Follow the Yellow Brick Road …

Reflections of a Path

250px-Cowardly_lion2Reflections on my journey in the Effective Coaching Path remind me of the experiences of Dorothy in the story of the ‘Wonderful Wizard of OZ’. Looking back and noting my lessons learned, has been an ongoing pursuit for me, as I worked my way through the preparation, the speeches, the feedback, the improvements and the completion of tasks in Base Camp. I am not sure that I have followed the ‘yellow brick road’ exactly as recommended; however I am positive that I have owned the process and learned how to reach my personal goal!

These are my lessons learned!

Lesson 1: Plan Your Path Smartly!

brain for the scarecrowJust like the scarecrow in Dorothy’s journey, I learned that I already had a brain and I just had to think differently. I learned to plan my speeches according to one of the main objectives of the Effective Coaching Path – contribute to the development of others by coaching using effective interpersonal communication.

My journey needed guidance, something or someone, to enable me to plan for my projects in advance and keep me on the Path I had chosen.

I selected a simple tool for forward planning and tracking my achievements – a spreadsheet – my Path Planner. I also selected one or two mentors who would help me when I needed advice or to see what lay ahead of me – Pathways Champions who had the experience and knowledge.

I considered the clubs for whom I could present these speeches and projects over the next two months and approached each club with a request for a speech; – more or less following the project requirements in sequence. I needed to be flexible and to be considerate of the audiences in each club and the time available on their agendas, to match the purpose of my speech. I needed to maintain continuity and consistency!

Lesson 2: Select Electives Courageously!

courageJust like the cowardly lion who was encouraged by Dorothy to join her in the journey to the Emerald City and ask the Wizard for help; I was seeking courage.

Some of the projects in the higher levels of my Path, appeared daunting and challenging at first.  I was unsure of my ability to complete!

They looked very shiny and enticing sitting on the shelf of my Electives library in Base Camp. But once I had opened each curriculum and understood what I had to do, my courage grew. My own small inner voice reminded me to reflect on what I had achieved in the lower level projects and build on that – ‘try again tomorrow’.

I considered the Electives at a deeper level, and chose those that would complement my stories, my networking and help achieve the vision of improvement through positive coaching.

Connect with Storytelling – practice using a story within a speech or giving a speech that is a story. This is how my ongoing story of the Voyage of the Pathways Guide was created.

Write a Compelling Blog – post a minimum of eight blog posts in one month to increase the readership of my blog and entice more followers. This is where my ongoing story of the Voyage of the Pathways developed, and continued for 12 chapters.

Using Descriptive Language – adding colourful language to emphasize interest and impact. My literary research into Fantasy Fiction gave me a new way of telling a story in a speech. This is how my Thursday Next series of speeches were created with more flair and panache.

Make Connections through Networking – develop and practice a personal strategy for building connections through networking. (Note: this one is on the plan for the second Path Strategic Relationships, but one that has importance for me to build in to my Effective Coaching.)

Moderate a Panel Discussion – plan and moderate a 20 – 40 minute panel discussion. This project was most enjoyable and provided lots of lessons along the way. This was where I could focus on contributing to the development of others by coaching using effective interpersonal communication. Yes, it did stretch my communication skills and polished my facilitation skills.
Watch on YouTube:

Lesson 3: Complete Your Path with Passion!

heart for the tin man

The most important lesson of all is the passion you bring to the learning journey – from the heart!

For me the journey into a Path in Base Camp was a long awaited adventure, one that I really wanted to do. The anticipation of the rollout of Pathways in my District was the ‘driving force‘ behind that passion. The support that I received along my Path from a vast network of Pathways Champions gave me the ‘fuel’ to last the distance.

My role as a Pathways Guide was to contribute to the development of others – I took that on with a passion! I tracked my own progress and showed others what I had discovered along the way. This enabled me to build a series of resources that will go on to help yet more ‘pathways treaders‘ to achieve success.

My heart was in every project from the first Icebreaker to the High Performance Leadership project.

This is not the end of the Effective Coaching Path for me, yet! The HPL is ongoing for a few more months. However I wanted to ensure that I reflected on my journey here and now.

Reflections are the foundation for embedding your learning in your brain and heart, and provide the courage and conviction to move forward in your personal learning journey!



Chapter 12: Pathways Guide Return Journey

Destination in sight!

dtm castleAll visits completed (well except for one club that folded during the summer break) and 10 out of 15 virtual support sessions done and dusted. Almost across the finish line and I can see the shining banners fluttering in the breeze on the parapets of Castle DTM. They entice me forward now as I move into the final phase of being a Pathways Guide and can almost taste victory on reaching my destination. This has been an extraordinary journey of a Pathways Treader; through the dangerous waters of Information Gap, across the shining Seas of Enlightenment; into the mysterious chambers of Base Camp; collecting the wisdom of the Pathways Pioneers; harvesting the pearls of guidance in the Palace of Zoom; reviewing the writing on the glass walls by Outlanders; and developing a following of Pathways Champions.

