Reality is Like a Zoom Meeting

Reality is Like a Zoom Meeting

Diversity Training Now What

Reality is Like a Zoom Meeting

– 2 min –

Your Box isn’t My Box

You may be familiar with the line from the movie Forrest Gump, “life is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get.” But what about “reality is like a Zoom meeting”?

A teacher of mine surprised me one day when he said, “one of the biggest challenges facing humans is that we believe reality is objective, when in fact it’s 100% subjective.” I wasn’t quick to absorb this idea, but now I get it. We each have our own personal version of reality that’s not the objective truth. Instead, it’s filtered through our experience, which makes it our subjective reality.

It’s human nature to assume others share our reality. But here’s the thing: we each process any given moment through our unique lifetime of experiences and conditioning. Since nobody on the planet has had your exact life, it stands to reason that nobody sees or feels or understands the same situation exactly like you do.

The point isn’t that we have different perspectives because we live different lives, but that our perspectives become our reality.

Take a group Zoom call, for instance. As a metaphor, it can give us some insight. We are all sitting in the same meeting, hearing the same discussion. Yet there we all are, in our own little “boxes” on the screen. Think of each box as representing each of our unique realities. We’re in different locations. We have different distractions. We’re dealing with different challenges. We have different impressions of the same speakers and dialogue. Sure, we’re having a crossover moment, but each of us has a different experience of the reality of this meeting.

The same logic applies when we’re all gathered around a conference room table (remember those?). We’re in the same place, but each of us has our own life filters. Jane has a parent with serious health challenges. Ahmad has a teenager who is having a tough time with school. Trevor is new to the organization and is keen to make a good impression. Sasha doesn’t speak up to share a crucial insight because of her negative conditioning around authority figures. Etc.

The next time you are on a group Zoom call, take a moment to consider that everyone is in their own world, different from yours, as signified by all the individual boxes. This thought experiment may make it easier for you to recognize that each person on the call is having a unique version of the shared experience…and defining their reality accordingly. I wonder how it might shift your thinking or approach?

In my next blog, I’ll share some techniques for helping you avoid the trap of assuming others see reality as you do.

Mike Normant, CEO, Unlimit Group

A former global learning & development director at eBay, Mike is now CEO of The Unlimit Group, an executive coaching and leadership training company. Mike is also an active member of executive coaching cadres at Skyline Group International, Lee Hecht Harrison, and Sidekick.

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Well-Being, Audacity and the Search for Meaning

Well-Being, Audacity and the Search for Meaning

Well-Being, Audacity and the Search for Meaning

– 3 min –

Which post-pandemic trend resonates with you and how do you lean into it? – Ginny Whitelaw

The trends and reports are coming in: how 18 months of Covid and various states of lockdown are indelibly changing our lives. Physical and mental well-being have become forefront concerns for many, including those in healthcare who have been exhausted, and seen their colleagues and systems exhausted, by waves of illness. The upending of everyday life and distancing from loved ones has strained mental health and thrown many of us into deeper questioning: what’s this all about anyway? The caution of lockdown has given way to audacious hopes and dreams that have people quitting jobs, writing books, and starting new businesses at record rates. The increase in working from home and meeting online has given rise to greater informality, authenticity and intolerance of work that seems without purpose or meaning.

Whether you resonate with needing to attend to your well-being, having an audacious goal for your post-pandemic life, or searching for greater meaning in this muddle, working with resonance itself is an invaluable tool. To resonate is to vibrate with. To live in resonance with life itself is to harmonize with the energies around us: the people, the situations, the earth and natural forces, and even the future we sense is possible. It gives rise to a sense of well-being, a sense of timing for when audacious moves are possible, and a sense of rightness that puts our meaning-making intellect at ease.

Resonance is not an exotic skill; it’s a physical fact. But we greatly affect how we resonate, e.g., what energies we sense and work with and the vibe we put out to others. To put it simply: we degrade our resonance by getting in our own way and we strengthen our resonance by getting out of our own way. We get in our own way because we have an ego and an entire web of needs and desires, fears and habits embodied from the past. We get out of our own way through integrative tuning and taming practices that unwind this stuff and bring our mind and body into harmony. These practices are at the heart of the Resonate course. By putting them into practice, our inner world becomes better harmonized, which in turn manifests in our outer world.

