What kills community because it’s so corrosive?

 

I am not a hermit, however much there are times I long for that depth of silence. I live in a small village community and more than ever I recognise that my every action will either unite or divide that community.  More than that I am a member of many systems.  Some of them are healthy and a place where interdependence thrives; others are a challenge to be part of.  One of the most corrosive elements present in any system is gossip; it can kill the sense of community.

Impeccability

Impeccability

Here’s the rub, the other day I noticed that my impeccability bottle was leaking and I grew curious as to why that was so I reflected on that.  Here’s what I discovered. The pull of belonging as discussed in a previous post is so strong that at times we compromise our own values.  How often have you found yourself colluding in or endorsing behaviours that stick in your gullet in order to fit in?  What other factors are present when gossip is rife?  Have you ever considered why Gossip happens? How much have you participated in gossip at work or in the school playground?

What do I mean by gossip?  I was discussing these ideas with fellow spiritual coach Nancy Swisher and I just loved her definition which was talking about anyone who is not present in the conversation.  It is neat and simple and so clear.  All I would add is talking in a detrimental way about people who are not part of the conversation.  This is gossip because they have no opportunity to give a different perspective.  It is vital because there is no absolute truth as the saying goes we see the world as we are not as it is.  What this means is that we are always making up stories based on the data we have sifted out from the reams we receive through our filters.  These filters have developed from the experiences of life that we have had.

This is not a post condoning gossip: that said it’s too easy to take the moral high ground and start condemning others for not living up to our expectations.  Yes impeccability with our word is vital because as soon as you say something hurtful about another you have no idea where it may go or what it will lead to.  There’s an analogy that’s been used in films and plays that describes the impact of gossip brilliantly.  If you stand on top of a tall building and rip open a feather pillow and allow the content to be scattered in the wind; it would be virtually impossible to find all the feathers later on as they will have dispersed far and wide.

Similarly whenever you say something unpleasant about another, you cannot see the impact of your words and it is unlikely you ever will see it.  We know that actually spreading malicious stories can be more hurtful and can cause more damage to someone’s self-esteem than any stick or stone that is thrown.  It is also poisonous and contaminates the environment in such a way that people withdraw to protect themselves as they don’t want to be hurt.  This is so harmful too because one of our basic needs as human beings is connection.

Why does gossip happen?  I think about the 600 nurses and midwives whom I have worked with over the last year.  None of them wanted to work in a negative environment where they felt controlled and unable to speak their mind and yet many contribute to the negativity through participating in gossip or triangulation.  Triangulation is when you divide and conquer by having multiple side conversations with people to put across a particular view and manipulate the outcome.  These women and men were wonderful people so why is this happening?  So often it is because they feel a sense of injustice about a decision that’s been made that impacts adversely on them and they feel unable to influence change.

There then appears to be a sense of vindication through sharing their position with another and getting support for that.  It is not surprising that someone might feel justified in venting some of that frustration through gossiping with others.  This sort of behaviour appears when people feel powerless.  It doesn’t make it right; what would be better would be to take responsibility and go to the person who is causing concern and use open and transparent communication.  Easy to say and challenging to do especially if you feel you won’t be heard.

So how do you confront someone who is making your life difficult?  Rather than bitching about them behind their back, you arrange to speak to them.  I would recommend that you use a tool like COIN.  The ‘c’ stands for context; the o for observation; the i for impact and the n for next.  COIN helps you to remain neutral as you state what you observed in what context and then using ‘I” statements you say what the impact was on you and lastly what you would like to see next.  I would also place an emphasis on feed forward in other words the behavior that you would like to see in the future rather than focusing on what has already happened.

Be ready to be rebuffed.  Sometimes the other person is not ready to have that conversation with you.  Earlier this year I lost connection with someone that I cherished.  It was very painful as all my attempts to rebuild the relationship were refuted.  They would not talk to me and yet through things they shared with me in writing they did feel it was okay to talk to others about what had happened.  Over time I realised that the relationship had always been more important to me than it had been to them and I learnt to let go of any attachment.  Now when I think of them I send them love and kindness and wish them well.

