2016-9-19-mm-social

As the Unstoppable Course turns one, I wanted to reflect on what we have learned from the course over the past year.

What Is The Unstoppable Course?

As a quick refresher, we decided to incorporate a course, boldly named the Unstoppable Course, to help individuals find their motivation in work and in life. The title of the course is exactly the outcome a student should expect: finding the motivation to become unstoppable, develop an endless flame of passion and achieve goals from now to infinity. This course takes students on a journey, from establishing a personal mission (purpose) statement and setting bold goals to paying it forward by coaching, mentoring and training others.

At its core, this course is about helping people find their motivation (their why or purpose) and then providing the support, skills and habits to best live out that purpose. In turn, these same people can then conduct themselves in a manner that is contagious to everyone around them, thus passing along what they have learned and creating a support system conducive to sustaining lasting and impactful change.

More specifically, the objectives of the course include:

  • Identify your Stand, Purpose, Passion and Values in order to create your Set Point.
  • Create long-term (one to two-plus years) and short-term goals derived from your established Set Point.
  • Use a web-based and mobile tool called Nozbe to create a total work-life management system called “Getting Things Done™” (GTD™).
  • Identify stress management methods through research and discussion, and evaluate and apply new stress management methods into daily life.
  • Define optimal health as it relates to your life and describe how optimal health can be obtained in your life.
  • Explain resiliency and identify why becoming resilient is important.
  • Develop realistic strategies to “Pay It Forward” following the completion of this course.

The Results

After one year and 10 cohorts taught by 10 different instructors, we have had approximately 175 Learning House team members go through the course. I am incredibly grateful for the effort that all of these individuals put into the course, as it’s not easy! The course lasts 12 weeks and takes approximately five to 10 hours a week, with readings, discussion forums and writing blog posts. This is in addition to their work at Learning House and at home. I think it gives us valuable perspective, because for these three months, we get to feel what our approximately 9,000 students that we serve experience as working adults attending school online. It’s challenging, but in the end, I think most find it well worth it.

As we start our next two cohorts, I want to reiterate why I have pushed hard to create and deliver this course. For our company to thrive, I want team members who are motivated and fulfilled by their work. To achieve that, I want to help people be very clear on their purpose in life, have the skills and mindset to fulfill that purpose through the inevitable trials and tribulations of life, understand Learning House’s purpose and ultimately feel aligned with the company’s mission. The Unstoppable Course is just one step of many to creating this ecosystem. In addition to the course, we also have the ToMo (total motivation) framework that is driving many other initiatives.

The Future

As for the future of the Unstoppable Course, a core team of us former instructors, led by our instructional designer, Lauren Nugent, is currently updating the course over the next 120 days based on lessons learned. We fully intend to keep the course as a core part of our culture. Lauren and Julie Delich, our head of the ToMo initiatives, have worked on a modified course that we can bring to our schools. I’m very excited that we can teach the principles of the Unstoppable Course to our students that we service! The hope is that this will create a more motivated and capable student, which would help increase retention and graduation rates as well as overall satisfaction rates. Hopefully, that will drive referrals and the virtuous cycle of delivering world-class service.

Lessons Learned

Finally, I want to list some of the qualities and characteristics I think are shared by many of the graduates of the Unstoppable Course. I make these generalizations after sitting through more than 100 final presentations as well as the various discussion board threads and Slack channel conversations about lessons learned from the course. For those who have not yet taken the course, I look forward to having you in the class and sharing this incredible experience with you.

  1. Be vulnerable. While working to understand things like your passions, values, stand and purpose, it’s inevitable that you are going to have to “open up.” This is tough for many, but it’s the only way to make progress. A year later and 175 students in, I have seen no downside for people opening up about their true feelings about things. Progress can only be made when you are prepared to stare reality in the face.
  2. Take a student and growth mindset to life. We study Carol Dweck’s growth mindset briefly in the course, but those who succeed are those who relish being a learner and want to continuously be growing and improving in all walks of life.
  3. Reach for the stars. Although there is a ton of humility in the course, there also are some big dreams. This course really helps take people’s dreams and puts them into tangible and achievable goals.
  4. Experience new things and see new places. A common theme throughout the cohorts is how many people love to travel and experience new cultures. This, I think, speaks to the always be growing and learning mindset I want all of our team members to cultivate.
  5. Set an example for those around you. Another common thread is setting an example for those loved ones and even strangers around them. Whether it is a child, a sibling or a friend, many, if not most, of the students express a desire to “be the change they want to see in this world.” That, I think, is how innovation thrives.
  6. Be disciplined in thought and in action. The course focuses a lot on creating new habits and provides tools to do so. Every cohort, people say they aren’t morning people, and every cohort, people see the value in things like the 5 Minute Journal and Miracle Morning assignments. Stretching out of their comfort zone helps them find new reserves of strength.
  7. Foster the right attitude. In our presentations this past week, the idea of having the “right” attitude really resonated. I think it’s easy to be skeptical about the course or find excuses not to do assignments or even dismiss fellow classmates’ opinions, but having an open mind and a positive mindset really helped and created a great environment for the whole class.
  8. It’s better together than alone. Slack has been a hugely useful tool for the cohorts, helping people to communicate. Going through the course together has brought people together and created a sense of community.
  9. Find your courage. There is a lot in this course, and frankly, you need courage to get through it. Those who brave being vulnerable can learn so much.
  10. Your Set Point is key to unlocking your goals and how you intend to invest your time. Lasering in on what it is you really want to accomplish with your life can help all your decision making, from what jobs to do to how to spend your free time.
  11. Being positive is a way of life. We talk a lot about resiliency and understand that things can be rough. Almost everyone had various harrowing stories about their lives they shared. However, building a positive mindset about the future and fulfilling your Set Point is critical to success and staying the course.
  12. Being healthy in mind, body and spirit is important. Almost everyone understood in their own way that to be unstoppable and fulfill their ambitious goals, they need to “be healthy.” Of course, everyone defines this differently, but the idea of being healthy centers around the health of mind, body and spirit and having the energy to show up every day in a full way.
  13. Help others. This is by far the most common theme in everyone’s purpose statement. We have a module on the importance of “paying it forward,” but I don’t think that would have impacted how important helping others is to the purpose of almost everyone who goes through this course. I think deep down, we all understand how connected we all are and that success for ourselves as a goal in and of itself is a bit hollow. Being helpful just seems to create a domino of positive results in one’s life, and this really shone through in the course.

I have not had a chance to poll past students, but I hope that they continue to “practice” every day in some way the habits and lessons learned during the class. Living a purpose-driven life is not always easy. There are plenty of distractions. Therefore, it is critical that each and every day, we do what we can to stay centered on living our purpose the best we can. I think the parallels with Learning House and the Unstoppable Course are clear, and it is my belief that the two are in alignment. Just as with the individual, if Learning House continues to strive to be the best version of itself, success is inevitable and we will have the joy of building an extremely valuable company together over the next decade and beyond. I am so grateful to the Unstoppable team that built and taught the course the last year. You have made all of this possible, and I and our students are eternally grateful.

About Todd Zipper

President & Chief Executive Officer

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