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Meaningful Conversations can Transform You and Your World

Episode Introduction

In this episode, my guest is Jacqueline Botting, the founder of WiseTribe.us.  Jacqueline reached out to me after discovering Appreciative Inquiry, buying my book, Appreciative Inquiry for Collaborative Solutions: 21 Strength-Based Workshops, and engaging me to work with her fledgling non-profit startup. We have been working and playing together ever since. I invited Jacqueline to share her story of how and why she started Wisetribe.us.

Episode Overview –  Meaningful Conversations Can Transform You and Your World

For Jacqueline Botting, it starts with a personal quest to search for greater meaning in her own life. Valuing the time in which we’re living, Jacqueline’s revelation is that we are dawning on The Collaborative Age. At this time, when we are experiencing enormous cultural and technological changes, we possesses tremendous potential to enhance our collective social well-being. Through carefully designed experiences, WiseTribe connects people of diverse ages, ethnicities, and professions to share strengths, dreams, possibilities  and convert them into action-based learning projects.

Search for Meaningful Conversations and Relationships

As you listen to Jacqueline share parts of her story, you’ll become aware that meaningful conversation and relationships are the big themes in Jacqueline’s story.meaningful conversations

It was the passing of her father, or the time that led up to his death that awakened Jacqueline to the realization that a successful life, or a life well-lived, is not only about getting ahead merely in the material or professional sense.  Jacqueline discovered in conversation with her father in the last years of his life that all he really wanted was to have meaningful relationships and conversations.  

Jacqueline became aware that she was running her life to a similar script as her father:  all the trappings, material things, good career opportunities and even marriage didn’t add up to make her feel whole or complete.

Her father’s vulnerability and their deep meaningful conversations moved Jacqueline to begin to examine her own live.  The confluence of many events – perhaps synchronicities – lead her to connect to people who were often much older than she was: and she was discovering similar stories, namely, towards the end of life, what counts is having healthy, high-functioning, meaningful conversations and relationships.  

Transformative Experience

In these conversations with older people, Jacqueline was not only tapping into their wisdom, but finding her own deep wisdom. She was learning that a life not well-lived resulted in a life of emptiness, a life unfulfilled. She felt compelled to recalibrate and re-think what it means to live in a human centric world that was beyond material possessions and status.

WiseTribe

WiseTribe, the organization Jacqueline founded was born out of the idea of generations wiser together. And this is when I was brought in to help design a range of “products” to help market this concept.  Overtime, it became clear that these “products” were experiences where invited participants could share their personal stories, passions, dreams and possibilities for a wiser, human centric world, based on collective social well-being.

Discovering Appreciative Inquiry 

Appreciative Inquiry (AI) first became know to Jacqueline when when did a search for the term “collective actualization.”  She came across an article by David Cooperrider, thought leader of Appreciative Inquiry, and it was as if she had come home.  The worldview and practice of AI felt so aligned to WiseTribe’s vision and mission, she knew she had to learn more.  She wanted to create spaces and experiences for people to share the wisdom of their lives and their insights and interests to create something new.

Contrasting the Traditional Worldview with the Appreciative Worldview.

We are moving beyond personal mastery to collective mastery.  Technology has become a great enabler and democratizer.  You might like to open up the Positive Lens Reveal to read some of the distinctions between the old and the new ways of experiencing the world.  

positivity lens

POSITIVITY LENS REVEAL

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As you take a look at these slides, which worldview occupies most of your energy?   When we start to pay attention to our own worldview and those around us, we expand.  We are not alone in this world. We are interconnected.  The language we use creates the worlds we live into.   What if we were to consciously change our language so we together we create a new narrative.   People are not problems to be solved, but mysteries to be embraced.
meaningful conversationsmeaningful conversationsmeaningful conversations

The Experience of a WiseTribe Season 

Listen in to Jacqueline as she describes the WiseTribe Collaborative Season.  Briefly, it’s a four part experience.  The inaugural season was a partnership with Florida Atlantic University (FAU).

