10 Powerful Phrases We Should All Say More

These phrases come from the amazing book Ten Powerful Phrases for Positive People by Rich DeVos. I came across an old stack of notepads with all sorts of notes. When I read these I could not help but read the book again and do some reflection. Each reflection is my own, the phrases are from Rich.

  1. I’m Wrong – this is perhaps the hardest two words to say. To give up our shield and admit that what we have done and/or said was indeed not the correct choice is tough. We must realize that we are not perfect and we are not supposed to be perfect so when we make a mistake we must own it. Over my fair share of mistakes I have learned that admitting fault builds trust, character, and stronger relationships because people realize you are honest and genuine.
  2. I’m Sorry – similar to I’m Wrong, but this is when you have hurt another person. The only way to move forward is to be open, honest, and careful of who you have hurt. Don’t abuse this statement because too often we toss these words out when we are caught doing something wrong but do not really mean it. Don’t cry wolf and when you really need these words to mean something they fall to the wayside.
  3. You Can Do It – we must believe in ourselves. We can actually achieve what we want to do if we first start with the belief. Being positive will rub off on your actions and eventually spread to others. As a parent and educator we must continue to let others know they can do it too! Even when we are frustrated and it is hard to say, we must continue to believe. If we don’t model and believe in them, then who will? Belief is my new focus as I dig into research about the importance of belief.
  4. I Believe In You – we cannot achieve our goals if we first don’t believe in ourselves. Most people have nothing at the end of their lives but a long list of regrets because that darn negative voice that chirps at us all the time takes hold and we believe in the self doubt. Go forth and make a ruckus in the world.
  5. I’m Proud of You – We love to be acknowledged. When was the last time you celebrated someone who you were proud of? I have found that handwritten letter speaks volumes. Nothing has been more powerful than a handwritten message to someone to simply let them know you are proud of them. Try it.
  6. Thank You – Again, two words that get tossed around too often without emotion, but on the flipside is often spoken too late when really needed. We are much more quick with the tongue to complain and point fingers. Change your method.
  7. I Need You – We cannot navigate this world alone. We need others. We need our loved ones. We are all needed. Don’t lose sight that none of us can do it alone.
  8. I Trust You – To open ourselves up to another person is a commitment. Society is dependent on trust. Success hangs in the balance of these moments. Trust in another person is the most vulnerable opportunities in our lives, but when the trust is formed there is nothing more powerful.
  9. I Respect You – Respect is reciprocal. It is a two way street. It cannot be a one way path. If you want respect from others, then you must respect others. Simple math.
  10. I Love You – Don’t regret not telling people who you love most that you love them. We all need to hear it. We all need to feel it. Never assume.
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Google Chrome: Hide Extensions in Menu Bar

Another Coffeechug Tip

In this episode I will teach you how to hide Chrome extensions from the menu bar.

Doesn’t it drive you nuts when you have all those icons and less space for the search bar?

This quick tip will help you declutter!

If you like please give a thumbs up and subscribe.

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Google Chrome: Access Multiple Tabs from Other Devices

This tip covers how to access your tabs that you have left on other computers using Google Chrome.

This tip will save you from the dreaded frustration when you leave something at work and wish you had access to it from home.

No downloads or software, just a few easy clicks.

How have you used it? Leave a comment.

If you like this video please subscribe to my YouTube channel and give it a thumbs up. This helps me out by allowing more people to access the video. A few clicks is all I ask!

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039: Living on the Edge of Chaos Podcast with John Cole

John Cole, founder of Dexter Industries joins us for the latest episode of the podcast.

In this episode we learn a great deal about life, learning, and entrepreneurship. What I love best about this particular episode is how he is able to share a glimpse of his journey into how he has arrived at his current point in life. This journey connects to so many students who are trying to navigate their interests and passions.

We discuss the following:

  1. How did he end up as the founder of Dexter Industries?
  2. The key skills needed to be adaptable and mobile in the job market and being successful in life.
  3. Why there is no discussion of the specific content needed to be hired for a job. Focus on the traits companies are looking for and no so much on what content you contain in your head.
  4. What is missing from the next wave of people looking for a job?(hint: you must be able to WRITE)
  5. Building a portfolio of perseverance and grit. We must prove our worth!


Check out the show and episodes on iTunes


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#NAG17 Reflection, Process, and Next Steps

48 Hours after NAG and I finally have some time to decompress and reflect on my travels to Nebraska to learn, share, and connect with the NAG Conference.

