More than ever, teachers and librarians want to connect children and youth to the resources to enable them to flourish in today’s uncertain world as problem-solvers for the planet.
Wonder is an essential, and frequently under-estimated tool for doing this.
Consciously using and inspiring wonder, cultivates creative thinking, increases positive emotions, deepens a mindful connection to Nature and capacity-builds key skills used in innovation and entrepreneurship.
This interactive session will give you strategies for using wonder through reading and across academic subject learning, to engage your students of all ages.
You will learn:
Why wonder works to increase wellbeing;
How wonder is used in social innovation to bring new perspectives and fresh ideas to sustainability and sustainable development in communities;
What ‘wonder’ activities you can immediately initiate in your libraries and classrooms with your students.
#flowinaction #futuresthinking #wonder #imagination #ideas #creativity #innovation #entrepreneurship #designthinking #systemsthinking #planetcentreddesign
Strange times call for new perspectives in problem-solving creatively.
Start by grounding yourself and those you love in your strengths; and make this the lens to look through going forward.
It is a simple wellbeing exercise, which you can do for yourself, as a group of friends, or as a family.
Another proven wellbeing practice is to do the 3 Good Things & Why exercise.
You can do it as a journalling exercise before going to sleep, as well as a regular rapid exercise through the day.
You can do it by yourself, or with friends and it's a lovely thing to do as a family.
It actively changes your focus, celebrating the smallest of good things and why they are meaningful to you.
In the UK, the Durham Commission on Creativity & Education was published in mid-October, citing:
"The increasing recognition of the economic and social value of creativity and creative thinking has brought a fresh urgency to the development of entrepreneurship and the skills of the future workforce."
This is extraordinarily well-timed as Global Entrepreneurship Week 2019 takes place 18th – 24th November.
Why celebrate GEW in your school? Because it is a fantastic way to build youth wellbeing, complex problem-solving skills and solutions to challenges in your community.
I set up Flow In Action to be about showing you the pure joy of creating solutions for people and planet. And those solutions are all focused on increasing joy globally by designing around flourishing.
We are inextricably linked to Nature. This is my way of winning hearts and minds for climate action and a fairer way of living for all.
Playing with ideas, using your imagination, being curious and creative to fix real world challenges at a local level increases your wellbeing.
Being well increases your problem-solving creativity, which in turn opens up opportunities to be innovative and feeds your entrepreneurial mindset. You become empowered to be part of the solution as you turn ideas into projects, products and services.
Too often though we think that we are not enough or our ideas don't count or we don't feel that it's ok to be seen and heard. We are afraid to succeed or to fail.
It's no wonder that young people are struggling with mental health issues.
And yet all change starts with an idea...and all ideas start from knowing how to have them...and knowing how to have them comes from being in a safe space where you can show up fully as you.
That's the space I make for you and with you. These are the tools that I equip you with so that you can feel the pure joy of creating solutions in your life, your community, your world. This is how you start your march!
Get in touch. From 1-1 coaching, workshops, training and toolkits - there is a way to take a step forward and take action.
“What do you do when you wake up and feel overwhelmed?” was a question I got when I was talking with Capacity Zurich’s start-up entrepreneurs in April 2019. They were starting to turn the seeds of their ideas into self-sustaining businesses and we were exploring resilience for their ‘entrepreneur’s journey’.
My response went something along these lines, but shorter as time was pressing, so bear with me, as this is something of a love letter to them because they are such an amazing community.
Some days just start like this. And so, what to do to get past that feeling of overwhelm?
For a few moments, reconnect with the fact that you are unprecedented.
Admittedly the enormity of contemplating that there has only ever been a you, right here and now, not before and not coming after…does mess with your perception, a bit like a Max Escher staircase.
But I know of nothing simpler, gentler and more powerful a starting point than this, as a way to be present, let go, change direction, trust yourself to take a leap of faith and do things differently. You are a point of light in an unfolding cosmos, on this pale blue dot. A fractal of energy, rising and falling and rearranging.
It takes a nanosecond to practice, acting like a love-bomb filling you with colour and courage. The more you practice it, the more choices you get back, the more resilient you are – having the capacity to adapt in a constantly changing environment – softening into trust.
It gives you a different kind of courage because it’s not about ego (please note, feeling loved by feeling credible will frequently keep you trapped and get in the way of your best problem-solving). The best leaders and problem-solvers I’ve ever worked with and met, have been the humblest of people; and (from experience) the intra- and entrepreneur’s journey will take your ego and jump up and down on it, until you give in, let go, ask for help and keep on asking.
Reflecting on being unprecedented, is an invitation to think about how and where you want to show-up, to take the risk on allowing yourself the time to be deeply connected to others, to slow down long enough to be authentically you, which will fuel your unique engine of imagination and creativity.
Not only are you unprecedented in this bend of time and space, but so is the person next to you, the blade of grass, this year’s Spring flowers, the butterfly, the baby just born in a warzone, the families risking everything in the hope of something better. Once you pause to see it like this, you realise how precious the unique web of life is and how knitted into it you are. You start to own your story. Make like Gerald in Giraffes Can't Dance.
Tell someone else today too, especially a kid and watch their reaction. This kind of Love is disruptive innovation, cutting through overwhelm to what is most important to focus on; and what is needed when we take action for people and planet.
Martha Graham in her letter to Agnes De Mille wrote, “There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost.”
Young people need to know that life is worth living and that their actions can create a positive shift.
Why bother with hope?
Being hopeful is a key factor in wellbeing. Plus…
“Researchers have found that students who are high in hope have greater academic success, stronger friendships, and demonstrate more creativity and better problem-solving They also have lower levels of depression and anxiety and are less likely to drop out from school.” 
