Skill Building Lessons for the Development Phase 

Growth Takes Effort

Image by Francesco Gallarotti

Think about it. If we want to learn how to solve a math problem, make bread, or fix a car, we might ask a friend or Google it.  However, to actually learn the skill, we have to get involved. 

During the Development Phase, we will learn and practice skills that help us THINK CARE ACT.

The Big Idea

Life is our classroom. When we get involved, creating solutions to the problems around us, we see our lives have value and gain motivation to be a positive contributor. 

By choosing to THINK CARE ACT with positive intention,

we grow both INWARDLY and OUTWARDLY and become stronger, kinder, and more capable. Prepared to turn life's inevitable ups and downs into opportunities that help drive Positive Change in our home, community, and world, our story gets better under any circumstance.

Turning Conflict Into Connection

Conflict is normal. Conflict happens when we disagree with someone else because we think differently. It is normal to have conflict at home, school, work, and play. It is normal to have conflict on a sports team, when we are talking with friends, or at a community event.


Why do we experience these divisions? It is because no 2 people are the same. We have different favorites including the things we eat, the things we wear and the sports teams and artists we like. We also have different opinions about big topics like education, technology, politics, and racism. In an age of a global pandemic and sociopolitical disruption our differences can seem bigger. 


When are differences arise, it can cause us to feel threatened and trigger anxiety. When we feel threatened our lower, reactive brain gets triggered and we go into fight, flight, or freeze mode. When that happens, we literally cannot be open and receptive to any other information or perspective. Watch the video below to learn more about our brains when we are angry. 

How can we solve this problem? Chewing gum and taking deep breaths can help us calm down. However, to stay respectful and listen to others, especially when we don’t agree, we have to be able to activate our upper, thinking part of our brain. This allows us to be interested and curious about what others are saying or thinking, even when we don’t agree. That consciousness can help us respect a person as another human being so that we can exchange words without criticizing, listen with judging, and connect beyond our differences. 


To help us slow down the conversation so that we can use our upper (thinking) brain, Dr. Harville Hendrix and Dr. Helen LaKelly Hunt, a created dialogue tool that consists of a three-part process which includes mirroring, validation, and empathy.


It uses some carefully designed sentence stems (the first part of a sentence) which you we complete with information that is relevant to the conversation. For example:

My name is _________blank.

I have a pet named __________blank.


These sentence stems combined with the mirroring process creates a structure that can keep a conversation safe. And when we feel safe,  we feel connected. And when we feel connected we can process information and learn from our differences. We may not agree with what someone says or thinks or feels, but we can honor them as a human being by mirroring, validating, and empathizing. 

As we listen to each other with the intention of understanding, there is often a transformation that occurs in both people. When that happens a new level of creativity is born. And this is how new and lasting solutions to the problems we face together can be found.

In this video, Chuck Starnes, a relationship coach is teaching married couples how to use the Couple's Dialogue Template. The same template can be used by parents and kids, employees and friends. 

Get Involved

Pick one of your roles (student, friend, sister, parent, spouse, employee).

  1. Day 1: Practice Using the Appreciation Dialog Template below .

  2. Day 2: Practice Using the Safe Conversations Template below. 

Talk about It

  1. How can developing the habit of choosing to THINK CARE ACT with positive intention help us have respectful conversations that turn our conflict into connection? 

  2. In life, many things are out of our control. This year a global pandemic and political tensions are adding to our challenges and daily demands.  How can having respectful conversations keep us from being torn apart by the disruption and grief?

  3. Share what you are willing to do this week to have safe conversations by choosing to 

THINK- Learn-Evaluate  CARE- Hope- Aim    ACT- Improve-Engage. 

7 Habits of Highly Effective People- Covey

Watch the first video and any other videos on being proactive below.

Elle McFarlane summarized it this way:

"The first and most fundamental habit of an effective person is to be proactive. More than just taking the initiative, being proactive means taking responsibility for your life. Consequently, you don’t blame your behavior on external factors such as circumstances, but own it as part of a conscious choice based on your values. Where reactive people are driven by feelings, proactive people are driven by values.

While external factors have the ability to cause pain, your inner character doesn’t need to be damaged. What matters most is how you respond to these experiences. Proactive individuals focus their efforts on the things they can change, whereas reactive people focus their efforts on the areas of their lives in which they have no control. They amass negative energy by blaming external factors for their feelings of victimization. This, in turn, empowers other forces to perpetually control them.

The clearest manifestation of proactivity can be seen in your ability to stick to the commitments you make to yourself and to others. This includes a commitment to self-improvement and, by extension, personal growth. By setting small goals and sticking to them, you gradually increase your integrity, which increases your ability to take responsibility for your life. Covey suggests undertaking a 30-day proactivity test in which you make a series of small commitments and stick to them. Observe how this changes your sense of self."

