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Cultivating an Elegant Mind

Never underestimate the power of communicating with love; I am beginning to understand the importance of supporting and relating to others whilst still maintaining my own identity and level of influence.

“Tell me and I will forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn.” Benjamin Franklin  

My inclusion of others is no longer in learning only but it is also in embracing and honouring our differences because there is so much beauty in our diversity. The holy grain of my fluency in “HUMAN” is dependent on how well I connect with others. This workshop has highlighted how we can change the world by first changing how we listen, think and communicate.

Harry Belafonte once said, “Discover the joy of embracing diversity, when people become more open to the strange, to the unusual, to the radical, to the “other”, we become more nourished as a species. Currently our ability to do that is being manipulated; diversity is being looked upon as a source of evil rather than as a source of joy and development. We must recapture the profound benefits of seeing the joy in our collective diversity, not the fear.”




Quality of thinking

“Half of me is filled with bursting words and half of me is painfully shy. I crave solitude yet also crave people. I want to pour life and love into everything yet also nurture my self- care and go gently. I want to live within the rush of primal, intuitive decision, yet also wish to sit and contemplate. This is the messiness of life- that we all carry multitudes, so must sit with the shifts. We are complicated creatures and ultimately, the balance comes from this understanding. Be water. Flowing, flexible and soft. Subtly powerful and open. Wild and serene. Able to accept all changes, yet still led by the pull of steady tides. It is enough.” – Victoria Erickson

 Victoria Erickson hit the nail on the  head in the above quote, this week’s facilitation topic had me thinking about how often I wonder if my thoughts and actions are enough. I draw conclusions based on my assumptions which are often based on my beliefs and ideas, ‘my truth’, not on reality itself which leaves me wondering if I ever see things with new eyes. Over the past few weeks I’ve noticed how I often assume that people may not agree to a suggestion I make, as a result I propose something and immediately say, “You don’t agree”, before they can even respond. My hidden assumption here is that they may not see my point of view because over the years I’ve learnt to explain misunderstandings or mistakes before I even understand them. Now I am able to propose something  with a much more insightful view and I give the other person an opportunity to unpack his/her own conclusions. I now purposely seek to understand the entire situation before making my conclusions.


Reflective Writing – Draft Essay Review

The writing exercise was critical in my journey to establishing my style of writing. It gave me some vital insight into how I can identify the evolution of my ideas, engage in triple loop learning while demonstrating the originality of my thoughts and personal insight. This was very helpful when I began to review my draft essay, I’ve found that the more I write, the more concise my writing is becoming. As a result I am motivated to write more, my writing is my escape and a return ticket to moments that would otherwise be gone.

 At any given moment I have the option to step forward into growth or to step back into safety and with that I now start each day as Benjamin Franklin did in his daily journal, “What good shall I do today”?



Writing a reflective essay to myself

I have always struggled to put my thoughts on paper in a manner that is coherent and academically correct, so you can only imagine how I felt when Ros suggested that we do the writing exercise. My first thought was NO, I’m not in my zone and as if Ros had heard my inner groans she then suggested that we write as though we were writing to ourselves/to a good friends or to a lecturer and I thought, “Whew, now that’s not too bad I enjoy writing to myself”.

This exercise made me realise how choosing who I was writing to was just as important as what I was writing , it really  helped in getting my creative juices flowing. I was more comfortable with writing to myself because I do this every other day in my journal. At the end of every week I make time for some “TeaLC”(tea lovers will relate) and reflect on the week that was, this is when I also make notes of what I’m grateful for, what I learnt and which activities filled up/depleted my “tank”. I’ve noticed that through writing blogs and now a reflective essay I am starting to learn how to express myself more in my written work. I’m learning how to formulate my own ideas and support them with my experience and the work of others. This journey has enabled me to embrace my vulnerability whilst learning and to be comfortable with the complexity of my learning journey.

