Champagne Problems: A Reframing Opportunity

I’m writing this as my incredibly health son starts three days of 学級閉鎖 (class shutdown) for the flu rampaging his class. It’s common practice in Japan that if a third of the students are sick to shut down the class to prevent the further spread of infectious diseases. Needless to say: Working parents hate it! We are fortunate that we are both in jobs where we can work from home if needed. And as I mentioned, my son is not stricken with the flu and is generally very 元気 (full of energy), sometimes too much. So in the great scheme of things, I’m grateful of how things turned out!

Whilst I try to keep him off the Nintendo Switch, I’m trying to work out an issue with a client over an upcoming Points of You® Academy programme in February. After cancelling programmes in 2019 due to not meeting the minimum requirement of 6 people, I find myself having to stop ticket sales as we are overflowing the room at 10. Argh! What should I do?

It all reminds me of working at Wall Street Associates (now en world) after my first maternity leave and I was put in charge of Client Relationships and organising “Leaders of Japan” networking events for our C-Level clients. I was reporting directly to the CEO, Nick Johnston. As we were drawing up the lists of potential guests, I started to panic,

“But Nick, what if too many people come? What if we are over subscribed?”

“What? Why are we worrying about Champagne problems?”

“Huh?” My blank face showed him I had no idea what he was talking about.

“This isn’t a problem. It’s great! If we are oversubscribed, brilliant! We can create a waiting list, we can run another event at a later date. We know that we have really hit the nail on the head and the clients love this idea.

“That’s a champagne problem. Not a problem at all but an opportunity. Next!”

A quick search today on google shows me that the term “champagne problems” generally seems to be another way to say #firstworldproblems, talking about the scale and impact of your “problem” in the context of wider social issues like conflict, poverty and so on.

However, I prefer Nick’s view and the lessons on reframing and giving yourself the option to think about the opportunity to achieve more than you thought was possible.

I often talk about champagne problems with Japanese managers in the midst of organisational transformation. When we have an organisational culture with a tendency to focus on what might go wrong, to avoid risk by not taking any, we keep ourselves in a holding pattern.

“There is freedom waiting for you, On the breezes of the sky, And you ask “What if I fall?” Oh but my darling, What if you fly?”

Erin Hanson

We should not be a Pollyanna and be blindly optimistic but allowing room for an exploration of the upside of success can be thrilling, motivating and, most importantly, give opportunities for further innovation and brainstorming.

I also hear clients complain about the challenges of working with a team that is “too diverse”. Again, I am like “what?! You are having creative conflict and you have a chance to really leverage the benefits of different perspectives. Champagne problem! Next!”

So next time, you hear someone complain about being too busy because of too many customer requests, or having to take time out of their schedule to onboard their new hire, remind them of the idea of champagne problems and ask them how they can reframe this as an opportunity.

I’ll remind myself that I can enjoy some quality time with my son and enjoy his company one on one for the next three days! #champagneproblems

What type of situations might thinking about champagne problems be useful for you?

My Ikigai Journey: from slipped disc to jumping out of bed

So how did this lass from Bury, in the north west of England, become so interested in this Japanese concept of Ikigai?

Of course, moving to Japan in 1999 with proximity to the culture would be a simple explanation but I did not become aware of the concept until 2017. It was only after I discovered my Ikigai that I discovered Ikigai.

I wish I had known about it in 2015. It really was my “annus horribilis”.

The year began with me laid up in bed with a slipped disc. Agony whatever I did, unable to lie comfortably or move around, unable to take care of my family or commute on a crowded train to Tokyo to go to work. I could not sit or stand.  Lying down was not even that much respite. I endured some terrible physio that probably made the issue worse before I asked around locally and finally found someone who could help.

But during these weeks as I struggled with pain and felt let down by my body for the first time in my adult life, I started to sink into depression. I cried when I could not carry my infant son, or even do simple jobs around the house, I could not play with or comfort my daughter. There were no more impromptu dance parties, tickle fights or circus skills. I was never a great cook but now the act of shopping, cooking and cleaning up was more than I could handle.

Who was I as a mother?