… and then the small voice inside my head said, “wait a minute, you’re not quite finished”….

There are a few more tasks to perform before you can enter those hallowed halls.

Connect at a deeper level!


connectivism quote

A timely networking opportunity arose when my Captain PQD invited our tribe of guides into the palace of Zoom one night to share our journeys. There I met others whose journeys had been different to mine and whose experiences and achievements gave me new perspectives. New insights, new challenges and further connections to those sharing the same learning, reassured me I was not alone. The networking with my peers was what I had missed – this is a new step forward for a connected learning experience.

…  ‘aha’ moment from connectivism – the importance of community building …


Listening to my peers and learning from them, prompted me to revisit the process of providing my support and to try a new approach. Several criteria from those conversations helped me shape the next phase of Supporting the Clubs:

  • The clubs all have different needs and will have different questions.
  • Not all  of the members of those clubs will be ready to leap into the online world of Pathways or into the world of web conferencing.
  • Many clubs are just starting up again after the summer break.
  • Clubs need help in supporting new members who joined after rollout.
  • Many members do not yet have a solid foundation with their Pathways Guide who may only have visited their club once.
  • Some members are only learning about Pathways by hearsay.

I need a new approach – based on ‘How would you like your Support Served‘ in the next two months?

Flexible Personalized approach

personalised pathwaysWhat I am seeking now is a method of Engagement by Design – a process which I have drawn from the e-Learning environment – to ensure that I can motivate one ‘champion’ at a time.

I plan to implement that within a framework of best practice in Adult Education theory by rethinking the pedagogy being used so far – as crucial as identifying the new competencies that the Toastmasters will need to acquire in the Pathways program.

… learn more about preparing learners for new competencies in this article from Cynthia Luna Scott in her paper “The Futures of Learning 3 …”

… check out the latest testimonials from Pathways followers – this Paths of Progress article in the February edition of the Toastmasters Magazine will engage you – learning from others is an important element of personalized learning….

I plan to personalize the learning for those clubs who want more tailored approach. Ask them what will work for them, during March and April, to achieve at least a 20% embedding of Pathways in their club success plan. How can the Pathways Guide support that goal?

And it will be beneficial to provide examples of how they can personalize the learning for each of their members. More emphasis on the ‘train the trainer’ aspect so that the Base Camp Managers can follow through long after the Pathways Treaders have sailed on.

commentCall to Action

Here is where I need your help!

Please leave a comment below with some ideas on personalizing the support for individual clubs and members in ‘on boarding’ into Pathways.

Chapter 11: Champions of Relearning

Learn Unlearn Relearn

future shock relearningAll great campaigns for change involve the slashing and burning of the old and outdated, alongside the introduction and embedding of the new and current. Pathways is no exception.

Legions of Champions now roam the kingdoms of Outland bringing support for the people who fear the change from the old and cannot yet see the benefits of the new. The champions now quench the thirst for answers and bring new wisdom from the chalice of experience.

Education is at the heart of preparing present and future Toastmasters to thrive in the world of Paths, Levels and Projects‘. The champions are the educators!

Alvin Toffler in his book Future Shock (1970) posited that “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn”. Source: learning re imagined

Relearning Curve

relearningThe process of unlearning and relearning can be strange and awkward. The people of Outland have been comfortable with their ‘traditional’ programs for 90+ years and in the recent past have tolerated and absorbed minor adjustments and changes. They have recognized the need to bring the educational materials into alignment with current professional practice and have welcomed small incremental changes.

Now in this complete restructure, and a new program being implemented around them; bringing a complete change to the way they learn; the fear  of relearning is emerging.

Champions will need all their skills of persuasion to help them relearn together collaboratively. First step is reassure the people that the fundamentals of success in familiar group meetings are still at the forefront of their experiences. Next, encourage them to acknowledge the inevitability of change over the next two years. Finally support them in the transition between the old and the new in a strategic manner. See it as an opportunity not a burden!

An adjustment of attitude is required! Help them to relearn! Help yourself in planning your Path!

What do the experts say about Relearning?

Let’s explore what the Relearning Think Tank experts believe about the process of successful relearning and how we can encourage the Pathways Champions to implement the four essential elements of successful relearning and add some structure to what they are exploring in their chosen Paths! Note the quotes below are from the work of Ashley Spowart, Managing Director of Vanguard Learning, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.

Ashley Spowart from Vanguard Learning!

Leadership: “The influence of the direct leader on the learner was identified over and over as a critical part of the ability for someone to learn and unlearn“.

The Pathways Champion performs a direct leadership role within their group and their influence as coaches and mentors is powerful – they have generated a relationship of trust through their attitude and support. The champions have a unique opportunity to shape the success of their clubs and their group meetings through direct leadership.

understanding leadership style materialChampions: How will you lead your clubs into the future?

Consider this project as a way of adding a Pathways Framework around what you do.

Required Project:
Understanding your Leadership Style!
Level 1: Effective Coaching Path



Environment – “The organisational attitude towards learning, the physical spaces that are created for learning and the culture of the organisation are all key here”.

