by gravity on the planetary surface… and that helps keep our bones strong.

Living under conditions of zero gravity (without constraint) leads to weakened bones… a situation most of us don’t have to worry about too much, but something that’s interesting to contemplate as a metaphor.

The current global situation is imposing severe and unpredictable constraints on all of us. In addition to whatever individual and personal challenges we face in these unprecedented times, the planet as a whole is facing limitations, shortages, restrictions in a multitude of ways.

And as uncomfortable as it is, that's not necessarily a bad thing. We need limits and restrictions to push against in order to get stronger.

The challenge is balancing those limits against our strength.

If the constraints become too crushing we may lose our ability to adapt and grow. But if there are no constraints, or they are not challenging enough, we can be all over the place with no focus or channeled direction for our energy or growth.

That’s one reason many people choose to take an online course or work with a coach:

 they are seeking

structure and accountability

 that guides and channels their growth in a specific direction.


Let’s look at another, very different, story to understand how constraints impact our mindset under extremely demanding and restrictive conditions.

The TV series “Alone” (season 7 takes place in the Arctic) is currently showing on the History Channel, and I recommend it highly for any and all educators, coaches, and entrepreneurs.

This show is a goldmine of “aha” moments about learning and mindset change…moments that just keep coming, one right after another. 💡💡💡

In season 7, a group of the world’s best survival experts is taken to a remote location in the Arctic and each of them is dropped off entirely alone with only a small list of items they were allowed to pack in advance.

Mindset is a tremendously important part of these survival experts' ability to make it through for the required 100 days alone in the Arctic… building their own shelter, finding ways to stay warm, catching their own food.

Many of the concepts we use as digital entrepreneurs, show up in literal concrete form on this show

  • Passive income = snares that catch rabbits or nets that catch fish while the survival expert is busy doing othe things
  • Runway = the relationship of available energy (in the form of calories of available food) to the required energy expenditure needed to obtain shelter, provide heat, and obtain more food

The show is riveting for its focus not only on mindset but also on other types of learning (cognitive strategies that help the survivalist “learn how to learn” where the best food and shelter are, how to avoid predators, etc.) and “how-to” skills needed to identify what’s safe to eat and understand the habits of the local wildlife.

The survival experts chosen for the show already possessed those how-to skills as essential prior knowledge for making this experience work.

(What happens when one lacks such prior knowledge in a wilderness survival situation can be seen in the equally fascinating and tragically true story, “Into the Wild”.)

Silhouette woman on top of mountain peak. Success and winner concept. Hiking lifestyle


Under severe constraints 

such as those imposed by having to

 survive alone in the Arctic for 100 days,

 the importance of having the right mindset

 becomes crystal clear.

  • One must be aware and vigilant, yet open to exploration and the potential for positive surprise.
  • One may work hard to enjoy the good things of life procured through one’s own hard work,
  • but losing focus while doing so may cost one everything.
A young boy dressed in business suit and tie wears a homemade jetpack and flying goggles raises his arms in the afternoon sun while running to take off into the air on an outcropping above the surf in Montana de Oro State Park, California. This young entrepreneur is ready to take his new business to new heights.


It’s ironic that a show about surviving alone in the Arctic, 

seems to track so closely to the mindset issues we face as digital entrepreneurs!

Why is that, I wonder?


Perhaps the commonality is that each of us, like those survivalists, possess a high level of prior knowledge in our own areas of expertise…and that is what has led us to seek to challenge ourselves by becoming entrepreneurs.

We want to be of service, we want to test our limits, we want to learn and grow. We need to provide sustenance for ourselves and our families, in a landscape that can be hostile and unpredictable as well as fertile and magnificent and filled with grace.

Saithip Waterfall in Phu Soi Dao National Park,

We are each alone in our own wilderness

 and we need to learn how to survive and thrive.

Rear view of a survivalist man with a backpack walking across a meadow with a river in a forest.


How can we best do it?

When constraints come crushing in, as they are doing for so many these days, how can we use those constraints to get stronger rather than give up?

How do we know when a situation has become untenable (as it did for some of the survivalists) to the degree that the better course of wisdom is to call it and give up?

If the situation one is in is not working and is not GOING to work, the optimal mindset to adopt may be one of recognizing and accepting that.

In addition to understanding what’s not working, and discovering what could work better, Gagné’s research tells us that mindset change requires a strong connection with one’s own personal WHY for making the change.


  • What mindset is not working for you right now?
  • What mindset could serve you better?
  • And most importantly, WHY do you want to make a change, and adopt a new attitude towards whatever it is you are doing and working with?

Once we understand the mindset we want to work towards, we need to see inspiring role models who are successfully doing what we want to learn how to do. But groundbreaking entrepreneurs sometimes have no role models available.

If you are doing something no one’s done before, then YOU are the role model… 

not only for those who will later follow you, but for your own self as you forge the path you are on now.

Your own future self needs to be your role model. So throw out a lifeline to your own best, future, version of yourself and create that version as a role model you can grow into.

Sometimes, when alone in the Arctic, there is no other choice. And sometimes, having no other choice is exactly the constraint we need to force us to become the best version of ourselves we can be.

Finally, positive mindset change, as Gagné discovered, requires long term ongoing support. What support systems can you build into your work and life to sustain you as make the desired mindset change?

Reflecting on Groundhog Day, it’s fascinating to realize that the CONSTRAINTS Phil Connors faced --the limitation of having to live the same day over and over and not being able to escape that -- WAS his long term ongoing support.

That severely limiting constraint provided a safe container in which he could achieve positive mindset change.

In the movie he discovered (and the rest of us, who don't live in a screen-written fictional world, should NOT try this at home!) that in his reality, he could never die.

The extreme constraint he faced of knowing that every day no matter what had happened the day before, he’d wake up in his bed and breakfast in a time-warped loop at 6 AM, ironically gave him the freedom  to try many things he would never have otherwise tried.

groundhog standing up in a field

This is what happens in the artificial world of games, where one can “die” many times only to play again, knowing now what one didn’t know before.

In the Arctic, on the other hand, the potential for LITERAL death is very real and not a metaphor. In the Arctic, there are no alarm clocks, no bed and breakfasts, and no predictability of life from day to day.

That LACK of constraints in itself presents a different type of extreme constraint… requiring constant attention to the environment and constant balancing of energy input and output in order to stay in the game.

The wide openness of the Artic requires a mindset of tightly FOCUSED attention.. whereas the tight limits of living the same day over and over in a small community, led to a BROADENING OUT of ideas and possibilities.

Business deadline overtime crunch stress concept. Business person worker or manager employee trying to get job done in due time. Overwork unhealthy frustration. Flat vector character illustration

There are always going to be constraints, in any situation we are in.

Right now, globally, the constraints on all of us are tightening. Perhaps we can learn from both Groundhog Day and Alone…to focus our attention on what’s most critical to our survival and well-being at the moment, while also being open to the types of new ideas and possibilities that the conditions of extreme uncertainty we’re all living in, make possible.

What are some helpful mindsets these compelling stories might encourage us to explore and adapt?

  • Working hard, yet appreciating the need to rest and regroup
  • Doing our best to be of service to others, while also taking care of ourselves
  • Being determined to succeed at what we’re doing, while also recognizing that sometimes success emerges from things that initially don’t work

When we think of mindset change in relation to constraints, 

the possibilities for new discovery are endless.

