Words Create Worlds®
August 2016 Newsletter
Company of Experts Consulting Services
Today, I choose to be happy...  

We are all capable of charting our own happiness and contributing to the happiness of those around us. Why is it that some people seem to be more "happy" than others? Are they truly happier?

Happiness, just like any emotion, involves three distinct components: a subjective experience, a physiological reaction, and a behavioral or expressive response. How we respond to an experience is unique. Have you ever noticed how a group of individuals might react differently to the same experience? Making the decision to remain happy, grateful and positive is a mindful practice that should be exercised daily.

Of course, we cannot be happy all of the time, but we also do not need to be angry, sad, or unhappy everyday either. In life we will encounter negative emotions, engage in difficult conversations, etc. - however, practicing to see the good in every situation is a great way to increase your resiliency to get through tough times.

Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, a global leader in the study of Positive Emotion,
discovered that experiencing positive emotions broadens people's minds and builds their resourcefulness in ways that help them become more resilient to adversity and effortlessly achieve what they once could only imagine.

As an AI Facilitator, Designer and Trainer I marvel at my good fortune to meet people who practice the pursuit of happiness every day. Appreciation Inquiry has given me the foundation to frame how I look at each day, what is here that I can celebrate? Building our happiness muscles takes time and practice - just like an Olympic Athlete - but the outcome is so worth it.

I hope many of you would be willing to share your stories of what happiness means to you; how you create happiness in your life; how you support happiness in others?

Kathy Becker,
President and CEO,
The Center for Appreciative Inquiry
In This Issue:
Appreciative Resources:
NEW: Appreciative Inquiry is Going ONLINE
The Center for Appreciative Inquiry is excited to announce that it will begin offering online courses for new and veteran Ai professionals. Our first online course coming this fall is...

Appreciative Andragogy: Take the Distance Out of Distance Learning 
Creator & Instructor: Dr. Bruce Johnson / Duration: 12-week online course

nline (or distance) learning continues to experience exponential growth in both the private and public sectors - attracting millions of learners as organizations and institutions extend their online reach by offering an array of virtual certifications, courses, and degrees. With the increased demand for online learning, instructors have had to quickly adapt their communication methods, teaching style, and instructional materials to this new, virtual environment. The challenge for most instructors is being able to help their students feel 'connected' to their class and to the instructor.
What Appreciative Andragogy does is help instructors see their students from a broader perspective and learn more about their strengths so they can build from them. This is not to say that developmental issues should not be addressed, but it can be addressed from a positive perspective which will help to create a collaborative spirit as instructors and learners work together to improve their performance, motivation, and engagement in the class. 

Designed For: Anyone who teaches an online course, regardless of subject, will find this appreciative teaching strategy useful.  
Developing a Growth Mindset in Teachers and Staff
By: Keith Heggart, Teacher
An idea that is beginning to gain a lot of favour in educational circles at the moment is the notion of fixed versus growth mindsets, and how they might relate to students and learning. Based on the work of Stanford University psychologist, Carol Dweck, the idea of mindset is related to our understanding of where ability comes from. It has recently been seized upon by educators as a tool to explore our knowledge of student achievement, and ways that such achievement might be improved.

However, in my work, I have found that the notion of developing a growth mindset is as equally applicable to staff and teacher performance as it is to students. This article begins with a brief discussion about the difference between the two mindsets, what that means for education, and concludes with some ideas for how school leaders might seek to develop a growth mindset amongst their staff.

The New Psychology of Success (2000), Dweck developed a continuum upon which people can be placed, based upon their understandings about where ability comes from. For some people (at one end of said continuum), success (and failure) is based on innate ability (or the lack of it). Deck describes this as a fixed theory of intelligence, and argues that this gives rise to a 'fixed mindset'. At the other end of the continuum are those people who believe success is based on a growth mindset. These individuals argue that success is based on learning, persistence and hard work.
The Disease of Being Busy
By: Omid Safi, Columnist at On Being

I saw a dear friend a few days ago. I stopped by to ask her how she was doing, how her family was. She looked up, voice lowered, and just whimpered: "I'm so busy... I am so busy... have so much going on."

Almost immediately after, I ran into another friend and asked him how he was. Again, same tone, same response: "I'm just so busy... got so much to do." The tone was exacerbated, tired, even overwhelmed.

