India, special India!
The time to bid our Goan “home” of 3.5 years goodbye!
In a blink of an eye 1219 fabulously exotic days which start with a view that (mostly) resembles a seaside paradise exploding with intensely colorful palettes of sunrises and sunsets as seen on “wish you were here” postcards and honeymoon catalogues, are coming to an end. The remaining 30 days of packing and relocating not only ourselves but also our dogs to Austria, are going to pass in an even brighter blur!
A room with a spectacular view – every day – even during the Monsoon!
What can I say?
My feelings on leaving here are mixed.
What I can say is that during my time here – in the dazzle and daze of hazy day to day events, high days and bright “holi”-days it hasn’t always been a honeymoon and at times I wish I wasn’t here. We have been undergoing real-time transformation in among the frustrations and fun of this “roll-er-coast-er” time.
It’s been a transformation adventure for sure!
#transformation: having undergone change with no possibility to return to the original form or shape – like when you… Read more
Power: a.k.a. ability, potential, talent and gift
Em-power-ment: a.k.a. permission, green light, go ahead, consent and OK.
It’s not possible to empower someone else – each and every one of us is already empowered.
No one, especially not people “in power” have this power or hold over others.
Real empowerment only happens when people are doing something because they WANT to. Empowerment comes from within and you get to see it when people are doing something to the best of their ability – in any given situation.
Empowerment is unleashed human desire and potential. That is power-full!
And they will only make that decision – give themselves the “green light” – when they feel good, feel safe and when they know what’s in it for them.
Happy people are empowered people.
And only then can knowledge become power!
When was the last time you went out of your way to make someone you work (or play) with, happy?
Would you like a change or experience something different?
Here’s how in 2 steps and 2 phrases!
Step 1: start your sentence with “I want….(whatever it is)“ – it opens up possibilities, ideas and speaks of desires and aspirations.
Step 2: reformulate your “I want…” sentence into an “I will…” sentence – it commits to the actions and steps to get what you want.
Now go for it. Repeat Steps 1 & 2 often to keep you focused and on track.
Do you need help with your business English skills? Personal leadership skills? Professional development skills? Contact me.
Have you ever wondered how you can, on demand, tap into your intuition and super-ness?
The answers lie in here…
After 2.5 years of being in India, I finally went for a Shirodhara massage.
‘What’s this?’ some of you may ask. I didn’t know either until very recently, so I thought I would suss it out for myself. I’m in India. I can. I should, shouldn’t I?
In Sanskrit “Shiro” means head or forehead and “dhara” means flow and the technique is the continuous flow of lukewarm liquids onto your forehead. This ancient massage therapy promises to relieve symptoms of anxiety, stress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), tiredness, insomnia (remember “pineal gland”), jet lag (again that pineal gland) and hypertension. It renews energy, creates calm, clarity of thought, reduces worry and excessive thought – reducing worry lines and keeps you looking young. Dream therapy for a woman!
At first I focussed on the steady flow of oil onto my forehead and then, as if transported in time – I awoke. In the hands of others, my time had flown.
Fast forward a few days, after getting up before sparrows fart with startling clarity and useful ideas for writing (I do this) I discover a free 90minute online course hosted by Judith Glaser about C-IQ – conversational intelligence. You all know I am totally into conversational stuff so I register and log in, bushy tailed and bright eyed with my sleep rhythms totally messed up because of the time difference between India and USA. Sometime into the webinar Judith spoke about the workings of our brains, the primitive brain, the limbic brain and the neo- or prefrontal cortex – which also happens to the area of your “third eye” and, which Judith says is the bridge between what you intend doing and the impact you have on those around you.
And I get thinking that my Shirodhara massage was all about stimulating my “third eye” and here’s me with my index finger hovering over my mouse with a “should I, shouldn’t I?” quiver.
My intuition tells me to follow my “should I” route and I discovered (even though I might be preaching to the converted) some fascinating facts and findings – pure science – to share with you.
Did you know that by changing tenses in your statements you open up a creative space in your communication which also reduces “tension”?
#tension is also known as stress, anticipation, discomfort, nervousness, conflict and “cold feet”
Did you know that by changing the tense of statements you make, you can challenge the intensity of an embedded limiting belief?
Let’s say you firmly believe that you are not capable of doing something and you say something to the effect of…
I could never do that, or
I would never be able to do that, or
It will never work, I don’t see eye to eye with…
What tense do we have here?
These statements are not based on past experience; they are predictions of something you think might happen and so because you believe you’ll fail, statements like these prevent you from trying stuff! You give up before you’ve even started.
What do the following statements tell you?
I am not a team player, never was…
I am a perfectionist.
I am “compulsive obsessive”.
I’m no good at numbers so that is nothing for me.
“I am” statements put you in a box and throw away the key! You identify yourself as that and that’s it. No change possible here either because when you apply the present tense to negative experiences they become static states. Statements like these are mostly uttered in “autopilot mode” and they manage to dominate and defeat any desire for change in that they strengthen the belief you so casually convey.