Sounds simple, and it is, but it’s not easy. Strengthening our inner resonance inverts our ordinary way of looking “out there” for some product that makes us feel better or some work that gives meaning to our life. Searching “out there”, we might find temporary relief or pleasure but nothing truly life-enhancing because everything “I” resonates with is conditioned by that whole ego-based web of needs, desires, fears and habits. It’s only when we start seeing through the web and unwinding some of its knots that we arrive at a free and fresh place.
That’s why, for example, meditation is one of the core practices for changing our resonance. By using deep, long, slow exhales, we can harmonize head, heart and hara (lower abdomen). With all senses open, we bring in the outer world and blend those energies with the inner rhythm.

    Plane passing overhead, bird chirping, motor revving, midsummer light; 

    stream of breath, all-embracing, inner-outer, waves upon waves upon waves.
    
Insight arises, the body relaxes, gratitude wells up,
    
the mind forms words from waves, and the intellect calls it “meaning”.

Enhanced well-being, appropriate audacity, and nothing separate to search for: such are the gifts of working with resonance.

Ginny Whitelaw, Author & CEO, Institute for Zen Leadership

A biophysicist and former senior manager for integrating NASA’s International Space Station, Dr. Whitelaw has trained leaders on the path of making a difference for more than 25 years, working with mind, body, energy and resonance through the Institute for Zen Leadership.

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Starts Sep 13, 2021


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6-Weeks Online
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Putting Purpose Before Profit is The Path Forward

Putting Purpose Before Profit is The Path Forward

Putting Purpose Before Profit is The Path Forward

5 min –

“Those who have a “why” to live, can bear with almost any “how.”
Viktor E. Frankl, who survived Nazi camp quoting Friedrich Nietzsche

Do you feel anxious and overwhelmed about what the future holds? Can we learn to live with uncertainty and move forward with ease, confidence, and focus instead of anxiety?

The short answer is, yes, we can. The solution is Purpose.

During the Purpose Power Summit hosted by INC., Roxana Shirkhoda, Head of Social Impact at Zoom, spoke in-depth about how Purpose has powered Zoom’s employees in the past year. I can’t think of a better company to show how having a strong sense of Purpose gives you secret powers. Zoom, after all, became a household name overnight. I remember explaining it to a friend when the pandemic hit. Like the rest of us, she’s tired of Zoom calls by now. To Zoom’s credit, the platform allowed us to work, connect with family and friends, and maintain some level of togetherness.

For ten years, Zoom delivered happiness to people based on their core value of CARE. Care for their customers, their employees, and themselves. During the pandemic, Zoom’s leadership leaned into this value and their Purpose to find motivation and drive to power through uncertainty.

Zoom experienced explosive growth almost overnight. The digital platform went from 10 million participants to 300 million participants. Instead of capitalizing on the moment for the bottom line, founder and CEO Eric S. Yuan made it clear that it’s not a time to upsell the business. It’s time instead to care about the community and put Purpose before profit.

Zoom leaned into their Purpose to guide them through, offering their platform for free to education organizations. 125,000 educational organizations and 95 billion minutes of learning later, Zoom lived into their Purpose.

By tapping into each individual’s inspiration and meaning for delivering happiness and caring about why they do their work, the company connected their employees with making a difference in the world and enabled them to see how their work impacts people’s lives. This has given Zoom’s employees a more profound sense of meaning, purpose, and connectedness as they help people push through the stress of their daily lives by ensuring the platform is working seamlessly.

Bi-weekly, all-hands meetings and large chat rooms of 5,000+ people have allowed managers and employees to gather and celebrate small daily victories. They feel connected, even through a digital platform. Sharing how their work with Zoom connects people worldwide gives them the internal motivation to keep going no matter what obstacles they face at home and at work. The company keeps these chat rooms informal and genuine for employees to show up and celebrate. People from top to bottom and side to side across the company participate. They show up with respect for each other. This feeling of connectedness to a purpose bigger than themselves is what people need to stay strong during uncertainty. Purpose is not touted once and left to sit on the company’s website or on a poster in the hallway. The leadership team repeatedly illiterates the core focus on delivering happiness and living with a sense of care.

