#26: Unleash Your Hidden Superpower to Realize Your Full Potential
with Sharon Cowley
May 4, 2023 | 44 Minutes
On "Inside-Out Career Design" this week, hosts Nicola Vetter & Peter Axtell speak with Sharon Cowley
Do you sometimes think back to those childhood days when play and curiosity was normal? There are ways to bring it back into your life and thrive.
Teaching others to thrive as creative beings is Sharon’s passion. Whether in the classroom teaching children, building curriculum, training teachers, writing stories, or developing learning platforms – all are created to help others build their soft skills and an abundant mindset.
In our conversation, we talk about…
- how a visit to a psychic for fun turned out to predict that she would leave her job and start a whole new career,
- why an open, curious, and playful mindset is critical to moving forward,
- why she thinks beauty and creativity are born out of chaos,
- why Sharon’s view on failing, offers such relief,
- why for setting and attaining goals it’s so helpful to draw from everything you’ve experienced and then play with it,
- how she uses the worst-case scenario tactic to determine if a goal is worth pursuing,
- and how everyone has a superpower.
About Sharon Cowley
Sharon is a creative educator who has been in the early childhood field for over 25 years. Besides Create Learning Center, the well-sought-after preschool she established, she has built LUUA, a space where she offers both adults and children tools, games, books, and products to empower them through purposeful play.
- Website: https://luuaplay.com/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/luuaplay
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sharon-cowley/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/luuaplay/
Connect with WhatsNext.com
- Free Workshops: https://www.whatsnext.com/workshops
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@whatsnextcareer
- Podcast: Inside-Out Career Design
- LinkedIn Career Group: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/2080874
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/whatsnext-com/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/whatsnext.career
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/WhatsNextMedia
Connect with Nicola & Peter
Books, resources, and people mentioned in this episode
- Lewis Carroll: Alice in Wonderland
- Podcast: Omen – https://www.omencast.com/
- Canva Design – https://www.canva.com/
- Siri – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siri
Drop us a note
Any topics you’d like us to cover or guests you’d like to hear? Let us know at [email protected]
About the Inside-Out Career Design Podcast
This podcast is obsessed with answering a single question: Is it possible to create an authentic, meaningful, and fulfilling life you love while building a successful and rewarding career?
Join Nicola Vetter and Peter Axtell, co-founders of the WhatsNext.com Career Insights platform and creators of the groundbreaking MotivationFinder assessment, as they follow their obsession with answering this question by sharing their insights, discoveries, and life lessons and talking with career experts, leaders, spiritual guides, psychologists, data scientists, coaches -- anyone and everyone who might hold a strategy or answer to the age-old questions of “what’s next for me?” and “what should I do with my life?”
They seek to transform suffering into joy for millions of people stuck and confused in their lives and careers.
Get ready to be inspired, motivated, and above all, to connect deeply with who you are and what you are meant to do with the time you’ve been given.
Sharon Cowley 00:00
It's play and when I remember to stay in that kind of innocent mindset to curious to see what happens next and to try everything I know or don't know, and just play with it, things work out.
Peter Axtell 00:17
Welcome to Inside-Out Career Design. In this show, we're obsessed with answering a single question. Is it possible to create an authentic, meaningful, and fulfilling life you love while building a successful and rewarding career? My name is Peter Axtell, and I'm here with Nicola Vetter. We're co-founders of the WhatsNext.com CareerInsights platform, and creators of the groundbreaking MotivationFinder assessment. Join us as we seek to transform suffering into joy for millions of people stuck and confused in their lives and careers. We'll share our insights, discoveries, and life lessons and talk with career experts, leaders, spiritual guides, psychologists, data scientists, coaches, anyone who might hold a strategy or answer to the age-old questions of: "What's next for me?" and "What should I do with my life?" Get ready to be inspired, motivated, and above all, to connect deeply with who you are, and what you're meant to do with the time you've been given.
Peter Axtell 01:20
Are you trying to figure out what to do with your life, to figure out what to do with the precious time you've been given on this earth, or to figure out what only you as a remarkable and unique individual can bring into this world? If you are, please join us for one of our live and completely free online workshops, where we cover different topics to help you figure out what to do with your life and career without wasting precious time, taking wild guesses, or risking it all. To save your spot in our next live and free workshop go to WhatsNext.com/workshops. We can't wait to see you there. Again, that's WhatsNext.com/workshops.