For me the way to wholeness comes through mastering emotional self-control by increasing self-awareness.  More and more I making an active choice about who I spend time with and often prefer to be alone.  Having space is about giving myself time to reflect on what is happening so that I can grow from every experience and find a better way to be next time I am triggered.

One of the most joyous experiences in my life at the moment is spending time with Kath my business partner for Transformational Leaders Ltd.  Not just because we have loads of fun creating tools for client but also because we practise impeccability with our word all the time.  We consciously design how we want to be with each other and regularly check in to see that the relationship is working for both of us.  This takes effort which is why I feel so much connection with the hermit these days.

If you want help with how to manage a challenging conversation or more support to deal with conflict then I do have a couple of openings at the moment to work with one to one clients.  Get in touch for a 30 minute consultation to get clear on whether we are a match.  Let’s talk.

 

What’s your relationship like with money?

money globeIn this article, Kate Griffiths explores why so many socially conscious businesses are not making good money and what needs to change to transform the world we live in.

Much has been written about money and I know my own relationship with money has changed significantly as I have gone deeper into my journey as a soulpreneur.  I believe I have gained quite a bit of wisdom around this topic and I want to share that with you to help you on your journey.

What I write here is inspired by many of the conversations that I have online with other entrepreneurs and yet I want to give a special mention to the Meaningful Work community, a FB group that I belong to as a thread in there really prompted me to blog about this topic.  Let me start by sharing some myths around money.

You are not truly spiritual if you ask for money for your products and services transparently

Part of the new paradigm has been to react against the greed and self-interest that twentieth century capitalism seems to have spawned.  So often in history we do get these cycles where the pendulum swings from one extreme to the other.  However I really strongly believe that being poor does not make you more spiritual.  We created money and that is part of our current reality.  There is a strong belief in many spiritual communities that to seek money is not being true to your values because the most important thing is to help others.  I contend that it is vital to walk your talk and first off you need to help yourself so that you are really in a position to support others.  If you are still querying this working hypothesis then answer the following questions honestly:

  1. How can you really be of service to others if you are preventing your own success?
  2. To what extent do you really believe that you can make a difference to others?
  3. What value do you put on your own skills?

This year the predominant challenge you will see emerging if you are beginning to do well financially will be around the area of self-worth.  It is absolutely critical that you clear any old beliefs in this area.

In essence money is merely the flow of energy so in essence the more you have, the more you can impact positively on the lives of others.  Having money is not the issue, what you need to consider is how conscious  you are around it.

Investing your money ethically

Recently my company became a limited company and when I informed my bank they told me that I had to open a new bank account.  I was pretty frustrated because nothing had changed in that I was still offering the same kind of work.  I did appreciate that the legal entity of my business had changed and that the bank was only responding to rules put in place by Companies House however I was champing at the bit rather.  This went from bad to worse in that I then discovered that the whole process would take around 45 minutes.  I could not understand why this was the case when I had banked with the organisation for many years and so they knew all about my financial history and had all my key details on their system.  The last straw was when they said that they could not give me advice on which type of account to open. At that point, I was fuming and explained somewhat tersely that I would have to end the conversation and that it was unlikely that I would be remaining a customer of theirs.

Later on I recognised that this was a great opportunity to find a truly ethical alternative as my business bank.  This led to a rich thread on Facebook in which many gave their points of view. As a result I discovered Metro bank, a truly ethical alternative.  It is the first new bank on the high street in the UK in the last 100 years and it invests its money into local communities and local businesses.  It really does put the customer first in that it is open 7 days a week until 8pm. Every branch has a business manager and it is rapidly expanding its reach beyond London.  So far so good.

Spending your money wisely

I am passionate about seeing every soulpreneur earn good money for their services because in that way we will raise the vibration of socially conscious businesses so that spirituality in business becomes the norm.  To that end I am on a mission to bring business into the soul.  It is not either/ or:  business is the life force of society: now it needs to become sacred.  I have started that process through my FB Community Sacred Soul Space and we now have an online directory of soulpreneurs where it is free to register your business.  Do take a look at that.  This is the first step to creating the purple pound.  It is my intention to spend my money with new paradigm businesses as much as possible.

I already do this in so many ways.  As a mentor, one of my jobs is to help those that come to me to make connections with others.  Only this week, I put one of my clients in touch with four other new paradigm business owners and I am eagerly awaiting to see what transpires.