But, what if you were to put them into the past or present perfect tense? Look at the statements again:
“I could never do that” becomes “Up until now I have not been able to do this.” The tension is removed and there is a subtle shift from “that” – which is out of reach – to “this” – which is within your reach, and therefore possible.
“I am not a team player” becomes “My experience of working with others in a team has proven challenging, but I am always willing to give it go.”
“My … and I don’t see eye to eye…” example sounds decidedly more upbeat like this: “My …and I have had disagreements in the past but, …”
Changing the tense, removes the tension and opens up possibilities and opportunities.
Using the word “now” also mindfully draws others’ attention and participation to the here and now.
“Now” is especially effective when a task or idea requires an immediate decision or action. The question “what do you need now?” or “what do you want now?” is huge in bringing people who are either stuck in the past, or overwhelmed by future options, back into the mindful present. If you’re feeling stuck, or procrastinating ask yourself what it is you want. #notimelikethepresent
Using the future tense enables you to imagine future possibilities. When people get stuck in present problems you can ask them “what would it be like if/when…?” or “what would you like to have/happen instead…?”. It works. Almost like magic!
Don’t you just love that?
I wish you much success in shifting any tension with tenses, and if you need some support to do that, or simply a little bit of magic for life, contact me! This is what I do! About me.
I visited Varanasi a few weeks ago. As promised it proved to be 3.5 days filled with fascinating fables, informative insights, metaphors and myths and what really preoccupied me afterwards was the mindset, or philosophy around dying – before and after death. It was a deeply introspective experience that, even without actually thinking about it, forced me to reflect on my own attitude and beliefs about life, and death. My more pragmatic self did some research and found facts relating to the business of burning bodies.
Among other things, I read that this custom and practice has almost depleted India’s own forests and they are now importing the wood from neighboring countries like Nepal. Considering the pyres are burning 24/7 and an average of 50 bodies get burnt a day, that is some business! And a huge, weighty demand for wood!
An environmental activist’s nightmare and, quite frankly, a matter of life, over death! Now!
Fast forward a week or two and I am talking to one of my clients in the EU which is expanding their business borders further East mentioning Nepal as one of their new sources of wood. And I think to myself…
I get the “machinery” of business. I get what is needed to make a business run, well-oiled, efficiently and effectively to maximize profits. I personally thrive on other businesses expanding their business borders because it calls for cultural collaboration which can only be achieved through cultural understanding and clarity in communication – my business. I get that everyone wants their share (fair or not) of the economic and consumer pie and when the local market gets too small or the region has run out of resources and stock, then businesses have to move on up and out – otherwise it is death to the business! I get that.
But, how much of all of this is done in the true wisdom and understanding that some ideas, traditions and customs need to be burnt, for the benefit our children’s futures? And their children?
And, just how much of all of this is as “sustainable” as businesses envisage, intend and promise?
Let’s face it. Business is a violent business. Success can be cut throat. Does it have to be this way? Do we even have choices?
You can only create choices when you consciously disengage from conditioned and conditional thinking!
Just like conditioned communication = unconscious communication, conditioned thinking = unconscious thinking. It is not mindful, nor present thinking. It is a repetitive repetition of re-actions you feel compelled to enact or react to, because you have been conditioned to think that this is the way things are done. Or the “right” way.
Conditioned is unconscious.
How do you know you’re doing this?
Think about what you’re doing and saying and then think about where it comes from and why.
Hear any familiar voices?
Feeling an old pain?
And so, over time, we become bogged down and stuck?
We keep making the same mistakes because we keep doing things unconsciously.
Our minds, conditioned by our experiences and past, filters out everything that isn’t familiar – no matter how painful. We stick to what we know. And the more we do that the more we believe we are right and justified in our “choices” or decisions.
Here’s the real problem – the universe will collude with you and give you all the back up you need to prove yourself right.
How very limiting
Conditionals start with “if” and there are different types of “if”.
If #1 is when we talk of things that are obvious in logic, fact, always true or they serve as a threat or warning. To make your “if” sentences sound all the more serious you replace the “if” with “when”.
If #2 is when you talk about future events that you are sure will happen. This is the “if” you use when you are making projections and forecasts into a future you really have no say over. Madness I tell you. It is all a cover up because your mind has no control over the future unknown and so it sticks and stays with what it knows. It remains afraid. And when you are afraid you don’t have choices.
If #3 is when you refer to future events that are hugely unlikely or a hypothetical dream you wish would come true.
If I had more time in my day I would…
And then you stop yourself because you hear a voice telling you it is whimsical, self-indulgent crazy shit.
If #4 is when we refer to past events that we regret or criticize.
When you are compelled to (still) act according to your conditioned thinking you’ll continue thinking, and speaking, in the 2nd and 3rd conditionals and then, much later, years from now, you’ll start speaking in the 4th!
Do you really want to do that?
You can make the new crazy shit a beautiful new reality by starting now, right here in your conscious present and taking steps in the other direction. One new brave courageous step at a time.
