The tango of life

The strong and the gentle come together!

Last night I watched a fabulous “Tango Fire” show at the Peacock Theatre; the magic of dance wove its story, the story of life, of relationships, of steamy passion and purposeful intention, an all-embracing joy in performance. I reflected on how this dance is a story for transformation of men and women in our world today.

Five magnificent strong male dancers moved as if as fluid as a fast flowing river – yet as strong as any man can be. They kept us transfixed as they literally held their female partners close, wound around their bodies, lifted above their heads and seamlessly flowing and interlinked in sharp moves merged with gentle lines and continuous flow.

The five beautiful women were as sensuously female as possibly they could be, clothed in body hugging costumes and colours that accentuated their feminine without any salacious intent; they became an integral part of their partners strong fluidity while providing a soft flow of expression and language beyond words, a strength in line that made you gasp with delight; a complement in all ways to their partners and the music and message of their origins.

This natural weave of strong and gentle, of direction and fluidity, stands as a perfect example of the natural roles men and women play together. It also explores the nature of masculinity that flows, and femininity that has power.

In our current world, how often do we see a fight between the masculine and the feminine, between man and woman, over and over? We hear of increases in marriages and family partnership breaking down, of battles that destroy communities, and at the core of this we have not fully understood the needs of each gender, the pull of each generation’s men and women as they view parenting and reproduction in different ways There is an uncomfortable history of male domination in business, in politics and in the evolution of the structures and rules that control our lives and into which women have often subjugated their female attributes in order to compete in a man’s world.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not male bashing! In deed the opposite, I believe it is the complement of male and female, of masculine and feminine in all the performers, male and female, that we need to expose, explore, and expedite into our current challenges so that we can truly build a blueprint that honours the gifts and talents natural to our different species. The world is a partnership of male and female, of masculine and feminine, of strong and gentle entwined.

The full story of Argentina Tango has played a social transformational role in society not just in South America, but in its impact as it swept across the world in the 1900s, allowing people to get closer in dance, to express themselves and the societal changes experienced, through rock and roll, hippy times, modern ballroom and expressive dance formats have brought people together. Dancing intimately, men with women, men with men, women with women, in the spirit of the dance, we see the communication of our natural evolution, our relationships, our potential joy and our passion to perform together, to flow with strength for a successful performance.

Can we apply all of this to the partnerships of life at home, at play, in the workplace; with families, with teams, with social cohesion?

If this union of masculine and feminine, in both genders, can be expressed so seamlessly in dance, I believe it can be experienced in the performance of men and women in society, in business, in politics. Why not? If we truly want to grow a healthy wealthy society for all, I believe we need to build a more collaborative model for a socially responsible and resourceful community.

Dance like I watched last night, cannot occur without tuning into each other, without communication, without practice, without love.

In taking simultaneous responsibility for our uniqueness as men and women as well as our core value as human beings, in a well tuned partnership, we can create a new possibility for a healthy world for all, our children and our grandchildren.

Advertisements

“Wisdom starts with wonder” Socrates

Ever thought about where your wisdom comes from? What has been imprinted into your very being before you are born from generations before you? This is not in the sense of past lives (that’s for another blog…) but simply the wisdom of inheritance from 2-3 generations past, merged through male and female lines, and the communities around them, into your essential being as you occur in your day.

Our wisdom is so influenced by the nature of your family history and adjusted by the times they lived in and merged with the times you now inhabit. Our wisdom comes from both maternal and paternal pathways of course and whether these are actively known to us during our childhood or not, whether we are orphaned, adopted, fostered or brought up by our natural parents, in wise or unwise whys, the unconscious guidelines are there. How can we bring these alive into conversations today where we share the wisdom over generations, like a wisdom waterfall, seeking our elders, to talk with our mid-life ages, and our youth to really listen to the evolution of current day wisdom.

I was fortunate to be born into a wise tradition of love and family values, and my childhood was one of love and togetherness. I look around today as people talk about the breakdown in ‘family’ living and community cohesion, and I wonder how and why we, collectively, have lost what people most cherish, a rich and fulfilling life; a sense of belonging, a pride in contribution for its own sake. The wisdom of the word ‘rich’ has been misplaced by the obsession for money and not as a word to describe a desirable natural life of joy and happiness, rich in all aspects of life, relationships, love, identity, achievement and wholesome success. It feels somehow we have got the whole word trapped in a sticky web of materalism. Where does our sticky state come from? Is it inevitable because of our history or can we unstick the web of the past to emerge like a butterfly. I know we can all do so, and use the wisdom from ancient times to present day.

