Welcome to the next episode of The Freedom Fridays podcast. This week, having spent a lot of time in client and customer learned almost every person I speak to talks about, oh, we've got tonnes going on. Right? There's lots of change. And so I thought it'd be really appropriate to speak to someone who's got tonnes of experience in the change world. So I'm going to welcome onto the podcast today, Karen Simmons. Hi, Karen.
Hi. Hi, Pete. How are you? I'm very good. How are you? Thank you for having me on.
Oh, you're welcome. It's a pleasure. And Karen, you've got tonnes of experience in the change world. So as I normally start this this podcast with the same question, I'd be interested in your take on it. In the world of change, what does freedom mean for you?
In the world of change, for me, it's about just being free to be who you are. And do that without harming others and being aware. But just be as you are. Don't put don't put something don't put yourself down or or make yourself into something that others say you should be. I think that's my view on it. Come as you are.
Come as you are. Love that. Now, given my background, that's, we could have a, you know, a week's conversation about that. And I'm interested, first of all, what if who you are isn't who you want to be?
Oh, that's a good question. I think who you are is who you want to be, I think who you want to be is more, because someone else says you should be. I mean, in terms of freedom to come as you are, I want leaders, especially because I work with a lot of leaders in organisations. And I want leaders to free themselves from who they think they should be, for someone that they are. And, and I've just I've witnessed so many people and so many teams with so much potential. Just not fulfil that potential because there's so much ego and insecurity in the way.
Can you make a distinction there? Because when I was thinking about, you know, what if you don't want to be who you are, and you want to be someone different in the world that we've existed, you know, in our careers, we've been trying to help and support people get better, you know, better communicators, better able to deal with change, wherever that means, you know, maximising not to amazing our potential. And so for me, the logic there for is, you know, who I am, could be a bit better. Future Me, you know, come as I could be, needs to be a bit different. So how do you kind of make that distinction between? What's the ego and the insecurity doing that's keeping us there? Versus how it could support a better version of ourselves?
Yeah, so there's, there's a lot in that. So let's unpack that. Let's unpack that a little bit at a time. So first of all, if there is something you want to change about yourself, I think that's the first thing you have to want to. So if you want to change something about yourself, it's about identifying where you are now. How do you know you're not already what you want to be, it's just yourself that's getting in the way? So first of all, identify what it is you want to change, have a good look at where you are now. And what you can practice to do differently.
A lot of it is about self reflection, practice, acquiring some new knowledge, looking at people who act, behave, talk the way you want to, and then really unpacking that and starting to develop a plan for yourself around what little things about yourself, can I change every day? And actually, I think most people are surprised that it isn't the big things. It isn't the oh, I need to study for three years to become something else. It's tweaks, it's improvements. It's continuous improvement in ourselves. And even the best kind of coaches, yoga instructors, you know, mental health practitioners, all those people will always say it's a lifelong practice. We were fundamentally a work in progress. And I think that's why that's why I like to come as you are because we're all a work in progress, and we're all winging it, and none of us know for certain what's around the corner. So if we can just practice and be clear about what we want to be who we want to be, and just get out there and and try something different. Keep moving forward.
That's a fascinating insight, Karen, because almost a persona came to mind of your classic, experienced leader, who when Karen or Pete show up and they say, you know, no one really knows what's going on, you know, some of the words you said, you can almost, you know, feel the shoulders bristle, and then look at you and they go - No, I do know. And we know what's going on behind the scenes. I do know what's going on, there's this, that and the other with my business, with the market, with my customers. How would you approach someone that was so stuck in their current way of being that they couldn't see themselves beyond that?
