Joel Hawbaker is a teacher and public speaker and the skills he’s learnt as a teacher has helped his speaking career and the skills he’s learnt in his speaking have helped his teaching career.
Some of the topics discussed in this episode:
- The rewarding feeling when a child gets a concept a teacher is explaining
- What’s the hardest part of school from the child’s point of view?
- Helping kids see the connection between what they’re doing in school and how they’ll use that when they leave school
- How teachers can help give kids a better school experience
- The difference it makes to schoolchildren when they know their teachers care about them
- The importance of compassion from teachers
- How to help kids that are being bullied
- Helping kids whose parents are divorcing
- The downsides of social media for schools
- How technology has changed the classroom
- How world history relates to athletes
- An example of how the exam process helped a former student get a job
- How Joel’s teaching experience helped his public speaking
- Changing the energy in the classroom to keep the kids engaged
- How playing soccer/football teaches kids life lessons
- When coaching kids in soccer it’s not about the trophies
- Why adopting the mindset to exceed expectations helps you be a better person
Exceeding Expectations links:
How to leave a podcast review:
(All transcriptions are done using www.trint.com through a system of artificial intelligence and so on EVERY episode there are quite a few mistakes as AI is far from perfect when it comes to transcribing the human voice. However, it is a very time-consuming process to go through each transcript and correct all the errors. For quite a while I had the transcribed docs sitting on my hard drive in the belief that one day I would eventually get around to correcting all the errors and could then upload each transcript to the show notes for each episode. The reality is that isn’t gonna happen for quite a while as I simply do not have sufficient time to be able to do that. So please accept my apologies for the number of errors but I hope that these transcripts are in some way useful to you.)
Episode 51 – Joel Hawbaker – 10-09-2019.mp3
[00:00:00] Exceeding expectations. Episode 51.
[00:00:06] Welcome to the podcast where we give you lots of ideas and how you can give your customers a fantastic experience which results in getting lots of reviews, referrals, re-bookings, recommendations and all that sort of thing.
[00:00:20] This week’s episode is with Joel Hawbaker who’s a teacher and a public speaker. We did have some recording problems in this episode. Thankfully Joe’s voice sounds fine and I sound a bit robotic so you may not be able to hear everything I say. But yes you can hear everything Joe says so I hope that doesn’t spoil the listening pleasure of this episode. Please do leave a review for us on iTunes or any of the other podcast platforms and maybe join the Facebook group which is obviously called Exceeding Expectations. And if you know someone who may get value from this episode such as a school teacher or somebody who is trying to get into public speaking. Why not share the episode with them so they can get some value from this episode as well. Hope you enjoy this week’s show.
[00:01:16] Exceeding expectations and my guest today is Joel Hawbaker, how you doing Joel? I’m doing very well. Thank you. And you’re down in Alabama?
[00:01:25] That is correct. Yes southeastern part of the United States.
[00:01:28] And I can’t believe I got you up…well it sounds like you often get up at this time it’s very early for you at the moment.
[00:01:35] It is a little bit. It’s it’s not quite light outside. My dogs were happy when we got up early because it means they got to eat breakfast earlier so we’re good to go.
[00:01:43] So tell people a little bit more about you Joel, what is it that you do?.
[00:01:48] So my day job is that I’m a high school history and Bible teacher and soccer coach or football for the rest of the world outside of Alabama. And I’ve been doing that for 13 years. I’m also a writer and a professional speaker and I like to focus on the topics of leadership and blended family life and education because those are all things that I have extensive experience in.
[00:02:13] And so in all those things that you just mentioned which which one of those came first?
[00:02:17] Leadership came first. That’s something that I’ve studied off and on since college. And it’s something that is extremely important in my world just because I’ve seen great examples of leadership. I’ve also seen poor examples of it.
[00:02:31] And I’m of the belief that no matter what kind of leader you are or in whatever area you are leading we can always get better.
[00:02:38] And so I’m constantly looking for ways to improve my leadership my relationships those kinds of things so that one came first in terms of speaking and then the education and the blended family life have come along as well.
[00:02:51] And so how long have you been teaching in the school?
[00:02:54] Oh this is just I’m just about to finish up. We have three weeks left. I’ve just about finished my 13th year as a high school teacher and so I’ve taught every grade from 5 to 12 here in the state. So that’s ages. I don’t know about 10 all the way up through about 18. At different times in my career.