I invite you to try it.


Whether you like the shows I found inspiring, or prefer to use others as a springboard for your own reflections,

what does meaningful mindset change mean to you?

How do you experience the constraints you're facing in the current situation, whatever they may be, to stimulate positive change?

Let’s talk about it in the comments below... I’d love to hear your thoughts!


Join us on Facebook

 in the

Course Design Formula® Community.

Send me an email

 to

Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com

Come to the 

Learn and Get Smarter community meeting

Saturdays on Zoom.

Come to the Learn and Get Smarter Community Meeting

Where we talk about how to survive and thrive

 with online courses and online business

in these challenging times

Group of Multiethnic Diverse World People

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My “Tinkerbell” moment… and yours

Rainbow reflected human hands

As creative experts and solopreneurs, facing challenges is part of what we do. If we didn't love facing challenges, and do so willingly... and if we weren't at least somewhat good at coming up with solutions to those challenges.. we wouldn't be entrepreneurs.

That said, there's a limit to the coping skills, time, energy, and resources that any individual or business has... and when that limit is reached, a deeper level of resourcefulness is needed than ever before. 

My premise in this blog post is that we have reached that moment now. I'm calling it a "Tinkerbell" moment... when your own level of belief in the importance of what you're here to do, and your clients' and customers' commitment to supporting your business endeavor, are critical to the well-being and survival of your enterprise.

Rainbow reflected human hands
Flower growing through crack in the asphalt
Background Abstract Misty Mountain Range Colourful Wallpaper Digital Art Gradiant Pastel Dramatic Backdrop

Business experts and CEO's of large corporations, 

reflecting on the first quarter of 2022 and its implications for the year ahead, seem to agree on one thing:

 there is continuing volatility and unpredictability in store for all of us.

We in the online course space are in a very fortunate position, compared to many industries.

Let's count our blessings:

  • The pandemic has been GOOD for the online course industry 
  • We are able to do our work in safety and from home
  • Conditions of uncertainty require that people learn new things.. and that's where we can help

That said, I'm seeing signs of financial and emotional stress out there (and in here, too) that are starting to take a toll, even on us.

The conditions of prolonged, unrelenting, and continually worsening stress that have been impacting the world for the past several years have energized and inspired us to grow, to get creative, to found our businesses.

 But these same conditions, especially as they continue to get worse, and worse... and worse...may also be wearing you, me, and our clients and customers, out.

Since about last November, it's been harder for people to make and follow through on financial commitments... and this becomes a vicious circle.

If your OWN suppliers are charging you more, due to supply chain issues. .. and your OWN customers are able to pay you less, or less reliably, or in smaller numbers, due to the stresses THEY face... and if inflation starts making all this worse... a downward spiral can start to set in.

Can you relate? Have you faced this? How can we best cope?


Person falling through a hole

The MOST important thing we can do at a time like this, is to take good care of ourselves first. 

This  really IS a "put your own oxygen mask on first" moment.


To help you do that, I've created a "Mindset Reset" workbook for course creators. 

It's a fillable PDF and you can

 download it here

(or click on the arrow to access it).

Be sure to download it  from the web,

save it to your own computer,

and after you fill it in, hit "print to PDF" to save your inputs.

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How are you taking care of yourself, your business, and your customers in these challenging times? 

What lessons are you learning about what works for you, and what doesn't,

as a result of facing prolonged and ongoing stress under unpredictable and volatile conditions?

Heart hands as a group of diverse people hands connected together shaped as a love symbol expressing the feeling of being happy and togetherness.

Once we take care of ourselves, we are here to take care of each other.

 The premise of business in general, and an online course business in particular, is that we are creating products, programs, and services that provide solutions to other peoples' pain.

There's a lot of pain out there in the world these days... which means there are a lot of ways we, as online course creators, can be of service.

What pain points do YOUR products and services solve?


How are those pain points being impacted by current events?

What are the implications for the courses you're creating, and the way you're offering them to the people you serve?


Here's an interesting question:

What does learning design have to do with all this?

The surprising answer is: A LOT!


Understanding the PURPOSE of your business = KNOWING YOUR WHY.

WHY are you working so hard to create online courses and learning programs that improve peoples' lives?
WHY are you here, in this online business space?
WHY do you do what you do?

How will peoples' lives be DIFFERENT AND BETTER 

as a direct result of using your products and participating in your services?

If you have read my book,

taken my Streamlined Course Creation course

or participated in the Course Design Formula® Master Course,

 you will recognize that what we are talking about is:

the OVERALL LEARNING GOAL 

for your business as a whole.  

Your business' learning goal determines the overall shape or structure you create for the way you offer your products and services.

The romantic tunnel of pink flower trees


My business, as a whole, is here to promote MINDSET CHANGE.

I want to change the way people approach creating online courses,

so that they always put GOOD LEARNING DESIGN FIRST.

How about yours?


 What's the driving purpose, mission, vision of YOUR business? 

What's your WHY for doing what you do?

What makes fulfilling that "why" even more important now than ever, in these very challenging times?

Let's talk about it!

Join us on Facebook

 in the

Course Design Formula® Community.

Send me an email

 to

Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com

Come to the 

Learn and Get Smarter community meeting

Saturdays on Zoom.

Come to the Learn and Get Smarter Community Meeting

Where we talk about how to survive and thrive

 with online courses and online business

in these challenging times

Group of Multiethnic Diverse World People

Why is transformation so hard?

Transformation of common lascar butterfly ( Pantoporia hordonia ) from caterpillar and chrysalis on twig

We all say we WANT transformation, right?

Online course creators NEED to focus on the transformation they want their course to deliver, if their course is going to actually DO anything and make a difference in the world.


BUT… here’s the dirty little secret of online course design that no one talks about (because it’s so hard and painful for all of us, as humans, to face).

We all WANT transformation. That’s why we sign up for online courses to begin with (and why we create them for our clients and customers).

But in order to ACHIEVE transformation, people have to actually CHANGE.


Frightened Woman

Change is hard, and people resist it. And they should.

And they… wait… WHAT??? They SHOULD?

 I thought we were focused on producing transformation here.

 We are.

 And in order for transformation to be real,

 it has to overcome the learner’s natural and instinctive resistance to change.

 

If there's no resistance, there's no (real) change!


Why do we resist change? Because change is hard, scary, and dangerous.

Many online courses DON’T produce real transformation… because they’re not designed to. 

That can happen because the course creator doesn’t know HOW to design a course to produce transformation. 

Or because no one really wants transformation to happen, to begin with.

Those are two separate use cases, so let’s explore them one at a time.

1) No one really wants transformation to happen, to begin with:

Sometimes, people like the IDEA of transformation, but don’t want to do the hard work needed to really make it happen. We’ve all been there at different times in our lives.
We buy the gym membership, but don’t actually go to the gym. 

We sign up for that class in accounting or yoga but never actually log on.

That’s from the learners’ side.

From the course creators’ side, a course that PROMISES transformation (but doesn’t actually deliver it) is fast and easy to create because it requires no learning design chops.

As long as you know how to ♨️SELL the sizzle♨️, you never need to actually cook the steak.

Plenty of people have gotten rich doing this.

All I have to say about that is… well... you know what they say about karma, so I won’t repeat it here.😱😱😱


2)  The course creator has excellent intentions, but doesn’t know how to design a course that actually produces transformation. 

