Choose Your Impact

Choose Your Impact


Do you focus more on your intentions or your impact? And which one is more important…

 

This has been a central theme for us at 4D Human Being since we began all those years ago! Working in leadership, communications skills, coaching and development programmes means this subject is incredibly important to us. While we focus heavily on conscious intention, one of our company taglines has for a long time been “Helping Leaders, Teams and Individuals consciously create their impact every day.” So, intention or impact, which should we focus on more…?

 

This question is not only relevant in terms of organisational leadership and communication. It is relevant to whatever work you do. It is relevant in your personal life. And it is definitely relevant in every single one of your relationships. From the intimate to the every day to the people you may only meet once in your life. And today this topic is hugely relevant when it comes to how we explore and communicate social injustice, systemic racism and any number of inequalities in our communities and in wider society. Whether we are trying to engage our teams with motivational sales targets, whether we are presenting a keynote at a global conference, whether we are trying to keep children interested in online schooling, whether we are navigating our personal relationships through and out of lockdown, or whether we are tackling urgent social justice issues – have we checked in with and set our underlying intention? And even if we have, what is our ultimate impact..?

This article is all about exploring the every day and the very human idea of intention vs impact. Join us as we look at different ways we can help to bring our intentions and our impact into alignment.

 


Intention vs Impact

 

How many times, when challenged, have you heard or yourself used the response … “but that wasn’t my intention” or “That wasn’t what I meant.”

I’m going to guess we’ve all heard that excuse and used it ourselves more times than any of us could count. Of course we have. Because so often it will have been true. When there is a breakdown in communication, when wires get crossed, when we accidentally upset someone, when we haven’t been fully conscious of what we were saying… the resulting impact certainly wasn’t our intention. So then surely we’re not to blame?

About twenty years ago a friend of mine told me about an incident in a key cutting shop. She had walked into the shop and inadvertently knocked over a stand with hundreds of ready-to-cut keys on it. The key stand and the keys fell onto an elderly lady. The shop owner and another customer started reprimanding my friend who defended herself by saying it was an accident. She didn’t mean to topple the stand. As she recounted the story to me, still smarting from the reaction from her fellow shoppers, she said “I mean if I had walked into that shop with the sole intention of knocking a key stand onto an old lady – then fair enough, have a go at me. But that was clearly not my intention.”

At the time I fully accepted her position. However, after many years of working in corporate communication skills, I started to see things multi-dimensionally. Because intention and impact need to be taken together. They cannot be isolated. We need to focus on both. Whether we are talking about a disappointing presentation from your boss or an argument with your partner – whether the intention was good or not, the impact is what it is, and we need to take responsibility for both. That’s where learning can come in. That’s when we can take on new information and new skills so that we can begin to take charge of our impact. Not just our intention.

In the case of my well-intended friend, the elderly lady in the shop still had to deal with the shock of a fountain of keys suddenly being showered all over her. If we play with the idea of taking responsibility for the impact of accidentally hurling keys over an innocent customer, then maybe we would then be open to thinking more consciously about how we enter small unfamiliar stores with more caution, care and awareness. That learning could be really useful to us and to other people in the future.

 


Mind the Gap

 

As we always say at 4D Human Being, there is pretty much always a gap between our intention and our impact. But by taking responsibility for our impact then we can start to close that gap. And when we close the gap between intention and impact, we really put ourselves in the driver’s seat of our lives. We take a massive step towards living more consciously and with more awareness.

After all we are not the story we keep locked in our heads. We are the story we tell and communicate to the world. Whether that is through words, tone, actions, body language or facial expressions. When we become aware of our impact physically, emotionally and intellectually then we can start to manage how we show up in the world and we can bring our intention and impact closer and closer together.


System 2

 

The problem with solely focusing on intention is that we spend a lot of time operating on autopilot or what Daniel Kahneman calls ‘System 1’. According to Kahneman, System 1, sometimes known as intuitive thinking, “operates automatically and quickly, with little or no effort and sense of voluntary control.” Whereas System 2 “allocates attention to the effortful mental activities that demand it, including complex computations. The operations of System 2 are often associated with the subjective experience of agency, choice, and concentration.” Switching on system 2 is what bridges the gap between intention and impact. However, operating with this much more conscious intentionality is tiring and time consuming. Autopilot is efficient and easy and will more often than not take over, which is why our intention and our impact are so often out of alignment. This is why awareness is only the first step.