The Pathways environment is new and seemingly complex to the uninitiated. Some are yet to be convinced that the change will enhance their enjoyment of the program. However the organisational attitude towards learning remains the same. The vision of Toastmasters – ‘we empower individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders‘ – empowers them to be world leaders in communication and leadership development.

The champion’s role is to support and encourage the people to enter the new environment with them and to discover new learning together. Their Club Mission is: ‘We provide a supportive and positive learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth‘.

successful collaborationAll can make the transition from the old to the new, knowing that the core values remain the same! Work together to build a collaborative team.

Champions: How will you support a positive learning experience into Pathways learning?

Consider this project as a way of adding a Pathways Framework around what you do.

Required Project: Successful Collaboration
Level 3: Team Collaboration Path


Aptitude – “What are the skills and behaviors needed from the learners in order to be able to learn effectively in the first place“.
Complex Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, Creativity, Collaboration, Emotional Intelligence, Judgement & Decision Making, Design Thinking, Cognitive Flexibility.

Each of our club members have these skills in different quantities and qualities, now is the time to uncover those hidden skills among them.

leading your teamUtilize the strengths of the teams of champions and empower them to build new skills among others.

Champions: What can you do to coach and empower others to lead the way into Pathways?

Consider this project as a way of adding a Pathways Framework around what you do.

Required Project: Leading Your Team
Level 4: Leadership Development Path


Purpose – “Finally but possibly most importantly it was strongly identified that the right mindset was needed to be present within the learner in order for learning and unlearning to occur. This was deemed as purpose!

We know from the promotions and stories of the development of Pathways that it was ‘purpose built. The content was designed with the learner in mind at all stages. The restructure was engineered with the assistance of groups of volunteers from the membership of this large education facility.

Teams of Volunteers: Learning Masters, Ambassadors, Chief Ambassadors and Pathways Guides have been instrumental in introducing and implementing this new education program.  Now it is time for the Pathways Champions to take their rightful place among the volunteers who will be critical in the process of ’embedding Pathways’.

manage changeChampions: Do you have the right mindset to help in the relearning process?

What can you do to prepare your club for change?

Consider this project as a way of adding a Pathways Framework around what you do.

Required Project: Manage Change
Level 4: Dynamic Leadership Path



We learn in moments of enjoyment! Ralph Smedley

Chapter 10: Embedding Pathways 

oath of a pathways warrior imageOath of the Pathways Warriors!

Acclamation for the new way echoes throughout Outland as the warriors step up to take their oath of allegiance! Teams of strong leaders have emerged and their mission is to create legions of Pathways Champions. They will do this through their support for the Base Camp Managers and in particular the VP Education in clubs throughout their areas.

Pathways Champions are the first wave of early adopters who ensure that the ‘change’ is embedded throughout the world of Toastmasters. The embedding of a new program of education usually takes about three years in large educational institutions. In the Pathways rollout, we are now in the second year of the embedding process, since the first District embraced it last year.

In their role as a Pathways Warrior, each is giving a valuable service – their time and their skills – in preparing the champions for their roles. Their vision of achieving The First Wave of Embedding is well under way! The emergence of the Legion of Pathways Champions, is dynamically influencing its progress.

Legion of Pathways Champions

pathways pinThink of this emerging group as the eager followers who have listened to the words of wisdom from the Pathways Warriors (Guides) and the early adopters  (the Base Camp Managers) and embraced the new way on a personal level. BCMs watch closely for the first footers; the ones who select their Paths early. Watch as they spruik among their peers about their latest achievements. Reward them in special ways within your kingdoms.

BCMs take time to encourage and build this legion within your club; they are the ones who will have the most influence on the rest of the members. (They are like the troops in the trenches – their stories of experiences will echo in the halls, and be written on the walls of glass for years to come.) Choose this cascading model of leadership, one that the Toastmasters in Outland are well versed in – the model that we use every year when they elect new club officers – and build your legion of champions.

Support your own legion of pathways champions!

BCMs as your legion emerges, be sure to support them in meaningful ways. Here are a few practical ways you can provide this support:

  • ask the President to include some updates on Pathways in business segment of meetings – special rewards, acknowlegement of progress etc.
  • ask the VPE to provide one-on-one coaching in their initial steps in their Path and encourage the VPE to use in person and online strategies
  • provide the Champions with opportunities to complete their Path related project speeches – enable 50% of speaking time at meetings to Path projects
  • ask the Pathways Champions to give feedback on their progress at meetings
  • suggest that the Champions trial the Pathways Mentoring project with suitable mentors and proteges in their club
  • ask the Secretary to ensure that they keep up-to-date with the VPE about level completions – they could be the one to apply for that award at Club Central
  • ask the VPPR to spruik about the achievements of their pathways champions in their club media spaces and in the District level social media
  • ask for assistants to help the VPE in particular and take care of some of the other VPE tasks to ease their load – a good strategy for Role succession planning
  • include discussions of Pathways in the ongoing Club Success Plan at committee meetings

Supporting the champions is one way a club can enhance their own ability to embed Pathways into their normal activities. Another way to embed is to Forward Plan for Pathways excellence in the DCP award system.