So to my husband. He had to take on all the caregiving, as well as his full time job. As a Japanese salaryman, even at an enlightened company, the fact that he could not do overtime every day was beginning to take its toll. And as for intimacy…well, that was very far from my mind.  And not only in the physical sense. I had no energy to listen to his troubles, no fire in my heart to support and cheer him on. I was locked in my own suffering and frustration.

Who was I as a wife and partner?

And then my work. Truth be told,  I was glad not to have the commute. Something had shifted in my engagement and satisfaction. I had been with my company since 2004. They were challenging but enjoyable years. However, after my second maternity leave I came back to a different job, with a different boss. And to be frank, I was underperforming in my role. I had no fire in my belly for the work. More importantly  for the first time in my career I did not feel a sense of belonging and camaraderie with the people on my team. I could not see where the role would take me.

Who was I in my career? What was my role in the firm?

In the key places where I defined my identity,  (mother, wife, professional),  I felt a failure. I felt I had nothing to offer.

There were a few bright spots.  I had an incredibly supportive network of women through my leadership of a Lean In Circle, a peer to peer networking group, that I founded in Tokyo. I also had the camaraderie of my local running group although obviously running was off the cards during this period.

With perfect 20:20 hindsight, I see that the slipped disc was a great way of getting me to slow down. I was forced to take stock of my life and what I valued. 

The slipped disc was certainly a real issue. I have the MRI scans to prove it. I can’t help but think that I was sending myself a warning. Something had broken inside me and I could not get out. Be warned, gentle reader, that I will talk a LOT about listening to your body. The signs that our parasympathetic nervous system sends us are an incredibly valuable message.

Then slowly, slowly, the pain relief started to work. I was able to return to “normal” life and pick up all those roles again. But the seed had been planted and the nagging thought in my mind was there.

“Without these things, these roles that I thought defined me, who am I? Why am I here? What is my purpose?”

Big questions with no easy answers. And as a harried working mum with a young family, they were questions that were easy to ignore.

Around the time that I started to recover, I had dinner with a friend, Renee. 

“How are things?” she asked. 

“Not so terrible” I said, trying to reframe my current situation, to put it in perspective of my #firstworldproblems. I wanted to remind my self that in the great scheme of humanity that as an Oxford educated, white woman in a white collar job in Tokyo with a healthy family, a lovely house and many options and support, things were indeed not so terrible.

“But darling, Jen! Not so terrible is not the goal. You deserve more. Everyone does!”

And then it hit me, that I was settling. I started to think about how it was possible to give myself permission to ask for more. It wasn’t greedy or self indulgent to want more and by aiming only for “not so terrible” I was holding myself back. By settling in a role that I wasn’t engaged in, I was also becoming a drain on resources in my firm. I was transforming into the very type of colleague that I most disliked: The safe, the bored, the clock in/ clock out, the ranks of the disengaged. 

Was this the limit of my potential?  Why am I here? What is my purpose?

Around the time of this dinner, a couple of other moments of clarity came to me. Once we start to pay attention, the messages start coming thick and fast. Perhaps that is why you are reading this now?

Realizing that I had been sent a wake up call in the form of a shut down of my body, I had decided to take action. I was working with Anne Good,  an executive coach,  and drilling down on these questions of purpose, strengths and life design. On our regular Skype calls, we focused on creating possibilities for potential next steps. I developed awareness of my unique strengths. I met fabulous people with really interesting jobs through informational interviewing. I clawed back the agency and control that I had lost over the last 12 months. I found that I was improving relationships within my team, meeting inspiring people with interesting stories and leaning into what I loved.

I attended a speech by Dr. Bob Tobin, author of “What do you want to create today?” and he asked the room “What is your dream?” And in that question, I had the saddest realization. I don’t have a dream. I can’t see beyond the hamster wheel of my work and family life. I am coasting, waiting for things to happen to me. I could not believe it but the truth was staring me in the face. I had given up on the idea of hopes and dreams for myself.

And yet, and yet… I started to see something, a power and presence in me that emerged when I was facilitating the LeanIn Circle. There was a monthly moment of flow. It was during those meetings that I felt the most energized.  The most useful. The most me.

From these insights about strengths, possibility, dreams and flow, a new perspective emerged. There might be something else out there for me that could work!