It's about slowly, what's the word I want to say, just slowly chipping away at the mask. And then some of us have very large heavy masks that we wear every day. And it's a lot lighter once you've got rid of it. But it takes first of all, sort of some self reflection. And it takes some vulnerability to change, you have to make yourself vulnerable, otherwise, you get no movement, right, you have to go into the unstable territory to to actually change anything. It's almost like physics, really, you know, you have to get, you know, for every action, there's a reaction, and you have to kind of keep testing and keep trying and keep moving forward. I don't think he's I don't believe there's a formula, that's the thing I didn't I struggled to articulate how I approach these things, because were all so unique. And every individual is in their own unique starting place. So one of the things I practice is meeting people where they are, and moving from there. It's something I say quite a lot. Meet people where they are, is something that my own team and my own associates and myself, it's one of our principles. Meet somewhere that you know, meet the organisation or the leaders where they are and move forward from there don't don't try and jump to where they should be or ought to be. Because the pathway is completely different, depending on who you're dealing with.
I don't know how this all sound. But I think you know, if you asked me that question, or I asked you that question, we'd kind of know the intention of the question, and we might be a bit of articulate it. What about those people that might be listening that would have, or are dealing with people who have got relatively low self awareness, and when asked the question, you know, who are you? Well I'm Pete. And where are you at? Well I'm here. How do you help see someone beyond that little bit?
That's a, that's a difficult question to answer. Because, because, again, I would, I would meet them where they are. So if you say to me, you're Pete, and I'm here. My next question would probably be that's great. So who's Pete? And really get someone to try and kind of give some literacy around, who Pete is? So was does Pete like to do? What's the best thing you've ever achieved in your life? What's the worst moment? You know, really kind of sort of step into who is Pete a little bit more, before moving on to the next question of, well I am here. What is here? What does that mean for you? I think it's about making sense of who we are, where we are. Once there's a little bit of literacy around that and we can explain it, we can then start to say, well, what do we need to do to move forward from here? Or why are we moving forward from here? What's wrong with Pete and where he is right now? And so, so it's exploring I, you know, an Explorer's mindset, I think is what I have a fascinated by people. Fascinated by all aspects of work and fascinated by organisational ecology really, you know, like how all of those things work together. We just have to remain curious.
You said at the start, Karen, one of the premises would be, too, you'd have to want to. Are there situations where I might not want to, but I have to?
Yeah, yeah, that well, there are situations sometimes where you have to change if we're talking about leaders in organisations, for example, or even employees inside organisations. If an organisation is changing direction, or is going to, to do something differently in service of sustaining that organisation through periods of change, then there's inevitably going to be times when there will be a have two. And so and so, but that's still a choice for you as an individual. Because if you choose not to, for fear of failing, or for fear of not doing it as well as somebody else, or looking like a fool, because I don't really understand this new way of doing things. That says more to me about the psychological safety within the organisation than it does about the human being being impacted by the change. So if you have to change, you really have to give yourself a good reason for it. And that has to be something that you, you can understand and connect to. So I would spend quite a lot of time on connecting to purpose. You know, what, why, why is the organisation changing? Why does it need to change? Why do I have to change? And what's that going to take for me to be able to connect to this new way of working or new IT system, whatever the transformational change might be. But it's always a choice. I think sometimes we forget that changes, it is always a choice. Because you do have a choice not to, but it doesn't necessarily mean that you'll always have a choice to stay doing what you want to do, because your context may change around you. So it's bringing awareness to that. I think is the first the first step. .
A thought just struck me Karen, and certainly one of my Achilles heels that's a relatively big Achilles heel is - I get stuck in comparison. And so, you know, come as you are, yeah, Pete you're okay. Right. But compared to him or her, or they or them it's like, mate you're just average, big time average. How would you help? I'm not asking for, you know, public therapy here. But how would you help someone I guess quieten not voice or deal with or navigate the inevitable comparisons that we get thrashed down our phones and eyes and ears constantly?