I know that if you have read this far, use case #1 above does NOT apply to you, which means, you WANT your online course to produce real transformation.

The challenge then lies in understanding how to make that happen.

Here's what transformation looks like in each of the five domains of learning described by educational theorist and researcher Robert M. Gagné.

In my book, Course Design Formula: How to Teach Anything to Anyone Online, I share how to use Gagné’s research into the domains of learning to set up your course to produce real transformation.

What I want to explore here is, WHY do we need five different ways to produce transformation?

I mean, change is change is change, right?

Wrong!

The collage of faces of surprised people

Different kinds of change require different teaching strategies, because of the different ways we RESIST each kind of change.


Now let’s get a high-level view of how to set up a course that produces real transformation.

In order to overcome resistance, pretty much any kind of transformation works best when we approach it from the right mindset, so let’s start by exploring mindset change.

MINDSET CHANGE

Woman changing smileys on her face


Surprisingly, when you set out to produce mindset change (meaning, to help people change their attitude and the resulting behaviors), the first thing to do (based on Gagné’s research and what I’ve discovered works from helping hundreds of creative experts set up their own online courses) is to start by helping your learners understand WHAT DOESN’T WORK: the unhelpful attitudes they COULD adopt, or maintain, if they want to.

Depressed woman lying on couch in messy room isolated flat vector illustration. Cartoon lazy character resting on sofa at home and surfing internet on smartphone. Apathy and indifference concept


Why would you start a course that promotes positive mindset change, by focusing on what DOESN’T work?


Here’s why: mindset change is a CHOICE. 


If you want people to actually change their mindset and resulting behaviors (instead of just SAYING they’ve changed while continuing to do what they were doing before), they have to first realize they COULD just keep doing what doesn’t work… and understand the long-term consequences of NOT changing.

The resistance to mindset change comes from the natural tendency we all have to want to stay in our comfort zone. It’s only natural, right? Lounging on the couch scarfing down carbs is a lot easier than getting up early to train for that half marathon... at least, at first.


So to produce mindset change, people need to first understand that change is their choice, and see the long-term consequences of NOT choosing to change.

  • You can keep scarfing down carbs… and here’s what you ‘ll look and feel like in 50 years.
  • You can NOT work hard to learn that new thing... and here’s how not knowing it will impact your performance and promotions at work over the next 10 years
  • You can smoke a pack a day for the rest of your life, and here’s what your lungs will look like compared to the lungs of someone who chooses to quit smoking now
  • (and so on...)

Seeing the long-term negative consequences of NOT choosing to change, counteracts the natural tendency we all have to want to stay in our comfort zones.

That’s why the first thing to teach in a mindset change course is what doesn’t work.

Next, people have to know what does work, which is the heart of the course’s teaching content.

But knowing what does work is still not enough to produce real mindset transformation.

People need to see concrete examples of what positive mindset change looks like, in the form of role models or case studies.

 They need to be inspired and to see that making the choice to change is possible because others have successfully done it.

Young man standing in front of large superhero shadow on white background

So now we’re good to go with mindset change, right?

NOPE... that’s still not enough!

Because changing our mindset and resulting behaviors is really really hard.

Even:

  • knowing what doesn’t work
  •  learning what would work better, and
  • seeing how others have successfully made the change

are still not enough!

There are two more very important pieces to the mindset change puzzle.

People need help getting in touch with WHY they want to get out of their comfort zone to make this change. 

They need an immediate short term “why” (that motivates them to take immediate action so they can get some quick wins) and they need a deeply compelling long term “why” so they can keep going over time.

If your reason for changing your attitude about healthy eating is that you want to look great for your friend’s wedding in three months, you need a longer-term reason to keep at it once the wedding is over.

And finally, the MOST important aspect of mindset change is

 long term ongoing support,

which means that producing lasting mindset change is a great foundation for an online membership or a coaching practice.

Heart hands as a group of diverse people hands connected together shaped as a love symbol expressing the feeling of being happy and togetherness.

Is mindset change an important part of YOUR online teaching program?

To learn more about how to create mindset change that really sticks, read my book, 

3D book mockup including back cover

For a deeper dive into mindset change and how it impacts us as online course creators, check out my blog post,

 “Are you ready for a mindset make-over”,

which focuses on the mindset changes we may need to make OURSELVES as digital entrepreneurs in the online learning space.

Video call or conference concept with men and women working together. Virtual meeting

I’d love to hear about YOUR experiences in producing mindset change that really sticks… let’s talk!

Join us at the Learn and Get Smarter community meeting

Saturdays at 9 AM Pacific/ 12 Noon Eastern, on Zoom,

where we focus on how to survive and thrive with online courses and online learning in these challenging times.

(These meetings are one of the ways  I provide long term ongoing support for all of us, as online course creators! 

It would be great to see you there!)

Come to the

Learn and Get Smarter Community Meeting

Group of Multiethnic Diverse World People

Saturdays

9 AM Pacific/ 12 Noon Eastern on Zoom

The Role of Trauma in Teaching and Learning

globe-like sphere breaking apart

Here in the US, we are getting ready for Thanksgiving, and for many families this may be their first time gathering together indoors in as long as two years.

It feels joyful to anticipate such an event (and also stressful, and also potentially sad).

Some people don’t have families to go to. Some are too far from home to travel. Some are not on good terms with family members, or need to keep playing it safe and stay away from people.

And then there are all those empty places at far too many tables, where those lost to the pandemic should have been.

The planet has been through a collective trauma and is still going through it.

Community, connection, thankfulness are among our most important tools in dealing with trauma, but how does that work when EVERYONE has been traumatized, to some degree, and when the systems that support our lives are continuing to experience severe and prolonged stress?

How does trauma relate to teaching and learning?

Trauma is caused by extreme situations that affect us deeply and for which we are not able to adequately prepare.

A car crash or house fire that are traumatic to the driver or residents, are just part a normal days’ work to the police or fire crews that respond to the scene.

One of the many differences in how the driver or homeowner experiences such an event, as compared to professionals who handle these types of situations every day, is that the professionals have extensive training in how to respond.


One way to define learning is to see it as a process of adapting to one’s environment in ways that promote survival. 

Because traumas threaten our survival, they are powerful teachers, for both good and ill.

Trauma teaches at a biochemical level that can leave an imprint on the body that lasts for multiple generations.

That makes sense.

A biochemical marker passed down to future generations could provide crucial seconds of advanced alarm and alert, 

allowing time to escape from a harmful situation or predator. 

What does all this mean for us

 as online teachers and online learners

  • As we start to emerge from this collective trauma, it’s important that we be patient and understanding.
  •  Be extra nice to yourself, your clients and students, and everyone around you.
  • Everyone is under a tremendous amount of stress right now.
  • We’ve all been under pressure to adapt to extreme, unpredictable, and constantly changing conditions, for a long period of time.


We need to recognize that

we really HAVE been exposed to

 an ongoing global trauma.

When in the midst of dealing with extreme situations, an adaptive response is to simply push on through and deal with it.

We go into coping mode. Noticing how we feel is a luxury we can’t afford. 

When things calm down enough for us to begin to come out of this coping mode and return to what feel like more normal activities (such as, say, a family holiday gathering), we may not realize that the world we think we are returning to is not the same world we left behind.

Planet earth with a large crack.

We may try to do the same things we’ve always done, and notice that it doesn’t work anymore. 

