I Break for Playdough Pie

Finding Breath

There comes a time when we need to step back to rebalance, reconnect, and rebuild.  We might find what once worked well has now drained us.

Giving time to transitions.  For instance, going on vacation, you don’t just start a vacation.  You have to let go.  Before you let go, you make an intention to let go.  Think about the actions you’ll take to fulfill that intention.  Where do you go where there is no cell signal?  Will you delete apps off your phone?  You go to a “place” to help you follow through with those intentions. 

For some of us, it may take time for the habits of business to melt away and truly embrace the intention to let go.  You take a week or two weeks.  Whatever it takes.  The pull to connect to another world subsides.  You realize being fully present is what will let you breathe.  To reconnect.  To create space.

Re-balancing at South Higgins lake

Then you are ready to do things just to do them.  To rebalance you may watch a sunset for a very long time.  You might stare at clouds or at the stars.  You might just stare into the fire.  You then start to see things that were always there but were invisible in your typically busy day.

Then you wonder, “What else have I been missing?  What can I connect that I didn’t connect with before?”

That’s when you can start rebuilding.  It may not be anything specific.  You may be in the moment and suddenly see something in the materials around you.  You just might make a playdough pie. No reason.  No logic.  Just embracing the connection and creativity.

For others, you may be seeing a larger project that you never saw before.  Now you can see it and you know you can do it.  Maybe with some help.  Maybe on your own.  It could be building a huge sand fort at the beach.  You might decide to build something like a trailer with family members. 

Then, as the time of rest and reflection ends, you might see greater possibilities to rebuild.  You might see new opportunities to bring people together.  You might even see a new community that can support each other in growth and learning.  You might need a little help when you're ready to ask for it.  But the point is, that breath gave you a chance to see it.

Nevi helped us with this post by reminding us to find breath in the moment.

It doesn’t always require a long vacation to catch these moments of breath and mobility.  You might find other ways to create the space.  A quiet corner of the house with sun and light.  Maybe it’s with a pet.  How do you create these places and moments of breath to re-balance, reconnect, and rebuild more often?

Journeying in Mobility,

April & Mark

To learn more about curating space. You are invited to join us for one of our monthly mobility mindset workshops. On October 28th we will explore “Holding Space for Open Space

You can experience Open Space at Women in Agile Open on October 8th-9th. Tickets are “pay what you can” to support an inclusive global audience. So yes you can grab a free ticket and all genders are welcome.

To unpack how you can curate for needs you can join us at the Unmute conference on September 30th.

Pedaling through Surprises

As independent professionals, things pop up in our inbox which are unexpected.  We often have to weigh in a short period of time if we move forward or say “no.”

Just a short time ago, something interesting showed up.  We said “yes” because we were curious, and the adventure began.  The request came in to give a talk in less than two weeks at a major financial group. They gave us some possible topics their audience may be interested in.  We picked the one that we felt was probably the most challenging around influence, buy-in, and alignment.  We pitched our take on this topic from a mobility mindset and they rapidly agreed.  

We spoke to the organizers in an online call to better understand their group and their needs.  We got to know how their group learns, how they like to engage, and what helps them connect to the learning.  The organizing team emphasized they connected to failure stories, the lessons to learn from them, and the culture around online interaction. Bascially chat was good and breakout rooms always scattered participation where most would drop.

When we were introduced to the audience, we realized the organizers identifed us as the headliners. For just a brief moment, both of us were thinking “What??? A Keynote!!!!” We often say “Prepare to be Surprised”.   So what prepared us for an accidental keynote?

Unpacking in the form of rehearsals is how we prepared for this space we were holding. We unpacked goals, intentions, and our memory — thus it was slightly different each time we practiced. We varied our delivery, the inclusion of pertinent thoughts, or metaphors to support it.  We knew the path we wanted to take, but we would take different steps each time. 

We designed an experience where we shared stories about rickety bridges of influence — invited them to react to a story, gave some of our own analysis, and invited them to consider how they may take different steps.  We moved from our rickety bridge stories to an example of building a strong bridge of generative influence.  

Our “strong bridge” story came from the Future of Work 24 Hours conference. The volunteers were placed on a strong foundation of a vision and how they can impact the conference.  They were then coached throughout the preparations to walk in their own mobility as a team and individual.  Every volunteer explored new skills, new roles, and new ideas.  

We continued the keynote by sharing with our audience how to hold space for generative influence, alignment, and buy-in. All were provided resources to support their journey towards it.  