This was my first time being in Nebraska except for one day many years back for a concert to see Dave Matthews Band. I can say I honestly loved the place. It was a perfect way to use two personal days.

The conference was full of amazing educators that care. They are dedicated to their classrooms and schools and are working tirelessly to help students in their classes. You can hear the passion in their voice. You can see the commitment in their eyes. It is a great reminder that despite all the negativity constantly being blasted by the press about education and schools there are amazing people doing amazing things. This is true all over the nation, but it was powerful to feel this energy with people whom I have never met before.

The conference started off with a keynote by Ginger Lewman. I have had Ginger on my podcast, read her book, and have been able to call her a friend that has challenged me many times over the years. I am very fortunate to have learned all that I have from her. This was my first time hearing her keynote. I was asked to introduce her and I will admit that of all my sessions and engagements these 10 minutes made the most nervous. I wanted to do her justice. I wanted the day to be kicked off on the right foot.

Ginger nailed the keynote. She did an amazing job sharing ideas and stories that confirmed our ideas while also challenging us in a nonthreatening way. This is hard to do and she made it seem so easy.

My biggest takeaway from all of her ideas that she shared were the following:

Which comes first? Freedom or Responsibility

The concept of a sea squirt and applications to the classroom(so good!)

Makerspaces are not a side dish. They need to be a petri dish.

These were the top three of many notes I took from her that have given me pause to think through ideas I am grappling with in my head.

The rest of the day flew by. I presented three sessions on the first day which you can access everything here.

The Makerspace session was packed and I was not expecting so many awesome people. I thought I overpacked my LEGO supplies, but turns out I was way short which is always a bummer. It is a good problem to have, but I hate it when not everyone gets to experience it the way I want.

What I was most inspired by was that as I challenged the audience to various tasks to model the way of doing things they rocked it! For example, I always have the audience work on sharing their work through this session. Many times only a few people will do it.

Not this time.


If you go back to the Twitter feed for #NAG17 you will see a barrage of LEGO builds. I felt like a proud papa! These people were ready to make change. They were ready to be pushed. Because of this I was challenged right back. We had people building in the hallways and corridors. It was so AWESOME!

By this point I already felt like our goals were accomplished.

Later in the day we did a global session on how to become connected as an educator. Due to a time zone error we had to start right away with a Mystery Skype. This was a risky move because

  1. I had no time to intro the group, set the stage, or even get them thinking about what it means to be global and why it matters.
  2. The classroom I was working with had never done a mystery skype before so I was playing with fire that this would all work out well.

And it worked! Just like in the classroom we must always be ready for change and adaptation. The kids in the other location were amazing. Thank you to their teacher Lindy for her dedication. She scrambled to find kids to stay after school to allow this event to happen. It is just one more example of the dedication teachers have to the profession. She was dedicated to allow her kids the teachers in my session a chance to learn together. Complete strangers coming together to do what is right for kids.

My final session was my Speedgeeking which is always a blast to share these ideas.

What I loved about this session is that I always tell people that I am far from the smartest. I encourage people to share their ideas and tips. Rarely do I get people to share. Not this time. I learned a whole host of new tools and tips that I super pumped to start using.

The people of NAG were all about collaboration and sharing. It was just great.

Finally, that night I did some work with parents and by the end of the day I was exhausted.

The second day was just as great. Despite some crazy weather many people still came to learn. They had a day off of school and still were driven to learn. The keynote were two amazing gentlemen from the University, Neal Grandgenett and Elliott Osler. This was a very hands on keynote which was great for a second day.

I was actually doing math!

I scribbled down many notes of my own thoughts that spurred from the keynote and activities. Trust me, these will be future blog posts!

I finished up the morning with two sessions. One on Googlegeeking which once again we had to adapt as the internet went out, but we made it work. Second, I ran a think tank session. I ended up changing up the session the night before based on how much making was already taking place. I switched up gears to do some things different. I was nervous, but I think it worked out well.

In the end I shared my ideas, but more importantly people shared back. I am coming back to my school with new ideas, concepts, and connections that will help our teachers and students. This is what it is all about.

Thank you NAG for a great two days. I feel honored to be part of the conference and hopefully helped others the way they helped me.

Here is a shared Google Album of images I took on my phone and pulled from Twitter. Please feel free to add your own if you were at NAG17

As for the list of tools I learned from others. These will be shared in a new blog post coming later this week.

Finally, I challenged everyone to share their learning this week and I provided a deeper piece to ponder on my Facebook

Thanks for a great two days. Now, I just wait to get my suitcase as I spent all my thinking energy that I left the hotel without it. The joys of travel and brainfarts!

