Jennifer Abrams -Consultancy that informs, inspires, and empowers VOICE
September 2013

Happy New Year – Here's To Adventure and Discovery!

Happy September! It is the Jewish New Year this month. Time to celebrate and reflect; time to 'feng shui' old ways of being and doing that don't serve anymore. Time to start afresh. 

My New Year's greeting on Facebook said, "L'Shana Tova! And 'new' it will be!  With a resignation in my past, new fields/organizations to work in and with, new countries to see/travel to, new book coming out, new topics to present on and a newness to everyday in how I design my life without any set schedule, new is my middle name.  Here's to a year of adventure and discovery."

So what does one need in their travel bag as one goes into a year of adventure and discovery? 

Here are three things I am 'packing' as I go into my new year...

  1. An ability to be more fluid with my cognitive style.  I have been working on my new Having Hard Conversations Part II workshop, as well as a 2-day Learning Forward pre-conference with Bob Garmston on working more effectively with conflict. To say that a difference in cognitive style with a co-worker or a supervisor could cause one to become irritated is an understatement. Being more macro vs. micro in one's focus can be interpreted as 'too in the weeds' from those who value a big picture perspective.  Those on 'the other side of the aisle' say that folks who are 'upstairs' don't get it because they are too far away from the 'real work' to know what's 'really needed.'  These value judgments around cognitive style are complicated and more nuanced than I am demonstrating here in this newsletter, and still, they can get us in trouble.  Fluidity and an ability to support others (and myself!) to look at how others look at the macro and the micro and the long-term and the short term will be essential for interpersonal communications this coming year.
  2. An ability to see all my cultural lenses, not just through them.  In working with the research from CLASH! 8 Cultural Conflicts that Make Us What We Are I am seeing how my upbringing in the Midwest, my being an American citizen, my living for 25 years on the West coast, my gender, my race and so many other parts of my identity affect my interactions as I work nationally and internationally. How do these filters surface unconsciously in interactions every day with students, parents, patients and colleagues and how does knowing about these perspectives assist us in working together even more effectively?  A question worthy of reflection.  I am excited to add this research to my workshops.
  3. A heaping spoonful of growth mindset and a big dose of self-compassion.  I am starting work in fields I have never worked in (juvenile justice system and spas, being two of them), in countries that I have never worked (Ghana and Australia), and with topics that I have never worked with but excited to learn more about (emotional intelligence and resilience). It feels like new teacher time again with new students, new subjects, new schools.  I am requesting interested folks join me on this journey.  I am looking for a group of "Bounce Off" colleagues for my own personal PLC – folks who I can take to lunch or dinner (or Skype if you are far away), bounce ideas off of, reflect with, and get hugs from.  You won't be bored, you will get a free meal and I hope leave you with a new idea or two. Email me. I am grateful for your collegiality.

I have quoted Paulo Coehlo before and he is especially pertinent now. "If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine.  It is lethal."  Here's to adventure!

If you have any questions, comments or topic suggestions, please feel free to email me at I look forward to hearing from you!

Cool Resources

Challenge Success Public Parent Education Event with Daniel Pink at Stanford - October 4 Challenge Success Co-Founders Denise Pope, Ph.D., Stanford University Senior Lecturer, and author of Doing School (2001), and Madeline Levine, Ph.D., clinical psychologist, and New York Times best-selling author of The Price of Privilege (2006) and Teach Your Children Well (2012), join our keynoter, Dan Pink, for an interactive discussion about the meaning of success and how families and educators can help youth thrive in the fast-paced world in which we live.  

Steve Peha, President of (Teaching that Makes Sense) has a newsletter with a bunch of links to cool resources for educators and he has downloads of ELA materials on his site too.  Check it out.

I discovered this list of "26 questions every student should be able to answer" through Twitter and I am interested in morphing the list so it addresses new teachers and others.  It comes from, "a fluid platform dedicated to supporting educators in evolving learning for a 21st century audience." Intriguing.

Upcoming Events

Each month I will share with you information about a few of my upcoming trainings.
If I am going to be in your area, contact me so we can say hello, hopefully in person!

September 17-18
Having Hard Conversations
Administrators and Peer Coaches
Brevard Public Schools
Viera, FL

September 24
Being Generationally Savvy
BTSA/Induction Support Providers
Monterey County Office of Education
Salinas, CA

September 26-27
Building Relationships: Communication Basics & Powerful Presentation Skills
Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula (CHOMP)
Monterey, CA
October 2-3
Having Hard Conversations
Administrator Retreat
Cleveland Metropolitan School District
Cleveland, OH

For additional upcoming events, please visit my Web site.

Until next time!


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© 2013 Jennifer Abrams | Email Jennifer | 4290 Wilkie Way #L, Palo Alto, CA 94306 | (650) 858-0699