We’ve forgotten the intricate steps that keep the dance of interaction with other human beings in a shared physical space, moving smoothly.

 Little things may take on  significance beyond their literal meaning. 

Snapping that family photo, raising one’s glass to make a toast, who gets to say the blessing, who sits next to whom… these may assume a weight and meaning greater than they had before... so that if one accidentally gets left out of the photo, or misses the toast, or is seated at the far end of the table, it becomes a big deal, or even leads to a fight.

 (Don’t ask me how I know these things, lol).

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Those of us in the online course creation space are among the luckiest people on the planet, in these challenging times, I feel.

 The pandemic has pushed business towards us, rather than taken it away.

If people were not convinced of the importance of online learning before the pandemic, they certainly are now.

We have important and meaningful work to do, and we have the ability and tools to make a significant positive difference in the world.

Working online keeps us safe and out of harm’s way.

Afro-caribbean woman working from home during the Covid lockdown

And yet, as we return to the beginnings of what hopefully will someday be a much more normal way of life, 

we too are subject to the impact of collective trauma,

and precisely BECAUSE we’ve been so lucky and protected by the nature of our work, we may not realize that.

It’s only when starting to return to a more normal way of life, that the pain of all that’s been lost, changed,

or missed over the past 2 years,

 begins to sink in.

My message in this blog post is to be prepared for that.

I wasn’t. I went to a family gathering that we hadn’t been able to have for two years, and little tiny things (Was the salad ready? Who got included in the toast? Who got to snap a picture with whom, first?) took on a huge significance.

If you don’t realize this can happen, you and your loved ones may mistakenly think you are having a fight with each other, about what’s happening now. You’re not. 

You are having a fight with the pandemic, and with the two years of family gatherings you lost, and with being overwhelmed by the enormity of everyday things:

  • The power of connection.
  • The ability to sit with your own relatives and friends.
  • The ability to trust the continuity and safety of the world beyond your screen.

It’s not yet clear, and won’t be for some time, exactly what lessons the pandemic has taught us. 

What is clear is that trauma produces an extreme kind of learning which is often not applicable to non-traumatic situations (PTSD is an example of that).

Like soldiers returning from war, or prisoners getting out of jail, we have to relearn how to function in less traumatic conditions.

Hispanic couple having barbeque battle

My message for all of us is simply: be kind.

Be extra patient with yourself and your loved ones.

Be prepared for little things to take on much more meaning than you thought they would.

Don’t get into a fight with your family because the salad wasn’t ready, or someone sat next to someone else instead of you.

 Or if you do get into a fight about such things (because sometimes we do), look beyond the surface to understand why none of us is acting quite normal these days.

It’s not you. It’s not them. It’s the pandemic.

As we climb out of the (metaphorical) bunkers we’ve been living in, the (metaphorical) light may hurt our eyes at first. We have to learn how to adapt and re-acclimatize to a new reality... and we don’t even know what that new reality is going to be yet.

walk way and hand holder beside forward to the light exit or light of hope.

The good thing is, we are all in this together. 

And as online teachers it is our job to lead the way in helping our students, clients, and communities adjust to whatever is coming next.

red wound heart with bandage on white background

Trauma can’t always be avoided. Pandemics seem to be a natural part of life for biological beings like us.

 Forest fires happen.

 Lightning sometimes does strike twice.

But if we can learn to recognize when we and others around us HAVE been traumatized, we can adopt some first aid measures to take care of ourselves. 

Kindness and understanding are the most important tools to have in our emotional first aid tool kits.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I am thankful for you... for this wonderful community of mission-driven, service-oriented experts who have worked so hard to create ways to help the people you serve learn and get smarter.

Thank you for being here. Thank you for being you. Thank you for all you do.

Thank You Word Cloud On Wall

Create a course welcome video that’s truly welcoming

A group of happy people frolicking on the beach

Creating the welcome video for your online course can feel like a stumbling block to many course creators.

It’s the first impression you’ll make on your learners, which can feel intimidating to create.

Although the welcome video is the first thing  your course participants will see, it’s often the last thing you as a course creator will put into your course.

Which makes sense, because how can you welcome your students until you’ve created the thing you’re welcoming them to, right?

Do you dread creating 

the “welcome” video

 for your online course?


You might have questions about how to plan for and create your welcome video.

Questions like:

  • What should be in it?
  • What should you leave out? 
  •  How should you come across?
  •  What should you even say?


I've put together a short, low-cost mini course designed to help you solve this problem once and for all. 

Enroll now and get your welcome video DONE 

Because MINDSET is the most important aspect of making people feel welcome,

I created this as a mindset course.

You can see the module titles (left) and mindset course structure (right) below.

screenshot of the course outline showing mindset module structure

How do you feel about creating the welcome video for your course?

If you want to feel happy, excited, and relaxed about it, 

check out the mini course now!

(There's an enrollment link at the end of the short, fun, video below...
which is not a course welcome video, but  just a fun video I made to inspire you.)

Or if you're really in a hurry, you can just

Click to play


Are You Ready for a “Mindset Make-Over”?

Woman changing smileys on her face

Here’s a scenario I see playing out over and over: an expert is passionate about teaching others how to do something by teaching a “how-to” skill (a type of learning which educational researcher and theorist Robert M. Gagné calls “intellectual skills”).

But it soon becomes apparent that before people can learn how to perform this new skill, they are going to need a mindset make-over.

It’s true for everyone: before we are ready to learn the steps that go into performing a new skill, we need to be motivated and in the right frame of mind to believe we can do it.


Can you relate? 

How’s YOUR mindset doing these days?



If I’m honest, my mindset has gotten a bit frayed around the edges by the events of the past year.

Can we talk here?

First of all, those of us in the online education space are, I think, among the luckiest people on the planet.

In sharp contrast to many businesses, ours have been impacted POSITIVELY by the Coronavirus pandemic.

One definition of learning is that it involves adapting to our environment in ways that promote survival.

The pandemic has literally thrown the issue of survival into high relief on a global scale.

People are hungry to learn new skills, new attitudes, new ways of learning and being.

 And the pandemic has pushed the location of that learning online.

 So all of us are in a position to benefit from that.

But we can’t benefit if we don’t know how… if we don’t have the skills. That’s what the Course Design Formula® helps you do. It helps you develop the skills needed to teach effectively, online.

In addition to my high-level mastermind, the Course Design Formula® Master Course, which just launched for the fifth time with a wonderful new cohort of experts and entrepreneurs, I’ve created a short, fast, effective (and much less expensive) self-paced course, Streamlined Course Creation, to help anyone outline their course and plan all their lessons in just a few days.

Can we talk business here? I absolutely adore what I do… and am incredibly grateful for each of you... my wonderful community, readers, clients, students, supporters, family and friends.

It takes a village not just to raise a child but to support a business, and I’m incredibly thankful and grateful for the village I’ve built over the past 7 years since founding Learn and Get Smarter, Inc.

Each of us as entrepreneurs is like the catalyzer who provides the “stone” for the “Stone Soup”: we provide an idea, an incentive, a spark…something that energizes a community around an idea in order to turn it into a reality.

In order to do that well, we MUST have a strong, positive mindset that not only keeps US inspired to turn a vision into a reality, but inspires others as well.

A positive mindset is essential to make a business work. It doesn’t matter how many skills we have... if our mindset is not steady, strong, and positive, our businesses are not going to work.

