Tag Archives: Learning

What I’m Loving this Week: Learning Resources

I am currently overloaded with free learning materials. Thank God for generous people on the internet. Let me share some of the great resources I’ve come across lately:

1) Leadership and Influence Summit – 36 video talks that you can watch for free at your own time (before November 15). The speaker lineup includes Chris Brogan, Jon Acuff, Keith Ferrazzi, Erwin McManus, Mark Sanborn, Tim Elmore, Charlene Li, and a bunch of other great leaders. Some of the topics include The Power of Story, Planning for Success, the Ziglar Way, the E-Myth, Social Nation, Communicate to Lead, Generation iY, etc. Need I go on? Great stuff.

2) Tools and Resources from Generation iY / SaveTheirFutureNow.com – Author Tim Elmore came up with a book that I’ve been wanting to read called Generation iY. Until I get my hands on that book, I’ve been devouring all the informative and useful articles on their website–treasures for a teacher like me. If you’re a parent, educator, youth worker, employer, or anyone who interacts with young people on a regular basis, these resources will come in handy.

3) The Leader as Lifelong Learner, a guest post by Daniel Offer at Michael Hyatt‘s blog – This post reminds me of the entry that I wrote a couple of weeks ago, Do all leaders really have to be readers?In this blog post, Offer offers (I couldn’t resist) a strong argument in favor of reading books. As a book-lover myself, I couldn’t agree more. He gives some great strategies for those who struggle with reading.

Let me know if these resources helped you!

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What are you doing with your talents and gifts?

When I think of giftedness, I think of Howard Wong.

You know, Howard.

You don’t know Howard?

Well, you should.

This is Howard. This Malaysian boy is 3 or 4 years old in this video, which I think was taken this year. (You can find the awesome excerpt below, but if you want to see the full version, you can watch it here)

My reaction: “GET OUT. No way. IS THIS REAL?”

Did you react the same way?

Well, apparently, he is the real deal. This is Howard at 3 years old:

Did he just wake up this way, you ask? Well, this is Howard at 23 months:

And before you fall completely off your chair, this is Howard at 18 months.

Howard is talented. He is gifted. But he, too, started somewhere. At 18 months, he was drumming to “Old MacDonald Had a Farm”, and 3 years (or so) later, he was drumming to Joan Jett. No matter how gifted he was at 18 months, he kept on drumming. And because he kept at it, he evolved from being gifted to being PHENOMENAL.

Every person has his or her own gifts. Can you run really fast? Speak eloquently on stage? Climb mountains without fear? Invest your finances wisely? Cook a delicious dinner? The list never ends. Some gifts may stand out more than others, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that every gift is special, and we all have at least one.

Everyone is gifted with something, but not everyone becomes phenomenal. I remember a tweet I read from leadership speaker and author Mark Sanborn: “Every day your skills are changing. They improve through use and intentional practice. They decline through lack of use and misuse.”

When you use your gifts and when you develop them through practice and with the help of a mentor, your gifts are enhanced. You create art. You make an impact. You bless others. I may not know Howard, but just watching his videos brightened up my day. His gift blessed me.

What are your gifts? Do you practice and develop them? Do you even use them? If this is the first time you’ve asked yourself these questions and you have some spare time on your hands, then you might want to try coming up with a Gift Growth Plan.

  1. Think of 3 things that you’re really good at. How would you know? Doing them comes easily to you, you enjoy doing them (they’re also called “strengths” because they make you feel strong), and people have recognized the gift and complimented you on it. Are you organized? Are you creative when it comes to crafts? Are you good at graphic design? Chances are that you have more than 3 gifts, but for the purpose of being able to focus, let’s work with 3.
  2. Plot out how you can use them or practice them more often. If it’s already part of your job, ask yourself where else you can contribute your gift. Maybe you can do some volunteer work that makes use of your specific gifts. Believe me, there are organizations out there that need what you have to offer.
  3. List down the resources that can help you use or develop your gift. Ask yourself: What do I need? Is there a class I can take? Do I have a good friend who can serve as my mentor? Do I need supplies or equipment? Write them down so you know what you need to work towards.
  4. Create action steps. Don’t stop at what you need or what you lack. Give yourself some “next steps” to act upon. Obstacles can be overcome by chipping away at them.

If you need a guide, you can download a sample Gift Growth Plan which I created for a fictional person (if you prefer mind-mapping, you can download this sample). But please don’t be boxed in by the templates and the methods–the point is just to get the wheels in your head turning again, so you can get those creative juices flowing!

You know what else struck me about Howard? The sheer joy on his face while he was drumming. In the course of using, practicing, and developing your gifts, don’t forget to have fun, too! More than anything, this is why I encourage being intentional when it comes to using your gifts: because when you use your gifts–especially when you use them to help or serve others–you feel “more alive.” And isn’t it pure joy to feel fully alive?

This Eric Liddell quote from the 1981 movie Chariots of Fire comes to mind: I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.” God smiles when we use the gifts He gave us!

