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Episode 014: A Conversation on Learning with Dr. Teresa Peterson

A Conversation on Learning with Dr Teresa Peterson

Join Sarah Noll Wilson and Dr. Teresa Peterson as they share helpful tips and dispel common myths around learning and behavior change.

About our guest

Dr. Teresa Peterson is the Director of Learning and Development for Sarah Noll Wilson, Inc. In her daily work, she serves as Sarah’s key content collaborator. Teresa enjoys facilitating, researching, and is passionate about applying best practices for learning to make our experiences meaningful, engaging, and accessible for all types of learners. Teresa holds a Doctorate in Education from the University of Northern Iowa and brings over twenty years of experience teaching, facilitating, and leading to our team. Our clients love Teresa’s grounded energy, depth of thought, and ability to listen deeply.

Episode Transcript

Sarah Noll Wilson
Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of Conversations on Conversations, where each week we explore a topic to help us have more powerful conversations with ourselves, and with each other. I’m your host, Sarah Noll Wilson, and joining me this week is my colleague, Dr. Teresa Peterson. You may, you may be familiar with her name either through our work together, or our early episode where she interviewed me and we had a good conversation around how do we have difficult conversations. But this week I’ve invited her back so that we can explore the very important topic of learning, whether that’s from an organizational perspective, whether that’s from an individual perspective, but so we’re going to explore a lot related to how do we actually learn, what are traps that we fall into, and how we can be much more intentional in building the habits that we want. So, a little bit about my colleague, Dr. Teresa Peterson. She is the Director of Learning and Development for our company Sarah Noll Wilson Incorporated, she is passionate about applying best practices to learning, to make development experiences meaningful, engaging, and accessible for all types of learners. In her role, Teresa creates powerful learning content and guides deep research. She holds a doctorate in education from the University of Northern Iowa and brings over 20 years of experience teaching, facilitating, and leading, she is trained in immunity to change, and currently getting her certification in Appreciative Inquiry. Our clients love her grounded energy, her depth of thought, and her ability to listen deeply. Teresa Peterson, welcome to the show.

Dr. Teresa Peterson
Good morning, Sarah Noll Wilson. Happy, happy morning. Hello.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Happy morning indeed. So, you know, full disclosure for people, we are recording this on an early Monday morning, and so I can already tell my voice is a little raspy, but that’s okay. I, you know, when I was actually I was reading your bio, Teresa, there was, I started to have this flood of all the things that, you know, like- sometimes people get wrong about it, so I want to take a quick note about learning, you know, things like there’s, you know, some people are, I learn by hearing, I learn, right, instead of, so we’re going to cover all of that. What, what else would you like people, our audience, to know about you?

Dr. Teresa Peterson
What else, I enjoy gardening, and am working on enjoying training my dog.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Who, as, as your trainer said, will be a really great dog in a year.

Dr. Teresa Peterson
In a year. Yeah. In approximately 360 days, so it feels like the blink of an eye.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Not counting down the days at all. So, so talk to us about your journey, because we didn’t get into this on our first episode, and I actually don’t even know if, if we’ve talked about this in our exploration, so just for, for perspective, for those of you who are listening, you know, Teresa, our journey has, has, has definitely been one of evolution. She joined, you know, was one of the earliest team members to join the company, and joined from an executive administrative assistant perspective, you know, was in a place of focusing on raising her young ones and wanted something to do. And then I realized that she had this experience, and it was like, why am I having you organize shelves when we could clearly could-

Dr. Teresa Peterson
I do love organizing shelves, just for everyone listening. If you have a shelf to organize, please reach out. I do love that.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, and then it just, the, our partnership grew from a thinking partnership of getting you more involved, and now, now, I mean, basically, most of our clients you’re working with in some capacity, or supporting, whether it’s directly or from behind the scenes. What, what was, let’s start back from the beginning of your journey of, what was your journey into becoming a teacher, you know, and, and, and give us some highlights of what your career has been over the last couple of decades to where you are now.

Dr. Teresa Peterson
Yeah, so, so my journey to becoming a teacher. In education there, there are kind of two paths people take, and one is you just come out of the womb wanting to be a teacher, you know, like you didn’t even consider any other paths, you’re just called to it. And the other is, you know, you, you find out later down the road you like young people, or you you know, love those light bulb moments kind of thing, and I’m definitely the first batch of people. I just loved it from the beginning of my life, from the beginning of time. So, I was always, I loved playing school. I mean, I was teaching absolutely no one in a room by myself when I was seven, you know, just, I wanted an overhead for Christmas. I never got one just for the record. But I tried to make my own overhead. This is a story you probably don’t know about me, Sarah, in our three and a half years, I tried to make my own overhead with, somehow I had gotten a few transparencies, maybe my teacher just took pity on me. So I had some transparencies and a couple overhead markers, and then I got a couple of mirrors and a flashlight, because I studied even the overhead and- it didn’t work, just, just so you know, it never worked, but yeah, so I also feel like I just enjoy working with all age groups, you know, sometimes you hear someone say, kindergarten is my favorite, or it’s the bane of my existenc, and I just love kind of all the different ages and stages of learning. So I taught social studies, I worked in a collaborative social studies in special education support classroom, I worked solely in special education in grades five through eight for a year, that was exciting. I learned a lot about just young people and life through their eyes. And then most, most recently, I worked with high school students, primarily juniors, seniors, but even high schoolers who hadn’t finished and were maybe 20, you know, and on a very different life path or trying to re-engage. And then probably, you know, my favorite would be the last couple of years, when I was working in Des Moines, I was at a program called the Teacher Academy, so nurturing high schoolers who wanted to become teachers, helping them start seeing learning and seeing school through a different lens, you know, stepping outside just their student lens, that was really fun. Very fun for me, very rewarding. And then I still adjunct at Simpson, so working with college students who want to be teachers. So, so, so yeah, so I wanted to, you know, there’s always that moment, when you realize time is kind of ticking, and I wanted to be with my kids, and a mutual friend, or business partner, for you, Bridget, said, “I think you two should meet, I think you could really find something that, that works for both of you.” So, so then I was organizing shelves. It was way more than that, but.

Sarah Noll Wilson
No, I definitely was there, there was a moment in our interview, where you went, “You don’t have processes, and I can create processes?” And your eyes got real big, and I was like, is that your thing? Because I need that to be someone’s thing, because it’s not my thing. So, as our journey evolved, right, and realizing your background in learning, then, then we started to go down this path together of being more of a thinking partner, and now full on research and facilitation partner. So, since today we’re exploring learning, which is something we all do, whether we’re conscious of it or not, but can be really powerful when we’re much more intentional about it, you know, I wonder, I wonder if we start from the place of just- this is gonna be, like, a big question, but I think-

Dr. Teresa Peterson
Oh, good.