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Global Educators of Awesomeness Voxer Group

Come join the team!

In 2014 I challenged myself at ITEC to create an Iowa Educator Voxer group and to be honest this has probably been one of the most powerful PLN groups to challenge my thinking, keep me grounded in reality, and forcing me to really think through my ideas. Over the summer it began to fall apart after two years and now it is just a barren wasteland of what was powerful connected learning.

I am not waving the white flag. I am going to remaster the group and get it back up and running.

And I want you to join us.

This group has been rebranded to Global Educators of Awesomeness. In this day and age where it is simply too easy to connect with like minded people we must be the change agents.

The goal of this group is to bring in the minds of educators from all over the world to share questions, ideas, thoughts, and powerful conversations. The hope is that it ignites deeper levels of thoughts, challenges our ideas, and promotes a better learning opportunity for all.

If you have not heard of Voxer, then it is time to download the app or login from your computer.

Join our group! The link is here

Begin by introducing yourself, listening in to the chats that will soon start up and together let us make it a goal to empower us all by having real honest conversations about education.

It is time to be support network for educators and learn that all perspectives matter.

Looking forward to hearing from you in the group.


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Tools of Titans Review Part 1 Healthy

Application and Self Development

I recently wrapped up reading the first section of Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss. This massive book of insights gathered by top people in all categories of life is one of the most transformational books I have read. I wanted to gather my notes and ideas and share out what I think so far and the goals I plan to accomplish.

To do this I have decided to break my takeaways down into sections. There is simply too much to gather even by going this route, but it is what I have decided to do.

This part focuses on section 1 which is all centered around health and taking care of our bodies. Enjoy

If nothing else this reminder serves as the cornerstone to all growth mindset. We must be willing to push forward and create our own path in life.

If you are able to grasp this concept then you know that you must focus only on what you can control. We cannot do anything about the hand of cards we have been dealt, but we are responsible to make the best hand possible.

The section that shared the insights with Jason Nemer really struck a chord with me. In this section I read the following statement which clicked in my brain. This statement has become my 2017 Focus of the Year.

In February I plan on doing the exercises shared by Dr. Peter Attia. I have been doing core work with my athletes, but these exercises might be a good addition to the schedule. I will do a few times a week in February to see how the results turn out.

This part of the interview with Dr. Attia really hit home with me as well. It serves as a great reminder to be the best father I can be. I have worked to do less this year to be home more. As my youngest daughter is growing up too fast and my other two children are starting to look like young adults I realize time is going by too fast. I miss them even when I am with them.

Next up was Justin Mager who had some really great insights. One of the best ideas was the following:

This is more important than you realize. When you read between the lines it makes you realize how much we judge by good or bad. So often this is why we have problems reaching goals, being happy, and more. Not everything is black and white.

Just like in school as well as in life we need to justify that there is a fundamental difference between understanding something and simply knowing its name or labeling it. These are two completely different concepts that we often confuse.

Pavel Tsatsouline

Another great part of the book. Something that I was able to relate to was the notion that as a leader we must realize that people are going to mimic our behavior. Some of it might be positive mimicry and some will do more mockery. Regardless, people are watching.

As a coach I don’t yell, scream, shout, or do any of the typical behavior often associated with being a “good” coach. Instead I stay calm and believe that I must model how I want my players to be behave both on and off the court. As Pavel states, “Calm is contagious”

The one piece that really resonated with me as a person as a whole(father, husband, educator) was the section with Laird Hamilton, Gabby Reece, and Brian MacKenzie. For some reason I pictured myself hanging out with them and in the process being the best version of myself. The elements of using social connections for health is so true and powerful. We often don’t realize how important it is to have another person keep us accountable when trying to eat healthy, exercise, and do right.

One idea that I am trying to develop further is Laird’s Man Book Club where they read a nonfiction book a month and discuss the ideas. I keep drawing up this vision of a book club that is not gender specific but the discussions would take place on long runs. I am falling in love with the notion of strengthening my mind and body at the same time.

These are two great reality checks for us to use from time to time!

I never imagined in a million years that I would feel so connected to Triple H, but his podcast episode and section in the book is my favorite of the section.

Something that I grapple with every single day when working with students and my own children is the idea of helping them determine the difference between a dream and goal. There is a difference. A dream is something you fantasize about that will probably never happen. A goal is something you set a plan for, work toward, and achieve.

