We are born in this world with a purpose. However, as we go through this journey called life, we unknowingly put on the blinders that keep us from living the very thing we are meant to do in this world. It is time to rediscover ourselves in this episode as Dr. Diane Hamilton brings to the show Aaron McCormick— entrepreneur, inspirational speaker, and the author of Unbounded: Journey to Your Within. With his book, he shares with us how we can live an unbounded and fulfilled life, going deep within and tapping into the most authentic expressions of ourselves. It is not what the world tells us that will make us happy. It is our very selves that we need to come back into. Follow along as Aaron shares how we can do that across all areas of our lives.
More on helping others achieve their full potential, Diane is also joined in this episode by Lindsey Wander, the Founder and CEO of WorldWise Tutoring. Seeing a need for well-rounded tutors who could teach it all rather than have one for each subject, Lindsey created her company that has since been helping students not only with their grades but also their life skills. She talks about how she is working on helping children develop into competent and conscious leaders, who will become active agents of change in not only their lives but also of the people around them. Join Lindsey to learn more about inspiring children to be lifelong learners who excel both academically and in life.
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Taking A Journey To Your Within With Aaron McCormick
We have Aaron McCormick and Lindsey Wander here. Aaron is the author of Unbounded and Lindsey is the CEO of WorldWise. They both have inspirational journeys in helping others to achieve their full potential. This is going to be an interesting show.
I am here with Aaron McCormick. He is an author, entrepreneur, inspirational speaker, and artists whose path to success and fulfillment, defies societal norms, and expectations in nearly every way. I’m going to let him tell you how that happens so this is exciting to have you here. Welcome, Aaron.
Hello, Diane. Thanks for having me.
I was looking forward to this. I saw that you had received the best of IBM. that’s an award bestowed only to the top 1% of 400,000 employees. I was VAR with IBM in 1985. I learned a lot at that point. Back in those days at IBM, I had to wear the little bow tie and white buttoned-up shirt, and we all were lawsuits. It was a little different than it is now. I want to get a little background on you because you’ve done a lot in technology business. Can you give me your background?
It’s funny when you say I’ve done a lot in technology. It always feels awkward because I’m not exactly a technologist per se. I’ve always been on the business sales side. I bring the value proposition and the return on investment to the senior-most executives of a company. I would sell these big tickets departmental or company-wide solutions that are mission-critical. Whether it’s supply chain or enterprise marketing, e-commerce, fraud systems, or things that are highly important for the business may take a year to implement and integrate with all kinds of other systems. My career has been focused around systems that are very instrumental complex and had to coexist within the ecosystem of the bowels of the business itself.
The background is a very winding road and getting to that point is an interesting road because I got into this industry and at these levels at a very young age. I was about 22, 23. I got in technology around nineteen or maybe even earlier than that. Get straight out of high school after being placed at a bank full time because I was in a work program in high school. If I go even further back, born and raised South Side of Chicago, have a single mom, I was the youngest of four kids, and everyone within my environment most were challenged backgrounds. There’s a lot and all the things that you would suspect that goes along with the South Side of Chicago. Although in the South Suburbs, not as brutal as weekly drive-by shootings nonstop but still violent and challenged.Most people are not doing things that draw upon their greatest interest. Click To Tweet
I was making interesting choices such as the work program where most of the males were in a distributed work program. If you have enough credits as a senior, you’d be placed at jobs that were more in distribution so it would be something like retail. You’re at Walmart ups, you’re loading-trucks, you’re making more money than I was because I opted into office education. I was the only male. When you look at my yearbook picture, I’m surrounded by twenty girls and we’re we got typewriters in front of us. Back then the mindset, Diane, the peers is that’s for girls, typing that’s secretary, whatever they were thinking, who knows. My mindset was this is the language that we’re going to all have to speak.
You can’t type, you can’t speak. I made that critical choice. There I was working at a bank as a senior. I was the only kid in a suit as a senior in high school. We’re in a suit to school every day and then hop on the train from the suburbs to Downtown Chicago to make less money per hour but to get experience in Corporate America and in all of the things that go with it such as email, communication, and all that stuff. I was already beginning to realize the importance following my internal intuition, my gut, and my spirit so to speak beyond or above the mind. The mind being the things that usually scare us are things that we’ve learned. We are bullied by ourselves.
Instead of holding to the potential ridicule of being the only dude in this all-girl typing class or other things even before that, I followed me. From there, I ended up taking a job selling pagers at one point because I was placed full-time at this bank, which was a very impressive role for most of us. Most of the kids didn’t get a full-time job after their senior. It’s a co-op deal. Even at ups or anywhere you didn’t get the full-time offer. I got the full- time offer it’s out of bank, it’s downtown. Isn’t that very illustrious? It didn’t fit me because it was cash management. It was a position where you are balancing the books of the people that did transactions at ATMs.