Sarah Noll Wilson
-you’ll be fine. What is learning? Like, how- you like that big? But like how, you know, how can how can people think about learning differently than just something that happens to you? Because one of the things that, among many things that you’ve brought to the work that we do, is this idea that learning has to be earned by the learner.

Dr. Teresa Peterson
Yeah. That is a big question. You know, I, I think something, I think something I see often that people- is a misunderstanding about learning, is that people have this idea that it only happens under certain conditions. And that might be true to an extent, but your brain is wired for learning, your brain is a learning machine, right? And so it doesn’t need, you know, to be sitting at a desk, participating in an online course, or sitting in a certain environment to be learning, your brain learns all the time. And so, you know, something I’ve been thinking more and more about in our work with clients and just with organizational learning as a whole, is how do you embed learning and the practices of learning into the everyday experience? Because the one thing, to your, to your point of what you mentioned, if anyone listening knows Wiggins and McTighe, and Wiggins, rest his soul, I can’t say his name without, like, touching my heart, and just like, Grant Wiggins, they really pushed my practice forward and my understanding of learning, my understanding of the job of the teacher, they really pushed me forward. I had the pleasure of seeing them in person a few times, and just like a kid in a candy store, you know, I was, it was magic for me. But this idea that understanding must be earned by the learner, we can’t just inoculate people with new understanding, which is one of the biggest misunderstandings of learning that we see too, is people came and they sat and they received it, and now what, they can’t do it when the, when the stakes are high. Or, and you know, the flip side for the learner is when you believe you can just sit passively, and just receive all the knowledge and wisdom that comes from someone who practices regularly, it’s just a recipe for disappointment or frustration. You know sometimes we see people who feel like, I just haven’t quite gotten the hang of that yet, but learning to do, and to do when the stakes are high, takes a lot of practice. So I think- and the increasingly fast, you know, societal pace, sometimes learning feels like a slow, a slow boil, a slow burn, because our brain is wired to, to learn in an ongoing way. You know, it doesn’t- only the most painful lessons are learned at the pace of a lightning strike, right? Like you only learn something very quickly, that is extremely painful, because your brains like oh, let’s get that wired in right away, I will not be doing that again. Right? But, but the more exciting, but perhaps mundane things to your brain are just going to take time.

Sarah Noll Wilson
It’s a, I mean, that’s something that, you know, and the goal is then how do we create a lot of pain in our learning experiences, so I want to be clear that people aren’t getting away with like, oh, okay, so let’s, like publicly humiliate people or do whatever, like no, that’s not-

Dr. Teresa Peterson
That’s definitely not how learning would occur, it would be the opposite. Yeah.

Sarah Noll Wilson
But, yeah, but to understand that sometimes, but sometimes it does need to be some discomfort and hate, and one of the things that, because of the work we do, especially around navigating conversations, whether that’s having difficult conversations, or conversations that are uncomfortable, whether that’s working with leaders to develop their coaching skills, whether that’s rethinking, you know, how do we talk about change, is, a lot of that just takes repetition and practice, and one of the, one of the big things that we we hear is people will say things like, well, you know, we attended this training on crucial conversations, and nobody’s doing it. And you know, and to echo that point you’re making, is that to do it in a safe environment isn’t the same as when the stakes are really high. And, and- which is why it’s so important to make sure that we’re reflecting and having space to like, prepare for those moments, and then we can debrief afterwards, and we can make those connections. I know a concept that, that, you know, we’ve coined orbital learning in our work, has become a really important foundation, and I would love to have you talk about that idea of, of how do we actually deepen our learning? How do we create the practices so that they can eventually become habits? Yeah.

Dr. Teresa Peterson
Great. So, you know, traditionally, and what most of us can see this through the lens of how we were educated, you know, I think many people listening will relate to this, and probably see it in how learning occurs in their workplace, this idea of sit and get, right? That I just sit in the chair, and I just get the information, and then I get up and leave. Right? So we want to push people, because we do get inquiries where, you know, Sarah I’m thinking of one that you say and it always makes me smile. You know, “We’ve had trust issues brewing for the last six years, what can you do in two hours to really get the team back to back to a great place?” Like hmm, some things have to be earned, right? Some things take time and new ways of being, so when we think about orbital learning, we think about this idea that for, you know, whatever it is you want to learn, there are going to be key ideas, skills, practices, traps, and around that core body of knowledge or whatever we want to learn about, we’re going to orbit it, we’re going to go around and around and around because every time, if you’re, if you picture, you know, in your mind as you’re listening, like a planet in orbit, every time the earth comes around the sun, it’s different, right? That the sun, the sun is there shining bright, just like that core body of knowledge. Although in our case, we keep adding to that, right. So if when people come back for information for learning, for those tuneups, for those ongoing orbits, the core has evolved. That’s one thing I’m so excited about, is we don’t do canned static things in a vacuum. You know, it’s always evolving to incorporate the new things we’re experiencing, the new things we’re reading, the new things we’re seeing other clients do successfully. So it’s, it’s a gift for the learner, I think, to get an evolving experience. But when you think about the Earth orbiting around, with every pass it’s different. Every time our learners come around, they’re seeing things deeper, they’re seeing new perspectives, they’re trying new practices, they’re trying them over and over. Because the, I think the thing that people are always, it’s always the, you know, often- I won’t say always- often, it’s human nature, right, we want a quick fix, we want to get it, move on. Just give me a new tool for my toolbox or a new app, as someone said last week, which gave us a big smile, just give me the new thing so I can put it in my toolbox and I can move on. But learning doesn’t necessarily work that way, we can do a lot with a core set of tools that we can use really well, right? It’s just like in the kitchen, do you need 700 ways to get juice out of a lemon, or do you need maybe one or two that you’re really, really good at? So I think that those are key elements that make our process different, that emphasis on coming back, I think more people we’re talking to see the value in that or realize that’s how learning has always been. It relates really well, when we think about how we learn things, even growing up that were very skills-based, whether that was sports, or I’m thinking about your accordion, Sarah now in adulthood, or instruments, anything dance that requires just that repetition, you know, I’m coming back to the same group of skills over and over, I’m deepening them, right. That’s, that’s where the magic happens. And, and, you know, our brain, our brain can’t hold on to everything we give it, we would just become bogged down, we wouldn’t, we would just stall out, right? Like, our brain is designed to hold on to what’s most important and let the rest go. That’s how we survive. So part of the beauty of the orbit is bringing to your brain’s attention I’m still working on this, this matters to me, I want to keep going here. Because the more indication we can give our brain that we want to keep doing something, the more it will hold on to the information we give it, because like I said, I mean, this morning, goodness, there are probably been a hundred things that I’ve had to hold on to and forget already. You know, the location of items that I needed to get out the door, like, so we need to help our brain learn. This is important to me, I want to get better at, so I’m gonna keep orbiting the same information. This matters to me. It’s funny to think of your brain like you’re talking to it, like it’s not part of you, but there is a consciousness or, you know, yeah, like a consciousness of, I want to be really aware of what I’m taking in or what’s important and what I want to hold on to.