 


Unconscious Bias

 

With autopilot comes unconscious bias, where our ‘unconscious intention’ will be dictated by unconscious beliefs. Not because we are a bad person. But because we have been conditioned and socialised in certain ways. We’ve just always done our presentations like that. That’s how our first boss did them when we started in our first job, so that’s how we learnt to do them and even though they are mediocre at best, we simply don’t know any other way. Similarly, unconscious bias – when it comes to gender or race or any other area- will be dictated by what we have absorbed up until that moment. From society, education, family, parents, peers, communities and our own continued self-reflection. Some of which may need some serious updating because it too may lead to some behaviours and impact that just isn’t good enough anymore.


Feedback

 

Feedback on our impact is vital if we really do want to close the gap between intention and impact and if we really do want to become the person, we know we can become and communicate at a whole new conscious level. (And this is also true for those of us who find positive feedback difficult to accept or believe!)

Being ashamed of receiving feedback on our impact is the very thing that will hold us back from becoming better. Whether that’s becoming a far better communicator or becoming far more conscious about daily micro-aggressions and learning how to simply stop doing them.

Feedback on our impact is precious. As writer, Robin di Angelo talks about in her book ‘White Fragility’ – feedback is hard to give and so we need to cherish it and thank the person giving us the feedback – for the courage they showed in giving it to us. When people stop giving you feedback on your impact, you should be worried. It means they are either frightened of your response or they have given up on caring about your human potential and development.  Get feedback and get fabulous. You already are…you just might need to close the gap a little!


Impactful Awareness

 

Awareness is our superpower. It enables us to be curious and stay open to the idea that we may not be perfect. From here we can start to close the gap between our intention – how we think we’re being – and our impact – how others experience us.

From there we as individuals can then impact the wider system as we model a more conscious way of being and help others begin to do the same. 

 

If you choose to be interested in growing, learning and welcoming of those who care enough about you and who trust you enough to offer up feedback, your intentions and impact will start to fall into alignment. From here, life will start to feel a little bit less like an uphill climb and more like a dance in the moment. It’s a day-to-day practice and a journey that will help you to become someone who can consciously create the impact you choose – every day!

Time to get moving

Time to get moving

As many of us experience the restrictions of lock-down opening up, 4D’s CEO Philippa Waller asks how can we step back into our busy lives at a different pace?

 

It’s week eleven of lockdown and I find myself calling roofers, builders and carpenters to get the home improvement projects going that I had to put on hold since moving house at the start of the year. It’s definitely time to get cracking, get going and get creating. Time for businesses to accept the ‘new normal’ – whatever ‘normal’ even means – and to stop waiting for this time to pass, but rather build from here. Innovate with new projects, hire the right staff, and from our perspective at 4D human being, get going with training and developing executives and teams to be resilient, adaptable and super impactful when leading and communicating online. In times of ‘uncertainty’ we have a choice how we respond. We can wait, stagnate or we can create. And as researcher and educator Joe Dispenza says, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.”

 

 

And as the wonderful Carla Harris says it’s no good hunkering down in the trenches for too long. Far better to get your head above the parapet, get a look at the terrain, see what’s going on and make some good, creative and strategic decisions about how you’re going to respond to the situation. How you’re going to make the best of your current circumstances. Or even how you’re going to innovate your way into a new situation. Go Go Go. Let’s do it. Which for me means stacking up the appointments with every craftsperson going and blitzing the home improvement plans as quickly as possible.

 

Or does it have to…?

 

Sound of screeching brakes.

 

Hold on.

 

Stop.

 

 

What about all I have learned through lockdown about not rushing around and not getting any more speeding tickets! The one thing I’m hearing from so many friends, clients and colleagues – is a desire to hold onto some of the lockdown habits they’ve created. To not let the elastic ping back when lockdown eases – and plummet back to the manic rushing around, packed out diaries, squeezed weekends and exhausted Monday mornings.

And while many of us have been busy during lockdown I’m sure we have all had a little more space or at least moments of a gentler pace due to no travel or socialising. As the old adage goes there is only space and things and things in space, and we need a balance of them both. We need space to be able to see and appreciate the ‘things’

So, let’s take a look at how we can take control of our choices and dreams without constantly feeling like we have to compromise our health or time with loved ones. How can we be smart and focused about building our lives and creating new experiences without feeling stressed or not good enough? Let’s explore ways in which we can live the lives we want to live, create relationships that will bring us happiness, work in a way that will bring us joy and build successful businesses with conscious cultures… without working 20 hour days and never getting a chance to truly enjoy the fruits of our labour.