You’re sitting in a room managing cash. There again, the young kid, no money, no real prospects, but I’m saying to myself, I need to be doing something that has to do with people. I don’t want to be sitting in a room somewhere working with cash. I don’t know where this lead so I made the tough decision to not take that position full-time. I started talking to a temp agency to get into something that was technology-based. Meanwhile, my family, I had two older brothers and all the male figures around me that were steering me towards something like financial services or being an insurance agent as they were.
To give you even a more backdrop, Diane, I was raised in a high control fundamentalist Christian religion, where that means they take everything literally where if you look at the example of Christ, who was supposedly a perfect man. He could have been the best attorney, the best judge, the best King, the best of anything. Yet he was a lowly carpenter for this based on God’s kingdom. They downplay and frown upon any of personal expansion, growth, secular climbing, anything like that. I struggled with all that too. The point is I ended up being highly successful in the early jobs of technology and then that led to around 22, 23, selling these complex mission-critical applications where I’m the youngest by a factor of 15 years. I’m also the darkest. I’m black. I also have no college degree. I’m making $300,00, $400,000 or $500,000 a year. It took off from there.
You have such an interesting background and you brought up so many interesting points. You’ve written about your journey within your book Unbounded. Who’s this book for? Is this for people who think that they’re going to have it all if they have money but it’s not like that or is it more about the struggle you went through? What’s your message?
That is one of the best questions I’ve had in almost 50 interviews seriously. The context that you laid out afterward because most people don’t think of the very first scenario you mentioned, which people who think that they have achieved what they wanted to achieve. The answer is yes, it’s for all of the above. When the gender reveal for our daughter went viral like to the tune of tens of millions on social media, then it was on a silly Bob Saget program. My inbox was filled with people of all types, including the professional, middle-aged, regardless of race, accountant, and you name the career, they’re asking about, “What should I be doing?” We’re all after congruency within we think we’re after a set of things that we have been taught would bring to us the fulfillment or congruency.
The main thing is a career that’s a steamed that also makes a lot of money that’s number one then it’s family and all these other things that go under that. Oftentimes even after we have those things, we’re not fulfilled and we’re empty. We all know stories of people that seem to have it all and yet are depressed or on drugs or alcohol or suicidal. It has nothing to do with the things that we have come to learn to bring us what we’re after. The answer of what we all individually need has always been within. We learn things that are in line with that unspoken spirit or force that belies all the stuff we start learning past toddlerhood that begins to shape our perspective of the world, of ourselves, of masculine, feminine, and race, nationality, and good or bad, and all these things that trigger us and that a spot that have us aspire to all these different things.
Before that we are something and that something gets buried under a litany of what I call binders. A binder for me might be different than a binder for you because binders are anything that is foreign. Therefore, I’m not exactly congruent with the internal lessons the thing that you’re here to do. What are the two things that are evident that every human is here to do? We get into the specifics of each person, which is what the book is designed to help you figure these things out. Diane, if we study toddlers and we look at elderly people, what I call the two bookends of life. We take the toddler, for example, they’re here to have joy, laugh, expand and grow. They’re inquisitive. They’re touching everything and they’re often on their way.
If you try to corral or control that toddler and stop them like a one and a half year-old. They grunt and leave me alone. If you fully turn your attention away from them, then they have a problem too. They’re like “Notice me. Take in my essence, but don’t try to control me.” The irony here is we don’t want to be scripted. We want to be completely independent and yet we almost completely assimilate to some other external set of ideals whether it’s the family, the environment, school, counselors or pop culture that’ll make me money. That’s all I care about. I’m going to study that. You haven’t even determined if it’s a natural fit where you will do it for free or it’s something that you would have been naturally doing in your own little amateur way.We're our own biggest bullies. Our view of ourselves is largely shaped externally. Click To Tweet
You have to get a formal education to formally practice it if that’s required or you want it to enrich your knowledge. Most people are not doing things that draw upon their greatest interests. To your point, curiosity or aptitude, desire, we’re misaligned there. That same point applies across relationships. We are in them for external reasons and fear-based things that keep us there so we’re our own biggest bullies. We do the same thing with our friendships. Our view of ourselves is largely shaped externally, which is another reason why things like social media are hugely damaging. While in some ways it can be expanding because you can be inspired and you can see things that prick your curiosity and help you grow in many other ways depending on the individual. Most individuals fit into this next bucket. We’re so used to measuring ourselves according to external ideals, which is how we become misaligned that we have all these other self-esteem issues or challenges with our own joy and fulfillment.
You brought up curiosity. A lot of what you’re talking about is what I found in my research. A lot of it is we get these voices in our heads of what we think we can or can’t do based on our environment, of who’s influenced us. There’s so much to that. I love that you touch on that. You also talked about learning. I was looking at your bio. Because I was a former MBA program chair at the Forbes School of Business, I noticed you got an MBA. You didn’t have an undergraduate degree first. How did you do that?