To summarise, too often we simplify things as few people like dealing with complexity.  Actually what is needed here is healing on two levels.  At one  level it is about putting the soul back into business so that we create soulful organisations; and at another it is about ensuring business principles are enshrined in the heart of the soulpreneur.  Only then will we truly create new paradigm businesses.

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Kate Griffiths works with small business owners and leaders in corporates to enable them to grasp what the new business paradigm means so that they can apply it to their own organisations and benefit themselves and their teams by creating the kind of environment that has a positive effect on all who are part of it. 

 

 

Death and rebirth: vital phases for any growing business

full stop & unity bottleIn this article Kate Griffiths shares a story about transition and offers strategies on how to manage it.  She writes from the perspective of a small business owner, where you are your business.  Daunting though change can be, remember order emerges from chaos  

In August I chose these two bottles when asked what represented where I was and where I was going in my business.  Why these particular bottles?  Probably in part because they are so contrasting and also because I had already been working with Unity, the clear one.  Interestingly, the black one is anything but black.  Have you ever noticed that about black that there are other colours hidden within it? In short the black bottle among other things represents rebirth along the lines of the phoenix arising from the ashes.  The kind of rebirth that is only possible when you have died to yourself. So we are not talking the small stuff here

At the time all I could see was the huge potential in the message and was very excited about what could happen.  Six weeks on, I can honestly say it feels as my dear friend Elaine commented this week as if I have been running at 100 miles an hour to keep up; and as is often the case, I have needed periods of time in hibernation to allow the process to unfold.  One of the things I am more conscious of are the symbols that have shown up to mirror this shift.  For example over the summer a bat flew into the house and circled around for a good ten minutes before finding the doorway out.  In shamanic terms, Bats signal transition.  If, like me, you live with other people then this kind of change doesn’t just impact on you, it also has major ramifications in their lives too!  Let me unpack that further for you.

Physical signs

Decluttering on a physical level is a great way to also release old patterns of behaviour and thoughts that no longer serve you.  In effect as you clear your space, then there is room for new ideas and thoughts to be cultivated.  Quite unprompted I have felt the need to blitz our living space and get rid of anything that we no longer need.  A boot full of stuff went to a friend of mine who runs the the local toy library; followed by five bags to the charity shop and another five to go.  We have also revamped one bathroom getting rid of an old chest that was falling apart and replacing it with a cheap storage unit that allows us to see the towels in all their colour.

Mental signs

During levels of upheaval you will probably notice additional levels of exhaustion so it is important to recognise even more strongly the need for self care.  For me that has meant little to no television in the evenings; less reading; more baths; massages along with meditation, daily appreciations, giving myself reiki and designing my own special routine as I go to bed.  A bedtime routine is key because it ensures that you are choosing what messages to send to your unconscious as you fall asleep.  Curious to find out more then check out our October challenge in Sacred Soul Space.

Emotional and spiritual signs

This whole area can offer the biggest challenges because often you have not been supported in being able to express your emotions.  A conversation with a client recently made me realise that it was important to articulate the emotional upheaval because it may well help you if you find yourself in a similar space.  I have included spiritual here because the two are entwined for me.

Taking a panoramic perspective, we are in the midst of a huge shift from the masculine form of power to a more feminine style of leadership.  What does that mean?  On one level it is about accepting that what is is and that means practising detachment and recognition that it is no longer possible to control any aspect of life.  The harder you try to control the outcome, the more stress you will feel.

As women, the more that we find our voice and step into our power, the more isolated our partners can feel if they have been used to taking charge.  There is a subtle shift in the relationship.  You no longer need your partner, you choose to be with them.  If your partner has been the more dominant party in the relationship, they are going to have to start redefining their role and that can be hugely challenging.  It can lead to denial, frustration and resistance.  It also means that you have to found additional resources of love, compassion and patience holding the space so that they feel safe.

Final tips on how to manage such a shift?

The main way that I have found which works is to have a clear idea of where you want to go.  Keep hold of the vision, don’t fixate on the hows.  Ultimately trust that you are in exactly the right place for you right now and be with whatever unfolds.  And remember out of chaos comes order.