And it's not just adults. When we moved to North Carolina about ten years ago, we were thrilled to be moving to a city with a great school system. We found a diverse neighborhood, filled with families. Everything felt good, felt right. After we settled in, we went to one of the friendly neighbors, asking if their daughter and our daughter could get together and play. The mother, a really lovely person, reached for her phone and pulled out the calendar function. She scrolled... and scrolled... and scrolled. She finally said: "She has a 45-minute opening two and half weeks from now. The rest of the time it's gymnastics, piano, and voice lessons. She's just.... so busy."

Horribly destructive habits start early, really early. How did we end up living like this? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we do this to our children? When did we forget that we are human beings, not human doings?
Language as Action: Managing Progress & Accountability
By: Luke Younge, Certified Ai Trainer & Coach, The Center for Appreciative Inquiry
In a previous post I wrote about the concept of Destiny in Appreciative Coaching. For many, the 'radical' approach outlined in that article made sense and breathed new life into their coaching practice; however, many people are curious - how do we evaluate or monitor our client's progress as they live out their Destiny? The International Coaching Federation (ICF) requires its members to adhere to eleven core competencies. The purpose of these competencies is to help coaches support and maximize their client's personal and professional potential. One core competency involves managing a client's process and accountability. This article intends to suggest some methods to: measure, track and evaluate the progress of one's coaching, assess progress and accountability, and reinventing what these terms can mean for us as appreciative coaches.

Progress and Movement
There is a paradigm of progress that says that to progress we must close the gap between where we are and where we want to be. We start here and move to there. In this paradigm milestones, markers, progress indicators all make sense and are very helpful in making good progress. Let's call this the traditional paradigm of progress. There's another paradigm that says that progress is really only seen in hindsight.
Strategies For Helping Students Motivate Themselves
By: Larry Ferlazzo, an English and Social Studies Teacher

My previous post reviewed research on extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, and described the four qualities that have been identified as critical to helping students motivate themselves: autonomy, competence, relatedness, and relevance. In this post, I'll discuss practical classroom strategies to reinforce each of these four qualities.

Providing students with freedom of choice is one strategy for promoting learner autonomy. Educators commonly view this idea of choice through the lens of organizational and procedural choice. Organizational choice, for example, might mean students having a voice in seating assignments or members of their small learning groups. Procedural choice could include a choice from a list of homework assignments and what form a final project might take -- a book, poster, or skit.

Some researchers, however, believe that a third option, cognitive choice, is a more effective way to promote longer-lasting student autonomy.
Transforming HR With the Right Questions
By: Todd Conkright, HR Gazette

Are you familiar with the axiom "words create worlds?" The words we use to describe what's happening around us shape what we believe and influence the direction of our conversation. Our conversations, then, are gauges of our attitudes. The good news is we have the power to steer our conversations, and our attitudes, in a direction of our choosing.

Creating a world in which issues are approached with openness, hope, creativity, and value requires that we intentionally select language - and questions - that move us toward this type of dialogue. David Cooperrider, the founder of the Appreciative Inquiry method, put it this way: "We live in the world our questions create."

We spend a lot of time talking about problems in our workplaces. We speak of what's broken, what is lacking, and what is failing. These are important discussions, to be sure, but do we give equal attention to what is going well? To what we want to see more of? To what gives life and meaning?

Cooperrider builds on the earlier statement to say, "We create our organizations based on our anticipation of the future. The image of the future guides the current behavior of any system." In other words, when we view the organizational system as a problem to be solved, both now and in the future, we miss an opportunity to create from a positive frame of mind. To create a positive future for the human resources function we must lead the conversation and take the advice of Peter Drucker: "If you want to know what the future is, be part of its development." But often we are trapped in a sea of tasks and crises that the future gets little thought.
Assuming Positive Intent
By: Laura Thomas

We're mad. We're really, really mad -- and according to an Esquire/NBC News survey, we're madder than we've been in a long time. It takes less than ten minutes on social media for it to become clear that we've got a short fuse and we're not afraid to light it.