Every aspect of this workshop has focused on me gaining the skills to critically reflect on my learning thus far, my life experience and my learning from other sources and that is exactly  how I approached my essay. For instance one of my greatest AHA moments was after my group presentation on facilitating change as this is when I began to identify skills that I could integrate into my work and personal life. This is when I really began to reflect on my learning and experience, at the same time my perceptions shifted and my understanding began to deepen in a way that has allowed me to challenge the status quo. There are a few other critical insights and learnings which I mention in my essay that have assisted me in increasing my confidence, improving my communication techniques and being more receptive to other people’s ideas (extra, extra, read all about it). I am now more intentional about my learning journey; I show up, tell the truth, pay attention and remain open to the outcome. My reflective learning and writing continues to improve as I make more discoveries about myself,my ideas and my future plans.

Nicola Sturgeon once said, ‘Stand up for what you believe in. Always with conviction, with passion and integrity. Don’t let ideology blind you, but remain true to what guides you. And speak in your own voice, in your own words, in a way that makes sense to you and that could not be from anyone else.’


Did someone say SCARF?

I did mention in my very first blog how giddy I was with anticipation for what was to come from these workshops right? I must say I continue to be pleasantly surprised.

This week I had the privilege of attending a business breakfast which could not have come at a better time (alignment, when the student is ready the master always shows up). The overall message that day was in line with what we had discussed in last week’s workshop and this challenged my thinking around the role of a leader.

You see power can be given and taken away but not influence. True leaders don’t derive their authority from their positional power but rather from the influence they’ve earned through service, I believe that you are a better leader when you are not trying too hard to be one. Unlike our friend David Scott in our case study, David didn’t understand the concept of leaders being served in direct proportion to their servant leadership of their teams. When leaders abuse their positional authority, their character authority is weakened.

So with that said, the SCARF model was a big AHA moment for me…I’m talking 1000w light bulb moment.

STATUS: My take on this is very simple, “who died and made me so much more important than the next person”? Often when society “elevates” us based on our achievements we start to feel like god’s gift to humanity, I just say SIT DOWN,BE HUMBLE nobody has time for that.

CERTAINTY: There’s a certain level of comfort I derive from being able to pre-empt my next move and as a result I can go through the same thing over and over with a fine-tooth comb until it feels right (notice how I spend a lot of time all up in my feelings…(Kinaesthetic much?). I observe how even in business people won’t get into certain “deals” because they are not sure, they can’t put their finger on it but it just doesn’t feel right.

AUTONOMY: Don’t even mention autonomy, I’m such a control freak and anyone who knows me will tell you that I always have to have my finger on the pulse of everything that happens around me because god forbid something goes wrong and it’s not on my watch (another solar eclipse maybe, only this time it might be permanent…I’d be stripped of every ounce of independence).

RELATEDNESS: This part is pretty much my take on our souls being aligned, as mentioned in my previous blog if our souls are not aligned, I’ll send you some love and light then keep it moving. Again if I feel that there is no trust or common goals I walk away, I hesitate to even do business with someone if we are not “VIBING”.

FAIRNESS: Often I hear people say “too bad, life isn’t fair” and I think what ever happened to empathy (in my feelings again)? I think we should all try to be kind because everyone we meet is fighting some kind of battle that we know nothing about.

Now that I’ve spent all that time on the centre stage of the Public Arena (starting to feel like Floyd Mayweather with all this attention) I’ll leave it here for today and retreat  to the Private and Unconscious Arena where I’m most comfortable.

Till next time, remember to throw kindness around like confetti.




My level of connection with others is dependent on how fluent I am in “HUMAN”

I wish someone had shared these thinking styles with me sooner and saved me a lot of awkward moments, but then again as Owen Harrison. (1991) said, “Whenever it starts is the right time”. It seems that understanding the compatibility of thinking styles could have helped me avoid stepping on a lot of “corns”.