My own wisdom was influenced by my history and the times I was born into. It has also evolved through the route I have taken, the attitude I have developed and the good daily practices of living that guide my journey. I have evolved with my own children’s development; influenced by my choice to be of single status after 30 years in a partnership with their father; now as a grandmother and an entrepreneur, my wisdom evolves further as I seek to engage in a new way of collaborative living suitable to this era of transformation. Collecting strands of wisdom from all ages, all diverse individuals and multi-potential groups across society is a passion of mine. We each have so much to bring the conversation and time is pressing us to observe, converse, and merge our wisdom for the common good.

Socrates says ‘Wisdom starts with wonder’…

…as in wonderment of all that is wonderful in our world. It seems we only get bombarded with disaster, war, famine, mistreatment, injustice and pain. The world is writhing in agony in so many parts of the globe, near and far, yet I see also the clinks of light where human beings step into their wisdom.

Samuel Smiles said “We learn wisdom from failure much more than success. We often discover what will do by finding out what will not do: and probably those who never made a mistake never made a discovery.”

Some simple wisdom strategies:

• Put aside the constraints of your past for the possibility of a wise future (and if you don’t know what constrains you, then take a personal review journey with me)
• Do not fear your mistakes , know these provide ground to seed new discoveries (I have learned so much form my mistakes, I love ’em!)
• Allowing all (wise) views to come into your conversations, listen with your whole being not your pre conceptions and moral high ground (open your mind and heart to views outside your reasoning)
• Leave judgments and opinions outside the circle of conversation, hear wisdom from all corners of the world, draw the full square of life into a flow of inspiration (when the flow is stuck in an eddy, notice and then get paddling)
• Encourage good intentions and heartfelt expectations to raise everyone’s game, lead as you would leaded with unconditional love (life is about expansion or contraction, observe what is occurring for YOU not outside of you)
• Focus on sharing always in a consistent wise manner, join and leave every conversation inspired to inspire others (be present to the moment, this is NOW and the only space we have, take time to ‘wonder’ about all that is)

In my experience, wisdom is often mistaken for expertise or being clever – NO – wisdom does not happen because we think we know the answer, only when we don’t know what we don’t know, and we’re OK about not knowing, then we open up a space for wisdom to transform our lives… and magic conversations occur!

Join me for Magical Conversations in Richmond, starting from mid-May; dates and venue to be announced, register your interest by emailing me at pauline@magicalconversations.co.uk

Shaking hands with the future

Shaking hands with the future

Yesterday I engaged and explored life and the 3Rs with a group of 10 students at Lambeth Academy – these students are 16/17years old and this summer due to go into a work placement for 6 week and experience the world outside of their current world…that of ‘employee status’. An alien world, a strange world, yet to date their learning is only academic. I am here for an hour and a half to share my wisdom and hope to give them ‘ah ha’ moments that may seal their future confidence in those six weeks. I taught them how to shake hands with their future and practice the real 3Rs! “Respect Rapport and Relationships”

A lovely group, boys and girls, eager to learn and curious I suspect of this older woman in front of them. I started, I engaged, I got them thinking about who they are – I went back into my mind of being 17 again, being ‘me’. I encouraged them to just be their BEST:

B – be
E – extraordinary
S – starting
T – today

“Be Extraordinary starting today”…my personal mantra and motto for life – simple – yet how much do we reflect on our ‘self perception’ and know how others see us; how do we know what we do best, how we are best, and whether our best matches others expectations of us! Where as a teenager do we explore the assumptions we may be making about those we meet, and what does the world outside of ‘me’ require ‘me’ to be.

We started with a simple exercise Try it – write down three positive words about how you ‘see’ yourself, share these with your friends and colleagues. Is this how they see you? Can they add more? Can you add more to their list? In this simple exchange we give much more light to our personality as perceived and received! The more we know ourselves and others then the 3 Rs are easy! They roll with the dice of life.

