It’s time to advance from thought to action. We draft an action plan or To-Do List that outlines the necessary steps and sets the timetable for realizing our insights.
“Tachles”is a word often using by Points of You® Tribe members. Yaron Golan, co-founder of Points of You® told us at the 5 day training programme in November 2018, “Originally, Tachles is a German word, in Israel it is commonly used as slang, meaning “the bottom line of doing”
“This is the excel sheet behind our dreams.“
I really love this connection between the pragmatic and the creative.
We can think and think and dream and dream. We can create our vision boards, talk about how we want the world to be but until we take the first small step to action, it is nothing more than a dream.
And we need a plan – to outline the steps and reflect on our progress. Maybe we need to pivot later if we find out that the action did not have the expected outcome.
Countless times in my life I have hesitated, I’ve been led by fear. Fear of failure, looking stupid, losing something precious to me. I remember when I set up my business in 2016 – no clients, no experience in the training room for 7 years. What was I thinking? And yet, each small action, each meeting allowed things to grow, to make something from nothing, to integrate my ikigai and do work that I truly love, am good at, can be paid for and that the world needs.
I remember learning a valuable distinction about two types of fear from Tara Mohr (seriously, this book was a game changer for me I read it in March 2016 just as I was about to hand in my resignation. Forever grateful to Tara and her team for their support!)
Next time you are in a moment that brings fear: 1. Ask yourself: what part of this fear is pachad? Write down the imagined outcomes you fear, the lizard brain fears. Remind yourself that they are just imagined, and that pachad-type fears are irrational. 2. Savor yirah. Ask yourself: what part of this fear is yirah? You’ll know yirah because it has a tinge of exhilaration and awe -while pachad has a sense of threat and panic. Lean into – and look for – the callings and leaps that bring yirah.
The thing I like the most about using the Focus Notes in Points of You® is the brevity. Pocket sized, you can stick onto your desktop, your fridge, your mirror or wherever you need to be able to see it.
And they are simple.
What can you do in 24 hours? 1 week? 1 month?
Will it be a conversation with a key stakeholder? Or a change in your sefl-talk?
Something to start doing? Something to stop doing?
A one-off action or a habit-creation?
(I offer programmes on Gretchen Rubin’s The Four Tendencies if you want to learn more about how to create habits for you and your team members. I really find this concept to make so much sense and now leverage my Obliger tendencies to build in external accountability to help me deliver on those habits. Contact me to find out more)
Want to find out more about Points of You® Methods?
I’m sitting in Tully’s with the purpose of writing this post on my calendar. I’ve been here for 40 minutes and variously scrolled through linkedin, facebook and email and LINE. My mind is jumping around and I’m finding Focus elusive. Two men near me are talking loudly and whilst I can tune out their conversation the voices pull me out of focus.
When I think of focus it brings images of productivity, laser-sharp, relentless drive to be the best at something, to deliver on one thing. It’s GaryVee and endless hustle. Don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of GaryVee’s tough love to tell me to stop making excuses and yet…
There is no space for multitasking, no pinwheel brain, no dips in energy. Always grinding to drive success.
And I start to feel guilty, why don’t I have more self discipline? Why can’t I keep promises to myself and instead focus on external accountability (which can be hard to find as your own boss!)? I download app blockers and then don’t use them. And I start to feel a bit disappointed in myself.
But then I look at productivity rates and realise that long hours doesn’t correlate with innovation and creativity. That forcing an idea tends to squish it rather than giving it space to grow. I’m reminded of the Tim Urban TED Talk “Inside the mind of a master procrastinator“, and my favourite quotation about procrastination:
“You call it procrastinating. I call it thinking.”
On the other side of the hustle of Focus is “Flow”.
Csíkszentmihályi described flow as “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.” (Wired Magazine)
Whilst I find myself achieving flow when I am facilitating, writing, and on a good day running, what I lack is the flow between actions. What to do next? Sometimes just the getting started and that is why I find the Points of You® description of Focus so liberating.
What is Focus in Points of You®?