Yeah, god, that's so it's so true, and it's one of mine as well. You know, I'm a big fan of Carol Dweck, The Growth Mindset And The New Psychology of Success her book, and research that backs that up. Comparing ourselves to others is one of the hardest conditions of mindset to shift. In Carol Dweck work, she talks about other conditions like overcoming obstacles, challenging ourselves. But comparing ourselves to others is a very fixed mindset, we are comparing ourselves to something else, rather than comparing ourselves to tomorrow from today. If you see what I mean? So are we better tomorrow? Am I better on the next podcast than I was on the last one? I should have be comparing myself to my own performance. Not, you know, not sitting here thinking, oh my God, I'm not as good as Brene Brown on podcasts, and I need to be as good as her. She's fantastic. That just keeps us locked in a deterministic view of the world. And it keeps us locked in the performance zone, which is not necessary if we're trying to grow and improve, we need to be much more of the learners mind. So I would help people to kind of say, let's just compare ourselves to where we were six months ago. Let's see what we can do now that we didn't think was possible six months ago. Right, you know, doing a virtual workshop for me in 2019 was was rare, clunky, and really uncomfortable and awkward. And, you know, in 2020 when I did my first really big learning, intervention, all virtual, I burst into tears halfway through because I was just so I was just awkward. It was awful. Yeah. And now, some of these virtual tools and virtual workshops, I find such a gift in them. They're They're an amazing way to connect with people. But if you'd have asked me that in 2019, I'd have said no way. And if you'd have asked me in 2019, did you know that in 2022, you're going to be in the top 3% of global users of slideoh. Id' have said what's slideoh. Now, apparently, I'm in the top 3% users in the world of it. So you know what I mean, if you compare yourself to others, you lose the richness of comparing yourself to yourself, which is going to keep us really reaching for what's possible.
Thank you for sharing that vulnerability there Karen. I'll reciprocate. And where I have a slight challenge with this view is in the main, for most of my professional career, I've benefited from comparing myself to people that are better. Whether that's on the golf course, whether it's as a parent, whether it's as, you know, as a presenter, as a coach, I'm always looking and I know we've got this obsession with ascension, we're always looking up. That's actually benefited me more than most situations. And yet, I do see the terror that it causes me when I don't quite make it yet. And I'm wondering if you have a view on because it's almost like we should compare ourselves to ourselves. Yes, but you know, until I can see someone fully finger type, then I'm going to just keep going with my two fingers. There's got to be a better different way. How can you help someone, me!, reconcile the upside of comparison with the downside of comparison?
Yeah, I think I think my first question to you is, who are you competing with, and what's the competition about? Because to be the best you can be, I would definitely encourage looking at others who you admire. So find the people you admire, find the ones that are doing not just what you want to do, but they're doing it in a way you want to do it, they practice the values that you have they, they show this, the there's someone you you can look up to. And that sort of comparison is a way of learning from taking from others, what you can bring into your own practice and your own way of being. But it's the expectation gap. That's that's where that's where the terror comes in, to use your word, where you expect to be as good as Brene Brown talking about vulnerability and shame. And then you don't quite make it. And you the expectation gap is way too big, you know, it's way too big. So so we have to kind of have compassion for ourselves first, that this is where we aspire to be. And we're going to practice different skills and ways to get us there. But I don't want to be her. I'm not Brene Brown, I don't, I'm not the same person, you're not the same person as to whoever it is you compare yourself to. And everyone you compare yourself to will equally have challenges, insecurities, terror, fear, shame. They've already been through all of that with others they've looked up to. So sometimes I feel we need to kind of step back a bit and go, what are we competing for? What's that about? Let's understand that about what we want to be good at, and find the best pathway forward for us. Without as much stress. I think one of the challenges as well as well, you know, what happens if you are as good as that person that you're comparing yourselves to? Where do you go next? If you know, that's not that's no fun, either. You need to keep raising the bar to the next. For me, there's always learning and growth. And so I wouldn't say don't look at other people and take, take great knowledge and skills and learning and observation from them. But because you're comparing yourself with someone who is not you and therefore won't perform in the same way that you do.