Sarah Noll Wilson
And that, I mean, in that point, because, you know, we see this a lot in our clients, and I, you know, I’ve certainly experienced this in my previous world and work of, of, you know, realizing that there was this, this tendency, especially from an organizational learning perspective, to just keep introducing new topics, and we’ll hear this from people too, like, well, we did a training on that already. And, which means they really only spent one day, half a day, doing it, right? There wasn’t the repetition and, you know, and I appreciate you bringing up about the, when we look at things like building skill for mastery, or building skills so we can be really proficient at, whether that’s sports or kinesthetic things like dance, or, you know, in my case, the accordion, you know, my goal is not to play a song once. My goal is to play it so often that I have muscle memory, that even if I mess up, I can, like, find my place in it. And when we think about the skills that are needed from a leadership perspective, from an effective relationship perspective, those- it’s the same principles, and what’s trickier, and we’ve talked about this, is that, you know, like, especially when we talk about building skills related to communication and building powerful relationships, is you’re not working in a vacuum with a partner who isn’t also complicated and isn’t also bringing, right? So even if I’m practicing the skill of coaching, for example, and asking powerful questions, every situation is different, every person that I’m engaging with is coming to the table, and they have a different experience, and maybe they’re not ready or willing, or whatever the case is. And so there’s, there’s this real tendency to, I feel like we see this a lot, there’s this real tendency to overestimate our ability to not only retain information, but then to deliver it effectively, you know, in a muscle memory kind of way without actually doing the work. And I think that’s a disservice to ourselves and to the people we’re supporting.

Dr. Teresa Peterson
Yeah, absolutely. And something that was coming up for me as you’re saying that, is and if the whole organization is operating that way, then you don’t have a model by which you accurately assess where you’re at. I mean, if everyone’s just kind of at that base level, then it seemed, it may seem like everybody’s got it, when maybe everyone has step one, instead of really embedded into your mind and your heart, and the way you show up every day is this new way of being. Because when you think about learning, that’s the bottom line of these meaningful things. It’s a new way of being and doing.

Sarah Noll Wilson
No, I love that, like, like, instead of just like, what am I going to do, just who do I want to be, and connecting that, I think that’s- I think James Clear in his book, “Atomic Habits,” he, that’s one of the things he talks about, is just instead of just focusing on what are my new habits, like, who do I want to be? What’s the identity? And then what, what do I need to do to get there? What, what are some of the common traps? I mean, we’ve already been talking about some of them, but what are some of the common traps that you see, whether it’s in the work that we do, or just even when you’re working with students, or in your, you know, your former career, that gets in the way of our ability to actually make the forward movement we say is so important to us?

Dr. Teresa Peterson
Yeah. A big one that we see, and I see this in learners of all ages, right, but when I see this at work, and we call it out, it always resonates with people, we always see a sly smile I feel like, or like a little oh, they got me, kind of nod. But people who view themselves as high achieving expect to get it right the first time. They expect to take all the information you’ve given them, and like, yep, I’ve got it, and so I’m going to get it right, and I’m moving on. And we’re talking about things that are extremely complex, you know, somewhat abstract, impossible to get quote “right the first time,” or maybe you’re lucky enough to get, do a pretty good job in your first, in your first experience after you’re learning about showing up differently in conversations. But transfer me, and so when we think about teaching for transfer, I can do it out of the sandbox, out of the safe classroom. It’s not just the colleague that- you know, I’m laughing of thinking about it’s easy to give, to stay in a conversation, or give that feedback with someone who’s highly reflective, and like, yeah, I’ve been thinking about that, you know, so glad you brought that up, and what a gift you’ve given me, and I’m going to move forward. But you know, transfer is in the hardest moments, and so if you go into it thinking “I’m going to get it right the first time,” and then you don’t, learners tell themselves stories, like I guess this just isn’t for me, this isn’t as practical and helpful as they said it was going to be, because- well we think about cognitive dissonance. If I, if I think I’m gonna get it right the first time and I don’t, either something’s wrong with that, or something’s wrong with me. And my brain really doesn’t want it to be me.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Right, right, right, right. And therefore I’m gonna like say, well, they, they didn’t really teach us clearly or it wasn’t like, you know, practical. I mean, that’s always the thing that’s always funny to me a little bit when it’s like, well, there wasn’t really any, like practical tools and it’s like, no, there were, they’re just not easy. And, and, and I think that there’s a couple of thoughts that were coming up to me, I should have written them down, but yeah, that, well, it- one of the, one of the stories that was coming up for me hearing you talk about just this idea of like expecting to get it right the first time. This was a couple years back, and I was working with a team and you know, we, we, we needed to have some pretty tough conversations, and so it was just holding the container, helping navigate, right, like, how do we learn to sit with our discomfort, how do we offer up our perspectives or our needs, how do we listen to other people’s needs? And you know, expect non, you know, non closure, all of that stuff, and I’ll never forget that afterwards the trainer on the team who, who’s the person who does the trainings, like, you know, crucial conversations, she pulled me aside said, I gotta be honest, Sarah, like, teaching this is so much easier than doing it. Yeah, it sure. Sure, is. Because when we’re, you know, even, even, you know, that’s why, you know, when people are like, oh, we need to do role plays, and it’s like, yeah, and no roleplay is going to prepare you for what it feels like when somebody disagrees with, you. No roleplay is going to prepare you for when you misspeak, and you say something regrettable and the other person feels it. And you can tell that like, there’s, there’s just no amount of roleplay that’s actually going to prepare you for that. But in doing it, and then failing, right, like, I mean, I feel like the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my work of trying to navigate my own avoidance is when I messed up, and it was like, oh, okay, and that was uncomfortable, and that was hard, but I was just, I was smiling a little bit thinking about, you know, that, that situation, and it was like, yeah, giving information, telling people how to do something is very different than when the heat is turned on, when the risk is real, when there’s consequences, when there could be retaliation. That it’s not, it’s not simple. You know, the-

Dr. Teresa Peterson
Right? It’s- Oh, I’m sorry.

