Whether you are a student, parent of a student, educator, or an adult in the business world, you are likely feeling the buzz of the back to school season with seeing pictures of half sleepy-eyed and half excited kids in their dress-for-success first day of school clothes shared by proud and zealous parents on social media, while crossing guards signal you through busy intersections, and a heap of heavier traffic has you taking a double shot of expresso (or juice) to keep the pace.
What is it about that buzz buzz feeling in the air? It’s noticeably different. We are no longer in the ease and breeze of summer days. August and September mark not only a new season, well, at least in Houston it’s more of a calendar season than an actual season, but there’s something else that is different. The energyof our day-to-day shifts and that impacts the feeling and behavior in our communities.
We shift from ease and breeze to more structure, routines, and schedules. Our focus is no longer on unstructured fun and play, and unchartered self-discovery, but we have lessons to be taught, goals to be met, and minds and hearts to shape.
When I wrote my book, Today’s Gonna Be Awesomeauce: Daily Meditations for Youth, Parents, and Families, I said that, the Awesomesauce, is a way of being. I gave the analogy of the way we use sauce in culinary creations – we add sauce (especially in our beautiful state of Texas) to take food creations from bland to something that has a lasting zip and zing for our taste buds.
Awesomesauce is about intention, focus, and possibility. What we focus on and the intentions we create become our life. It can take our life from being bland to having that special zip and zing and, as I like to say, the extra sparkle, in everything we do.
I will give you an example.
As a parent, educator, or business professional, we are stepping into each of these roles as a leader. In order to lead (meaning having our audience complete a task, fulfill upon a request, or reach a desired performance behavior) we must translate certain expectations for the group we are leading – family, classroom, or office team.
As a family, we expect our kids to use their manners when at the dinner table. As an educator, we expect our students in the classroom to do their work and learn the material so they can graduate to the next level regardless of varying abilities in the classroom. As a business professional, we expect our office team to complete a project within the given time frame and budget and, to do so well.
But, something happens many times between communicating the expectation and the actual execution. Things can go wrong, really wrong!
You may be reading this and saying, “Well, yeah, I get that, and…” You may also be thinking at this point that sometimes those expectations aren’t met and, as many of us do, we place the blame “out there” instead of “over here”, meaning pointing the finger at us instead of out there at our kids, our students, or our office team.
Translating our expectations into the desired behavior is key. What we know from the educational research (that I believe is applicable to home and office) is that teacher expectations do affect students’ achievement and attitudes (Cotton, 1989 and Chang, 2011).
Let me simplify this a bit. If I expect and believe that my team will win, most likely we will win and just the opposite occurs. If I believe my team will fail, we will most likely generate a failure for the team. You can read more of that research here and here.
But, we have breakdowns in the translation process.
We often find ourselves in a breakdown mode when we begin to differentiate the expectations, meaning holding some team members more or less accountable than others. This differentiation of expectations can affect the entire team’s success or failure! Why does this happen? Many of us, no matter the leader role we are in, aren’t maliciously or intending to do this. So, the formation and communication of the differential expectations is often unconscious. (Cotton, 1989).
To get over this hurdle we have to reveal our own unconscious biases. Guess what? It takes some work, not only from us, but from the team that we are leading.
Now back to the Awesomesauce.
Awesomesauce is a fun, vibrant, and sparkly focused energetic state that is cultivated from the inside-out and outside-in. It helps our mind, heart, and spirit align so we can be our best and brightest self here, there, and everywhere!
When we consistently cultivate this energetic state, I call Awesomesauce, we grow strong social and emotional skills that empower our mindset and heart-space, which enables us to tune into and spread the awesomesauce, whether at age 5 or 105, as a self-generated and self-motivated practice, making a positive impact in our families, communities, and ultimately, our world.
When we tune into the awesomesauce, through a variety of avenues, I call points of access, using numerous health and wellness tools, including mindset power, mindfulness, yoga, mindful movement, nutrition, creativity, spirituality, and relationship-building we are equipped to go spread the awesomesauce and empower others (think leading) to do the same. Through these practices many unconscious drivers and biases surface and can be transformed.
Then we are in a new game, but it’s the same game. What do I mean? As family, educator, and business leaders, our goal is to translate expectations into behavior (this is the game) and reduce our unconscious biases that can derail our “best intended plans”. So, we take the game up a level each time we become more aware of how we are actually translating expectations into behavior through tuning into and spreading (think sharing) the awesomesauce.
The more we tune into and spread the awesomesauce, the more aware we become and our unconscious biases decrease, the more effective we get at leading and executing. Expectations translate into successful execution (the desired behavior/goal is fulfilled) by our families, students, and business teams.
Just like we automatically (much of this is unconscious because we have been in the habit of this for so long) shift our focus, feeling state, and behavior when we go back to school (even if you are not in school or are a parent), we can learn to shift our focus, feeling state, and behavior in ways that empower us, our families, classrooms, and business teams, consistently, to be and perform at our and their best and brightest self.
We can take a broken down, bland, and dud action plan into something that has more zip, zing, and extra sparkle and, most of all, get results to accomplish the goal, assignment, or project.
Want to learn more?
I have a new training coming up for leaders and educators as part of the Houston Independent School District’s Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Department’s training offerings for the 2018-2019 school year. The training is called, Taking the Lead: Translating Student Expectations Into Desired Behaviors and Getting Real Results (from Creating An Awesomesauce Day Series). The SEL training will take place on September 19, 2018 from 9am-11am at Hattie Mae White (central district office), in Room 1E02. For more information on the new training and other upcoming SEL trainings, click here.
In addition to my new SEL trainings, I also teach, coach, write, speak, and lead trainings about this energetic state I learned to cultivate called awesomesauce. For more information about my book and my mindfully-infused educational resource products, Today’s Gonna Be Awesomesauce, and how they can help you, your family, classroom/school, or business, click here.
Reminding us all to tune into and spread the awesomesauce here, there, and everywhere!