That’s rare and not exclusive. It’s a little-known fact that a lot of people miss or don’t read the fine print, or don’t even consider that some of the best MBA programs don’t require an undergrad. What they require is a platform that ensures that you can keep up and do the brand good because schools are brands. You do yourself some good and the school some good. In an executive MBA program, it’s full of people that are at the mezzanine level of their career. They’re already proven themselves to be proficient, hard work ethic, smart and can carry a load. If you’ve got your director level and above or you’ve made a certain amount of money and a certain amount of proficiency in a given industry, you have great letters of recommendation.
Some of the better schools and the SMU Cox School of Business is a phenomenal school for a couple of years. It was 2 or 3 by Bloomberg of the Executive MBA programs. While it may sound ultra-exclusive, it’s just rare. I was the only one in the class of ‘75 for my particular class because it’s rare, one, because a lot of people don’t know that’s possible. Two it’s rare that people who don’t have an undergrad get to certain levels in corporate business at least. An entrepreneurship, yes, they may knock the cover off the ball and so on. Because of their own perceived limitations of Corporate America, and sometimes some real limitations, some jobs say they won’t hire you, but a lot of jobs even will say, “Bachelor’s or equivalent work experience.”
The job, their focus is proficiency. I want to make sure that the money we spend on this employee is not wasted. We get our return on investment and they perform. If you got a huge amount of proficiency, even for a certain job versus a kid that has a degree, yes, there are some jobs that will pass over the person who knows degree because they’re staunch on degree thing. A lot of companies wouldn’t. That’s how I had all these sales jobs. My first big base salary in terms of enterprise software was low compared to what it became after that. It was $85,000 as a base. I was 22 years old, but my income $450 though. That job required a degree and I didn’t have a degree, but I had some proficiency.
I know I’ve had so many sales jobs that many of them required a degree. I’ve got some of the best learning I ever had was from some of those jobs. As I was looking at some of the things that you’re trying to teach people, a lot of it I’ve learned in sales. A chapter on empathy about how it can make you millions and having written my dissertation on emotional intelligence which dealt a lot with empathy, that’s a topic that is important in sales. It’s funny because I often talk about how in sales, they taught us out of questioning sometimes because you’d learn so much about what you’re supposed to say. You forget to ask questions. I know they’re getting better when they’re teaching younger people that, but in my day it was horrible. You go in and here’s what I know. You say everything. I want to know what you cover in that chapter and what are you trying to help people with in terms of empathy?
It’s not just sales. It’s all business. It’s like every senior executive position, the CEO is the number one salesperson of the company because he or she is trying to get a universal message or direction of the company out there. He has to move the market and has to moved shareholders. He’s corralling all these different agendas and perspectives down a cohesive strategy. Empathy and sales go across all levels of business. The impetus behind that emotionally is a strong aversion to the bumper crop by seed coming up of young people, men and women, mostly young men, at least that are publicly talking this way, or I’d see over social media, somebody in some high-end cars trying to motivate other young people to follow their leads, to go get all this money and they’re presenting it the way to do it in a very brash, super competitive screw everybody else.
This is what it takes. Get up early, go to bed late, all these very narcissistic ways to get there. I’m sitting there going baloney. What made me a prodigy in my space at a very young age without the experience is that I was connected to the heart where my focus when I go to meet people is to consume the person and understand the person because it’s a person, not a corporation. To set up people in the room and they all are there for somewhat similar reasons based on the problem itself, but very different reasons personally, as they interact with or carry the problem and then their own personal career paths and their value in their organization and where this problem helps hinders or so there’s all nuance. I was shifting gears all the time when I’m talking to a senior executive, I engage them from the seat of a senior executive.
I would in my mind’s eye soul, I would sit in the seat of that CIO to get hit by 30 salespeople a day or a week or some number. I say to myself, “How would I want to be engaged?” I’ve got budget, I’ve got all these tools and stuff. Everybody comes to me with big long brochures. Why their thing is like you said back in the day, you show up, you throw up, you put your best foot forward. I was the antithesis to this. I showed up. I was drawing them out. I was sensing their energy all along the way. If there are too many questions they want to know, “Are you going to tell me something whether it’s interrogation.” I balanced the discovery, give them some kernels of value. I showed my value through my questioning because that allows them to both learn and do what they want to do most which is talk about not just themselves but their problem and to be understood.
