I’ve been listening to Dr Joe Dispenza and Ed Mylett talking, actually I listen to Dr Joe fairly regularly. It feels good to listen to him, he has the ability to change emotional states. A neuroscientist claiming to work at the boundary of science and holistic medicine, his work does appear to demonstrate the power of Mind over matter. He’s getting amazing results it would seem. Listening this weekend I was struck by what he said about fear AKA survival.
‘If you’ve living in survival why would you open your heart, it’s just not a time to open your heart. I mean, if you’re getting chased by T-Rex it’s not a time to meditate, it’s not a time to learn, it’s not a time to connect or communicate, it’s not a time to sit down and go within it’s not a time to be vulnerable, it’s time to run, fight or hide.’
This interests me because I work in high stress environments and many of my clients operate at high levels of baseline stress and pressure. This explains something we all know to be true; teams perform better in conditions where they feel safe, safe to speak-up, safe to create positive outcomes and safe to make mistakes, learn and reflect.
‘Our senses become heightened when we’re under stress, we become materialistic and narrow our focus on the danger – all your attention moves to your body in preparation for T-Rex’.
I was going to write a blog about The Wisdom of Wolves, as I’d been reading the captivating book by Elli H. Raddinger. There’s a chapter on Leadership, which suggests that ‘for a group to succeed people must work together and be led by confident personalities. This applies to wolf packs as it does to large human families and dynasties. The successful ones always place the interests of the community above those of the individual. This ensures long term survival.’ She says the three principles of success are concentration on the essential, constant communication and shared rituals and strong leadership.’
Raddinger describes a study that shows leaders of the group as suffering the most stress and suggests that leadership involves ‘long-term, high social stress.’ She emphasises the need for the good pack leader to maintain a harmonic and stress free state in the group. It’s suggested that this is done through setting objectives, boundaries with a clear framework for action, along with enacting rituals.
It’s a question for all of us, how do we create a safer working environment or community, one that promotes collaboration, creativity, learning, listening and reflection. It would seem that the answer may be some or all of the following:
- Stay grounded (don’t be set off balance, whatever’s going on)
- Set objectives (clear and time scaled)
- Create boundaries (people need to predict with relative reliability how you will behave)
- Create an action oriented culture (getting things done reduces overwhelm)
- Provide for team rituals (I have a regular supply of Freddo’s for one of my team).
- Tell the truth – people don’t feel safe around people who bullshit.
And one of my own transformational aha moments came when I found out that it wasn’t all about me. Mastery of ones ego takes a lifetime, and is always work in progress. As Dr Dispenza says beautifully:
‘The perfect definition of creation is when I forget about myself.’