Meeting Street Schools could put the Mixonian out of business. (Yikes!) They’re teaching young scholars how to grow their own brains and other leadership essentials (including the “confidence” pose) starting in Pre-K!! I toured their Meeting Street Academy, as well the Spartanburg campus when I taught there a few weeks ago. They’re teaching these children – from under-resourced communities – both rigorous academics and tools for social-emotional development.
MSS Director of Academics, Katie Robinson, made it clear they hire for growth mindset over teaching credentials. She sums up their approach with, Our expectations are different. We have super-high expectations. You see this played out in statements like this one from a teacher to her classroom: I’m looking for some quiet second grade scholars.
How to Grow Your Brain
The research that says you can grow your brain
s comes from findings related to neuroplasticity, which posits that brains can continue to develop throughout our lives. Neuroplasticity concludes that yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks. Not that it’s easy.
Becoming an architect of your own brain, or the farmer of it, first requires a growth mindset. Growth mindset is believing that you can become better at anything, if you put the time into it. It’s the fundamental leadership skill and our core learning lab: Mixonian Learning Labs Info
Growing your brain starts with a decision to do so. It’s simply a matter of training yourself through reading, practicing, and working with mentors. It’s having the grit to work through the disappointments until you reach the skill level you want.
How to Impress People (no one-upping!!!)
Here are some tips from Meeting Street Schools (MSS) about how to Impress People. Knowing how to impress people is a useful skill that keeps you sharp and focused on service to others. At the same time, being able to impress others helps you professionally and personally. Besides, it’s fun.
- To impress someone (favorably) is to give them a gift. It’s the gift of inspiration AND a story to share. Everyone on the MSS tour was impressed. We were inspired and our sense of what is possible in this life just got bigger.
When Bruno Mars was interviewed amid the brouhaha of being selected to headline the half-time show for the 2014 Super Bowl, this was his response:
No matter where I perform, it’s my job to uplift the people. So whether I’m performing at a graduation party, a wedding, a Bar Mitzvah, the Grammys, or the Super Bowl, I’m going to give it all I’ve got.
To impress someone is to exceed their expectations, which naturally has an element of surprise. People love to be impressed. (As in Be Your Own Luxury Brand.)
2. You can impress someone without having outstanding talent or resources.
One of the most impressive take-aways, and there were many, was the intentional use of language. Example: teachers refer to their students as “scholars”. Can you imagine how the brain of a five-year-old changes when 1) that child understands the meaning of the word “scholar” AND 2) assumes being a scholar as part of his own identity?
When I toured the Spartanburg campus, the director of operations, Troye Matthews, greeted some young scholars, probably age 4, not by just asking how they were doing, but asking them, “How many birds do I have if I have 2 big birds and 2 small birds?” Even though she’s not a teacher, she’s reinforcing the school’s commitment to getting all students performing at the national 85% percentile.
There are many other simple ways to impress people: remembering their names, sending a hand-written note, doing your research before a meeting or sharing a surprising insight in the conversation.
3. You can impress someone by having high expectations.
The Meeting Street Schools are preparing their scholars for college, starting with Pre-K. When no one in your immediate family is a college graduate, the idea of attending college seems out of reach. In each MSS classroom, there is a college patron, so to speak. It might be UGA for First Grade A, Duke for 5-B or Howard University for 3-A. MSS leadership chooses colleges within driving distance because students are more likely to remain in a college if it’s not too far from home.
Revealing the high expectations you have for yourself and others is impressive when others find out about it. High-performing teams are always led by people with high expectations. It is rare that a person performs higher than the expectations set, so taking the time to visualize high expectations is a worthwhile activity.
There is a lot more to share on this topic and it’s so important I’m holding my first FREE webinar: Impress Them (Don’t Be Boring) on March 13 at noon. It’s only 45 minutes and I’m sharing BOTH the science and practical tips for impressing others, whether it’s in a job interview, a pitch, or a group presentation. More info/sign up here. Please share.
Finally, the person you most want to impress is you. Go out and impress yourself.