Sarah Noll Wilson
No, go ahead. Yeah,

Dr. Teresa Peterson
It- when you were describing it that way, it made me think of teaching CPR, you know, there’s the act of standing there teaching CPR, and then there’s doing CPR on your dummy, and then there’s like a moment where maybe the stakes are very high, and you’re doing CPR and having the stamina, right, to stick with it, stay grounded in, in your training, and grounded in the to dos and not to dues, which I think are often you know, that’s something else we’re pretty passionate about, is people are so focused on things they want to do and less what they want to stop doing, or shouldn’t include in that that’s equally powerful, I think, in some situations. But you know as you were talking too it made me think when I’m learning a new skill that’s very complex, and I’m thinking about, back to Wiggins and McTighe, when I was really pushing myself and my teaching practice, I felt like I was learning to use a marionette, you know, the puppet, and it felt like there were times I could get the leg moving but the arms weren’t going anywhere, you know, so it took a while to get like, okay, I can make the legs look like they’re walking. Now, let me see if I can get the arms to like, it’s so, it takes so much focus, you know, and revision, and, and reflection, and attention to so many tiny things happening. And it’s fun because things that we’re using as examples, for the most part have been really observable, outward skill-based kinesthetic things, but the part of our brain that’s going to think about showing up in a difficult conversation, or holding steady in the heat, speaking your truth even when it might be challenging, it’s the same muscles that need to be built, right? That’s, it’s the muscle memory to stay curious. It’s muscle memory to keep asking questions through a lens of what is generative and forward thinking and focused more on a vision that will compel you forward, instead of the anchors of the past. Right? So even though a lot of what we’re describing are those physical tasks, it’s the same mental work that needs to be done.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah. And I want to, I want to, I want to echo or go back to that point you made earlier, just because I think that, I think it’s a really important practice, is not just what do I need to add to my plate, what do I need to add to my skill set, but what do I need to let go of? Right? And the only way we can identify that, is a willingness to be courageous with ourselves to do the work, right, like in your world, or in our world of immunity to change, or to go, what are we doing that’s getting in the way? Like, and let’s, let’s, let’s, let’s let go of that so we can move forward. One of the, one of the, I feel like there’s a couple of common myths that are out there about learners that are still really pervasive. I’ve got sort of three that I want to talk through with you. Right brain-left brain. Like, “I’m a right brain person.” “I’m a left brain person.” This one’s still really pervasive. Thoughts?

Dr. Teresa Peterson
Yeah. Thoughts. Yeah, I will say, thoughts – you know, dash – grounded in modern understanding of the brain, and MRI imaging, and these kinds of things are, everyone’s using their whole brain. Do certain things come more naturally? Probably. Yeah, that’s fair. Sometimes, has it been easier to say “I just can’t do that I’m left brain, so please don’t ask me to,” maybe. It’s a real disservice to yourself and to other people in your life if you have a limiting belief that you only operate a certain way. Again, I’m not saying people aren’t more inclined in some ways or others, but, but no. Sorry, sorry, everybody. Yeah.

Sarah Noll Wilson
The brain lights up all the time, you know, creativity doesn’t just live in the right side, or I don’t even know what it is yet, but doesn’t just live in the right side, and analytics doesn’t just live in the left side. And then I think that that point you make of like, and are you saying that because it’s hard, and it’s uncomfortable? And yeah, again, like, there are some things that will just maybe be easier to someone else, but it doesn’t mean that that’s the only part of their brain they’re using or, it’s just different and might take you a different path to get there. I mean, I think about my, my acting days, my teacher would always say there are just people who are have a natural ability, it just means you have to work harder to catch up with share, but it’s not, you know. Okay, what about learning types? When people say I’m an audio learner, or I’m a visual learner? What’s, what’s your thoughts on that? True or False?

Dr. Teresa Peterson
It’s, it’s very similar to the first one, it’s false. We learn best when all of our senses are engaged, right? When I think about planning experiences, and it looks a little different in the work we do, although this is something I haven’t brought in, but I do it automatically with, with our work together, but when I would think about planning a lesson, so this is for anyone out there, too, who’s facilitating a meeting, doing any type of organizational learning, I would ask myself, in this given amount of time, am I providing opportunities for learners to read, write, speak, view, and move related to this content? Right? So, now, I, let’s go back to the, the, well, kind of, you probably have a sense that feels more natural. You know, if you’re, if you’re like me and you take notes, I can remember on the page where, where certain things are, right, if I’ve written down my grocery list, and I can more easily hold on to what’s on the list, even, even when I forget the list at home. So you may have a sense that feels like it serves you better in learning, but the most engaging experiences that promote the deepest amount of learning engage all of your senses in that way.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah. And, and one thing that always comes up for me when I hear people say that, is one, it also depends on what you’re learning, right? I can read, I can read a book on how to play the accordion, like, you know, listen to somebody tell me, but having all of that and then doing it is different than just, you know, and I, it’s still so pervasive, that’s one that it’s- and one thing that I want to bring up, because this was an observation you made with a client last year, because I know- we know so many people are either working in a hybrid environment, or they’re working remotely, is that idea of the impact of our senses on retention, and not just from a learning perspective, but from potentially a connection to, you know, like, from a team, team dynamic, team building perspective, from building new memories, and that is a real challenge that we have to be aware of in the world of remote or hybrid work. We are, when we’re collaborating, largely sitting in the same seats, looking at the same view, which is different than maybe when we’re in the office and we, “Oh yeah, right, we were in that room, or we traveled to this location,” or, or, you know, whatever it might be, but that’s, that’s-

Dr. Teresa Peterson
You brought brownies.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, exactly, right? You know, my, my old boss, Lisa would always be like, oh, and you were wearing that purple shirt, with that, like, scarf. And like, of course you remember, but, but when our, when our, when our visual surroundings basically don’t change, that can make it harder to retain, what the hell- what did, what did we talk about, and what happened, and, because everything feels and looks the same, and so finding ways to engage, whether that’s using tools like, you know, we use Mentimeter in our events, but, or like Miro board, or, you know, whatever that is for people to engage in different senses. That’s why sometimes, as silly as they might feel, playing with, you know, fun backgrounds because it’s like, oh, right, remember, you know, I’m thinking of our one client who, you know, his is in a Star, Star Wars ship, and it’s like, I remember those conversations because of, you know, when he’s in there, so that’s something to think about. Okay, what’s your opinions on it takes 20- what is it, 20, 21 days to break a habit, 28 days to build it? I might be flipping it, but either way, it’s wrong. Oh, it’s called an X-Wing. Thank you, Nick, yes. He, he was in a-

Dr. Teresa Peterson
Oh, an X- yes.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Nick was coming on for clarification because he knew I didn’t know what I was talking about.

Dr. Teresa Peterson
And bless Nick’s heart because I don’t know that Nick’s been in a session where he’s seen. Yeah, you can see R2 up there. I mean, it is really fantastic. Shout out to the Star Wars saga.

Sarah Noll Wilson
So, thanks, Nick. 20 days to build, break a habit?