 

 

The 80/20 Rule

 

So how do we create and build our lives in a new way? How do we move ahead with projects, with business, with life plans, business strategies and all our hopes and dreams? All in a more efficient yet still inspiring and joyous way? We can turn to Pareto’s law to start. 20% for 80% of the result. The law is named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who, in 1906, found that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. What is important about this law is that this distribution- 80/20- occurs extremely frequently. For example, 80% of your profits will typically come from 20% of your customers.

In an article for Forbes, entrepreneur Dave Lavinsky writes that: “The Pareto Principle, or “80/20 Rule” as it is frequently called today, is an incredible tool for growing your business. For instance, if you can figure out which 20% of your time produces 80% of your business’ results, you can spend more time on those activities and less time on others. Likewise, by identifying the characteristics of the top 20% of your customers (who represent 80% of your sales), you can find more customers like them and dramatically grow your sales and profits.”

 

In his book, 80/20 Sales and Marketing: The Definitive Guide to Working Less and Making More, Perry Marshall write that: “80/20 applies to almost everything in business that you can count.  Almost every frustration you have in sales has something to do with ignoring 80/20.” Pareto’s law applies equally to our home and personal life. Start noticing it everywhere. What is the 20% of your wardrobe that you wear 80% of the time? What are the 20% of your possessions that you get far more joy from than the other 80%? Who are the 20% of people in your life that make you the happiest? What are the 20% of conversations with your partner or friends that create the most connection and meaning? What are the 20% of behaviours that cause the most problems in your relationship, your team or your organization? And, to reverse it…what are you doing with 80% of your time that is neither bringing you fulfillment OR moving your life in the direction you want it to go?

If you find yourself feeling ‘stuck’ and taking one-step forward two-steps back, take a look at how Pareto’s principle might be impacting the situation. Could you be focusing the majority of your time, energy and resources on the wrong clients? Or the wrong hobbies or activities? As Timothy Ferriss who wrote The 4-Hour Workweek says about Pareto’s Law “Doing less is not being lazy. Don’t give in to a culture that values personal sacrifice over personal productivity.” So, take some time to evaluate your ‘output’ and ask yourself if it’s yielding the results you’d expect. If not, start to think about what creates the 80% of the success and enjoyment in your work and your personal life and start focusing more of your time and attention there.

 

1% Better

 

In his book ‘Atomic Habits’, James Clear talks about focusing on 1% increments. Clear calls these tiny changes ‘atomic habits’ and believes they are “the compound interest of personal development.” Over time these tiny improvements build up and create long-lasting sustainable change. Ultimately, as Clear says, “you get what you repeat.”

Change doesn’t have to be stressful for it to be successful. We don’t have to desperately sprint towards our goals. It can be very different. It can be intentional and emerging, all at the same time. It can be a daily sowing of seeds, a daily becoming. A daily enjoyment of the next atomic step towards…well towards the next atomic step of your journey!

 

Process Focused

 

In life and in business we can often be incredibly ‘goal’ orientated. Businesses set annual or quarterly targets and personally we can have goals of our ultimate weight or dream house or chunky bank balance. And sure, goals are great to have. But they only take us so far. They are in a sense, a push in the right direction. But, the path to get you there, is built out of a system of daily habits that will support you towards your goal… and beyond. And this involves focusing on the process – the how – as opposed to the end result. To quote Clear: “It is your commitment to the process that will determine your progress.”

When we are focused on the process, or the system, we are working with the HOW. HOW are you building your journey rather than just getting to the end of it? As Clear write: “You should be far more concerned with your current trajectory than your current results.” Instead of living our lives like one massive tick list, we can pay attention to the space in-between. The journey TO results. From this systemic perspective we can start to shape the process that gets us there, make it more efficient, and perhaps even discover that we enjoy the journey along the way. As Clear writes: “You do not rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems.” For me this means enjoying the conversations and collaborations with the builders, carpenters and plumbers about to work on my home improvements. Relishing the creativity, the possibilities and the new ideas they bring each time we speak. It also means enjoying the PROCESS of building a home, of creating my dream environment full of warmth and welcome, love and laughter.

 

Ordinary Joy

 

As I write this article and reflect on our choices of HOW to live in each moment, I’m reminded of professor Morrie Schwartz. As 78-year-old Morrie came to terms with his slow, debilitating and paralysing death from a motor neurone disease called ALS, he became even more aware of what was really important in life. What really counted. When asked what he would do if he only had 24 hours left to live, Morrie replied that he would do what he might do on any ordinary day. He would eat lunch with some good friends and go for an evening walk. His point being that there is perfection in ordinary joy, in the atomic gifts life can bring. And at the same time, in his final months of life, through gentle, unhurried conversations with his old student Mitch Albom, Morrie was sowing the seeds of the international best seller and inspirational book ‘Tuesdays with Morrie.’ A book that to date had sold 14 million copies and been translated into 45 languages. What an incredible ‘goal’ to achieve, but in fact it never started with a goal. It started with WHO Morrie and Mitch were and HOW they chose to be together, to talk together and to create together. Moment by moment, in only 20% of the time left to Morrie, 1% by 1%, atomic moment by atomic moment, enjoying the process of life and appreciating the journey that remained. Morrie gave us some wonderful life lessons and he certainly believed in living life to the full.

