Archive for December, 2011


The National Geographic held its 2011 photo contest¬† and as usual (and expected) some outstanding images were captured. There are so many creative people in this world! Jealous much ūüôā

There was one particular photo that caught my attention. It has a caption by the photographer Russell Watkins and it reads, “an unexpected side-effect of the 2010 flooding in parts of Sindh, Pakistan, was that millions of spiders climbed up into the trees to escape the rising flood waters; because of the scale of the flooding and the fact that the water took so long to recede, many trees became cocooned in spiders webs. People in the area had never seen this phenomenon before, but they also reported that there were less mosquitos than they would have expected, given the amount of standing water that was left. Not being bitten by mosquitoes was one small blessing for people that had lost everything in the floods. (¬© Russell Watkins)”

I was mesmerized by this image. There were a thousand responses all at once… horror, deep sadness, amazement, intrigue, respect, mystery, fear, wonderment, appreciation and the list goes on.¬† The thought that captured me for my blog was in the reflection after reading the caption by Russell Watkins. Out of the unexplainable came a blessing which simply no one expected.

The disruption of change, whether it be on a scale like the flood waters of 2010 or the birth of a couples first child or the adjustment of your bosses vision for the work place… may seem unexplainable to you…but¬† if you look for the possibility within that situational change you will be ready to grab hold of it as it emerges from the ‘receding waters’. However, YOU MUST BE READY!

The journey through change; the feelings, thoughts, emotions and physical ‘pain’ must become our teacher. If we do not engage with them we lose the opportunity to move. By not engaging with these elements we became stuck, sometimes so stuck we are unable to move ahead. At times we end up setting up camp around these lost experiences as we continue to disengage, hide from them. Some even end up building whole cities around these lost opportunities.

Horizon Dwellers watch, listen, engage, prepare to look to the learning opportunity. Horizon Dwellers swift through the change opportunity and grab hold of what they can from the teacher. Just like the spiders, in the image, they find the opportunity in the moment of change, in the disruption… with the result, unexpected blessing to those within their sphere of influence.

A Horizon Dweller looks through the seemingly disruptive moments of change, engages with it, grabs the truth and becomes changed as a result of it. The change-ology then; embraces the learning, influences the future and drives the adapted purpose.

Every disruption can lead you to a mountain top. At times, I take a while to find it, but I can honestly say that facing it head on, learning, engaging and influencing my purpose has not let me down yet… I have always found the mountain top.

I hope you do too as you face those moments! I would love to chat or hear about your journey…

I had an incredible experience about a month or so ago. I had lunch with one of my first classes ever. They are 17 and 18 now, back then they were 5 or 6. I listened to the stories they told about our time together 12 years ago. I sat proudly as they shared their visions and dreams for their futures.  With all the conversation though I was amazed at the fantastic adults they had become. I listened to the tales they remembered. I heard about the events that made them think, change and transform. What an archive to uncover!

Tonight I was inspired an incredible story teller, Jonathan Silin the author of Sex, Death and the Education of our Children. He shared stories from his life. He shared stories of his classroom experience. He inspired us to think about what we remember, why we remember and consequently what we archive as individuals and professionals

Archiving is an interesting journey both personally and within the settings of leadership and education. Personal archiving is so important as it helps us remember and do it in different ways.  It becomes transformational. It allows us to be who we are. Jonathan noted three ways of looking, or remembering, or archiving.

From the subjects perspective,

From the observers perspective

From the participants perspective.

This, he¬†said,¬†is very true of photography. So how does this tri- thought help us archive our experiecnes? Perhaps it is about understanding self, but maybe more importantly it’s an opportunity for us to reflect on our lives via a broader lens. This archiving opportunity is so important to recognize, value and respond to. It lends to us the chance to be transformed and be transformational for others.

In terms of leadership it drives us to consider our responses and reflect on our leadership  journey. This reflective journey creates space for us to flex our human dynamic which can lead to a diversified approach, enhanced vision, deeper understanding of our role, where we can influence positively and build powerful relationships.

In terms of education, this archiving process leads me down three divergent paths. One, what do I bring to the learning space. Two, what do I leave out of the learning space? Three, what archiving is going on within my classroom that I dont realise?

Relationship is one of the key elements to outstanding pedagogical spaces. This archiving process therefore becomes so important to the students and teachers in their unique roles and interactions.

Relationships define our spaces, our minds, our conversations. Without them there is only control, a dry and desolate place. However, on the other hand, deeply powerful relationships that encompass the role of the teacher as a real person, the student as a real person (not conditional on age) and  their interactions as non institutionalized then become transformational achieves that mark lives for future reference points for change management.

Horizon dwellers value transformational archiving to provide powerful opportunities for life giving moments; past, present and future. Moments that sing out loud of the greatness a relationship might have been or inspirational and dynamic a relationship might become.

You dont want to leave yourself at the classroom/office door. But rather invest in new ways, in new lives and with a transformational perspective. As we do we will have, impact and prepare to leave an archive that is one of intense value for life long use.