[00:03:14] Has the experience been what you thought it would be or how has it differed from what you thought it might be?
[00:03:21] I think teaching is a little bit like a marriage where before you get into it you don’t even know what questions to ask. You don’t even know what to expect in a lot of ways because you can learn a lot about it in a classroom you can learn a lot about it by observing other teachers but until you’re actually in charge of your own classroom and making your own lesson plans and working with a curriculum it just is you know until you’ve done it it’s real hard to explain certain parts of and in some ways it’s been a lot of what I expected because I love it. It is it’s a blast. I love getting to talk with kids all day long about history and have conversations about politics and current events and religion and culture and society and that’s just that’s fun for me and I love getting to do that.
[00:04:08] In other ways. It is it’s different than what I expected just because there’s there’s so many other things that go along with teaching that they they can’t really teach you in a classroom. And so that’s been that’s been good to learn as well.
[00:04:22] I imagine there must be times when your teaching particular concepts to the kids in the school and you can see the aha moment when suddenly it all makes sense where it hasn’t made sense before?
[00:04:36] Correct. Yeah. Well that’s. Yeah that’s one of the most rewarding moments for all teachers. There’s a it’s funny that you mentioned that a ha moment because I had one of those a few years ago that I love I share the story a lot. A couple of students were in my classroom and they were very big American football players just giant they look like rugby players for for people that may not be familiar with American football. Just big strong you know kids and they were not necessarily known for their academic prowess.
[00:05:08] But they were kids who worked hard and they listened and they they did the work and one day both of them got back a test grade that was far beyond what they had hoped. And it was really just because they had put in the extra work to learn how to you know to learn the material to learn how to write better essays and when they got these test grades back these two kids jumped up and they were giving each other high fives and chest bumps like they just won a football game. You know. And as a teacher that was just a really rewarding moment too to see these kids who weren’t really known for their academics express that kind of joy over something so very academic that was just a really really neat moment for me to be able to see. That’s the kind of moment that sticks in a teacher’s brain where you know that you’re making a difference because you can see it just like you said you see that aha moment or you see that moment of joy where the kids realize wow I’m I’m capable of a lot more than I thought I was.
[00:06:01] And so now I know that now that I know I can do better I want to keep trying to do better. And so one of those kids is now in college and playing football and the other one of those two kids is serving in our military and doing really well. And it just makes me happy to see kids that again when they can raise their expectations for themselves. That’s a really neat thing to be able to see in the classroom.
[00:06:22] I guess because you’ve been doing it so long there are kids who when you first started are now adults and doing all sorts of things?
[00:06:31] That is correct. Yes. I’ve got I mean I don’t know. I think over a dozen kids now that I’ve taught that are married and have their own kids. There’s one girl that I taught years ago who I’ve since taught with, that as she is now a teacher and worked at the same high school with me for a year. That was really cool. It is it’s a lot of fun to keep track of the kids. Yeah I got a couple of kids that I’ve taught one who is a missionary in the Middle East. One is a campus minister for a university a couple hours south of where I live. You know a couple of kids that I’ve taught are now doctors in different fields ones I think one is just finishing up his doctorate in pharmacology so he’s going to be a pharmacist. Just all kinds of different stuff. It’s really neat to see kids go and do amazing things. And remember when they were you know awkward 14 year olds. It’s neat to see what kids are capable of. And again a lot of times it’s very different than what even they thought when they were 14 or 15 years old so it is very rare. And this week is Teacher Appreciation Week here in the States. And so what I what I’ve been thankful for is a lot of kids have contacted me on social media and said hey here’s what I’m up to now here’s where I’m living. Here’s what my family life is like. And that’s really rewarding to see as well just to want to stay in touch with them but also just to see how well they are doing in their chosen field. As always great for a teacher to to see.
[00:07:53] What do you think from the child’s point of view is the most difficult aspect of the education system?
[00:08:01] That’s a great question. I think for a lot of kids the hardest thing about school is not seeing the connection between what they’re doing now and the rest of their lives.
[00:08:12] I think for a lot of students it’s really hard to understand what ninth grade world history has to do with them wanting to be a pharmacist or a lawyer or a stay at home mom or a nurse or you know what I mean.