That’s better than showing up and giving generic kitsch. Now they got to think through, “How does this apply to us?” We’ve got all these systems and we have processes that are very different. I dignified the companies and the people by the fact that by knowing that they’re not just monolithic. All companies are the same and they’re going to all benefit from our product the same way and that allowed them to begin shaping the solution and that got them leaning in and trusting me. There’s a science but it’s also a huge amount of art. The art is always creative. It’s hard-base where science is mind-based and what’s hugely absent in sales is the heart aspect. We’re all thinking and salespeople they’re thinking I got a quota and I want to make more than quota. I got that next toy I want to get.What's hugely absent in sales is the heart aspect. Click To Tweet
We’re going in guns blazing and that energy is felt long before any words that come out of your mouth. We are all energy and it’s felt. What I rather my clients feel the discomfort of my discomfort of, “I hope I do well. I hope our present we’ll. I hope this becomes a sale.” If that’s the thing that’s thrusting through your veins, through your being, then that same anxiety of over self-focus puts them on the other side, thinking and feeling, “Is this what I want? Is this what they want?” It’s an awkward feeling but when you strip all that away and you’re present in the moment with the people, with the person, that’s a whole different situation. I’m given a chapter for this kind of simple objective or two things.
One is you know what sort of salesperson that is the old school way and the cliché way of all about me but that’s probably not natural to them. They’ve been taught to be that way. For the ones that have become that way, it’s kind of uncomfortable but they like the results there’s another way. For those that are naturally empathic that I’ve decided that they can’t be successful in sales because from my understanding is what they’re thinking at least they’re like, “What I understand is if you’re not an a-hole, if you’re not super competitive and you’re just money-driven, sales is not for me.”
That’s why we have this reputation. I would like more people to know that if you are naturally empathetic, curious and you like to learn, sales are not the know it all. Sales is the consummate curious person that becomes broadly knowledge, because of this absorption of all the different client’s things or processes and experience. Because they’re integrating it, they become a huge knowledge base but they become hugely helpful. Not just people running around pushing a product and trying to force everybody into it. They become hugely valuable, not even necessarily peer, but a trusted advisor when done properly. I’m hoping that if this gets to enough people that will gradually improve the quality of interactions that clients deal with salespeople.
It is interesting to watch how sales have changed. When I got in, it was more the type that hardcore sales type Going into a lot of the startups where I talk to people. I see a lot more teams and a lot more introverts who are asking questions. The whole face of sales has changed dramatically. I love that people are asking more questions and being more curious. I think that all the issues you’re talking about can all be improved with developing that empathy. That ability to see people from their perspective and get a different vantage point. I think what you’re writing about is important. It ties into the work I’ve done with perception as well as curiosity. I think you’re hitting on all the hot buttons out there. A lot of people will be interested in reading Unbounded: Journey to Your Within. How can they find your book? How can they find you and how can they follow you?
The book is in all the typical online suspects, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, it’s even on Walmart and some other retailers. For me, you can get me even directly on my website. It’s AaronMcCormick.com. It’s also Unboundedbook.com. You can schedule a 15-minute session with me. I do everything from speaking to corporations whether it’s sales teams or leadership discussions, non-for-profit. There’s a chapter in the book that talks about how sales are leadership squared. If you think about it, Diane, any executive in a given company, if they’ve had 5 or 10 years in that company, that’s all they have is 5 or 10 years in that company. If you’re in certain levels of corporate sales where you’re dealing with the culture of a company, having to affect change and you’re covering 5 or 10 big sales cycles per year, you’ve almost worked in 5 to 10 companies per year.
If you’re doing that for 10 years, you’ve got 50 years’ experience in the same 10 years of organizational culture that you’ve been able to affect, work within and evolve with. It’s very important for leaders to also respect sales in that respect also. There’s leadership speaking non-for-profits that sort of thing. If you want to schedule a conversation to talk through because there’s three major parts of the book. There’s self and all the things that we’ve come to perceive about us and how do we better understand the real you through your own lessons, through your own cause and effect. It is a journey back through your own past, your present, and to have you honestly get the real answers to things that you didn’t know were possibly misaligned. There’s your career which is the thing we spend most of our time on. Your relationships and understanding the relationships by understanding you better which when conflict inside dissipates so does conflict without because it’s almost all triggered by our own perceptions and things that we’ve learned. You can get in touch with me on the site and you can schedule a discussion or have me speak it’s all on the website.
Thank you, Aaron. I love how it ties into so much I find fun to research. Many people can get so much from your book. Thank you so much for being on the show.
Thank you for having me, Diane. I enjoyed it.
You’re welcome. I did too.
Helping Children Become Lifelong Learners With Lindsey Wander
I am here with Lindsey Wander, who is the Founder and CEO of WorldWise Tutoring. Her mission was to help students of all abilities to not only improve their grades and scores, but for them to learn skills, to become confident and lifelong learners. She sought to empower them with these great skills and then later decided she taught the teachers too. I’m very interested in talking to you, Lindsey. Welcome.
Thanks for having me.
