Blog

Moving Forward – Meaningful Changes From the Pandemic

In March 2020, we all watched as the world was put on “hold”. “Stay at home” orders were put into place, remote working became the new reality, and we all were forced to make adjustments in order to cope with the growing pandemic. Fast forward to today, and there seems to be a possibility of reclaiming some of the past that we considered “normal”. As vaccinations roll out across the world and countries start to relax restrictions, it provides us an opportunity to reflect on the past year and all of the changes that came with it. 

The Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, launched The World After Coronavirus Video Series, featuring more than 100 interviews with leading experts and practitioners across the world, exploring the challenges and opportunities we will face in our post-coronavirus future.

As stated by Marina Khidekel at Thrive Global, “Amidst all the disruption that we’ve experienced from the COVID-19 pandemic, this time has offered us small silver linings and insights and habits that we’ll carry with us into the future.” 

What do we want to bring forward? What do we want to leave behind? And what do we want to reclaim from our life pre-COVID?

Many people adopted new hobbies and rituals into their routines during the pandemic, some of which will continue as we begin to transition into a post-COVID world. What are some things that you began doing during COVID that you hope to continue post-pandemic? Below are some meaningful rituals to consider bringing forward.

Staying connected and maintaining relationships.

We have all found new ways to stay socially-connected to one another, even when physically distanced. This pandemic has reminded us all of the importance of maintaining relationships, even when miles apart. 

Incorporating “me” time into my daily routine.

For many, the line between work/life balance has become blurred due to remote working. With constant pressure to feel like you need to be “on the clock”, it’s important to schedule “me” time in the day to focus on yourself and your wellbeing. Literally, schedule “me time” on your calendar!

Daily mindfulness practice.

The last year has been anything but normal, which can feel overwhelming at times. Incorporating daily mindfulness practice into your routine can help to clear your mind and prevent feelings of stress and uncertainty. This can be as simple as three deep breaths several times a day or writing down three items you have gratitude for daily.

What rituals are you bringing forward? And what do you want to leave behind?

The Wisdom of the Brain is Expanding

This post originally published on December 4, 2017 has been updated.

In July 2017, Judith Glaser’s seven-month Conversational Intelligence® program culminated with an in-person graduation event in New York City. Vista Global Coaching & Consulting joined over 200 coaches in New York plus hundreds of other participants live-streaming from across the globe.

As a group, participants spent the majority of the day in a brain simulation exercise to help us synthesize all seven modules through experiential learning.

Each table explored five parts of the brain.

    1. Heart brain
    2. Primitive brain
    3. Limbic
    4. Neocortex
    5. Prefrontal Cortex

The simulation provided us a deeper understanding of the nuances and patterns of each part of the brain, how they interact, network and integrate.

The importance of communication beyond mere words is not a recent discovery. In 1967, Albert Mehrabian isolated three elements that play a role in effective communication. In terms of importance, people allocate 55% to nonverbal behavior; 38% to tone of voice and just 7% to words. In another study conducted by Professor Uri Hasson at Princeton University, he found that successful communication was noted when the speaker and listener brains showed the same patterns of activation. Their brains were synchronized.

“Co-creating Conversations have the power to literally rewire our brains.” — Judith Glaser

The Five Brains

HEART BRAIN

The heart brain is the most basic of our wiring. It syncs like Wi-Fi. The heart brain has 89 nodes that blood goes through and it reads chemistry and other components necessary for health. It sends messages all over the body and brain. When the rhythm and timing of the heart is a smooth wave it sends calm messages. When it is erratic, you can’t send messages beyond what is immediately demanding your attention. If you slow down, breathe intentionally in and out, not only through your lungs but your heart, you are able to connect with other hearts neurochemically that are within 10 feet of you.

To connect to the heart brain in a positive way, as soon as you come in contact with someone, prime them for trust by saying hello, shaking their hand, send positive intentions their direction. This opens the brain up to the other person to synch with this positivity.