[00:08:26] And so I would say the hardest part for a lot of kids is simply being motivated to do work when they don’t see any point at all in the work. So with that. So for me what that means is one of the major aspects of my job is helping them make that connection if they can see a reason to do the work. And that’s not just during the class room that’s true with any job. Like if you’ve got employees that don’t understand why their job matters like what difference does it make, then you’re going to have unmotivated employees. But if you can see them make you can help them make the connection between what you’re doing right here and the big overall picture of what our company is about.
[00:09:02] Well now you’ve got you can help them be a little bit more motivated because they understand why what they are doing specifically why that matters why that makes a difference.
[00:09:10] So what kind of things do you think that teachers can do to give the children a better experience in school?
[00:09:19] I think the first thing that we need to do is we need to get to know our students and find out what they are interested in because once we know what they are interested in whether it’s what they’re interested in at 14 or what they’re interested in doing when they graduated from high school. If we can find out more about our students then it becomes easier to connect our subject matter to something they already care about. And once they make that connection again they are a lot more invested. And so that’s one of the big things I try to do the very first day of every semester is I have students write just a brief half page to one page essay and the prompt is just tell me about yourself. What do I need to know about you that will help me teach you better know what what what is it that you’re interested in what is that you’re not interested in what what’s going to help us start a good relationship so that I can teach in a way that’s going to make connections with your life as it is right now.
[00:10:11] And do you think how much has that changed from when you were at school? What was the approach when you were at school?
[00:10:20] That’s a really good question. I hesitate to say what the approach was from a teacher standpoint because I don’t know. I remember being a teenage kid and I remember having a lot of teachers that I knew cared about me because they asked questions they came to our sporting events like I was I played a lot of sports in high school I played soccer and baseball and basketball and it was obvious that the teachers cared about us because they came you know came to our sporting events. They came to our our high school drama plays. They came to our choir concerts. And so there’s an expression in education that goes like this I say that the students don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. And so as a teacher if you can show compassion for your students you are much more likely to get back what you are looking for in terms of effort and commitment and respect and that sort of thing. So yeah I saw a lot of that from my teachers when I was a high school student. I thought you know I was very blessed. I had a lot of teachers that I knew cared about me and and so again it makes it easier to work hard for someone when you know that they have your best interests at heart.
[00:11:26] What about things such as… something that just came to my mind is the whole subject of bullying which is obviously something that’s everywhere in the world.
[00:11:34] How different is the approach to children being bullied now from say what it was 10 20 years ago?
[00:11:42] Well I think it’s interesting in that one. We used to.
[00:11:49] Teach students who were being bullied to stand up for themselves a little bit more. It seems that today the focus is much more on eliminating the bullying rather than teaching kids how to deal with the bully.
[00:12:00] And while I think it’s always a great idea to try to lessen bullying I also believe it’s one of those problems you’re never going to wholly eradicate because all it takes for a kid to bully somebody else is for a kid to be having a bad day or a kid to have a difficult home life or whatever it may be. And as teachers you can’t stop those outside of the classroom circumstances. We can’t. What we can do is we can try to form better relationships with those kids to understand them better so that we can deal with the bullying in a different way. But I think it’s also important to help students understand how to properly stand up for themselves. And I think that is getting a little bit lost in the conversation today. The other part that I think we’re doing better is realizing that a kid who is bullying others isn’t always doing it just because they are a jerk, sometimes they’re doing it because they’re just acting out because they’re coming from a place of hurt you know they have that they’ve got a difficult home life or they’re experiencing something outside of the classroom. And this is this is their outlet for trying to deal with that and they’re taking out their anger and pain on someone else. And so if that is the case then we need to ask the question OK what’s going on in this kid’s world. How can I try to help them with that a little bit because that. That’s a better approach than just punishing the bully for bullying. You know if we can understand where they’re coming from a little bit better then that’s helpful as well.
[00:13:22] And in that situation when a child is having major problems; maybe their parents are divorcing or whatever it may be. I imagine it must be quite difficult for a teacher; how much can you get involved in a situation like that?.
[00:13:36] It is it’s always a little bit of a grey area that as you just have to be careful and you have to be gentle and compassionate because you don’t want to be nosy and you don’t want to go sticking your nose in where it would be unwelcome either from the kid or from the parents. But at the same time you don’t want to come across as uncompassionate. Like you don’t want to say well I’m really sorry your life is hard right now. We have work to do. That’s not going to build any good relationship with anybody. And so you do you have to be very careful. But at the same time I would argue that it’s very much worth sometimes accidentally stepping on people’s toes if you’re doing it to try to let them know that you care about them because the kids always you know to say hey is there something going on. The kid can always say to me yeah but I don’t really want to talk about it. OK. That’s fine. Well I just want you to know that I care about you and I’m praying for you. And if you want to talk my door is open because then at least they know they have somebody they can go to even if they don’t ever take you up on that. At least they know somebody cares about them. And that’s important.