Before I end this, a note for the parents: it’s never too early to help your child recognize and develop some of their gifts. Howard Wong is proof of that. Try doing this exercise with your kids too!

Do you have a gift/strength that you get to use regularly? How does it make you feel?

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If you liked this, you might be interested in these related posts:

Do all leaders really have to be readers?

There is a famous phrase that says “Leaders are readers.” I can’t verify if this has been consistently true throughout history, but on a personal level, I do know this for sure: reading helps me learn better, and learning helps me lead better.

Personally, I prefer reading books. I can go on and on about books, and those of you who have followed this blog long enough know this to be true. I always love giving books to people when my resources allow me to do so, but what I’ve learned throughout the years is that not everyone likes to read books.

“I tried,” says a friend, “but I really can’t sit still and read.” And that explains why I’ve seen some of the books I’ve given to people gathering dust on their bookshelves.

So what’s a non-reader to do? Do all leaders really have to be readers?

My answer is no. At least not everyone has to be a consistent book reader. Here are my 5 tips on how to learn and grow as a leader if you’re not into being a reader:

1) Opt for audiobooks. Do you feel left out when your friends talk about a book? More often than not, that book has an audio version. You can listen to it while you’re exercising, running errands, or while you’re stuck in transit. Yes, there are better things to do other than daydreaming!

2) Subscribe to podcasts or iTunes U. Podcasts are great options for those who want variety and don’t want to spend a single cent. You can find podcasts about everything under the sun, and just like audiobooks, you can enjoy them while you’re occupied with other tasks. Not a lot of people take advantage of iTunes U, but if you find it in your iTunes Music Store, do take the time to look around. There are some wonderful talks and lectures to be found if you spend some time digging. Podcasts and iTunes U tracks are all available for free.

3) Stick with the short stuff. Some people think they can never be readers because they can’t sit still long enough to read a whole book on just one topic. But nowadays, you can opt for lighter reading fare. Read blogs! You can read about a variety of stuff, and some blogs come with videos and pictures that will cater to your other learning needs.

4) Make listening appointments. Maybe you don’t like reading, but you have friends who devour books like potato chips. Chances are, they would love to talk about the books they just read, so I suggest asking them to fill you in on what they’ve learned. All you need is some time, a couple of focused ears, and an open mind. Paper and pen: optional.

5) Keep things bite-sized. As much as you try to avoid it, there may come a time when you’ll come across a book that you know you really want/need to read. Take the Bible, for instance. Reading the Bible is different from just hearing the Bible. When I read the Bible, I find myself having to read through a passage over and over to really ‘chew’ on it and let it sink in. If I were just listening to it, it would be too much trouble to keep having to go back to hear the same thing over and over again. Plus you can’t highlight an mp3! In cases like this, here’s my tip: just chop it up. When I started reading the Bible, I committed to reading one chapter a day. Nowadays, I’ve found that my time in the Word has been even deeper and richer when I just stick to reading 3 to 5 verses at a time and really taking the time to think them over. I’d like to think that reading 3 to 5 sentences a day is manageable for everybody. So whether you’re taking on the Bible or a book on business, you can do it! :)

One of my favorite definitions of success is from author and leadership expert John Maxwell. One portion of his definition says that success means “growing to your maximum potential.” If you look closely, that’s different from “maximizing your potential.” We can’t maximize our potential every day of our lives unless we plan on burning out quickly, but growth is something that can happen daily. Besides, we don’t even know what our “maximum potential” really is. The best we can do is to keep growing–and to keep growing, it’s always good to keep learning.

What are other ways that you learn? How do you make learning fun?

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7 Important Lessons I Learned as a Preschool Teacher (A guest post by Carisse Escueta)

Carisse & me on our unforgettable Napa Valley adventure (circa 2008)!

There are few people I know who can match the patient, calm, and quirky nature of my dear friend, Carisse Escueta, which explains why people (especially children) are instantly drawn to her. In many ways, she can be likened to Mary Poppins, because she is pleasant, charismatic, talented, and without a doubt, one of the most incredible visionaries and dream-igniters that I know.

Carisse also happens to be the catalyst and leader behind our non-profit organization, RepubLIKHA, which was created to empower the next generation through music. Prior to starting RepubLIKHA, Carisse spent several years working as a preschool teacher. In honor of Children’s Month, she shares with us some precious insights (with cute photos!) that she picked up while working with kids:

7 Important Lessons I Learned as a Preschool Teacher
by Carisse Escueta

Teaching very young children is supposedly no easy feat, and teaching over 30 of them for three hours is close to impossible. Somehow I was able to do it for 5 years with my sanity intact! At the end of my teaching career I realized that I learned quite a few things myself. We are not as different from children as we think. Here are some of the lessons my students taught me.

  1. "Teacher I want to read!"

    Learning is relative. Children will pick up on the strangest things. You might be trying your darndest to teach their letters and numbers, then they’ll start asking you about cupcakes and spaceships. Let them be excited about it and go with their flow. It reminds me that we are all unique and have different views of the world.