Young and timid woman with head in the cloud sitting on bench

Why do we need a positive mindset? Well I’ll be honest here. I worked incredibly hard this past year. It was my first year of making real revenue in the business, and I am so grateful for that. But the business costs a lot to run. There are payments for platforms, hosting, infrastructure, services, security, training, accounting, the list goes on. So even though I had a great revenue year, my actual profits were very small. In order to have a successful ongoing business that really makes money, I need a way to SCALE my business so the profits are large.. so that revenue coming in far exceeds the annual cost I must pay to keep the business going and online.

But as you know, my passion is teaching, not selling. I’m not really a businesswoman. I’m an educator, and from what I’ve seen over and over again at conferences and from talking to others, the mindset needed to succeed in business and the mindset needed to teach effectively are not always the same.

If I want to be able to KEEP teaching effectively in the online space, though, I have to do more than make revenue. I have to make a profit. A GOOD profit.

Doodle showing creative business ideas for making money

And in order to do that, I have to be able to scale. My experience over the past 7 years has shown me that my coaching and Master Course, while wonderfully successful from a TEACHING point of view, are not going to be able to scale.

Coaching by definition is not scalable because it’s limited by the coach’s time, and we all have limited time.

My Master Course works so well as a teaching and learning experience because it’s limited to small batch cohorts of about 10 new people each. That means I can devote a lot of time and attention to each new student, which is what I love to do.

The Master Course is scalable in terms of IMPACT. If each new student goes out into the world and teaches in highly effective ways, which my Master Course students ARE doing, the global impact of effective online teaching using the Course Design Formula® will grow.

But if potential revenue from the Master Course is capped at about $20,000 total revenue twice a year, that’s not a scalable (or even successful) business, because it costs me more than that to keep everything going.

So I created Streamlined Course Creation, a self-paced evergreen course that sells for $497. And now I need to figure out how to sell that course in a scalable way. And (can we talk here? I know I’m among friends) I hate selling. I hate it with a passion. Which is NOT the right mindset for an entrepreneur, at all. Which means I need a mindset makeover.

I’m sharing my story here in the hopes that it will resonate with you, and help you to examine your own mindset too.

What are your mindset blocks and limiting beliefs

 that are stopping you from growing and succeeding in YOUR online course business?

And more importantly, how can you address them?

The way to bring about effective mindset change, based on Gagné’s research into how people learn, is to follow a five-fold process.

Let’s review that now:

  • Get clear on   what ISN’T working to bring about the desired mindset change
  • Get clear on what WILL work... the path that should be followed
  • Find inspiring role models who are demonstrating the desired mindset
  • Find your WHY for adopting the desired mindset. This has two parts:
  •                Find your immediate, short term WHY
  •                Find your overarching, long term WHY
  • Get long-term ongoing support for adopting the desired mindset

Mindset change is different than other types of learning because it involves our emotions, not our intellect.

One of my students shared a very deep piece of wisdom, when they reflected that even though I as the teacher had EXPLAINED how to do something, it was a very different experience for them when they actually tried to DO that same thing.

It’s one thing to remember what was taught and understand how to do it (the two lowest levels of Bloom’s taxonomy) ... but another thing entirely to actually APPLY what was taught.

Applying learning is hard. It takes us out of our comfort zone. And that requires a strong supportive mindset in order to keep us motivated long enough to master the new skill and succeed. This is true of all learning, of any kind.

Now take the kind of learning that will enable us to succeed as entrepreneurs running our own businesses… requiring many complex skill sets and the overcoming of constant challenges. If we don’t have our mindset dialed in, nothing beyond that point is going to work.

I need a mindset makeover right about now, and I was wondering if you might too.

Let’s look at the five-step Mindset Makeover Method™ and see how we can apply it to our own situations.

I’ll go first, by way of example

(See what I did there? Being a role model!)

 and I hope you will share your situation too via email

(See what I did there? Creating long term ongoing support).

THE MINDSET MAKEOVER METHOD™

stick figure in balance with pros and cons

Step 1: identify what’s not working

People ask me… “Rebecca, you’re trying to bring about a POSITIVE mindset change, so why are we starting by focusing on the negative?”

It’s a great question, and the reason is, that mindset change is a CHOICE.

People always have the option of continuing their current mindset.

So it’s important to be clear about why that’s not an EFFECTIVE thing to do, and what the long-term consequences of making that choice will be.

That said, the learner always has the option of continuing the ineffective mindset and the behaviors that go along with it.

(But if they choose the ineffective way, there’s not much point in going farther into a mindset change experience, is there?)

🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯

So what’s not working for me?

Hmm. I’ve been allowing myself to dwell on the negative, to think about all the reasons why I might NOT be able to successfully scale my business, why I don’t really want to, telling myself I’m an educator not an entrepreneur, rehashing cultural trainings about why money is the root of all evil and so on. I’ve been visualizing myself living down by the river in the homeless encampment. (Energy follows thought, so this is an especially unhelpful practice to follow!)

I’ve been wallowing in ancestral teachings about how women shouldn’t bother their pretty little heads about making money. I could go on and on.

So basically, I’ve been renting out space in my brain to all the energies and forces that DON’T want to see me succeed.

Once I put that down on paper like that and share it with you, I can see how extremely unhelpful those habits and practices are. All of that has to stop NOW.

STOP sign


In addition, I can see that I’m succumbing to a bit of pandemic fatigue. I’ve been slipping on daily habits of self-care, home care, and so on. It’s like, who cares, why bother, it’s all too much. I’ve been working 18-hour days for the past 12 years, made good money this year but only made a tiny profit, and then got hit with a $10,000 tax bill because I’d made revenue.

So it’s understandable that all of that is quite demotivating… plus the post-pandemic landscape that’s emerging shows that many things I loved and found sustaining... from my weekly Pilates class to local venues for relaxation and fun… are not returning in the form they were in before, or in any form at all.

All work and no play becomes demotivating for anyone.

So perhaps one of the helpful things I need to do going forward, is find NEW ways to relax and have fun, so as to be able to work in a sustainable way.

There’s an elephant in the room whose presence it’s unhelpful not to recognize -- and that is that while we don’t yet know what shape life will take in the post-pandemic landscape, life as we knew it is never going to be the same.

Asian elephant in lying on rug in living room


I think it’s time to acknowledge and face that now, and I think one reason I’ve been feeling down is that I need to process my grief about all that we’ve lost.

Whether that’s actual people that so many have lost this year, ways of living and working and being and doing and sharing, travel, human connection, the list goes on.

I’m realizing that we are not just in a temporary interruption to our ongoing way of life. We are in a new reality, whose nature is still unknown... and that means that the loss of our old reality needs to be mourned.

Facing that loss, and dealing with the feelings of sadness and loss it brings up, is an important part of being able to let go of what was and move on to creating the most positive vision possible of what can be.

Someone cutting the "im" off the front of the word "impossible" to change it to "possible"


Step 2: Identify what would work better

So let’s explore that. What CAN work better than these unhelpful ways of thinking and behaving?

Working our way up Maslow’s hierarchy, I need to start with positive self-care habits every day. I lost almost 30 lbs. last year by writing down everything I ate using the Weight Watchers appbut lately I’ve had a “why bother” attitude towards doing that. I need to start writing everything down again because I still have another 30 lbs. I want to lose. That’s an achievable long-term goal to work towards, and it starts with tiny habits practiced every day.