Make space for far-fetched ideas
Inspire hope in young people by getting them to have far-fetched ideas to change the world and save the planet.
“Hope arises in dire circumstances in which people fear the worst yet yearn for better…Hope creates the urge to draw on one’s own capabilities and inventiveness to turn things around.”
Before the innovation comes the invention. Before the invention comes the ideas.
We need every young person to know that having far-fetched ideas is the starting point of taking action to halt the current zero-sum game for people and planet.
Their hope starts with their creativity.
Global Citizens – The class of 2018
The GenZ young people that I talk to, as well as the Millennials, see themselves as ‘humans without geographic boundaries’ - a new era of global citizens wanting to take action on climate change, world peace and ending poverty.
We need our young people to be hopeful in their own capacity…not for someone else to swoop-in to save the day, but in their own capacity to take action for positive change, within their lives and communities.
NB: Do Things for Others sits in first place as Action for Happiness’ 10 Keys to Happier Living
What can you do on Happiness Day to inspire hope?
Celebrate every young person, regardless of academic ability, as an agent of change.
Appoint each one as an innovator able to save the world by taking action through their unique creativity and strengths.
Round off your Happiness Day by celebrating Hope as a character strength that every one of them has as a community of global citizens.
Wishing you a joyful, hopeful, awe-filled Happiness Day!
Are you one of the purpose-people who doesn’t take good care of their wellbeing?
My invitation to you is that you start taking real care of your wellbeing and allow yourself to be truly, without a shadow of a doubt, overflowing with happiness.
Why? Because as an agent of change, you are a role-model of hope, optimism and living a life of fulfilment. Or are you?
If you, as a revolutionary advocating for others to lead flourishing lives and protecting the planet, don’t know how to create that life for yourself then how will you truly lead the way?
Break the rules keeping you stuck
When there is so much going on the world, maybe you’ve made a pact with yourself, “I can’t be truly happy until I’ve saved the world.”
Often, as agents of change, we fall into the trap of expressing our compassion through fear-based actions, staying in jobs, roles and relationships that are long over-due their sell-by date!
Sometimes, we harden our hearts and lose track of living our life values in the everyday. Maybe, we feel compelled to burn-out to show some impact, to demonstrate that we acted.
We act in these disempowering ways with so much positive intent, but we actually limit our capacity to make good change happen around us when we act from this space.
These rules are made to be broken. After all, you are a warrior of light.
You are unprecedented
Or maybe, you lost track of what actually makes you happy? Maybe you never really knew? Maybe you are still thinking that it’s someone else’s responsibility to make you happy, to rescue you?
As a rule-breaker and a change-maker, your first commitment is to know yourself, to own yourself as a whole person, to recognise and celebrate that you are unprecedented.
There has NEVER been anyone like you before this moment and there never will be again. You are a unique blend of you-ness.
For every moment on this planet, be ‘flow in action’ - the pure energy of creating, because your creativity is the gateway to living your life purpose.
Start owning your happiness
It is time to take a new perspective. In the exquisite words of Martha Postlewaite’s poem, Clearing:
“Do not try to save
the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
in the dense forest
of your life
and wait there
until the song
that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself
to this world so worth
It’s time to create a clearing and discover, perhaps for the first time, what actually makes you happy. Then, ask yourself how you can DO more of that every day.
How happy will you allow yourself to be?
How will you overflow with joy by taking back ownership of your everyday happiness, as your unprecedented self?
Living your flourishing life does not mean that you have abandoned compassion for ‘this world so worth of rescue’ – it’s the door that you open from the inside to make more and lasting change.
Our role is to equip our young people to take risks and have adventures.
They are so capable of making positive changes happen around them; we believe it for them until they go out into the world and believe it for themselves.
What is the biggest adventure in each day? For each of us, it is knowing that it is ok not to know the answers.
Where is the new, unusual and exciting? It is knowing how to start finding answers; and finding those answers, by creating solutions ‘with’ people, not doing ‘to’ them.
How do you find solutions ‘with’ people?
Ask them questions. Lots of them. Be open to the expertise of the person experiencing the need and what their insights will teach you. Listen, as Stephen Covey would say, to understand not to reply.
This is the richest adventure in every day as a change-maker – to put aside your need to be ‘right’ and take the risk on creating lasting positive change by discovering solutions with others.
When you want to make positive social change happen in a community, as a leader you build a team with different strengths. It is like building a prism. The sum of the parts is greater than the whole; an abundance of creativity coming from different perspectives to generate solutions to problems.
As leader, you will hold the space for each person, believing in them until they trust and believe in themselves; guiding them to step into their strengths so that they know how to contribute their best voice to the problem-solving. This is how resilient individuals, teams and social change organisations are created.
This is you as an agent of change for your young people.
Connecting them to their strengths, will give them a platform from which to feel a sense of value in the world and a way to start navigating challenges.
This is a way for each one of them to start finding their voice.
Wayne Gretsky said, “You miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take.”
We need to take action to anchor our young people in the core belief that their solutions, generated from their strengths, have a place in changing things for the better: that it is worth taking the risk on having a go, rather than believing that you don’t count.
Here are two ways to hold the space for your young people and increase their wellbeing by connecting them to their individual character strengths.
1. Do the Character Strengths FREE survey
Go to www.viacharacter.org and get your students (age 12+) to complete the youth survey. Each child will discover their signature strengths.
2. Strengths Cards for all ages
Use At My Best Strengths cards. I use these with adults and young people to connect people to their strengths and problem-solve from a strengths perspective.
Inspiration for opening up your unique blend of creativity to take action for people and planet