A conscious choice
Now we focus on our most significant insights. We use guiding questions to clarify and define exactly which of the newly discovered possibilities is right for our journey or for the issue at hand.
” A conscious choice” – One of my words for the year is “Intention” (The other is “I’m enough” which came out of my Points of You 5 day training in November 2018). Intention to me is all about conscious choices.
Who do I want to be in this conversation? How do I want to behave in this meeting? What is my intention behind this next action?
When it comes to focus being “a conscious choice”, asking myself which of the opportunities for action is going to bring me closer to my goals and allow me to integrate my ikigai is a useful north star.
It feels like a gift goal, a concept I learnt from Tara Mohr. When I focus only on the shoulds, the burden of social expectation, I reduce my impact. When I do work that feels expansive, luxurious and enriching, I feel closer to my ikigai. I see that I am making the choice that is right for my journey at this time.
In the Points of You® process, usually the most meaningful focus area jumps out at you. The next challenge is to move that focus to action, to “Doing”.
P.S. I wrote the first draft of this post in 20 minutes. Spent longer procrastinating and worrying about what I was going to write about Focus. As a client said this week “Sometimes you just have to get your hands dirty and something beautiful will appear”
Want to find out more about Points of You® Methods?
I thought the session using cards was interesting to see differences between people. It helps understand that people have different interpretations and something they look at things which I do not care about.
2019 Points of You Corporate Workshop Participant
One of the most valuable takeaways that I hear as a Diversity and Inclusion Consultant using Points of You® in my workshops, is when participants are able to internalise that there are multiple points of view in any discussion. Of course, most of us comprehend this intellectually but in my workshops I love to see what really internalising this means to participants, especially in terms of applying that back in the workplace.
And diversity of perspective is not just about other people, how can we expand our own point of view? If we approach a challenge or an opportunity with a different world view, can we influence a different outcome?
What is “expanding” in Points of You®?
Countless points of view
Expanding is the second of four stages in the Points of You® method. It is described on the website as follows:
“In this stage we search for the unknown, not knowing where it may lead us. We allow a shift from our familiar comfort zone– to a world of new opportunities, insights and WOW moments. At the end of this stage we know this: Anything is possible.”
5 ways to expand your point of view
Below I share 5 ways to expand your point of view, be open to other perspectives and generally give yourself a chance to get unstuck from self-limiting beliefs…all without using Points of You® 😉
Then find someone outside your regular group to talk with. Diverse opinions don’t just happen, we have to reach outside our daily experience.
When was the last time you had a decent chat with someone outside your age group, gender, race, sexuality?
Living as a foreigner in Tokyo offers some amazing opportunities to meet people from all over the world and find out about their world view.
2. How fascinating!
In March 2019, when I was presenting about Ikigai at the Gross Global Happiness Conference at UPEACE in Costa Rica, Juan Jose Reyes M.D, Founder of Mindstay, suggested using this reflective statement to approach our reactions to situations. Notice that you are getting annoyed? Feel your teeth clenching? You chest tightening?
Comment to yourself “How fascinating!”
Observe your physical sensations, what is going on? What is happening here? How is this response serving me? How do I want to be in this situation?
Then you can expand your choice of responses based on this awareness of your body.
We tell so many stories to ourselves with our interpretations of a perceived slight, a shady glance, a terrible wrong inflicted on us.
During my work with Tara Mohr on her Playing Big Facilitators Training Programme in 2018, we did an excellent activity forcing us to brainstorm 20 possible…as well as ridiculous… interpretations of the facts of a situation. In individual coaching, Tara suggested that the reason my client hadn’t replied to email was not because my work was terrible but because they had fallen hopelessly in love with me and could not be professional around me! This was so ridiculous but also within the realm of the possible (obviously I’m irresistible) that I could at least see that there were ways I could expand my approach
4. Channel Littlefinger
“Sometimes when I try to understand a person’s motives I play a little game. I assume the worst. What’s the worst reason they could possibly have for saying what they say and doing what they do?”