 

 

So yes, let’s get going, let’s create, let’s not wait. But let’s not rush unaware to a larger house, a bigger business or a leaner body. Let’s get going with living our lives fully every day. Let’s create Moment by Moment. Atom by atom. Breath by breath. Choice by choice.

Because Morrie, through the soft, meaningful and slow sowing of seeds, the daily 1%, the ability to be fully present and be who he wanted to be and live how he wanted to live in each moment, showed us all that we can create an extraordinary, beautiful, inspiring and generous life through small, daily choices and gentle, even atomic seed sowing…starting right now.

 

Final Thoughts…

 

All of us at 4D are thinking of everyone in these critical and very tough times and it feels important to say…

As we put together this month’s 4D newsletter we are desperately aware of the context we are writing in, with the social injustice protests in America. It brings to mind countless similar events and incidents. Too many to name and just too many full stop. We can’t sign off this article without touching on the pain and anger that so many of us are feeling throughout the world. And what comes to mind in line with this article is the deep sense of confusion and helplessness that so many of us are feeling. What can we do? What action can we take? How can we get to the goal of social equality? Yes, we can donate, we can black out our social media feeds, we can write letters, we can protest. But nothing ever feels enough. And it is here I come back to this article. As feelings of overwhelm risk plunging us into inertia and helplessness, let us ask, what can I do each day to build towards justice for all. What act of kindness, what words of support, what choice to include, what act of solidarity, what courage to call out injustice wherever it may be, what bravery to step up and use our voice or help others use theirs.

What 1%, what daily choice, what 20% that will make the difference, what atomic habit can we build that feels possible and do-able. The goal is clear but it is the PROCESS each day is what will get us there. The daily choices to be proactive in our support, compassion and love for each other. And finally, to be part of this process, to join in the daily journey, we don’t have to identify as a protester or a demonstrator or as an activist. We simply have to identify as a human being.

5 Qualities to help us Overcome Curveballs

5 Qualities to help us Overcome Curveballs

We are all together in this Coronavirus curveball. So, what should we do? How should we be?

 

If you’ve never experienced a curveball in your life – then you are one of the lucky ones. Most of us, certainly after a certain age, have had to cope with sudden loss, illness, incidents, redundancies, relationships ending unexpectedly, betrayals, shocks and disappointments. And throughout all of that many of us cling to the things we can still find certainty in – our work, our passions, a nice meal in the pub, a dance class, a football match and seeing friends and family. But all of us today are experiencing those familiar rugs being pulled from under our feet.

 

I think a lot about curveballs and how we cope emotionally, psychologically and socially when they happen. Personally because of things that have happened in my life and professionally, because I and my 4D colleagues help organisations, leaders and teams navigate change and uncertainty – through keynote speaking and face to face or online workshops and coaching. When facing massive change in your personal life you might find certainty and solace in your workplace, and when struck by uncertainty at work we might find comfort in the familiar routine of home. But now, both personally and professionally, our worlds have been rocked. 

Here we are – day by day watching the statistics and graphs curving up to one of the biggest curveballs any of us have ever faced.

Once this has passed, we will look back at how we responded. At what legacy we created about ourselves. And right now is the time to start consciously responding and behaving in a way we will be proud of.

I and my partners at 4D Human Being believe there are five key skills and qualities that we all need to tap into when curveballs strike: Resilience, Connection, Adaptability, Communication and Storytelling.