This is going to be fun. You’re welcome. This is right up my alley. I love talking about anything education-based and that tutoring’s a big area. My daughter does a lot of tutoring. She knows how to do the EAP and all the English as a second language type of courses. She teaches Portuguese and people who speak Portuguese, know how to speak English. A lot of that for tutoring is a hot topic for a lot of people. What kinds of things does WorldWise do in their tutoring? Is it one area or another? Before we get into that, give me a little background that led you to want to start your own tutoring company.
It was not a straight path. It was a long windy bumpy road for sure. I went to college for Biomedical Engineering. When I had my degrees in biology, chemistry, and math, I was thinking, “I loved learning about this stuff, but when it came to doing the lab work, I didn’t enjoy it as much.” I decided to, rather than jump right into the next degree to take a few years to do some domestic and international internships, to explore different career fields that I could possibly get into long-term based off of my degrees. Among those one of them was an environmental educator and I fell in love with teaching. Much to the disappointment of a lot of people in my family went back to school to be a teacher.
I was told at the time I was wasting my intelligence by being a teacher, which stuck with me. It is so being backwards like how are you wasting your intelligence, teaching others? I ended up teaching middle school STEM in low income neighborhoods in California and loved it. It was the perfect job for me. It was great. When I moved to Chicago, I was trying to find a similar school that gave me the same opportunity to be free in my teaching. They do a lot of student-centered learning. I do a lot of project-based learning and I found that a lot of schools were focused on test scores and not so much on the fun of learning and the deeper purpose of learning.
I’ve been tutoring this whole time to supplement my income as a teacher. Why don’t I start tutoring full time, not intending for it to be a business and within a year or two about it overgrew myself. I had to start hiring people and was forced into making it a business. That’s years ago and here we are still. I have about 50 tutors. I have three staff. We’re not just in Illinois, we’re also in Texas, and California. Serving children everywhere. Once I started tutoring full time to answer your first question, I noticed that a lot of families would have one tutor for test prep, one tutor for math, and one tutor for piano.Creativity is the skill you need in life. Click To Tweet
One of the things I set out to do in designing this company was to be able to find instructors that were well rounded with such a vast set of experience that I could give a family one tutor who could do it all. I have families sometimes their siblings and they still have one tutor that will come in and work with the siblings back to back on completely different subjects. The instructors are very proficient in all those subjects. The point of that is to make the process easier for everyone because scheduling many different tutors, having to keep everything straight, and forming relationships with all of them is quite challenging. To make it simple, we work with students, all ages, all abilities, and all subjects.
You say all ages. When you were saying that I’m wondering, was it K-12? Is it higher ed? Everything all across the board?
My youngest student is two years old. A tutoring student. I’m not joking. It’s not a daycare. The child hit a roadblock with parents. They come in, I have a specialist who comes in for that age group and who works with the child. I’m making sure he’s hitting the right milestones because he’s not responding to parents as much. It is an actual tutoring session. I have clients that are up into their 50s who are going back to school or trying to learn something new. We are all ages.
My mom taught me to read, but I remember flashcards when I was two. She always takes that story. Whenever I do anything, she goes, “I taught you to read when you were two.” I’ve worked on some boards with some education-based groups. I’m on a Board of Advisors for a LeaderKid Academy, which one of my students started in New Jersey where they go to K-12 and they help develop soft skills like emotional intelligence and that type of thing. Are you dealing with the soft skills and the hard skills? You say, you try to help them well-rounded all the way around. You were interested in emotional intelligence. I know we deal with in LeaderKid in different areas. Where do the soft skills play as far as is it of what you’re dealing with? Part of what you’re dealing with?
I intertwine it into all of our instruction. I like to tell people we work on helping our children to develop into competent and conscious leaders. I’m sure a lot of people reading can agree. We all know people who are smart and have the skillset, but then when they get to the position of leadership, they lack a lot of the people skills to make them effective. We work with our children on what they do call those soft skills especially people are realizing are more essential than they might have originally thought. Those include metacognition, which is thinking about how you think and also about being more informed about your particular learning style and your glows and growth but being more aware of where you’re strong and what you need to work on.
We also work on executive functions, which I know a lot of parents are familiar with that term, which involves planning, prioritizing, task initiation, time management, and kind of the get stuff done aspect of the brain. We do work on a lot of interpersonal skills, which can be anything from empathy, active listening, leadership, and a growth mindset. We work on a lot of entrepreneurial mindset with our students because we want to get them to a point where we start with them as the individual and build their confidence in their independence so that they’re able to get their work done on their own. Once they are being successful in that realm, we want to get them in a position where they’re then able to be active agents of change in their life and the lives of people around them. That’s when you start to see change and progress in society.