I like that question - what are you competing for? And I may just ask for some of your experience, without naming names, are there any common things people are competing for when they use comparison?
Hmm, let's think about that. I've got so many different diverse thoughts on that. I spent a period of period of my life in Papua New Guinea, running a Social Development Programme over there. And I would find volunteers would be comparing, comparing their selves to the thought they had about the change they wanted to bring about in the community, for example. So I want to, I want to leave this place, having enabled people to be literate and comparing themselves to the fact that that was never going to be possible. And but it was, it was their competition with themselves to kind of say, this is what this is what I want to do for the community. But it doesn't, doesn't work. I think with individual leaders... Comparing yourself... let me think I'm struggling to think of an example. Ask me another question. Let me think about that. Ask it in a different way? Maybe that'll Connect.
Well, let me let me let me just reflect on that question for myself. I think about the upside and the downside of comparison and you know, that reframe question. So what am I competing for? You know, part of me wants to see I'm competing for the right, but I don't mean like a human right, the right to optimise my potential. I'm also competing for a guess if I go purely deeper, I'm competing for love and acceptance. And there's a whole raft of things in between my right to optimise my potential and competing for love and acceptance.
Yeah, here very interesting, the love and acceptance piece, as well. I think, again, that comes back to the fundamental question is, can you compete for that, really? You either have it, you either you either are or you aren't. Not to get too philosophical too deep about it. But, you know, I wrote a poem about human race that I put out online. And I, one thing that always struck me and I put it out on social media saying, we are the human race, we're not in a human race.
And I like that distinction.
That's the distinction I try and make with people who I coach. I don't, you know, we, we are the human race, we're not in one. So, of course, people will compete for jobs, people will compete for promotion. Of course, there there compete. If you're a sportsman, and you want to be at the top of your game, there are competitions that you have to enter in order to test yourself in terms of where you are against others. And that so there are competitions, races that we have to run occasionally. And we can prepare ourselves for those but constantly? It sounds very draining to constantly be in a competition with being better. Do you know what I mean?
Why yes, it's is exhausting.
It is exhausting. It's totally exhausting. And, and I do it all the time. It's, you know, you're constantly looking at looking at how you can get better and better and better and it is exhausting. So sometimes we just have to give ourselves a break really, and have a bit of compassion instead of competition. And so when you say competing for the rights to be better, or to improve your yourself, it should be again, it's a choice. It's actually there's no one putting pressure on you to be better.
I don't need it. I don't need anyone else giving me a hard time.
I was going to say it's probably you.
Without a doubt. Everyone that cares for me would go Pete stop. You're done right? you've done enough. Just no more.
And the thing that's interesting there, Pete is I wonder if there's part of you as well that thinks - but if I stopped competing, I'm going to lose my edge? Is there a part of you that feels that if you slow down, does that mean, I'm not going to be as the top of my game? Because that's, that's a fear that we all have and that I hear a lot. It's like, if I ease off the pedal, then I'm never going to get back on. Oh, you know, I lose my edge. I won't be as good. I need to be switched on all the time.
Without a doubt. Without a doubt there's a massive part of that. And here's where I struggle. Maybe this is turning into a therapy session. Here's where I struggle. and I've been working on this with a lot of practices for, you know, the last two or three years. I don't really feel like I've got a job. You know, those of us, those of you that can see my background, I've read and read lots of stuff. So I'm always interested in. And it's not knowledge for knowledge sake. So I'm always nudging and pushing and provoking because I get energy from it feeds me. And yet, I feel full many times. Yep, yep. And it's toggling the balance between, you know, not eating metaphorically for a while, so I'm hungry, versus stuffing my face full of more quotes, more articles, more books, etc, etc. And finding that equilibrium, I feel like is is a real challenge.
