Monday, June 23, 2014

Sparking an #ExecutiveFunctionSkills Fire: The #Entrepreneur Mindset

With the advent of common, across the board student performance standards aimed at competitively meeting international standards, the need for parents to shore up and instill an entrepreneurial mindset in their kids becomes a great priority. Not doing so is a disservice to them, your family, and our country. This action-oriented mindset parallels in striking ways with the development of executive function skills, and it is part of my educational policy to lead a transition from using one's EF skills effectively across different settings and ages.  That said, if executive function skills development is a foundation then the entrepreneurial action-mindset and framework is the context in which we see a performance of the skills.

For your use, I have included a working list of almost three dozen executive function skills. This word bank of skills is a fast way to come up to speed with a growing knack for coming up with activities that include a great number of these skills, or activities that laser-focus on specific skills you want to help develop in yourself, your child, or your student.

sustain attention
goal-directed persistence
task initiation
task execution
time management awareness
short-term planning ahead
long-term planning ahead
short-term working memory
long-term working memory
self/ emotional control
behavior modulation
foresight (anticipate/ predict)
metacognition (thinking about your thinking, &how you approach world)
mental flexibility(shift/transition)
problem solving
response inhibition (impulse control)
functional balance
study skill tools

How do we transition to this? Well, I make it my job to make educational policy practical for your house. You need a framework. It will help plan, organize, remind, pace, time manage, and keep you going when you have lost your way. What is more, I am including not just the framework pathway to student and professional success, but I am also giving you the blueprint on how to be an executive function skills coach. If we are going to arm our children with the life skills that are needed out their in this tough, tough world, we need to give them frameworks, tools and strategies by which to whip out accomplishment and achievement. Thus, I want to arm you to the teeth with the 'need to know intel' that needs to be happening on a weekly basis. This must include how to power up out of utter failure and once again (or for first time) reach and surpass what I call 'breakaway speed.'

"You can't start a fire without a spark, worrying about your little world falling apart."

Bruce Springsteen

How do you persevere? I put one foot in front of the other. I pray a lot. I read sentences that remind me of what I want to be about. I don't watch television. I always own an easel pad so that it invites me to innovate. I listen to special music that gets me going. I dance with my kids. I dance by myself. I fast for 24 to 72 hours. I drown out fear and doubt with the memorization of wise words. 

Perseverance, a key entrepreneurial trait is cousins with Passion!

Do you have a passion, does your child or student show a passion in something? That passion is the fire that we put the framework on. Identify their passions. Know what moves you. The coach is the spark that gets you going. The coach can be a parent, a family member, a friend, your spouse, or someone who fits my mold. Worrying about this or that has a paralyzing effect that grows over our life. It is a fruitless action that begets more of itself, like a cancer, and it is a great self-sabotaging mechanism. If you are in this place, consider emailing me and reaching out. I am genuine, honest, straight-forward, fired-up, loving, kind and I love helping kids, and young adults be successful in real, discernible terms.

Golden Coaching/Teaching tip:

As the coach, you need to be the spark that joins their fire, or their passion, and helps give it a framework and even direction. You need to be the executive function frontal skills center while you introduce the framework, expectations. Keeping the focus on a positive experience while teaching your kid to a swim, rather than breaking rapport by focusing too much on their stroke means you sabotage progress for next time. We need to be more right hemispheric as we aim to introduce a very much left hemispheric concept of planning, organization, time management, pacing, goal-directed persistence. Hence, stepping back on the minutiae when starting out a plan of action is smart. It also conveys empathy (love) from the coach to the student. This is a nonverbal message that must be continously transmitted. To stay on the edge of this, the coach must become emotionally invested in the success of the student, especially if it is their child.  This is the beginning of understanding how to best teach. Copious amounts of communication go back and forth unacknowledged that if given more attention by the coach would render a great feedback loop, which if channeled smartly can be a catalyst for the development of paraverbal skills, (how you say what you say).

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