[00:14:37] And how many of them do want to actually talk about it and how many don’t want to talk about it?
[00:14:44] I would say that today it’s actually a higher percentage that do want to talk about it compared to when I started teaching 12 or 15 years ago because I said I’ve been teaching 13 years.
[00:14:55] But I right in the middle of that I took two years off and I got out of the classroom for a couple years. And kids now are different than kids were 15 years ago. I started teaching in 2004. And part of the reason kids are different is I know this get this kind of beating a dead horse but it doesn’t make any less true. It’s social media. Kids are more digitally connected than they’ve ever been but they are less personally connected than they’ve ever been. They have more followers or friends. They have less actual you know friends on Facebook or Instagram or followers whatever but they have less actual personal relationships. And so when you give them the opportunity to just sit down and have a conversation one on one they like that, because they don’t actually do that very much. And so that’s been really interesting to see as my teaching career has progressed. It’s been really interesting to see how many more kids are interested in just having a conversation because it’s different than their usual interaction their usual interactions come via some sort of screen or device. And so to just have a personal interaction over a desk or over a table that’s you know that’s almost unique for them that’s novel because that’s not what they’re used to. And and so that makes it really fun to be able to connect with kids.
[00:16:14] And talking of social media what would you say are the most positive and negative aspects as far as education are concerned?.
[00:16:20] So some of the positive aspects are being able to connect with really excellent educators because I don’t really do social media with my students. That’s something that you know my school policy is. I just don’t because it lends itself to too many difficulties or misunderstandings or whatever so. But in terms of positives like it’s great to be able to connect with other educators from all over the world and share best practices or have good conversations. There’s some really excellent education based Twitter chats that I look at that I’d like to take part in or at least even just observe and get great ideas for my classroom but also to just get encouragement and so that’s been really excellent. It’s also good to just be able to learn from other people who do things differently than you. So I’d say those are some pretty big positives. The negatives are that every single negative aspect of being in a classroom or being bullied those are magnified on social media. Every every person in the world is braver behind a screen and a keyboard than they would be in person because you can’t see or feel the consequences of what you’re saying. And so our bad decision making gets modified because we can’t see the immediate consequence. So if I were to say something really hurtful to you in person I would immediately know that I had hurt you because I could see it on your face where I could feel it in the atmosphere. On social media. I can just say horrible things and I don’t have to go back and look at the fallout from it. And you know that. And when you when you multiply that times normal teenage bullying. Well that’s horrible. That’s really dangerous. That’s really problematic. And so you know I’ve got a daughter who’s almost 15 years old. She doesn’t have any social media. She’s not allowed to I’m divorced and remarried. And that’s an agreement my ex-wife and I have had for years, is that we don’t want our daughter to have social media right now we feel like she’s too young for it. Not that she couldn’t use it. She’s obviously plenty bright to use the technology. But when you look at the negatives of it versus the positives of it it’s addictive and it’s potentially dangerous and it causes all sorts of social problems like. That. Those risks are not worth the potential positives of oh look you can spend more time chatting with your friends.
[00:18:40] That’s just not worth it.
[00:18:42] And DO schools tackle the subject of social media and try to help pupils?
[00:18:50] It depends on the school. I would say some schools have programs set up to do that. I would say sometimes it’s simply left up to the teachers to bring up as part of conversation in the classroom. So that’s one thing I love about world history teaching world history, is that literally anything that’s ever occurred, that’s fair game. We can talk about that because it happened in history right. So great. We talk about it so we do we talk about technology. We talk about social media. We talk about how what you know a lot of kids I teach or age 15 and younger. So for them normal is a smartphone. They’ve never known a pre internet or pre smartphone world.
[00:19:27] And so one of the one of the biggest things for them to understand is what they think of as normal is not it is actually the historical anomaly.
[00:19:37] The the idea of having instant immediate fast internet access strapped to your wrist in a smartwatch or in your pocket on a smartphone. That is science fiction come to life. Because you know 20 years ago the only type of the only situation where you saw computer access in a handheld device was on Star Trek. Like that was it. You know I mean the idea of a smartphone was science fiction and now every five year old kid knows how to use a smartphone because mom or dad will hand it to them in the grocery store or the doctor’s office.