PRIMITIVE BRAIN

The primitive brain is the oldest brain, it is hardwired to sensor threats and protect us from harm to our body or ego. In .07 seconds our brain determines if someone is a friend or foe and acts accordingly. Whether you go into fight, flight,  freeze or appease mode, the primitive brain is only concerned about protection. You will not have access to any higher functioning thought when the primitive brain is activated.

Using the skill of “double clicking” supports the shift from the primitive brain. Words create worlds and if the primitive brain is activated in a conversation, there was a trigger word or nonverbal message. Use “double clicking” to ask, “what does that mean to you? Or “what was the meaning of that nonverbal expression?” It allows the primitive brain to move from fear and distrust to a place of curiosity, understanding to establish safety.

LIMBIC BRAIN

The limbic brain stores all of your emotional experiences. It is the part of the brain that deciphers, “where do I fit in”. It reads social context and scans for exclusion and inclusion in a community. It provides the emotional continuum for moving toward or away from others.

Using the skill of “listening to connect” is to not judge, confirm or reject but listen with a focus on the other person, not you. It is more than listening to understand, which is often to confirm what you already believe. By connecting to their emotional world, you will foster greater inclusion and exploration of a co-created path.

 © Benchmark Communications, Inc. and The CreatingWE® Institute. All rights reserved. 

NEOCORTEX

The neocortex is hardwired for language, storing information, basic thinking, reasoning and cognitive skills.  It holds our working memory and our stored memory. The brain has the capability for simultaneity, being in steady state and change at the same time.

To activate the neocortex, use the conversational skill of “asking questions for which you have no answers”. When you ask these types of questions, you are in a discovery mindset and the other person feels the curiosity. It puts the person in a more trusting and receptive state of mind. Together you create a conversational space for a completely new reality to emerge.

PREFRONTAL CORTEX

The youngest brain is the prefrontal cortex and often is called the “executive brain.” It is hardwired for the higher-level coordination of the whole brain. It provides us with mastery of more complex functions such as the ability to envision the future, create scenarios, step into someone else’s shoes, experience empathy, think strategically and make decisions.

The skill of “conversational agility” activates the prefrontal cortex.  If a conflict is brewing, the prefrontal cortex recognizes patterns. By using “reframe, refocus and redirect” it enables people to interrupt patterns, accessing new energy, for insight and wisdom to emerge.

In 2018, CreatingWe Institute, identified the sixth brain, the Gut-Brain that verifies the relationship in the intuitive saying of “go with your gut”.

GUT-BRAIN

The gut brain is revolutionizing medicine’s understanding of the links between digestion, mood, health and how we think.  Scientists call this little brain the enteric nervous system (ENS). It is a bidirectional relationship between your brain and your stomach. Stress is related to the lack of biodiversity in the gut flora. Ninety percent of the body’s serotonin is located in the EC [enterochromaffin] cells of the GI tract, where they regulate intestinal movements. Serotonin plays a key role in cognition, specifically in learning and memory.

Whole Brain Access

How often do you experience or witness your team being stuck in the primitive or limbic brain, not able to access the more expansive, creative and innovative areas of your neocortex and prefrontal cortex?

With just a few minor shifts in using Conversational Intelligence® tools, you can transform the level of trust and quality of your conversations which in turn can move you to the next level of greatness in your organization.

Interested in how C-IQ can help improve your leadership skills or your organization’s team? Contact Mary to set up a  customized workshop session and more.

Stay tuned for more C-IQ tips! This is part of a blog series on Conversational Intelligence® course by Judith E. Glaser. Check out related blogs such as “Asking Questions for Which You Have No Answers” and “Moving from Distrust to Trust.

Belonging is our birthright: Using Conversational Intelligence® to create radical inclusion

Over the last year, I have had an accelerated awakening of how to engage in the dismantling of the inequities in our society. As I write that statement, I feel a great sense of responsibility to move from learning to action.

As I mentioned in a recent blog, “How do we actually ‘Be the Change We want to See?’”, I recently completed certification in Conversational Intelligence®. This certification strengthened my understanding of the impact that words have in building or dismantling trust. One aspect of completion of the certification was a capstone project.