Zoom’s leadership is thinking about the future regarding long-term commitments to society, individuals dealing with challenges, racial justice work, and access to education. They doubled down on their diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts with $5 million of funding into COVID relief and the social justice system, supporting 555 organizations. Employees volunteered to do social impact work and donated $453,000 globally, supporting racial justice, education equity, COVID-19 response, and many other causes as outlined in the Zoom social impact report. Of the $5 million they advanced, they committed $1 million to bring greater equity to education.

Moving into an uncertain future means that having a purpose can not only make your people and your company stronger but can also be of benefit to society. Transform your business from the inside out and embrace conscious capitalism. Companies with a strong sense of Purpose, like Southwest, Starbucks, Prana, REI, and Trader Joe’s, are what Rajendra S. Sisodia, Jagdish N. Sheth and David B. Wolfe call Firms of Endearment in their book “Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose”. According to the authors, they outperform the S&P 500 by 14 times and the Good to Great Companies by six times over 15 years.

You can become the ultimate value creator by generating emotional, mental, social, and financial value. Now is the time to do it, not only because it gives you a long-term competitive advantage but also because it’s the right thing to do. To use a phrase from Zoom’s book – now is the time to care. Care for yourself, your employees, your customers, and the world as a whole. By connecting with your heart, not your wallet, you can stay strong in uncertain times by becoming the company people want to work for and the company people want to buy from.

Purpose is not a luxury. It’s fundamental to well-being.

I spoke with Richard Leider, who made Purpose his career for 40 years after listening to a talk by Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl. Richard says: “Purpose gives you a reason to get up in the morning. Purpose starts on the inside, but it’s expressed on the outside. Purpose is universal. It doesn’t matter how young or old you are or if you work for yourself or someone else – you can have Purpose”.

My personal experience is that having a strong sense of purpose, as to why I get up in the morning to show up for the Unhustle community, helps me power through my days. For me, Purpose has become the way out of feeling overwhelmed and continues to lead me on the path to well-being, happiness, and progress.

Milena Regos , Founder of Unhustle®

Milena Regos is a rebel entrepreneur and founder of Unhustle®, on a mission to revolutionize the way we live, work and play to help 100 million people create sustainable success. Her thought leadership awarded her a seat at the World Economic Forum agenda at Davos and Wisdom2.0 conference, sharing the stage with business luminaries and world leaders to activate change on a global scale. Download her free ebook: The 7 Superpowers of High-Performing Unhustlers. Connect with Milena and the Unhustle U Community at unhustle.com.

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Working and Meeting Remotely?

Working and Meeting Remotely?

Working and Meeting Remotely?

4 min –
YOU BETTER DO THIS

At first, we may have thought this working from home stuff was a pandemic adaptation. But the added flexibility felt by many, and the reduced cost of travel and office overhead welcomed by their organizations, are making hybrid and remote forms of working here to stay. Plus, many of us have been forced to do it long enough so that our habits have changed. In my world, a meeting now means an online call. A program now means an online rhythm of plenary and breakout sessions on Zoom. We are interviewing, hiring, coaching, teaching, mediating, celebrating, influencing and collaborating with people we rarely or never meet in person. For many of us, making our difference increasingly happens remotely.

Technology and learning platforms like Interplicity are wonderful for helping to close the distance. But there’s also something we need to do that no technology can do for us if we want to get on the same wavelength with people when we’re not in the same room. Namely, we need to be more intentional about getting a feel for their condition and context.

As Guy Claxton recounts in Intelligence in the Flesh, we as social animals are loaded with social circuitry and get a feel for others by making internal maps of them in our own nervous system. We do this through subtle mimicry and gestures that create a whole dance underlying a connected, in-person conversation. We also take in their energy through multiple senses – how they look, sound, smell – and overall “vibe”, which is a sense of the field around them. Finally, when we’re in the same physical place at the same time, there’s at least some common context we can take for granted.

Much of that changes at a distance. Sight and sound are thinner signals. Smell is virtually non-existent. Something of the person’s vibe is picked up, which I found a pleasant surprise as we moved our Zen meditation and Zen Leadership training online in the past year. But sensing that vibe takes greater attention and attunement. It’s not something one can do in a multi-tasking hurry. Moreover, we cannot take anything for granted when it comes to context. We may be sitting in a quiet office in the fresh air of morning while the person we’re talking to is juggling interruptions from their phone, noise from the neighbors, and an evening scramble with two pre-school kids.

