Category: Listening

Time to take out the Garbage!

If you are a parent, you may have given the chore of taking out the garbage to one of your children. Maybe it is your partner’s responsibility or yours alone. No matter who is responsible, I think we can all agree it stinks!

Have you ever considered we accumulate garbage in other places? I am not referring to the piles of stuff gathered in the garage, basement, attic, or closet! I am talking about your mind. We collect lots of mental garbage gradually over time, making the most optimistic individual question. Our messy mental collection begins to clutter our minds with negative thoughts, irrational thoughts, unreasonable ideas, and unhelpful solutions. Before we know it, our minds can be compared to the landfill our regular garbage collectively goes.

How can we sort this out? Anything worth recycling? What about renewing and reuse? Our minds need to be added to our chore list before our thinking turns from healthy to sloppy! It’s time to talk to someone you can trust to recycle your thoughts into positives! I always start with God.

“Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

Philippians 4:8

My daughter is an excellent special education teacher. I am her mother, so you know I will say that, but many others do as well. The parents, students, and staff she works with share the same thoughts. She, as well as many other educators, are struggling. They are not the only professional groups struggling. The jobs they do are challenging as they pour their hearts into them, but when you add all of this “drama” and divisions, it becomes more difficult. She wonders where all of this hate, division, and power control comes from that is influencing confusion daily.

It is essential to follow the science but not the scientists. Science is a foundation constant with no biases. Opinions, prejudices, and funders influence scientists.

The foundation of values, beliefs, and laws are the truths that formed our country. Many have fought, lost their lives to continue to maintain its foundation and to improve the quality for all. The Constitution of the United States provides our guidance as our foundation.

Daily we have many thoughts provided to us. We can listen to all of the opinions, ideas, and talking points. It is in our control on the action steps we take with what is presented. We do not need to spend hours thinking about them or becoming angry. Just take out the trash! Recycle those negative thoughts into positive ones. This is a healthy choice! Take one step further. Do some positive actions to help react to negative effects. We need more positives! Can we provide those who are doing all the talking with more positives to talk about? I don’t know about you, but I am tired of taking out the trash!

#ConversationsForChange

Let’s start a conversation today about the world of work. This past week I had the pleasure of speaking with a community service group regarding their human resources and programs. I am new to their organization and wanted to gain more insight than project any thoughts.

I told them after listening to their difficulty in finding individuals to fill openings that I understood. I had observed so many help wanted; we are hiring and sign-on bonuses offered. I was amazed. A local fast food place was offering a $1,000 sign-on bonus. What is happening in the work world?

As we watched the news, we saw a report that a school district had the National Guard come in to help drive school buses to get children to school. What? The National Guard is having to help get our children to school? What is happening?

Reflect on your current work. How has it changed, remained the same, or is it now out of business? What is the #FutureofWork?

Our society has been through many things over the years, and these past years have been harsh. The rapid changes being thrown out are difficult to deal with at times. One thing I do know is we need to have work to keep us moving forward. If you can join many of us in helping to figure out what our world needs to look like, let’s start with this question:

“What’s the one thing you’d change about the world of work?”

My response to this question would be:

When you hold a job or position, no matter what it is, make sure you are the best. Lead always with a purpose, service, and understanding of what you do changes the life of another.

How can I make a statement like this? I have held many levels of jobs and kinds. It is what you put into the work that you will get out, besides the paycheck.

I see many people talking about their change would be working from home. I believe we need human, face-to-face, real-time together to free ourselves from this disconnected, connected world.

One thing I would change is working to serve a purpose to improve all lives positively as we honor our core foundations of values. #FutureofWork #Bethesolutiondaily

Please share your thoughts and include #FutureofWork #ConversationsForChange so others can see your contribution and thoughts. Let’s get these ideas going and conversations flowing!

Reasonable Conversations

Do you find it challenging to have conversations with others? When I say challenging, do they start friendly, and before you know it escalates into an argument, disagreement, or worse? I can expect it maybe at holidays when all of the family crowds into small places and everyone is stressed, but not on a day-to-day basis.

It seems impossible to have a “reasonable” conversation in today’s society. Everyone has a strong opinion on many hot topics like the police, education, Covid-19, vaccinations, safety, racism, and patriotism. It does not matter what platform you select to use to bring up questions, talk about a news item from TV or newspaper, or mention one of the heated topics, and dialogue shuts down.