I announced in a session that I wanted to return to L&D and to pursue options in facilitation and coaching. Anne, my coach asked me, “What if you stay in this job and spend the next 6-12 months studying to be a coach?”  

Shudder – it was a  visceral reaction, the churn in my stomach. I may have even been a little sick in my mouth! Overwhelming feelings of dread at the thought of showing up every day and becoming a little more broken each month. 

But then, the practical side of maintaining the status quo held me. What would I do instead? How could I make a living? I was terrified of that too. 

This is where I realized the importance of all those informational interviews. Meeting diverse people who can suggest options of how to live or choices to make that you did not know were possible. I met with Ted Agatsuma, an experienced HR professional who was now working as a consultant. I bemoaned the jobs which I had seen on the market in L&D and Training. 

“I want to be a practitioner, Ted. I want to be in the room with people and see the aha moments with them!

“The only way that is going to happen is if you set up your own company and freelance,” he told me in a very matter of fact way. And just as the words “I can’t set…” started to come out of my mouth, I stopped myself. What if I could? What might it look like?

And from that moment on, it was all systems go. With the support of my family and the promise of paying my half of the mortgage for a year from my husband, I set about planning the launch of my sole proprietorship. 

I had dinner with Ted on February 26th, 2016. Resigned in early May and the business was launched on June 29, 2016 with the help of the first professional I hired, Yasuko Mori, who remains my wonderful and supportive Tax Accountant. 

Looking back on my personal experience,  I see how useful it would have been to use the Ikigai framework. Once I had a clear understanding of what I loved, what I was good at, what I could be paid for and what the world needed, I was able to take action. Once I worked out what would make me jump out of bed rather than battle the pain of a slipped disc, I was able to start moving forwards.

So as I said, It was only after I discovered my Ikigai that I discovered Ikigai.

Need Inspiration? Pop to the loo!

We were absolutely stumped on one of the missions in the Tokyo Metro: The Underground Mysteries over the new year. The four of us just could not work it out. The kids got gradually more crabby and we could see the sun getting low in the winter sky. Finally we admitted defeat and opened the page with the answer.

Which I will not reveal – NO SPOILERS!

It was so frustrating not to be able to work out how the answer was reached. Even though we knew where we needed to go next we didn’t know why. (reminds me of my post on when hitting goals feels like failure!) There was a niggling annoyance and disappointment. But time was ticking and it we needed to get moving. Oh well!

Before we got ready to leave the cafe, I popped to the loo. As I was washing my hands, suddenly I had a flash of inspiration. Could it really be that simple? Was it possible that that was the answer?

“Hey, DH, you know the thingy does it have a whatchamacallit on it?!” (I told you no spoilers!)

And, yes, it did! We understood how to solve the puzzle. I felt so light and happy!

We all know, in theory, that when we are stumped by a problem we need to create some distance, allow the brain some time to access it. Last week was a really perfect example of this unconscious processing in action.

“Unconscious processing” is the third step in James Webb Young’s 1965 classic “A Technique for Producing Ideas“. And we’ve all experienced it! You know the feeling of the Eureka moment- having our best ideas in the shower, whilst taking a walk, doing something completely different to just let the brain do its job without things being so hard. It really questions the point of brainstorming in meetings and exposes why it is so hard for teams to be innovative in those environment.

As a side note, I recently heard Emily Aarons on James Wedmore’s podcast talking about why that whole water on the head in the shower is such a great way to have ideas – an interesting idea of the power of chakras if that floats your boat! I’ll take the magic and the science – whatever helps!

How to apply Unconscious Processing in daily life?

What ideas are you finding tough at the moment? Where have you been working hard but not seeing any new connection or inspiration?

It might be time to step away from the whiteboard, post its or screen and create some space for unconscious processing.

With no scientific proof, here are five simple ideas to make like Elsa and let it go!

