July 4, 2018

Where Passion Meets Perseverance

Whereas it’s true that what happens at home dictates what happens in the classroom, there’s tremendous value in what educators bring to the table. Research tells us that quality teaching can completely offset the devastating effects poverty has on student performance. In my experience, this begins with understanding positive psychology. Though it helps, you don't have to be a trained psychologist to leverage principles of positive psychology. Here's what I've learned so far...

Positive psychology explores a number of character strengths, one of which is grit. Grit is the place in our being where passion meets perseverance. Empowering learners to persevere in the direction of discovering their passions is complex. Several mantras guide my path. This post discusses a few mantras that remind me of what it means to cultivate grit and nurture grit in learners of all ages.

Do the difficult things while they are easy 
and do the great things while they are small.  
- Lao Tzu

It's not uncommon to try on several pairs of shoes before finding the perfect pair. Assuming your once organized closet is a wreck from trying on every pair with no success, what's next? The department stores at the indoor mall have nothing. The outlet mall has nothing. The event is in two days. You can't go barefoot. Now, you're wishing you'd made better use of lunch breaks during the past month! Imagine being in a frenzy about more than one outfit for an out of town conference. Do you think it's easier to find the perfect pair of shoes for one outfit at a time?... or three or five? Feeling frantic, yet?

Now, let's apply this thought process to education and learning. When the window of opportunity to do that easy, small thing passes us by, we can't get it back. Making the most of the opportunity that's in front of us right now is all that matters until our time is up, until the school day is over, until the tutoring session is over, until the exam is behind us. Though learning is about perseverance and the journey. Making a mental note of the rest stops along the way encourages learners to remain energized for just a little while longer. Helping learners distinguish between go-time and rest-time positively influences internal motivation to persevere.

Consistency breeds trust. 
- Vincent Molina

It was around 4 years ago when Vincent shared this nugget with me during a coaching session. The conversation was about consistently delivering value. In the moment, we were talking about breeding trust with clients and potential clients. I wrote this quote on a sticky note that I've only recently trashed this year - because it's embedded in my brain. It was a reminder to keep going, to keep moving forward. A few days ago, different meaning came from these same words.

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Let's consider the example about finding the perfect shoes for an outfit. The struggle is real. It's common for men and women. I'd argue that kids even get frustrated about which pair of shoes to wear. This not only happens when we're preparing to travel, for some, frustration over what to wear - or what not to wear - strikes daily before school or work. At least two people have this challenge mastered: Steve Jobs and my mom. Steve Jobs consistently wore the same thing to work everyday. My mom consistently prepares her clothes for the week on Sunday nights. It's a no-brainer for her. Mission accomplished. What's next?

But, what's happening here? Yes, they preserve mental fortitude by giving themselves one less decision to make in their work day. In making this decision regularly, they also build trust in themselves. They choose not to go with whatever the day brings, they trust that the decision will serve them in circumstances they have yet to experience. Though a simple act on the surface, each small act of self-trust helps us flow with the process. We're making time to listen to ourselves and figure out what we really want, how we really want to live, what our passions are...

In everything, say thank you. 
- Maya Angelou

Gratitude. When we're rushing to find that one pair of shoes, how often do we say thank you? When educating or parenting children, how often do we say thank you? In my last blog post, I talked briefly about showing gratitude. Giselle Chapman is a motivational speaker who tells us to start with gratitude. Over the course of a few of her phenomenal workshops, I gained a deeper understanding about how coming from a place of gratitude improves our ability to perform. The feel-good hormones like dopamine, serotonin, and endorphines flood the brain and help us get things done!

To embrace the complicated and unending process of discovering passion and persevering to bring ideas to fruition, we need to make the habit of starting from a place of gratitude. There are other - less enjoyable - ways around this. But why choose the hard way when we can have fun cultivating grit?!


About Jackson Education Support: Specialty areas include character development, literacy, math, and science. All ages welcome. We develop in-person and online solutions for educators, families, and learners globally. Read feedback, join the community, and learn more by visiting je411.comYou're also invited to connect with us on social media!

 fb.com/JacksonEducationSupport       instagram.com/je_services       twitter.com/je_services        learn@je411.com

May 9, 2018

The BIG 12: #BizChampion Takeaways

The traditional essay has an introduction, conclusion, and 3 body paragraphs. My favorite pastor on planet earth offers a 3-point sermon. It's common for presenters to offer 3 supporting details when making an argument. Ever wonder why?