[00:20:12] And the question is What is that doing to kids brains. What is that doing to them socially. What is that doing to them academically. And these are questions that. Haven’t even been around long enough for us to have good answers to.
[00:20:24] And so these are things that we try to talk about in the classroom just to help kids understand it’s not normal for you to have a smartphone attached to your hand all day every day. That’s not normal. That’s not the way human beings have lived for 6000 years of recorded human history like that. The earliest writings that we have are five or six thousand years old. These were not writings done on social media these were writings done on you know clay tablets or sewn or something like that. That’s not the way humans have lived. So what problems is it causing. And how can we do better.
[00:20:57] Before we started recording you were talking about how sometimes you could be talking about something that had nothing to do with the actual subject that’s being taught…
[00:21:08] Yes. This is. That’s kind of one of those examples of that is just discussing things like social media or you know discussing whatever’s going on in their world. Because the thing is for as much as kids are disinterested in school kids are very interested in things that they already like. So again the key is to find ways to incorporate that even if it falls outside the strict structure of the curriculum. So again in world history that’s easy to do because I’ve got a lot of kids that are athletes so it’s easy to talk about sports.
[00:21:39] And especially in the southern United States college football is like THE big sport most of the time, and so it’s very easy to bring that kind of discussion in and have kids be interested because if you’re talking about something they already like of course they’re going to pay attention because they want to share their opinions and they want to find out what you know and it’s it’s just a very easy way to keep kids involved.
[00:22:03] And so that’s a lot of fun to be able to do as well.
[00:22:08] It was really funny I had a comment from a student just a couple days ago, well a former student she’s now nurse, and she was commenting about how one of the things she learned in my classroom was just how to study because when she was in 8th grade world history she had to take a final exam for my class. So she was you know at the time she probably twelve or thirteen years old. The final exam for for the year was a 250 question multiple choice exam.
[00:22:37] Well at at 13 years old. Most kids aren’t taking a test that involves 250 questions. And it was really funny because the reason she brought it up is she said this helped me learn how to study for an exam that I took seven years later in college when I had to study for this gigantic nursing board final you know to get certified to be a nurse. I thought Oh how can I ever do this and then I remembered. Okay you know what. I took I took a test even longer than this when I was in 8th grade with Coach Hawbaker. I know how to sit down and study. I know the skills that I need. I learned them years ago. Let’s put them into practice again. And that’s one of those things that when kids are in eighth grade they don’t realize how. The skills they’re learning then are going to pay off later. And that was just a lot of fun for me as a teacher to hear because I’m glad that she was able to look back and see that what we did had value far beyond just the history class what we did in in that eighth grade class helped her throughout the rest of her academic career because she knew how to study. She had the discipline to make herself study. She knew how to write essays she had to organize her thoughts in a sequential and logical manner. And those are things that are great skill sets for life. You know if you’re going to sit down and have a conversation you need to know how to organize your thoughts in a logical manner. Well great. History is a great way to learn how to do that. And so those are just some of the skills that I try to teach in the classroom that even when kids don’t know it these are skills that will translate outside the classroom. You know we try to focus on learning so that they have more knowledge than when they came in. I talk about trying to cure ignorance a lot but we also want to teach kids about values in the classroom. We want to teach kids to have compassion. We want to teach them the value of hard work. We want to teach them how to work together with students that maybe they don’t know or like because these are skills that translate far beyond the classroom. And so again like is that stuff written into the curriculum. No they’re nowhere in my world history textbook does talk about teaching kids to be compassionate.
[00:24:38] But that’s OK because that’s something they need to learn anyway and that’s something we can talk about.
[00:24:44] You’ve mentioned that now you do some speaking and coaching as well. How did the speaking come about?