But, you absolutely need to take the other route.
Would you like to get some pointers on how to make making choices and decisions and going after crazy new shit more exciting? More fulfilling?
Contact me. And don’t if around for too long – there is, after all, no time like the present!
PS – None of this has to do with intelligence. There are highly qualified people who are disconnected from themselves and others. Unconscious connections through conditioned and learned behavior.
vienna | cape town | goa | new york
Did you know that the word collaboration comes from the Latin word “concerto” concert and harmony and from “concertare” to bring into agreement or sing together (as in con + cantare = to sing)?
I was raised on music – a well balanced mix from rock to pop and classics. The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Moody Blues, Cat Stevens, Vivaldi, Tchaikovsky etc. A lot of time and money was spent on my “big C” cultural upbringing. I was indulged in many magical ballet performances by the local Performing Arts Council) and regularly dragged off to the open rehearsal sessions of the Durban Philharmonic Orchestra in the Durban City Hall.
What I really didn’t like was the instrument tuning and warming up that went on before a performance – to me it sounded like a cacophonous wailing. I needed the conductor to bring congruence and harmony to the clamor and commotion.
Our neighbors, were a family of musicians completely immersed in the world of classical music; they played in the orchestra, sang in choirs and taught music. Diana, one of the daughters, encouraged me to listen out for individual instruments, and to pick out the conducting elements (tempo, dynamics, cue-ing and articulation) as she had taught me to listen out for in Sergei Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf”.
And then, as if by the wave of my very own baton I was skilled in aligning the instruments – discord became harmony! A symphony!
The word comes from the Latin “the Greek word “ “ +
Much of the interpersonal discord I have witnessed can be likened to the uncoordinated and un-conducted sounds of an orchestra warming up – much like the “forming” stage of a new team on a new project. Imagine you are a musician in a group of players where each musician thinks they know best and know what needs to be done (play what they have to play) when and how they want with little regard for the other musicians? Need I say more?
Achieving cross cultural collaboration must feel the same to a team, as an orchestra (and conductor) getting a standing ovation. It can only, happen when everyone; the leader(s) and team members pay finely tuned attention to the group and listen out for the individual “instruments” articulating their particular skills and talents in order to be instrumental in co-composing congruent collaboration.
This is cross-cultural competence; the ability to bring voices into agreement for conversational harmony. You want to play? Would you like to improve your skills? Contact me.
A 10 minute read on how to master your cross-cultural competence, a good book recommendation, a short video and 6 empowering questions that guarantee collaboration!
I was asked, just this week, what I do. I told them. Someone then said: What exactly is that?
In a nutshell? Culture is the way things get done around “here” and the way things get done around there, and over there and also over there. My job is to support people in bringing their various ways of doing things, together. In biz talk? Two words: team alignment.
Culture – is known as folklore, habit, knowledge, lifestyle, way of life and development. It is taken from “cultura”(Latin) which comes from the verb “colo” or “colere” which means to tend, care for, look after and cultivate. It also means to till the soil, farm, grow and plant.
What do I do? I tend, look after and cultivate cross-cultural connections and collaboration through clarity in conversation.
Why? To facilitate a change for the better people need to change their thinking and to change collective thinking demands a change in the conversations they are having which then leads to a “rewiring” of the brain (mindsets) and which ultimately leads to aligning new (and better) behaviors because…
But first we need to understand that modern day cultures can be described as the outcome of many different external influences and circumstances as experienced by those who set up home up in various parts of the world l-o-o-o-n-g before you and I came along.
The lessons in survival that were endured by one clan in the Saharan sun and heat, and another tribe wading their way through steamy mangrove swamps, had to be completely different to those of a group freezing their way through the Siberian cold and dark winter, don’t you agree? And, the frequency of their repeated “lessons” became genetically imprinted values and norms over time. “Solutions” became and continue to become a part of our everyday lives – we adopt, adapt, integrate and embody new sets of skills so often that basic assumptions become an unconscious and unquestioned reality which we, mostly, take for granted.
Repeated behavior, healthy or not, becomes a collective programming and an unquestioned group think. It’s this group think that defines a culture and creates differences. #groupbias #whywestereotype
Why No One Answer Is Ever Right
Two men had an argument so they went to a Sufi judge to settle the dispute. The one made his case and was very persuasive in his reasoning. The judge nodded approval and said: “that’s right!”
The other man jumped up and said, “Wait a minute, you haven’t heard my side of the story!” The judge told him to make his case which he did, also with sound persuasive reasoning. The judge nodded approval and said: “that’s right!”
When the clerk of the court heard this he jumped up and said “Judge! They cannot both be right!” to which the judge replied, “That’s right”.
Just like truth is all around you there is no one answer that is right; what matters is where you put your energy and focus. And remember, the answers you get depend on the questions you ask.
So, what does this have to do with cross-cultural competence?
You tell me!
Wishing you an awesome week of finding alternative truths and new answers!