Dr. Teresa Peterson
Yeah. No, sorry. Sorry. When we think about, gosh, where do I even start with this? There are habits, there are habits like programming the coffeemaker before you go to bed, that you can probably build in the matter of two or three nights because the payoff in the morning is so high, right? You’re like, oh, I sm- l, I hear it. It’s, you know, I get up, I smell it, I have it, oh, it’s so great. Just program it before you go to bed. That is a very different type of habit to build than holding steady in the heat of a tough conversation with colleagues you respect, maybe colleagues you don’t respect, right, who you have some ongoing beef with that needs to be resolved. So it depends on what kind of habit we’re trying to build. I mean, I think habits, what Costa and Kalik would call habits of mind. You know, the openness, the flexibility, dwelling in possibility, the curiosity, goodness, we could work on those for lifetime. Because to some extent, our brain likes black and white. Generally. Not everyone’s brain all the time, but a lot of our brains most of the time. So, when we think about training ourselves to open up, instead of- you know, okay, I’m thinking of a client we’re working with now who says I have great intuition, I like to trust my gut, it was black and white, and so the act of challenging herself to be open, curious, testing assumptions, that’s way more challenging than setting the coffeemaker. You know, I don’t have a lot of precedent in my life for setting the coffee maker, I have probably 44 years of my life devoted to, you know, black and white thinking, just as an example, whatever, that’s not so much my, the burden, my saddle, but you know what I’m saying. So the longer you’ve been operating in a certain way, the longer it’s going to take to start showing up differently to form a new habit, so it kind of depends what we’re defining as a habit. And you know, the other thing, and this is something that I’m really enjoying about as I learn more about appreciative inquiry and complete the certification, is humans are drawn toward things that are generative and life giving. So if you are a new habit, we’ll call it a habit, if the new way you want to show up is a vision that compels you, then changing what you’re doing will often be much easier than saying I have to start doing it this way because the team says I have to start doing in this way. Right? So I think the trap is less about the time period and more about what we call a habit versus actual long term behavior change.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, it’s a- and there may be things that even when you care about you might not build the habit and- right? It’s, there may be things that even though you want to, you know, I do want to be healthy, and there’s so much familiarity in behaviors that, that aren’t, and I think that sometimes what can be difficult is, you know, you start and then you fall off the wagon, and then you’re like, wow, I just can’t do it. Well, as you were talking, one thing that was coming up for me that I think is also important for us to explore is this idea of, you know, like, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, so to speak. But the fact of the matter is, we know that our, we have that neuroplasticity, we are able to create new patterns and new connections in our brain, it might, it might be more difficult, but it’s not impossible to be able to show up differently. I mean, sometimes that’s something we’ll hear from people like, “Oh you know what, I’m just, I’m too old to change,” like, well, no, you can change, you’re choosing not to, that’s the difference, like.

Dr. Teresa Peterson
Yeah, I- you know, and that’s a great- when we think about our brain, and our brain operates on a confirmation bias, so it screens for information that supports what it already thinks is true, and so, you know, 20 years from now, if I think I’ve been doing it this way, this amount of time, and all of my indicators say it’s working, why would I bother to change? So sometimes it’s that is it really serving me? Is there a better way that would be more compelling than what I do now? So sometimes, I think the case for change, because like you’re saying, our brain is wired to learn throughout the life cycle, right, and so I think sometimes people get stuck in “I’ve got a lot of evidence to suggest that this is the way I’m doing, it has been working for me.” And I think about that confirmation bias, you know, and we can, we’ll talk another day, I’m sure about immunity to change, but you know, what am I- what assumptions are holding my current behaviors in place? That’s a whole other, that’s a whole other glorious topic.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, I mean, well, that’ll, that’ll definitely be be a topic we’ll, we’ll dig into. But I think it’s an important one to, to, again, be thinking about. And, and also, and also, it points to the fact that, again, from a standpoint of, of learning, of unlearning, of building new habits of, right, creating the muscle memory, is it isn’t just doing it, it’s reflecting on it. And that’s one of the things for anyone who’s worked with us, you know, we created what we call the model of perpetual learning, which is the, you know, the way that we, whether it’s as individuals or an organization learn, is through exploring, and then we experiment, and then we intentionally evolve through reflective questions like, what what’s, what assumptions are, am I holding on to that are getting in the way, or what do I need to let go of, or what do we say yes to? What, one of the things that, you know, we know because we see this, is we are headed, we are in a time, and I think we are heading into a time of pretty, pretty extreme mental health challenges, like, or high levels of stress, right, that prolonged exposure to stress because of everything that we’ve been navigating. And I, and I think it’s, I mean, it’s important for us to talk about how stress impacts the brain, and so I’d love to hear, hear your thoughts, as, as people are thinking about that, because we know we’re hearing things like people go, oh, I just can’t retain like I used to, or, like my recall is really struggling, and that’s something I feel, you know, I lovingly call it my glitches, right, like I, I’m forgetting names in a way that I just didn’t before, and I can just tell it’s, I can tell my brain is different because of the last two years, and working to give it give it some grace of, well, this is, you know, our brain wasn’t set up for the amount of stress that we’ve been under collectively, in a way that we haven’t before.

Dr. Teresa Peterson
Yeah, that’s an interesting point. And I think, you know, humans have certainly faced a lot of huge challenges of survival, but not at a time where they still need to show up on Zoom meetings, and, you know, keep, keep moving forward as though nothing is happening, you know, which is how a lot of people have felt, so, so it’s interesting because the glitches, right, the neurological kind of disruption will likely fade when we feel safer, feel more connected to other people, but it is a watch out for humanity that we’re facing large scale stress, that we don’t pretend like it isn’t happening at work. You know, I think that’s one, one level. Yeah, when we think about learning, and we think about what most people would consider a goal of learning, is that I understand what I’m what I’m taking in in a way that I can apply it, I can analyze when to, when to use it, when not to use it, maybe I can evaluate or reflect on how well I’ve accomplished the skills that I’m working on, and I can make adjustments accordingly. And that relies heavily on our prefrontal cortex, right? The, the executive of the brain. And so when I’m stressed, other areas of my brain, especially chronic stress, other areas of my brain are in control by necessity, right. And, Sarah, I always love when you talk about the amygdala, but it’s making me think of, yeah, when I’m in a time where my very existence may be threatened, right, because of disease or any other number of global factors, so I’m thinking about, you know-

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, injustice, oppression, all of that.

