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’.

Expansion and contraction – the natural ebb and flow of life and business?

Expansion and contraction – the natural ebb and flow of life and business or are we forcing the issue?

Summer breathing as June passes the Summer Solstice, and here in the UK, we enjoy the wonderful heat and the expansive noise of England winning through in the World Cup, during a time of daily contraction of our financial power in a budget geared to collective restraint, I wondered about the power of our own natural reserves?

Swirling despair or growing pains?

Everyone I know is experiencing swirls of despair and exhilaration, no day is the predictable day we expected. The past is past. The future is ours to grow. And one person’s point of view can be positive or negative over the same situation depending on their nature, their life experience and their current status. Naturally we all perceive the world differently, we are all different, yet we are also the same; living breathing human beings. When we are facing tough challenges (as the world is right now) we polarize to our core point of view and find obstacles and limitations around us.

Why do some of us face each day with energy and vivacious capacity to smile regularly even when the chips are down? And others become despondent and cynical about possibilities and strains that don’t fit now, don’t adhere to our expectations born of past promises! We have a world that needs re-order at a fundamental level, expanding collaboration and contracting chaos. We have choices, many on a daily basis about survival, growth and the future for our children – and our children’s children. We are all connected and inter-connected. What we do right now affects everyone eventually in the whole world and for generations alive when we are gone. We are all connected – yet do we believe that really? Everyone is some mother’s child; we all are born of human stock.

Choices – yours or mine? Do we believe and own our own choices that connect into the collective responsibility – especially in our own families or communities or workplaces when there are so many disagreements, negative behaviour and possible abuse? Can we be open-minded in conversation and listen to everyone, holding their perspective with our own? This is especially relevant to bringing new conversations together between men and women, within women’s group and within men’s groups. Gender confusion still lies at the heart of broken relationships and abuse.

Do men and women face these current difficult times differently?

I believe we do – yet one gender is not better or more right than the other.We need an ‘and/and’ mind shift to create a world together not an ‘either/or’ world of separate parts. Men and women are both responsible and both need to be engaged in the foundations and a new start. There are many different approaches that build society and economic reform together – these approaches economically, politically, socially and spiritually differ in core roots of maleness and femaleness, the yin and yang of life and energy. The former male energy builds strong direction, provider drivers and tenacity of mindful, clever ‘brainy’ ideas – while the latter female fuel, underpins the life force of relationships and community coherence, brings emotional and mental intelligence in a pre-packed integrated package. Although some women are tougher, more masculine than others, some are gentler more cautious, less confident, all women want their lives to honour life and common sense prevail. Women have enormous untapped talents to bring a balance future to our world.

Together men and women are more powerful. Separately we fight for airspace, not listening to the other’s need.

We rival each other for position on a past plan headed for bankruptcy and social disorder – when we now have a choice to co-create a new future. Here is an example of a new way of thinking and being.

A new style together

I had the great pleasure to join a wonderful community in Geneva last weekend for ‘Friends of Humanity’, a foundation set up by Graziella Zanoletti CIO (Chief Inspiration Officer) of Elite Rentals. Graziella’s great success in the commercial world is now partnered by her great passion to give back to many good causes in less developed countries such as India, earthquake suffering in Nepal, South American rainforests and children in Tibet. 100 people gathered to hear the news on these projects and to come together, men, women, and their families adding back many £1000s by being part of this intention.

I met many extraordinary people especially my host Fabienne Feldman, helped to run this amazing event. We watched and joined in with likeminded people to gather together, hold magical conversations, listen to wonderful music and song, chatter about life and purpose and those projects on display; we eat fabulously well yet abundance for all and enjoyed the wonder of the day – it was an example of people coming together who didn’t know each other and who now form bonds across the world… from Boston to Goa, from London to LA… proving that communities can so easily come together in harmony for a common purpose across the world.

I explored with Graziella the nature of a new approach to “business, life and giving back” when we met last month for our first Magical Conversation at Fabienne’s home. Integrating commercial success, building personal and collective wealth, giving back, creating social cohesion and sustainable communities – bringing social enterprise into main stream business ethics – these are core to our conversations and those of many other female conversations I experience…and with many wise men too who feel tuned into this new multi-streamed way of being, business and life. How do we each measure up to these intentions in our own life?

Magical Conversations are about ‘life’ and business and society – about truth and trust, respect and relationships, humanity and prosperity – and becoming more keenly aware of what matters to others as well as our own. Everywhere I go, wise men and women are speaking with their hearts as much as their heads…and allowing their inner spirit to guide them more times than not. The nature of magical conversations is to embrace expansion and contraction in all we do and not get out of balance in our own lives and in our world. It is being aware of where and how one needs to expand effort and operate at a level of financial viability – consistently contracting efforts where obstacles appear, adhering to rules and regulations, “and and” being our mantra in expanding in relationships, respect and trust in our lives and in our businesses. It’s about exploring a common reason for giving back, feeding and educating those in the world less well off, both in developing countries – and more importantly, lovingly, at home in our own communities.

“It’s not so much about what you do, it’s about the loving you put into the doing that counts” Anon

How can we mend the world when we are not mended (healed from the inside out) first? This all starts at home with love… with loving yourself, your closest friends and family and community first.

Like breathing in and breathing out, expansion and contraction underpins our life force. Masculine and feminine energies do similarly ebb and flow; male dominance is necessary for strength and getting tasks done while the feminine energy flows, nurtures and heals the cracks so that communities can gain sustainable results. Together this alliance of men and women brings abundance in the true gifts of our natural life to be self sustaining for all members. Get to know your own natural gender nature and recognize different perspectives are valid too. It’s the ‘common purpose’ of conversations, built on trust, that includes all points of view, which will help our future come sooner.

Our ‘BIG SOCIETY’

We have a long way to go in the UK, our political leaders talk of a ‘big society’; many male CEOs talk of attracting women into the top positions, mixed boardrooms leading better; many communities, public and private make noises about community cohesion. I applaud their words, the rhetoric, the opinions…. however I don’t believe we invite all the right people to the conversations and listen well enough?

I don’t yet see enough evidence that the best, most aware, intelligent, experienced women are invited to really, truly, openly explore ‘what women want’. Maybe they don’t get noticed or don’t speak up enough. We’re in a world that doesn’t allow women to be women, to grow naturally, be business women and mothers, to grant that life’s natural family pressures are accounted for without marginalization financially or limitations in job prospects.

If we keep going round the same old arguments and propositions, guess what we get the old emerging again. We need to explore more, the new awaits us on the horizon of our awakening to possibilities without judgment and favour.

Magical Conversations count

We can’t create a ‘big society’ based on the old blueprint of business and life separation (the male plan that has traditionally separated ‘making money’ and ‘life’ into two camps)– there are more core principles of evolution to be explored (a female plan for business would combines ‘making money’ and dealing with ‘life’ issues).

My invitation to YOU I now implore my sisters, women of all types, generations, creeds and cultures to put aside the past and grow strong views on ‘what women (and men) really want’ and join our brothers, all kinds – tough guys and gentle giants – in the conversation of co-creation – and magical conversations.