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The Dialogic Learning Weekly #181

The Dialogic Learning Weekly
The Dialogic Learning Weekly #181
By Tom Barrett • Issue #181 • View online
This week I want to share three things I am trying to get better at everyday. In their own way they are connected to how we lead and learn, also, how we develop new ideas and express ourselves creatively.
I hope they provoke some thinking about your own intentional choices. Let me know what you are working on.

Be Present
I choose to be fully present.
Rewind 15 years and this would have been something I had no real understanding about. As a young father and classroom teacher, I struggled with the mental health instability that so many teachers often experience.
I did not have the mental models, strategies or processes to remain centred on the moment I was in. I was always being pulled in a hundred directions. Sometimes, that was my own ideas and ambition. Most of the time it was balancing family life and the growing to-do list of my leadership responsibilities.
Today I choose to be present because I can control that. I am able to bring all of my experience, understanding and focus to what is here, right now. I practice it when I am meeting or talking with others. I choose to see them in high definition, not changing the channel or allowing my thoughts to blur the signal.
I am better at it and I know that persistent practice over time has made a difference. I choose to be settled and focused on what I am experiencing. There is something powerful and freeing about that choice.
Your Talking Point
When did you last notice someone being fully present with you?
I choose to listen as fully and deeply as I can.
I attempt to get better at this all of the time. Not just to hear a bunch of words and sounds, but to concentrate on consciously activating my listening skills and abilities.
Whenever you read about listening skills it often refers to what we listen with and what we choose to listen without. The list can be varied and mixed. I focus on two aspects more than any other. I choose to listen with curiosity and without judgement.
Curiosity is a precursor for empathy, I seek to understand first and I trust my curiosity to guide me when I am listening. Judgement can be a powerful deterrent to quality dialogue. If we are judging too soon we are closing off ideas and thoughts too quickly. I choose to practice non-judgementalism.
I know I am listening “fully and deeply” when I am choosing not to judge and my curiosity helps me to understand a person better.
Your Talking Point
What do you notice about your own listening skills?
Self Awareness
I choose to linger on moments of success
For a while now, I have been making a conscious effort to notice the good things that happen because of my decisions. I grapple with imposter syndrome. Like many of us who choose to put ourselves out there and hit “publish” on what we create. It is much more common than most of us think.
It has been constant battle as I write, facilitate and design new things. Who am I to suggest that? Why should these smart people listen to my ideas? People are going to think I am ridiculous!
I know that, for me, this is part of my process and part of me processing what is happening. It is a signal that I care about what I create and the people I am communicating with. Like this newsletter - although weekly imposter syndrome is tough!
Reconnecting with positive feedback I have received, or successful outcomes I have been part of, helps me to stay anchored to accomplishments. I choose to linger on these signals and remind myself that they are due to the decisions I make. All too often we bounce on to the next thing, or over-magnify the negative critique.
Everyday I am trying to get better at raising my awareness of the positive impact I have. I then choose to understand that impact, observe it and fully appreciate it.
Your Talking Point
What are you trying to become more aware of?
Thanks for joining me this week. As always - let me know what resonates with you?
Feel free to drop me a note about what you are trying to get better at everyday.
In dialogue we trust.
~ Tom
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Tom Barrett

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