  1. Find water – take a bath, jump in the shower, sit on the loo, walk by the river, go for a swim, wash your hands – Find flow!
  2. Take a hike!… or a walk, or climb the stairs, go for a run – get some exercise endorphins to move your brain into a new state
  3. Get your hands dirty – sketch, colouring in for grown ups, play with modelling clay, legos, play a musical instrument – focus on some different parts of your body to forget about your conscious brain.
  4. Pause – ah yes, the Points of You® favourite for transitions, shifting energy and opening up to inspiration. Mindfulness, meditation, or just sit and listen to some music.
  5. Why Don’t You? take inspiration from the 1980s UK classic TV show “Why Don’t You Just Switch Off Your Television Set and Go and Do Something Less Boring Instead?” chat with a colleague about challenges in their business, talk to someone outside your company/ industry, go to a new exhibition, read a magazine or listen to a podcast from an area you don’t know anything about. Innovation and inspiration can come from the most unlikely of places.

Would love to hear your ideas about unconscious processing in the comments!

Want your team to discover unexpected but precise connections? Points of You® Experiences are great places to unlock new perspectives and innovate in an inclusive environment. Take a look at some of the corporate workshops (including finding your individual and corporate ikigai) or contact me to set up a meeting to create a custom made workshop for 2020!

Great investment of budget and time – Client Testimonial

When did you work with Jennifer Shinkai (event, date, her role, areas of expertise)? How did she add value to your organisation?

Bosch Corporation Aftermarket Japan, Gasshuku – Management Bootcamp Nov. 2019: She provided facilitator role with concepts as Points of You®, 4 Tendencies and Appreciative Inquiry in Japanese and English. Focus on Self Awareness as the source of change that needs to enable the whole organization for the transformation in the Automotive industry.

Create creative ideas and sample process to MVP with out-of-box-thinking and Design Thinking Methods, customer centricity and fun in mind.

We all left the day of facilitation exhausted, but happy with a smile for the different perspectives we had a chance to enter.

What were her strengths as a facilitator/moderator/coach? How would you describe her style? What was it like to work with her?

Empathetic and strong in group management, Jennifer always knew what the group needed (we started with a meditation! :-)) and set the tone with different tools throughout the day.

Her bilingual language skills were highly appreciated and were one of the main reasons for many managers to actively participate throughout the whole day.

Why would you recommend her to facilitate workshops/ offer coaching for other organisations?

Great input from various different sources, I met Jennifer due to a Ikigai workshop, which I thought we could do with our management group, but in the course of preparation, we realized it wasn’t the right thing. She has a huge toolset of different methods to unveil more potential in your group.

Any other comments? Questions or Ideas?

Highly recommend Jennifer, great investment of budget and time into a more inclusive and empathetic team !

Joo-Seuk Maing
AA/SMS-JP, Marketing Director, BOSCH Japan

Talking Ikigai and Gaman in my podcast debut

Whilst I’ve done plenty of public speaking and a couple of YouTube videos (Thrive Tokyo and about the Wor Watthana Muay Thai gym in Thailand), I’ve never been on a podcast! I’m always talking about the importance of getting used to hearing your voice as other people hear it but hadn’t recorded myself recently – time to walk the talk.

So I’m delighted to announce that I’ve just been featured on the Transformations with Jayne Podcast. You can find it over on iTunes Episode 58 or over at Anchor with lots of different ways to listen. It was a great experience to talk informally about a whole host of topics. Jayne was a member of the Lean In Japan Entrepreneur Circle that I ran from 2017 to 2019 so it was great to catch up with her as well!

In this episode we talk about:
The  recent typhoon and flooding
How Jennifer came to be in Japan
What is “ikigai”
Points of You® coaching
Hope you enjoy the discussion and there are some useful ideas for you!

If you’d like to be featured in my book about how you integrated your ikigai, please contact me through the website to share your story!

When hitting your goal feels like a failure…and what to do about it

This month I completed my first Spartan Race Trifecta – which means that I finished three different race distances: Sprint (5km+), Super (12km+) and Beast 21km+) in one calendar year.

Woo hoo, right? Well done, Jennifer! Awesome job!

Regular readers know that I love Spartan Races (inclusion, diversity and CSR)! The last two years, some of my most memorable moments, greatest friendships and biggest laughs have come whilst Obstacle Course Racing. I’m a huge fan of the brand and the experience and always recommend the experience to others.

Getting a Trifecta should have been an amazing moment of pride for me.

