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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My Lean In journey – the power of peer support

Feeling Lost

When I returned to work after the birth of my second child after a 15 month childcare leave (thanks Japan for your lack of daycare spaces), I was lost.

Whilst I returned at the same grade and pay scale, in effect, I’d had a demotion. I’d had the bright idea to hire a Director to support the hyper growth we expected due to several planned acquisitions across Asia. I still stand by this idea as the right thing to do for the business. However, I had no idea how much returning to an individual contributor role would effect my motivation and impact my identity at work.

Gone were the days of being the go to person on projects, the joy (and tears) of managing and motivating a team. I felt like a part of me was missing.

As I struggled with the logistics of two different day care locations, I was having deeper struggles with my own sense of purpose and values in regards to my career.

Inspiration strikes

It was at that time I read Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg (and if you still haven’t read it yet, get a copy now!).
There were so many inspiring ideas and most powerful to me was the idea of the Lean In Circle, a grass roots, peer to peer support network for professional development for women.

During a CEO sponsored lunch about our organisations need to increase female participation in our management team, I raised the idea of having a corporate Lean In Circle to my high-potential female colleagues.

Overcoming resistance

“Oh, we should probably wait until the official D&I programmes are established.”

“It sounds like a lot of work. I don’t know if I can commit got attend a meeting every month.”

I was so disappointed in these replies and they seemed to me symptomatic of the participation challenges faced in many organisations.

Creating your own path

Waiting for the official D&I programmes to be established? How about taking the initiative and driving your own change? If you want a seat at the table, you need to show that you can make things happen.

Corporate decision making can be slow (understatement!) and in the meantime, my life is passing, my career is going nowhere. Why on earth would you want to wait and give that power to someone else? Own your future and create the reality you want to see, please, ladies!

As for the meeting attendance, if you can’t commit two hours per month to personal development, then you are going to find it a very slow and painful process hauling yourself up that corporate ladder. We need to continually grow and develop ourselves. If not Lean In, then fine do something else! My colleagues had given clear feedback that the company was not developing them and yet as individuals they were not investing time and energy in taking charge of their own future.

Leaning In

So I set out on my own! With the CEO’s permission, I got access to one of our large meeting rooms and reached out to my network. That was in September 2014. The Lean In Tokyo Girls on Fire Circle is about to go into our third year. Our membership is fluid as people get transferred, have babies, get promoted with increased travel but some things are unchanging.

I look forward to every single meeting.

I leave energised, motivated and inspired.

I learn something new about myself every single meeting.

I have a group of cheerleaders in my corner who have no agenda other than seeing me be successful.

I have more accountability knowing that these women will ask me at the next meeting “So did you do what you said you were going to do?”

I’ve made some amazing new friends and I will always be grateful for their support.

 

Creating real change

Lean In runs so well due to very strict confidentiality so I can’t share details but it has been inspiring to see the members support each other through job changes, promotions, interviews, negotiations, pregnancy and relationships.

In July 2016, I launched a second Lean In Circle, Lean In Japan Entrepreneurs. Whilst we plan to meet online only I can already feel how committed the members are to each others success.

My advice to women who are stuck in a rut – Look for like minded women and start your own circle.

(Or Contact Me if you would like to join one of the circles I facilitate)

Stop waiting for someone else to tell you how to develop your career and take matters into your own hands. LeanIn will be a valuable tool for you to move your career forward.

Would love to hear your Lean In stories in the comments below!

Resources

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

Lean In Org – lots of great free resources to get your Circle started

Lean In Tokyo Girls on Fire

Lean In Japan Entrepreneurs

 

 

 

 

What does money buy?

I have to start with a disclaimer…my youth was all about instant gratification. My mum said my breach birth set my approach to life – jump in feet first. I’m still for the most part a fan of trial and error with the belief that most mistakes can be rectified.

In my first part-time job at the age of 14, I would gleefully rip open the pay packets each Saturday and plan my Monday after school trips to Muse and Vibes to buy whatever NME was recommending that week. I didn’t really do “saving” or believe that a rainy day would ever come…

So when I was asked to speak at the Accenture x AIESEC  Japan Women’s Initiative – Global Leadership Lab for 2nd and 3rd year university students on the topic of “money and your career”, you can well imagine that my imposter syndrome radar was on overdrive!

I didn’t speak about the practicalities of investments or how to make your money work for you. My focus was on the need for a mindset about what money can buy.

Money buys freedom.

Money buys choices.

Money buys control.

A few months ago I read an article about the (pardon my language here) Fuck Off Fund. It clarified a lot of what I had been thinking about money and what it means to me.

I know women who stay in abusive relationships putting their physical safety at risk. They have no control over money, no savings and no choice. I don’t want anyone I know to feel so helpless. To feel that they have to put up with such emotional and physical hardship. To feel like they have no choices, no options.

I believe we need to feel that we made a conscious choice to be where we are today. Money helps us to be in control of those choices. Money gives us the freedom to choose a different path.

This guy? He doesn’t exist!

knight

It’s time to stop believing that a knight in white shining armour will “save” us. In Japan, marriage rates are falling, divorce rates are rising and jobs for life are gone. Putting all your eggs in one basket, a basket managed by someone else, just seems like a really risky move.

When I left corporate life and set up my business, countless people said to me, “Oh your husband can support you. you can relax and spend time with your children.”

Well, pardon my language again but, fuck that. I’m not doing this for pocket money. I’m doing this to provide for my family and share the financial burden with my partner.

For some of the young ladies in the room it was a new way to look at their future and what being independent means to them.

What choices have you been able to make because you had financial freedom?