Lord Petyr Baelish, Game of Thrones
Regular readers will know that I am a GOT (and Harry Potter) fan, mostly for the “great conversations in elegant rooms” rather than the bloody battle scenes. Whilst Littlefinger is generally not a role model for me, his approach of expanding his response can be useful. As a proponent of positive psychology though, I tend to think, “What’s the best reason they could possibly have for saying what they say and doing what they do?” This positive expansion helps you to focus on opportunities not obstacles…which brings me to….
5. Obstacles as opportunities
Yes, I do love Spartan Races and I’m about to join the next Japan race on July 6th. Obstacle Course Racing is a great way to build resilience and also to practice “expanding”. Not just about muscles but also about your realm of what is possible for you. The self-limiting belief “I’ll never be able to do this!” can quickly be overturned by the realisation you just nailed the spear throw!
Just this morning, I caught myself saying “I don’t trust myself!” as I jumped up to reach a bar. When I changed my self talk and event went so far as to say it out loud “I trust myself” my performance improved. It might be a placebo, it could just be practice but you know what, I’ll take it! Language matters.
Read about my take on all 4 parts of the Points of You® Method. Pause, Expand, Focus, Doing.
Want to try a Points of You® Workshop with Jennifer Shinkai?
Seems like only yesterday that I was writing this post about the start of my third year in business and in 2 weeks on June 29th, I’ll be kicking off Year 4.
Taking this time to reflect fills me with gratitude for my family, my customers and my community. Thank you so much for your support, feedback and inspiration!
One of the most important mantras for me are these three magic words:
“trust the process”
As an entrepreneur, there are times when you are not quite sure where your next opportunity will come from. However, I’ve found it is really important to keep making offers, following the ideas and work that really interests you. By having this focus on integrating my ikigai – to help create inclusive workplaces where teams can flourish doing meaningful work – I’ve been able to say “hell yes!” and “no way!” to certain projects. All in the knowledge that doing the work, getting feedback and learning along the way is all part of the evolutionary process.
With this in mind, I thought I’d use the 4 Questions of Ikigai to review my third year in business. In case you need a reminder, here is the Ikigai model:
What do I love?
I love creating aha moments, when I get goosebumps from client’s insight. I love seeing the energy and support in a room when colleagues are connecting diverse opinions.
I love creating “unexpected but precise” experiences through Points of You®. I love colour, creativity, making things, exploring, getting messy in order to grow.
I love freedom to grow my business at my pace in a way that works for my family.
I love meeting people from different industries, countries, professions and then realising in all that beautiful diversity that the common themes of humanity are universal.
We all want to belong, to be valued and to achieve mastery in something.
What am I good at?
I’m good at working in a variety of situations. I can flex to the clients needs and facilitate custom programmes to achieve their goals.
In the last year I’ve worked on executive coaching and 80 person workshops, one-off team building events, multi-day leadership programmes and 6 month journeys. I’ve facilitated programmes in English, Japanese and bilingually. I’ve worked alone and co-facilitated with talented partners. I’ve co-created workshops with clients and delivered localised global programmes through training companies.
Each programme requires a different approach and a thorough understanding of client’s requirements. Whilst creating custom programmes might not be the most sustainable business model, it certainly brings me a lot of joy and professional development.
What can I be paid for?
From client feedback, I’m coming to learn much more about the value of a third party as a change agent. As a trusted yet external partner, I can come in and challenge participants to break patterns. However, I also understand corporate life enough that I can empathise with the blockers and coach around possible solutions.
In a recent interview I was asked “how do you create a comfortable learning environment?” I was flummoxed by the question and said “I don’t really know…but I always get positive comments that I created an inclusive space where it was safe to fail.”
After the demo session, the interviewer said “you are right! we are not quite sure how you did it either but that was one of the most engaging sessions we’ve joined!”.
I’ve also learned that answering this question is one of the trickiest for many participants in Ikigai workshops!
I look forward to continuing to evolve my programmes to support this vision of my Ikigai. Can’t wait to see what this post looks like at the start of Year 5! Just before the Olympics in Tokyo 2020 – Unity in Diversity.