Dr. Teresa Peterson
100%. That’s going to make learning at that high level more challenging. For me, that makes a case for why, you know, if we weren’t interested in going deep into one or two big things for our professional growth and even students of all ages, that would be a case for that. Strip away this leap frogging of activity from one topic to the next, and allow people to go deeper into one topic. And, you know, there’s this other idea. This is making me think of a, there’s a great TED talk, it’s not new, from Sal Khan, Khan Academy, K. A. H. N., Khan Academy, if you’re not familiar. What a wealth of beauty in the world, Khan Academy, but we have to stop thinking about time as the constant and learning as the variable, and we need to flip that on its head. And so time becomes the variable and learning becomes the constant. So there may be people who, because we’re all wired differently, and we are all in different places, right, who are going to take to some new content, some new skills more quickly. That’s fine. And there may be people who need three times that amount of time, and that’s okay, too. So as we think about learning under stress, not to mention just learning in general, but when we think about it through the lens of right now, we have to give a much wider sense of time. And how long will be- because the people who got it early, can keep going deeper, deeper, deeper, they can mentor others, they can potentially break off and start applying it in a different way. Right? I mean, there’s plenty for those early proficient or early master users to be doing while everyone gets where we want them to go. Because I think sometimes what companies do that undercuts the investment of time, or money they’re making in the training, is moving on too quickly. Now you’ve sent the message maybe it wasn’t that important to begin with, you know, we’re just moving on, some people just didn’t get it. So that’s definitely something, that’s definitely something I would like to see more of, is more time, more time for learning. Because they’re, well – sorry I just my last thought about it-

Sarah Noll Wilson
No, go ahead-

Dr. Teresa Peterson
Because as we work with people in the position of planning, organizational learning, what are we doing this year? What are we doing this year? What are we doing this year, instead of we’re going to do this until, because it matters, right? And if that takes a year and a half, so, so some of that is throwing off the reins of how we plan, you know, how we think about how it’s supposed to go. I mean, do we want to have a sense? Well, sure. But it might take less time, but, hint, in today’s world, it’s going to take more time.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah. It’s- that’s- I mean, that is, it’s such a common pattern. I mean, that’s such a, and I get it, I get why it’s, you know, we- sometimes I think we feel like we’re accomplishing, it’s- I don’t know that I’ve said it this way, but it can feel like we’re accomplishing more when we’re covering more topics, when we’re actually accomplishing less, because nobody’s actually embodying it. They’re not, you know, maybe some, you know, I always, I always lovingly say, when people are like, hey, what can you do in two hours? And I’m like, we’re not even planting seeds. We’re just showing them what seeds could be planted. And some people, you know, to your point, there are times, there are times when I can sit through a, I don’t know, a breakout session, and it’s like they say one thing and I’m like, fundamentally changed in that moment, and I can’t think it or unsee that. And then there are other times where it’s, yeah, that’s, I get that that’s important, and I am struggling to apply it, right, or I’m not prioritizing it. And, you know, and then Oh, gosh, lord knows are so many times when you know, you know something, and then you hear somebody else talk about it and you go oh, right. Like I forgot about that. You know, I feel, I feel like that, that way, anytime I’m talking with a fellow consultant, or speaker, and they bring up practices, I’m like, yeah, I learned that in my master’s degree or, right I forgot about that. And, but, but that idea of, are we, you know, again, what’s our goal? Are we, are we just introducing topics, or are we actually creating a culture where we are learning the topics, and learning the practices, and embedding that into who we are, and it’s becoming part of who we are, and it isn’t just a word on the wall? And, and again, that’s- and it’s, and it’s also, you know, when I think about, you know, the repetition it takes, it means it’s going to be boring sometimes. You know, when I mean, like, I’m going back to, you know, again, the accordion, although, although it’s complicated, it’s not nearly as complicated as having to show up in relationship, or connection, or collaboration with someone else. But every week, I’m getting a new set of scales added, and I don’t just stop, I’m just adding them and I’m, right, like, and I’m working them. And there are times when I’m, and it can be boring, and so I think that sometimes it can feel like it’s not a good time investment, because, well, we’ve already talked about that. You know, we see this even from like a diversity, equity, inclusion, well, we already had it to our unconscious training bias, Sarah, they’re like, we’re good. Like, you’re not, you checked a box. Like, that’s not the same as actually doing the work. And, and, and I also, I also understand the challenges because we, we live in a culture that is so productivity focused, so hustle focused, so, right, like, how do we keep doing more and more and more instead of how do we get better? And that’s a real shift. I mean, I think the companies that, that do that, do it learning well, are the ones who understand it takes, it takes time. And maybe that time looks differently, and to your point, I don’t think I’ve ever heard you, you know, talk about that, that idea of how do we shift from learning is the constant, but the time is the variable. I think that’s really provocative of just and how do we give the time instead of like, no, we’ve got to figure it out. It’s got to be figured out right now. You know, are we confused, you know, like we always talk about we confuse knowing something for doing it. Those aren’t the same things. What- you know one thing that was coming up for me, too, is, as a trap that we see is that who gets focus learning and who doesn’t, and also, who doesn’t think they need it? So that like, that it’s fairly common that a leader, CEO, and executive suite will say we really value development for everyone but us, or we value development, but only for people who are managers. And then like, the rest of the population doesn’t get it. What’s possible, Teresa, when, when we’re able to create a learning culture, whether it’s within our organizations, or even for ourselves of, of, of that idea of embracing seeking, and being intentional about, about learning what like, from your perspective, what’s possible?

Dr. Teresa Peterson
What a great question. I mean, what isn’t possible. You know, that’s how I, that’s how I’m seeing it. Something that’s coming up for me, as you’re describing it, is if it’s, if it’s mission critical that there is a skill, right, and we’ll use, we’ll use conversations as one because that’s so near and dear to our hearts, right, so if, if holding more powerful conversations on a regular basis at the workplace is essential, it will be most effective when you work through it. So it’s essential for everyone, not just for some of the people, right, if that’s an essential skill at Company X, now, people might be working on it in different ways. You know, that’s something that I’ve been encouraged by, and surprised me quite frankly, because in education we’ve had personal learning plans, or, you know, individual professional development plans for decades, you know, so maybe we’re all working on assessment, but we teach completely different things. I’m a veteran teacher, you’re a new teacher, and so the things we’re working on related to it are different, but we’re all working on the same big idea, and so I think what would be incredibly powerful is that people at those different levels of the organization are all working on the same thing, so maybe in different applications, or people. You know, adults don’t like to be broken into group by skills, by skill level, that makes them uncomfortable. But boy, what would be possible if we could, if we could, you know, we’re, we’re still working on these basic three, that’s fine. Sarah, this group is working on more advanced conversation skills, and so they’re going to start doing XYZ. And it makes people uncomfortable, because it’s a lot more moving parts, it’s a lot of, you know, just logistics time away, maybe more resources, but when you think about potentially untapped potential, untapped payoff of everyone showing up in a new way that’s advancing the whole group, when you think about investment made, and programs that aren’t paying off if they’re underutilized or incorrectly utilized. Because as I read more about the great resignation, and the future of work, and what, you know, the, the workforce today and tomorrow we’re looking for, learning culture is very high on the list. People don’t want to be in a stagnant job with stagnant, you know, moving A to B, you know, wages, benefits, those are great, those are exciting, but what keeps people in is high sense of psychological safety, and an ability to keep learning and growing.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, it’s that, you know, I mean, it’s Daniel Pink in his, you know, kind of quintessential book “Drive,” right? He, he sums it up, in the, the three parts of mastery, autonomy, and purpose that that’s, that’s ultimately what people, what people want. And, and when I think about, in truth, the organizations, or the people we’ve worked with, that I would describe as having a higher level of a learning culture or learning mindset, right, that curiosity, tend to be more productive. They tend to be, and not productive just from an output perspective, but they cause less harm. They are, you know, that it isn’t just that we’re learning so that we can be productive, but it’s, you know, we have a culture of curiosity because we all are worthy of it. And I think that that, you know, that’s something that I’ve certainly seen, you know, prior to starting my company, and starting this company, and when I worked at, at ARAG is, you know, when, when we would make investments in people in a really deep way, and not just like, hey, this is what you need to do for your role, but we just want to help you develop as a really great person, and if we can get you for two to three years, amazing. And if we can set you up for success to go somewhere else, amazing. Like, what, what a partnership we have. I mean, that’s, that’s a way of showing people that I value you, and I care. And when we talk about right, like, things like the great resignation, is people want to just know that they’re valued, they want to know that companies care about them. And, and in making that investment, you know, we found fairly consistently that when we’ve done work with teams over a period of time, so it wasn’t just a one and done, wasn’t just an event, not that there’s anything wrong with those, like, we understand that sometimes that’s like maybe where a company or a team needs to start. Maybe that’s, again, where we plant some seeds. But consistently, when, when, when, when we’ve done work, or we’ve seen companies who have done work over a longer period of time, right, not only is that learning deeper, but the value that people feel, or the investment they feel in them, is significant, and the appreciation that they have from the company that they gave them that space is quite profound, and very consistent compared to say, oh, we did this to our thing, and that it just wasn’t really practical.

