Wednesday, July 18, 2007

intense focus

I'm in the middle of an intensive training this week - six straight days, about 9 hours each, with a small group. It is exhilirating and exhausting all at the same time - for me and for the people I am training.

Oddly, we seldom give our kids this kind of intensely focused experience. Whether they are six or sixteen, they are full of energy and their minds are always moving. Given the right focus, lots of support and a multitude of perspectives, they can grow enormously in a few days.

When my sons were young, they attended the Oakville Performing Arts Camp run by the Oakville Suzuki Association. It was my first experience of a program for kids run on the basis that they could soak up enormous learning in a short time as long as no one told them they needed a break. That camp changed our lives.

Ten years later, my son went to camp with the Shad Valley program: it lasted four weeks of very long days focused entirely on the program and the people. Three years later, he still mentions Shad frequently, and keeps in touch with friends across the country.

The adults working with me this week are learning NLP in the same kind of format - they work intensely through many of their beliefs about learning, encounter new information, practice many new exercises, and develop a heightened awareness of how they achieve results. Sometimes, they begin by thinking that I feed them snacks, tell stories and make jokes because I am nice. They begin by thinking that being relaxed and playful and supported is a frill.

One of the things they learn is that I focus on allowing them to be relaxed and playful and supported because I am intense and intensely focused on getting results. I am not satisfied with anything less than their attentive presence throughout all the time they commit to me when they register for the training. I relax and play because it allows me (and them) to work harder and produce more in a shorter time frame.

Sustained intensity requires play.

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