Recording #74:

Beth Stallwood 00:00:00 - 00:01:39
Welcome to the Work Joy Jam podcast. I'm your host, Beth Stallwood, and in this episode we're talking all about crafting connection with author, facilitator, and coach Felicity Dwyer, who's been doing this work with organizations and specifically with managers for the last 20 or so years. Her book Crafting Connections is out now and in this conversation we talk about different levels of connection. It's so obvious to think about connections with other people as conversations and communications and the things that we do together but Felicity also talks about having a real connection with ourselves and really starting there, understanding ourselves, our values, our preferences, our styles, the things that are important to us, how we come across our triggers, all of these kind of things, as a real starting point for being able to connect with other people. We also talk about a lot about connecting with our bodies and not just getting stuck in our minds. I do hope you enjoy this conversation. I'll pop back on at the end and share some of my key takeaways. Here we go!

Beth Stallwood 00:01:39 - 00:02:11
Welcome to the Workjoy Jam. I'm really excited today to be joined by the wonderful Felicity Dwyer. Felicity and I have known each other a little while now. We have books published by the same publishing house, and I'm really interested in this conversation about connection so here we go. But rather than me introduce Felicity, it would be much better for her to introduce herself. So Felicity, can you tell us a little bit about you, who you are, what you do and how you got there?

Felicity Dwyer 00:02:11 – 00:05:12
Thank you, Beth, and thanks so much for inviting me to be a guest. Yes, I'm a freelance facilitator, trainer, and coach and speaker. I've been working in adult learning and development for well over 20 years, and I've been freelance for 20 years. I was thinking about how I got started, because with any story, you can start at any point, but one moment that was pivotal perhaps, was in the late 90s and I'd started training as a counselor, a person centered counsellor. I think what took me into that was wanting a job that felt like it had a little bit more connection. Training as a person centre counsellor, the first year of a BA, is a lot of sitting in a room with a group of people and you're learning to listen and to speak out loud, articulate things that are important to you in a group. It was my first experience of that kind of group work. It was the first experience of really learning anything structured about listening and it was just a wonderful experience, I have to say transformative in many ways. The group itself was facilitated by a leader and she didn't do much teaching, she just held the space so that we could talk and perhaps struggle and find out things for ourselves. As we went through that year, I was looking at what she was doing and at one point I found myself saying in the group, you know, I think I might like to be a facilitator, and when I said that, I felt like a little shiver go up my spine, so that told me something. Anyway, in another life I didn't finish training as a counselor because another side of my career took off and I moved into more of a management role but then I got the opportunity to join a learning group and it was a peer learning group where we essentially got together and decided what we needed as individuals to develop ourselves and our careers and our confidence. That group was facilitated and it was like a little light bulb went off and I thought, oh, this is a way that I could bring some of those skills that I'd learned and bring it into more of a business context. This individual, whose name was Maggie, became a real role model to me and I did move into facilitation in the business arena, and indeed, I worked on collaborative projects with Maggie for many years. It was almost like a little spark was lit in the counseling training and then a few years later, I found a way that I could actually turn that into a business or a career for myself.

Beth Stallwood 00:05:12 – 00:05:35
That's amazing, and it's so interesting, isn't it, how sometimes it's almost like the universe is pointing the right thing out to you, saying, look at this, this is really interesting, and you get interested in it and then you need a bit more and maybe some support and some mentoring and some actually, I need to know how to do this stuff to be able to take that. But you've made a business out of it for the last 20 years.

Felicity Dwyer 00:05:36 – 00:05:52
Yeah, absolutely. And I love it. I love it. I do get a lot of work joy in doing what I do which of course doesn't mean that it's always easy or always fun, but 80% of the time I just think, oh my goodness, I'm so fortunate to be able to do this.

Beth Stallwood 00:05:52 – 00:06:18
Yeah, and you talked there about kind of the feeling, the connection with people and holding that space and being able to do it. Your book, Crafting Connection, is all about this connections piece. I've said connection about twelve times in the last minute! Tell us a little bit more about connection and how important it is in the work that you do and actually how important it can be for getting some work joy.

Felicity Dwyer 00:06:18 – 00:07:30
Connection is a human need, and I think where it's so important in the context of work and work, is firstly it's motivational. When we feel connected, we feel close to people at work. It just helps us enjoy what we do more. So that's a fairly obvious aspect but also, I think at work, and as a manager, if you're able to connect with your team members to understand what really matters to them, how to communicate with them in a way that meets their needs, then it helps you become a better manager. One of the reasons I love working with managers is because of the impact they can have on their teams difference. As you know, people tend not to necessarily leave jobs, but leave managers so from the point of view of management, I think it's really important to be able to connect with yourself and with other people, and of course, connecting with customers and clients and everyone that you have to interact with in a work environment. If you can do that well, it's enriching, but it also helps you to be more productive.

Beth Stallwood 00:07:30 – 00:08:27
Definitely and I think it's so interesting, isn't it, this deeply human need to be connected and I I often think that managers get a really hard time. It's hard to be a manager especially if you've got lots of people who are reporting into you and each of those people's needs will be slightly different. The way they like to connect will be different, what motivates them will be different, and so many managers now are doing a full time job and have management responsibilities as well. So they have a technical side of their job and a management side of their job, and they're trying to do lots of stuff, but what I know for sure in what people tell me is that managers can also be a huge source of work gloom if they don't get that connection right as you spend a lot of time working with these people. Have you got some ideas and suggestions, some things that people could do that might help them if they're in that kind of management role, trying to connect with people?

Felicity Dwyer 00:08:27 – 00:08:37
Well, if you don't mind, I could structure the answer a little bit around my Connecting in Three Dimensions framework.

Beth Stallwood 00:08:37 – 00:08:41
I would love this. Tell us your framework. I want to know it all.

Felicity Dwyer 00:08:41 – 00:09:24
When I was writing Crafting Connection, I suppose what I was thinking is, what's been useful to me in developing my ability to connect and what's helpful in communicating with others. I also wanted to look a bit at the wider framework. So obviously managers are working within the wider organisational contexts, they're connecting with the individuals, both their direct reports and more senior management and other people across the hierarchy. Of course, I think the starting point for me is always connecting with yourself. So any conversation that we're in, you're always there in your conversation.

Beth Stallwood 00:09:24 – 00:09:37
It's so funny because that sounds like so obvious, but actually so much communication training doesn't start there. It doesn't start with, you are part of this communication, you are actually there. So yeah, connecting with yourself. Interesting one.

Felicity Dwyer 00:09:37 – 00:11:18
Connecting within, there's lots of levels of it, but it's things like connecting with your values, what matters to you. It's understanding how you see the world and that there were more than one ways of seeing the world. So almost like questioning your own assumptions and stories. I was talking about connecting with your body, because I think there's so much wisdom in our bodies, and when we can connect with our bodies, it can ground us in the present moment and help us bring more vitality. We can access wisdom that we can lose if we're just concentrating on the little voice in our head, it works at different levels. So it's really about connecting with yourself, understanding your triggers, understanding your preferences, your styles, so that you can then be more flexible in adapting them, in communicating with other people. So that's the connecting within piece. The next stage, of course, is connecting with other people, which is what we would tend to think of with the communication connection. The absolute fundamental there, as you'd expect with my counseling background, is the listening. If you're listening well, that's when you can connect, because people will tell you what they want, they'll tell you what they need. But you need to be really listening, not just listening to what you think they're going to say. You need to actually bring your attention to what are they saying. Get interested and curious, notice body language, ask great questions, be flexible in the way you communicate. So all those skills, of course, are really essential for managers.

Beth Stallwood 00:11:18 – 00:11:50
It's really interesting, isn't it, about listening piece and how often we're not really listening when we think we are. We're waiting for them to say the answer that we're looking for. We're waiting for them to say something that we can connect with versus actually really deeply listening or understanding things from other people's perspectives. I love the way you say that a part of listening is actually asking great questions and maybe digging a little bit deeper into what people actually want to tell you.

Felicity Dwyer 00:11:50 – 00:12:38
Absolutely, and it's asking that question. It's almost like someone said something and rather than you immediately coming in with your viewpoint, it's asking, okay, I'd like to know a little bit more about that. For example, what's your idea of that deeper question? Just getting curious, what does somebody else think? We know what we think, but if you can get really interested in what someone else thinks, it helps you to understand people better. It also can spark ideas when you're really listening to someone. It might spark an idea that you wouldn't have come up with on your own. So you get that dynamic two way quality to communication which is where the magic really happens.

Beth Stallwood 00:12:38 – 00:13:24
I think there's something there, isn't there, about having in your toolkit some really great questions that you can ask and almost build in so that you don't do that automatic reaction with your answer or with your suggestion. I have one that I use all the time and obviously I trained as a coach, which is just, tell me more, just tell me more. I want to know more about that, whatever it is, and you allow people to tell more of their story, to go deeper into it, to share a bit more. Love that idea of really listening and getting a bit more under the skin of what's really going on for people and understanding them at a bit of a deeper level. Right, so we've done connecting with ourselves and connecting with other people. What else do we need to think about?

Felicity Dwyer 00:13:24 – 00:14:52
Well, the wider networks and communities element is more about thinking, who am I connecting with? Am I speaking to a lot of people who think the same way as I do, potentially have the same background as I do, in the same sector as I am? That's all fine, it's great to have connections that we really feel we've got a lot in common with, or we can talk the language of our field of work, but if we only connect with people that we really feel comfortable with or that we have a lot in common with, we lose out on that diversity or those different perspectives. So I think it's always important to think, who's in my network? Who do I need to speak to? What kind of conferences and events could I go to, to get new ideas or interesting ideas? So I think that's important too, for anyone to think about, where am I getting my ideas and inspiration from? Is it from a variety of channels or is it from perhaps rather a narrow channel? That's something I'm quite passionate about as well, is the idea of connecting with a diverse group of people. One of the reasons, to be honest, Beth, that I love what I do is because I get to interact, with a lot of managers, but also with very many other groups. It's working with different client groups and just getting the opportunity to hear different people's viewpoints.

Beth Stallwood 00:14:52 – 00:15:32
Fabulous. I think it's such an important point, isn't it? I don't know about you, but I think COVID didn't help with this. We can get stuck in our own worlds, in our own kind of channel, in our own expertise, in our own industry and our own team, in our own kind of friendship groups. If we can actually push ourselves out of our comfort zones a little bit and meet people who are from different industries, different perspectives, different backgrounds, have different opinions to us, what we are able to do is to really expand our thinking, to become more innovative, to become more creative, because we're allowing new and different ideas into our minds.

Felicity Dwyer 00:15:32 - 00:16:32
Yes absolutely and I think different people have different experiences but for me, the COVID period actually opened up opportunities because I never used to do much online and going online, I now work with clients in the United States, which I've never had the opportunity before. So it has in a way opened up opportunities as well. I think it's that thing about, there's always opportunities to be found if you're open to them and look for them. I appreciate my good fortune in many ways and being technically literate. COVID had many negative repercussions, but for many people it did also open up new ways of working, which has been positive in many ways and for many people.

Beth Stallwood 00:16:32 - 00:17:19
Maybe not so much on the physical, but on the digital side, we're able to communicate broader, wider, travel distance, all that kind of stuff becomes smaller and you're able to connect there. I think you're right that it's about if we seek out the opportunities, there's always something we can do. I know that a lot of people kind of dread the idea of networking, but actually when it comes to connecting with other people, you don't have to go to a networking event to be able to network with people, to be able to build relationships, to be able to build connections. You can do that one by one with your colleagues or your clients or different people that you meet in different circumstances. With things like hobbies and sports and all the other stuff that we do in life, there's potential for connection almost everywhere.

Felicity Dwyer 00:17:19 - 00:18:38
Absolutely there is and I think people worry about networking. Certainly, years ago I would have been terrified at the thought of going to a networking event. I think the thing that made the difference for me was the switch into not wanting to be interesting but being interested. What you do is you go to an event and you ask somebody about themselves and that just takes the pressure off you. If you do feel anxious about going to networking, set yourself little targets, like, I'm going to have three conversations and I'm going to find out about three people's businesses. So I'd have a little introduction for myself, I'd prepare something to say, but ultimately I would go in and think if I've had three conversations, I can go home. I've made some connections, but the key point is almost taking the focus a little bit off yourself and coming back to the listening, coming back to what are you interested in, what do you enjoy about your business, what are you looking for? Asking some of those questions and listening and being interested and it just takes the pressure off. Be interested in others rather than trying to be interesting.

Beth Stallwood 00:18:38 - 00:18:51
If you've gone with a couple of questions in your back pocket, ready to go with so that you don't feel pressurised in that situation, and maybe you've done a little bit of practice around, how would I introduce myself, you're probably be in a better position than you would be going in without any thought.

Felicity Dwyer 00:18:51 - 00:20:29
Yes, think of a few questions, have a few good ones. I love your ,tell me more question. When I go to networking events, I tend to have a question that I think is going to open up a positive response like, what do you enjoy about your business? It's quite an open question, so it tends to keep the energy up. For managers, you might want to be asking, what are you looking for from your career? How can I help you? What would you want? For me as a manager, it's those open questions that allow people to share what's on their mind. There's a little body of work, I don't know if you've come across, called clean language that I touch on in the book are a set of questions designed to be ultra open and reduce assumptions and presuppositions. So they're almost questions where you fill in the blank. So if somebody says, I'm interested in learning more about, I don't know, knitting or something, what kind of knitting? You're just asking about what they've asked about, you've just got a little format, but you're not putting in your own content, you're just opening up by asking more about what they've said. I find that quite a useful toolkit of questions to use in coaching.

Beth Stallwood 00:20:29 – 00:20:46
Because so often we put our own stuff into it, don't we? We go, oh, knitting, that fits into this box for me, so let's talk about this box, rather than, oh, actually knitting, tell me more about that or, why do you enjoy it.

Felicity Dwyer 00:20:46 – 00:20:48
I'm not sure where I came up with knitting that was random.

Beth Stallwood 00:20:48 – 00:22:11
There are a lot of people who are very into knitting or macrame or crafting of some description. For all of us, we fill in the blanks in our brains, don't we? We fill it in with our assumptions, the things that we think we know about them from what we've seen, if we don't know anything. That can cause us in some ways to be a bit judgmental sometimes about things, even if we're not attempting to be. So I love that idea of those kind of clean questions and really thinking about how do we dig deeper into what people have said versus what our assumptions are about what people have said. I think that's a really good skill to have when we're talking to people we don't know when we're trying to build that connection. Can I take us back for a bit, if you're okay to go back to this idea of kind of connecting with your body. I know that you do a lot of work in this area and that it brings you a lot of joy. I just wanted to kind of dig into that a little bit more because so often we get stuck in our heads and stuck in our minds. The stuff that goes on in our heads is not always 100% true. It's often, I think, taken out of proportion. And we create mountains where mole hills once stood. There's obviously a lot of theory in the world right now about kind of this embodiment stuff and getting out of your head and into your body and kind of trusting your body. I know a little bit about this because we had our little pre-chat, and I want to hear more about what you do to really connect with your body.

Felicity Dwyer 00:22:12 - 00:50:30
I think one thing I will say about the way you do it is individual. We're all different. I'll talk about my passion in a minute, but I'll just talk a little bit first about why it is so important, partly because when we are really in our bodies or in touch with physical sensations, things that are happening right now in the world, it brings us back into the present. You were talking about how we get caught up in what's in our minds, and it's not true. So often we're here, we're having a conversation with somebody and then part of us is thinking about something that happened earlier or what we might do later, and we're not actually here. Whereas if you connect with the feeling of the air temperature on your skin or just the physical feeling of your feet on the floor while you're in the process of connecting with that sensation, you are in the moment. Then your mind might go telling all sorts of things like, it's a bit cold, put the heating on, or whatever, and you're out of the body, you're into your mind. I think also there is wisdom that comes from the body in the form of sensations and I've talked about that little shiver that I felt, and I felt it again probably about three or four years ago when I trained as a near white belt teacher. So there is wisdom coming from your body, but you also need to be a little bit careful because you can get sensations in your body. Maybe they're nerves and they're not actually telling you something's wrong, they're just telling you feel a bit nervous about it, and you can attach labels to them but there's something about and if you tune into your body, you might feel something about like a quality of excitement, if you like that I have found is quite trustworthy in telling me, I'll say yes to this project or no to this project and it's different to nerves. It's a little bit hard to explain because it's a sensation but one that I've found quite reliable. So I do trust my body and I also think it's really important to marry logical decision making with also a little bit of that intuition and wisdom. You're not just sort of saying, oh yes, I feel this and I've got this gut feeling which may or may not be reliable, but that you're listening to that and you're also doing the logical thinking so it just adds to the resources you've got really.

Beth Stallwood 0024:47 – 00:24:51
So is it a combination? Is it another data point that we could listen and pay attention to?

Felicity Dwyer 00:24:51 - 00:24:59
Yes that is part of it, absolutely. That was well summarized.

Beth Stallwood 00:24:59 – 00:25:46
I'm just sitting here thinking, we all have sensations and emotions and things that happen all the time and sometimes we trust them, sometimes we don't trust them, sometimes we put too much weight on that kind of feeling. I don't want to do that but that feeling might be because we're scared versus because it's actually going to be a great thing. So I like the idea that it's not just feeling and it's not just logic, we pull those things together and we go, hang on a minute, where is the weight in this? What are we heading towards? What's the good stuff about this? Learning to understand where our emotions and our body and our sensations are right and where they might not get it right as well so that we have more evidence as to when to go with it and when not to.

Felicity Dwyer 00:25:46 - 00:27:04
I completely agree with that and it's encouraging me to think of times when I have ignored and forced myself logically into doing something and it hasn't been a good decision. It really is about marrying the two and of course when it comes to decision making, you can make a good decision and the outcome isn't what you wanted so a decision is not entirely dependent on the outcome but it's actually, with everything I had at my disposal at the time, was this a good decision? I think that's something as well because this is something I learned years ago, I think it was from Susan Jeffers book about not spending too much time and energy thinking about what might have been if you'd made a different decision or gone down a different route. So again, your mind can drive you mad, thinking oh if only I’d made a decision and it might be really work out, it might not, but it doesn't mean it wasn't a good decision or you didn't have something to learn from it that will enrich you in the future. So, again, I think it is coming back to the present, learn from the past, but don't live in the past.

Beth Stallwood 00:27:04 – 00:27:08
Don't let yourself be stuck because one time it didn't work out.

Felicity Dwyer 00:27:08 - 00:27:39
Or indeed tell yourself that, because you gave a presentation, for example, and you didn't do a great job, it doesn't mean you can never be a decent presenter. It just means that, you've got something to learn and got somewhere to go, somewhere to improve from. I do a lot of talks in presenting, and the first couple I did were appalling, and I was terrified and now I really love it. So I didn't let that put me off, but it did tell me, okay, you need to learn a bit more here.

Beth Stallwood 00:27:39 – 00:29:00
It's so funny when it comes to presenting and that kind of skill, it's one that often people don't they don't do it because they're nervous about it, but then they're worried that they're not good at it and my answer is always, well, you're never going to be good at something you've never tried. You have to kind of work through that process. We don't start and complete here. We start from working through it. It's interesting as I'm just really reflecting what you're saying about decision making. One of the things that I've tried to do over the years and I'm still not very good at it, is to try and take good and bad away from my decision making language and to make it more about neutral. Did I make the decision with the right information? Did I make a decision that was based on my values? Or did I make a decision that worked for me and for everyone else? Did I ignore any of my red flags? Because sometimes ignore them at your peril is what I would say about the red flags. You get that icky feeling. The icky feeling is for something, but actually trying to take this idea of good decision, bad decision. As you say, and I love the way you put it, is that the outcome doesn't determine whether the decision was good or not. The outcome is the outcome of whatever happens past the decision, but the decision is a decision. So it's a really interesting one. I'm thinking about decision making now. I've gone down a whole different path.

Felicity Dwyer 00:29:00 - 00:29:31
I do love what you said about taking the value judgment out of it as well and just reflecting on it. It's like reflecting on things as a learning experience, isn't it? Framing everything in, what can I learn from this, so that we can maybe improve, get better, do something next time and just thinking of something as rich data, rich information that we can learn from.

Beth Stallwood 00:29:31 – 00:29:37
The combination of both. Logical information and physical information and things we're feeling about, all of that stuff put together is a useful set of things to have.

Felicity Dwyer 00:29:37 - 00:29:40
Yes, definitely.

Beth Stallwood 00:29:40 - 00:29:50
You said you were going to tell us about your passion. Let's do it. I totally distracted us on a different path, but let's go back to it.

Felicity Dwyer 00:29:50 – 00:34:03
My passion is dance and movement and I'm using the word conscious dance, my latest phrase to sort of put it into a basket. The first time I came across this type of dance was over 25 years ago and it was a form of movement meditation, I suppose you'd call it, known as Five Rhythms, which was started by a New York dance shaman I would call her, Gabrielle Ross, and it's just wonderful. It's a guided process, so there's no steps to learn, but it takes you through what she calls a wave. So on one level it's a warm up and it's a cool down. It's a good structure for movement, but also it brings you into different ways. We move different emotions. You can tie it into different elements, like some parts are more flowing, like water, some parts are more fiery. So it sort of taps you into the richness of human experience as a metaphor. It also involves connecting with yourself because you're moving according to how the music feels. If you feel really tired or angry, you just move that out and move it through. In my experience, one of the best ways to work through emotions is to move through them. Also her method often incorporates, or her teachers incorporate, connection with other. So you might, for example, pair up with somebody and you move together, but you're trying to stay true to your own movement and be inspired by the other person, or you're witnessing their dance and then you're allowing them to witness yours, which can be quite challenging if you've never done this sort of thing before. But it's seeing and be seen and it's connecting in a different way to using words. It's just wonderful. You can't get it wrong and that's the wonderful thing about it. It's just about getting to know yourself, trying different ways of movement, being creative. There was an interesting piece of research which I've mentioned in the book actually, and it was about different types of dance and movement and apparently if you get involved in dance, that involves like set steps and learning steps, that helps you with logical thinking and free movement. Trying to be creative in the way you move can help with creative thinking. Obviously it can be good to bring the two together. Another form of this conscious movement, the one that I trained in myself as a teacher, is called NIA, and that does include steps. Again, it's more a kind of movement meditation than dance in some ways, but it feels like you're dancing. So that involves certain steps plus some free dance so it incorporates the two. One of the things that we learn in studying NIA is about the connection between the mind and the body. When you're learning a new routine of steps, for example, it feels logical when you think about it, but probably most people don't think about it too much. You're making new connections in the brain because in order for you to learn a step, your brain has to learn a pattern so that it can start to move your foot or move your arm in line with that particular part of the song eventually without doing too much thinking. When you're kind of just dropping into it and not having to consciously think about it, that's obviously when your brain has made that connection and learned the step. So it keeps you healthy, but it keeps the brain healthy as well as the body because it is a way of encouraging new brain connections. I'm going to stop now because I could talk about this stuff.