To summarise it is important that you give yourself space and are especially kind to yourself during this time.  And remember as you embrace this change and see the positive in it, you will transform the way you experience it: avoidance just prolongs the agony.  It can also help to have the support of a coach especially one that understands first hand about what you are dealing with.

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Kate Griffiths works  with individuals and business owners to create more ease and flow in their lives.  Clients include conscious business owners and leaders who recognise that the old paradigm way of doing things does not work and want support in determining  what the new ways of doing business look like.  She is passionate about creating conversations that lead to change and has developed her own process to do that called connection through conversation.  If you want to find out more about the power of colour then do book a colour taster session with either Kate or Elaine at the Herts Health and Wholeness Festival on Saturday.

Kate is also the co-founder of Art of Leadership, a consultancy which supports organisations with their leadership challenges in a very creative way.

 

 

 

How do you get from fear to trust?

trust Joachim StrohIn this week’s article, Kate Griffiths explores what it takes to move from a place of fear to a place of trust by suggesting a five step process.  This is also the juice that allows cohesive communities to form.

I was very privileged to be invited by John Kelvin to join a G+ community last year called Conversation.  It is an honour to be amongst such great minds and I am also very grateful to Joachim Stroh who gave me permission to use this photo in my article.  Add to that the fact that indirectly it has helped with a question that I have been exploring for about two years which is how do we build cohesive communities?  That question became my focus because of two experiences I have had.  The first was more than a decade of working for a global professional services firm, which was in fact much more like being self-employed in that each person was responsible for building their own network and finding paid work within the system.  The other formative experience was having children and discovering that many people wanted toddler groups and other amenities as long as someone else was willing to run them.

In the first the level of distrust was palpable and often showed up in the types of behaviour that I witnessed because of the extent of dissonance; in the second example the theme was a reluctance to take responsibility because of a fundamental belief in separation and probably a fear that they would not have any support.  For me trust is at the core of all this because when you have trust you know that you are connected to something bigger than you and you have probably glimpsed and possibly even have an intimate relationship with your true self.  If you are in a fearful place then what are the steps you need to take to get to trust?

The first step is awareness – awareness of the fear and levels of toxicity in your environment.  This is huge because it comes when you have realisation that the prevailing paradigm is not true.  It is built on myths like it is a tough world out there; that you won’t succeed unless you are better than your competition – to name just a couple of the unquestioned answers.  There is a yearning to be more than just surviving… a longing to discover what thriving looks like.

The second step could be learning how to be around the fear flooding your system.  It is about being able to see it as just one of the guests that come into your house and with time to be able to welcome it in.  It is not about fixing it just learning to accept it.

The next is about self-trust and being compassionate towards yourself.  It is about taking Eric Berne’s message to heart that is seeing yourself as ok and others as ok.  It is at this point that you will start finding it easier to access your intuition and start to follow its guidance.

The next step is about building up a higher vibration because you are an energetic being and if you have been based in a toxic environment or a needy one where you have others clamouring for your attention then it is quite likely you will be emanating a low frequency.  One of the quickest ways to do this is to spend a few minutes each day considering what you are grateful for and seeing if you can get to ten things.  That may be a stretch to start with so go for three initially.

Lastly it is important to discover what you are passionate about – mindfulness practices are a great way to tune into your body, which will help you discover your passions.  When work becomes play and you have fun the rest is so much easier.

The problem with writing out steps is that they can seem like a prescription and make the whole process seem linear.  It is not there are many bumpy bits along the way that is why it can help to get some outside support in the form of a coach or a good programme.  What I can promise is that the more trust you place in yourself, the more it will show up in your external reality and then opportunities will start popping up and everything will start to flow.  This can happen in different ways but one is that more people will want to connect with you and tap into who you are becoming.  This is when you get a sense of the wider network around you and being part of a community and with time you will get to taste trust as a deliverable at the collective level.

 

What do you need to be one of tomorrow’s leaders?

Hellvellyn from a distanceIn this article, Kate Griffiths explores how physical challenges can give you the edge in life and business; and the key ingredients that go towards making the leaders of tomorrow.