 

1. Resilience

 

On July 19th 2016 I was staying with my sister in Sussex, when I received a phone call from the police at 6 a.m. I was soon struck with the horrifying news that around midnight the night before, my partner Tom had taken a piece of rope and driven himself to a motorway bridge in North London, where he had taken his own life. The curveball had hit. I don’t need to tell you of the anguish and pain that followed. And… amidst the shock and the horror and the grief and the fear, I was a single woman with a business that supported both me and my sister and her three children. As well as our other wonderful 4D team members. On some level, I simply had to dig deep, tap into my resilience and carry on. Five weeks later I was standing on stage in Las Vegas delivering a high energy Impact seminar to over 2000 people. It wasn’t that I didn’t still feel all the pain and hurt, it was that there was another part of me that I could access, a part that could connect to a wider purpose and be of service to others. Because in a curveball, in spite of our fear, we often need to find the strength and resilience within us that can create some scaffolding for us to see a crisis through. I needed, and wanted, to keep working, to keep sharing a message of courage and positivity that not only helped my audience but supported me as well. So, what is it you know about yourself? What quality can you dig deep into and tap into right now? What helps you feel resilient? Is it gathering information? Staying physically strong? Self-compassion? Or is it, like me, through tapping into your personal energy and wider purpose? How can you identify your key strengths and qualities and so dig into your own inner resilience and resources? And how can you help others to do the same? It might not take away the fear and anxiety, but it may well help you to turn a corner through these tough times.

 

 2. Connection

 

Eleanor and I were actors together back in the day and worked together in a number of plays at the magical Watermill Theatre in Newbury. In between rehearsal and performances, she and I became firm friends, spending our time howling with laughter, writing comedy songs on the guitar and drinking far too much cheap white wine. With very few cares in the world, neither of us could have imagined the curveballs that lay waiting for us in our futures. For my dear friend Eleanor, hers came on a cold January morning in 2008. Early that day, she had woken up in her house and went to stir her two children out of bed. As she moved towards her toddler Miranda’s cot, she felt the horrifying chill that something was wrong. Something was more than wrong. Miranda had died suddenly during the night. At the time her death was recorded as sudden infant death syndrome but is now understood to have been sudden unexplained death in childhood which can affect children between the ages of 1 and 19. My friend faced one of the worst things that can happen to a fellow human being. So began a desperately difficult journey of working through her loss and grief. I saw Eleanor frequently over the following months and marveled at the honesty, openness and incredible strength she showed as she dealt with her pain. One quality stood out to me and helped me through my own curveball some years later. Eleanor very carefully and very consciously drew in the friends and support network that would help see her through. She understood at a fundamental level how vital human connection was going to be to support her healing. She decided very clearly who she needed to be around at that time and what each friend, relative and acquaintance could offer her and help her with. She also understood something else important to her healing – who she did not need to be around. With friends and family who, for whatever reason, she found it difficult to be around – because they were pregnant or had little girls of their own – she gently asked them to love her through this as she pressed a careful pause on connections that were hard or complicated. Increasing the connections that could support her in the way she needed. Eleanor continues to use connection today to help others heal through her wonderful work as a horticultural therapist.

When curveballs come, connection and the support of our network is vital. When our world has been turned upside down, we need the solidity and support of those who care about us. The human brain is wired for connection. We human beings did not survive and adapt alone. We did it together. And that’s how we will do it now. I am reminded of the postcards people are creating to check in with elderly people who are self-isolating. Who can you reach out to, or who can you ask for help during this time? Personally, professionally, or at an organisational level? Who could simply do with a card through their door or a text message or a facetime call to know you are thinking about them?

 

 3. Adaptability

 

On July 7, 2007, four bombs went off in quick succession in the city of London. Three on the tube network and one on a number 30 bus in Tavistock Place. A young woman named Martine Wright, was on her way to work when one of the bombs detonated in the train-carriage she was in. She was the last survivor to be rescued and had lost nearly three-quarters of her blood by the time the fire brigade cut her free. The doctors at Royal London Hospital managed to save her life but both of her legs had to be amputated. She woke up from the disaster to a very different reality. But in spite of the hardships and enduring pain and grief, she managed to make the most amazing adaptation and pivot on her life. Five years later in July 2012 she was picked to represent Great Britain’s women’s sitting volleyball team in the 2012 Summer Paralympics. She demonstrated huge adaptability, responding to her new reality and what was available to her. Not just by compromising or making do, but by adapting creatively and personally flourishing in order to find a whole new way of being.

This is a key skill that we are being called upon to tap into right now. We have to tap into our adaptability. As Charles Darwin suggested – it is not the survival of the fittest but the most adaptable. In challenging times, we need to increase our personal adaptability. And we need to adapt our organisational processes and products. Asking ourselves…what might be possible? If I waved a magic wand…? What is it that people need right now that I might be able to offer? How can I use the fact that everything seems turned upside down to be creative and to offer something completely different? This is the time to tap into your creativity and to increase your improvisational skills. This is the time for right-brain, right hemisphere thinking – recognizing that we can no longer rely on the old way of doing things; we cannot fix our current problems with the same old thinking that got us here. We have to create something new. New processes, products and new ways of being together.