  1. Connect through Wisdom Exchanges
  2. Co-create in Solutionism Workshops using Design Thinking Process
  3. Collaborate among tribes over their projects
  4. Celebrate with a festival to showcase projects and learnings with artistic performances.

This four month experience is grounded in the principles and practices of Appreciative Inquiry.  Therefore stories, strengths, dreams, play, creativity, art, inspiration, heart and love, as well as commitment to being in relationship and doing good work are abundant.

We experience the value of play which unleashes imagination and spirit thereby leading to innovations that allow us to live in new ways.

Appreciations

In conclusion, I invite Jacqueline to reflect on her own strengths in bringing her vision to life.  It’s a joy to hear how clear she is about her talents.  Having been a thinking partner with Jacqueline, I am so proud to hear describe herself with such confidence and competence.  She has seized many opportunities and through her tenacity and persistence, vision and leadership, she is making a sustainable difference in people’s lives.

Finally, I was very touched when she expresses her appreciation for me and the role I have played in encouraging her and offering support and experience to achieve her dreams.  That's my talent.

It will continue to be a positive co-creative enriching experience for us both.

Connect with Jacqueline

Website: WiseTribe.us and FloridaWise.us

WiseTribe  on Twitter

Jacqueline on LinkedIn

Wisetribe on  on Facebook

WiseTribe on Instagram

Book Mentioned in the Episode


Let's Stay Connected

It's always great to hear from you. Please connect with me to ask questions or leave comments about this episode or the podcast in general, and there are several good ways to do this:

  • Share your questions and ideas on the Podcast Feedback page
  • Leave a voice message here, and we may feature your question on an upcoming episode
  • Leave a comment on the show notes below

Help Spread the Message of Positivity!

I would be extremely appreciative if you would subscribe, rate or review our Positivity Strategist podcast. Your ratings and comments will help a lot to spread the message! Here is a guide to writing a quick review, click on iTunes and Stitcher.

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If this episode was helpful or enjoyable to you,

  • I invite you to share it using the social media buttons on the bottom of this page.
  • I'd love it if you can leave a quick review, on iTunes and Stitcher.

Why Your Workplace Culture Needs Play

“Play” lights me up. Why? It brings out such values as curiosity, learning, development, collaboration and being in co-creative relationships with others. Play speaks to the human side of business. It’s fun, developmental, positive and when freely initiated it’s self-organized. Play is a developmental and life-long activity.

Recently, I had the good fortune to spend some considerable time immersed in the topic of play, in my voluntary capacity as Chief Curation Officer, and speaker for TEDxNavesink on the topic play. There were 24 talks and entertainments on this topic across all stages of life, as well as a wide range of contexts, and expressed through a number of lenses: psychologists, researchers, technologists, gamers, writers, musicians, kids, educators, an anthropologist, a spiritual teacher, a toy designer, a venture capitalist, an improv artist, an artisan beer maker, and an organization development professional.

There were many takeaways from the TEDx Play event, and in this post, I focus on one big one: the distinction between free play and managed play.  As an organizational development professional actively working to bring the values of play into workplaces, free vs managed play resonated.

Free Play vs Managed Play

Free play equates to making it up as we go – improvisation – as many kids still have the freedom to do. They hang with other kids and they’re left to their own devices: lots of learning in that kind of play.  On the other hand, managed play is being part of an organized activity where there are coaches, parents and others with expectations: lots of different learning in that kind of play.

Free play is where we’re given free rein to use our imaginations, our inventiveness, our resourcefulness, and find our innate leadership, and followership.

Workplace Culture and Play

Thanks to Lisa Nielsen for the image.

Thanks to Lisa Nielsen for the image.

In workplaces, we could say free play is where we’re given free rein to use our imaginations, our inventiveness, our resourcefulness, and find our innate leadership, and followership.  We have opportunity to experiment and try, try again. Determination, tenacity and courage are developed.  With free play, creativity rises to the top and failure is a non-issue. It simply means we keep adapting until we  get the results we want.  We’re usually challenged and stretched in such contexts, and if not, we move on because we’re bored, are no longer learning, contributing or having fun. In the world of Open Space, we call that “The Law of Two Feet.”