But it wasn’t. When I reached the finish line, the achievement was not all it seemed.

A bit of back story: This was a goal that I had set myself in February 2019. I was specific that I wanted to do it in Japan and not travel overseas so I had a hard limit beyond my control in terms of timing and scheduling. I had “no choice” but to race Super in May, Sprint in July and the Beast in September.

Maybe it was because after 8 hours and 46 minutes of endless inclines at Gala Yuzawa Ski Slope, I was suffering from exhaustion so great that I had nothing left to celebrate with, but getting that medal was not all I imagined it to be.

I had made the plan. I had organised the logistics. I had trained regularly.

So why did I feel so empty?

After breaking it down with some self coaching processes, and with my own coach, these are my learnings about why sometimes achieving the goal is not as great as you thought.

  1. When my goal is purely about the outcome, I forget about the process and all the interesting growth and learning that comes with that. I didn’t get better at the obstacles, develop new skills or get any stronger. Was I a better Spartan at the end of the year? In honesty, I can’t say that I saw any change…and change was what I really wanted.
  2. When the stated goal is not really the goal that you want. This goal ticked all the SMART goal boxes but achieving it ended up feeling not that great. Why? Because it wasn’t really the goal – it was SMART but actually what I want for myself is health, strength, energy and growth.
  3. When I make the goal about the reward, the reward might not be as awesome as I expect. My medals are cool and yes, I can now connect the three parts together but, at the end of the day, it’s just stuff. How important is it for me to have a physical manifestation to validate and recognise my achievement? It’s lovely to look at but is it necessary.
  4. When I make the goal about ticking a box (do the three races) and forget to think about the why. It can feel empty to achieve the box ticking.
  5. I need to check in whether my goal is a “should goal” or a “gift goal” and reframe accordingly. I think I might have moved towards the “should goal” in this case.
  6. If FOMO is ruling my goal setting, I’m not sufficiently emotionally engaged to do the hard work.
  7. And maybe the most important point – have fewer expectations! Just be!

Completely fake smile for the cameras around 17km. Moments before I was scowling and nearly in tears. At the Dunk Wall, my nemesis, I had a full on breakdown and cried like a child.

So how about you? When did you hit a goal and go “huh? Is that it?” Do any of my learnings explain why you might feel that way? Would love to hear your comments and ideas.

Doing

What is “Doing” in Points of You®?

Create a new reality

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.

Taking the first step is often the hardest. (Actually as a Spartan, I love this picture. Reminds me of some great experiences!)

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!)

Tara has a great video about the two types of fear here and some advice

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.

Tara Mohr My Favourite Teaching about Fear

Using the Focus Notes to take the first step

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.

Focus notes booklet on the top left hand side of this picture. Each note can easily be removed from the book so you can take it anywhere,

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)

One of the questions from Punctum and a helpful guide to “Doing”

Want to find out more about Points of You® Methods?

I run open workshops once a quarter and am currently offering Corporate Experiences with Points of You® at a very special rate.
Find out about Open Courses on Peatix
Corporate Experiences

Expand your perspective

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.”

https://freethoughtblogs.com/thoughtsofcrys/2017/03/02/memes-corrected/ – With a commentary about research and how to reduce ambiguity

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® 😉

1. Do the trusted ten exercise

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.

Expanding @ Sun and Moon Yoga

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.

3. “Thoughts are not facts”

Lean In Japan Entrepreneur member and owner of Quest Tokyo, Kirsten O’Connor, used to remind me of this all the time!

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
Source: Vanity Fair

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?

Contact me here

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Integrating my Ikigai in Year 4

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 love seeing this card in Points of You® Punctum – this lady is my inspiration. I want to be wise with experience, pop with colour and eat ice-cream on a cold summer day!

What does the world need?

The world needs more enthusiastic geeks, people who are resilient in the face of obstacles, more people who live a life of purpose and joy and fun at work. I hope that through my workshops, coaching and facilitation, I can have positive impact in those areas. I think we all deserve to be heard, to feel like we belong and that the work we do matters.

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.

Increase collaboration with a Points of You® Experience in your workplace

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.

Icebreaker:

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.