I challenged myself to explore how to use C-IQ tools and skills in the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) context.  Many of the C-IQ skills have built my capacity to act when I experience or witness microaggressions.  The greatest challenge when experiencing or witnessing a microaggression is to regulate our reaction so that we can educate and raise visibility about bias and move toward establishing equity.

Within .07 seconds of being 10 feet of someone(1), our brain is determining if this person is a friend or foe. If there is any indication of how the person looks, acts, speaks that seems unfamiliar, the amygdala in our brain pumps cortisol to protect us and we go to the primitive section of our brain. The primitive brain saved us from the lions when we were in the earliest stages of human development. Cortisol has a shelf-life of 26 hours(2), leaving a lasting impact on our perceptions.  This is how bias begins to form. We have the capacity to deprogram and unlearn our bias and Conversational Intelligence® provides these tools by examining the neuroscience and the impact words have on our experience.

​I recently attended the Racial Justice Summit hosted by the YWCA Madison with more than 800 participants to deepen my learning through workshops and presentations from nationally-known speakers, Climbing PoeTree and Annahid Dashtgard.

Climbing PoeTree was a powerful duo sharing spoken word, rap and poetry “as a tool to expose injustice, channel hope into vision and make a better future visible, immediate and irresistible.”

Annahid Dashtgard, a Toronto-based educator, led a session highlighting the framework of her recently published book, Breaking The Ocean: A Memoir of Race, Rebellion and Reconciliation.  She approaches EDI work from a lens of belonging:

“Belonging is our birthright. It straddles the individual and systemic levels of existence, toggling between the psychological truth that we are all the same and the political truth that we are divided by access to power.”

Dashtgard believes that we have to regain our wholeness internally before we can work toward changing systems externally. When we experience belonging, we are activating oxytocin and the parasympathetic nervous system which allow us to calm ourselves and shift the external environment. When we feel exclusion, we are in a state of vigilance, activating cortisol and our reactive nervous system.

As I processed Dashtgard’s challenge to the conference participants, I could delineate the C-IQ skills that support the process of building bridges of inclusion and belonging:

Making the Invisible Visible:  Bringing attention to the unseen dynamics and patterns in conversations, and engage in dialogue to shift these patterns.

Deconstructing Conversations: Examine what was said, how it was said and the impact it had on the receiver, in relation to the intention of the sender.

Co-regulation: Partnering to down-regulate cortisol and fear, and up-regulate oxytocin and trust. This skill builds a foundation of co-creating a new reality.

How do we begin? We begin from the basis that we are all the same in wanting to belong. Start with self and understanding: When do I feel like I belong? When do I feel excluded? Once you are able to identify the micro-signals of belonging and exclusion, you are building your social-emotional literacy to give words to your experience.  This gives you the ability to use Conversational Intelligence® skills to move from the personal experience to the institutional and systemic levels to reduce the barriers that create inequity.

The journey of transformation of our global society requires that each of us individually take steps to restore our individual wholeness and collectively shift the external environment. Together we can co-create a culture of belonging.

Together we can co-create a culture of belonging.
Let’s connect to chart our path toward this new reality.

(1) “Within .07 seconds of being 10 feet of someone, our brain is determining if this person is a friend or foe. ” — Page 103 of Conversational Intelligence by Judith E. Glaser
(2) “Cortisol has a shelf-life of 26 hours, leaving a lasting impact on our perceptions.” — Page 104 of Conversational Intelligence by Judith E. Glaser

2019 Champions Retreat Recap: How do we evolve capitalism?

A week ago, I returned from Los Angeles after three days of deep engagement at the B Corp Champions Retreat with 600 changemakers who are committed to building a globally inclusive and regenerative economy.

The opening plenary set the stage for a new awakening for me. The theme of the 2019 B Corp Champions Retreat was “Building Inclusive & Regenerative Economies”.

Lynn Johnson, emcee and CoFounder/CEO of Spotlight: Girls stated it in plain terms:

“What you do to the people, you do to the land. What you do to the land, you do to the people.”