Pathways and the DCP

Help individual members to be aware of the impact of their own achievements in their Path, on the club in general. Explain the Distinguished Club Program and how the Pathways embedding will enhance opportunities to earn points.

Did you know that Two Level completions in any Path will earn the club one DCP point?

Think ahead, say 5-6 months, as to what the club hopes to achieve in their DCP and help the VPE keep track of the likely completions of Level 1’s and 2’s in 2018.

path planner imageHelp individuals with the process of planning their Paths and projects over the next few months. Suggest the use of simple to use planning tools such as a spreadsheet of their own Path showing levels, required projects, chosen electives, dates for delivery of speeches, indication of evaluations received and level completions verified.

Encourage them to notify the VPE in advance of their request for speeches.

Notify the club members of the need for advance requests to suit the meetings scheduled and also when they wish to complete a project outside of a club meeting. Yes there is a process for that in Base Camp – check the resources and advice on that process in Tutorials and Resources library.

What’s In It For Me?

Embedding Pathways into your club through your legion of Pathways Champions, might just help with establishing a strong membership who self-direct their own learning and pre-plan their journeys to benefit themselves in their busy lives.

After all Toastmasters is just one part of our lives, right? Embracing the new way of learning about Toastmasters curriculum through Pathways might just save us a great deal of time.

The enthusiasm of the champions will be infectious! Their tips for success will be sought after! Their own progress will inspire others!

Guides, reassure your Base Camp Managers that eventually their club will be sailing smoothly into Pathways and members will be skillfully and confidently navigating Base Camp. It won’t happen over night! But it will happen with attention to the embedding process and support for their legion of Pathways Champions.

Segue to Chapter 11: Champions of Relearning



Chapter 9: Pearls of Guidance

Base Camp Support

Pathways Guides across the world perform a unique leadership role – they guide their clubs, members and Base Camp managers through the many paths in Base Camp. The prescribed Pathways Guide tasks are as follows:

  1. Deliver the Pathways Learning Experience presentation and rollout kit to each assigned club
  2. Follow up with vice presidents education (VPEs) to ensure they and their club members are comfortable operating in Pathways and Base Camp
  3. Access Base Camp as a member to view all tutorials in the system.
  4. Take the assessment, select a path, login to Base Camp and begin completing your path, as soon as Pathways launches in your district
  5. Collect questions from VPEs and address during your regular virtual support sessions
  6. Attend webinars hosted by World Headquarters, as needed
  7. Provide your VPEs with answers received at World Headquarters webinars

My suggested Pathways Guide tasks are complementary to the list above and take each one to a new level with a new perspective:

  1. Fine tune the Pathways Learning Experience presentation to suit the clubs you are assigned
  2. Provide supportive emails and posts in social media to VPEs and their assistants to keep their skills current
  3. Highlight specific tutorials and reference material and send directly to the Base Camp Managers
  4. Analyse the process of selecting a Path and provide helpful hints on how to select wisely
  5. Include segments of Q&A in each Virtual Support Session – those sent prior to session and new ones after discussion of processes in Base Camp
  6. Access the Master Q&A Log from your Pathways Guide Tasks curriculum frequently – before and after WHQ webinar sessions
  7. Include a segment of FAQ and the WHQ answers in your Virtual Support Sessions.

Scoping the Virtual Support Sessions

Guides are asked to conduct virtual support sessions via a technological platform. It’s possible that your assigned clubs are spread out over a large geographical area, making it difficult for all VPEs to meet at a central location. Hosting your support sessions virtually will maximize attendance and participation.

Guides are now communicating about ‘how’ they plan to scope their virtual support sessions in many social media spaces.

Recently I shared my preferred ‘scope’ with Guides in other Districts and in doing so it helped me consolidate what I had been doing and what I plan to do in the next two months. My plan is to schedule the VSS consistently from week to week. One on a Thursday evening and in the following week, one on a Saturday morning.

My approach was to scope the VSS in three distinct stages:
Stage 1: VSS 1-5 Learning about Base Camp and Paths

In each of these sessions the emphasis is on ‘helping yourself’ as a member new to Pathways.