Two and a half years ago I was running Genesis Park, PwC’s flagship leadership development programme.  At that time we took the top 150 Directors from across the globe, those seen as the Partners to be with greatest potential in their area, and gave them first class leadership development training over a 13 week full-time programme.

One of the key themes of the programme was resilience and we brought in Sven Hansen from the Resilience Institute to teach that element.  In essence it covers much of what sits within the foundations of Whole Self Leadership and it focuses on three areas the importance of eating well, regular exercise and eight hours sleep a night.  These are the individual strands that are woven into building the key to success – resilience.

I was reminded recently of the value of resilience when a series of things happened that could be described as adverse and yet I found the ability to bounce back.  Interestingly it took the observation of another to make me realise what I had achieved.  So often with a skill, you assume that what you are doing is what everyone does rather than seeing it as a talent.  The theme came out in a conversation with a former client.  I was sharing with him what had happened over an intense 10 day period and he was impressed by how I had managed to turn very challenging and difficult circumstances into something creative.

So what is resilience? It’s the ability to bounce back from disaster or what some would perceive as failure and keep going.  Why is it vital for leaders be you an entrepreneur or in a sizeable organisation?  Because no one succeeds all the time.  Every person reading this article has had moments including you, when you wished the floor would open up so you could crawl out of sight and lick your wounds.  Here is the thing, the secret is in how your respond to them or as my husband says – it is all in the recovery.  Not only that there are three things any leader needs to be able to do  – face their fears, embrace uncertainty and take risks, knowing that they could go wrong.  These are all vital elements that make up resilience.

My recent holiday in the Lake District reminded me of the importance of flexing and strengthening your resilience muscle in every day life.  You build the muscle by taking risks.  That’s where the physical challenges come in.  If life is too controlled and safe then your resilience muscle will get flabby.  Sven, founder of the Resilience Institute, ran eight miles to school every morning and back again, as a child growing up in South Africa.  Following his lead, we have always made sure our six and seven year olds have had plenty of physical challenges.  They both learnt to ride a bike by the age of four and we avoided stabilisers.  Now they are are older we regularly take them climbing at an indoor climbing centre.  And this Easter we went walking in the North of England culminating with an ascent of Hellvellyn via Striding Edge.  They loved all the scrambling over rocks and the ridge walk and I was amazed that we completed a 6-7 hour walk in seven and a half hours.  Striding EdgeYet my proudest moment was when my six year old said she had conquered her fear of heights, something she has inherited from my side of the family. I too struggle with vertigo and for that reason took the decision to act as a role model for the girls by leading an ascent up the most exposed bit of the climb and it worked.

Facing your fears is a great way to build resilience.  Fear is a feeling based on your thoughts and is no more real than monsters under the bed.  Yet if you feed your fears then they become stronger than their counterpart, love.  It is often fear that is holding you back from discovering what you are here to do and doing it.  It is why there is a whole school of leadership based on physical prowess to help shift that because life is filled with uncertainty and as soon as you can be at one with that, you become unstoppable.

So how else can you start to build resilience if physical challenge is not your preferred route?  One of the techniques I practise and share with clients is mindfulness.  One of the outcomes of a regular practice is the ability to detach from the outcome.  In other words, whilst setting the intention for what you want to happen is a vital element of being successful so is the practice of detachment.  So often what causes you pain is an unmet expectation.  If you can let go of the need of that, that way lies happiness and it can help increase your resiliency.  As you build your levels of resilience then when you don’t get what you expected you will find it far easier to bounce back quickly and move on.

Love to hear your thoughts about all this below in the comments.  How has resilience helped you in your life?  What do you do to build up your levels of resilience?  Where is your fear stopping you from being all that you can be?

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Kate Griffiths works  with individuals and business owners to create more ease and flow in their lives.  Clients include conscious business owners and leaders who recognise that the old paradigm way of doing things does not work and want support in determining  what the new ways of doing business look like.  She is passionate about creating conversations that lead to change and has developed her own process to do that called connection through conversation.  The next one will be here in Great Offley on 9 May.  She also teaches 8 week mindfulness courses at Harmony in Hitchin; the next two start in May an you can book here.  If you prefer, get in touch with Kate and book in for a one to one time to think, business booster day on special offer in May .