Authenticity and Belonging: Lessons of Fall – Three Thoughts for Thursday, October 2022

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Fall is still my very favorite season, and I have noticed I especially love October!  During this season, particularly the month of October, the colors seem especially vibrant and I am constantly in awe of the changes and transformations I observe in the trees around me.  I also likely don’t need to mention again, my fascination with midlife, but I will because not only am I in it but so are many of my clients.  In this season of life, I am also observing and celebrating transformations.  

I find the learnings and lessons of midlife profound and connected to my observations of October. This month as I have been noticing the leaves changing color, the new hues and shades amidst the green, I have been thinking about the desires for purpose and authenticity that seem to come with midlife. I have also been considering the willingness to finally take off the mask and boldly step forth in truth. The midlife and post-midlife, to me, represent a call to bare oneself with unapologetic transparency, to willingly stand out rather than submit to a need to blend in or the “shoulds” of others, and to learn you belong because of your differences, not in spite of them.

As I observe the natural cycle of seasons, I think maybe it is just nature that leads so many to wait until later in life to show up fully, much as trees change in the 9th, 10th, or even 11th month of the year.  I wonder what our world could be like if we embraced our true selves and diversity and reveled in the humanity that unites us earlier in our journey through this one precious life. Perhaps change is simply a part of humanity and the real lesson is to embrace growth and change as it comes in each stage but also to support truth and authenticity throughout the journey.

What could the world be like if we saw in color instead of so often in black and white? What if we could appreciate and embrace all the different hues rather than picking favorites or passing judgments? How might you show up more authentically and fully even through periods of transition and changes? How might you, in whatever position in life you find yourself, encourage others and create an environment that supports others to show up more transparently, honestly, and fully human? What is your dream for yourself when you think about how you’d like to show up? What keeps you from showing up this way?  What gives you a sense of belonging? What is your dream for our world? If you don’t have one, why not? What is one thing you might choose to work on in yourself that may begin to pave the way for a more just world, one change, one transformation at a time?

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Quote I’m pondering:

“When the winds of change blow, some people build walls, and others build windmills.”

~ Chinese Proverb ~

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What I’m listening to: 

Assumptions that Stop Us from Listening Well, with Oscar Trimboli
Coaching for Leaders, Episode #598, October 9, 2022

Oscar Trimboli: How to Listen

Oscar Trimboli is an author, host of the Apple award-winning podcast Deep Listening and a sought-after keynote speaker. He is passionate about using the gift of listening to bring positive change in homes, workplaces, and cultures around the world. Through his work with chairs, boards of directors, and executive teams, Oscar has experienced firsthand the transformational impact leaders and organizations can have when they listen beyond the words.

Oscar is a marketing and technology industry veteran with over 30 years of experience across general management, sales, marketing, and operations for Microsoft, PeopleSoft, Polycom, Professional Advantage, and Vodafone. He is the author of the book, Deep Listening and now, his newest book, How to Listen: Discover the Hidden Key to Better Communication*.

In this conversation, Oscar and I explore several of the assumptions that tend to get in our way of listening well. Oscar highlights distinctions that will be useful mindsets for you in showing up better in future conversations. Plus, we discuss how listing goes far beyond simply asking questions.

Key Points

  • Before we begin listening, it is helpful to tune…much like an orchestra.
  • We can’t always give our full attention, but we can make the choice as to whether we are paying attention or giving attention.
  • As much as we intend otherwise, sometimes we listen less well in our closest relationships.
  • Aim to be curious instead of drawing conclusions.
  • Asking questions does not necessarily mean you are listening well. Aimless and arbitrary questions are everywhere.

Resources Mentioned

Interview Notes

Download my interview notes in PDF format (free membership required).

Related Episodes

I so enjoyed this podcast about how even small assumptions can keep us from experiencing true connection and understanding.  I especially loved that he shared the experience of his son and his wife as they navigated the meaning of half of eight/8! 

What I’m reading: 

The Four Pivots: Reimaging Justice, Reimagining Ourselves

By Shawn A. Ginwright

I am LOVING this book!  It is reminding me that I need to sit down and write my own visions for how Emotional Intelligence can help support a world of equality by allowing us to connect with our humanity, and expand our ability to be more human and our capacity for other humans.  More on that to come!

What Amazon Has to Say:

“Reading this courageous book feels like the beginning of a social and personal awakening…I can’t stop thinking about it.”—Brené Brown, PhD, author of Atlas of the Heart

For readers of Emergent Strategy and Dare to Lead, an activist’s roadmap to long-term social justice impact through four simple shifts.

