In his latest book What to do when it’s your turn, Seth Godin asks an important question, “Are you working to connect the dots, or merely to collect more dots?”
What are ‘dots’? The dots are books you read, courses you take and certifications you obtain. I am a huge advocate of reading. In fact, one of my goals for 2015 is to read a minimum of 24 non fiction books. I have read 10 so far and am part way through 4 others. Reading those books however, is just collecting dots if I am not seeking to make connections between the thoughts, ideas and concepts in them and what I teach and write about. Beyond seeking to make the connection I need to share those connections in my presentations, seminars, courses and blogs. If I attend conferences, but never share the lessons learned from each presentation I attended, I am simply collecting dots. I listen to a variety of podcasts when I am riding the exercise bike at home. If I never apply what I learn to help others, I am simply collecting dots.
Sports psychologist Dr. Rob Bell brought more clarity to the dot issue for me when during an interview on Isaac Byrd’s Unlocking the Minds of Athletes podcast he made the comment, “We cannot connect the dots moving forward. We can only connect the dots looking back.”
This comment brought me clarity from two aspects:
- The dots I collect through reading, taking courses and listening to podcasts make the most sense when I use the information to look back on my own experiences, on the classes I have taught, and the struggles I have experienced both personally and as a trainer. It is through the act of looking back, that I am able to connect the dots and make positive changes in my programs and my life moving forward.
- This is the very reason we do debriefings in training and following incidents in the field. The debriefings help us to connect the dots in a way we are not able to do prior to the experience. We learn, we train, we plan (collecting the dots) then we take action and have an experience. It is usually during the debrief after the event where we have the greatest clarity and are able to connect all the dots. When you conduct realistic, contextual based training for your officers, followed by effective debriefings you are helping them connect the dots.
What about you? Are you a collector or a connector?
As a trainer it is important for you to collect dots (training, information, ideas) from a variety of sources (books, podcasts, courses, seminars, conferences), but you cannot stop there. You must seek to connect the dots both for yourself and for the officers you train. Connecting the dots between anatomy, physiology, psychology, sociology, sales, vulnerability, human performance factors, memory, unconditional respect, courage, leadership, imagery, adult education, sports psychology and law enforcement is an ongoing and fascinating process.
The Excellence in Training Membership site I will be launching in the coming months will focus on connecting the dots.
Take care and always remember Life’s Most Powerful Question – What’s Important Now?
Winning Mind Training – Inspiring Change through Excellence in Training.
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In the next few months I will be launching the Excellence in Training membership site to better serve you. Make sure you subscribe to Excellence in Training and so you can take advantage of this great opportunity as soon as it becomes available.