Tell us who you are!
I am Sherri Fisher, MAPP, M.Ed., Director of Learn & Flourish LLC, and a leader in the field of positive psychology. I translate the complex findings of research into learning, productivity, wellbeing and change solutions for individuals, organizations and communities.
- Strategic Consultant
In my private practice I design strategies for navigating the complex world of learning and special education, by blending Positive Psychology research and education best practices. I’m the first learning specialist in the world to have UPenn’s MAPP degree, and graduated with the vanguard class.
- Executive Coach
I have developed an actionable model for improving wellbeing called the POS-EDGE™. This model helps people find success by discovering, redirecting, and engaging strengths, developing optimism and resilience, and improving the key relationships that support academic, personal and professional growth.
I am the lead author on a wellbeing project in Australia that is based on the POS-EDGE™ model. I am also co-author of the popular positive education book SMART Strengths: Building Character, Resilience and Relationships in Youth. I’ve written over 50 articles for Positive Psychology News, have contributed to all three of their book collections, and am a columnist for The Creativity Post.
I’ve been an invited live speaker at professional conferences and universities in several countries as well as been included in video events for world-wide distribution.
- Strategic Consultant
Tell us more about your career steps and other projects you were part of!
As a consultant I explore imaginative and even sneaky ways with clients to “game” systems. I am driven to find out how can we make a bigger impact at a much lower cost by reimagining the impediments or requirements of systems as delivery routes.
As an example, my private practice work in Positive Education is at the intersection of Positive Psychology and Special Education. l change the stories of real-life Special Education students who are stellar examples of what happens when education is imaginatively and flexibly matched to an assortment of student strengths.
One of my many initiatives:
Re-Imagining Effort: Creating Positive Special Education
Nearly every report card of a struggling student states that the pupil will meet or exceed standards if they just try harder. I call this “The Effort Myth.” It is the tendency for (hopefully) well-meaning adults to encourage kids to try harder, believing that it will result in better achievement. Unfortunately this builds unrealistic optimism and the fixed mindset for students. It also erodes the relationships of teachers and parents who blame kids as well as each other when learning doesn’t occur as expected.
What does “Social Capital” mean to you? What can you offer your 1World Mentee?
Most people will never develop their potential. Together we can change that. I think of Social Capital as the potential of everyone in your immediate and extended network. This represents a huge amount of expertise and energy. But without action the potential is unusable, rather like having a hydroelectric plant without water.I am connected to an accomplished, international network of educators, professionals, university researchers, and practitioners, and I take action to connect these people to ideas, opportunities and especially, to each other. What makes this possible is that I am a great connector, and I genuinely like people. I remember what people love to (or want to) do. I find people’s stories, both of what they have done and especially what they would like to do, completely fascinating.
What makes you successful in life/current job?
I believe that learning to know and leverage your own strengths is the key to your success. As humans we all have the ability to do the following, and I practice these things in my own life:
- Expand interpersonal trust – This is key for building the relationships and teams that support learning and performance.
- Increase positive coping approaches – Self-compassion and self-care skills are essential for dealing with the day-to-day ups and downs we all face.
- Broaden mindset – When you have a growth mindset you know that “smart” is not what you are: it is a set of behaviors that you do. When you are “smart” in this way, you get smarter.
- Develop resilience – This prevents depression and supports achievement, too.
What is/has been your biggest achievement professionally and personally?
I am a survivor and have forged pioneering paths in a new field of research and practice, Positive Psychology. One of my favorite passages in any piece of literature is from Margery Williams’ The Velveteen Rabbit. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” It turns out that one of the people who does not understand just might be yourself! I am over 30 years into my career, and I am just hitting my stride, loose joints and all. The recognition I desired as a younger person is now coming my way, and at a time where I do not need to please other people.
What skills, experiences or incidences helped you to get you to where you are today? What hindered?
I grew up during “women’s liberation” when women were coached to be like men if they wanted to be successful. This was at odds with my family who told me that no one would ever love me if I did that, and that I should go to university to secure my future by getting an MRS degree (get married)! I was done high school in three years, and on my own by age 19. I worked my way through university. I was an excellent student, but I had no idea what I should “be” and chose my first career, education, because it was easy and inexpensive to get started. I never had a mentor, and it is something that I now do as part of my work as a professional coach. I find 1World Social Capital’s mission and vision inspiring, so I signed up as a mentor. Today’s young women have tech tools and the post-modern acceptance that we only dreamed of in the 1970s. Yet women are still underpaid and undervalued.
What does your ideal 1World Mentee look like?
She is open, and ready for a challenge. She believes (or can believe) that smart is what you do!
Do you believe there is a glass ceiling for young female professionals? If yes, how can we break it?
Today we have many “disruptive” options at our disposal. Maybe we should not be breaking the glass ceiling but walking to the other side without so much pain. I say this as a meditation practitioner of over 15 years, since when I am in a state of openness I am able to do the impossible, like breathe under water and walk through glass.