Nicola Vetter 02:13
Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Inside-Out Career Design Podcast. Our guest today is Sharon Cowley. Sharon is a creative educator, preschool owner, and lifelong learner. But she had a quite different career before she stepped into this unexpected new adventure 25 years ago. And working with you, Peter, to discover her North Star Three years ago, has helped her develop a powerful language around her mission to empower kids to discover their superpower, so that they have the courage to try anything. And not only kids. Today she thrives in the beautiful, chaotic, messy process of creativity that she teaches children and adults. That's why we were curious to hear more from Sharon. And in our conversation, we talk about how a visit to a psychic for fun turned out to predict that she would leave her job and start a whole new career. One open, curious, and playful mindset is critical to moving forward. Why she thinks beauty and creativity are born out of chaos. Why have you on failing offers such relief? Why for setting and attaining goals, it's so helpful to draw from everything you've experienced, and then play with it. How she uses the worst-case scenario tactic to determine if a goal is worth pursuing, and how everyone has a superpower. And now it's time to listen and learn from Sharon.
Peter Axtell 04:17
Welcome, Sharon. You know you've been in our mastermind group for over five years now ever since Nicola invited you in. And we've developed a deep connection. So you told us and hilarious story the other day about a psychic that was a starting point of a big what's next moment for you. So we'd like you to share that story.
Sharon Cowley 04:42
Yes. For years I had been in the restaurant industry. And I had since I was young, I always worked with adult women teaching them how to read through this organization run by these nuns and one of the cities close to me. And as I came back to these coasts and was working in a restaurant, it was at a point in my life, like really trying to figure out what was next, actually, and what I was going back to school for and what I was going to do or what I wanted to do. And people were trying to get me to do all sorts of things. And one of them was to teach. And I didn't think I wanted to be in a school system or to teach at all. I had I had other ideas or therapy, maybe occupational therapy. And a couple of customers kind of goaded me into it, they dared me into going into a school and trying it. And I was on that journey, I started. And I really didn't think I was going to stay. But I was a friend of mine wanted to go to a psychic. And we did. And she said, if you're if you're not out of the restaurant business by October 16, and this was like eight months prior, you will be you, you will be moving on. And, and I just did not believe her because there's no way that I was leaving, like my income. Like, what I knew I did it well. So. But lo and behold, October 16 rolled around, and I'm really bad at time, I never even know what month it is half the time, and the owner of the restaurant at the time that I was working in. And I had a little disagreement. And he replaced me. And it was on that day that he called me to another one of his restaurants and said, I'm taking you out of this restaurant, and you're not going to manage it anymore. And you can work here part time if you want. But he didn't like the fact that I had a job in the school system as well. And I said No, I'm done then if this is how you feel when I'm done. And I was driving home crying, thinking, Wait, what's today's and I had it was the days of before cell phones of time and temp, I had to go home and call from the phone on the wall. What to find out what day it was. And then I had to look for that tape to make sure that I was correct in what she had said or what I remembered. And sure enough, they moved me on October 16. And that was the day for real started only teaching. So yeah. Crazy.
Peter Axtell 07:31
Well, Sharon, how did you go from the restaurant business to teaching kids? And now owning the school?
Sharon Cowley 07:40
I know, well, service industry, I still think of schools is service to not only the children but to families. So it was kind of easy on that way. And I've always been really creative. So Art has always been my favorite thing. So as I started off in this venture, I started as an aide in a school that was the dare to go in and just see if I would like the system or I wanted to if I could work with kids. I didn't even show up with a resume. I don't even know how this principle even spoke to me. But she did. And then again, that lovely phone on the wall. She said thank you very much probably was talk to you later. And I drove out of there very proud of myself that I did what they asked me to do, and I was off the hook. And by the time I was opening my door, the phone was ringing. And she's like, can you start tomorrow? And I'm like, no. But of course, I couldn't say no, I took an hour of this woman's time. So yeah, she's like, just stop by the police station and get fingerprints. And you're all set. So I have no idea except for that like I asked for it. And I got it and then I had to figure it out. So that year was interesting and fun. But from there when people found out I was actually now out of the restaurant business and doing this other schools that were starting like a charter school, for instance, was looking for an art teacher so called me, and I had always done like I said inner city work with adult women in reading. But I also did some family work with art projects and things like that. And then I worked for almost like a Fresh Air Fund. It's called horizons enrichment program, which she was she was the turning point for me and everything and why I wanted to stay with kids. She was incredible. This woman, Linda McMahon. She was she's got to be the best person on the planet. And she started this organization out of a private school, and it helped inner city children with enrichment because they weren't getting access to the things that private schools or wealthier come in he's had in their school systems, and me being one of them. So our music, swimming. And so I had been doing that a little while, right before this and I realized, yeah, I kind of want to go in that direction and I want to stay. So I took him out position, then I went and worked with the school that she was working out of. And then from there a preschool called me and said, Can you please come do this? I have trouble saying no. So that's how it went. And then one thing led to another, and I just kept up with it. If I needed a degree, at that point, I went and got into gray, I needed a. So that's how it went. And then by the time I finished my master's, I was a little tired of school systems and red tape. So I was going to start something else. But parents asked if I would continue at least the art classes or the arrangement for preschool children in one of the towns and, and I did, and I started with four classes, I figured I'd be there till Christmas. And by Christmas, I had 12 classes. And then after that, one thing led to another, and I think nobody left. So they would stay all day. So I ended up starting a preschool there. And then this building this opportunity came nine years ago, and I now have this space.