 

4. Communication

 

What would you do if you suffered 63% burns to your body? And were given a 5% chance of surviving? In 2007 a handsome, vibrant young man named Jamie Hull was faced with precisely this curveball. He had decided to fulfil his life-long dream of becoming a pilot. Near the end of his intensive flying course in Florida and having completed a number of solo flights, Jamie was within sight of his private pilot’s license. Then on another routine flight in a Liberty XL2 two-seater, to clock up his flying hours, Jamie, 1000 feet up, with no parachute and wearing only light summer clothes, suddenly realized his engine was on fire. Within seconds he was no longer flying a plane, but a fireball. Jamie did some incredible quick-thinking – levelling the aircraft 15ft above the ground, slowing to 30 knots, before opening the door, climbing onto the left wing of the plane and leaping out. Alive but horrifically burned, Jamie began a long, painful recovery process. And every day as he pressed on, Jamie found himself questioning his motivation to go on living.

A few months ago, I had the privilege of watching Jamie address an audience in the Painted Hall at the Royal Navy College in London. He had the courage to step out on stage and communicate his story in support of the charity that had supported him – Help for Heroes. Jamie has managed to turn some of his darkest moments into insights of wisdom for communication, impact and creating a difference. By reaching out and telling his story, he has inspired others to believe that they too can navigate their way through difficult times. Communication is so key during difficult times. We as a human race are not the stories and the messages we keep locked in our heads. We are the stories and messages we share in the world. I firmly believe you cannot over-communicate with your employees and your colleagues at times like this. Stay in touch, keep people motivated and let them know you are with them and there for them. These simple, yet-heart felt moments of communication and motivation, can be a powerful way to counterbalancing the impact of curveballs.

 

5. Storytelling 

 

On Saturday 13th September 2014 at 3.31pm I received an email from my friend Anna. She wrote to me from a well-known children’s hospital in London to say her four-year-old little girl, Claudia, had been diagnosed with Leukaemia. Nine years earlier, Anna and I had met walking our dogs in a London park. Her mother had met me first and said you must meet my daughter, you and she are going to become the best of friends. And we did. From wild nights out to deep existential conversations, we delighted in finding each other and the universe bringing us together.

Now, 9 years later, Anna was facing a devastating curveball. Her daughter’s Leukaemia treatment would start with an intensive five-month process and ultimately would take two and a half years in total. While Anna of course acknowledged that what she and her partner were going through was shocking and surreal, what stood out to me right from this initial moment was how conscious she was of the story and narrative she chose to create. Yes, Anna’s storytelling accepted the reality of the curveball they had been thrown, and…it also focused heavily on the positive. In that very first email she wrote that for children in Claudia’s age bracket the “cure rates are very high, over 90%,” that her daughter would, in time, “return to her childhood and go to school and play with her friends.” A little later Anna spoke to me about the clear choice she was making around the language and story she would be using to herself, to others and most importantly to Claudia. She didn’t use the words ‘disease’ or ‘illness’, instead she spoke of ‘treatment’ and ‘getting well.’ For her daughter, the weeks of hospital and procedures were simply part of a journey to wellness so she could get back to school and once again be the healthy, fun-loving little girl she was.

Throughout those critical years, Claudia never had a sense of something being wrong with her, only of things moving towards being even better.  I am so happy to say that Claudia is now in wonderful health – a smart, bright, creative and gorgeous 9-year-old living, learning, loving and laughing to the full.

In these coming weeks and months it is more important than ever that we are conscious both about the stories – and media – we allow ourselves to listen to and the stories we choose to tell.

Storytelling is vital for successfully navigating our way through a curveball. Whether it’s your personal story or the story of your organisation, you can choose which stories define and shape you. SO how can you become more conscious of the words you use and the stories you tell? How can you shape your stories to be true and at the same time helpful and hopeful, woven through with positivity and possibility?

 

We are always at choice…

 

One of my former partner Tom’s favourite phrases was ‘Are you happening to the world, or is the world simply happening to you?’ In my work as director, speaker and coach at 4D Human Being and as a psychotherapist, I and my 4D colleagues come back to this phrase again and again as a vital touchstone to our belief that we always have a choice. Whatever happens, even in the worst of circumstances, we always have a choice how to respond. So, as we all deal with the curveball of Coronavirus, we can choose to let events happen to us or we can make choices to deal with events in a conscious way – so we can be “always at choice.”

