kick-ass thinking…

The 2015 Fall Semester at UNCG started a little over 2 weeks ago.  Last Spring Semester, I scheduled 10 sections of my 1-credit life coaching course “Design Your Life I: What Could I Do With My Life,” thinking that I would only teach 3-5 sections of the course.  Well, to make a long story short and due to circumstances out (mostly) of my control, I am teaching 8 sections of the life coaching course, with approximately 20 students in each section.  Think of the course as group coaching about your life, since students will spend 14 weeks in the course on self-exploration and self-discovery on what it means to live a meaningful life.  Yes, I do have a cool job!

For inspiration, I shared with them one of the most inspirational human beings on this planet, someone who provided me the clarity to find a better, more enthusiastic way to teach my course.  This young man – Kyle Maynard – was half my age when I heard him speak, but his words resonated with me so loud that I knew that my path was going to significantly change.  To this day, I am driven by the three words from his speech that changed my life – “FIND YOUR WHY!”  Since that day, I have changed the way I teach, changed the content of my courses and my workshops, and re-connected with my soul in a powerful way!  And now I’m passing this newfound joy on to my students!  (Note: If you want to check out inspirational, watch this story about Kyle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czXTkNyzF98).

After brief introductions to the course and to each other, I gave the students  their first homework assignment – 10 kick-ass questions about life.  Their job – to come up with 2 sentences for each of the 10 sets of questions.  They could answer all of the questions in the set or just one – they just had to write 2 sentences.  The questions were:

  1. What’s always on your mind? What do you think about a lot? If you were on the computer/internet, what would you spend your time reading or searching most?
  2. What positive things do people say about you? What do people thank you for most often?
  3. Who inspires you? Who would you most like to be like? Who are your heroes, your role models? Who do you envy most?
  4. What do you help with that seems natural or easy for you? What do people come to you for? When you’re at your best, what does it look like?
  5. What are you amazing at doing (can be work- or life-related)? What are you great at? What do you do particularly well?
  6. When do you feel powerful, passionate, free, incredibly useful, excited, and/or inspired?
  7. Who do you want to help? Who would you like to inspire? Whose lives would you like to change?
  8. If you had a chance to be known for something special or unique, what would it be? How do you feel you contribute (or could contribute) to society?
  9. How would you like to be seen, recognized, acknowledged, awarded, praised – now and/or in the future? What’s the legacy you want to leave behind? If you were to die tomorrow, what would you want people to say about you?
  10. What is your biggest fear? What’s the thing that scares you the most?

Yes, that means I have to read 160 papers, but I thought it would provide me some insight into what they were thinking about their first week of classes.  As I read their papers, I noticed a theme for some answers that didn’t sit well with me – or at least made me think a little deeper.  Here are some that are most pertinent:

Question 1: Almost EVERY student is worried about their future – and that’s also the thing they think about most. However, they spend most of their time on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Question 3: Almost every student sees either one or both parents as their role model, their heroes, and the people they’d like to be like.

Question 7: Almost every student wants to help people, which is the nature of our School (Health and Human Sciences). But they list the specific major/professional program to identify how they want to help others, not the specific actions they will undertake in order to accomplish this (which is what the course is all about).

Question 10: Seems like biggest fears are failing college and failing to achieve their goals. The thing that scares them the most is not graduating from college, losing people they love, and dying young.

Luckily, the class will address most, if not all, of these issues that these students have regarding their college career – and about life.  This should be a fun and interesting semester, that’s for sure!

Update: After thinking about the questions a little more, I still felt as if something was missing from their answers.  So, I have now come up with “The Bakers Dozen of Kick-Ass Questions About Life.”  Please feel free to share with others; if you have a chance, just share your response to the questions – either positive or negative.

  1. What’s always on your mind? What do you think about a lot? If you were in a bookstore, what section would you graviatet towards first? If you were on the computer/internet, what would you spend your time reading or searching most?
  2. (new) What are at least three things you care about most, other than family, friends, and meaningful relationships?
  3. What positive things do people say about you? What do people thank you for most often?
  4. Who inspires you? Who would you most like to be like? Who are your heroes, your role models? Who do you envy most?
  5. What do you help with that seems natural or easy for you? What do people come to you for? When you’re at your best, what does it look like?
  6. What are you amazing at doing (can be work- or life-related)? What are you great at? What do you do particularly well?
  7. When do you feel most powerful, passionate, free, incredibly useful, excited, and/or inspired?
  8. Who do you want to help? Who would you like to inspire? Whose lives would you like to change?
  9. If you had a chance to be known for something special or unique, what would it be? How do you feel you contribute (or could contribute) to society?
  10. How would you like to be seen, recognized, acknowledged, awarded, praised – now and/or in the future? What’s the legacy you want to leave behind? If you were to die tomorrow, what would you want people to say about you?
  11. What is your biggest fear? What’s the thing that scares you the most in life?
  12. (new) How would you define success? And what would success look like for you?
  13. (new) What do you REALLY want for your life?

Thank you for reading (and hopefully sharing)…

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