[00:24:53] Well I’ve always loved being in front of groups I’ve always loved being in front of crowds. That’s true. Going back to high school when I was in drama. And when I spoke in front of my church a number of times and I sort of had opportunities throughout my teaching career to give presentations whether it was to groups of teachers at high school or whether speaking at a high school assembly or a chapel at the Christian schools I’ve taught at. And the more I had opportunities to do that the more I realized that I enjoyed it and also that it seemed that audiences or crowds responded well to what I was saying. And so it became a question of how can I then share this message that I have with people outside of just my classroom or my immediate high school. And so the obvious answer is get in front of other crowds get in front of other audiences get in front of other organizations. And so over the past almost two years I’ve been able to travel all over the southeast speaking at high schools and colleges and business groups and churches and conferences and I’ve been able to share their you know different messages but all of them centred around the same idea of what I call confident humility which is simply taking your God given talents and using them to serve other people. That’s what whether I’m talking about blended family life or education or leadership. That’s the core message that all three of those topics have in common. That is take what you have and use it to serve other people. And when you do that you’re going to provide them with more than what they were expecting because they’re expecting they’re expecting a little bit of help. They’re expecting maybe some guidance or some cool ideas. Well that’s great. Those are good things. But how can I give them more than that. And the answer is to really show them that it’s not even about me. It’s about you. So. So when I go to speak at an event you know I try to be very easy to work with in terms of the event planner. And so you know I respond quickly to emails or I show up early to the event. I make sure to check in with them and you know if there’s anything that they need. So I spoke a couple weeks ago at a local business fundraiser luncheon and there were about there’s about 300 350 people there and all of them were either CEOs or upper level management or they were their executive assistants or personal assistants kind of people. And it was great because I was able to you know I go to. I got there about an hour early. I was able to meet a lot of them and talk with them and ask them about what’s going on so that I can make sure that what I’m talking about fits with what they are doing in their job.
[00:27:21] Because if my message doesn’t have anything to do with what they are already up to, the message is going to be lost. And so you know by getting there early and talking with them I can make sure to tailor a couple of examples in my presentation to fit with what they are already doing.
[00:27:39] And that’s a big help again just in connecting with them.
[00:27:42] I just wonder how much does your teaching experience help with your speaking and vice versa how does your speaking help with your teaching?
[00:27:50] Yeah it’s a huge help because I actually mentioned this in my my speech the other day. You know again I’m talking 350 businesses or you know personal assistants or executive assistants or whatever administrative people.
[00:28:02] And I told them I said this is great. This is this is even easier than teaching a group of high school kids because in a group of high school kids I have 25 kids who don’t really want to be there.
[00:28:14] You know but here I’ve got 350 people you guys chose to be here. You didn’t have to be here. You already want to be in this place. Well that means you’re already more interested in what we’re doing here. You’re already interested in the message that you’re going to hear. So you’re more open to receiving it. So in some ways teaching was a great preparation for speaking because if I can get twenty five disinterested jaded teenage hormonal kids to pay attention. Then I feel like I can do a good job in front of any audience especially an audience that chose to be there. You know what I mean. So the teaching has been a big help because the other part of it is it helps me think on my feet because teenagers are clever and they look for any opportunity to point out a flaw in your logic or in your presentation just because it’s always fun to you know kind of get one back over on the teacher. And so it means I have to be on top of my game every day. Well that’s that’s taught me to think on my feet very quickly and and so again when I’m giving a presentation there may be a certain story that I was going to tell. And I realized halfway through the presentation there’s a different story that would resonate better with this audience. Great well then we’ll drop the first story and we’ll tell the second story and the audience never knows because they don’t see that mental process going on as I’m giving the presentation. And again it’s just it’s something that 13 years in the classroom has helped me to develop that kind of skill.
[00:29:36] And do you think that any aspect of the speaking you’ve been doing has helped you with the teaching?
[00:29:42] Yeah I think so in some ways one it helps me to appreciate the different dynamic in the classroom that is sometimes when I’m speaking I’m speaking to a really large audience sometimes it’s to a very small audience. But regardless of of the size of the audience a lot of times the atmosphere depends on.
[00:30:04] What else happened before I got on stage whereas in the classroom the atmosphere I get to set that a lot more, so sometimes when I’m speaking the atmosphere when I start speaking is not what I would want it to be. And so that means I have to work a little harder to try to change it or make it more positive or more energetic or whatever it may be. Well that’s been great because that means in the classroom I can do the same thing. That means if I’m teaching a class and I realize that the kids are you know let’s just say it’s a really rainy day and we’ve just had lunch and everybody just wants to take a nap. Well OK that means I have to work a little harder to get these kids energetic and engaged. Otherwise the day just becomes a fight between me and them. They want a nap and I want to teach and they don’t want to learn and I want them to learn. You know what I mean. And so in that way the speaking has been helpful because it’s taught me different ways to try to kind of change the dynamic of what’s going on in that little bit of presentation or in that little bit of teaching.