On the other hand, managed play is where we participate by following predetermined or someone else’s rules.  There are authorities who guide us and correct us if we step too far outside the bounds and it’s perceived we could potentially cause harm to ourselves or others.  We learn to play inside the rules, to play safe and not show weakness or vulnerability.

When we bring the play ethos into business contexts, both free and managed play are relevant for different purposes and contexts – creative agency vs. the military, for example.  Leadership with an eye on shaping the organizational narrative and culture will decide which leaning will serve the whole system best.

Play is a developmental and life-long activity

Play is how we grow. Play shapes who we become.  We create performance in play.  We make room for it in our childhood (yet, that may be increasingly debatable), and we need space and time to continue to develop our playful selves as (working) adults. Play as development flourishes when these three attributes are present:

  • self-determination
  • co-creation
  • positivity

Play is how we grow. Play shapes who we become.  We create performance in play.  We make room for it in our childhood (yet, that may be increasingly debatable), and we need space and time to continue to develop our playful selves as (working) adults.

Co-creating experiences in workplaces where these three attributes get lived out is my best work.  They produce performance I might now refer to as free play which can light up all the players.  There are multiple participatory methodologies that facilitate such playful cultures of ownership, innovation, and shared leadership: namely Appreciative Inquiry, Open Space Technology and World Cafe.  All to be expanded upon at another time.

I’m curious, in your workplace, how does play factor in?

N.B. I originally wrote a version of this post as a guest blogger on Switch and Shift.

How Love, Passion and Joy Inspire Profits, With Sue Elliott – PS014

Episode Overview – How Love, Passion and Joy Inspire Profits

Conscious Capitalism, Law of Attraction, writer, speaker, editor-in-chief of magazines and personal development coach, Sue Elliott  provides a plethora of ideas, tips and strategies to bring more love and joy into all areas of your life. You’ll be energized and uplifted by her insights and stories.

Sue Elliot PhotoHeartfelt Communicator

Sue Elliott is Founder & Chief Joy Officer at Inspire Profits Inc. Sue is a communicator.  She’s a journalist, an editor, a publisher, an entrepreneur, a personal life and business coach, a facilitator and a really gifted human being.  She shares practical processes and simple techniques that make a profound, measurable difference in people’s work (and lives), to release blocks to excellence, joy and success.

Most businesses are about relationships. And when you improve those relationships — by improving communication, clarity and collaboration — everyone wins.  Below are some of the topics Sue and I touched on during our rich conversation.

Joy, Love, Passion

If you want to be the Joy Officer of your own life, listen in to Sue.  In her own story, she’s made sure she follows her interests, joy, and passions.  As a result, she’s been attracted to people who do the same.  There is a contagion effect from people who are excited about what they do in life. They attract other people plugged into a similar energy.  People, driven by what they love, have a relentless energy.  Sue is talking about the good passion and good energy that seeks to serve in positive, life-centric, supportive ways. When you listen to the episode, Sue had some great tips to pass on for this week's “Positivity Lens” segment.


Positivity Lens NotebookPOSITIVITY LENS for this Episode

Download Sue's suggested “positive activities” for this episode: Hint: it’s about paying attention to the signals in your body; being aware of who’s running your life in the moment and listening to your own intuitive wisdom.

positivity lens

POSITIVITY LENS REVEAL

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Click the button below to open your activity sheet for this episode:

 

Values and Purpose

Clarity around one’s values and purpose, together with a relentless pursuit of learning and growth brings an energy into places of work that unleashes collaborations and community. Furthermore, an integration of what you love to do and you can pass onto others across disciplines enables everyone to grow.

Positive and Negative Emotions

Love and positive emotions expand us and open us up to others, widen our interest,  increasing productivity and creativity. Fear and negative emotions cause us to be singularly focussed, narrowing our perspective, increasing stress, and unleashing a hormonal cocktail that sets us off in directions that are potentially life threatening if allowed to build up over time when real threat is non-existent.