Dr. Teresa Peterson
I completely agree. And something that came up for me while you were talking was this idea of a positive presupposition. And so we would see this in school, if I have a positive presupposition about families and kids, it would be that, that they’re going to show up wanting to learn, right, not wanting to cause a problem. But the parents are doing the best they can with the child they have, right, that we’re going to give today, we would probably call it grace, you know, or something to that effect. But what you described, and what I heard in a different way than I’ve thought about, is the companies who are investing in the longer training are investing in, in learning experiences that people see they can apply in and out of work, but developing the whole person. Those companies really are representing a positive presupposition about the people who work there, that they are learners, that they’re worthy of developing, that their time should be valued, that they have more to offer, right, more to give and receive, which is very different from coming of a place of deficit thinking. You know, well, we’re not good at this, we need to, we need to get better at it, you know, what can you do to help us, blah. So that, that would be a good look in the mirror, that would be a good look in the mirror for how we think about our team members, what they’re capable of, because even in a time of exhaustion and burnout, and while learning may take a different pace right now, which I think would be very appropriate, very appropriate change, it doesn’t mean it has to stop. And it doesn’t mean that people don’t want to learn, but they do need information at a different speed right now. And probably they always did, I think we’re just seeing, I think we’re just seeing it with new eyes because people are more vocal about it.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, it, you know, as you were talking it made me think of, right, like the policies that are for the 2% that might take advantage of it instead of the policies for the 98 that would benefit from it. And, you know, and understanding like, that, again, that’s our brain going to a threat based response, and you know, and one of the things I was also thinking about, as you were, you know, as you were talking is, you know, for people who are maybe listening to this going, well, I don’t know that I have control over, like, my organization or the learning, it’s something that you can think about is, what does it look like for me to create a culture of learning for myself, and, and to notice, and to notice when might I throw up some defenses, or when I might minimize or discredit or dismiss, right? I’m a big fan, somebody once told me, you know, when you’re reading a book, eat the chicken, spit out the bone, right? That it can be really easy to be like, oh, well, I already know all of this, and it’s like, there’s, yeah, there’s lots of topics I know fairly intimately, and I still am reading books on that, or I’m still following people, or I’m still going to attend, because maybe they say it in a certain way, or maybe they use language that I hadn’t thought about. And so like, maybe I’m not taking in this massive transformative information anymore, but, but there’s something that is calibrating, and, and, but that’s also a choice we make, to pull something, to pull something out of it. And you’ve mentioned this a couple of times, so I just want to pause on in a second, is this idea of transfer of learning, right, you just recently were talking about, we talked about it early, is that we, again, from a retention perspective, when we can apply what we’re learning to multiple areas of our lives, right, we say this even with you know, we’re working with leaders from a coaching perspective, coaching skills are just really good conversation skills. And you can use that in your relationship with your children, or your partner, or your family, or people that, I mean, or, and or people you’re working with. And so that’s something too, as those of you who are listening and like, think about what are you learning, and how do you apply it to multiple different situations? I mean, I know that even when I was learning my, my, like, going through my first coaching training, I basically was like any conversation, I was like, I want to ask a better question, right? And, you know, one time my older cousin was like, look at you using those coaching skills, and like, I just try, like, I wanted to be, I wanted to be who I am, and I don’t want to have to think consciously about it. But to, to think about that and I think, you know, for us that’s, we know learning successful, one of the ways we measure it is when people are like, oh, I didn’t realize I needed this at home, you know, I showed up with my spouse or kids differently, or I realized I have to have a conversation with my family that I’ve been avoiding. And that’s really, really powerful, and again, it requires us to push against those limiting assumptions of when, where, and how, and why. Right, we might learn something.

Dr. Teresa Peterson
Yeah, that was beautiful. And I think one thing I noticed we were talking about, you pick up a book, and you think I know this already. And then a great catch for the learner is, am I doing this already? Right? Because that is our default to say, like, I already know all this. Yeah, it might be in a file, folder in your brain, but how often are you actually doing it, and doing it in a variety of of moments even when it’s really hard? Yeah.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Well, and that, that speaks to the Dunning-Kruger effect, too, of like, people who don’t know as much about something overestimate because they don’t understand or know what mastery looks like, or, or deep practice looks like. They, they overestimate their skills in it, so, so that’s the another reason why it’s important for us to continually be exploring and listening to voices and gathering insight. It’s, you know, like, I think about this with self awareness. How many people have read “Emotional Intelligence” or who have read StrengthsFinders, and are like, I’m really self- like, I’m self aware, and they describe it as a trait instead of an ongoing practice. And it’s not to negate or minimize the insight that they’ve been given, but we, what we know that, you know, it’s like, the studies, the consistent study is that students who did poorly often overestimated how competent they were compared to students who had done more research and were outperforming, they tended to question things because they had a better sense of what did excellence look like in this, this field. And so, I mean, and that’s why we’re so passionate too about not only is it like, do I know it, am I doing it? But that third step, you know, which gets into that immunity to change work is, and what am I doing that’s actually getting in the way of me being more effective with it? And, you know, so, so it’s like, so, you know, if there’s, if there’s a place in your, you know, for people who are listening, like, oh, no, I know this, like, I want to push against you, like, and what don’t you know, and what haven’t you learned? And how, and again, that kind of that loving eat the chicken spit out the bone, right? Like, I, I might read a book that for me is, you know, everything is new and ripe and amazing, and Teresa might read in and go, oh, yeah, yeah, like that reinforces, she’s orbiting it, right, that it validates it, and there may be something, just like one phrase or one practice that, like, I hadn’t thought about it that way. And that’s, that’s really powerful. And so, you know, so the, I’m such a big proponent of when we think about learning is, it’s never done. You never know it all. You know, you just, you know what you know to this point, and what you’ve practiced to this point. And there’s so, there’s just especially when we’re talking about humans, and working with humans, and being in relationship with humans, there’s so much you’re not going to know. Always, right? Like that’s, and that’s why the being chronically curious is so important is, it’s knowing that there’s always going to be things you don’t know about yourself, the other person in the situation.