  • VSS 1: Exploring Base Camp
  • VSS 2: Following your path
  • VSS 3: Its All about Evaluation
  • VSS 4: Completing a Level
  • VSS 5: Deeper Learning in your Path

Stage 2: VSS 6-10 Learning your Role as a Base Camp Manager

In each of these sessions the emphasis is on ‘understanding your role as a BCM’

  • VSS 6: Feedback, Badges & Eportfolios
  • VSS 7: Practical Tips for BCMs
  • VSS 8: Support your members from the Cloud
  • VSS 9: Enthuse Pathways Champions at Club Meetings
  • VSS 10: Coordinating the work of VPE & BCM

Stage 3: VSS 11-15 Learning how to embed Pathways in your Club

In each of these sessions the emphasis is on ’embedding Pathways in your club’ as a VPE

  • VSS 11: How to include Pathways in the Business segment of meetings
  • VSS 12: How to build a team of Club Pathways Champions
  • VSS 13: Implementing the Pathways Mentoring system in your club
  • VSS 14: Implementing Pathways Planners for members
  • VSS 15: Fine Tuning the Completions and Awards

See sample slide decks here:

Structure Within a VSS

Plan to include:

  1. Round Robin introductions
  2. Training Topics or Questions from FAQ
  3. Demonstration and discussion of a process
  4. Optional: Guest presenter (a Pathways Champion)
  5. Q & A and What’s Next?
  • Be early to your online venue and help others become comfortable in the environment with 5 minutes of technical assistance.
  • Ask each attendee to introduce themselves in a round robin style – 1 minute each – and ask them to include their answer to: Where are you up to in Pathways?
  • Provide an overview of the latest FAQ from the WHQ and discussion forums in social media. Ask the attendees to add a question for discussion in the chat panel. Attend to those in the final segment.
  • Demonstrate a live process in Base Camp that illustrates the current FAQ or a topic of interest to the attendees. Discuss the tips and tricks you’ve learned along the way.
  • Invite a guest presenter, a Pathways Champion from your clubs, to give a 5 minute overview of their own progress, within a Path, and in supporting others in their clubs. This enables them to build another skill of speaking to inform, online.
  • Read out the Questions from the Chat Panel and ask for suggestions from the audience or answer yourself. Remind them of the resources they can access from the Tutorials and Resources library in Base Camp.
  • Introduce the next session date and time and ask for specific discussion topics.

If you need help in facilitating a virtual session you can find more detailed information here:

Six Critical Success Factors for Running a Successful Virtual Meeting – training with Julia Young

How to Facilitate an Online Meeting – training with Coach Carole

9 Global trends – rethink your webinar program strategy with Roger Courville

Segue to Chapter 10: Embedding Pathways

There are some simple steps you can do now to embed Pathways into your Meetings.  Join me here next week for my thoughts on this strategy.


Chapter 8: The Hunt for Zoom Gold

The path to the Palace of Zoom is paved with gold; the golden icons of desire. The people of my kingdoms are beginning to make this mysterious journey to a place they’ve never been before. They are seeking enlightenment and must find the golden icons to turn on the light. Come with them on their journey – their hunt for Zoom Gold.

Stepping Offworld!

There is fear and trepidation as you step off your familiar grounded world in Outland and venture into the strange places of the unknown. Time is needed for your confidence to grow. Adding a common goal for you all, will provide the fun element!

Here’s the plan! Harvest the golden icons as you navigate the path to Zoom Gate!

  1. Travel to my Learning about Zoom page and locate the videos and tutorials to find the icons that will help you in reaching, testing and participating in Zoom sessions.
  2. Travel to my Virtual Support Sessions page and locate the slides and recordings of the virtual support session already completed.Bring your findings to the next VSS and share their impact on your preparedness.
  3. Travel to the next Virtual Support Session and participate in a new experience of support training, education and networking online.
  4. Now try some Cloud hopping and participate in other events; for instance the online Toastmasters Events from D91, and other special Pathways focused online events in your own district. If you are not yet using social media to expand your knowledge base, try adding your District Facebook group to your frequently visited places online. Events in Facebook provide a simple to use RSVP option and reminders are built in.
  5. Expand your knowledge base, and keep current with the ‘latest’ developments in the realm of educational technology. One solution is ‘webinars’. These online seminars are time efficient, relevant, inexpensive [often free] and cutting edge [for the most part].

Continue as a Cloud Warrior!

Now that you have prepared yourself and your computer device; updated your schedule and you have participated in a Zoom session; settle in for the next two months as we explore the wonders of Base Camp and listen to the wisdom of the crowd,  through virtual support sessions in my Zoom room.

Experience Toastmaster style learning workshops online. Let’s ramp this up a little and bring in the wisdom of this crowd – your wisdom and your experiences would be valued as ‘guest segments’ in my VSS.

Here’s an opportunity for you to contribute as a speaker, facilitator or impromptu speaker in a workshop designed for maximum interaction. What’s your specialty in Pathways; what new resources and ideas would you like to share with others in the workshop?

Take another huge leap of faith and consider Zoom workshops for your club training and executive meetings!

Do you want more information on setting up Zoom for yourself; how to run an online meeting in Zoom; and how to visit other clubs virtually in Zoom?

  1. Challenge yourself now and consider how you could use Zoom to conduct your club’s educationals and other training on special days in the month, eg 5th Tuesdays etc. This strategy might just save time and space in your busy meeting agendas.
  2. Challenge yourself again and consider how you could use Zoom to conduct your club’s executive meetings instead of travelling to a venue on a dark night on country roads. Certainly an appealing option in the cold winter months in Outland.
  3. Challenge for the fearless explorers now hooked on Zoom, consider visiting an online Toastmasters club meeting in Zoom. Participate in an online meeting of one of the 17 Online Clubs, and use your new skills as an onliner.