When I work with teams that get nervous before a game or watch my kids become stressed before a test I often remind them the very thing that Floyd Mayweather discusses. The work is already done. There is no need to stress now. Either you are ready or you are not ready. Simple as that. Deep down you should know if you put in the necessary work. After the results you need to analyze and figure out what needs improvement, what needs to be eliminated, and what needs to delegated.


Books I ordered or placed on hold at library

House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski

Mistakes Were Made by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson

Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! by Richard Feynman

Joy On Demand by Chade-Meng Tan

Concepts I am going to experiment with in February

  1. Dr. Peter Attia exercises at home and at practice.
  2. Jane McGonigal idea of using Tetris as therapy to help sleep. I struggle sleeping.
  3. Drink Yogi Soothing Caramel Bedtime Tea to help with sleep
  4. Develop and further focus on my morning rituals. I know that when I wake up early and do certain things I often have good days or not so good days. I want to analyze and further develop these ideas.
    1. What are my five rituals and how many do I do each day?
    2. “The small things are the big things”
    3. Ideas to try
      1. Make my bed
      2. Meditate – I suck at it, but I need to develop this routine more. Forcing myself this meta-skill when it does not matter is most important. If I can teach myself to focus when it does not matter, then I will be able to focus when it does matter.
        1. Headspace or Calm app will be loaded up and experimented with in February.
      3. 5 Minute Journal and Bullet Journal
      4. Exercise
      5. Brain Dump

Each day I write a daily thought to my basketball team. These are thoughts and ideas that I hope roll over to their mind training for life(the biggest game of them all). As we win and lose games I cannot help but bring to light this quote.


This is where I am at. I will be taking the rest of January and February to develop these ideas, attempt to live and model them, and work to being a better person. I know I won’t get to them all, but I will continue to document, record in my Bullet Journal and further experiment with the ideas and concepts to make my life and myself better.

While I develop these ideas I will begin to read the next section on Wealth. More importantly I look forward to blogging about these ideas in greater detail as I apply them to my life.

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Project Based Learning: Why?

PBL is another of the many buzzwords in education. I have been a fan of pbl since I have learned about it and I really believe many educators were doing this type of work before there was a label. As the pressure builds for teachers to perform to standardized tests while trying to balance the gut instinct of knowing what students need most pbl can help make sense of trying to accomplish both things at the same time.

As I think about how quickly the world has changed from the days of the 90’s where we were told stranger danger and to avoid cars at all costs to today where I voluntarily pay money to ride in a car with strangers via Uber I realize it is time to improve education. I see methods and hear from people all the time that just make me cringe a bit to know that the same things I did as a kid are still being done. It is not so much that these are necessarily bad, but the world has evolved. The way society operates has shifted. The way in which we do many things are not the same as 20 years ago and who knows what the next five will hold for all of us.

The economy is changing. There are more jobs than we ever imagined possible. Not all are high wage and game changers, but they are jobs nonetheless. What are we doing to prepare kids for an economy that will need people in a variety of different jobs? What are doing to help students find areas of learning that are engaging to them? I see more and more students coming to school no interested, not engaged, and not really knowing what excites them. We can get angry, punish, offer detentions, and point the finger at the kid, the family, the work ethic, etc. However, does that really solve the problem or are these methods just a quick patch to avoid the real issues – school is not an exciting place to be?

The way we have operated our schools and education were designed to help a system that is slowly going away whether we like it or not. We are shifting to a society of “Show Me!” where people are looking for employees that can do the job and are not as concerned about what hoops a person has jumped through to find out they are not equipped. Time and money are of the essence. I was just talking with someone about how they have open positions in their business and cannot fill them. They are willing to train them. They are willing to pay for their school while they work. It cannot get much better than this for someone looking to get started in employment.

The world needs more problem finders. The world needs more people who are willing to use their knowledge and skills over extended periods of time to respond the challenges of the world. This is project based learning.

How many of you reading this do some sort of freelance work whether full time, part time, or as a way to earn a bit of cash on the side? How many have shifted several jobs? The average American holds a dozen jobs in their lifetime. The world continues to build out and develop more projects and gigs. It is hard to sustain a living, but this market continues to grow. Technology and the pace of growth has changed everything. The days of our parents working one job and staying in one community are few and far between.

PBL can help. It can help students learn how to prepare for real world work by giving them real world problems. PBL provides feedback constantly which is something we can all work on dealing with and processing. Learning to work on a team and to develop our communication skills. Last, helping us figure out what are expertise areas are so we can use them to our advantage.

