Category Archives for Solutions

Lean Forward

Puzzles with business woman

How do you deal with an unprecedented situation for which you have no pre-existing mental frameworks... no appropriate prior knowledge?

That's the challenge our entire planet has been facing for the past several months.

How are YOU facing it? How are you holding up?

If you're like most of us, you may have been finding this time incredibly stressful on every level.

And yet, you may also be finding this challenging time a catalyst for creativity and growth.

At the Learn and Get Smarter community meeting last Saturday, we  asked ourselves:

How can we be creative with our businesses and courses?
How can we find solutions instead of complaining?

One solution we discussed at the meeting was to "lean forward"... both physically and literally... so as to create a sense of energy and momentum (such as when appearing on screen in a Zoom meeting), and metaphorically by leaning forward into the future with energy and purpose.

We've been exploring the value of chaotic conditions, conditions of disruption, as a catalyst for developing new ways of doing things.

Considering the area of education in particular, we looked at educational resources that are especially available to us now.

We explored ways this can this time can provide  opportunities to improve learning for ourselves, our families, our businesses, our communities, and our societies.

Some ideas we explored at the meeting included:

  • learning from family
  • learning online
  • self-paced learning
  • following one's own interests in depth
  • finding out what kids' interests are and then teaching them about that
  • learning through practical hands-on experiences (real life learning, apprenticeships)
  • real life lessons.... learning by failure as well as success (safe to fail experiments--small consequences from failure)
  • practical hands on learning: kids can have their own business, for example
  • pairing up introverts and extroverts/ talkers and non-talkers 
  • pairing up people with others who need help

We are adapting to the current conditions through:

  • using what we've got to the fullest
  • replacing our old routines and rituals with new ones
  • pairing up people with others who need help (delivery systems pair up people who need jobs with people who need food)

The Course Design Formula Master Course starts June 16th!

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


If you're ready to start turning creative solutions in YOUR business into an online course for the people you're here to serve,

Learn and Get Smarter is here to help. 

The next cohort of the Course Design Formula® Master Course is starting soon.

Write to Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com NOW to reserve your place!

How are YOU "leaning forward" in YOUR business?


An entrepreneur solves problems that are causing people pain.


Right now, the entire planet is in pain.

What solutions can we come up with, in our areas of expertise, to help alleviate that pain,

in alignment with our mission?


Your mission this week (should you feel inspired to accept it) is to look for examples that you find effective, of creative solutions that are working to keep people healthy, employed, connected, and fed.

Here's an example that I think is both creative and  inspiring:

Air B n B has come up with the idea of "experiences" that people can reserve online (rather than reserving physical accomodation in homes). Air B n B hosts are inviting others into their homes virtually, since they can't invite them physically.

Check it out here: 

https://www.airbnb.com/s/experiences

At next week's community meeting we will explore models of creative entrepreneurship and inspired social solutions.

How is YOUR business adjusting and adapting? Has your mission changed, pivoted, or remained the same?

How is your business and your mission contributing to the public good?

Let's continue to inspire ourselves and each other as we build community, collaboration and connection to strengthen our social and emotional capital in these challenging times.

Come to the community meeting on May 30th and keep the momentum going as we continue to explore ways to  optimize our impact as thought leaders,  educators and entrepreneurs.

Wise Women's Meeting

Register for the meeting

Saturday, May 30th  2020

9 AM Pacific/ 12 noon Eastern

Many people portrait on a tablet screen

The Perspectives of 2020

group of people on Zoom

If you think back to New Year's Eve, 2020 (that sweet and innocent time Before the Dawn of Covid), you may remember that the general mood was one of happy expectation.  Individually and collectively, we were hoping for great things from 2020, not least because the number makes us think of having perfect vision and a clear perspective.

Well, be careful what you wish for, as they say.

Now that we're almost halfway through the year, what's clear is that 2020 really IS giving us a new perspective... on just about everything.

Sunglasses on a table, with 20 on one lens and another 20 on the other (as in 20/20 vision)

At the Learn and Get Smarter community meeting last Saturday, we talked about how we can gather data  to look for meaningful patterns in business and society and life.

We discussed how accurate observation of what we see going on around us, and appropriate interpretation of the signals, messages, and lessons implied, can help us forestall problems and avoid crises.

The pandemic is giving us a new perspective by breaking our existing mental schemas-- the patterns we have previously found useful for understanding the world. 

This is a painful thing to go through. We have to let go of comfortable ways of seeing  and doing things, and instead learn to cope with chaos and tolerate complexity in a new reality where the BEST one can hope for is to be able to say, "It's complicated".

At the meeting last week, we talked about  the relationship between taking care of ourselves and taking care of others, at the level of our businesses.

Taking care of our clients and customers can be part of a positive feedback loop that nourishes rather than depletes us.

The Course Design Formula Master Course starts June 16th!

Create an online course that makes a real difference for the people you are here to serve.

The key is to build self-care and rest into our schedules. Although what we do as online educators can't compare with the level of sacrifice being made by front-line workers in hospitals, factories, grocery stores, transit, and emergency services, there is a way in which online educators are on a different kind of front line: 


Online educators are on the front line of helping people learn in the new reality we all face.

 Learning is the process of adapting to one's environment in order to promote survival.

So learning is one of the most important things people can and must do in order to survive and thrive.

At next week's community meeting (on Saturday, May 23rd, 2020) we will explore how one can have a balanced life under these new conditions:

  • Personally, with balance between work and rest
  • Socially, with balance between self and family, one's own needs and community needs
  • Communally, with balance between personal freedom and public good

In a situation where no one has all the answers (and sometimes we feel as if we don't have ANY answers), the important thing, as we've discussed  before, is to ask meaningful questions.  

And once we've asked the important questions,  we can work collaboratively to find answers based on patterns that start to emerge from accurate, meaningful, scientific data.

When we focus on collaboration rather than competition, we recognize that while none of us has THE answer, by co-creating things collaboratively we can allow everyone to contribute their own expertise to find solutions that benefit everyone.

Questions to ask on a community and societal level include:

  • How can we strengthen social capital?
  • How can we make sure everyone has what they need?
  • How can we take care of the very young and the very old?

Questions to ask on a global level include:

  • What is working for people in other countries?
  • What systems can we find globally that we can all learn, from each other?
  • What social structures are working for people (in families, workplaces, and communities) and which are not?

2020 has yanked us all out of our comfort zones and caused us to confront whatever needs strengthening: in ourselves, in our families, in our social and health care and financial systems, our supply chains, and our planet as a whole.

We've been forced to contract into our own spaces, to question everything we do, to ask life-or-death level questions about  going to the grocery store.

If we can tolerate the discomfort of staying outside of our comfort zones long enough to accurately evaluate the data that we are gathering,  the end result will be expanded awareness and improved collaboration and a more sustainable global culture.

So 2020 is giving us the gift of perspective… not an easily won gift.

Through collaboration we can create something that none of us can create on our own. Our role as teachers  is not to have all the answers, but to provide spaces where meaningful questions can be asked and collaborative problem solving can occur.

If we learn to look for the silver lining, while accurately assessing the clouds, the end result can be expanded awareness, improved collaboration, and a more sustainable global culture.

You are invited to contribute your expertise, insight and wisdom at next week's community meeting. I hope to see you there!

Woman struggling to carry a heavy present

Register for the meeting

Saturday, May 23rd, 2020

9 AM Pacific/ 12 noon Eastern

Many people portrait on a tablet screen

It’s Complicated

Set of icons vector development, simple and complex way of development, optimization of the process, complex and simple

Most of us, I think, would agree that the current situation can best be defined as a "hot mess".

But what KIND of a hot mess? Are we living in complete chaos?

It certainly feels that way at times...yet as our discussions at the weekly Learn and Get Smarter community meetings show, many of us are starting to find our way out of the initial chaos the pandemic has caused literally every single person on the face of the earth.

We've been sharing coping strategies, serendipitous discoveries, and powerful pivots that have forced us all to engage in learning opportunities we never would have otherwise considered.

(Yours truly, for example, is learning how to unclog  a sink drain. Which for anyone who has ever known me, is truly mind-boggling).

Learning is the process of adapting to one's environment in ways that promote survival, and the Covid19 pandemic is probably the most challenging learning situation our planet has faced, ever.

Coping effectively is literally a matter of life and death on every level, from the physical to the financial to the societal. 

But what, exactly, are we coping with? Is it in fact chaos?

At last Saturday's community meeting Janice Fingler ​ treated us to a  presentation on the Cynefin framework, originated by Dave Snowden of Cognitive Edge.

Janice shared her in-depth expertise on dealing with extreme uncertainty in high-stakes situations. 

To learn more about Janice's fascinating work, visit her website at https://jfingler.com/.  Although initially targeted towards project managers in the mining industry, Janice is now opening up her services to help experts in other fields grow their readiness to respond to changing risk.

She does that by deploying the strategies and approaches used by gold explorers...these strategies help anyone living "in the wilds" (as we all are, these days)  make more confident decisions.

 She has graciously allowed me to share the following example illustration of some aspects of the Cynefin framework, that she created for the meeting, with all of us:

A diagram of the Cynefin Framework

Janice explained that conditions of chaos tend to be unstable and don't last long, modulating into systems that are either complex, complicated, or clear and obvious.  

In the wake of the initial chaos caused by the pandemic, many things that once seemed clear and obvious no longer do. 

It seemed like we had stability in clear and obvious routines, supply chains, systems, and ways of doing things. But we’re finding that many no longer work, no longer serve us, or no longer even exist following the blast of chaos the pandemic produced.

As we emerge from chaos, many of us are now experiencing the world around us as complex. We are working hard on finding ways to create new levels of order that include the types of complicated structures needed to facilitate problem solving under conditions of uncertainty and risk.

The journey towards order, that we crave as humans, isn’t so simple and direct now. The challenge of Covid19 has actually given us a gift, of teaching us that we need to embrace the disordered, non-linear and unpredictable world we actually live in and will continue to live in – rather than the more simplistic and straightforward "reality" we thought we lived in.   

We then talked about family-level solutions we are exploring in our own lives, whether for taking care of the very young, the very old, or finding new ways to work while also restructuring family interactions.

Some questions we asked include:

  • How can we take care of our own needs while also taking care of others?
  • How can we  start implementing systems that deal with the new demands, and also protect our work space and time?
  • Is there any way we can outsource some of the work?
  • Are there ways in which this new reality is GOOD for our business?
  • If so what are those ways and how can we optimize them?

We'll explore that last question in depth at next week's community meeting.

Come share YOUR insights and expertise as we continue to reflect on cognitive strategies we can apply to help us learn and get smarter in the face of uncertainty and risk.

The Cynefin framework is certainly a powerful  tool for doing that, and Janice's presentation deepened our ability to think outside the box in these uncertain times, helping us move closer to turning challenges into opportunities.

Join us on Saturday, May 16th, 2020


9 AM Pacific/ 12 Noon Eastern


Join us at next week's community meeting to continue the conversation!

many people online in a conference call

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!