So, what can we do?

We have a phrase that we use in the Resonate course for how we help others or get them moving with us: “Become the other; go from there”. We do well to open each conversation with a few minutes of feeling into the reality of the other person that we can, as accurately as possible, “become the other”. For example, it’s common to open a conversation with some version of “how are you?” But this is often a throw-away line, met with the perfunctory response “fine, how are you?” In the remote environment, we need to get beneath “fine”. So don’t breeze past this opening, but rather attend to it with deep listening, sensitive questions, and sharing what’s real for you if the other person is interested. Of course, we can’t force them to make an inner map of us, but the more sincerely and accurately we make one of them, the more likely we are to be skillful in the conversation. And the more likely the two of us are to resonate as one.

Similarly, in team meetings and larger groups, we need a way to get on the same wavelength. We may not be able to speak as deeply as in a one-on-one conversation, but it’s still important to get a sense of where people are starting from and give them a way to come together. For example, in online meetings of a dozen or so people, you might pass a simple talking piece from window to window, and have each person check in on how they are and answer a focusing question relevant to the meeting. In larger groups, you can break them into smaller groups of five to six and have each group bring back a summary around the focusing question. You might open a meeting by taking a few deep, slow breaths together, which is a simple, physical way to invite a common frequency across the group. If you want to get more comfortable with these and other connecting practices, the Resonate course will help you.

As the world of work moves more online for more people, the leaders who know how to close the distance will make the greatest difference. May you be one of them.

Ginny Whitelaw, Author & CEO, Institute for Zen Leadership

A biophysicist and former senior manager for integrating NASA’s International Space Station, Dr. Whitelaw has trained leaders on the path of making a difference for more than 25 years, working with mind, body, energy and resonance through the Institute for Zen Leadership.

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6-Weeks Online
9hrs Est. Course time

The Workplace Mental Health Pandemic

The Workplace Mental Health Pandemic

The Workplace Mental Health Pandemic

2 min –

ARE YOU RESPONDING APPROPRIATELY?

Even in the best companies, a large number of organizational cultures are at crisis point. Some might not acknowledge it or be paying attention, but the signs are there.

    Do any or all of these sound familiar in your organization?

  • Rising sick leave for mental health and anxiety related illnesses
  • Low engagement and productivity
  • Burnout

How can we spot the signs?

Awareness training across the organization, especially within leadership, is crucial. The workforce needs to understand basic mental health issues that anyone can face from time to time. If the leader and their team know what to watch for and where to turn for assistance, individuals are more likely to get timely, appropriate help.

Acceptance is also key. We need to accept that we are all capable of reaching a breaking point and that it’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help. Compassion for ourselves and others goes a long way towards prevention and early intervention.

What can we do about it?

Organizations need to look in the mirror.

Mental health issues usually ripple across the culture. High pressure, demanding, constantly ‘on’ environments are not healthy in the long term. Additional contributing factors are unskilled managers, including toxic managers who unconsciously inflict emotional pain, or new managers who have yet to receive any effective training in leadership.

Organizations need to be proactive.

    One of the most cost-effective ways to circumvent issues is to train leaders. Whether they are experienced leaders or new team managers, they need to learn how to:

  • Work one-on-one with each unique individual team member to connect around what excites and engages them
  • Run highly efficient meetings so no time is wasted (online meetings are especially exhausting)
  • Step up and have difficult but essential conversations in a timely and non-threatening or damaging way.

Creating a high-performance culture has always been a desire for organizations but, especially in our current world crisis, it is essential for survival. Awareness, acceptance and being proactive in resolving issues will go a long way towards promoting an organizational culture of good mental health and productivity.

Rebecca Watson, CEO Brompton Associates

Rebecca is the author of Creating High Performing Teams and Conscious Leadership and the Power of Energetic Fields. Founding Brompton Associates in 2008 her purpose is to support leaders to become more conscious and operate from their highest mindset. Creating sustainable and highly productive cultures.

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