Recently, I’ve noticed a trend for in-house collaboration spaces. With open space, coffee bars and modern designs, these co-working spaces encourage a different energy in the workplace. The goal of the space is to bring together diverse perspectives and communication across silos. I love visiting clients offices to see how they are making inclusive work environments that motivate and inspire.
However, one thing struck me on recent office tours. They are often empty. These beautiful, expensive and expansive spaces are either empty or quiet as a library. As the spaces are still new, many companies are still running into an unexpected stumbling block when it comes to increasing collaboration. People don’t know how or when to use the space.
“If you build, it they will come”
Might work for Field of Dreams but not for collaborative spaces!
Getting people to collaborate in the space takes more than an opening event and Friday night drinks. One way is to get people to experience communication and collaboration in the space at an open event. This is where holding a corporate Points of You® Experience event with Jennifer Shinkai comes in.
What is Points of You®?
Points of You® is a creative coaching tool, originally from Israel. It is has been used globally in corporations as diverse as Google, NASA, Ikea, L’Oreal and Circque de Soleil. Personally as a Points of You® Master Trainer, I’ve facilitated group workshops in Japan around strategy, team building, inclusion, innovation and change management for luxury, manufacturing, IT, and professional services firms. With participants ranging from new grads to global leaders, from engineering to sales, Points of You® workshops encourage communication and sharing diverse perspectives. You can see more case studies at my facebook page.
What are Jennifer Shinkai’s Corporate Points of You® Experiences like?
These 90 minute workshops can be held as an 朝活 (breakfast meeting)、lunch and learn, or even as an evening workshop. They can support the activities of your ERGs, a specific team or as a way to gather diverse employees into your collaborative space.
Choose from one of the following processes and watch as your employees break patterns, open their hearts and develop a sense of belonging:
The Potential Me
Meet yourself and others from a new perspective. See how you’ve changed over the years.
A unique and fun way to introduce participants in the group using Points of You® Tools.
Why What How:
Learn the power of presence as a coach through powerful questions. Gain insight into deeper barriers to personal progress
My Life’s Wishlist:
Focus on action to drive personal goals. Share your big dreams for your life and walk the talk to action!
From July to November 2019, I’ll be offering the first 5 corporate clients to register, in-house workshops for groups of minimum 8 people at a very special rate. Contact me to find out more today.
These processes can only be offered as stand alone offerings. If you want to bring Points of You® Tools to your organisation in other workshop, please contact me.
March was an amazing month as I was able to deliver 4 Ikigai x Points of You® workshops with very diverse audiences around the world
On March 4th, I delivered a 90 minute corporate session to an in-house Learning and Development team. Always a good challenge to facilitate for professionals. They all commented what a treat it was to be in the participant seat for a change!
Great personal insights using the Points of You® method. Enjoyable and also insightful
Ikigai Taster Session – Corporate Participant
On March 5th, 8 people attended a sold out open session in Kinshicho at Smart Partners K.K.’s warm and open space. Even in a short amount of time people were able to develop a clearer perspective of what their Ikigai was and some small actions they could take to move forwards.
The contents was simple but powerful and professional facilitation of the program, with warm and relaxed atmosphere. It was test trial version of 90min, so it would be nice to join full session to see what are the outcome if we took more time of each work. Fantastic workshop! Thank you.
Ikigai Taster Session Participant
The session helped me confirm what is my Ikigai and realize the gap between what I’m doing now and what I want to do. I’ve started to think about taking small actions to fill the gap.
Ikigai Taster Session Participant
I especially appreciated her approach of adhering to the workshop’s protocol while allowing for individual interpretation of its components. Jennifer balances kindness and friendliness with the instructor role well.
Ikigai Taster Session Participant
March 21st took me to Costa Rica for the first time to deliver the Ikigai and Points of You® Workshop internationally at the UN University for Peace. As part of the Gross Global Happiness Executive Development program, 20 people explored the four questions of Ikigai. I was thrilled to see how it resonated with participants from the Americas and Europe. And it’s not a Points of You® session without something “unexpected but precise” – the campus cat and dog paid a visit, reminding me not to take things too seriously and to be open to teachable moments!