  2. Be very specific in your praise. Children are still discovering what they are good at. It helps to tell them EXACTLY what they did well, and why it is praise worthy. It could be how they put their things away neatly or how they played a game really well despite losing. Whatever it is, be specific! We all need to know the good we are able to do in this world no matter what age we are. That being said…
  3. Don’t be afraid to show that you are upset. We all need to learn how to voice our concerns and handle someone’s disappointment in us. We mustn’t raise a generation of people-pleasers but children who are unafraid to speak up against things that are not right. They learn how to do that from us.
  4. Playing is necessary. The job of a child is to play. Let them explore, get mud on their feet, and stink up a room with their sweat. Playing is what helps them understand their world better, relate to others, solve problems, and discover who they are. It’s okay, let them play! When I find myself stuck in a rut, I go out and play too. There is a joy in knowing you are able to be yourself regardless of the circumstance.
  5. Talking is necessary too. Kids live in a lonely world; many activities don’t need human interaction (gadgets, tv). I take it as a good sign when a classroom is noisy; it shows that children are engaged. Most of the time we don’t let children talk enough. I have learned to be quiet and let them speak. Interesting results!
  6. Laugh. Have a sense of humor and don’t be afraid to look silly. Kids are champions at laughter. No wonder they’re so happy! Laugh. It’ll make everything better, you’ll see.
  7. Patience is a miracle worker. Sometimes I receive kids who cannot even spell their name, but by the end of the school year are reading and writing non-stop. Never give up on someone just because they aren’t moving at the same pace as you (or the rest). My kids taught me to focus on the eventual good that comes with determination. Don’t give up on yourself!

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Carisse is grateful for the opportunity to guest on Lizzo’s awesome blog. You can find her (alone) lost in bookstores, zoning out while listening to music, or finding ways to make P100 stretch over a week. She would also love it if you visited www.republikha.org. You can also email her at carisse [at] gmail [dot] com :)

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Tell Me Thursday: School Talk!

For today’s Tell Me Thursday post, I decided to do something different: I asked friends from different backgrounds (music, TV, radio, sports, publishing, business, etc.) to share their answers to get the ball rolling!

Today’s Tell Me Thursday question is…

What is one topic or subject you wish they had taught when you were in school?

Andi Manzano: “Character building & responsibility :) I wish school taught me how to do things my own way and not just all purely memorization.”

Benjo Marquez: “The one class I wished they taught in school was skateboarding. Hehe! No, that is a tough one. In hindsight, I wish they had taught us how to handle money and understand the concept of making and spending money.”

Christian Bautista: “During grade school or high school, I wish they had guided us thoroughly to know our strengths and talents–where we are good at –to guide us better in choosing the right course to take in college, or to know our possible profession in the future.”

Kelly Williams: “I wish they taught Tagalog/Filipino for the obvious reason. It would have surely helped me tremendously the past the 5 years :)”

Myrza Sison: “Although I don’t think I’m deficient in it (I hope not!) I wish they taught EQ or Emotional Intelligence in school so that everyone could have learned how their emotions affect their actions and how they can manage their emotions effectively. Lots of problems in the workplace and society are caused by conflict brought about by people’s EQ deficiencies and could be avoided if everyone just knew themselves a little better.”

Owie Burns: “I wish they told us WHY they were teaching us WHAT they were teaching us. I guess some would say it’s a given that what they teach you in school WILL come in handy one day — but as kids (given so much info) you don’t really see what it’s all for, UNLESS someone actually says so. I honestly would have paid more attention in class – not because I had to, but because I knew it would be useful one day, someday.”

Paolo Valenciano: “Media / film class. if they think an art class or a music class is necessary , why not give the kids an option to choose between art, music and film… since media plays such a major part in our society.”

My answer? I wish they taught us more about time management and budgeting. Both are always expected, but I feel like the topics aren’t taught adequately enough. Oh, and I wish they taught us how to conduct lie detector tests without having to use a lie detector machine. Wouldn’t that be fun? :)

A gazillion thanks to Andi, Benjo, Christian, Kelly, Myrza, Owie, and Pao for ‘guesting’ on the blog and answering today’s Tell Me Thursday question!

Now it’s your turn. :) What is one topic or subject you wish they taught in school? Serious, quirky, or random answers are welcome!

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Tell Me Thursday: Let’s talk about blogs!

Two Thursdays ago, I asked about books. This week, it’s all about blogs!

Through the years, blogs have inspired, educated, and entertained me. I love learning from experts, friends, and peers, and I’ve picked up ideas and thoughts that have been helpful and useful in different areas of my life.

Tell me: Who are the bloggers or what are the blogs that you follow? (And if you have a blog, share your blog’s address so we can check it out!)

You can see the list of blogs I follow on the lower right side of this site. But I want to discover (and share) new ones! Share your blog address or your blog recommendations by leaving a comment below, and I’ll choose some sites to highlight soon!

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