Sue teaches Law of Attraction and she cites how she can help help people shift up the emotional scale from extreme negativity on the one end to extreme positivity at the other.  This work comes from the Teachings of Abraham as told through Esther and Jerry Hicks.  (Link to book below.)

Forgiveness

Trusting that we did the best we could with the resources we had at the time, or others did the best they could with the resources they had at the time is a way to forgive ourselves and others for past situations.  When we carry around old issues or grievances or grudges, it can compound resulting in negative energy that robs us of being able to redirect our precious energy and resources to more loving, joyful and productive means.  This is clearing work which can be freeing.

Leadership

We summed up best leaders as those who

  • can reframe situations so that you move in the direction of what you are wanting to produce, or the solution that will serve all (for example, moving away from conflict to building collaborations and community)
  • live in a state of inquiry Vs having the right answers
  • invite all different perspectives to increase ownership and best solutions among all stakeholders
  • recognize and appreciate vulnerability is a power and a strength
  • self-awareness is foundational to being authentic, purposeful and values-driven
  • are present and can choose who to be in the moment

Conscious Capitalism

Conscious Capitalism is a business-transforming movement launched by Whole Foods co-founder John Mackey and Kip Tindell of the Container Store.  This framework fits with Sue’s own value set and modus operandi.  Businesses that engage in Conscious Capitalism out-perform “unconscious” companies on pretty much every level, including employee engagement, productivity, profitability and financial strength.

Media

There are many forms of media. The news media tends to focus on news that feeds and strengthens our negativity bias. On the other hand, the enthusiast media focuses more on positive situation that do more good than harm.  Magazines such as hobbyist, envirnomental and self-help magazines provide ideas and strategies to help us grow, restore the environment to its natural state and serve to help people find better ways. We can potentially touch tens of thousands of people in the course of our lifetime, therefore, we have huge opportunity to make a positive difference to so many people.

Big Aspirational Topic

In closing, Sue mentioned an initiative she is involved in with a former Positivity Strategist guest Johann Gauthier and Bill Jensen called Great Workplace Declaration.  Get a sneak preview and be ready to participate in this global movement to contribute to increasing positivity in our places of work.

Links Mentioned In This Episode

Books Mentioned In This Episode:

 

 

Let's Stay Connected

It's always great to hear from you. Please connect with me to ask questions or leave comments about this episode or the podcast in general, and there are several good ways to do this:

  • Share your questions and ideas on the Podcast Feedback page
  • Leave a voice message here, and we may feature your question on an upcoming episode
  • Leave a comment on the show notes below

Help Spread the Message of Positivity!

I would be extremely appreciative if you would subscribe, rate or review our Positivity Strategist podcast. Your ratings and comments will help a lot to spread the message! Here is a guide to writing a quick review, click on iTunes and Stitcher.

Listen to Stitcher

Subscribe-iTunes-180x120

Subscribe Via RSS

If this episode was helpful or enjoyable to you,

  • I invite you to share it using the social media buttons on the bottom of this page.
  • I'd love it if you can leave a quick review, on iTunes and Stitcher.

Shifting from linear to holistic design

Org-chart-21-300x193Organizational cultures vary, just as human personalities vary. Many are embracing methods and tools that bring all voices to the table. Participatory, inclusive decision-making practices and use of collaborative tools and technologies, along with social media platforms to level the playing field are becoming more common, facilitating our capacity to be more experimental, productive, playful, and engaged.

Read more

Strengths and Superpowers

Strengths and Superpowers

Strengths and Superpowers

In my conversation with Johann Gauthier, Co-CEO of Global Rockstars Community, Johann described his superpower as playfulness.  We all have superpowers.  They are are talents and strengths so that when we are working with them, we are closer to performing at our peak more than at any other time.

Aligning Strengths

The energy that pours forth when we identify and work with our strengths and talents is what facilitates peak performance.  As the late Peter Drucker said:

 “The task of leadership is to create an alignment of strengths that makes our weaknesses irrelevant.”