Finally on March 28th, an executive client flew in from Brazil for the express purpose of finding out about the practical application of the Ikigai X Points of You® workshop for corporate clients. It was fascinating to hear how Ikigai is viewed overseas and give my perspective on how we can use the concept in a way that makes sense inside organisations. I really want to bust the myth that in order to live your ikigai you need to become an entrepreneur or join an NPO. Through the scale of a larger organisation, you can truly achieve lasting impact and deliver value that the world needs.
Find out more about running the 6 month “Integrate your Ikigai Journey Programme” to increase engagement of your talent in your organisation or arrange a taster session today.
Recently, I have attended a lot of events with panel discussions. At one event, I watched 8 panel discussions in a day. As the day wore on I tried to analyse what separated the good, the bad and the ugly!
Based on my own experience as a moderator, I’ve created 9 things you need to do as a successful moderator of a panel. What have I missed?
1. You need to have a plan
What is this panel for?
An entertaining way to spend 1 hour?
Killing time before the final keynote – probably you have bigger dreams that that!
Just as with a presentation, you should think in advance of the key takeaways that you want for the audience. You might not get them all as you will always have an element of spontaneity in there with different conversations on the day.
What are the key takeaways you expect from this session? How does it fit into the overall flow of the event or the panel series you are part of ? How do you expect your session to run? How will you allocate time on each topic. You need to share this plan with the panelists and event organizers ahead of time to make sure expectations are aligned
2. You need to think about the audience needs
As the panelist, you are the representative of the audience on the stage. It is your job to think about the demographics and what would be the most useful takeaways and discussion points. How much do people know about the topic at hand?
For me, a great moderator will help to break the fourth wall. They can engage the audience needs either through a Q&A or directing comments to the room. They have gathered information about what the audience wants to know rather than what their personal interests are.
Personally, if I know the panelists well, it can be interesting to build them up by saying why they were chosen to participate, what you expect them to bring to the panel
Reading out the bio is generally a waste of time as most conferences have a literate audience who can check it out if they are interested. Opening with a few minutes of general comments around the theme can be useful but it is easy for this to become a static talking heads round robin so be sure to watch out for that.
3. You need to connect with the panelists
Ideally meet the panelists before the event – face to face is great, virtually is also fine! And this meeting should not be 10 minutes before the panel. Find out if they have been on a panel before? What are their expectations and how are they aligned with yours?
It is great to go through questions or themes with them. Pick up on interesting stories that show diversity of thought and experience.
As an audience member, it can feel wonderful to be a fly on the wall in a high-level conversation that flows naturally. As a moderator you need to work to develop that camaraderie with panelists before the event.
Be careful not to take the camaraderie too far though. At a recent event, I felt like a voyeur as the conversation was too intimate, too many in jokes. It almost felt like the two speakers had forgotten we were there!
4. You need to build a connection between the panelists
Can you get the panelists together beforehand? Can they collaborate on a call or a shared document? The litmus test of a great panel is when the panelists are bouncing ideas off each other, listening and building on the previous persons statements.
I’ve seen panel discussions which were a series of 10 minute PPT presentations with no interaction between the speakers and no building on the ideas raised. It’s fine to have that format for speaker presentations with lots of short speeches but don’t advertise it as a panel discussion!
5. You need to be inclusive
Is everyone speaking? How much airtime are they getting? the bigger the panel, the less people speak. Melissa Thomas-Hunt did interesting research on who speaks in meetings. With 5 people in the room, 2 people will speak for 70% of the time. When 8 people are in the room, 3 people will speak for 67% of the time. As an inclusive moderator you need to manage this. At a recent conference, I saw one speaker so completely dominate that one of the other panelists was staring at the ceiling, totally disengaged!
In terms of inclusion, are different opinions and approaches being given airtime? Having controversial and diverse approaches supports audience learning and brings some zest to your panel.
Make sure the staging is so that you can make eye contact with everyone. Is there someone who you suspect will dominate the conversation? One idea comes from the old adage “keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer”
This can allow you to give them a nudge if they are going on too long. If you must share a microphone, you can even hold it so they have to ask for it! Beware though if they are sitting next to you, it can be easy for them to turn their back to you and not read your non-verbals. Be ready and willing to politely interrupt and give space to other people.
