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!
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.
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.
Points of You® x Ikigai: Finding your Ikigai as an English Speaker in Japan
“Ikigai” is the Japanese concept for living a life of purpose.
As an English speaker in Japan it can be easy to feel that your options are limited.
However, after a healthy amount of navel gazing in 2015, I realised that it is possible to do what I love, what I’m good at, what I can be paid for and what the world needs! My life has changed beyond measure – I have more joy, more fulfillment, more moments of flow and more financial freedom.
Now I’d like to help you to discover your Ikigai in a three-hour workshop using Points of You® and a follow up online 60-minute coaching session.
What is Ikigai?
The term ikigai compounds two Japanese words: iki (wikt:生き) meaning “life; alive” and kai (甲斐) “(an) effect; (a) result; (a) fruit; (a) worth; (a) use; (a) benefit; (no, little) avail” (sequentially voiced as gai) “a reason for living [being alive]; a meaning for [to] life; what [something that] makes life worth living; a raison d’etre”. (Wikipedia)
Points of You® is a creative tool for individuals and groups, a tool developed to stimulate creativity and inspiration. Born in Israel, already translated into 19 languages and widely used in 147 countries all over the world. In the Ikigai Workshop, you will use the “Faces” tool and in the online follow up coaching you will play The Coaching Game Online.
Who is Jennifer Shinkai?
Jennifer Shinkai is a certified Points of You® Trainer and regularly uses the tool in individual coaching, group workshops and facilitation. Her clients are global professionals working in diverse teams. Points of You® enables them to communicate complex and complicated ideas smoothly and gain insight into themselves and their team. With almost 20 years in Japan, she launched her own business in June 2016 after discovering the power of Ikigai! Read her full bio here.
When and where is the workshop?
Event Timing: Friday, September 21st, 2018 13:00 to 16:30
Doors Open: 12:30
Event Address: Smart Partners K.K., 4-22-10 4FL/A Kotobashi, Sumida-ku , Tokyo, 130-0022
How much is the workshop?
Investment: ¥20,000 (plus 8% Consumption Tax) via PayPal or Bank Transfer
Includes: 3 hour small group workshop in English, 1 hour online private coaching session to be taken within 30 days of the workshop. Light snacks, tea and coffee will be available at the workshop.
Payment and registration deadline: Thursday, September 14th, 2018 Midnight
Who is the workshop for?
English speakers living in Japan who feel that “something” is missing in their professional experience but can’t quite figure out what that missing thing is. The group workshop will help you to discover your ikigai and the private online coaching will help you to turn the insights into action,
On June 29th, 2018, I’m celebrating the start of my third year in business as a Facilitator and Leadership Coach. I am extremely grateful to my family, community and clients for enabling me to bring so much energy to my work, to help so many individuals improve their own performance as leaders and professionals in Japan. I’m so lucky to have the trust and support of so many wonderful people.
I am intensely focused on working with groups within organisations, developing cross-functional communication and deeper understanding of diverse points of view. I love the passionate discussions, aha moments and feedback about the impact the training had on team performance and relationships.
What has changed in Year 2?
I’ve continued to expand my knowledge base – Professional Certified Coach with ICA, Points of You® Certified Trainer, Management 3.0 Fundamentals, Tara Mohr Playing Big Facilitators Course, BerkeleyX:GG101x The Science of Happiness. Constantly learning new ideas to help clients connect the dots.
I’ve been able to take on some really interesting clients and projects. I’m really able to focus on work that I am passionate about rather than what pays the mortgage. What a gift!
I got hooked on Spartan Racing and completed another 2 races in Japan.
What trends have I noticed from corporate clients?
Increased desire to support employees through organizational change
Focus on creating cultures of open and healthy communication
Presenting and influencing others continues to be a highly sought after skillset
Maturing of the discussion from diversity as a single-issue gender model to addressing wider issues of inclusion in some clients
Developing innovation through inclusion of diverse thought
What can you expect from me in Year 3?
Themes for workshops and support will focus on:
Innovation through Inclusion
Developing Ikigai within your Organization
Resilience during Change
Connecting the Unconnected – people, ideas or companies
To support these outcomes, I’ll continue to offer presentation skills, cross-cultural training and Points of You® Practitioner Training. My focus is on developing bite-sized development opportunities with shorter workshop sessions, on the job experiments followed by group coaching and reflection.
I will continue to support work style reform and women’s empowerment in Japan through my CSR activities: