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Getting unstuck: Vulnerability won’t kill you!

Slow School is all about community, connection, and helping each other grow. We were naturally overjoyed to read this beautiful blog post by Talk on Purpose graduate Melinda Spry (which she e-penned after seeing her video featured in one of our fortnightly newsletters):

www.transitionscoaching.com.au/getting-unstuck-or-vulnerability-wont-kill-you 

In it she describes what it felt like to see a pivotal life moment played back to her one year later, reflecting on her Talk on Purpose experience and how she’s grown. You can also check out the talk she’s referring to below or by visiting Slow School’s YouTube channel.

Thank you for sharing such inspirational words, Melinda!

 

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Message communicated. (But which one?)

We’d need several extra hands to count the proverbs, clichés and maxims decorating our collective thoughtscape on the topic of effective communication. Being a business communications freelancer when not wearing my Slow School hat, my daily bread is earned by guiding clients’ intended messages safely through this psychological labyrinth.

What I’ve realised is that many of the landmarks I use are actually Slow School’s guiding principles reframed. Some are more obvious than others. Connection: that moment of mutual recognition, a shared stimulus-response acknowledged by each party. Compassion: expression of shared humanity that confirms each party’s understanding of the other, in a space beyond weights and measures.

How about Consciousness? That one is always the biggest piece of my puzzle. It’s no secret that (insert adage here) people see what they want or expect to see. The professional communicator’s job isn’t to present one message to one target audience comprised of identical thinkers. If only! Rather, our job is to anticipate the most vital of possible interpretations and craft into one single package a multitude of messages on manifold levels that hit as many of those bulls-eyes as possible. Take a moment now to consider some of the most powerful messages you’ve experienced. How many of your personal bulls-eyes felt tender there? That was a master communicator at work.

Next up, we have Co-creation. It takes two to tango and, as just mentioned, messages aren’t neatly wrapped parcels exchanged between giver and receiver. Messages are feats of creation from inception through to transmission and interpretation, with all parties being thoroughly involved in the process – and the end result being more or less different for each, depending on the level of synergy achieved.

Finally and most importantly is Courage. Regardless of the final results, our communications always start out as little pieces of ourselves that we bare to the world. From the most banal small talk to our deepest personal beliefs, everything we communicate begins somewhere within us. The greatest feats of communication – those that inspire and drive me to keep going – arise from people brave enough to delve into their darkest depths for truth. Then resurfacing with a shard of their heart, they lovingly release it into the universe for the betterment of all.
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Genevieve Sovereign
Community Manager – The Slow School of Business

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Making Waves and Rocking Boats

“Land ahoy!” rings clarion across the deck. Ahead a dark grey sliver forms along the horizon. Hope and exuberance fill your heart – at last! The end is in sight. You’re almost there. Exchanging triumphant grins with your shipmates in the S. S. Of Biz, you’re practically bouncing with delight towards the foredeck for a better view.

Suddenly an ear-splitting roar thunders up from below decks. You’re shaken into a headlong stumble. Hearts in throats, crew mates and friends clasp onto each other to give and accept support – as a result, everyone manages to keep their feet. Wide eyed you glance towards the water and realise you’ve careered straight into the great glacial mass of Business as Usual.

Strangely you find that neither you nor anyone else is worried. You knew this would happen; you were all expecting it. That’s why you’re in the S. S. Of Biz, after all. Constructed with the strongest resolve and drawing upon the expertise of a well-seasoned crew who’ve navigated the hazards of Business as Usual for years, you know this ship will reach port.

Encouragement passes between friends and crew mates as you all set to work again, breaking up those sedentary ice floes. In your wake, a great fleet of other hopeful vessels navigates the waters newly freed by your passing.

Slowly and surely that grey sliver on the horizon grows, as 2016 takes everyone steadily closer to a better way of doing business.

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Genevieve Sovereign
Community Manager – The Slow School of Business

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Change as a Constant

What a wonderfully momentous year it’s been for the Slow School community!

We’ve run more than thirty learning and community events, connected with over a thousand attendees, enjoyed mentions in both mainstream and progressive media channels – and we just celebrated our first birthday a few months ago.

All this has only been possible because of you, our conscious business community, and your dedication to building purpose-driven and prosperous businesses that make the world a better place. Thanks so much!

The growing Slow School team has big plans for 2016. Starting in January, we’ll be moving our events into larger and more specialised venues. We’re also introducing fresh event types to the mix – such as a monthly networking and community building evening called Slow Drinks / Short Talks.

Themed Slow Dinner workshops and our flagship Talk on Purpose program will of course remain the backbone of our curriculum. In addition, we’ve got exciting new special events and programs in the pipeline, to be unveiled soon.

Reflecting on this past year, I’m amazed anew at the power we each hold to build and change our world. Back in February, in one of my first blogs for Slow School, I talked about manifesting ideas into reality. We do it continually, consciously or not – the only choice we have is in how.

I think at Slow School we’ve done ground-breaking work to that end, and I feel deeply privileged to have met and collaborated with so many of you inspiring people. Let’s keep being the change we want to see – consciously, conscientiously and constantly.

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Genevieve Sovereign
Community Manager – The Slow School of Business

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Carolyn’s End of Year Party Speech 2015

This time last year we were right here in this very spot celebrating the end of a big year for Conscious Capitalism Victoria. During the year I stepped aside from my role as Victorian Leader and handed over the reigns to the wonderful Lina Hanne so that I could focus my attention on building The Slow School of Business. Tonight we’re bringing together these two wonderful communities. I know it’s the beginning of a great partnership to come.

During the year I gave birth to two beautiful babies – my book Conscious Marketing and The Slow School of Business. In the book I outlined all the reasons why the marketing industry is broken and contributing to the destruction of humanity and the planet. I implored readers to radically reinvent the way they do marketing, to have a higher purpose beyond profit in order to attract the best people and to build the best products that require no mass marketing because the product sells itself.

After launching the book I was obligated to practice what I’d preached through bringing Slow School to life. And what a year it’s been!

30 events. 1000 people. Countless glasses of wine. But it’s never been a numbers game for me. It’s never been about quantity. It’s always been about quality. I measure the success of what we’ve achieved this year by the depth of the connections made and the cohesiveness of our community.

In a business world where the only measure of success seems to be how fast you grow, how much money you make and how big you are, we’ve deliberately taken our time to go slow and go with grace. While we’ve had some monumental f**k ups, we’ve also had some wonderful successes. And throughout it all we’ve had more purpose than Pope Francis.

Slow School would not exist if it not for the incredible people who have volunteered their time and support to this movement. Everyone has given so much this year and for very little or no financial reward (YET!) For that I am so very, very grateful.

In 2016 our intention is to turn our purpose into prosperity by bringing our brilliant collective of Slow School educators, facilitators and professionals into mainstream organisations. Our intention is to do the healing work that so many of our companies and their people so desperately need. Our clients will be mid-sized organisations in the professional and financial services sector, the education sector and in the fast growing tech world.

Our aim is to ‘bring slow to fast’ and to bring a higher purpose to these organisations and their people through learning and development programs that are both experiential and transformative. We’ll be bringing creative, emotional and spiritual intelligence to the business world with lessons from the arts, nature, philosophy, ethics and values and so much more.

To keep our brilliant community connected we’ll continue to host our public events but we are taking it up a whole new level with our new venue partners (soon to be announced.) Next year we’ll be hosting Slow Dinners with Wise Teachers, Slow Drinks & Short Talks , Talk on Purpose, our peer-to-peer coaching program, Slow Coaching. And we’ll do some completely left of centre learning activities such as our field trip to Nagambie in January where we’ll meet Donna and James who will host us at their ‘off the grid’ straw bale home.

So we’ve all just shared who we are, what we do and our ONE word for 2016. And now to my one word. Because I started this whole shindig and because I’ve never been one to stick to the rules, I’m having three words. My first word is LOVE. My second is PROSPERITY and my third word is FUN!

Finally, none of us knows what our future holds. Holding on too tightly to what we hope it will be simply dulls us to what the universe actually has in store for us. All we can do is set an intention, take action and then let go of the outcome. I hope you have a love filled holiday season and we look forward to welcoming you into the Slow School community in 2016.

Carolyn Signature

Carolyn Tate
Slow School Founder

 

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The Intention of Intent: When Getting There Means Going There

What’s your approach to getting it done? Those things that you make happen, how are they different from all the others you think of in terms of “wouldn’t it be nice if…?” Understanding what differentiates those two is, in my opinion, one of the most important things to know about yourself. It illuminates that murky gap between intention and outcome, enabling recognition of what holds you back and ways you can overcome it.

Myself, I’m a classic failurephobe. And of course, denying fears by avoiding situations where they might be encountered only makes them stronger (known as negative reinforcement in psychology-speak). So I realise one of my biggest barriers to getting things done is summoning up the gumption to attempt them in the first place – and to keep with them even through repeated disappointment. Over the past several weeks, this lesson has been brought home to me frequently (and comically, for onlookers).

I recently started learning kung fu at this lovely little place in the Melbourne CBD (right next door to where we’re holding next week’s year-end celebration incidentally – you should pop in and check it out). I’m not exaggerating when I say that every class during my first six weeks was an exercise in abject embarrassment. Each of my appendages seemed to have a mind of its own and every single thing I did was wrong in innumerable ways, shapes and forms. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d felt so utterly incompetent, actually coming thisclose to bursting into tears in the middle of class a couple times. Heading home afterwards, I usually felt like a ridiculous failure. But then I’d remind myself that failure is a matter of definition, and that I refuse to let it define what I do.

Continuously this went back and forth in my head – as well as out loud once when, just a few weeks in, one of my new girlfriends decided it’d be hilarious to sucker-punch me in the jaw as I was leaving the change room to join the next class.

“Hah!” she proclaimed, “You failed.”

Startled and mildly outraged, I found myself declaring indignantly, “I did NOT fail. I SUCCEEDED in getting punched in the face! THAT is how you put a positive spin on it.” Then I marched myself into the training area for another 90-minute session of intending to be amazing at kung fu someday.

Now a little over two months in, I’m already starting to feel some progress and experience solid outcomes. Things are finally sinking in (beyond surprise love-taps to my face) which is both wonderful and exciting – even more so because I’ve met my fear of failure persistently and with intention, and perversely managed to have a great time doing it.

How do you turn your intentions into outcomes? Although there are as many answers as there are people answering, I have a suspicion that the best come from a space of deep personal awareness and tenacity.

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Genevieve Sovereign
Community Manager – The Slow School of Business

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What it takes to do a TED Talk

I thought I knew a thing or two about speaking, but this experience stripped me back to my core and challenged every assumption I ever had about it.” – Slow School Founder Carolyn Tate

Dear friends

Last week I delivered a TEDx talk to 200 employees of Telstra. The topic was Profit on Purpose.

This 18-minute talk took me 80 hours to prepare and 5 years to bake!

Nothing had prepared me for the amount of painstaking work and rigour that goes into preparing a TED talk. I did countless rewrites and spent many gruelling hours walking around my local park rehearsing and in consultation with my brilliant coach Jon Yeo (TEDxMelbourne Curator).

Before I started work on this talk, I thought I knew a thing or two about speaking, but this experience stripped me back to my core and challenged every assumption I ever had about it.

It forced me to get absolute clarity on my purpose for the presentation and the message I really wanted to deliver. Judging from the response afterwards, my talk really hit the spot.

Now I truly understand what our Talk on Purpose students go through. I understand why they find the experience challenging, humbling, cathartic, exhausting and exhilarating.

Knowing your purpose and articulating it beautifully through storytelling, is what this program is all about.

If you want to experience the same profound support that I’ve had with Jon and our other incredible coaches Yamini Naidu (Business Storyteller), Sandy McDonald (TEDx speaker) and Robert Moorman (Digital Storyteller), we’d love to work with you.

Talk on Purpose is not for the faint-hearted. It’s for those that dare.

Please give me a call to see if our program is a fit for you (phone 0412 806 950) or find out more and register here.

Love

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Seeds become fruits become seeds

At our recent Slow Dinner – Grow Your Business Tree event, I found myself contemplating what my hypothetical “perfect business” would look like. How would I align my passions, talents and insights such that I could do the most good, as well as be rewarded in the ways that are important to me?

When the discussion traveled around the room, I heard some truly amazing insights from other guests using the metaphor of a tree to model a business. Julie and Tonielle spoke of the way trees, like businesses, need to coexist symbiotically with their environment. Irma and Donna explored the cyclical nature of their seasonal changes. Gaynor pointed out that a tree’s gnarls are like scars – and can become places for fresh growth in new directions.

I went home thinking hard about all these things and came to a realisation: I had been forcibly stunting my own sapling’s growth, clinging to unnecessary beliefs that should be shed like dry leaves in autumn.

Now with the gusts of springtime shaking me out of a sleepy-sapped stupor, I feel it’s time to stretch towards the sun again. I’ve embraced the recognition that I can and want to do more with what I have. I’ve decided that making a real effort to create and cultivate my own personal brand is absolutely necessary if I’m to pursue what’s important to me.

Like Slow School, I want my business to grow organically through profound connection and symbiosis with the world around it. I want its roots to travel deep into the wise earth, and its branches to flex lithely in change’s winds. Its blossoms will be perfectly imperfect, each and every one, and its fruits will bear the seeds of my future.

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Genevieve Sovereign
Community Manager – The Slow School of Business

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What only words can describe

Putting together this fortnight’s newsletter, I was struck by how poetry really can be found in everything – and how the perception of profound disagreement resides at its heart. I shan’t wax too much lest your attention wane, but the long and the short is that anything you can describe in words, you can describe in poetry.

And poetry is what, exactly? There’s irony in this dry old dictionary definition – “literary work in which the expression of feelings and ideas is given intensity by the use of distinctive style and rhythm; poems collectively or as a genre of literature.”

I think that’s missing a little vitality. Which made me think about what the essence of poetry might be, on a more visceral level. My proposition is: disharmony, or the appearance thereof. It makes for powerful stuff. Poetry disassembles and reassembles our reality. It points out the minutiae of concepts we’d taken for granted, and it unites what previously seemed “other” into a whole we’d never perceived before.

Much as yin and yang are opposites, yet at their core are also each other, so too there is always a sliver of one concept within anything else it could possibly be compared to – no matter how antagonistic the ideas might seem.

So, where does that leave conflict? If I take this lesson from poetry and extend it into divisions between people – disagreements, distrust, misunderstandings – then I’m left with the encouraging thought that divergence is simply a matter of not yet perceiving the unity.

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Genevieve Sovereign
Community Manager – The Slow School of Business

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Talking on Purpose: Philippe Guichard

Friday night was magic: we all stood up in front of the audience, delivered our speeches from a place of authenticity, and the message came across.” – Talk on Purpose graduate Philippe Guichard


The following guest blog was kindly provided by Philippe, around his experience in Slow School’s Talk on Purpose program.

 

I had just finished my talk and come off the stage. One man came up to me and said: “I have seen you speak before, but you appeared very different tonight, with much stronger presence yet relaxed.”

Yes, I felt this too – mostly because this panel discussion in front of entrepreneurs occurred soon after I had finished Talk on Purpose, a program offered by The Slow School of Business. And that training and process have been a game changer for me.

The training happens over four consecutive days, with a final delivery of one’s speech on the last day, a Friday night. I knew when I signed up for this program that I would find it challenging.

I arrived on the Tuesday morning with a draft of my speech that I wasn’t very happy with, but I looked forward to the assistance of the five amazing facilitators. Then, for two long days, I was in a fog. I couldn’t see where I was going, what my speech would be, or how to deliver it. However, I placed my trust in the process, in the team of classmates around me, and in the facilitators.

On Wednesday evening, I had my great moment of clarity: I now understood what my message would be and how I hoped to communicate it. On Thursday, I wrote about 13 drafts of my speech, rehearsed, repeated it over and over, and simplified it to get rid of what was not essential. Friday morning, all we trainees delivered our new versions of our speech, and received valuable feedback from the facilitators. Then it was back to writing and re-writing the script! Two hours before the delivery in front of a live audience, I was still making small adjustments and final polishing touches. I trusted the process.

Friday night was magic: we all stood up in front of the audience, delivered our speeches from a place of authenticity, and the message came across.

Thanks to facilitators Carolyn, Jon, Yamini, Sandy and Robert! What an amazing team for an amazing journey!

With gratitude,
Philippe

Disposable Design is Killing Us – Philippe Guichard
Talk on Purpose, August 2015

Philippe Guichard is a Melbourne-based industrial designer and entrepreneur. Website: philippeguichard.com.au