Nicola Vetter 11:28
Okay, so why do people come to you? Teaching others to thrive as creative beings is your passion, right? So whether it's in the classroom, teaching children building curriculum, or training teachers writing stories, or developing learning platforms, what drives you to do all of that?
Sharon Cowley 11:56
It's play. And when I remember to stay in that kind of innocent mindset, just curious to see what happens next, and to try everything I know or don't know. And just play with it. Things work out. I forget for myself often. But it's what I do for children all the time. So as a matter of fact, I was speaking with one of my younger employees, and she is very stressed right now. She has a, you know, a lot on her plate for a young girl. And she's still trying to manage school. And I'm like, you something's gotta give and why you're rushing the school part. Now, like, especially college, yes, you need college if you're to licensable job. But besides that, like, you can educate yourself in many ways. And why rush through something, and stress yourself out when the end goal is to, like, have built this life and have a career and enjoy your life? Why don't you do that while you're going? You. And so same for me, like, That's what I keep trying, I keep having to remind myself, just like the kids, you learn best through play, you function best don't play things, more opportunities, you just see more things available to you. And it's just keeping yourself in that mindset. And it's not easy, believe me, especially for adults.
Peter Axtell 13:37
So, the theme of this podcast is people trying to figure out what to do next with their life and career. And so I want you to talk about we've just talked about play is entered the conversation. And I know that your approach to life is to be bold, and to embrace new experiences, while also thoughtfully planning and solving problems. Can you expand on that with someone who's trying to figure out what's next in mind, and then throw the idea of play in this whole mix. And let's talk about that.
Sharon Cowley 14:12
Well, for me, I realize, and this is what I try to show children because especially it's easy with children, because you're building like the little almost, if you think of yourself for them as a computer, you're building little files that they're putting their experiences in, so that they can go back and draw off of those memories to create something else. So it's the it's that open mindset. It's that play mindset of playing with all those experiences. And then what can you do? So, with children, you do that naturally, like you have to expose them to experiences and things and you learn best through emotion and play and having fun and it just and hands on where it connects to something you're understanding but for Our Adult, it's the same. It's just we don't think of it that way. So like our goals, like I set myself goals, not even regular goals, but daily goals. And actually, now is a good example. So I broke my, you know, I broke my leg in my ankle, and I've been stuck in this office for a month. But I'm now getting. So each week instead of getting frustrated with the pain and the end the learning how to do new things, and or how to do the same thing in a different way not to cause pain or more injury, I realized I have a main goal for each week. But I don't know how I'm getting there. So I'm going to draw off of everything else I've experienced and play with it, and try. So if I don't have a goal written where it's do A, B, C, D, and then achieve this, it, those don't. First of all, I find myself I'd procrastinate myself through them. Because that's usually there's, I'll find resistance somewhere. But if I just have a main idea of where I want to go, the way to get there, there's 1000s of ways to get. I mean, literally at one point, I was laughing at myself, because I was looking at something across the room. And I'm like, wondering if I'm gonna learn telekinesis by this point. I really want that thing over here. And I can't get there. So how am I going to get that to me? So, you know, it's it's that type of thing where it's, I have goals, and I show even kids? I'm like, What's the main point of this? What's the goal that you want to achieve? Even with my conversation with my young employee the other day, I'm like, What's your main goal? And then how do you get what does that look like? There's there could be 1000s of ways it looks like in one could be easier than the next and you won't know until you play with it. failing at the idea of failing is, so I went this path that I didn't like it. Let's check another one. I don't look at it as failing. I just look at it as like a wrong path. Let's try something else.
Peter Axtell 17:06
So to be clear, it sounds like what you're saying is that week by week, you have I think maybe one main goal, you're not trying to do 10 different goals and thinking you're going to make it. It's one main goal that you're going to focus on for that week is that the lesson here?
Sharon Cowley 17:22
I like one thing, especially time, time and I, it's not that I don't like time, I just don't have a concept of time very well, and I don't pay attention to it. On that note. Even having three things gets overwhelming sometimes for me. So I give myself what's my main thing this week. So it's made me realize that if I take the rest of my tasks, instead of the 1000 things I've had on my to do list prior, this slowed me down. So now I realized, okay, if I do it this way, look, I get big things accomplished.
Nicola Vetter 18:03
You said something profound at the beginning of our interview, saying that, I don't know. And that is actually how we would say, a friend of learning the enemy of learning is, well, I know that, you know, so to leave room for the I don't know, within the one thing that you are doing, and then have all of what the universe might want to throw in, come to you is I think very helpful.
Sharon Cowley 18:40
I will tell everyone, what I'm thinking and my decisions. And because I want all their input, I might not take all of their input, I might have ideas of where I want to go. But I want to see other people's opinions because there's a lot of things you just by thinking you know, you miss everyone else's perspective. And some of it brings you incredible clarity, because even if they're wrong, you learn something about why it's important. It's that whole operating from innocence, and it's so hard.
Nicola Vetter 19:16
How beautiful operating from innocence. I love that. Let me ask the question, in what way does preparing for the worst-case-scenario, enhance one’s sense of control and empowerment. That's one of the things that you throw in there.
Sharon Cowley 19:34
That's the reason I find it easy to look at going down the wrong path or what some people might think of as failure, not as failure because when I set an intention for myself or a goal for myself, or and I researched it, especially if it's a big life changing goal, and I've researched or I fit figured how do I fit into this or How does this fit into my life of what I know? Or what I have to do? I set my direction. But I always play out what's the worst-case scenario? What's the worst-case scenario? What's the worst thing that can happen? And if I can come to terms with how to either avoid that, or be okay, if that happens, then that's the goal to start pursuing.
Peter Axtell 20:26
And then on the other hand, I happen to know that one of your favorite stories, is Alice in Wonderland. And you once told me that what you liked about Alice is that she's always on an adventure. And she just keeps going down the rabbit hole. So let's contrast that with.
Sharon Cowley 20:46
Right. And it doesn't mean she didn't cry her way through some of that. But she kept going, and it wasn't good. And if you realize those two, it's a game. And that's the other thing. I don't know if I've told you this. So my father always used to say to me, because I would drive my father nuts, especially when I was younger. And he's like, this is all a game to you, isn't it? And I'm like, Yes, it is. It's all a game. But it is. And when you lose track of that, then you get overwhelmed, and frustrated and crazy. And maybe it's because I'm a highly competitive person. It's a game. I what I like about her is the bravery and the creative thinking in the moment. Because when you literally stand and was like, Oh, my God, okay, what's around me? What do I do?
Nicola Vetter 21:38
It's because you thrive in the beautiful, chaotic, and messy process of creativity, right?
Sharon Cowley 21:47
I think great, not only great beauty, but everything creative comes out of chaos, you need to embrace that kind of energy in life, otherwise, where you're gonna get it. And that's fine, too, if you just want to sit and enjoy what you have, and creating what you want around you and, and enjoying every moment of that and not creating anything else. But I think the whole creation mode brings a lot of messiness with it. It really does.
Nicola Vetter 22:16
And then the big question you're always asking yourself is, where do I find my center in chaos? And people who are trying to figure out what's next are often in chaos and uncertainty. So what would you suggest they do?
Sharon Cowley 22:34
I've talked to a lot of people about this, especially now that as you know, a lot of my friends and I are getting older and, and our lives have changed a lot. And I said, I always joke about one day, I'm going to do a podcast called Omen ice cream. Because in chaos, there's great beauty. So where do you find your center in that, and some could be through meditation and like, I have done a lot of work lately. And meditation, breath, breath, work, visualization, tapping for the children also, like I bring it to the children and what we're doing. And that brings me great centeredness. But on other times, it could be ice cream, and Netflix. It's what needs what you need to like come your mind. And center yourself again, where you are, so that you can reassess and see you know what tools do I have? What are all my strengths? What achievements do I have? And how can I put those together to do something next.