[00:31:00] You mentioned that you’re a football coach or soccer as you guys call it.
[00:31:05] Well how did that come about. And how has that helped you with the teaching?
[00:31:11] Well I’ve been around the game since I was a little kid. I first started playing when I was three and I played all the way up through my first two years of college. When I got married for the first time and as soon as I stopped playing I immediately started coaching and I’ve been coaching ever since. So I’ve been coaching soccer for 17 years now. And I got married the first time when I was 19 and I just love the game like it’s in my blood. I can’t I don’t know how to not be around the game of soccer. So I love. I love getting to coach it. I’ve been able to coach both my daughters from the time they were little kids all the way up through coaching some of their travel or club teams now and that’s been a lot of fun. It’s just I just I have a passion for the game not just because I love the game but also because it’s a great way to teach kids life lessons. It’s it’s easy to teach lessons about hard work and perseverance and overcoming obstacles when you are running around the soccer field trying to teach kids how to beat opponents that may be bigger faster stronger or more skilled than them. It’s a great metaphor for life because I really do believe that. And I forget who said this before me but I believe that soccer is the most democratic of all sports because you don’t have to be big.
[00:32:18] You don’t have to be fast you don’t have to be strong. You don’t have to be rich. You know anybody can play it and anybody can or people from all over the world like anybody from any background can get good at the game far beyond what you might expect. And so I love it because it really is a great metaphor for overcoming things that you think might be crippling or a big obstacle like yeah. Well you know what you can deal with that. So that kids faster than you. Okay great. Well then that means we adjust how you play. So that kid has more skill than you. OK you have to work harder to figure out how to get the ball. It translates really well to teaching life lessons and and so I love having the opportunity to do that.
[00:33:37] And I’ve got some experiences, I did football coaching for a while and I remember one particular kid, he was 7 and the rest of the kids were 8. He didn’t go to school with all the other kids so he felt like an outsider, Therefore he really listened to what I was saying when I was coaching and I remember he progressed far quicker than any of the other kids did. The other kids all knew each other and would be playing around whereas this kid really listened. And a few months later his mum came up to me and thanked me for how much he’d changed, and I said what do you mean, and she said that he’s so much more confident now in his football and that has transferred to every area of his life. And I guess you must experience this on a regular basis?
[00:33:45] Yeah. That is that’s wonderful and that’s a great thing to be able to see. And that’s, so kudos to you for doing that. Like that. That speaks a lot of the way that you were able to coach him and teach him. And it’s always wonderful when parents recognize that sort of thing. So I’m glad that you were able to do that and get some really positive feedback from it because yeah that is that’s that’s something that is a joy. As a teacher or a coach. I mean it’s fun to see him get better at the game. But I tell my, so I’ve been coaching high school girls soccer for six years now and I tell my my players all the time, listen if the only thing I taught you was to be a better soccer player I wasted your time. What I want is when you leave this soccer program when you when you transfer schools or when you graduate or whatever it is whenever you’re done with your time in our program I want you to leave here a better person than when you came in. I want you to be smarter. I want you to be more confident. I want you to work harder. I want you to know your own strengths and weaknesses better. I want you to have experience overcoming obstacles and persevering when you’re tyred because if you do those things those translate to other aspects of life. And again that’s not I don’t know how normal that is but it’s not what you would normally expect when you go into a soccer team you think. OK good. We’re going to get good at soccer. Well that’s true. You should be good at soccer but if that’s the only thing you get good at. Then I wasted your time because I tell them you were going to be people much longer than you’re gonna be soccer players. So when you leave my program I want you to be better equipped to be a better student. I want you to be equipped to become a better daughter or sister. And in the future to be a better wife than you would have been if you hadn’t played soccer. I want you to be better equipped for life because that’s what we’re actually about. You were you were and to be fair like we’ve had a really good soccer program. We’ve been very blessed with a lot of talent we won a lot of soccer games we’ve won a bunch trophies but five years after those kids graduate nobody cares about those trophies. That sounds kind of terrible but that’s the truth. You don’t you know if the best accomplishment you’ve ever had was back in high school. I would argue that you wasted a lot of opportunity as an adult. And so what that means is the trophies are not why we play the game why we play the game is to become better people. That’s what we’re all about.