View one of more of these posts elsewhere in this blog:

Select and trial online meeting spaces

Facilitating an online meeting

Zooming into online club meetings

My Journey as a Pathways Guide continues now in Outland where things are beginning to return to normal! Or are they?

Call to Action!

If you have enjoyed the 8 chapters in the Voyage of a Pathways Guide please leave a comment – a short testimonial on what engaged you and what helped prepare you for your journey as a Pathways Guide?

This was an experiment in ‘Writing a Compelling Blog’ – an Elective from Pathways. Your contributions (as comments) will be helpful in presenting a short speech about my experiences in the process.

Segue to Chapter 9: Pearls of Guidance






Chapter 7: Palaces of Zoom

Meetups in the Cloud!

palace of zoom 1The Pathways warriors have sailed the seas of mystery, crossed the information gap and scaled the walls of Base Camp.

They have banded together in their writing on the walls in Outland – bringing wisdom and intrigue to those who follow. And now many are ready to open up their Palaces of Zoom – awe-inspiring communities in the cloud(s) where warriors and Outlanders can meet together in collaborative harmony.

Far away from the bustling crowds of Base Camp, many palaces have been appearing off the port bow of the Pathways Treader. They come in different sizes, shapes and colours. Each one is flying the banners of their own kingdoms and bringing in their eager followers. I must speak with the other warriors about their Palaces, and harvest their wisdom.

How are they enticing, inviting and engaging their people in their palaces?

Collaborating with the Clans!

prawns on barbieIn this Voyage, I have learned many lessons about my role in leading the people of my Kingdoms to Base Camp. The old saying is true ‘you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink’. The biggest lesson yet is about TIMING! There is no point in attempting a journey of this magnitude in the wrong season! Right now it is summer in my Kingdoms and the people are still in holiday mode. Even today they are celebrating their national day with traditional meetups and sharing of food.

The other lesson is one I have learned many times in the past: when leading any community, first gain the trust of the people. Make an effort to create a relationship with leaders of the Kingdoms and to help form them into groups based on suitable criteria; such as geography or existing relationships. Ask them what they fear, what they cherish and what they desire! Give them a reason to network across the boundaries of their clans.

This is not a crusade involving loss of face, limb or life! It is not my job to wield a sword of valour, nor to force compliance. People always have choice!

Some of the clans in my assigned Kingdoms are isolated from other remote clans and are often not ready to collaborate across their boundaries. They have their own cultures and practices; they have shared values and achievements; and they have often needed to compete with other clans for their very existence. A gathering of the clans is called for! I need to unite the clans of Hume, Riverina and Indigo with the clans of inner Melbourne. Yes my Kingdoms assignment has expanded and there are new relationships for me to initiate.

Proclamations across the Kingdoms announce the special events at the Palace!

palace of zoom invite

Getting the word out to the people requires ingenuity and determination! Sending direct messages works best. I needed to reach beyond the walls of Outland and use the traditional methods of communication. Getting them to attend requires inspiration and gentle persuasion!

Often it takes a leap of faith for the followers to venture into these strange realms,  So far the traffic to my palace has been quality not quantity. I needed more ‘scouts’ and ‘champions’ to spread the invite by word of mouth. Once they reach the Palace of Zoom they will be amazed and encouraged by the friendly welcome from the Palace Host(s). They can experience the wonder of ‘spanning the boundaries’ between clans whilst in the cloud. First I have to entice them there!

Best for me to speak with the early adopters (the BCMs) and have them recruit eager followers. Dig down to the basic needs for education about the land of Base Camp and let them make their own decisions. Plan to show them what’s new and exciting; what’s different and challenging; and plan to reassure them of what remains the same.

Other strategies evolve as I consult my mentors!

Exotic Adventures!

rainbow mountain
One of the most magnificent geologic features in the world is the Ausangate Mountain of the Peruvian Andes. The mountain is striped with colors ranging from turquoise to lavender to maroon and gold. … The painted Ausangate mountain is also considered to be holy and believed to be the deity of Cusco by local Peruvians.

Who could resist an opportunity to travel to exotic places? Often such places are not even dreamed about, let alone on their itinerary for travel. Just like the Rainbow Mountains, that I  discovered in my wanderings across the internet deserts.

People have been travelling to this remote part of Outland for a glimpse of a unique geologic phenomena – the natural colored mountains in the kingdom of Peru.

The colours, the majesty and the breathtaking views across this magnificent landscape draw visitors in. I need a ‘Rainbow Mountain’ – a ZoomGate for the people to visit. Something with all the colour and excitement of the new without the need for hard work.

Showcase the Palace of Zoom with its own colour, majesty and community.

Intrepid exploration, a feature on the journey to the Palace of Zoom, will provide the hook to entice the people to the special events (VSS). Some have never ventured outside of their own kingdom before let alone teleported to anything in the cloud. This requires a whole new approach!