I need to say NO to any of those negative thoughts and all that negative self-talk about business and money and marketing and sales.

Just got off a call with a wise business mentor, which made me realize that what I’m doing is not even about ME, it’s about YOU, and the people you serve.

There are several areas out there in the world of online business that do not always work as well as they should. One is the business of helping people SELL things online. Some people are good at selling their own marketing services, but not everyone is as good at promoting the services of those they market to. The same is true for the business of TEACHING online. Many people are good at selling online courses, or selling the IDEA of online courses. What I’m here to do though is help people ensure their online courses are WORTH selling because they actually teach effectively.

 I need to find the people and organizations for whom knowing how to do that would make a critical difference. I need to stop thinking about what I need to GET, and start figuring out who I can best SERVE with my Streamlined Course Creation Course.

So I guess one of the things that would work better, mindset-wise, would be to adopt the mindset embodied in the Allegory of the Long Spoons.  (You can read about it here.) The gist of the story, and the point of the mindset shift, is that everyone benefits when we use our tools and resources (the long spoons) to feed and nourish others, rather than focusing on "getting all the things" for ourselves.  🥄🥄🥄🥄🥄🥄🥄

Social network scheme, which contains flat people icons.

Step 3: Find inspiring role models to emulate

I started watching a wonderful reality TV show called “Undercover Billionaire”. I found it by accident, just browsing for something to watch, but it’s actually the perfect thing that I needed, and you may find it inspiring as well.

 The premise of the show is that a highly successful self-made businessperson gets dropped off in a community where they don’t know anyone. They can’t use their real name, their connections, or their money. All they have is $100 in cash and a cellphone with no contacts, and they have to build a business worth one million dollars in 90 days.

The show is fascinating as it reveals the mindset that successful entrepreneurs use to bring about societal change. I won’t reveal the details because I hope you’ll watch it yourself and find it as inspiring as I do…but the point I want to make here is WHY I find it so inspiring.

The people in the show did not have to do this. They are all highly successful people living comfortable lives. They did this because they wanted to challenge themselves (which is one of the things that we all share as entrepreneurs, I think... a desire to challenge ourselves) and they wanted to make a difference and show that the American Dream is still alive and still attainable.

One of the things that makes entrepreneurs so fascinating is that we are each unique. We are groundbreakers and disruptors who bring in new ideas. My secret sauce, for example, is that I help you turn your mind into money, in a way that makes the lives of the people you serve, better.

The TV show makes me realize that it’s worth it to do hard things and get out of my comfort zone, not for the sake of making money (which is not something that motivates me very much per se) but for the sake of making a difference for people (which DOES motivate me, a lot).

The show also demonstrates how each entrepreneur (there are multiple entrepreneurs in Season 2) uses their OWN unique skill set to create value for others. This inspires me to keep going in discovering what’s unique and special that I offer, and how it can make the world a better place.

Hands together equalty concept. Hand drawn Illustration

Step 4: Find your WHY

This is the most important aspect of mindset change. If you don’t know WHY you need and want to change your mindset and behavior, (or worse, if you don’t even HAVE a why for doing so), then there’s no incentive for getting out of your emotional comfort zone and doing things differently, in ways that are often painful, hard, and new at the beginning.

First you need to find your short term why, and then your longer term why.

The short term why will keep you motivated to get over any initial resistance to changing your mindset, and the long term why will keep you going for the long haul.

What’s MY why?


My short term why is that I need and want to find the ideal target market for my Streamlined Course Creation course, this year. I need to get proof of concept: to prove that a self-paced evergreen (and therefore, scalable) online course can be highly effective at helping people apply the Course Design Formula® to their unique subject matter in ways that work for them. I need to figure out who would most benefit from this self-paced evergreen model, and start reaching out to them.

My long term why is that unless we can ENSURE that self-paced, evergreen online courses actually WORK to teach effectively, the market for online courses is going to dry up. We will still be able to teach online in live synchronous ways (such as Zoom meetings), and coaching. But those are not scalable business models that take advantage of the affordances of the online learning space to provide asynchronous instruction: anytime, on demand.


Many people are making money selling online courses, but my goal is to ensure that everyone who does that is also making a lot of DIFFERENCE with their online courses -- because the courses really WORK to provide the promised transformation.

Everyone I talk to has stories to tell about online courses they’ve paid good money for, that didn’t deliver the promised results.

Most of us have experienced for ourselves that we’ve paid for a course and then not taken it.

Maybe some of that is on us.  You can’t blame the manufacturer of a treadmill if the person who purchased the treadmill never takes it out of the box.

But if the box is hard to open or the treadmill is hard to set up or doesn’t work as promised, then it IS the manufacturer’s fault.

My goal is for every online course creator who WANTS to create a high-quality learning product that really delivers, to have the skills they need to do so, in a way that is fast and effective for them.

My long-term why is to be able to make that happen for everyone in the world who wants to do it, in a scalable evergreen way... so that we can all prove that online learning really WORKS to help people learn and get smarter.

And my deeper why behind THAT is to preserve the market for online courses, which is going to dry up (its already happening, and we need to turn that trend around FAST).

Because if too many people buy too many online courses that DON’T deliver on their promises, people will simply stop buying online courses, and who can blame them?

We need to make sure that doesn’t happen, and as online course creators, that is up to us.

My long term why is to make sure that doesn’t happen to YOU.

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

Step 5: Get long term ongoing support

Mindset change doesn’t happen in a vacuum. This is where your “village” comes in.

I notice that the Undercover Billionaires all made finding people to connect with, one of the first things they did when plunked down in the middle of an unknown city.

Building connections is essential to building a business, finding a target market, and selling a course.

Along those lines, I’d like to give a shout out to Sophie Lechner. Using her  LinkedIn Magnet Method, Sophie helps entrepreneurs increase sales by building meaningful relationships with clients and influencers across global markets. Her secret sauce in helping people build meaningful connections and community is truly amazing.

I’m learning so much from Sophie’s LinkedIn coaching. That said, my mindset in using LinkedIn is one of the things I need to change. I’ve been much more familiar and comfortable with Facebook. LinkedIn works differently, and I’m grateful to Sophie for helping me understand how to navigate the platform and build meaningful networks for mutually supportive business connections.

Mindset change is an ongoing process.... that’s why you need LONG TERM support, and why you need a LONG TERM “WHY” to keep you going.

I think the main thing I need to realize (and perhaps you do, too) is what makes my products and services unique. Each of us occupies a specific niche in an online ecosystem.

We provide products and services that no one else does, to a specific market that no one else serves (or that no one else serves in exactly the same way we do). In fact, one thing that I find effective is to find other entrepreneurs who DO serve your same market, in ways that are complementary to what you provide. That way you can refer the same clients to each other to provide added benefits that your target audience needs.

Case in point: I’m grateful to Kim Garnett aka “Brainy Girl” who helps online course creators get their courses set up on Thinkific. Kim’s self-paced Thinkific Bootcamp is an AMAZING, one-of-a- kind resource you can use to optimize your Thinkific site. Kim and I provide complementary services to similar audiences, and I’m grateful for the synergy created when entrepreneurs can support each other and their respective target audiences through mutual referrals that provide expanded areas of expertise.  (The links in this paragraph are my affiliate links for Kim’s programs).