Yeah, I struggle with that one, too. Because, you know, many years ago, when I sort of started out my career, you were lucky if you read one business book, you know, every three months. There was only one and it was, you don't get in the Harvard Business Review was my kind of go to and it still is. But I was like it was there so that I could find out where the latest where the latest thinking was. But if you think about the rate of information flow now, it's not a surprise that you can look up, change management, and you'll find 195, different books, resources, methodologies, ways of doing things. And if you don't read them all, you think you're missing out? Yeah. But the irony of that Pete is if you go to university, you'll probably only study four or five. And then by the time you come up out of university, there's another 500 that have been produced, because knowledge is so accessible now. And I'm quite big fan of Warren Burgers, a beautiful question. When he talks about the currency, the currency of knowledge is going down. But the currency of questions is going up. It's not about knowledge, we can all find that. But do you know what you're searching for? Do you know what the right question is? So that you've got, you've got a point to your city or search as it were. And I think that that's for me, what's changed. Is it used to be you have to read all of the big heavy textbooks, you have to know everything, you have to be on top of everything. Actually, I find more and more with my learning experiences, my coaching and consulting as well. The curation is what we do now we curate that sort of latest thinking for people. So they don't have to trawl through it. And then it's the question. So the so what? Okay, but I do hear you and I feel for you, because I struggle with that too. I will just constantly feeding myself with new books. And now I can't remember who said what and which book. And whether it's audible, whether it's whether we're actually bought it. So yeah, it's it's a constant struggle, agree.
I think many people listening would be of the same ilk. Karen, I read recently that the half life of an engineering degree, which means 50%, of what you learn, is either redundant or been overtaken by outdated technology is about 18 months. Yeah, so people doing an engineering degree. Now, they tend to leave uni three, four or five years later, half of what they know is no obsolete.
And that that for me is why we need more people coming out of university with explore our mindsets. They've got they've got a want that thirst for exploring, to be inclusive, to listen to different diversity of thought, you know, we need people who are open to seeing things and acquiring knowledge in different different ways. You don't want people coming out and going - Phew, that's three years of my life over and done with. Now I'm going to stick with that deterministic view and just get you know, the best job I can at the most money without thinking more laterally around what else is out in the context. That's I think the big challenge.
I do feel for the, you know, the current uni grads and you know, I've got 25, 22 an 18 year old and they're coming into a world where, again, I don't know how old you are, but my growing up was my comparison was the people this the kids on the same street. Yeah. Whereas the comparison now is In the flick of a scroll, you've got comparison to the, you know, the rich kids of Florida. I was never exposed to that as a kid.
No, I was never exposed to anyone who had been to university. You know, I think I think, you know, they were always the posh kids, you know that. So things changed dramatically over the last few years. And I agree with you that the yeah, I've got some step, what I say step-children, you know, one is 30 and one's 29. Now, so they, you know, and one is graduated. And, you know, she's a nurse, nurse profession, but but also wants to do other things. Right. Whereas, you know, many years ago, that would have been what you did, you studied to be a nurse. And so that was it. It's like, well, actually, I want to be a nurse. But I also want to have a floristry. And I want to do something else with my life, as well as giving some of my time up for nursing. I mean, I, I think it's fabulous, provided that we can create workplaces that enable that and don't admonished that thought, you know, it's okay for people to want to do different things and experience different things in their life. It's just different now. So so I'm in my 50s. And I think, you know, people of my age group, we need to kind of get out of the way of enabling the kids to do things in the way that that is going to be right for them going forward, we have to give them the right nurturing environment for that to happen.
Karen so just on that. Can I just ask your your thoughts then? Does that mean that we need to be redefining the meaning of work, and/or the meaning within our work?