Get Involved

  1. Make a list of small commitments you can take using the list of actions you made in lesson 5 that describe things you could do to move your goals and dreams forward. 

  2. Consider the THINK CARE ACT descriptions above.  The truth is:

Our lives matter! Our choices impact our organizations, relationships, health, and environment.  Therefore, we all play an important role in our home, community, and world. No matter what we have been through, no matter what others think of us, our life has value and dignity. Making mistakes does not change our value. Doing good things does not change our value.  We are worthy of love and belonging under any condition.


  1. Right now, we are in the middle or a pandemic and work, school, relationships and financial pressures can feel overwhelming. Consider the THINK CARE ACT descriptions above. Then discuss how INWARDLY understanding our value and being OUTWARDLY proactive can keep us growing despite or even because of this pandemic by ...

Planting Plants


Our lives matter! We all play an important role in our home, community, and world. No matter what we have been through, no matter what others think of us, our life has value and dignity. Making mistakes does not change our value. Doing good things does not change our value.  We are worthy of love and belonging under any condition. 

Organic Home Garden

And Being Proactive: 

Sticking to our commitments. Focus efforts on the things we can change. So that by setting small goals and sticking to them, we gradually increase our integrity, which increases our ability to take responsibility for our life.

2.    Then share what you are willing to do this week to be proactive by choosing to 

       THINK- Learn-Evaluate  CARE- Hope- Aim    ACT- Improve-Engage. 


Watch Simon Sinek's TEDx talk. It is the 4th most viewed TED Talk with over 52 million views.  THINK about it: As humans, out OUTWARD actions and attitudes reflect our INWARD attitudes and beliefs. WHY we do what we do is strongly influenced by what we THINK and CARE about.  Said another way, our WHY-HOW-WHAT are always shaping one another. Something that makes us INCREDIBLE is our ability to THINK CARE ACT with positive intention. 

Graphics WHY HOW WHAT TCA.jpg

Get Involved

Think of a challenging situation you are facing. Then a blank piece of paper draw 3 circles and plan out how you would like your WHY to shape your HOW and WHAT. See the image below for more ideas. 


How can starting with our WHY help us align what we do and how we do it with our desire to make a positive difference. Share what you are willing to do to improve how you THINK CARE ACT today. 

Graphics WHY HOW WHAT TCA.jpg

Technology for Good


  1. How do you think technology can shape how we THINK CARE ACT in a positive way?  In a negative way?

  2. What message do you think the Hulu and Microsoft commercials are trying to communicate? 

  3. The technology of tomorrow is being designed today. If you worked for a technology company, what would you be willing to do to prioritize human thriving when creating or promoting new technology? 

  4. Optional Digging Deeper Question: Over 3 years ago, Tristen Harris challenged Netflix about its business model In the "The Panda is Dancing" video above. September 9th 2020, Social Dilemma with Tristen Harris was released exclusively on Netflix. The same day Netflix also released the controversial documentary Cuties . What does this say about the complexity of technology? 

  5. Knowing your life has value and you are uniquely positioned to help drive Positive Change, "What are you willing to do today to inspire, empower, and equip yourself and others to THINK- Learn-Evaluate  CARE- Hope- Aim    ACT- Improve-Engage by using technology for good? 

The Power of Vulnerability

Get Involved

​Use Exercise 4a and 4b titled "Our Efforts Matters" to evaluate a situation in which you were not at your BEST. Click here  to print. Give everyone the option of share their responses.

Talk About It

Brene Brown says, "We are imperfect, wired for struggle, but worthy of value and belonging." What does "We are wired for struggle" mean to you? How can having the courage to acknowledge our imperfections in a supportive environment help us gain the skill and motivation to improve our impact?

Making Amends vs Blaming

Our Choices can create SOLUTIONS


When we:

  • Are respectful when frustrated

  • Help someone in need

  • Persevere when a task is hard

  • See the good in someone else 

  • Acknowledge our imperfections and when necessary ask for forgiveness

Our Choices can create 



When we: 

  • Are disrespectful when frustrated

  • Degrade someone struggling

  • Give up when a task is difficult

  • See the bad in others and be critical and harsh

  • Blame Others 

Get Involved

  1. In a small group, practice creating 3 point apologies as described in the video above.

  2. Use Exercise 4a and 4b titled "Our Efforts Matters" to evaluate a situation in which you were not at your BEST. Click here  to print. 

  3. Write down a 3-point apology for the situation you described in Exercise 4a. 


Talk about It

Give everyone the option of sharing their 3-point apology and anything they learned about the importance of taking responsibility for their own actions.