How about you?

What unhelpful mindset and behavior habits are YOU engaging in, that are holding you back from your business potential and growth?

Has the pandemic gotten you down in ways you need to get up from?

How can I be part of YOUR long-term ongoing support community?

Drop me a note to Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com and tell me about YOUR “mindset makeover” and how you plan to accomplish it…I’d love to hear!

Come to the Learn and Get Smarter

community meeting

Where we talk about how to survive and thrive with online courses and online learning 

in these challenging times

Saturdays at

9 AM Pacific/ 12 Noon Eastern

many people online in a conference call

Teaching changes the world. Are you ready for what that means?

Hands together equalty concept. Hand drawn Illustration


In my book, Course Design Formula: How to Teach Anything to Anyone Online, I talk about the difference between really teaching someone something, and simply exposing them to information.

Real teaching changes the world because it produces transformation.

goldfish jumping off to new fishtank


When you set out to create an online course, the first thing to determine is the IMPACT your course will have.

How will your course participants be different (and better!) as a direct result of taking your course?

What's the TRANSFORMATION your course will deliver?


In order to help someone learn something new,

 we have to first (gently) encourage them to leave their comfort zone.

Cat lying on grass under umbrella

You can't learn anything new if you stay in your comfort zone.

The reason it's  your comfort zone is that you already know everything in it!

The pandemic has forced the entire planet to leave its comfort zone.

Whatever specific pain point is leading people to take an online course,

stands against the general backdrop of the generalized pain we all are in

due to the pandemic.


The need for transformation, in all areas of life, is tremendous.

As the promoters and producers of  transformation, we need to be tuned into and aware of the tremendous level of pain our target audience is feeling.

It's not the same as before the pandemic.

Everything has changed.

The environmental backdrop against which you are creating and delivering an online course (or a whole online academy), is very different today than it was a year ago.


Globe Covered in Bandages

       
If you're thinking about creating an online course, or are already creating one, think about the area of life your course will address.

 How will your course make life better for your course participants? What level of pain will it alleviate and address:

Maslow's pyramid of needs

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

  • Physical well-being and basic survival needs
  • Emotional comfort and social connections
  • Intellectual understanding and skills
  • The search for meaning and fulfillment

In order to address our learners' pain points,  we have to temporarily make their pain worse.  

And given the current conditions, that is especially challenging right now.

For example, if you're teaching a mindset course about adopting healthier eating habits, your course participants will have to let go of familiar foods that they find comforting, in order to learn to love new foods that they don't yet know about or like.

Normally, the level of pain involved in learning something new, is manageable.

But right now, when so many are already in so much pain, we as facilitators of transformation need to be aware that we are, temporarily, asking our learners to face even MORE pain than they already have been facing for an extended period of time.

stick figure in balance with pros and cons

The pain involved in learning something new is GOOD pain.
It leads to positive change and productive results.
It's like the (mild) pain of a good workout, that helps our muscles grow.

Young male athlete running on race track.


It's just that everyone on the planet has been doing an intensive "workout" for the past year, just to stay alive.

 So we need to factor that background pain into the equation

as we think about how to create a safe, supportive learning space in which our course participants can grow.


What's the solution?
 
Be extra kind and understanding, both to yourself as the facilitator of transformation, and to those who depend on, connect with, and learn from you.
 
What does this mean in practical terms?

heart painted on frozen glass
  • Be extra patient, especially when its hard.
  • Be extra kind to yourself, as well as to others
Adhesive Tapes Moving Forward on Solid Blue Colored Background. Standing Out from the Crowd Concept.


You are doing important work.

You are changing the world.

It's a marathon, not a sprint,

so pace yourself and take the long view.


If you need to learn new skills (such as how to use a particular type of media, or new tech skills), give yourself the time and space to do it...but do it.

Keep going and don't give up.

The world needs your teaching, and the transformation it provides, now more than ever.

Black Board with "Never Give Up!" written on it by white chalk.

Are you, too, tapping into the extraordinary levels of pain that are out there in the world right now?

How are you managing it for yourself and your community of learners?

What pain point(s) will your course address, and how will your course ultimately help to make that pain better?

How will you support your learners through the times when they have to step out of their comfort zones?

Let's continue the conversation in the Facebook group... and I hope you will join us on Saturday for the Learn and Get Smarter community meeting, so we can support each other in supporting those we are here to serve.


Come to the Learn and Get Smarter community meeting... Saturdays at 9 AM Pacific/ 12 Noon Eastern on Zoom

We're focusing on how to  use our online teaching practices and online businesses to help ourselves and others survive and thrive during these challenging times. 

Click here to register for the meeting

many people online in a conference call

Creating deeper connections with yourself and others

people inside social distancing circles reaching out to one another virtually


This week in the Course Design Formula® Master Course, we’re focusing on learner research.

We're exploring the questions we need to ask of ourselves and others, to find out:

  • Who our ideal course participants are
  • What they want and need to learn from us
  • How much they already know about the subject we want to teach

Often, we start out planning to teach skills (a "how-to" course) in our area of expertise... only to discover that our target audience first needs to adopt a mind-set change (via an attitude course) in order to first be READY to learn those skills. 

Why is having the right MINDSET such an important foundation

for learning new skills?


People shut down and stop learning if they feel unsafe, vulnerable or threatened.

Under conditions of threat, the body goes into fight or flight mode,

 and the mental and emotional resources required for learning become luxuries we can’t afford.



So as educators,  our first job is to help the people who want to learn from us

 feel supported and safe enough to take the risks required for real learning to take place.

  KINDNESS is one of the most important qualities needed to promote learning.

As Maya Angelou famously said:

"People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel."

How do you create a positive climate for learning online?

It's helpful to be clear on your own values as an educator and community leader.

Working at home having a video conference with colleagues

                    Here are some of mine:

  • I see my role as one of inspiring people
  • The only  dumb question is the one that you don’t ask
  • It's important to understand the power of a teachers' words

What do I mean by "the power of a teacher's words?"

As a teacher, your words have the power to inspire and encourage your learners to achieve more...

 far beyond the time they spend with you.

POSITIVE EXAMPLE

NEGATIVE EXAMPLE

A teacher of mine in a foreign language class once used my name in an example sentence, to make a grammar point. 

The sentence he came up with was, "Rebecca has beautiful clothes".

 It wasn't even a real statement.

 It was a made-up sentence used to teach a point... but ever since then, I have thought of myself as a person who has beautiful clothes (in stark contrast to how I thought of myself before).

The converse is also true: I once worked with an adult learner who thought of herself as unable to read. 

It turns out she could actually read quite well, but had been telling herself she couldn't (and depriving herself of the joys of reading) due to the unkind and harmful words an elementary teacher of hers had used many years ago.

 I didn't teach her to read by teaching her phonics and decoding skills, because she already had those. Instead, I helped her adjust her mindset to a positive one where she was able to think of herself as a person who CAN read... and who  deserved to enjoy doing so.

How do you create a positive classroom climate? How do you turn negatives into positives?

Here are some methods that I find effective:

  • Encourage feedback
  • Encourage asking questions
  • Provide prompt and responsive tech support
  • Be patient
  • Encourage learners to connect with each other as well as with you
  • Promote a spirit of inquiry
  • Focus on learning as a PROCESS, rather than on the creation of a PRODUCT
me in my coaching studio

Sometimes, clients and students may need and want to focus on the creation of a product, over and above the process of learning.

