I was asked to teach a class next term that I have never taught before; I said yes. When I’m asked to do a workshop on a topic that is new to me, I say yes. I’ve written articles on things that I initially knew next to nothing about and even had jobs that required a substantial learning curve – but they all turned out well because I am able to “be the string” and connect concepts into a cogent whole.

Everyone can use the same process, ideally with some advance planning time. Now that I know my course topic for next semester, I will start paying attention to things that will fit with the subject area. I’ll see things on social media and in the news that will trigger other resources. I’ll ask colleagues for ideas and referrals (it’s on integrated marketing if you have anything for me!). I’ll read some things which will reference other resources and the accumulation process will begin in earnest. I keep collecting ideas until a pattern emerges that ties them all together.

For my last session, I included resources from no less than eight different people – each one contributing a piece of the puzzle that I assembled. I had books, articles, websites of organizations, videos, handouts and examples from current events. Since the session is over, I still find myself seeing new stories that would enhance the message, so I collect them, too, in preparation for the next time I use the topic.

I love the process of developing new content and find that it works for articles, sessions, classes and even projects around the home. Once you start focusing on a topic, the universe responds and provides you with ample examples to meet your needs.

Don’t get stuck in a rut because you’re afraid to venture into new territory. The path will illuminate itself, step by step, once you get started.

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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