As an educator, I usually follow this pattern as well because of a secret weapon known as chunking. In short, many learners retain vast amounts of information by grouping related information. Instead of recalling a long list of facts, the brain is better able to process categories of information.

In the spirit of college readiness, let's consider discussions about collegiate sports as an example. When distinguishing between players or schools, sportscasters and sports fans often communicate in terms of conferences. The conferences (e.g., PAC-12, BIG-12, SEC) are chunks of information. When we're first learning the names of schools across conferences, it's easier to chunk schools into larger conferences based on location. This also makes for smoother discussions. The Big 12 Conference is an example of one of the collegiate sports conferences; the name serves as motivation for this month's blog title. (I'm #OleMissAlum, so I'm partial to the SEC; however, 'The SEC #BizChampion Takeaways' doesn't have the same jenesequa, so I digress.)

Chunking Collegiate Sports Conferences (image credit in link)

I'm breaking the mold by offering the big 12 takeaways from the #BizChampion celebration in Reno, NV. National champions across various industries came together during the last days of April. Notably, a few sports gurus were in attendance. Each of the 102 winners of the 2018 American Small Business Championship networked with SCORE Mentors and guest experts during a two-day, jam-packed, high-paced, fun-filled event. The schedule of events began at 8am and ended at 8pm on both days.

Sessions topics included positive psychology, team synergy, marketing strategy, HR issues, preventative legal measures for entrepreneurs, and more. To top all this off, table discussions during meal times centered on even more opportunities for business and personal growth. We shared experiences: what's worked, hasn't worked, next steps, and unresolved challenges.

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1. Celebrate Successes
I've moved away from really celebrating client successes. It's common to say congratulations, but I'm not sure this counts as a celebration. With guidance from Tonya Ludwig, owner of 621Gifts, clients are in for a real treat during Back-to-School season. By celebrating small successes, we create a winning culture. Success begets success.

2. Listen More
One speaker mentioned that we're only as successful as the questions that we ask. (Forgive me for not noting the speaker's name and exact words.) In private, I prepared questions to ask; however, deeper conversations in person revealed even more valuable questions worth asking.

3. Give Often
Joseph Amato's story about becoming a business owner at age 16 is beyond inspiring. Though the point isn't to give with an expectation of receiving something in return, Joseph earned 50% of a small tanning business as a result of giving. Business strategy suggestions that he offered to a tanning salon owner turned an even greater profit than originally anticipated. Unbelievable.

4. Marketing Strategy
Have you considered mobile ads as part of your marketing strategy? The thought crossed my mind a number of times, but it wasn't until Reiva's evidence-based arguments that I became convinced to make a move. Somewhere between 95 and 97% of Americans own a cell phone, so chances are... my ideal client, your ideal client owns a cell phone and could be viewing our competition's ads right now.

5. Show Gratitude
Giselle Chapman's spiel about starting each day, each activity from a place of gratitude reminded me of the frequent gratitude journal entries made when I was first introduced to this practice years ago. This strategy works, so why was I creating less space in my life to keep it up? Giselle advised that we journal for five minutes, and I'm gaining momentum.

6. Sell Everywhere
Currently, only my books are available for sale on Amazon. I'm looking forward to offering TeachersPayTeachers activities for educators and parents by selling on Amazon as well. Making our products and services available on multiple platforms is a great way to deliver value to a larger audience.

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7. Copyright
Taking the time to copyright each project becomes overwhelming when there're so many irons in the fire. It was a relief to learn from Rocket Lawyer Founder Charley Moore that, whereas it's still a good idea to copyright original works, there's no requirement to do so since including the copyright designation is sufficient to protect our intellectual property.

8. Keep Looking
There is more than one way to skin a cat. If you think product costs are too high, keep looking for connections to get them down. Many small business owners take an innovative approach that allows them to offer lower prices. There's constant growth across industries, so we want to remain vigilant.

9. Online Presence
If everything Reiva Lesonsky shared is true, then my website is never going to be done... And, that's okay. Securing website ranking is like trying to hit a moving target. When we think our sites are optimized, consumer behavior changes the status quo so we adjust. Accepting that our websites are a work in progress is key to continuing to make progress.

10. Own It
Giselle also spoke on how stress in nearly unavoidable and that we're responsible for being intentional about coping with stress in healthy ways. Breathing exercises are a staple in my life, so I seek opportunities to introduce clients to this strategy. I'm excited to implement gratitude emails and explore more strategies for increasing the happy in my life and in my clients' lives.