 

These five skills and qualities of Resilience, Connection, Adaptability, Communication and Storytelling can serve as touchstones for us all to help remind us we all have what it takes to see us through even the most difficult of times. We can, and must, all stay connected and together in our efforts to deal with the crisis and be kind and thoughtful to our fellow humans. We can keep communicating and motivating others to do the best they can. We can adapt quickly and find new routines and make new meaning. We can choose whether we are the victim or the hero of our own story. And we can choose to consciously create a narrative and meaning that gives us and others hope, positivity and purpose in the coming weeks.

#AlwaysAtChoice 

4 Reasons to turn to Interactive Online Coaching

4 Reasons to turn to Interactive Online Coaching

Whether it’s personal impact, leadership, team performance or organisational change – coaching can be completely transformational both for the individual as well as for companies. And plenty of organisations recognise the incredible value great coaching can bring. At 4D we are passionate about bringing life-changing and leadership-changing coaching to more and more individuals and companies around the globe.

However, we live in an ever-changing, super-paced, busy world in which the contexts around travel, team schedules and leader availability can change in a heartbeat. The good news is that online coaching and development via online tech can be more than simply a substitute for face to face coaching programmes. More and more coaches and coachees are finding smart and creative ways to work together online. Even counsellors and psychotherapists are finding that working at a deep, intimate level around sensitive and vulnerable issues with clients can be highly effective when undertaken online. When thinking about taking on a coach, whether you are working on your personal growth as a leader, your impact as a speaker and presenter, your communication skills as a manager or your network and career progression as a valuable contributor to your organisation – building a strong coaching relationship online can tangible and outstanding results.

 

Here are four reasons why you might want to turn to online coaching to take your career, personal or leadership impact, company culture and performance to the next level:

1.    Convenience

When working online you can work from the comfort of your own home or the convenience of your own office. It means you save on valuable travel time which means you can maximize your development and learning time.

2.    Flexibility

When scheduling and working online it means you can be far more flexible when it comes to rearranging a session or the amount of time you might spend on a call. Once trains and planes have been booked and paid for it can be challenging to rearrange coaching sessions at the last minute so by cutting out the travel you immediately embed more flexibility into your coaching programme. On top of this most coaches, if working face to face, may charge a minimum fee of one or two hours. Which locks most face to face coaching programmes into traditional length sessions. Whereas when working online you might schedule a quick 10 or 20 minute session with your coach when your diary gets squeezed. Allowing you to have that all-important touch point and check-in, even when the pressure of your working day is squeezing your timetable.

3.    Worldwide

By choosing to work with a coach online you are also giving yourself the gift of choosing from the best coaches in the world. By working virtually there are no limits to who you can partner with to help you succeed. If you have seen a coach speaking online and loved what they had to say, if you have read an inspiring piece by a coach or if you follow a coach on social media who works in the specialised field you are keen to explore – whether they are based in Boston, Bali or Blackpool – this is your chance to drop them a line. Nothing is stopping you working with the pick of the international coaching crop from the comfort of your own couch.

4.    Modelling Leadership Impact Online

As a leader or manager you will be spending much of your time holding and participating in meetings, exchanging updates and idea sharing via conference calls – particularly at the moment when travel is limited. Another advantage of doing online coaching is that your coach gets to see you and your leadership impact online and so can get a real-world sense of how you relate, interact and make an impact in a virtual context. Meaning that they can help you adapt and develop your style to maximise your leadership impact across the web and across the globe. So that you as a leader can then model a conscious, impactful, present and engaging online leadership style to your team and people. Which is the beginning of the ripple effect for the culture of virtual communication you will create across your organisation.

As teams and tasks go more and more online, as business and briefings increasingly take place virtually, and as community and communication happen more frequently over the world wide web, a great online coach can be the partner and support that makes the world of difference to your personal, impact, professional success and your organisation’s journey. If you’re interested in exploring powerful and bespoke online leadership coaching with 4D Human Being do drop us a line and we can talk about how virtual coaching and development will take the impact and performance of you, your team and your organisation to a whole new level.

4D Human Being – helping individuals, teams and leaders communicate with impact – everyday.

5 Fresh Tips to make your Virtual Conference Hosting come alive

5 Fresh Tips to make your Virtual Conference Hosting come alive

When you can’t physically bring your people together for your business conference you can still bring your business conference alive – and your people together…virtually.

 

And while a great tech platform is important to host your conference, the key to making your event engaging, impactful and memorable depends on the human host running the show.

With increasing pressure and restrictions around business budget, organisational travel and employee health and safety many companies are looking to run large scale events through virtual online streaming services. So how do you ensure your event, while virtual, is still energising, motivating and connecting? There are plenty of articles out there about the tech, timing and troubleshooting of hosting virtual conferences. To help you make sure the timing of your event is aligned for all the time zones you are dealing with. To ensure you have the appropriate technology and bandwidth to run your online sessions and finally to check you troubleshoot for potential process and platform glitches before you hit the live button.