Chapter 8: The Hunt for Zoom Gold



Chapter 6: Finding the Magic Elixirs

My explorations of the chamber, and the many rooms in the levels, revealed the elegant grandeur and depth of this wondrous land of Base Camp. All was proceeding well, until I was confronted by a dragon. I had lost my focus for awhile, just enjoying the adventure for myself, forgetting that I had still a long way to go to reach the end. This dragon appeared before me and caught my eye as I was about to enter the Hall of Transcripts once more. His domain was my salvation – it was here that I was reminded of my role as Virtual Support person for the peoples in my kingdoms.

The Navigator Dragon

navigator dragonAs I tried to cut corners in Cornerstone territory, I encountered the six headed Navigator Dragon who lived in this lesser frequented zone. He had obviously been disgruntled with my lack of attention to him and his domain. It took me all my powers of interpersonal communication (or should I say inter-dragonal communication) to calm him down in an attempt to avoid his fiery breath. The solution for taming this beast was to show him I cared. I had heard about his domain from the Guardians but was non-committal about taking their advice.

Here in the domain of the Navigator, I found many Elixirs of different shapes and properties. I wished I had taken the Elixir Gate to this domain right at the beginning.

work in my projectsOnce I realized that each of the containers contained many choices I was enlightened once again. The light bulb in my brain was flashing blue. My lesson for the day was well learned. The Navigator Elixirs are exactly what I was meant to be searching for. I must send my people from the kingdom of District 73 to the domain of the Navigator for a dose of his Elixirs.

There are six Elixirs to choose from. There are also extra FAQs in the tail end of this domain.

As I became a more frequent visitor to his domain, and told others about it too, his attention left me and he focused on other Pathway warriors, who were also avoiding him unknowingly.

gateway to the navigator

I need to leave a trail of directions to this domain for others to follow! These are important signposts, but not always recognized for where they lead you.


The gateway to the domain of the Navigator Dragon (also known as the Elixir Gate) is the one you should enter frequently.

Onward now to the floating palace of Zoom where I will deliver my Virtual Support Sessions to  the Kings and Queens in my kingdoms.

Segue to Chapter 7: The Palace of Zoom


Chapter 5: Entering the Chamber

The Great Rollout Arrives!

Trumpets loudly proclaim the arrival of the great rollout across the land in my kingdom of District 73. The people have been eagerly awaiting this day. There is rejoicing in the village streets of Riverina, Indigo and Hume. December 6 will be remembered as a great day – the day we crossed the ‘information gap’ and were permitted to enter the sacred chamber of Base Camp.

10 paths in chamberWritings on the walls in Outland flourished as my fellow Pathways warriors visited the chamber and gazed in awe at the ten shining paths displayed there, each with its own colorful banner and avatar. The Path avatars were working hard to attract our attention, polling our choices, spruiking their benefits and highlighting their specialities,  like hawkers at the twilight markets in Outland. Wonder where the avatars are? I could not see anyone else in here with me.

However, back in Outland, messages began to fly around the community, hailing the start of this or that Path, shouts of ‘Eureka’ I have finished a project or asking questions as they completed their projects in Level 1.

‘How do I move to the next project? How do I collect the Evaluation resources? Do I need to alert the Base Camp Managers of my project completions? Where and how do I store my Evaluations? Can I print my projects? What do these terms mean – activate, open curriculum, launch, mark complete? How do I complete a Level?

The rollout was certainly causing waves of curiosity in Outland – not quite the tsunami of enthusiasm I had expected, but pleasing nevertheless.  There was now time to take a break from the hubbub surrounding the rollout and get down to the basics of navigating in the wondrous chamber of Base Camp.

Opening the Sacred Chamber!

Tardis-interiorMy excitement was building as I began my explorations of Base Camp – I planned to document my navigation and provide some maps for others to follow. My ability to capture a screen as I worked was invaluable. I added all these to my trusty ‘slides’.

I heard someone describe the chamber as being like a ‘Tardis’ much bigger on the inside that you could imagine from looking from the outside. This was an apt description – there was so much more for me to view now that I finally entered.

First I made my way to the great Hall of Transcripts, exploring, harvesting, noting and learning all the way. I was eager to see what was different after rollout. Now the Transcript made sense to me as I could see my chosen Path glittering like a beacon for me – just one click away. This would be my go to place for many weeks! Must stay one step ahead of my followers and ensure that I understand the process to coach others.

Once I learned the meanings of the terminology, such as Activate, Open Curriculum, and Launch, I fearlessly clicked on these curious icons.

Was there a slight of hand there? I wondered, as I noted that some of the icons often had different words on them, depending on what I had just done. Must watch out for these shape shifting icons.

Exploring Hidden Rooms!

take a tour.pngI entered through the Blue Tile called My Education Transcript.

