Take out a piece of paper and number it to 15.
As you read each job title below, who's the first person that pops into mind?
Senior mechanical engineer
Mark all the men that you pictured.
Mark all the white people you pictured.
This afternoon, I will be facilitating this activity with a group of readers and leaders as we explore the book The Leader's Guide to Unconscious Bias by Pamela Fuller.
That was the word that rang in my ears.
It was the midst of the pandemic, and I was up to my eyeballs in both paid and unpaid work.
My paid work consisted of my coaching practice, and teaching English on the side, as I transitioned from coaching to book circles.
My unpaid work consisted of homeschooling my kids, being a parent, and all that that entails, and volunteering as the president of a non-profit.
On top of that, my husband had lost a major contract as a result of the pandemic, so money felt tight -- very tight.
In hindsight, it was WAY too much.
Would you rather be a superstar or a rock star?
In Kim Scott's book, Radical Candor, she differentiates between two types of employees you might encounter on your team.
The ROCK STARS are stable. They love their job. They're content with their work, but perhaps aren't gunning for the next promotion.
The SUPERSTARS want, need, and perhaps thrive on growth. New challenges. New opportunities. New ways to challenge the status quo.
Most leaders love to have SUPERSTARS on their teams. People with loads of energy and lots of ideas.
The problem, though, is that by focusing so much on the SUPERSTARS we can fail to recognize the vital contribution of the ROCK STARS.
My former self use to pride itself on my achievements. I got a thrill from RISING.
Whether it be making the varsity volleyball team as a Sophomore, or getting an award for this or that, my dopamine levels would kick in, and I would know that I was worthy because I had the evidence to prove it.
Achievement = Worthiness. (The LIE that I told myself.)
Rewind backwards, to about 34 years old.
I had RISEN to a great job.
All my hard work had paid off.
All my achievements landed me that 6-figure income that I KNEW would make it all better.
I had arrived.
The only problem was that I couldn't achieve in one particular area that was so important to me -- being a mother.
One of the most challenging aspects of my work is staying engaged while leading a book circle with a book that I have already read and lead numerous times.
Case in point...Think Again by Adam Grant.
Last year, I hosted 6 different book circles with the book with four different companies (some companies had more than one book circle.)
Recently, I have started another one, and have 2 more starting in May.
I thrive on new-ness and change, so the idea of leading another 3 books circles on the same book could have made me gag.
Instead, I thought, "How can I stay engaged, so that the reader's will stay engaged?"
As I entered the room, the chairs were set up like a movie theater, all facing the front, ready for a screening of some sort.
I immediately thought, "This won't do."
With the help of my client, we move half of the chairs to the back, and set up the remaining 30 in a circle.
30 people had RSVP'd yes.
This was going to be a fun "Lunch and Learn" as we had advertised it.
As people slowly entered the room, they said things like, "Great, this is going to be interactive," as they took a seat near myself and the head of Talent Management for the EMEA region.
Sometimes the most generative tools are the simplest; a pencil, a notebook, and observing gaze.
In Annie Murphy Paul's book The Extended Mind there is a whole chapter devoted to thinking with the space of ideas, and includes ideas not just on the physical space of ideas (extra large displays are great), but also on giving abstract ideas physical presence.
In order to play with this idea in a new way, I introduced a group yesterday to a process called metacognitive drawing.
The goal of this type of drawing is to move the pen without thinking of the outcome, and to see what arises. You let the pen decide where it goes. The results might be an image of something we can all see and know, and sometimes it's swirls and lines and nothing "pretty," yet there is still a sense of something there.
This process is one that I learned from Cindy Jacobs, and proves to be an amazing way to access aspects of our thinking that we didn't know were there.
I have the prime desk spot in our house. It's tiny...just 1 1/2 meters in each direction, but I have these huge curved windows in front and to the left of me, with a view of the mountains.
I also don't have a door, or any electrical plugs, and am located right next to my children's bedrooms.
Which means, when I sometimes have evening meetings, I pop down to my husband's office, which is located in the back of the house away from going-to-sleep children.
His desk is facing the wall - a white, blank wall.
Every time I sit at his desk, I feel ill-at-ease.
Today is the first session for a new book circle with my group of individual leaders.
Unfortunately, one woman who wanted to participate isn't.
Because the publishers choose a font that doesn't work for her dyslexia.
And it's not available in Audio or Kindle version in her country -- the United Kingdom.
Not all risks are equal, so when it comes to uncertainty, some of us can thrive in some moments, while others of us languish.
If the context of the uncertainty switches though, the opposite might be true.
As part of our reading of The Upsides of Uncertainty , today I led a group through the process of evaluating their risk affinities and aversions according to the Risk-O-Meter created by Tina Seelig.
Each of the participants looked at themselves honestly, and then reflected on how these aversions and affinities connect to their work.
How are they supportive?
How are they an impediment?
I am Theresa Destrebecq.