Leading Victorian lecturer, Florence Shovel Shinn writes ‘Many people think life is a battlefield, it is not – it is a game’ and I know now that the ‘game of life’ is where I play and my work in service to my clients and all my friends is to help them ‘play’ too if they wish.

Florence says it is about the square of life- ‘wealth, health, love and perfect self expression’. I believe that our ongoing life mission is to share ‘perfect self expression’ especially in all difficult emotional situations. This is my journey now as I too learn each day how others see the world and how we can transform our world to be BEST for all us regardless of gender, culture, age, ethnicity, religion, sexual preference and disability.

I know at their age I knew nothing other than what my family and school had showed me. And I was so fortunate to choose the parents and family that I had. I was brought up in a strong, loving, together, Catholic family. There we had loads of together activities, sharing of events and laughter. I was a happy child yet very naïve and gauche. It took me a long lifetime to learn the real 3Rs… as I taught yesterday, as “Respect, Rapport and Relationships”….

And so for my class yesterday it was the first time they were engaged to think and feel about their self-perceptions, how others saw them, how to see themselves as part of the cycle of all life – home, social, family, work, and community. I shared my core model for personal development (and life); my ‘value cycle’ which shows how ‘my best’ is key to all rapport skills, and to all relationships from one-to-one friendships, group pals, work mates, families and social cohesion. I shared with them how to see themselves in pole position in their life.

A key exercise was to shake hands and say they name clearer decisively, friendly and with inner strength. It was a wonderful experience to be in as they laughed and shook each other’s hands enthusiastically and become bold with their name. Simple things make huge differences. Even the teacher present realized no-one had ever taught him how to shake someone’s hands. Too often the most important things are left to chance – yet can make or break a first impression and a rising feeling of confidence.

I showed the students how they merely need to stand into their personal power and see that all responses are their choice; they do require to be in ownership of their body, mind, heart and soul; and take responsibility for all that happens (not blame others); and finally they need to underpin all this their own personal healthy energy. A challenge to their youthful desire to party, drink, smoke and eat fast food!

Simple yet powerful, they all started to see themselves as the driver of their own cycle of confidence not at the mercy of others. They got the point. I will return to meet them again in September and chat about their ‘perceptions’ of the workplace once experienced.

These students are our future employees, our entrepreneurs, our leaders of industry – we need to teach them how to ‘be’ in the workplace not just ‘how to work’.

The Jungle of Relationships

Preview Interview with Bond Magazine To be published October 2010

Pauline Crawford, behavioural consultant and innovative thinker, looks at relationships with new eyes, and wonders about the current confusion over ‘who’s in charge’ – women or men? After working with people at the top of business for over 20 years, she sees a new light in the jungle of relationships. Her passion is to engage leaders in an emerging conversation that helps both men and women co-create a successful future.

What influenced you in your early life?

Born a tom-boy, I was much happier climbing trees with my brothers while my sister attended dancing classes. I dreamed of adventures at sea and found it easy to solve puzzles. As a mathematician and artist, I loved simultaneous equations and innovating multiple possibilities! Conversation with friends and laughter was paramount in my upbringing. Yet I found being ‘feminine’ a daunting task.

I left University with a Sociology and Statistics degree, my formative work career in the 70s was in travel. I loved using my left and right brain and naturally applied myself to the practicalities of business alongside the emotional flow of relationships. I learned all about gender politics early on in my career and the balancing act that kept everyone happy to get the job done.

What changed your life as a woman in business?

After motherhood, I desired action. I applied my masculine logical brain to business and my female energy to help others to realise their natural potential.

In my early return to work, my ‘tipping point’ was studying Image – here physicality was the key. I studied people, their minds, their bodies and their perceptions. Through this I realized the key was in the body. I discovered and observed the link between straight bodies and masculine minds. My tom-boy straight boned skeleton was linked to my masculine brain, yet I was totally female in a biological sense.

My core nurturing female side was attributed to my biology. My masculine-mind (for mapping things together) came from my natural brain preferences for logic and spatial skills. I also discovered not all women were like me! The more gently curved woman was naturally more intuitive, more ‘feminine’.

Men also follow this pattern. The straight sharp featured male is more masculine by nature and brain preference, and the gentler shaped man is also gentler in style – one might say more ‘feminine’ in making relationships work.