What are your thoughts generally on exceeding expectations?
So I think that it’s a great mindset to have. That is if you plan to exceed expectations in every situation you’re actually going to be able to do that most of the time. I first learned about that from my parents both of them were retired military and so my whole life they showed me they exemplified what that looks like. So you know when we would go to the park to have a picnic or whatever when we would leave we would make sure to pick up some trash that wasn’t ours and throw it away. Why. Well because we’re going to leave it in better shape than it was when we got here. Why would you do that dad? Because we can son. You know what I mean like just make that a habit for your life like that’s the whole point. So I think that exceeding expectations is an excellent mindset for growth and I think that it’s a wonderful thing especially to try to be teaching to young people is that there’s an old movie I don’t know if you ever saw it or not is back from the 90s it was called Office Space. And it was about these workers who were just cubicle computer programmer type people and they were miserable because their job didn’t provide them with a sense of fulfilment. And one of the guys is having a conversation and he said “The thing is if my job doesn’t mean anything to me then I’m going to work just hard enough to not get fired. I’m going to do the bare minimum to keep my job”. And that’s the exact opposite of the exceeding expectations mindset. What we want to teach kids is do the absolute best you can because then you’re going to do better than you thought and that that skill set of exceeding expectations translates to areas outside of life. So on the soccer field if you work harder than you wanted to. If you do more than you had hoped you would have to do that as you know you ended up having to run more sprints than you wanted. That’s good because it means you’re going to end up being a better soccer player than you thought you could be. And that means we’re going to be a better team than we thought we would be. And also it means you’re gonna be a better person when you leave here than you thought you would be. And those were all really good things.
[00:38:04] If people want to find out more about you Joel where would they go to?
[00:38:09] Yes so at best way to find me is to come by my Web site www.reallifeleading.com. You can find me there you can find me on Facebook on under my name Joel Hawbaker you can find me on Twitter @reallifeleading or you can find me on LinkedIn under my name Joel Hawbaker. If any of those places great to get in touch with me I’d love to chat with your listeners more or find out how I could serve them. You know I love connecting with people from all over the world. I love finding out more of people’s stories and finding out how I can help them move forward in whatever their goals are. The expression that comes to mind you ask this a little while ago the expression that comes to mind when I think of exceeding expectations is to always under-promise and over-deliver. You know.
[00:38:56] What I don’t want to do is give people a false sense of what I can accomplish and then fail.
[00:39:01] And so I want to have high expectations but I want them to be realistic. And so I want to under-promise and I want to always over-deliver. 1. because it obviously builds a better relationship when you provide more than what you said you were going to, but also 2. it’s just again, it’s a great mindset to have in terms of I want to go beyond what you asked for so I want to over-deliver if I promised I’m going to have it on a certain day I’m going to actually try to have it to you a week ahead of time or a couple of days ahead of time that gives you extra time to do whatever you need to do that sort of thing. So again I’d love to chat more with your listeners about that kind of stuff. I’d love to connect with them on social media and that sort of thing.
[00:39:36] Well Joel it’s been a pleasure speaking to you and thank you for all the great information you from the insights from a school perspective that most people don’t get to hear so thank you very much for that.
[00:39:47] I thank you for having me on. It’s been an absolute pleasure. I appreciate being able to find a time when we could work out the time difference between Alabama and the UK. OK. Well, can I be nosy what part of the UK are you? I’m in London.
[00:40:00] Oh nice. OK beautiful beautiful. I was blessed. I got to study at Oxford for a semester as an undergraduate and made the trip up to London a few times and did the touristy thing with the museums. Beautiful beautiful place. Love it love it.
[00:40:13] Well thank you very much Joel. It’s been a pleasure speaking with you.
[00:40:16] Thank you. I’ve had a great time. Appreciate it very much.
[00:40:22] Next week is episode 52. One year already and it is with a guy called Gray Caws who’s a physical therapist and he is an instructor in a few different performance techniques. One is the Oxygen Advantage which is a breathing technique which helps people give a get much better performance and another technique he does is something called Chi Running which helps people run in a way that they get fewer injuries and they’re able to run whatever distances they do maybe just a small jog or a 5K, 10k, marathon; and use much less energy so they don’t feel so tyred at the end of it. So that’s next week’s episode with Gray Caws. Hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s show. Please do leave a review and hope you have a fantastic week.
[00:41:12] See you next week.
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