It was a difficult session as there were video connection issues and horrendous audio echos for both of us.  We had no idea how the audience was receiving us, but we had good interaction in chat.  We decided to push through the ick.  We found out later that the audience experienced very few issues.

As we reflected on the experience, it reminded us that holding space balances many things.  Balance becomes a foundation, just like when learning to ride a bike.  Look forward and pedal.  In this pop-up keynote, our intention was to hold a generative space for learning and inspiration to keep pedaling.   When balance becomes a habit, you can ride anywhere.

Journeying in Mobility,

April & Mark

P.S. Want to learn how you can keep pedaling? We have two opportunities coming up! You can join us on October 28, 2021 for our next journey on Holding Space for Open Space or at the UnMute conference where we will share our Curating for Needs journey.

Needs over Solutions

Spark where you can

Sometimes we bring people together and we are surprised by what comes from that brief encounter.  Other times, there is no spark and no way to light it.

On our journeys, even recently, we find we intend to do one thing and something surprising happens.  A spark kindles.  People are attracted to the brightness and want more.  We have seen this again and again in sparking community within Agile Orlando, Future of Work, Women in Agile Open, Agile Florida, and even communities we’ve built inside organizations.  We hope to just build connections, but we find people thirst for more.  They build the community.

You know the spark means something when you step away from that community fire and it keeps on burning and growing.  Sometimes it grows not where you expect.  Someone quietly steps up.  Some other part of the group emerges.  The fire of the community is kindled by the people and grows.  You can step back and enjoy the warmth.

Other times, the conditions cannot sustain the fire.  They dampen the flame.  We sometimes refer to this as “the ick.”  No matter what you try, you can’t get it started.

Recently, one of us had a chance to travel.  One day while running an errand with a friend in the city, we happened upon a fellow mumbling to himself.  His clothes were disheveled and he was only wearing a sock on one foot.  Occasionally, he shouted at the world.  Frustration?  Anger?  Hard to tell.

There was a pull to help.  We followed cautiously.  When the outburst calmed to mumbling, we approached and asked “Sir, do you need some help?  Do you need anything?”  “No” was his reply.  “Can I get you some shoes?”  Again, “no” was his reply.  The solution seemed obvious but it’s not what he needed. But then he paused and said, “I need a lighter.  I need to make a fire in the woods.”  Then he shuffled off as if the conversation never happened.  He did no harm, but it was obvious harm had been done to him.  We so often ignore mental health.  How often have we seen these folks?  What have we done?

The hard realization is there was nothing to do at that moment. The solution seemed obvious, but it was not what he needed. He seemed to have a need to improve his mental health although inflicting help could have caused pain. Understanding that you are not the one to help in this instance brought a deep ache to our hearts. Not now.

As many of us coach and help others, we sometimes feel this ache.  We are not the ones to help at the moment.  Our solution seems obvious, but it is not what an individual or group needs.  You need to focus on needs first.  

Other times, we are the ones that just intend to light a spark and we get a blaze of community.  The two are related.  They are part of a spectrum.  When you can’t light a fire in the ick, it may be time to find a place where you can light a fire.  That next blaze may be powerful enough to help pierce some of the ick at another time.  

Spark where you can and show others how to spark.  Prepare to be surprised.

Journeying in mobility,

April and Mark

P.S., If you want to learn more about sparking, join us on Jul 22, 2021 for our next journey on Curating for Needs.

Curating for Needs

This week we interviewed friends who shared stories about partnership and community.  One surprise was how they struggled connecting when they felt it should have been easy.  Cohesion escaped them no matter how hard they tried. Stepping back created space and opportunity to see differently and build stronger relationships to move forward.  They missed each other's needs.

In another story, inviting people into a space helped them discover who they are and the needs within the group.  They were humanized by the invitation and went from surface to soul.  They shifted from formal greetings to real conversations.  Understanding and addressing their needs created space and opportunity for people to relax, connect and truly share themselves.

We launched our monthly journeys last week.  This journey guided us in gathering people together for a common purpose, one that’s harvested. We refer to it as “curating.”  Curating the purpose together becomes a magnet to hold space together.

Understanding the purpose supports you in the foundation to curate for needs.  We curate for needs to manifest the purpose.  Awareness of needs in the design of the space gives the people gathered a sense of care.  To be “in care of” supports not only contribution, but also outcomes. 

Our next journey will explore how you curate for needs. People have many needs and not always the same needs when they gather.  Learn to discover, explore and help the people gathered accommodate each other’s needs.  This journey helps you sense those needs, design a space to support, and find ways to serve each other.