I realised that I had been transported directly into the ‘hidden rooms’ within the sacred chamber by those keystrokes and was now interacting directly with Base Camp. The Tardis like interior was not only bigger in size, but it was taller than I ever imagined. I could see the other Levels 2-5 towering above me but could not yet reach them.

“Patience! All will be revealed in a sequential manner!” Said the Guardians of Base Camp in our weekly gatherings in the Atrium. That’s easier said than done, I thought to myself.

First I needed to view my Path and locate the ‘elevators’ to all 5 levels.

I wondered where the Gods of CSOD were lurking as I  delved deeper into my tools of learning. Someone had said that my progress would be automatically tracked. I was constantly looking over my shoulder.

Various gadgets and widgets surrounded me in my Path and they changed each time I finished something. Small indicators showed my progress! Aha, now I know I am being tracked. It was curious to see that more and more hidden rooms came into view as I progressed from one level to another.

Second I needed to master the navigation of an online class – the major ‘popup’ that occurred as I pressed launch on my chosen Path. Thank goodness the great God GoogleChrome allowed my device to activate these popups! This process enabled me to understand the navigation in here – it was like taking a book from a library shelf, opening it, scanning its index, then opening to a specific page and walking into it – except all of this was happening on the screen in front of me with a few easy keystrokes from my trusty laptop.

The online classes led me to resources, checklists, evaluations, and a special printing room where I could print anything from my Path that I wanted. Magic!

online class

Third, I learned the importance of the navigational tools in online classes. For instance, if I did not widen this popup window sufficiently, I did not see the arrows on the left and right sides of each page. These were vital to my progress.

I learned that I could ‘jump’ to another page in the online class using the navigational tools at the bottom.

This was just the beginning of my explorations of the Sacred Chamber and the Hidden Rooms, and I was hooked!

Segue to Chapter 6: Finding the Magic Elixir!




Chapter 4: Approaching the Sacred Chamber

Beyond the Information Gap!

island of californiaMeanwhile, in the kingdom of ‘far, far away’ other Pathways warriors had already completed their journeys and were finally able to see what it was like on the other side of the ‘information gap’. They had weathered their stormy seas and arrived on the shores of Base Camp Land. Stories of their travels were few and far between, there was still an air of secrecy and trepidation. Suddenly, words of wisdom from the kingdom of District 57 on the island of California, began to filter through, and we were once again enlightened and encouraged. King George was leading the warriors and making sure that others could follow and learn from the experiences of the ‘first footers’ during the big ‘rollout’.

Nomads pursue the Rollout!

inner sanctum 1More and more Pathways pioneers, a new breed of early adopters, sprang up, writing messages of hope on the walls of the communities in Outland. These were members of strong and fearless tribes, travelling the far reaches of the globe – eager to explore the sacred chambers of Base Camp Land.

They had found a new way to enter the land and transport themselves, virtually, to kingdoms where the ‘rollout’ had begun. The people of these kingdoms welcomed the new breed enthusiastically. They were intrigued with the tales of adventure from these nomadic visitors and exchanged many cultural stories.

There were many new nomads following in their footsteps – they too were impatient to walk the hallowed Halls of Transcript in the sacred chamber. Not much is known of the exploits of these ‘eager followers’ for their written journals have yet to be revealed. However we are able to locate some tales of their journeys written on the walls in Outland.

  • King Brian, of the kingdom District 21, is exploring the many ways in which he can spread the knowledge of the sacred chambers for brand new explorers.
  • Queen Mathilde and Queen Michelle are leaping over the Information Gap to the kingdom of District 75 from the lesser known kingdom of District U, a floating world partly hidden in the clouds.

The walls in Outland were beginning to show the summaries of places visited and the stories of their findings. There will be more of this to come, when more early adopters discover the ‘Tablet of Truth’ about Writing a Compelling Blog.

Perhaps some of them will follow me!

The Guardians Speak!

The time of the great ‘rollout’ was approaching my kingdom of District 73 and I trooped over to the kingdom of WHQ to hear the great Guardians of the Base Camp speak about the sacred chamber in detail. Their wisdom, understanding and consistent teachings were not to be missed.

Many of my fellow Pathways warriors were there virtually – shadowy figures lurking behind the tapestries in the GTW Atrium. We could not see the Guardians but we heard their messages.

The voices of the Guardians were strong and clear.

“We are hear to guide you and keep you on the path. There is much to learn so listen carefully! Please send in your questions via the Feedback Forum or write your questions in the Atrium chat room.”

holy-grail chapelAs I listened my knowledge grew and I became calmer – the sacred chamber is not so scary, I can do this. I learned what I needed to do in the Hall of Transcript and how my navigation and learning would be tracked by the Gods of CSOD. The chamber looked more and more like a labyrinth and my job was to learn to walk the path in the correct order in order to reach the ‘Holy Grail’.

Meanwhile I was still continuing my travels across the vast lands of Hume, Indigo and Riverina and building my rapport with the peoples of the kingdoms there. I had been telling them about the coming of the ‘great rollout’ and they were excited.

Segue to Chapter 5: Entering the Sacred Chamber!