I think it's happening. Yes, I think yes, yes, to both. Because that is happening, people are finding different meaning behind work. And the economics, the whole ecosystem is different to me, in, in my day, when I was first starting out in my sort of career, I think I was very well extremely unusual for for, I didn't go down a specific route, I went very broad and worked across many industries, which I think is more common now. My neighbor's daughter, it was and your children are probably the same age came out of university having not had the ability to go on placement, because she was a COVID university grad. Couldn't go out, just just had to learn the theory. And I'm so incredibly grateful to one of my clients who's very forward thinking HR director, who, who, who acknowledged that the degree the work that she'd done would be great for a project in their, in their organisation, and took her for three months. Before that she had applied for 1000s of jobs, full time jobs not got anywhere. After that three month assignment, suddenly, she's got two or three job offers. And now she's kind of choosing where she wants to be in her words for the next two years. So only for the next two years, so very different mindset, but but there are different things. So there are there are progressive leaders out there that will start to look at chunking the work down so that we can say what are the skills that we need to lock in for this piece of work? And then we have to be happy to let them go and go, Well done, you know, move on, do something else. Because I think that's the way it's going. Your work needs to be very focused around the job that needs to be done. And communities will be formed in different ways, I think, over the next few years.
Interesting. Karen, I'm going to be a little bit cheeky, if I may, would you happen to have that poem to hand? If you do, would you be willing to share it?
I can share it. Yeah, I wrote this. So I wrote I wrote the poem come as you are in after about three years of being in Australia. And it was written from a place of compassion to really just encourage leaders to free themselves from what I observed as stress filled obsession with being the best and being right. And I found myself getting a bit like that too. So I sat down and wrote a poem. So it's called Come As You Are. If you want your team to achieve a lot more, please leave your hierarchy at the door. Come join the discussion as the person you are, be present and curious. Don't judge from afar, open yourself up to not being the boss. Diversity of thought should be nurtured, not lost. Every team player has the potential to share. Their willingness comes when there is trust and care. So be the boss that shows the spirit to create, and not the one that needs to dominate. And when you do leave your hierarchy at the door, just watch how your team will achieve so much more. That's it my little ditty.
Wow, Thank you. Well, if it's okay with you Karen, we'll probably put that in the show notes for people to read again, because I'm sure there's plenty insights from, from even just some of the, you know, the ways that you've expressed what you observed going on.
Thank you, I think I find I'm a bit of a deep thinker, and also a bit of a Creative At Heart. So I just struggle to write long winded white papers and prefer to short ditty poems instead.
Yeah, well, there's a skill and passion there.
Yeah, thank you.
I'm going to tap into your curation skills, if I may, over the next two or three questions mainly for the people that are listening. You've mentioned quite a lot about things being a practice. Pretend I know nothing. What are your top three tips to make something a practice?
Top three tips to make something a practice. Keep it small and specific. So, for example, so let's use an example. I think, feedback. I want to give, be able to give feedback better. Well, that's too big, that's too broad. What's what is what is it you're going to actually practice? So really challenge yourself to sort of start out with something you want to improve, and then almost coach yourself into kind of making it very specific what's what's the one thing that you can do differently, to improve this skill? So I would say, break it right down. There's a great book by BJ Fogg called Tiny Habits, which is, which is super reading to help with kind of framing and reframing how we how we can break things down.
The second thing, I would say, use your power of observation first. So it's a skill that is so overlooked, we go straight into acquiring knowledge, and then practising it through our words and our actions. Whereas actually, step one for me is, again, just be curious. See, see how other people do it. Ignore it, you know, like, Who have you had feedback from observe other people giving you feedback? Notice how they do it.
Keep a notebook on what you're practising, I think that will be my third tip. Always keep it, you know, close, close to hand so that you can go - Oh, that was a really good question. I've got my notebook here. That was a really good question that Pete asked. So you know, I will write things down. If I want to improve my questioning. I'll find them everywhere. And then I'll practice one question that I want to put into my coaching practice, for example. So not not all of them, just just one and see how that goes. So be very deliberate about it.
So keep it specific. Use your power of observation, not not just the theory, but look at how it's done and how it's done well. That could be through videos, it could be through just observing people you know. And then keep a notebook. Keep a journal of all your highs and lows.