We invite you to join us on Thursday, July 22 on this journey for Holding Space with Empathy and Mobility where we will be “Curating for Needs”.

Journeying in Mobility,

Mark and April

Our Learning Journeys

Whether we are professionals or volunteer in a non-profit we serve, we all lead in a certain way. Title or not. We coach. We facilitate. We co-create. We teach. We learn. We lead, or try to, in how we contribute. 

We often feel that we can no longer hide.  We have signals that stir something within us. We have a thirst to help own our mobility … to help us in our journey to lead our life.  We may even find others that are seeking similar mobility.  How can we help them?

We both (April and Mark) made that pivot in our careers when we decided to own our own learning. Learning opportunities were no longer dictated by a company budget, but more the value to learn and bring that learning back to others … to contribute.  This was an early obstacle that opened up one of many opportunities for both of us.  We have learned to flip other obstacles into opportunities since then.

When we do have a budget for learning, we may not have the best choices. Those choices may be heavily scripted, filled with presentation decks, day-long learning with no breath to put new concepts into practice before it’s over.  These highly constrained learning environments make it challenging for the student to apply the learning in their own context.  They are left unsupported trying to figure things out on their own.

But what learning brings value for you now?

Are you struggling to find time or willingness to reflect?  Do you feel more of a victim of circumstances?

Do you struggle to find out when something works or why people struggle?

Do you struggle with pivoting in the moment to support emerging needs?

Are people you support often lost in their work -- struggling to support the outcomes needed?

Are people holding back? Are you not seeing the talent, experience, and insights they were invited to share?

We’ve learned that our old ways no longer work in thinking through these situations.  We need new ways to help us . . .

Sense what we see happening in our environment. What do others see? 

Reflect what we make of what we see.  What works well?  What is the context of what works well?  Can the context be replicated?

Request our community to help us sense and respond to the chaos around us.  How can we ask for help?  When do we ask for help?  When do we filter the help based on our context?

Respond by always being ready to experiment with anything at any time to move yourself or support others to move to a better place.

Our promise is to show you how a Mobility Mindset can serve you in your profession, your leadership, and your life.  The mindset of mobility is generative and balances empathizing to sense and respond, continuous reflection, unlearning to learn, living mobility, and collectively holding space.

Our offer to you is a monthly learning journey that allows you time to experiment and apply the learning of a Mobility Mindset. We have outcome-based learning that helps guide members in what they are seeking. On this journey, instead of holding an agenda, we are inviting our members to determine where we go next. Thus, we co-create customized-learning to support you.

Our learning journeys each introduce a few new concepts, provide ample time for practice, reflection, and questions. We take the journey together as a cohort supporting one another in our daily practice.

You are invited to explore Holding Space with Empathy and Mobility for monthly learning gatherings to be held on the fourth Thursday of each month.  The exceptions will be November and December, which will be held on the third Thursday of each month. We will also offer equitable pricing based on your location in the world.  This is about “open” space after all.

Our Options

Note: These prices are for North America and Europe.  If you are in another part of the world and are interested in attending, contact us for pricing.

Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Transform you and be a catalyst to others by connecting and co-creating with anyone anywhere. Be able to find opportunity in obstacles, navigate and shift under any circumstances, and focus on the most valuable experiments to move forward. Do you want to open space where support is possible and unleash potential in others and yourself?

Some journeys we will cover in the upcoming months are:

CURATING FOR PURPOSE
So often we just “do” without connecting to the purpose of why we are doing it.  In this journey, we will look at how you step back to prepare a gathering (meeting, event, planning, retrospective, project, product, and more)  and why the people need to gather. This journey helps you curate the purpose.

CURATING FOR NEEDS
People have many needs and not always the same needs when they gather.  Learn to discover, explore and help the people gathered accommodate each other’s needs.  This journey helps you sense those needs, design a space to support, and find ways to serve each other.

HOLDING SPACE FOR OPEN SPACE 
We will dig into the elements of Open Space, connect with them, and see how they empower how to curate and engage as a collective. This journey will support you to tap into the magic of holding space for others in open space.

HOLDING SPACE EVERYWHERE
Uncover the secrets to holding space.  When it begins, what does it look like?  Recognizing when it is not present and discovering how to shift in the moment.  This journey will unleash the art of holding space.

To join our membership or join one journey, sign up at our Mobility Mindset box office.

Journeying in Mobility,

April & Mark 

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