Peter Axtell 23:38
So it's been nearly three years, since we had some coaching sessions to discover your NorthStar, which is to empower kids to discover their superpower, so that they have the courage to try anything. Gives me goosebumps, Sharon, that is so inspiring. So what is the positive change you've experienced by knowing your NorthStar?
Sharon Cowley 24:10
To realize that, like all of us, not only, I always say kids have superpowers. And you just have to find your superpower. Because when you're teaching, especially diversity or kindness or empathy to children, you do it through, you know, the lens of we're all different, yet we're all the same and there's, there's good and everything, etc. But everyone has that superpower. And I as I tell children, even if they don't feel like they do, or they look at other children that could be, you know, a bit of, you know, a problem to them. That they don't have a superpower they do. They absolutely have a superpower. You can use every superpower for good or evil. That's what That's the mean, look at every superhero. You have a superpower, you can use it for good or evil. So how are you using your power set? Like how all the things that I'm like really good at, or, or talented or interested in? Or even moderately, you know, able to perform? How am I doing that for the best of myself and everybody else around me today. And if you can get through the day like feeling, okay, I did the best for everybody. That's a huge superpower in and of itself. It's remembering it for yourself.
Peter Axtell 25:35
So imagine that we're sitting in a group of adults, I'd be really curious about what you notice, when you are talking to adults with regards to their superpower?
Sharon Cowley 25:48
It's a good question, because I find that you teach children especially that middle age two years, yours not to because of social media and everything these days, not to depend on other people's perspective, or other people's opinions of them. However, in a, for adults, especially with superpowers, you need to, you need to see those reflected in somebody else's eyes or perspective, because you don't see what other people see in you. And I find that a lot people just don't know, they don't, they take for granted what they do well, or they have to do or they get through. As you know, they just take it for granted that they've done it or it was a struggle, and they made it and they put it in the past. But they don't see all of that talent and all of that. Not only experience, but what they can pull from that and help others with that they've done so much. And so with, with adults, it's more like, you have to start with pointing out how others see them. And what you've seen that you kind of have to go through what they've done. So you have to take assessment of their lives through someone else's perspective, to get them to sit down and talk. I mean, they can do it for themselves. But I don't think people are honest enough with themselves that way. Because I don't think they see. Even if it was a huge struggle, and they got through, they don't see the things in that, that they were really able to accomplish, what skills they have to do those things.
Nicola Vetter 27:32
But speaking about COVID, you definitely pulled together your superpower in order to get through that whole thing because of school closings, and so on. So you had to navigate somehow, around those challenges.
Sharon Cowley 27:51
When COVID hit that was the first time in my life, that something happened. And I felt like I was looking at a big black abyss because as much as I like to say, I operate from a curiosity standpoint, there's 1000 things spinning in this head of possibilities. So that's why I'm like, Okay, I don't know, we'll try them all. However, that point in time, there was nothing, almost as if there's no hope. Like, for a moment there, I was really surprised at my own reaction. But then, as I said to you before, I don't do well with time, one of the one of the superpowers that I ended up coming out of that, I mean, I literally had my whole front wall around the door entrance, lined with calendars and people like, okay, expose this one out. I mean, learned how to track everything. I felt like I got my middle school degree in the first year of COVID. Things you never want to know, you know, like I could tell you down to the moment, I'm like, they're gonna test positive then they're gonna, it was crazy. And I was like, Who knew I would ever know that.
Nicola Vetter 29:08
Way to put a positive spin on it, Sharon. Now, on another note, you advise people to ask the question, what makes me happy? And I believe that you might have asked that question during COVID as well. You, you say it can't just be about having a job. But how does that translate into also being able to pay the bills?