6. You need to be passionate about the subject
As the moderator, you need to drum up excitement and set the tone for the discussion. Bringing your own ideas to the panel is fine but “know your place” – you are not there as the only expert. You are there to bring the expert ideas to light!
However, keep your questions precise. Big lead ups where you show your passion and knowledge and then ask multiple questions, only complicate issues for panelists. KISS!
7. You need to be able to think on your feet
If you are going through the motions and sticking slavishly to your plan, you panel will feel formulaic. Listening and building on themes that become important makes a naturally engaging panel.
It is also important to know if there are any taboo topics that panelists or the event organizers want you to steer clear of. How will you handle them if they come up in discussion or in the Q&A?
8. You need to wrap up the key points
The moderators role is to make sense of the different ideas raised. You can do this after each theme or just in your concluding comments. What were the new pieces of information that were shared? What should the audience remember.
9. You need to finish on time
Make sure you have someone watching the clock for you and giving you time countdowns. It is absolutely fine to cut speakers, to guide when people go off topic.
You also need to keep your Q&A under control – reminders for single questions so more people can get involved is usually helpful. You may want to source questions before hand and plant people in the audience to get things started depending on your demographic. Remember to take questions from around the space and to be mindful of sourcing questions from a broad array of audience members.
I hope this has been a useful guide if you have a moderator role coming up!
As part of my Points of You® Master Trainer Certification, I am running a number of workshops around Tokyo to practice implementing the process with diverse groups. (Contact me if you have a group of 10+ people and an event space as I have some new processes I need guinea pigs for!)
On February 4th, I was invited back to Diversity Dojo to use one of my favourite processes, “My Photo Album”. With participants from all over the world many of whom were meeting each other and Points of You® for the first time, it was a unique opportunity for people to hear truly diverse points of view and think about fresh ways to address current challenges. I love this workshop as it allows groups to be creative, and for individuals to practice inclusive leadership. The process helps you to open your mind to every single voice and idea in the room. You can make new connections between ideas and see your issue from many different perspectives. It is these new perspectives and connections that drive innovation.
Thanks to everyone at Diversity Dojo for their engaged and active participation. This group is always very open to trust the process and thus had many “unexpected but precise” insights. I look forward to hearing about how they turned their insights into action in 24 hours, 1 week and the next month.
Contact me to try “My Photo Album” to engage your employees in a new approach to problem solving.
I’m half way through listening to the farewell episode of my favourite podcast. I have to stop…I just don’t want it to end. So I decided to stave off the inevitable by writing a blog post about it.
Over the last 12 months I’ve been re-exploring the Harry Potter universe and the wider Wizarding World. I’ve finally accepted that I am Ravenclaw not Gryffindor. I find myself reading scripts and screenplays for the first time in 20 years to get my fix of the world beyond the original Hogwarts stories. Perhaps you could blame my fondness for the dashing Eddie Redmayne but mostly I blame Binge Mode: Harry Potter. Listening to these podcasts reminded me to go back and reread all the books (I haven’t rewatched the films…yet). I’ve just added “See Harry Potter and The Cursed Child in London” to my list of things to do in 2019. My family just does not get it and my kids are resisting my rather fanatical requests to let me start on The Philosopher’s Stone with them! One day….
I’ve loved the experience of listening to the passion of the presenters, Mallory Rubin and Jason Concepcion. They absolutely f*cking love Harry Potter and everything about the stories and the depth of the fantasy world. They are both reverent and irreverent with adult content, in-jokes and deep discussion of the “wider Potter Canon”. Listening to them do their thing, really brings me back to the “What do you love?” question at the heart of the Ikigai concept.
You can’t deliver over 160 podcasts over 7 months with freshness and passion and energy unless you really love the content. Their emotion is so fresh and true it really brings you back into what it feels like to really love a work of art.