How did you discover about relationships between men and women?

Being an innovative thinker, with Edward de Bono as a second cousin, and my mind-mapping brain, I logically designed a Gender Dynamics Map. The map has six perspectives, and uses biological patterns and learned behaviour as empirical evidence. The map helped me to solve my personal dilemma as to why my female body housed a masculine-mind – perfectly normal! The Gender Dynamics Map defines the main differential from our biology with secondary variables of mind-preferences from masculine to feminine in all genders. Working with this map, relationships became easier. Emerging conversations started to occur even in serious business environments.

Over the years I have become an expert in behaviour, emotions, personality and conversations. Gender dynamics is my special focus area and is hugely successful in the boardroom.

I have worked with many thousands of clients and their true gender dynamic helps them to successfully communicate and interact on a personal and professional level to create best outcomes, especially now as we live in a world where client relationships are the key to market success worldwide.

How does your work help women to succeed in today’s world?

I have worked with women in many amazing companies across the UK and Europe, from PLCs to major public sector organizations. I have researched cultures, developed people, worked with leaders to create best performance, and gained an insight and passion to eradicate negative behaviour. What I have noticed is that ‘people are people’ whatever the business sector and failure comes through the breakdown of relationships rather than the business operation itself.

I feel that business, worldwide, expects women to be more male oriented rather than understanding that their own female potential to use masculine energy combined with their natural relationship expertise is the key to success.

My research proves that my natural tom-boy persona was perfectly normal but the social expectation to be more feminine had a definite impact on my confidence level. It was hugely liberating to discover that I was a totally desirable female with a masculine brain – understanding this is the key to relationship success for women like me.

I have met business women from all walks of life who are ‘strangled’ by the male criteria that goes with business success. To be tough enough to get to the top, without losing your female attributes is challenging and often unrewarding.

How can we shift perspectives and become more aware?

For example; a female CEO client of mine had a classic situation to deal with…the male alpha expert Doctor and the sensitive male Professor. Attempts to create business conversations with them failed miserably. We worked together on this problem using the Gender Dynamics Map – SUCCESS! My client succeeded in meeting the different needs of these men by delivering her message in two entirely different ways; directly in bullet points to the alpha Doctor and softer tones to the Professor. Both parties were delighted to be understood, the deal was successful and beneficial for all.

This shift of perspective can solve many problems. I am totally convinced that for men and women to co-create successful relationships they need to understand the six male/female gender dynamic perspectives and which may even help to solve the global economic crisis The majority of consumers are women, like me, who want a different world, a world of inclusion, abundance, harmony – yes wealth – and success for all.

How do you work with leaders of today’s business world?

Corporate Heart has its own team of experts that bring together a mix of gender dynamic types to serve our clients. “We walk our talk”. The core of our philosophy is adding value both personally and professionally, not just to our clients but to our own lives. Our understanding of who we are as men and women is vital to success and happiness in the boardroom. We value the basic tenet of life “to be uniquely our natural best and value others as we do ourselves”.

Currently working one-to-one, with top teams, or leaders of huge corporate cultures, I know there is a thirst for change and wisdom to share. Yet I see major blockages in both men and women who don’t see beyond their jungle niche. I do believe that women can lead on the ‘gender’ agenda but this will only come together when we truly celebrate the female species in full. If the jungle is our habitat, it’s the inhabitants that need to recognize their worth! I want women to celebrate the value of their variations of femaleness, and to value men for their maleness. Our dilemma is to know how to make the jungle safe for all.

What will your legacy be?

My work energizes my life, entwined intricately into my very being because my personal philosophy for living is what I teach others. My other passion is to create a better healthier, more caring world for my grandchildren.

I believe if we understand the jungle of relationships, with mutual respect and genuine smiling, we can create any future we desire both individually and collectively. They say the longest journey is from our heads to our hearts, and that is where relationships begin and flourish. My vision is a world which honours and respects women and hears their voices on the world stage, with men being proud to stand beside us.

Pauline Crawford
CEO Corporate Heart
Pauline hosts emerging conversations for male and female leaders to share viewpoints, possibilities and visions for the jungle. She works internationally with this activity to help influential leaders evolve a new corporate blueprint for business and life that embraces men and women.