I have always encouraged others to ask questions, but I admit I am guilty when I feel strongly about a topic and the passion for defending my position. So what is the difference now?

We are no longer having discussions with all sides having the opportunity to provide their points of view and the other to do the same. We need to listen to the facts, gather the truth, restate the accurate findings to reach an agreement. Right now, emotions drive the conversations with no “reasonable” solution to the conversation as the frustration sets in and insults begin. In the “cancel culture” parts of society has created, it is worse than any bullying interventions I have mediated. In just one click, a message is sent, received, and shared by thousands targeting one individual with a label to crush them.

How will you help staff and students navigate through difficult conversations? Do we have debates anymore with content we can fact check for truth and not just opinions? Where do you check for facts and information? Do students know how to research for facts? Are we teaching how to have debates and to discuss different points of view?

We have been fighting bullying for decades in our society. I have lost a former student who moved to a different school to suicide over bullying. I am looking at these conversations through the lens of students growing in this society and how to manage all of this and wonder what we can do to help. Who has the power to change the conversation tones in our communities? I will start with me, and you start with you and maybe will reach the who that makes the change. It is a ripple effect, I believe. If we continue to say something, repeat it over and over, it becomes part of what we believe and think. I know this is true because, sometimes you feel like a nut and sometimes______ ______. You finished it because it was part of a marketing campaign. “Just do it” you know this one as well! “Its the real thing.”

Thank you for being the solution daily where one voice, one ear, and one heart make a difference today.

ABC’s to Leadership

LEADERSHIP

Writing each day is a blessing for me. I enjoy each day in finding ways to spark a fire of excitement, light a lesson of inspiration, shine enthusiasm on kindness, plant a seed of hope, and turn a problem into a solution one post at a time.

Leadership is daily, 365 days a year, and even 24 hours a day. We have thoughts, ideas, visions, dreams, and hopes throughout the day. No one sets out to be “the leader,” and many will tell you this if you ask. It just happens as they work, and a passion builds inside that can be explained by my ABCs.

  • Authentic learning, leading, and listening.
  • Building relationships daily.
  • Communicating and connecting first before correcting.
  • Daily inspiration for all, lifting spirits each day.
  • Encouraging others and engaging as we work.
  • Fueling others with energy for success. (maybe chocolate and lots of snacks! I find these to work best!)
  • Gardening throughout the day, planting seeds for growth, and maybe pulling a few weeds.
  • Heart full of kindness, celebrating birthdays and good deeds. (Always keep cards of all kinds and small gifts in case you need them.)
  • Inviting feedback and questions.
  • Joining in collaboration, diversity, and teams.
  • Keeping an open mind.
  • Leading by example. (Model for others what you expect to see.)
  • Motivating others. (It is the small things you do that count.)
  • Never giving up, especially on you! (Special dedication to one of my students who thanked me for not giving up on him. He was shot and killed at the age of 19.)
  • Open door policies!
  • Praise for jobs well done!
  • Quick to put others first, especially kids.
  • Recognizing problems, focusing on solutions.
  • Shared leadership, roles, and responsibilities. (Teach everyone how to do your job, you never know when you will not be there!) -Thanks Robin
  • Time to listen, learn and explain.
  • Understanding (Everything!)
  • Validation! Others, feelings, viewpoints- You do not have to agree but validate them.
  • Welcoming environment, friendly, safe, opinions can be shared.
  • Xceed expectations when limits are placed on you and expectations are low.
  • Your purpose-the why you do what you do!
  • Zest to be the best!

Acceptance

“Life is not always what one wants it to be. A turn right instead of the left can make a difference on the path you choose. It is when you decide to make the best of it, as it is, even when the choices are not what you want to hear. Instead, you take each day as a gift to unwrap and to make it happy as you share with others.”

The pictures tell a story in your mind right away. You have a vision without any words of red lights, blue lights, sirens sounding, voices yelling orders, people gathering, and silence in the ears of a man who comes to the site looking for his family he just left ten minutes ago.

Have you had to accept a decision, a change or an individual as a leader? The scene from our car crash can be the same kind of sounds and feelings inside you when faced with trying to accept change. Emotions drive our reactions.