Sharon Cowley 29:33
Exactly. And that's where you really have to figure out what the things that you enjoy how you can either bring that to whatever you're doing or make money from doing that. And, and, and a lot of that too, is that big picture goal, like I was, for instance, my conversation the other day with the young employee. She's had a lot on her plate for many years now, because she's the caregiver in a group of adults that are quite sick. And there's not a lot of time left for that. And she is so focused on the things society says you need a four year degree, you need a career you need. And I'm like, but what's the big goal? What makes you happy? What are you, you're setting this up for what a family and, and, you know, good life, you need to take that time now, because she's on a timeline, which is horrible. So we talked a lot about that, and like you need support. So let us be your support. Because you can't do it alone. So it's those type, you have to find those types of situations to really figure out okay, what's my big? What's the biggest goal? Not only what's the worst-case-scenario, what's my biggest goal, and my biggest goal is, you know, in the end to be happy, does that mean to be in a family does that mean, it might be my biggest goal is, you know, owning my own business is it mean, working in a not for profit and doing, you know, like, I have a mom that went back to work, and she works for an organization that helps place the children that have been taken from their parents at the borders, in foster care and helping them so and that, that, I mean, in the, in the chaos of her life with young children and, and trying to make ends meet, she finds incredible amounts of joy, even though it's not a joyful job, because it's very heart wrenching at times. It's, she finds purpose in that, and that goes a long way to so yes, you need to make obviously money. Like they say money doesn't buy you happiness. But yeah, it buys you peace of mind to be able to, you know, function. So yes, you have to make money.
Peter Axtell 32:07
So you're not only in education, but also a lifelong learner. And as the world goes forward, and at a pace that we've never seen before, people are well advised about up leveling their skills, and continuing to learn. So you are an expert in adult education, and what is your advice for adults on how to learn?
Sharon Cowley 32:31
Again, you really have to do things that you're interested in. Now, my goal for the next company is not only to keep bringing all my knowledge and education to a wider audience through so it's early childhood education, as well as curriculum and to help teachers and parents. But it's to be virtual, so that I can do it from anywhere in the world. That's my biggest goal. So that I'm independent, location independent, and I don't have to worry about a huge goal, I will get there. Now, that being said, for the education, part of what I have to learn, is now it's, you know, software that I might not necessarily want to do, but I need to learn it to get there. So for adult education, it's, it has to relate to that long term goal. And, as I have told the younger people that work for me, at this point, college, unless it's a licensed degree, lawyer, doctor, teacher, you can learn anything, even from colleges online, but you don't necessarily need the degree. So you create you, curate that, like, you don't have to follow a path anymore. So you curate your interests. And you learn from there. It's all about experience more than it's about that little piece of paper that says from somebody else that says you've completed something, because what have you gotten out of it? So especially as an adult, you really, really have to connect to that because otherwise you can easily as an adult plow through any type of course, produce it and then have gained nothing.
Peter Axtell 34:20
I'm sure you have some ideas. Don't adults learn in different ways? Some read books, or they do it kinesthetically, or they go to courses. What are your thoughts about someone says, Okay, I have to go learn. Are there some strategies that you could teach our audience about how to learn or how to pick the right way to learn?
Sharon Cowley 34:38
There are different types of learning styles, some are auditory, some are visual, like you were saying, some are some need to be in a group. I need to bounce ideas off of other people as well. That's why I actually like the virtual world, especially for adults. COVID has brought a lot of good things like that, that are now mainstream. So you can find all of that. So you can, if say, if you're on an online course, or you find a community, there's multiple ways of connecting with them. Even though people say it's, you don't want to be online all the time. Look, truthfully, we have never met in person. So I feel more connected with you guys over the last few years, and I have with people that I work with every day. So you can find those connections. And you can use the style that you need. Like, if it's an online course or a book, you can do it. Like I cook a lot, I love to cook, so I am doing something I love. And I'm listening to a book at the same time. So it's coming in with an I'm in a different heightened emotion. So it's easier for me to connect to the material. Again, if you look at it, I look at it is and this is what I teach teachers is purposeful play for children, children learn through play. And why they learn to pay is because there's different types of communication. There are different types of learning styles available at all times. So you can do it hands on, you can do it. Visually, you can do it by listening to someone else or speaking, communicating your ideas. Same for adults, you've got to just figure out what you're comfortable with. But find a way to play with it. Because if you're in play mode, and play mode is, is truly where with a purpose, you have a purpose, you want to gain a skill, you want to explore an idea. But you're playing with it, where you're trying multiple different things, to see what sticks and to see what sparks the next form of curiosity. Because if you don't go into it that way, if you go into it with, like, my friend I was speaking of which she's like, but I've always been told I have to, especially in this community, you have to get a four-year degree, I just need that under my belt. So that can be done with it. What good is it to you why you don't that you need to play, you need to enjoy your life it has to fit in.