A lot of these kids that we work with and I’m sure you can agree are. They have the heart and they are well-informed, but a lot of them lack the skills of what to do with all of that. We work to intertwine that into our instruction. I can have a calculus student and we’re working on derivatives yet with our language and the opportunities that we provide for the student. We’re also working on all of those other skills at the same time. It doesn’t have to be separate. It doesn’t even have to be half and half. They’re very much intertwined. I have taken my methodology and put it into easy to implement strategies. I train my instructors on how to do that. I also have been working on sharing that with parents because a lot of parents have become the teachers lately with the pandemic. I’m trying to share that information with them even though it might seem daunting and overwhelming. It is minor shifts in your words and your behaviors that can have huge impacts on the kids.
You touched on so many things. I’m trying to think which one I want to go with the first semester with that minor shift thing for parents. What kind of advice do you give them? What are those minor shifts?
There are so many things. Let’s start with one I had yesterday, a mom was talking to me about her child was not motivated and not engaged with the remote learning. A lot of children are struggling with that. I look at all of these things as more symptoms of something else, rather than like, “I have a pain in my knee, let me take a pain pill.” It’s like, “What’s causing the pain?” It’s more looking at what’s causing them to be unmotivated and engaged? What’s the actual reasoning behind it? A lot of times, not every time, but a lot of it is the kids don’t see the point.
Why am I doing this English project? What does this have to do with what I want to do in my life or what I’m interested in? With the parents, I encourage them to help their kids find the why of everything, even those menial tasks, even those things that might seem totally unrelated. They are teaching valuable skills that you will be using in life. Even if it is something that can directly apply like math those are problem-solving skills. Those are taking a problem, using all your tools to find the most efficient way to get to a solution. That’s a skill you need in life. The creative problem-solving component of that. Thinking of the best way to get to a solution is also a part of life. Helping your kids to find the why and the purpose behind things can help with the motivation and the engagement. That’s one example.
That brings to mind the book that was Nick wrote about his childhood, co-creating Apple. You look at some of the influences that parents have on people. He starts off his book. It was an explanation of how his dad would come home with all these wires and gadgets and things from work. He wouldn’t let them play with them. He would say, “This is why you need the electricity. This is why this helps this move. You need to connect this for this reason.” When people understand why it goes back to sales training. I was in sales for decades. You have to put a picture in people’s minds of what’s in it for them. We’re getting a lot of people in the COVID crisis talking about, “They’re at home. They’re not engaged. They don’t feel working as much.”
A lot of it comes back to what you’re saying, “It’s a symptom of something else.” It’s going back to the curiosity of needing to ask questions; why am I doing this? What can I offer? How does this help me? You’re back to that growth mindset that you’d mentioned before of Carol Dweck’s work. The more we can explore and we’re going to be bought into this and a lot of ways. What you’re bringing up is critical. I had Gerald Chertavian on the show who is the head of Year Up. They spend a year giving skills to people in underprivileged poor neighborhoods to get them skilled to go out into the working world. There are so many companies that want these skills from people and you’re offering so much help. Do you offer this as something to the schools? Do you go right to the parents? Who are you marketing to? How are you getting your customers?A valuable life skill is seeking out your own answers and knowing how to ask the right questions. Click To Tweet
For many years, it’s been word of mouth. It’s been one parent who has seen the success with our services and then passes it on because one of my main goals when we provide these services, is to get the kids so that they don’t need a tutor. I know that we do a good job if after a couple of months, the parent or the student is like, “I’m doing great.” Can I let you know when I need you, kind of thing? I want to be more of a coach to them than a crutch. That’s how I know we’re doing a good job. Oftentimes parents like to hoard something when they know it’s good. When they find out, it’s like, “This is my computer. I don’t want to tell anyone about them because I don’t want them to be anywhere else. I want them to be available for me.” Once the kid is doing well and on their own. They go, “We don’t need you as much, but hey everyone” They start screaming it from the mountaintops. It’s been word of mouth to this point, but there was a point about a few years ago, I realized I do want to start collaborating more with the schools because I was a former teacher. I understand what’s happening in the classroom. I also want to support what’s happening in the schools, whether they work with us directly or not because I look at it as a divorced parent situation.
If the school is doing one thing and we’re doing another, that’s not serving the student. I want to understand what’s going on in the school schools and make sure that the child is utilizing all of those resources before coming to us because that’s also a valuable life skill. Seeking out your own answers and knowing how to ask the right questions. Being able to narrow it down to where you’re still having difficulty and then being able to ask for help for that. That’s a valuable skill in itself. For several years, I have been reaching out to schools and I do have relationships with them. I’m taking my methodology and breaking it down into simple practical steps so that I can teach the teachers in the schools. I’ve started to offer that to schools as well, whether it’s an hour or two, just quick little strategies here and there or something deeper to be able to share how this doesn’t have to be a separate curriculum. You can do this with your instruction.