What's causing all this publicly shared ire? It used to be unacceptable to go to the scary rage place, particularly in front of colleagues or friends. Doing so would ruin one's credibility. Now, due in part to the perceived anonymity of social media, we've reset the Overton Window on what is unacceptable -- and we're hurting ourselves as a result, because all of this anger may actually change the way the brain functions, as well as the heart, immune system, blood pressure, and lungs. When we feel attacked, a part of our brain called the amygdala floods our body with chemicals that prepare us for a fight. Angry outbursts feel like attacks, so we respond defensively, which from the other side looks a lot like an attack. In healthy people, the prefrontal cortex keeps us from taking a swing at the guy next to us (or at the very least telling him exactly what we think of him and his opinion). Lately, however, that system seems to be breaking down. We're getting angrier while simultaneously feeling fewer inhibitions about taking that metaphorical or literal swing at the guy next to us.

So how do we stop it? Assume positive intent.
Positive Strategies to Avoid Stress, Anxiety, and Burnout
By: Dr. Donna Wilson and Marcus Conyers

Teaching is important and rewarding work, but it can also be extremely stressful. Excessive stress may lead to burnout, which is characterized by exhaustion, anxiety, and feelings of being overwhelmed and isolated. Other common symptoms of burnout are a loss of creativity, good humor, patience, and enthusiasm for life -- all of which are crucial attributes for effective teaching.

Fortunately, the human brain has tremendous capacity to change and grow. We can train our malleable, dynamic brains -- specifically, the left prefrontal cortex, which figures prominently in emotional outlook -- to become happier and more optimistic through deliberate practice.

5 Positive Strategies
Research suggests that happy people are more likely to have positive relationships with family, friends, and colleagues; to perform better on the job; and even to enjoy greater physical health than those with negative outlooks. Following are five positive strategies that can help you become more optimistic and head off burnout.
Appreciative Inquiry Certification Trainings

For nearly two decades, The Center for Appreciative Inquiry (CAI) has been a leader in Appreciative Inquiry Trainings and Certification. Thousands of individuals, teams, organizations and communities have participated in one of The Center for Appreciative Inquiry's workshops, gaining Ai expertise as well as personal and professional fulfillment. With a CAI Certification, you can demonstrate not only knowledge and skill-set, but also a commitment to high professional standards and a strong code of ethics.

Individuals who have participated in Appreciative Inquiry (or strength-based) workshops/trainings from other Ai providers are eligible to receive Appreciative Inquiry certification from The Center for Appreciative Inquiry. Learn how you can earn your Appreciative Inquiry Certification and join our growing network of Ai Professionals.
Appreciative Inquiry Directory: Join Our Growing Network

The Center for Appreciative Inquiry's Directory was created to allow clients to find Certified Appreciative Inquiry professionals worldwide, provide expert support and peer collaboration for independent consultants, and build a growing network of individuals who want to increase their impact for making a positive difference in the World - inspiring success and connections of people, community and organizations.

Who is listed on the Appreciative Inquiry Directory?
  1. Individuals certified through the Center for Appreciative Inquiry (CAI) from 2005 to present are eligible to be included in the Center for Appreciative Inquiry Directory Listing for FREE for the duration for their certification.
  2. Individuals who have participated in Appreciative Inquiry workshops by other Ai providers are also eligible for certification and a directory listing - please contact us directly to learn how.
Directory profiles are easy to create and update and will make you locatable by our worldwide audience. All Directory profiles will remain visible on our website for FREE for the duration of your certification. Create your Free Ai Directory listing today! Our Directory Profile creation process is easy and takes only a few minutes. Once approved, you can begin enjoying all the benefits of your Free Appreciative Inquiry Directory Listing.
We Are Looking for Appreciative Inquiry Trainers

The Center for Appreciative Inquiry is seeking experienced trainers, coaches, consultants and facilitators to become certified to teach its Appreciative Inquiry Trainings and Workshops. Trainers will be certified to deliver our various workshops (to business, community, non-profit, education, etc.) to support the growth and interest in Appreciative Inquiry focusing on dialogue, collaboration and how the human systems thrive.

We are looking for high energy people with a commitment to helping others develop and grow as internal facilitators and to be part of creating a better World Community.  If you are grounded in humans systems flourishing demonstrated by your views of social change and by participating in the AI Community, you may be a good match for this program.