Each day we need an incentive to keep going to achieve an end goal. A friend and I registered to wander around Rome (virtually). 100,000 steps was the challenge. We both thought it would take a lot longer than it did. Now we done. So what’s the next challenge? Who knows. I’m sure Facebook and Google knows what’s next as they both have an uncanny ability to make suggestions. Let’s wait and see what the next adventure will be compliments of suggestions via social media.
“Days are like suitcases – the same size, but some people are able to pack more into them than others”. Anonymous
How true is that? At the end of some days, I look back and I think to myself…..what on earth did I achieve? On other days I look back and say, wow that was a phenomenal day.
How does one ensure that you pack into your day’s suitcase as much as you need to? No answer to that question, I’m afraid. Each day brings news challenges, new knowledge, new interactions and life happens. What you do need to ensure is that at the end of the day you can put your head on your pillow knowing that you have done, what you can do, and not beat yourself up about what you couldn’t do. During the day in your suitcase there needs to be a space for you. A breathing space for you to be you, to enjoy you, to do what you want to do. And don’t ever let anyone guilt you out of this. BUT and its a large BUT ensure that you have achieved something each day.
When we pack for holidays, we usually over pack and take far too much. That’s what our days are generally like. We try to pack far too much into them, instead of planning what we need and using only what is essential and leaving behind the unnecessary baggage.
Do yourself a favour and leave the unnecessary behind and enjoy what you have packed into your suitcase.
A VIRTUAL RACE
Running 1,200 miles (1,931 kilometers) is possibly a normal distance for most long distance runners. However for a walker, walking at an average pace of 5 kms an hour that is a lot of mileage and hours on your feet. This is the story of my 1,200 miles and why I participated.
In December 2018 the algorithm of Facebook linked me to the site by Run Motivators called Invincible 1,200 miles in 2019. I dwelt on the distance and the fact that it was a virtual race. Something I had never done before and the challenge of a minimum of 100 miles (161 kms) a month for 12 months intrigued me. So I signed up with the kind help of Run Motivators based in the USA.
A virtual race is a race that can be run (or walked) from any location you choose. You can run, jog, or walk on the road, on the trail, on the treadmill, at the gym or on the track (or even at another race). You get to run your own race, at your own pace, and time it yourself.
On the 7th January 2019 I started on my 1,200 mile journey. I walked formal events. I walked trails. I walked road races. I walked up and down roads, valleys, mountains, beaches and anywhere I possibly could. I met people on these walks who have varied and interesting lives. Walking gives you time to talk, interact and share. My routine was usually to walk five days of the week with Monday’s and Friday’s being my off days. But soon it became an addiction. If I didn’t get my daily ‘fix’ I was grumpy and irritable. A pattern started to emerge from the people I chatted to on my various walks (formal and informal) and I started doing the math. The average South African women, who has no transport of her own, who is reliant on taxis and public transport walks this mileage every single year. She walks to catch the taxi/public transport. She has to walk from where the taxi/public transport stops to her place of work and then the reverse takes place at the end of the work day. In addition she has to carry every packet/parcel/sack of food which she will purchase for her family. In addition she doesn’t have the walking shoes that I was privileged to wear. She has to walk with her work shoes and work clothes. This is a woman to be admired. So it became my mission, that with every mile completed I would ensure that I spoke out about these amazing, uncomplaining women who walk to work and back every day. Making employers aware that they need to be empathetic and offer support to these ladies. When they sit down for a cup of tea with their breakfast, don’t berate them, celebrate them.
I completed my target of 1,200 miles on the 29th September, way ahead of schedule in position 80 of 480 participants from 53 countries across the world. This way of life has become a habit. Time out, time for reflection, time to enjoy the beauty of our surroundings. We have a beautiful country and through this walking challenge I have participated in events that have taken me to places, on my door step, that I didn’t know existed nor would ever have visited. An absolute privilege and blessing to be able to walk and enjoy my surroundings. I have never once felt unsafe or threatened on my walks. I have truly been blessed.
My journey continues and I will continue to log the miles for the rest of 2019. I have signed up for 2020 to walk 2,020 kms. I will again use this platform to raise awareness of the strength, tenacity and determination of our women. The walks have been a true test of determination for me. Nothing is achievable without determination and dedication. A soft lesson learnt and treasured. My journey continues and I will continue to log the miles for the rest of 2019. I have signed up for 2020 to walk 2,020 kms. I will again use this platform to raise awareness of the strength, tenacity and determination of our women. The walks have been a true test of determination for me. Nothing is achievable without determination and dedication. A soft lesson learnt and treasured.
Writing a business plan and training for sport require very much the same actions. Both require planning, time lines, visions and goals. Without these your business plan nor your training plan will work.
Today I went out on a Trail Walk (I don’t run) and my plan did not work. I had not done enough preparation to achieve my goal of completing 10 kms in under 3 hours. I was not fit enough, as I had not done enough of the correct training. I had not researched the terrain sufficiently to understand the physical and mental energy required. I had my goal – to finish the course. I had my mission – another trail walk to add to my list of events done. BUT I had not planned nor had the correct foresight.
However I did enjoy the trail walk. I met some amazing people on the way who taught me lessons and enabled me to think differently. All of this is very similar to planning and setting up a business plan. Next weekend my plan may be different as the terrain will be different, the weather will be different. Not unlike a business plan where the economy changes or the market changes.
What did I learn? Both in business and in physical activity it is not good enough to have a vision and a mission. There is planning (short, medium and long term) that needs to be done and there has to be flexibility to change.
Bring on the next event.
Often entrepreneurs get ‘tetchy’ at the thought of competition. This should not be the case. Competition makes you get to the top of your game and if you, as an entrepreneur are threatened by competition, you need to rethink your dream to be an entrepreneur.
Competition is challenging, through provoking, creative and most of all creating that edge that your business needs to stay ahead of the competitive pack. If you are Continue reading “Increasing Competitiveness of Business”
The Mama Mia movies (both of them) have been inspirational in encouraging women to take a chance on what they feel passionate about. Get into swing of the lyrics.
Both Mama Mia movies highlight the challenges that women face in making decisions about themselves and being in control of their own destinies. The strength and tenacity of women is underestimated and when you watch a movie like the Mama Mia series you realise how much strength we actually have. Taking a chance on your own life, as a woman, an entrepreneur, a mom, a wife/girlfriend/partner is so very important. If you don’t take that chance, that opportunity how will you ever know what your life could have become. So do away with the could have, should have, didn’t syndrome and take a chance on yourself.
I had the privilege of address the Pietermaritzburg Community Chest Women’s breakfast function on Wednesday 7th August. The skills, knowledge, enthusiasm and love that was clearly evident in the room gave us all goosebumps and encouragement. This video footage is a portion of my address to the delegates.
Having set myself up for the 60 kms within 12 hours it was not just the physical training but the mental training that needed to be considered. To walk for 12 hours round and round a track on the same field would be mind numbing and take determination to levels I had not experienced before. My training took the form of walking on a tar road from my home in Howick to the Karkloof Conservancy – 15 kms away and return. I did this road every weekend sometimes twice a weekend. I eventually knew where every dip, hole, road sign, accident litter, tree stump was. What got me through those 30 kms each trip was audio books. I listened to books that I had been wanting to read but had never gotten round to reading. The day of the event came around very quickly and I was very nervous. At the start line I chatted to a gentleman who had done this race previously. We set off together and he paced me, talked to me, bullied, encouraged, cajoled and motivated. My seconds did an amazing job of keeping us fed and watered. The music and the atmosphere on the field was inspiring. The other competitors chatted and we encouraged one another. The real push came when time started to get less and less and we were tired having gone round and round the same track many many times. 166 laps later I had completed my 61.5 kms in 11 hours 15 minutes. What did I learn – determination and support from fellow competitors and seconds makes this type of event possible. On my own I doubt I would have made it.
My medal, my blister (same size as my medal), my reward (a whisky)
The journey – 166 laps = 61.5 kms
#ONL152 has come and gone……but has it really? I would like to think not as the course has certainly changed my perception of online and digital learning and teaching. What I have learnt through the online interaction has led to much contemplation and inner searching in regards to my learning and teaching philosophy and approach. Lifelong learning has become firmly entrenched in my plans for the future of my learning and teaching. If I have learnt anything from the #ONL journey is that there is always something new, a different way of thinking, don’t be afraid to be experiment, challenge and try out the unknown. Whether one is successful or not with the new ideas and challenges so long as you learn something which can be taken back to the student to improve learning then we have been successful.
My final blog for the #ONL152 has been much delayed as I had the great privilege of experiencing a road trip from my home town of Howick to Cape Town (South Africa). A journey of +3,500 kilometres. What was the purpose? Firstly my daughter and I visited various tertiary educational institutions to get a physical and emotional feel for the various tertiary institutions as she is facing the choices available to her for 2017. The decisions regarding the choices of tertiary institutions and the direction of study has been debated long into the night and on the journey. So why did we do the road trip vs online? And secondly to enjoy a mother daughter vacation. Both instances were highly successful.
The online space and information is prolific and tends to be very confusing as there is perhaps an overwhelming amount of information to sort through and process. This information often requires the good old fashion conversation between individuals. Therefore we undertook the journey as there was no interaction other than via website and email. Even telephone calls didn’t happen. And in this whole research which my daughter and I undertook none of the institutions had the facility to “hangout”, skype or any of the other face to face online interactions.
Having done the whole look and feel on the website, we looked and felt physically in the various tertiary institutions. Worlds apart from the online to the actual. One institution in particular stood out for personal interaction, advice and personal appeal and I am very happy to report that it was our very own Varsity College (Cape Town (Anon., 2015)). Second was Stellenbosch University (Anon., 2015). So what made them stand out to all the other institutions we visited? Personal face to face conversations where the dynamic of the individual student (my daughter) was taken into account.