I realise that I wasted too much time trying to “fix” others, trying to manage their personalities instead of taking control of ME (facilitation skills 101). The holy grain of fluency in “HUMAN” is dependent on how well we connect; I believe that we connect intellectually, emotionally, physically and spiritually. The masters of this skill seem to understand the art of connecting with all different thinking styles at a much deeper level than the rest of us common folks.  Then there’s the issue of soul alignment (this is a topic for another day) but in a nutshell, if our souls are not aligned I’ll  send you some love and light then keep it moving.

As a #GirlBoss, this made me realise that my authority isn’t the same as my competencies therefore it is best to not interfere in the areas of my partner’s competencies as this often results in conflict and poor productivity. I believe that understanding how different thinking styles operate will help me work better with others and help me communicate more effectively, it will also help me to become more receptive to their ideas.

For now though I’m on operation Fastina Lente so that I can try to create a more inclusive environment and hopefully become more fluent in “HUMAN”.






So, it’s a few hours before our group presents on ‘Facilitating Change” and suddenly the nerves are kicking in. One minute I’m thinking, “I hope we don’t let each other down” and the next minute I’m thinking, “Jitters aren’t all bad, harness that nervous energy and transform it into positive enthusiasm and you’ll be golden”. It’s safe to say I’ll go with the latter and  in true group two style, we are all in agreement.

Our topic is Facilitating Change;

What is facilitation  anyway(let’s just start there)?  It is the process of promoting connection through trust and respect for other people and  their views. It is also the  ability to make use of ones  expertise in  enabling  people to achieve a consensus on a particular goal. Now in the process of facilitating change it is critical to engage all relevant parties on the pending changes, often people reject change due a lack of trust, poor communication and a lack of respect for their views…hence the importance of building connectivity, trust and a sense of inclusion. There’s more to this, but you’ll have to wait for our presentation.

Now back to our presentation, for anyone not born with natural eloquence, public speaking can be remarkably nerve-racking. Naturally, our group has rehearsed multiple times and hope to deliver an enthusiastic, thought provoking and interactive presentation. I ask that you all come with an open mind and a willingness to participate( sense of inclusion), you don’t want to find yourself recovering from a serious  case of FOMO(no connectivity).

Looking forward to tomorrow morning.


Below is a list of our references, I hope that you will find these useful going forward.

Nancy Bridges (2005). Moving Beyond the Comfort Zone in Psychotherapy Self-Revelation: In the Therapeutic Relationship, NASW, 1-25

Christopher Smith  (2017).  7 Fun and Engaging Change Management Exercises.

Katherine Holt (2006). Facilitating Organizational Change. Peakinsight: People changing the world, 1-72

All work is passive without YOU…introvert, extrovert, structured and allllll.

So it’s taken a few hours  for me to finally post this blog, I was anxious  and remarkably clueless on what to write and how  to write it. So much so that I was convinced I was going to be the only one in the class who has not put up a post by the time we meet again. But before I could give up I realised that whilst this blog is important, the fate of the world doesn’t depend on it, JUST MY WORLD. Kidding! No but seriously, in my world things have to be done at a certain time and in a particular way, if I’m really uncomfortable about something I shift to delay tactics or delegate, but this was going to be different…so here goes!

You see I believe that work is only an idea before we do it, but once we start doing the work it comes alive and takes on our attitudes and personalities. This pretty much sums up my experience in class this past weekend.

Once I had settled in and we started to get into the work, attitudes and personalities became more visible as these are always reflected in all that we do. Then came the fish bowl exercise which went on to emphasize how important it is for the entire group to participate in the activities regardless of our personalities and that sometimes we may be a bit shy because we are attached to our own settled views on life and ways of being that when we are threatened or intimidated by something different we come across as awkward or uncomfortable.

At the end of the day I realised that my world is not about to end just as yet and that it’s okay for me to feel uncomfortable or like “a fish out of the bowl” because that means I am learning.  (Have you ever felt your brain physically growing? Me neither, but it sounds like it would be a cool thing…so let’s wait and see).



To say that I am giddy in anticipation of what’s to come in the next few weeks is an understament. Here’s to an interesting semester, improved blogging skills and a lot more.