Peter Axtell 37:12
I think what you're also saying, If I hear your right is it could be reframing. So let's take about a lot of people who say they have a phobia about learning new technology, I don't want to. So that's a great way to look at it. So waiting me if I reframe this. I thought I don't like new technology. But what if I take this new technology, I have to learn how to do X? And I approach this from how could I play with regards to learning this new technology that I had this assumption that I don't like? I think that's a great lesson.
Nicola Vetter 37:45
It makes it easier to think back, if you hear play, to think back at what you were going through as a child. And therefore, you might be learning easier.
Sharon Cowley 37:58
Plus, this day and age, everything changes so fast, that I literally have to remind people and especially adults, not children, because adults will do this a lot. Ask children, what do you want to be when you grew up? In five years, we might have completely different. How do you know? Like, how do you know, and I want to help build not only children, but the adults these days, that not that just can't consume the next thing. So yes, I can learn that software that I don't want to learn. And I might be afraid of it because I think I'm gonna fail big deal. There's gonna be another software to, you know, two months later, that's so much easier. So what I tried, I didn't love this, this is what I didn't love about it. Let me go find something that or let me create something, look at the people that create what doesn't work for them. Canva is a really good example. I love Canva. That woman who created that, I bless her every day, like oh my god, thank you for making my life so easy. She couldn't find what she wanted in learning, whatever technology she was trying to use to do. And she created it for all of us. I mean, hello. So I would like to create those types of children that don't just know how to use what's out there, or know the knowledge that's out there. Everything's at your fingertips, ask Siri, you know what I mean? I want them to create the next big thing or create something that helps not only themselves but somebody or humanity on some level. Wouldn't that be fun? You know, same with adults. How does it work for you? If it doesn't work for you, why? And then go find that why somewhere else or create it and there you go. There's your next big thing. Right. That's how people make the most money. Fixing a problem.
Nicola Vetter 39:51
And I know that you're also a big believer in following your intuition. So as we move towards the end of this interview. What could you teach someone in our audience who's trying to figure out what's next about intuition?
Sharon Cowley 40:08
Intuition for me is listening, like really listening, not only listening to what you what people say is yourself. So meditation helps, yes, quieting yourself helps. But I always keep listening to my answers or watching what I procrastinate or what I do easily. What the bit what do I really want? What's going to make me happy in this moment? Or overall? What's my big? What's my goal? What's my big why, like you were saying, so what does that look like today? And if I listened to that, then you get a good feeling of what's a yes, and what's a no, you got to learn what you're feeling what your yeses feel, like, sound like and look like. And that means looking at the things that frustrate you the most, and, and either saying, Okay, I learned something. So now I can use that as a tool. So that's, I intuitively now can say like, okay, it's gonna feel like this, but I know I'm gonna get there. Or, like, that's a big NO.
Nicola Vetter 41:27
And we are following my intuition more and more in our business now. So now, is there anything, Sharon that we didn't touch on, I bet there is, but something that you really wanted our audience to know?
Sharon Cowley 41:44
The whole idea of play, I think we really are here, to connect with each other, and to enjoy not only your life, but life amongst the community is hugely important for us as humans, and to play with it. Like, if it plays in involved in that, that energy of joy isn't there, no matter what it is that you're trying to do? That it's worthless, but you're just gonna, it's gonna take you so much longer to get where you want to go? Why? Play, you just have to find what play is to you to remember, it's a game.
Peter Axtell 42:28
We hope you enjoyed this interview. My big takeaway was how everyone has a superpower. And if you can say at the end of the day, I did my best. That's a superpower.
Nicola Vetter 42:42
And mine was how adults need to see their superpowers reflected in the eyes of someone else, because you don't see what others see, in you.
Peter Axtell 42:57
I definitely see a superpower in you.
Nicola Vetter 42:59
Peter Axtell 43:01
To learn more about Sharon, head to WhatsNext.com/26, where we share the transcript links and more. Again, that's WhatsNext.com/26.
Nicola Vetter 17:01
And if you like what you've heard, share it with someone you care about. And subscribe, rate, and review our Inside-Out Career Design podcast on Apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcast or watch it on our YouTube channel whatsnextcom, one word, no dot, and subscribe, so you'll never miss an episode. Thanks so much for joining us here today. We'll see you next week for another episode. Same time, same place.