Recently I read the book “Reinventing Organizations”, and got deeply inspired by the Teal organization and the new consciousness in the workplace facing today’s paradigm shift. I start to look back and reflect on my own journey to strive to be wholehearted and the tremendous fulfillment along the way. This is when I decided to become a grain of sand and join this movement of cultural change
Last week, I delivered a strengthfinder workshop to my group. Although this is a small step, I felt tremendous fulfillment in my journey of being wholehearted at the workplace. There is this saying ‘Only what burns in you, can you ignite in others’. I felt the power of being who I am, and the joy of being an advocate of wholeheartedness in the workplace.
I grew up in a very competitive environment of northern China. My mom being a university professor and a successful career woman only made my life tougher, when she would compare me with always the best around us. So I naturally fulfilled her expectation by graduating from one of the top universities in the world. Later on followed what would usually be categorized as young and ambitious career path of management consulting and cooperate strategy. However, along the way, I always had the intuition that my deepest passion lies in working with people. My strong curiosity and my natural gift with people brought me far enough in the consulting and corporate ladder. Deep down though, there is still the sparkle of light that questioned my true connectedness with my heart.
My “soul searching journey” started with mindfulness practices. With just 5-10 minutes every day, I entered into a different level of clarity. Starting from brain chatters rushing like a water fall, to gradual awareness like the ocean. I started to reflect and connect with myself. This is such a beautiful process that it’s like a door has opened with bright light on the other side. Once I’ve seen the wholehearted life, it is impossible for me to go back to my old consciousness again.
While maintaining mindfulness practices daily (probably for life), I started to explore the world of how wholehearted people live. I was inspired by Brene Brawn’s TED talk about vulnerability. I read about neuroscience and was intrigued by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor and her book of My stroke of insight. The power of being in the moment helped me to nourish the deep creativity in me. How wonderful would it be if people in the workplace would function like this? When people operate from their true hearts, the worlds ego driven problems wouldn’t be there anymore.
Along the way, I was also fortunate enough to encounter a leader who introduced the Gallup Strengthfinder, to help me cultivate my natural talent and work on my strengths. I have a mentor who supported my soul searching journey and helped me reaching out to vast networks. I have a spiritual teacher who introduced me to the vast and deep practice of Buddhism wisdom and compassion.
Then I read the book “Reinventing Organizations”, and I resonated so much about the wholeheartedness that Teal organizations encourage people to be. Indeed, all kinds of organizations would benefit immensely and work more efficiently, be more agile towards the VUCA world.
As for me, change started like a movement. I started to take off the ego protecting corporate mask that I’ve been wearing. Indeed like someone very wisely pointed out: Be yourself with every facet you have. Don’t play a role, just say who you are, be who you are and then you’ll attract those things that just fit you! I co-founded a meditation center to promote mindfulness practices, organized events and monthly practice sessions. I rolled out a coaching scheme from Germany to the UK where I also volunteer as a life and career development coach. Despite the long hours I put into these activities along with my regular work and my 2 year old daughter and my family, I actually gain energy when helping people reach their highest potential.
Meanwhile, I was also involved in the largest cultural change program in my organization. In order to significantly change the culture and more importantly the mind-set of the people, towards more open and collaborative ownership culture. I was intrigued by how being wholehearted I would resonate with the cultural change. Of course, having a very curious and constant learning personality, I was diving into the vast change knowledge, the Prosci’s ADKAR model; Kotter’s Eight Steps to Change; Kurt Lewin’s transformational and transactional change; Cummings and Worley’s Organizational development and recently the dialog OD and open inquiry. Still, as one of my colleagues pointed out “while even the most researched, well-thought out theories can be great models, actually living through a culture change is the best way to really understand the challenges and help others come along for the journey.”
I’m enjoying the fulfillment and challenges on the journey and I will share and learn along the way:)