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YES…that’s all super important…AND…for us at 4D Human Being most conferences fall down once all these things have been checked, once the go-live button is pressed and then the energy drops to zero. Because even if you have the best platform hosting on the market, if you don’t have the right kind of ‘human hosting’ leading your conference, it’s all too easy for your virtual audience to switch off, drift away and go and do something less boring instead. Hosting Virtual Conferences requires a specific skill set, and drawing on our unique background in performance, acting, improvisation, TV, film, directing, storytelling, online training and coaching, here are our five top tips for giving your virtual event the wow factor – big on engagement, high on impact and unbeatable on online experience.

 

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1.    Navigate and Direct

Whether you are choosing to hire an expert host or using an in-house presenter, make sure your host is skilled at working online. People can be much more easily distracted when attending conferences remotely, so your host needs to navigate your audience through the agenda in a particularly concise and clear way. Tell your audience exactly which segments are happening when and what you will be expecting from them at various points through the schedule. Finally, keep them hooked in by letting them know the sections further down the line that are simply NOT TO BE MISSED. That if they drift off to grab a cup of coffee they may just miss the golden nuggets that are coming their way. Assume FROM THE GET GO that your audience will WANT TO SWITCH OFF OR leave the room and THAT THEREFORE IT’S UP TO YOU TO set a clear intention from the start to keep them glued to their seats

Also, be more directive with your hosting. When you are hosting live in a room with your audience you can ask more open, general or rhetorical questions and you can get away with a looser format as the energy in the room can fill the gap. But when it comes to hosting online events you need a host that understands how to clearly and tightly navigate your audience and be more directive with posing questions to guests or attendees. You can still, of course, have fun, engage and get people enjoying themselves, but you need to keep the event structured and scaffolded along the way. So instead of “Has anyone got any comments?” Try asking “Let’s hear one comment from each of you on that.”

 

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2.    Get Great Audio

While we as human beings are highly visual creatures, research reveals that the quality of your audio will influence whether your audience finds your content and messaging credible. “When the video was difficult to hear, viewers thought the talk was worse, the speaker less intelligent and less likeable and the research less important,” scientists wrote. So, when hosting a conference online we need to ensure our audio is as good as our visual equipment. If not better…as some people can actually tolerate poor video quality more than they can tolerate poor audio quality. Double the reason to maximise the sound quality of your virtual event.

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3.    Get Interactive

Hosting on the internet can still mean hosting interactively. Running a conference online doesn’t mean leaving your audience flatlined. Your host can still give your audience members a highly interactive experience. Pairs exercises and thought-provoking conversations and games will inject your sessions with the dynamic energy you are looking for. Making your virtual event highly memorable and practical. Your host can run short interactive, experiential exercises designed specifically for small remote working groups or individuals at their laptops at home. Meaning that a virtual conference can still feel truly connecting, intimate and personalised.

 

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4.    Energy Energy Energy

We are definitely obsessed with energy at 4D Human Being and when it comes to working online our obsession becomes fanatical! Your virtual conference host needs to be used to working on camera and needs to understand the power and dynamics of ‘Host Energy.’ Being a host in a live arena requires energy, but hosting online requires energy PLUS! The reality is that the camera sucks away 20% of your energy. So, as a virtual MC and host you need to up your energy level higher than you think might be necessary. It may only be one camera in front of you but it’s not one person…it’s one camera and hundreds or thousands of people all feeding off your brilliant hosting energy. And it’s your job to ensure your hosting feels connected, energised, personalised and really reaches into the offices, living rooms and workplaces of your attendees.

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5.    Feedback Loop

 

One of the most exciting things about hosting virtually is the opportunity it presents to create an instant feedback loop with your audience. Most platforms and tech include the possibility for your audience to do things like vote, chat and message the host and organisers in real time. This means that you can create a truly global and ‘live’ experience. Make sure your host has excellent improvisational skills and has humour and courage at their fingertips. Because then, they can flex and flow, incorporating comments and feedback into the conference in real time. Which simply put…for your audience…looks like genius.

These are some of the techniques that you can use to take your virtual hosting to a whole new level. You can find out more and sign up for our newsletter through our website as well as check out the 4D articlespodcastsvideos and online training programmes.

Good luck with your virtual event and if you’d like us at 4DHB to help you engage your audience, get your messages across online and have some fun…do get in touch.

4D Human Being – helping leaders, teams and individuals consciously communicate with impact every day.