It is emotional when you have to face acceptance of decisions you have no control over. It is our choice to have the mindset of learning acceptance. Change happens often! Things can happen that will transform who you are and have an impact on your life. The problem is that we need to cultivate the ability to accept whatever comes and embrace it truly. If we can begin now, it will help us as we continue to grow. Change can often impact our lives in ways to help us as we affect the lives of others.

My accident closed one door I did not want to close but opened others I enjoy as I explore. What change are you resistant to? If it is a change that questions your values, patriotism, beliefs, or morals, then this is not a change you need to accept. Acceptance is a big word to discuss as many changes are happening each day.

I have accepted my changes from the accident. Although, I will admit I have good days and days when I am angry that I am not the person I was. We are not perfect. I can think of many incidents in my life when I was asked to accept something I did not want to at all. Change comes with many lessons we can learn. What change do you face?

The story inside you


“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
Maya Angelou

As a young child, I spent hours writing. I would write poems, wrote a daily journal, loved to write Bible verses, and would write songs for the church. My minister Rev. Leon Korb would sometimes share my songs or poems at church. He was always making me feel special. He was a special person in my life as he rests now in his heavenly home.

In high school, one of my teachers, Mr. Bob McMurray, challenged his high school students to set goals. He did more than teach academic skills. It was the life messages in the lessons that guided us in planning a solid foundation for our futures. He stayed connected with my husband and me into our adult lives. This month he would have celebrated his 74th birthday. I remain associated with his with Glenda, but Mr. McMurray is always present in my mind when I work on my book.

I have achieved all of the goals I wrote in his classroom except for one. I said I would write a book. I have written a book, but I have yet to publish it. I thought you write a book and publish it. No, there is so much more to publishing a book. I am learning about the entire process and meeting many amazing people.

So, Mr. Bob Mc Murray, I have many stories inside me I want to tell them, and I have great people helping me learn the way. My turn is coming soon, and I thank you for planting the seed. As I know you are watching over all of us, I will do my best. It has been a long process, and we still have a way to go, but I never give up on things I say I will do no matter what!

I have been blessed by so many. The courage to share your stories with others is enormous! The regret of not trying is significant as well. So we are working to make sure I can find success when we say let’s go! Building a solid following is a priority, and I am trying hard to accomplish this goal.

There is a story inside all of us we need to share. Maybe you don’t want to write and share it with the world, but a story for your loved ones to remember a piece of family history. Documenting personal history as well as overall history helps all of us learn, appreciate and grow.

Helping others is always my priority. Living life for a cause, never applause, keeps you focused on doing what is right and best for others. The goal of the book is not to check a box that I wrote a book, to have financial gain(my author friends are laughing now), becoming famous, or so everyone knows my name. It is because one teacher, one classroom, one school, believed in one student by saying, “Great goals, and I know you will accomplish each one.” I sure will!

Be the solution daily, and you will be the one who makes the change in another today. Thank you for all you do. To all the teachers who do this daily, thank you! My Mrs. Teresa Arnold was the best teacher, and I always tell her, “thank you for helping to make things better for me every day!”

Advice vs. Advising

One of my blogs this week was on advice. I posed the question on Twitter about the best advice you have given and the best advice you have received.

As I posed the questions, I took the time to reflect on all of the advice I have received and the times I have advised others. I have been blessed to enjoy many opportunities, but one young lady stands out to me.

“Mrs. Yoho, you have a new student who will be joining your classroom. Could we talk to you in the hallway for a few minutes? Mrs. Smith will take over while we talk.”

“Mrs. Yoho, I believe you already know Mr. and Mrs. Jones. They have a foster child joining their family. Let me introduce you to Jessica.”

Great to meet you, Jessica. I am so happy you will be joining our class today. I have to warn you we can get a little silly from time to time, but we will clue you in on our classroom expectations and how we do things. Let’s meet the class.

I can remember that day so many years ago and the look on her face that day. Over the years, I can remember the many faces of Jessica and her outbursts as we would spend four years together. She spent one year in my 5th-grade classroom, and then the next three years in the middle school, I served as Assistant Principal.