You’re bringing to mind my high school class. One time, I went out to look for a tutor in high school. I was in honors English and honors Math. I was getting all these A’s and then I take a world history class and I was getting like a D minus. I can’t understand that class. The teacher, she’s real monotone. She’d come in and show it. You sound exactly the same tone and all I heard was the Charlie Brown so and so. I was never good at History. I looked at it as memorizing dates of people killing each other is how I saw it. As you get older and you travel, you go, “This is interesting.” You go to Pearl Harbor and you go, “This is awful.” You see these things, but when you’re young and you’re not interested in something, that’s strictly memorization. How did you deal with that? That tutor didn’t help me at all because I was anti memorizing of things, is there some trick for that especially history?
That’s a lot of things. There’s a lot of subjects that come down to just memorization, which is a flaw in our education system at the root. My role is if you can Google it, why memorize it? It doesn’t make sense in modern society anymore. We need to shift. Our past many years have been quite different in terms of education. A lot of people are still teaching the way they taught many years ago and they need to adjust that. If I have a student in a situation like that and I can’t do anything about the way the teacher’s teaching, it goes back a little bit to what we were talking about earlier with that.
I’m trying to help them understand the why of it. Why is it important to build your memorization skills, your short term, and your long-term memorization, and how that can benefit you? One of the first things we do and we have new students is to try to get to know the student as an individual. What is their unique voice? What are their individual passions and interests? Try to bring whatever what subject it is and try to make it interesting to them. If we find that they’re interested in music, try to highlight the music components or bring certain aspects of that into that subject that they’re struggling with. Making it fit them, which is what a lot of student-centered learning is, it’s taking the child’s interests and shaping the curriculum around that.
It sounds overwhelming. It sounds daunting, but it’s easy because you know what the kids interested in, and you can teach anything off of that subject. If the child is interested in music, I could teach math, I could teach science, I could teach history, writing everything off of the subject of music so that solves the problem of motivation and engagement as well. In doing something that they’re interested in, but they’re still hitting those areas that they need to learn. The bottom line to answer your question is getting to know the child and what are their interests and trying to shape it to them is probably the best way to handle something like that.
A lot of the courses I teach, they have them take the bark and see if they’re more visual or auditory. You want to reach people in the way they learn the best. I took with this CogniFit. I don’t know if you use CogniFit at all. I often share some TED talks that are critical to understanding what happens to creativity and curiosity as we age. Sir Ken Robinson has a great TED talk about how we’re educating people out of their competencies, especially their creativity because we’re focusing so much on STEM sometimes. If you’re interested in music or some of these other things like you’re saying the creative side, you’re in the classroom, and these teachers you got to feel for them. They’ve got to teach to the test. They have 25 students. What do you tell these teachers when you’re talking to them to help them?
I taught middle school in Southcentral. I had 45 kids and I still was able to do it. We’re talking middle school, so anyone who knows middle school kids. It’s one of those things where it’s the classic teacher motto if you’re a good teacher. You put a lot of work into something, in the beginning. You do a lot with planning. Friday, Saturday, Sunday was heavy work, but because I laid everything out so well, my Monday through Friday was smooth running. The kids ran the room. One of my solutions to that was I would make a bingo card, like a 3×3 card where every column had a different learning modality and every row had a different outcome like an academic outcome.
I would tell the kids you have to choose one thing from every column and every row. That gives them choice in what they were doing. I had stations around the room. If you chose to learn this thing, this way, you go to station one. They’re still hitting every area I want them to hit. They’re still retaining the information, but they’re choosing the methods that they want to do it in. The room would run itself. They were all engaged. They were quiet. They were interacting and finishing one station moving on to the next. Sometimes they’d finish and they’d say, “I want to do more. Go do more.” They’d help others. Giving them that choice autonomy helps to build their confidence and their independence. They take more ownership of what they’re learning.
That solves the motivation and engagement, but they’re still doing what I want them to do. We were still off the charts with testing, but they were having fun while they were doing it. That’s one of the things I would encourage a lot of teachers to do. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but if you lead with your heart and if you lead with your passion for the subject, the kids are so intuitive, they’ll pick up on that and they’ll enjoy it. Even I taught STEM, I taught a lot of biology and math. I would have to remind myself constantly. It’s okay if they don’t remember several years from now, the steps of my ptosis, who cares. I want them to remember that they had fun learning. That’s the impact. That’s going to change their life, knowing that they had a good time learning because that’s what spreads into the subjects that they are interested in and then leads them into a deeper exploration of those more curiosities, innovations, and hopefully carries them.