Dr. Teresa Peterson
Absolutely. And even for people who felt pretty competent, pretty skilled working with humans, and the standard run of the mill things that came up, then you have a pandemic, then you, I mean, insert any, any crises, personal, or national, global, and people show up differently. You need to evolve your skills to meet the moment. We’ve talked to a lot of HR professionals who say my job now is fundamentally different than it was two years ago, five years ago. So yeah, the evolution. And humans are built for that, you know, we’re built to keep growing and changing. As frustrating as that can be to have to keep rearranging.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Right, right, right. Like, I just want to figure it out. I just want some certainty.

Dr. Teresa Peterson
Oh, don’t we? Yes, yes.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Well, Teresa, we are coming up on time. No doubt we can keep talking about this, and we know that you’ll definitely be a part of future shows, we’ll explore things. A question that we ask everyone, and I realized that I didn’t prompt you, so I’ll give you my thinking brain partner a chance to reflect before you respond. What’s a conversation you’ve had with yourself or with someone else that was transformative?

Dr. Teresa Peterson
Yeah, there are a lot. One that’s coming to mind, I have a daughter, and I, after I had two sons, I had a daughter, and so there were just different things I was aware of, and parenting boys and girls kind of out, out in the world, you know, things, different things. And I had a tough conversation with myself in a play area. My daughter was maybe two. And that was a, you know, you could just picture play area, indoor play area. And this boy, about the same age, wanted to play with her, and she just was doing her thing. She just wanted to do her thing, she was loving every minute of this rolling foam shapes, and he kept touching or he kept wanting to play, he kept kind of, you know, he would you kind of grab her, and she didn’t want to play. And I said out loud several times, it makes me feel a little misty, because this was a defining moment for me as a parent, honestly, I said he just wants to play. He just wants to play. He just wants to play. And then it was like something clicked in my brain, that was, she said, no, she doesn’t want to play. What you want doesn’t matter anymore. She has spoken privately, like, she, she’s spoken, and I’m not going to send her messages that her no is meaningless. I don’t want to reinforce her this little boy, that her no is meaningless. And something like that was a light, lightning fast, it was so painful to me. The thought that maybe I was perpetuating this idea, it was an instant game changer. And I pulled her closer, and I put my stop sign hand up and said, she said no, and that was it. And then he kind of came back and I said, she said no, she meant it. You need to go play somewhere else. I wasn’t rude to the little boy, he was a little boy, he’s just learning. He didn’t. Like-

Sarah Noll Wilson
It wasn’t malicious.

Dr. Teresa Peterson
He was a following human nature, right? Which is like, no, I want to play, like, but I, you know, growing up female, raising a female, I wanted her to know that that was okay, that she didn’t need to, to do what he wanted her to do, that she could stand her ground. So that, that was a, that was a conversation that changed me.

Sarah Noll Wilson
That’s powerful. Thanks for sharing that.

Dr. Teresa Peterson
And to the two year old boy out there, I’m sure you’re a lovely kid. It’s not personal. It’s not personal. It’s just, it’s just the way of life, you know, it just, no means no. Better learn it now.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Right, right. For people who are listening to this, Teresa, and who may want to connect with you, either you know, to learn more about about you and the work you do, or maybe to share with you some lessons that they’ve learned about learning along the way, where’s, what’s the best place for people to connect with you?

Dr. Teresa Peterson
Absolutely through email. Teresa, T. E. R. E. S. A. at Sarah Noll Wilson dot com. I’m new to LinkedIn so you can reach out and watch me fumble around with how to respond to you. We’d love to hear what you have to say in response to the show, about learning, what’s worked for you about how you’re passing the time until the new season of The Crown comes out, I mean, any of those things. I would love to, I would love to hear from you.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Teresa, thank you so much for being part of our show today.

Dr. Teresa Peterson
Always a pleasure.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Our guest this week has been Dr. Teresa Peterson, and you know, there’s a number of things I’m taking away even though, you know, she and I talk every day, and we explore these topics, there was a number of things that they just resonated differently or came up in a different way. You know, one, one is that idea that our brain just can’t hold on to everything we give it, and I don’t know about you all, but I give my brain a lot of things, and so to give, give, give ourselves some grace, and also to be really intentional about what do we want to hold on to, that, that’s something that’s really resonating for me. And then that, yeah, that idea of flipping it and realizing that the learning is the constant, time is the variable, and how do we create spaces, learning cultures, in our workplace, and even for ourselves, to honor the fact that everyone’s going to learn things at a different rate. So we want to hear from you, you can reach out to us at podcast at Sarah Noll Wilson dot com, or find me on social media where my DMs are always open, and we really, we want to hear from you. What resonated? What are you doing or thinking differently because of this show? What questions do you have, you know, what topics would you like us to explore? So, again, podcast at Sarah Noll Wilson dot com. If you’d like to find out more about the work that we are doing and how we can help you or your team have conversations that matter, check us out at Sarah Noll Wilson dot com. You can also pick up the copy of my latest book, “Don’t Feed the Elephant,” wherever books are sold. And if you’d like to support the show, please consider becoming a patron. Visit Patreon dot com slash Conversations on Conversations, where not only will your financial support sustain this podcast and our amazing team that makes it possible, but you’ll also get access to some pretty great benefits like swag and Patreon-only content and events. And if you haven’t already, please rate, review, and subscribe to the show. You can do so on iTunes, Spotify and other podcast platforms, this helps us get the word out, and continue bringing on amazing guests each week. So a big thank you to our incredible team who makes this podcast possible. To our producer, Nick Wilson, our sound editor, Drew Noll, transcriptionist, Olivia Reinert, and marketing consultant, Kaitlyn Summitt-Nelson. And a final, final deep gratitude thank you to my colleague, my researcher, partner, my thinking buddy, my stepping into the heat together friend, Dr. Teresa Peterson. This has been Conversations on Conversations. Thank you so much for listening. And remember when we can change the conversations we have with ourselves and others, we can change the world. So thank you all, till next time, please make sure you rest and rehydrate, and we’ll talk again soon.

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