That's where coaching comes in.

In my coaching practice, I do the "heavy lifting" of operating the gears and levers of the Course Design Formula®.

My clients focus on their subject matter expertise, and together we create a product (their elegant online course, or whole academy).


Teaching requires a deeper level of effort and involvement, on the learner's part, than coaching does...

because in teaching, what is being changed and transformed is not a product that the learner creates, but rather, the learner themself.

How are you reaching out to your potential (or actual)  learners, to find out how you can serve them better?

How are you promoting an atmosphere of kindness, caring, support and inspiration in your online community and courses?

And perhaps most important: how are you being kind to, and nurturing, yourself and your creativity,

so you have the energy and focus you need to inspire and support and guide the community you serve?

Let's talk about it in the Facebook Group during the week, and at the Learn and Get Smarter community meeting on Saturday. 

I hope you can join us and share your perspectives, insights, questions, and ideas!


Come to the Learn and Get Smarter community meeting... Saturdays at 9 AM Pacific/ 12 Noon Eastern on Zoom

We're focusing on how to  use our online teaching practices and online businesses to help ourselves and others survive and thrive during these challenging times. 

Click here to register for the meeting

many people online in a conference call

Gratitude, Fulfillment, and Ease

Thank You written in different languages on speech bubbles.

As you reflect on the past year, with its unprecedented challenges, and think ahead to 2021, it can be helpful to adopt a practice created many years ago by Chris Brogan, which he calls "#My3Words".

I adopted this practice last year for the first time, and it worked! My three words for 2020 were:

  • Prosperity
  • Service
  • Joy

Despite the surrounding conditions that 2020 presented to us all, these three words helped keep my focus on an even keel... allowing me to serve clients, students, and customers in ways that brought joy and allowed me to make a sustainable living in challenging times. I am profoundly thankful.

#My3Words for 2021 are:

  • Gratitude
  • Fulfillment
  • Ease

I wish for these not only for myself but also for all my readers, clients, customers, students, family, friends and members of the Learn and Get Smarter community...and for everyone in the world.


To start the new year off on a note of gratitude:

screenshot of the art materials for Alli Berman's Color Your Gratitude course

Color Your Gratitude

with artist Alli Berman

Wednesday, December 30th, 2020

5 PM Eastern/ 2 PM Pacific

on Zoom

Are you ready to uplevel your online teaching practice in the new year?

The time is NOW if you would like to reserve a spot in the January 12th cohort of the Course Design Formula® Master Course.

(Write to me at Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com if you'd like to talk about it).

To learn more, watch my new, free, Master Class and learn three secrets of online course design.

I hope that 2021 will be a gracious year for you, filled with gratitude, fulfillment, and ease in all areas of your work and life. 

Screenshot of webinar registration page

Sign up to the Webinar

Secure your place in our free webinar on course design and learn to make your course stand out from the crowd!

Step into your power as a teacher

Female professor in classroom

The pandemic has thrown the importance of learning, and especially online learning, into high relief.

Going to school is a privilege that, we are now seeing, we can’t take for granted. The issue of equal access to online education for all, is a profound social issue that lies at the heart of building a society that provides equal opportunities for all.

As we’ve explored in the pages of this blog, barriers created by lack of access to technology, or lack of knowledge as to how technology works, are the biggest obstacles to online learning.

The next biggest obstacle is poor learning design… an obstacle that can be overcome using the Course Design Formula®.

siilhouette of a person's head with a lightbulb inside it

Even with good learning design, we also need to take individual learning styles and preferences into account.

As I shared in last week’s blog post, I’m creating a course to help each learner customize their own learning experience in any online course they ever take… including yours.

So those are the obstacles we need to overcome.

But How?

What’s the biggest facilitator of online learning? 

What’s the one thing that makes the most important difference

in helping people learn online?

The biggest facilitator of online learning is YOU.

You, the teacher.


 Who are you, as a teacher?

What do your interests, training, and life experiences uniquely qualify you to teach to a global audience?

 What’s the key transformation you are on this planet to help people achieve?



That’s a really big question,

and the answer might not be what seems immediately obvious,

on the surface.

Take me. I thought I was here to help people create effective and engaging online courses. And I am. That is what I do.

But if you look behind that, look deeper, what do you see?

You see that:


I am on this planet to help you  step into YOUR power as a teacher, 

and express that power to a global audience.

That’s my unique teaching proposition.

That’s what I’m here to help you do.

Take a minute and think about what YOU are here to do. 

Start at the surface level... what’s the clear and obvious end product of the online course or courses you want to create?

Then go deeper. Look behind that surface level.

  • Why is it important that people achieve that result?
  • How will the world be a better place because of what you help people do?
  • How will your course participants’ lives be different and better because they were lucky enough to cross paths with you, and take your course?
  • And why does that matter… to you, to them, and to the world?



What is your “WHY” for teaching online?

 Finding your why is an important component of mindset change.

But...why do we need an attitude adjustment for online learning?
happy and sad faces

We need it because setting up a successful online teaching business is a marathon, not a sprint.

This is a community of dedicated experts and entrepreneurs, whose motive for teaching online is to make a positive difference in others' lives.

We're neither fooled nor motivated by popular ads that suggest it's possible to make oodles of cash by "teaching online while you sleep", without having to actually do any work or know anything about our subject matter.

In order to fulfill our goals as service-oriented, mission-driven online educators, we've dedicated our lives to learning a LOT about what we are here to teach.

And we know we have to be awake to do it… both literally and figuratively.

NO

teacher sleeping on top of her desk

YES

Female Teacher at Blackboard

The conventional wisdom in the online course marketing space, is that one should sell one’s course before one has built it.  

I find that many people in the Learn and Get Smarter community, myself included, don’t find this way of thinking about course creation workable for the courses we want to create.

It certainly makes sense to pilot one’s course and test one’s ideas to be sure there’s a market for them,  and to find out who our future course participants are and what they want and need to learn from us.

(I've even created an action plan to help you get started on that process, if you haven't already.)

But the kinds of courses the members of this community are committed to building can’t be put together in a week or two once we’ve seen there’s demand. 

If you’re part of this community it’s because you want to share your life’s work with the world in a meaningfully transformative way, and it takes time to build an online course that can truly change peoples' lives.


Selling an online course is hard, there’s no doubt about it.

 But creating an online course that provides real value and real results,

 is even harder.

And if you don’t have an online course that provides real value and real results,

you won’t have anything you'll be truly excited about selling, to begin with.


Understanding who YOU are as a teacher, mentor, and guide is key to this whole process. 

As that teacher, mentor, and guide, you are going to be leading groups of people on a journey from point A to point B.

What’s the journey you want to take people on, and why is it important to you to do that?

People walking in line across painted brain, on asphalt

And since it's the time of year when we explore things that are on the scary side,

let's remember what's REALLY scary in online courses.... long talking heads videos

that put your students to sleep and turn them into ZOMBIES!


You are invited to continue the conversation in the Facebook group,

 and at the Learn and Get Smarter community meeting next Saturday.

I hope you can join in and share your thoughts.

What is YOUR deep purpose for teaching online?

Come to the community meeting

Saturday, October 31st,  2020

9 AM Pacific/ 12 Noon Eastern

many people online in a conference call

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?

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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!

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