You were mentioning earlier, a lot of issues we’re having with these employees are in these jobs. They’re like why am I doing this? A lot of it is because they lost who they were along the way. They’re in these careers that they aren’t happy at. I hope to get these kids when they’re at their young age to help steer them down a path that is truly theirs so that they can find a career they’re happy at. If you’re not happy in your career, it’s very unlikely you’re going to be a happy person. That’s a huge chunk of your life. Helping them to forge their own path by inspiring them a love of learning is the first step. They can start having the motivation, the desire to take risks, learn new things, to explore those curiosities, and hopefully take them to a career that they love.
It’s interesting to look at the levels of curiosity peak around age five, and then they thank after that and thinking about giving people those choices. I was thinking back to that CogniFit example, when they tell me to work on memory or something. I keep thinking, “That’s a hard thing. I wouldn’t pick that.” You don’t necessarily go to your weaknesses to find the thing. If you get too much choice, aren’t you always going to pick the easiest thing for you, and maybe there’s something else that would be cool, but you’re thinking it’s hard at first. How do you avoid missing out on something that you have a misperception of how hard it is or some other thing?If you're not happy in your career, it's very unlikely you're going to be a happy person. Click To Tweet
It’s one of that classic parenting and adult tricks. I’m giving choice, but they’re choosing things I want them to do. The choices are still accomplishing the goals, but they have more buy-in because they made the choice. There’s that classic thing too. The choices are very specific. They’re all very tailored. By telling them, for example, with instance they use earlier, choose one from each column, one from each row, they’re hitting everything I want because I’ve specifically laid them out and chosen activities that make sure that they are getting every single learning goal that I need them to hit. There are ways to let them think they’re having the choice. They’re choosing what you want them to do and very focused options.
This is all helpful for not just kids, but for HR professionals who are doing training for a lot of people are trying to get their people up to date and new ways of doing things. We have to work through zoom and whatever else. A lot of these tactics are good advice for people who are reading this. A lot of my readers are, maybe don’t have kids or aren’t dealing with that age group, but they are dealing with training and keeping people motivated. How you started your business and how you grew your business is very interesting to them. The advice you give of how this can impact what you’ve learned or your teaching. If somebody wants to find out more about what you’re doing and follow you, is there some kind of site or social media or anything you want to share?
The website is a great place to start. It’s WorldWiseTutoring.com and that’s where you’ll find a lot of information about our services, the academics, test prep, enrichment we’re doing, learning pods, and standby tutoring. A lot of the stuff for kids. In addition to that, I have a blog that’s geared towards teaching these strategies that could be useful for parents, educators or any adult that’s hoping to motivate and engage and to help people with their focus on their, “Why.” I have a student handbook on there, which is good for if there are parents that are looking for resources that are free for their children or students that would like to find some to the point resources, to help them with their subjects.
I’m also on all social media. You can find WorldWise Tutoring on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. One of the things I’ve been working on, especially during the pandemic is diluting a lot of this because there’s a lot of information. There’s a lot of resources into more daily tips. People aren’t feeling so overwhelmed with it, just little reminders here and there. You can find those in my Facebook group, which is Positivity for Parents, Students, and Educators who love to LEARN. If you want to join that, you’ll get some nice daily advice rather than having to dig through everything.
Thank you so much for sharing all this. Many people can learn from all the work that you do, Lindsey. I enjoyed having you on the show.
Thank you so much for having me. I’m happy to have a platform to be able to share this information.
I’d like to thank Aaron and Lindsey for being my guests. We get so many great guests on this show. If you’ve missed any past episodes, please go to DrDianeHamilton.com. You can find out so much more on the site. You can learn more about curiosity perception. All of the speaking, everything that I do is on the site and you can find it and please contact me. We’d love to hear from you. I hope you enjoyed the episode. I hope you join us for the next episode.
- WorldWise Tutoring
- LeaderKid Academy
- Gerald Chertavian – Previous episode
- Sir Ken Robinson
- WorldWise Tutoring – Facebook
- Instagram – WorldWise Tutoring
- LinkedIn – Lindsey of WorldWise Tutoring
- Positivity for Parents, Students, and Educators who love to LEARN – Facebook group
- Barnes & Noble – Unbounded: Journey to Your Within
- Amazon – Unbounded: Journey to Your Within
- Walmart – Unbounded: Journey to Your Within
About Aaron McCormick
Aaron McCormick is an author, entrepreneur, inspirational speaker and artist whose path to success and fulfillment defies societal norms and expectations in nearly every way. He is the author of Unbounded: Journey to Your Within.
Lindsey Wander is the Founder and CEO of WorldWise Tutoring. Her mission was to help students of all abilities to not only improve their grades and scores, but to also learn the skills to become confident and independent lifelong learners, and grow into competent and conscious leaders. She sought to empower our youth with the tools to succeed in school, work, and life – so that they were in the powerful position to direct their own lives. Lindsey’s methodologies were so effective that her business quickly grew beyond what she could handle alone. So, she started to “teach the teachers,” guiding tutors dedicated to her cause with her best practices.
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