We need a fundamental shift in our values–a pivot in how we think, act, work, and connect. Despite what we’ve been told, the most critical mainspring of social change isn’t coalition building or problem analysis. It’s healing: deep, whole, and systemic, inside and out.

Here, Shawn Ginwright, PhD, breaks down the common myths of social movements–a set of deeply ingrained beliefs that actually hold us back from healing and achieving sustainable systemic change. He shows us why these frames don’t work, proposing instead four revolutionary pivots for better activism and collective leadership:

Awareness: from lens to mirror
Connection: from transactional to transformative relationships
Vision: from problem-fixing to possibility-creating
Presence: from hustle to flow

Supplemented with reflections, prompts, cutting-edge research, and the author’s own insights and lived experience as an African American social scientist, professor, and movement builder, The Four Pivots helps us uncover our obstruction points. It shows us how to discover new lenses and boldly assert our need for connection, transformation, trust, wholeness, and healing. It gives us permission to create a better future–to acknowledge that a broken system has been predefining our dreams and limiting what we allow ourselves to imagine, but that it doesn’t have to be that way at all. Are you ready to pivot? 

Here are a few of my notes and key takeaways/questions from Pivot 1: Awareness, Lens to Mirror

Ginwright notes that eliminating problems doesn’t create victories.  This was powerful for me as it put into perspective all the time and effort we as a society, and as humans, consultants, parents, managers, etc., put into solving surface problems. He went on to note that “inequality erodes our ability to see any other way – predefined our dreams, conditions us to focus on surface-level issues.  He calls for deep, personal work, over instituting new solutions to these “surface problems” in order to create real and lasting change.

He further calls out the need to go deeper, to strive to see the myths and beliefs Ginwright notes “that we are living by that must be seen in order to change them.” How might you work to go beyond getting striving to be better at your job, looking towards the next promotion, and really support this deeper work that will serve you more fully and will also serve our society and world, one person at a time? 

What are you doing to support yourself and your inner work, to have a lens and a mirror? What “obstruction spots created by socialization” have you worked to clear to be a better human and create change?

Thoughts on Ginwright’s “True sight – hindsight, foresight and insight” concept, and the idea that “the hardest look is inward”?

How might you integrate his reflections on clarity – “Suspension, Saltation, and Creep”?

Topic for further ponderings – What gets in the way of clarity – Ego, Lack of Confidence, Lens of Opposition, and Resistance – how do you see these show up in your professional and personal life/communications/relationships?

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You can sign up to receive my Three Thoughts for Thursday post as an email on the third Thursday of every month by clicking here.

If you are interested or know someone who may be interested, I also offer leadership and emotional intelligence coaching and workshops. You can find more information on my website, or you can use this link to set up a free 30-minute introduction to coaching session.

On September 17th, I hosted my first local, in-person event here in the Seattle area,  Savor the Sweetness.  It was a fulfilling experience and event, and I look forward to hosting quarterly events for local women in 2023 – stay tuned and contact me for more information or to join the invite list!

Please check out my latest blog post, The Problem of Intentions,  Also check out my post, Be Careful, Recipes and Inspiration Yield Different Results! and my September Edition of Three Thoughts for Thursday, as well.  In light of my continued themes on process and habits, you may also be interested in my series, Lessons of the Run – Endurance, Resilience, Rest, and Grit. And if you could stand to hear more about processes and patterns, stay tuned for an upcoming expanded post on Examining the Process – Behind the Drive.

Beginning last year, in April 2021, I have had the privilege of hosting the Emotional Intelligence Special Interest Group for ICFLA.  Please join us for November’s session on Tuesday, the 29th of November for a panel discussion of EI in the Workplace.

In September, I completed a year-long, quarterly series entitled “EQ and WooWoo” with my colleague and Spiritual Coach, Katie Kay. If you are intrigued and would like to learn more about future events, please email me. This workshop series was designed to help you manifest action toward the year you want to live, the person you want to be, and the goals you want to achieve in 2022.  These quarterly sessions intertwined the use of Tarot (and other Woowoo tools) and Emotional Intelligence to help you and your clients step outside the box in order to take your coaching and personal work deeper. New and related sessions will begin in 2023.

If you are interested in joining and co-creating these learning communities, please use the links above to find out more about ICFLA’s Emotional Intelligence Special Interest Group and the EQ & WooWoo Workshops. I hope you will come along for the journey!

I’m always looking for new inspiration, new books to read, and new podcasts to listen to, so please send your suggestions my way or comment on this post to offer some new recommendations!

As always, thank you for your continued support and readership! Stay strong, stay brave, stay true to you!

Wishing you a season of colorful foliage and brilliant transformation toward authenticity and true belonging!

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