I heard about like we've talked about I can't remember who was it said it but it kind of resonated on what you've said that one of the secrets and it's not even a secret to high performance in any field is being somewhat comfortable, somewhat okay with doing the mundane and the dull, and the choreful, because those are the things that lead to over time, cumulatively, us being a better version of ourselves.
Yes, quite a lot of housekeeping involved in getting better at something that one of my favourite, Eduardo Briceno, who runs the growth mindset faculty - Carol Dweck was his mentor. There's a great TED Talk by him called the Learning Zone versus the performance zone. And he breaks down in that 15 minute TED Talk. And I'm happy to give you the link for your show notes as well. That'd be great. He breaks down what it is to learn a skill. And we have to get out of the performance zone. Because if we talked at the start here about comparing ourselves with others, that's really performance. So that's when we're kind of running that race. And we're trying to see whether we're better than the Learning Zone is when we've already done that race. And we're sitting down and going, right, my starts need to be a bit better. I feel like I'm losing pace midway through, so maybe I need to do a bit more on my stamina. The Learning Zone is when we really do our homework and sit down and and practice are starts at the start of the race 1000 times over. That's the mundane bit that you were talking about. It isn't it isn't actually doing the performance. Yeah. You have to, after this podcast, go away and go. Great. Okay, so what happened? What, what, what's gone? Well, what's not gone well, and break it down.
When I first got into this role to 23 years ago, one of the first pieces of kit that I was given was a blank journal. Mm hmm. And it was a cultural thing where I'm because, you know, we're in the domain of getting constant feedback from clients and customers 24/7 There's a blessing and a curse. But the the cultural aspect was, every delivery, there was a win, learn, change conversation. every delivery, there was a win, learn, change journal, even if it just took a minute. And so consecutively, and cumulatively over time there was it was impossible not to get better.
Yeah, after every if I co facilitate with someone after every day of facilitation, win, learn, change. Yeah. What did we do well? What did we learn from what we did? What needs to change? What am I going to practice tomorrow? Yeah, it's really good. Discipline, it actually does require discipline doesn't it?
Does. Yeah. And I find people have got so much on their plate perceived to be on their plate that trying to cover themselves across everything, that the usual mask is I don't have time. Mm hmm. I don't have time to do the housekeeping, or I have time to do the mundane because I can't get quick results. So that other than being judged by is the results that I create. Yeah, there's such an irony in that.
There is, there is. It's a short term win over a long term gain. Yeah, you may actually get by, you know, for the for the short term, but you're not going sustain the gains that you want. If you if you don't give yourself time to practice. And certainly in coaching, I do a lot of group coaching. So I'll take a leadership group on a coaching journey. And more often the fruitful conversations are in why we didn't do what we said we were going to do. They are the rich conversations, because it's not so much the action, but it's okay, you you chose the action, then you didn't do it. So who is getting in the way of you doing that? Do you really want it? Or do you not want it? Because we know without motivation, change is incredibly difficult. The have to change is again, a short term fix, it's not going to sustain us. So we have to find the way the way the will not and
I read, it was again one of those references from a while ago, there was it was heart surgery patients, when told by the doctor, you know, you have to change your lifestyle, otherwise you will die. And only 38% actually did. So on the pain of death, some would say possibly the most significant consequence. Still, people weren't able to make the changes they said they wanted to.
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, it's um, that's a staggering statistic, isn't it?
It's staggering. It is staggering how we've made any changes given that statistic.
Exactly. Exactly. And, and I, you know, like for me, that would mean just getting rid of all of the food out of the house that I wasn't allowed to eat, you know, if it's not put in your path and you can't be can't be tested, right. So there are ways to do things it's you have to get very creative with from a change perspective for people who do a one of that that sort of other 60 odd percent, that won't even listen to the most scary reason for change. You have to get quite creative. That's fun. That's why That's why I enjoy it.