11. Celebrate Others
There's pleasure in watching others win when you're confident that their wins don't take away from yours. This isn't an entirely original thought; it's a hodgepodge of advice obtained from mentors, both real and imagined. The #bizchampions are currently in competition. Still, we're celebrating one another and it feels great to see others doing great things, accomplishing more in their businesses.

12. Keep Growing
An introverted educator seems like an oxymoron, as does an introverted entrepreneur (...an introverted author, not so much). The research for my most recent book, Cultivating Grit: An approach to increasing confidence, provided the foundation for entering the American Small Business Championship. Attending the conference provided an invaluable opportunity test my own theories presented in the book. We must continue to walk in our passions. Check out Cultivating Grit if you haven't found your passion or you're feeling stuck.

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Maybe you aren't a small business owner? Maybe you have zero desire to become an entrepreneur? These BIG 12 takeaways are intended to help readers establish a more balanced work-life dynamic.
If my BIG 12 is helpful for you, share this post with others in your network to encourage them as well.


About Jackson Education Support: Specialty areas include character development, literacy, math, and science. All ages welcome. We develop in-person and online solutions for educators, families, and learners globally. Read feedback, join the community, and learn more by visiting je411.com
You're also invited to connect with us on social media!

 fb.com/JacksonEducationSupport       instagram.com/je_services       twitter.com/je_services        learn@je411.com

April 4, 2018

#JEsupport is a #BizChampion

I have really BIG news to share this month. At the end of 2017, I set a new blog schedule. Since my commitments to clients, health, and home life kept me from blogging as much I would've liked last year, I decided to write less often this year.

Interestingly in December, I was moved to write my second book, Cultivating Grit: An approach to increasing confidence. This project required quite a bit of writing (editing and revision) to complete. Still, I re-affirmed the agreement with myself to post blogs bi-monthly (instead of keeping the monthly schedule from before going on hiatus). I expected to smash the goal of writing only six blog posts in 2018. Well, so much for that plan...

Well, so much for that plan...

This isn't the rant of an unappreciative soul. It's exactly the opposite. I've been nearly bursting at the seams lately. Until a few days ago, I was unable to share this amazing news.

Jackson Education Support has been named a 2018 American Small Business Champion by SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors, with the support of Sam’s Club. We are so proud of this national recognition for our dedication to the success of our small business. Thank you for supporting the education firm and blog over the years and for helping us to achieve this distinction. This would not have been possible without YOU!

SCORE is rewarding us with a trip to a networking and training symposium, publicity and business mentoring. This summer, a judging panel of small business experts will select three Grand Champions from the group of 102 Small Business Champions, to be announced September 13 at the SCORE Awards Gala.

 I'm a #bizchampion!

Jackson Education Support (JE) exists to support the development of more independent learners of all ages. This mission is accomplished by implementing personalized in-person and online solutions for individuals and organizations. Our approach is unique because we leverage character development to affect cognitive development. We infuse social emotional learning objectives and subject area learning objectives in order to increase confidence and improve performance. What's more is that our 96% success rate evidences program effectiveness.

I launched JE in 2012. That's nearly six years of invaluable professional and personal growth. Still, supporting the learning goals of clients and team members doesn't feel like work. An opportunity for growth accompanies each new challenge. Actually, the fun is in the challenge.

A Word from SCORE CEO & Sam's Club VP

"SCORE congratulates and celebrates these 102 American Small Business Champions, who represent some of the best small businesses in America,” said SCORE CEO Ken Yancey. “We are proud to reward these passionate and hardworking entrepreneurs...”

"Supporting entrepreneurs has been a part of who we are for nearly 35 years," said Tracey D. Brown, Senior Vice President of Operations and Chief Experience Officer at Sam's Club. "...The 102 winners celebrated through the American Small Business Championship are excellent examples of how innovation, persistence and knowing your customers can help an entrepreneur overcome obstacles and we congratulate them on their accomplishments.”

This would not have been possible without YOU!

A Special Thank You for the JE Community

I would like to thank YOU for your continued support. We appreciate the opportunity to build relationships and broaden our impact on academic and character development outcomes. Jackson Education Support is committed to enriching our local and global community, and we look forward to many successful years ahead.
Specialty areas include character development, literacy, math, and science. We develop in-person and online solutions for educators, families, and learners globally. Read feedback and learn more by visiting je411.com. You're also invited to connect with us on social media!

 fb.com/JacksonEducationSupport       instagram.com/je_services       twitter.com/je_services        learn@je411.com

To learn more about The American Small Business Championship
and to view the complete list of Champions, visit www.championship.score.org.