I am familiar with the concept of “inclusive economies”. As shared in that opening plenary:

An INCLUSIVE Economy is one that creates opportunities for people of all backgrounds and experiences to live with dignity, support themselves and their families, and make a contribution to their local and national communities.

But the concept of “regenerative economies” was not something I really understood. As shared in the opening plenary:

A REGENERATIVE Economy takes sustainability to the next level. It is rooted in metrics and market structures that meet human needs through equitable access, distribution, fully-costed and priced services and goods, and delivers flourishing value for all within nature’s bounds.

Sustainability is no longer good enough. We are in a climate crisis and we are running out of time before the tipping point of no return. The final words of this definition are what were the awakening for me, “flourishing value for all within nature’s bounds.”  What you do to the land, you do to the people.

There were opportunities to learn from each other, share successes and challenge ourselves to examine our individual mindsets and practices.  Throughout the plenary sessions, there was the constant drumbeat from Mermans Mosengo of Playing for Change, connecting us to the pulse of the land like a heartbeat.

I challenged myself to build my understanding of regenerative economies and started with the opportunity to watch the feature film called The Biggest Little Farm, an award-winning documentary about Apricot Lane Farms, a regenerative organic and biodynamic farm just 40 miles from Los Angeles.  This really crystallized the mantra, “what you do to the land, you do to the people.”

In the keynote by Rose Marcario, CEO of Patagonia,  gave the call to action, “Capitalism needs to evolve, if humanity is to survive.”

How do we evolve capitalism?

As I sat in many different sessions, the theme that consumer behavior drives capitalism was a consistent underpinning.  The choices consumers make impact the marketplace. So what can we do individually and collectively?

  1. #VoteEveryDay is a campaign to give you, as the consumer, the power to evolve capitalism with your purchases. You have a voice and power beyond the ballot box. By buying from, working for and doing business with B Corps, you vote for what you believe in.  Every day is election day.
  2. Get informed. Just like I did with respect to regenerative economies. If we are in a state of unconscious incompetence, we don’t know what we don’t know and we can’t change our behavior.The first step is knowledge.
  3. Be a researcher for a day. Examine every daily practice that you have from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to bed. Then ask yourself, “what impact does this behavior have on marginalized people?” “What impact does this have on the land?” And then evaluate, “what can I change to reduce that impact?”
    — Here are a few quick examples of my own examination since I returned, “can I ride my bike instead of jumping in the car?” I am also saying no to paper and plastic bags by bringing my own.
  4. Connect to changemakers globally. All change starts at the individual level but the transformation of the global economy requires us to harness our individual action in a collective way.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals provide a blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet through a framework of 17 goals with targets to be achieved by 2030. Starting in January 2020, you can use the SDG Action Manager to take action, track progress and transform the world. What goal do you want to work towards?

I am committed to work towards SDG Goal #5 “Achieve Gender Equality and Empower all Women and Girls.” As a woman leader of a certified B Corp, I have signed the global WeTheChange declaration. Any woman business owner or ally can sign this declaration. This is connecting my individual action to a global movement.

We can build an inclusive and regenerative global economy. If you need support getting started, let’s connect.

 

3 Ways that Defining your Talents Will Help Build your Personal Brand

I recently hosted a “sneak peek” webcast on the topic of personal values and strengths. This offered participants a window into the Vista Leadership Institute programs and the journey of crafting your next chapter.

We start with the broad question of “Who am I?” and “Where are my natural talents?” The CliftonStrengths assessment measures your natural talents from 34 themes and you arrive at the list of your “Top 5”. Continue reading “3 Ways that Defining your Talents Will Help Build your Personal Brand”

Designing Your Life is a Team Sport

Having played team sports since I was 9 years old, I have built the mindset that to be successful, I can’t do it alone.

Although I have built this mindset, I often see with coaching and consulting clients that many people want to do it all on their own.  Whether it is because they haven’t built trust with their colleagues or they feel pressure to bear the responsibility, they are driving with no co-pilot.