Karen, I'm conscious of time, I'm going to, if I may ask you a final question, but it could be quite a big question. So feel free, feel free to play a pass. You've talked a lot about the masks that we put on. And I'm just wondering if in your your curation experience, are there other typical masks that we put on? And therefore what are we hiding from?
Or hiding from? I think I think we had there was two parts, that question isn't there. The first one was, what are the typical masks that we put on? There's some great reading in Brene Brown's work on vulnerability, and she talks about armoured leadership, you know, the fact that we put on a lot of armour. I get the analogy of masks from the work I've done with a tool called the strength deployment inventory, from core strengths, which really gets to the bottom of what motivates us. And typically, it's the tribal thing, so we put on masks to fit in. So if I am working in a culture inside an organisation that behaves in a certain way, and expects me to behave in a certain way, then I have, if I'm not that person, and I choose to work there, then I have to wear a mask to try and fit in. So for me, we might frequently put on masks when we are yeah, trying to fit in, I don't think there's another better way to describe it really. Which is where the diversity and inclusion well, inclusion for me is is so critical for psychological safety. If you have a psychologically safe environment, you won't need to wear a mask, because you can come as you are. If it's not a psychologically safe environment, then then I mean, I'm quite intuitive now after 30 years to know when someone's wearing a mask. Because I can feel that energy. They're not who or they're not being allowed to be who they are in that circumstance. So I think that's the tip. That's how I typically see it. And it also shows up for where insecurities, again, and that kind of ego. And it's all to do with fitting in I think, in my in my experience. The second part of your question, then, was a was around a forgotten already. What did you What did you say it was two parts you
did? What are we hiding from?
Oh, yeah, what are we hiding from? I think we're hiding, we're hiding. From this, this, the shame and the insecurity. It's, it's the insecurity of not being clever enough, not being good enough, not being brave enough looking, stupid feeling of failure. Someone's gonna think bad of me. All of those things that come from a sense of conditions of a sort of termonistic view of ourself. It's ourself really at the core that we're, we're around, we're masking because we feel we're not good enough. So if we feel we're not good enough in this environment we'll mask up. And we'll try and fit in through taking our cues from how others are because it's the way that people treat you. One of the beautiful things that I learned from the strength deployment inventory many, many years ago. I've been working with that tool for over 20 years now. Was the fact that on the inside, we are motivated, we behave because we're driven by what we're motivated to do and what our intentions are. The problem is that others see us through how they react to what we do. So that whole dynamic is fueled with misinterpretation and miscommunication. And that's where the difficulty comes in. Nobody can see my internal intentions unless I voice them. They can only see my behaviour and that behaviour might be driven from all sorts of places, but it's normally frustrations, insecurities, the big fear, fear of something usually under underneath the mask somewhere.
which seems like a perfect closing comment to come back to your council right at the start, which was to come as you are.
Yeah, let's just let's just hope that we have many more works places in Australia, that, that, that put as much effort into psychological safety as anything else, because that will enable people to really show up because they're hiding behind that mask is a wealth of potential. And unless people are able to come as they are, you will never be the best organisation you can be, you'll never be better tomorrow. So for me, you know, fearless organisations are psychologically safe there. They also embrace that diversity of thought. And so I want more of those.
Karen, I'm really conscious of time. And thank you, first of all, for your transparency to your insights. And I may just finish with a couple of light questions if you wouldn't mind maybe just giving your first response to these just to kind of close off a little bit. Are you sunrise or sunset?
Last movie, you laughed at?
What I did on my holiday, Billy Connolly and I laughed and cried in equal portions.
Wow. Your favourite question?
Anything left unsaid?
Oh, love that answer. And a book that's changed your life?
Mindset, the new psychology of success.
Karen, thank you so much. I appreciate what you've shared your vulnerability. We'll put all these notes and stuff in the show notes for people if they're interested, and thanks again for your time.
Thank you. Thanks, Pete. Really enjoyed that. Thank you.
You're welcome. Bye