When I was a child my signature strengths were appreciated neither by my parents nor my bosses.  You can read those stories on my About page under “My Journey to Positivity”.  But through my personal journey and tenacity and living in my strengths, I discovered that love of learning, curiosity, desire to find new and better ways are what energize, fulfill and satisfy me.  That's when I do my best work.

Finding your superpower

Johann talks about his journey to finding his superpower and his commitment to creating the Global Rock Stars Community, where global leaders can discover and experience their own awakening and realization of peak performance.  The quote below comes from his recent blog article Unleash your Leaders to Play and Thrive : Read more

The Fullness of Being Alive

Fullness-of-being-alive-300x270When asked by Bill Moyers “what is the meaning of life?” Joseph Campbell replied, “I don't believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.”

The Fullness of Being Alive

How so absolutely real is that!  After visiting India and Nepal, and being immersed in the experience of other cultures brought “the experience of being alive” up front and personal. I saw and felt both the rawness of poverty co-exist alongside the comfort of wealth, and latest mobile technologies being used along side women filling vessels from community water pumps.   It's those in-your-face contrasts that jolt us into the fullness of being alive.

Read more

The Power of Positive Questions

JC.6The power of positive questions was the topic of my interview on the Greatness Zone with host, Jay Forte.  Jay's work is to provide talent and strength-based tools to help people live extraordinary lives, so we had a good affinity.

Jay had seen my TEDxNavesink talk, Playful Inquiry – Try this Anywhere  and simply loved my opening question:  “What's the best thing that's happened to you today.”

Together, we explored the impact of asking questions that empowered both the inquirer and the inquiree.  There is reciprocal value in entering into a conversation from a place of inquiry rather than being merely an information giver or seeker.

You can listen to our generative conversation or download it from iTunes.  

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TEDx Talk on Playful Inquiry – Releasing Oxytocin

tedx talk on playful inquiry

I had the pleasure to be interviewed by Shannon Winning @winningmedianj recently about my TEDxNavesink talk coming up on May 10th at the Two River Theater Company in Red Bank, NJ.

The theme for this TEDx event is “Play”.  It was a no brainer for me that “play” is a key outcome of engaging with people and groups through the lens of Appreciative Inquiry. When we ask people to discover the best of themselves and a situation, in their minds they access a positive resourceful state and there's a rush of oxytocin – the “hormone of attachment” and bottom line – you feel better!  A reservoir of positivity is unleashed.

Shannon's interview was a great example of being in the present moment.  We played together; and she embraced the intent and the success of my work. I appreciated her translation quoted below.

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Shift Technology Mindset from “I don’t need an iPad” to “I LOVE my iPad”

My-iPad-225x300From “I don't need an iPad” to “I LOVE my iPad”

How often I am witnessing that shift!  And, I wouldn't mind $100 for every time I've influenced a friend or colleague to invest in an iPad.

It's a year since the iPad came on the market. At first, I admired it vicariously via my partner, who is an early adopter with most things technological, especially computers, cameras, music and bikes.  Once I got my fingers on it,  (I did resist for a week or so), I changed to “I want one.”

Since then, I am increasingly loving my iPad.  It goes where I go: into every room in the house, the car, the plane, the boat, the doctor, the dentist, the hair salon, the beach, the park, the local coffee shop, bars, restaurants, and workplaces, of course.  My iPad is with me, everywhere.

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Embracing Change: The App – Video

iPadThanks to all for your interest in the shift I am making in creating content for tablet devices, starting with the iPad and also ready for the Samsung Galaxy Tab. (Preview video below.)

It's exciting that we authors and content creators now have even more opportunities to transform our knowledge and information into this appealing, interactive, engaging way for our customers and clients. Subject matter comes alive when we physically engage with the touch screen to explore information in ways that are dynamic and non-linear. Readers and learners can now interact with content and make sense in ways that come from curiosity, play and leaps of intuition.

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