If you haven’t heard this African proverb yet, it speaks to the important lesson that I learned at age 9:

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. - African Proverb

As we designed the Vista Leadership Institute Mastermind Program, we built the team into the program DNA.  Why? Because life design is a team sport.

Designing Your Life proposes that this concept of team-building is a profound and necessary part of any creative act.

“Designers believe in radical collaboration because true genius is a collaborative process. We design our lives in collaboration and connection with others, because WE is always stronger than I- it is as simple as that.  When you design your life, you are engaging in an act of co-creation.” — Bill Burnett & Dave Evans

The Vista Leadership Mastermind Program embraces this “true genius” idea and begins with the formation of your design team. Throughout the 7-month program, you will work in pairs and triads, offering and receiving insight. Your team will help push you, asking “what if?” as you create your action plan for the next chapter of life.

You will also have three individual coaching calls with me throughout the program to create an even stronger accountability framework to move along your life’s journey.

Because when things get tough, you need someone to have your back, to help you get up when you get knocked down, AND to do flip flops and cheer you on when you hit it out of the park!

So if you are at a crossroads, asking yourself “what do I want to do next?” and you don’t know where to start… Join the Vista Leadership Mastermind team. We are saving a spot for you so we can co-create your game plan to hit the next 5 years out of the park!

Early bird discount deadline is September 15th.
Payment plans are available! (Email for details)

Your Mastermind Program Starts Now! Apply Today!

How do we actually “Be the Change We Want to See”?

If you have been following my blog over the last few years, you may recall that I wrote a blog series on a course I was taking on Conversational Intelligence (C-IQ) for coaches regarding the impact that neuroscience has on the quality of conversations. The blog series can be found at the bottom of the post titled, Courageous Conversations: The Future is Now.

Skills that I learned in the course were: Being Open to Influence, Priming for Trust, Asking Questions for Which We Have No Answers, Listen to Connect, Conversational Agility and Double-Clicking.

Over the last two years I have been using these skills with coaching and consulting clients to close gaps between intention and impact and to elevate awareness of the power of conversation to transform the world.

This year, I decided to certify as a C-IQ coach. The certification program was an additional six months of course work and a capstone project to demonstrate how I embody conversational intelligence.

During the first few months, it was very challenging to grasp what “embodying C-IQ” really meant.  The dictionary.com definition is “to give concrete form to; express, personify, or exemplify in concrete form.”  

To embody conversational intelligence, we were asked to explore our level of competence along the four stages of competence.

The highest level of competence is “unconscious competence”, which is the level at which we are in flow, when things come so easily that you don’t even think about what you are doing. It becomes second nature.

In C-IQ certification, as coaches we were challenged to go deeper with our learning, adding new conversational essentials, to stretch ourselves to move through the four stages of competence.

New conversational essentials presented were: Making the Invisible Visible, Deconstructing Conversations and Co-Regulating our Conversations — up-regulating oxytocin and down-regulating cortisol. Oxytocin and cortisol are the neurotransmitters triggered when we have either positive or negative conversations.

As I mentioned, I was really struggling with the notion of embodying and then one day, I realized I was TRYING too hard. I wasn’t getting to the flow because I was too much in my head, not in my heart.  When I “loosened up the grip” on learning and leaned back, I started to notice that I was now using these skills not only in my work but in all aspects of my life.

I can see how many of the conversational essentials I learned in 2017 have now become second nature.

I am deconstructing conversations with family and friends. I am raising visibility of conversational patterns that are unproductive in all aspects of my life. I am starting to build the unconscious competence…embodying conversational intelligence.

Conversational Intelligence essentials have helped guide me in all aspects of my life, to be the change I want to see in the world.

Are you experiencing challenging conversations in any area of your life and don’t know how to shift from the patterns that keep you stuck? Are you THINKING about it too much?

To get a sneak peek of how C-IQ can help you transform your conversations, we are offering a free 30-minute webcast and live chat on Conversational Intelligence next week, August 21 @ 12:30pm CDT.  We will offer it again in September, if you can’t make it live.

Join us to begin the journey of transforming your conversations!