During the +3,500 kilometres we travelled I had the time to think, reason and argue in my own mind regarding the way ahead for me and my own personal teaching and learning added to the knowledge that I had gleaned from #ONL152. The old ways of teaching and learning definitely need to be changed, adapted and moved into the digital era of learning and teaching. BUT there has to be a “grey” area in our digital move. I watched a You Tube clip entitled “New World of Work vs Old World of Work” regarding the use of technology and way of conducting meetings – which is very similar to conducting lectures. The video discussed face to face being preferable in the Old World of Work. New way of work has allowed information to be instantly available in the palm of one’s hand. The way in which we worked in the past worked and was effective and efficient, but it doesn’t work in a global technological world. We need to take the best of the past and refit it for the future to make the world of work/teaching work today. (Global, 2015). This brings me back to my road trip with my daughter. How do we integrate how we educated in the past with how students require education today to make them fit the world of work without losing the personal contact? Students no longer need to retail volumes of information – this is instantly available. In the past these volumes of information needed to be reproduced in order to pass exams which tested how much information had been retained. This is changing and has changed. Now students need to access information (not retain) and use this information to problem solve. What did #ONL152 reveal to us? How to access information, try new ideas and ways of thinking and apply it to our learning…..and yes we did learn.
One of Elvin Toffler’s famous quotations – “the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn”. (Good Reads, n.d.) This is so true of today’s educational system and the world of work. We can no longer continue doing what we did before because it worked then, but does not necessarily work now. What we did needs be adapted, changed, moulded and continuously so. An exciting era to be in with the amount of information that is available to us.
However in all of this we need to be cognisant of the fact that we have inordinately large amounts of information at hand – we need to be selective of what we want to learn, how we learn it and how we use it. If we don’t we become totally overwhelmed and will lose focus and in the process become derailed and demotivated.
The other question which plagued my mind during the road trip was who is the student and who is the teacher in today’s educational and work environments? Another grey area as we are all students in some way, because we have to continue the lifelong learning process in order to be of benefit to society and the younger generation who cross our paths for various reasons. I would have preferred the use of a map and track my journey on a large piece of paper with a coloured pen. My daughter used the GPS available on our smart phones – I have to admit that the GPS route was a lot more successful that the old fashioned map method. Sadly though my daughter has absolutely no ability to read a map. Perhaps a gap in the digital education?
A quotation that is 2,015 years old and has had great impact on me from an educational perspective: “A student is not greater than the teacher. But the student who works hard will become like the teacher” (Anon., 1996) With no religious connotations intended, we as students cannot be greater than the teacher, as who is the teacher in today’s world? We all are and thankfully we have vast resources available to us through the digital world. Therefore if we work hard at learning we can all become teachers and lead by example.
Building communities of learning and sharing will enhance our journey and that of our students. (Tannhäuser, 2015) Without sharing and conversation, whether personally face to face or digitally we will continue to think in our own little silo’s of knowledge. We have to move into the digital conversation which can be so successful across thousands of miles and build relationships with other human being although we will never personally meet. This is possible and was proven during our #ONL152 course. I wish to thank each and every member of Group 7 and the #ONL152 greater community for a wonderful “road trip” of a different kind. I came into the group not as a academic but as a student. I do not profess to an ability to use academic terminology or to write as an academic. I don’t have an ability to create, devise and develop academic material. I do have the ability to use the tools at hand, to understand the needs and wants of both academia and learners. Something which I will be putting to use in 2016 and going forward.
A great man who had made a profound impact on our beautiful South Africa – Mandela – a picture of myself standing in front a mural in Cape Town South Africa
Anon., 1996. Holy Bible. Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Anon., 2015. Stellenbosch University. [Online]
Available at: http://www.sun.ac.za/english
Anon., 2015. Varsity College Cape Town. [Online]
Available at: https://www.varsitycollege.co.za/cape-town.aspx
Global, T. T., 2015. You Tube – Old World of Work vs New World of Work. [Online]
Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=462beuKLJig&inf_contact_key=75dae97341fd44cf8fc7041010a20e239d898f2e7b8992511d4559585972b21e
[Accessed December 2015].
Good Reads, n.d. GoodReads. [Online]
Available at: https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/3030.Alvin_Toffler
[Accessed December 2015].
Tannhäuser, A.-C., 2015. Discuss-Community. [Online]
Available at: http://www.discuss-community.eu/building-communities-of-practice-3/item/234-webinar-virtual-communities-of-practice-for-lifelong-learning-approaches-success-stories-and-challenges.html
Flexibility? Mobilility? So many definitions too two complex yet simple words. Flexibility can mean many different things to many different situations to many different people. Flexibility to an athlete will mean something completely different to Continue reading “Flexible and Mobile Learning #ONL152”
Collaboration is a term loosely used in various scenarios. It can be used in education, business, family, socially. Team player was the term used for someone who worked well with others – do we now refer to team players as collaborators? Continue reading “Collaborative Learning & Communities #ONL152”