Jessica’s story began with her parents leaving her in a car seat at the end of the driveway to her grandparent’s home. She was removed from this home when it was discovered her grandfather was sexually abusing her. She had been in a couple of other foster homes, which were unsuccessful in meeting her needs. Now she was in an established home I was familiar with.

I have changed the names in my story and do not want to give too much information that could reveal the identities of others. Jessica began to have many issues. Then one day, as we were in one of our discussions, her words came out to a story my mind could not piece together.

“Mrs. Yoho, he is making me watch stuff and wants me to do things.”

We need to tell someone about this. It would help if you talked to someone about all of what is happening with you. It is okay to trust to tell someone when someone is hurting you. We need someone to help us.

Sometimes you can provide a little advice and guidance. When you recognize the information you are receiving is more than you can advise on, it is essential to make the other person know someone else needs to be involved.

One of the lessons I learned was always to begin conversations by letting the other person know if they share something about hurting themselves or others, you have to share with someone who could help.

Jessica’s story ended with her being safe with people who cared for her. She was able to turn things around in her life and begin to make some positive changes. She mailed me a long letter and a poem she wrote about me.

Keeping your door open to allow others to seek advice is the first step in hearing the needs others have. Taking steps to offer support is the step to begin the process of healing. Be the solution daily. It is never easy; you will experience lots of pushback, but in the end, others need to know you never gave up in a world so many do.

Do you have a sense for solutions?

When we begin to discuss problems, solutions are not the first-word selection used to describe the next steps. Often a few sentences full of explanations, excuses, and finger-pointing or blame are used. When you try to make sense of issues you face, utilizing some of your senses is needed!

Our senses can help with many aspects of our problem-solving and solving issues before they develop into bigger ones. Can you think of a time you utilized your senses to find solutions?

One of my former bosses and mentors told me I was a good listener. As we discussed listening to stories of upset parents or others, we identified how vital listening was to these situations. Individuals needed to “see”; we were “hearing” them.

When you find yourself in a situation where an individual is upset and wants to explain their position, let them. Please provide them with your full attention and listen to them. As they finish, I have a statement I feel is the best way to begin your response. I have shared this with my staff and other leaders; the best way to start is: “I am sorry you feel that way.”

I am sorry you feel that way is a great way to begin. This does not admit blame or acceptance but validates the individual in front of you. You have demonstrated your willingness to listen; you validate them by making the statement, and you have calmed the environment with these steps. The tones are softened; you have touched the individual’s heart by providing full attention and time. Now the solutions can begin.

During the listening, you have taken notes of the content revealed. You can begin to help connect the dots as together you retell the story without high emotions, but with facts to help design a solution to the issue. Always reassuring, understanding and providing a solution helpful to all parties. Pay attention to unspoken language. Your senses help you recognize the needs others are not able to communicate. There is always, as I say, a “trigger” for all of us that flips on our anger.

Our senses provide us with the guidance we need. However, not everyone has all of the senses available to them. When this happens your senses naturally accelerate to compensate for the missing sense. Nature knows the significance of having these to support us in our journey. Our brain is our central control center, activating them.

I have shared before that I survived a near-death accident leaving me with lifelong injuries. I have a traumatic brain injury which leaves me without my sense of smell or taste and also a lack of emotion. There are more damages, but these are hard to accept. However, I have learned to accomodate. The brain is amazing so I do have periods where I may be able to smell an odor if it is strong, taste a very seasoned dish or feel a burst of joy. Never consistently.

My message is to be a leader with a heart. I am thankful each day for all the blessings before, during, and after my car crash. Use all of your resources available to you as you lead and serve. Thank you for being part of the solution daily.

Steps with Senses to Solutions

  • See- Identify the body language of the individual, have personal pictures, collections, or special items identifying yourself
  • Hear- Listen to the individual with full attention.
  • Smell- Utilizing our ability to help reduce stress, provide an environment of comfort, or to keep the area your meeting odor-free for safety. (Fresh flowers as an example)
  • Taste- Candy bowls, other treats, water. Consider having something to offer.
  • Touch- Stress balls, gadgets to hold and move, any items to help with various textures. (clay, sponge, etc.)

In addition to the items above, my office stocked pens, journals, snacks, and anything I found to add! Your office or meeting area should bring out the senses in everyone!

I hope I helped in making sense to solutions using senses.