As schools explore PBL and PLC there is a happy medium, a common element that they both strive to have that the world knows works. The common element is group norms. Google has discovered this truth when they launched Aristotle(a study exploring over a hundred teams for a year). Even more important was developing psychologically safe environments. How important is this? How obvious does this sound? So why is it that they don’t exist in our classrooms? Why is it they don’t exist as employees? Why is it that we have surface level signs and documents that mask the real truth that norms and safe environments are not as prevalent as we like to convince ourselves. I think the key ingredient to allowing high level learning whether in the workplace, classroom, home, or other locations is making sure people feel safe to take risks and push their learning and understanding that the norms is how everyone will behave. So simple and yet often ignored.

What happens is that we create classrooms where the majority of work is individual. This happens because we often work in silos and our classrooms mimic this mentality. It is safer to be alone. The trust has been broken. The culture does not allow teamwork to really grow. We wonder why kids struggle so much with teamwork while we sit in denial over how poorly we might actually be as employees. Where you find great work, great projects, and great things happening you often find great teamwork, great culture, and great norms. I see these examples and non examples happen all the time with my robotics teams, in my engineering challenges after school, coaching youth sports, being a parent of children involved in various activities. When there is a true sense of teamwork everything just feels different.

When we look at the essential elements to a high quality project one cannot argue that this is not only what is needed for learning to occur, but also exactly what employers are looking for when they hire. If you look at BIE essential project elements that covers most ideas about pbl out there you see: key knowledge, key skills, challenging problems, a high level of sustained inquiry, authentic learning, student voice and choice, reflection, critique and feedback, and a public product.

The reason that these are sometimes not covered in the classroom is because of the wrong mindset. It is not on purpose. What happens is that we(educators) begin to believe that our job is to prepare students for the next grade. How often have we said, “you need to know how to do this because in high school…….”? The goal of school is not to develop and create “students” but to develop adults that are self sufficient enough to be a positive contributing member in society. When we frame the goal as the latter, then students are no longer able to game the system as many have already done.

I am not going to lie. It is easy to blog about these ideas, but to teach them is something altogether different. It is hard. It is difficult. It is stressful. However, nothing of high quality is easy. We must ask ourselves, “Are we in this job to benefit students or ourselves?”


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Book Review: Payoff by Dan Ariely

I am back to reviewing books. After taking more than a year off from writing reviews I have realized how much I benefit myself to post my thoughts. I write notes and store them in various locations but I can never find them. My book review posts are to help me better organize my thoughts and like everything I hope you find something new to discover, read, and connect.

I am starting off 2017 with this nice short read. This book is part of the TED book series. What I liked about this book is that it helped me grapple with some things that I have struggled with mentally the last few years. The whole basis of this book is to look into motivation, what it means, and how to make it work for us. In the end what I took away from the book is that motivation works best when we simply treat people like people. Basically, treat people like we actually care about them, appreciate their hard work, and do our best to remain loyal to them.

The author shares many of his research projects, but in the end this is what I felt was the key for me.

For me personally, something that really resonated with me and for me made the read completely worthwhile was the following idea:


I instantly think of parenting. It is not always a job that provides happiness. There is no template, no recipe, no guidebook to being a great parent. What works for one, fails with the other, and sometimes you just shake you head, brush off your knees, and try again. It is tough. However, parenting provides meaning to our lives. We want to do what we can to lead and model the best way we know how. It provides meaning that is hard to put into words, but there are many moments when happiness is the feeling we experience.

This is same for teaching and coaching. They all go hand in hand.

It is really like trying to build IKEA furniture and scratching your head with the instructions. They don’t make sense so you go your own way in hopes it turns out right and when it does you feel proud.

The other idea that stood out to me is that money is not what motivates us. We continue to push this myth into the workplace and society, but really people just want to be acknowledged and appreciated for their work. It is as simple as that. If we know that many of our motivations “spring from trying to conquer a sense of helplessness and reclaim even a tiny modicum of control over our lives”, then we must realize that in order to help people move forward they need encouragement. Criticism and negativity does not work and will kill motivation quickly.

I encourage you to read the book. It is worth your time. I skimmed some parts faster than others because it did not apply to me personally, but being a short read you can gain what you need in just a few hours.

Check out this Amazon deal: Payoff by Dan Ariely 


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How To Download Facebook Live Videos to Desktop

Have you ever been on Facebook and came across a video and wanted to download it to either share with others, use in the classroom, move over into a blog post, or for any other of the hundred reasons?

There are several ways to do this, but I have found one that is simple and quite easy to do that requires minimal work and effort.

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