In addition to “What do you love?”, Binge Mode: Harry Potter really makes me think, “What does the world need?”, the final question of Ikigai. People around me say しょうがない (It can’t be helped, there is no other way) everyday. Accepting the status quo, even though they hate it and it is making them ill. I believe the world needs people who can stand up and say “しょうがある”(there is a way, it can be helped)! The world needs passionate people who can geek out over things that they care about.
But why do we fear being seen as a geek?
We fear being rejected. We fear seeming uncool and being humiliated. Why? There is something a little bit scary, a touch confronting to be in front of someone who cares so intensely about something, who is passionate about sharing their love for a work of art, an idea or a concept. As an onlooker, we can’t always understand it and so we ridicule it, “Why are you pouring your energy into this children’s story?”
It’s important to then look at ourselves, “What am I passionate about? What do I love?” Sometimes what is really confronting us is when we see the gap between what we say we love and how we spend our days. Integrating your ikigai is about (re-)discovering that passion and then engineering ways to bring more of it into our daily lives.
We need more passionate geeks in the world. I encourage you to nurture your inner geek. Shout from the rafters about the things you love. Bring more of it into your daily life. Find your kindred spirits who care about it too. It will widen your world and you might just inspire someone to find their ikigai.
P.S. I listened to the end of the podcast… It was so moving, I was in floods of tears. I am going to miss it so much. I’m not sure whether I’m more excited about Fantastic Beasts 3 in 2020 or the return of the Binge Mode Harry Potter Analysis.
I was starting to shiver as the wind came up. I‘d successfully made it through the dunk wall, an obstacle I’d always dreaded based on my fear of dark water. It was beginning to come a little more easily. I was learning how to trust that I would make it through to the other side, with eyes closed and mouth shut tight.
We had less than 2 km to go. The end was in sight but, up next, was the slip wall.
“Evil race director,” I thought, but also brilliantly planned. Cold and wet with no grip you have to haul yourself up and over a slippery incline. But I had a huge mental block after a complete wipe out at the last race.
I”d watched videos on technique and felt a bit more prepared. However, that little seed of doubt was already planted.
“Ok…bottom out, keep the legs braced. At the top, not too early, shift forwards to grip the wall.”
But at the top I froze. Mentally, I knew what to do. In theory, I understood the required movement. But, somehow, I could not move.
“Tazukete!!! Help me!” I shouted to the other Spartans at the top of the wall.
From out of nowhere, a hand gripped my arm then around my waist. I was hoisted forwards and could grab the top of the wall.
“Arigato! Thank you!”
I looked at the face of my Slip Wall Saviour. It was Keisuke, my team mate. In his first Spartan Race he embodied the inclusive spirit of Spartan that I hold so dear: always help others, give a boost – physical or verbal, look around and help others.
I hadn’t realized that Keisuke was still at the top of the wall. But I had known that when I asked for help, someone would be there. Having this total trust in the system, knowing that if I ask for help I will get it, is an essential element of inclusion at work.
Catalyst describes the Sense of Belonging as one of the key elements of Inclusion. In a Spartan Race, we see the output in a strong sense of Team Citizenship, “going beyond the call of duty to help others”. “No Spartan left behind” is a key mantra and I’ve lost count of the times I have seen people slow themselves down to help others, to offer support through advice, a pep talk, a joke to lighten the mood or, as in my case, a helping hand.
This is the exact opposite of the silos we see at the office. I’m so engrossed in my own targets. I don’t have bandwidth to look around for a second or respond to a call for help from outside that silo.
What would be possible for your business if you could foster an environment like the Spartan Race where Team Citizenship was a given, a key element of your culture?
What have Spartan Races taught me about inclusion?
When we feel included and have a sense of belonging, we are able to do amazing things. We can operate at a level well beyond what we thought we were capable of as an individual.
What can you do today to create a sense of belonging in your team?
I’m happy to say that at the dry and sunny Sendai stadium race in December 2018, I made it over the slip wall without any help! Dragon slayed!
Not without drama though. I ripped my nail off (schoolboy error – always trim nails before race day!) and was forced to a pit stop at the medical tent for a plaster.
So now training begins for my next nemisis… the Bender….