Beth Stallwood 00:34:03 - 00:36:30
I was going to say so number one, it sounds amazing and I really want to try it out. And this is the trouble. I get podcast guests on and I'm like, right, I want to do that, I want to do this. It's amazing. Sounds great. Number two, I was sitting here going, ah, that's really interesting, different types of dance, giving you different types of things. So I think I told you before, but I'll tell the listeners, I've recently, after 20 years of not doing it, 20 something years of not doing it, restarted ballet as a little hobby of mine. And it's really interesting because I really, really love it. I get loads from it, kind of physically and mentally, definitely both of those things. What I find really funny about it is because I did it for so long as a kid, I know what the teacher is telling me to do. Like, I understand everything and in my head I can do it and I'm like, oh, but my 40 something year old body isn't quite the same as it was when it was 15. There is a little bit of a difference in my body, but what's really fascinating for me right now and there's a real connection going on in my mind, so thank you for this one, is set steps and learning steps and ballet is very controlled and very logical and very process orientated I would say in its traditional format. I naturally veer towards the more creative mindset and one of the things I'm trying to develop in myself is like my focus and logic and kind of the sensible steps rather than the oooh, shiny new thing. Let's go do that. What's really interesting is I've been drawn back to ballet and I wonder if that's because my brain is looking for ways of that focus and logic and process to help me do it in that way. So that was just a real revelation I had in that moment. But I can also understand because I used to do lots of different types of dance, like the freedom of random movement and kind of the more expressive stuff. So that was the other thing I was thinking about. And then the third thing I was thinking about while you were talking about it is how animals know how to do this stuff already and how as humans we've kind of forgotten it in some way. I was just thinking about that whole emotions through your body and get them out physically and kind of move through them in that way. I'll look at my dog and she'll shake her body and then she’ll be ready for her next thing. She just shakes anything out and it's like a big old shake. Move on. I'm just wondering if that's some stuff that we've forgotten in our bodies to be able to help ourselves move through some of those things.

Felicity Dwyer 00:36:30 – 00:36:41
I think that's very true. I was thinking about when the cats do that beautiful cat stretch!

Beth Stallwood 00:36:41 - 00:36:52
My body knows how to do this, but it's totally forgotten because I've been stuck at a desk and sitting at a computer for my life.

Felicity Dwyer 00:36:52 - 00:38:09
And then we wonder why people do feel disconnected from their bodies and so forth when we're almost like, developing parts of our brain and the education system develops parts of our brain and then almost we have to consciously get in touch. Some people love exercise in the gym and so forth, but I think that a lot of the time it almost becomes, oh, I've got to go to the gym. Or that seems to be the cultural pressure, rather than, oh, what is the sort of exercise that I love. Our publisher, Alison, we know she loves to run and you love the ballet and walking the dog, so it's about what lights you up. It's not going to be the same for everybody, but what really lights you up. And the other thing I love doing is walking and when I walk, I don't listen to podcasts or anything. I really just have it as a time to be present and look at things and try and get out of my head a bit. So that's my other thing. Some people love to use it as time to listen to a podcast. I think this is when it comes back to that, connecting with yourself and knowing yourself, what are the things that I can do that are good for mind, body and spirit, really, that give me joy, but that are also healthy or also good for my brain?

Beth Stallwood 00:38:09 - 00:38:52
I know, the days I don't go for a walk are the days that I'm definitely not as good mentally. So I think those things, they're not disconnected, are they? That whatever you do physically is going to have an impact mentally and vice versa. So how do we that connection understanding what works for you. So no listeners, not all of you are going to want to do ballet and not all of you are going to want to do interpretive dance. I love a bit of that stuff, but not everyone does that. But you might like to kick a football around or go and do a run or go and do some kind of team based sport or go for a swim or whatever it is. Remembering that that physicality does something for your brain as well is an important thing.

Felicity Dwyer 00:38:52 – 00:39:15
Your brain is a physical thing, part of your body, and I’m not going to say anymore because we could talk about this for hours, but cognitive decline in older people is linked to lack of activity. I'm getting to the stage where that is not now a distant me.

Beth Stallwood 00:39:15 - 00:39:46
Oh, that's getting closer. So keeping ourselves physically connected and understanding that there is a link both ways between our brains and our bodies and our bodies and our brains and really working out how we can use that to our best ability in line with also thinking about our values and what's important to us and how we connect with other people and how we show up and what questions we ask and how we listen. All of these things come together as a big package of stuff.

Felicity Dwyer 00:39:46 – 00:40:46
They do, yes. You've summarized it all beautifully. I think with the framework, my Connecting and 3D framework, I was trying to fit this into some sort of coherent whole because that's the key thing. Everything is interconnected and sometimes it's not a bad thing, it's got its benefits but our societal sort of approach, the academic approach, is almost like to pull things apart and separate them so they can be studied and then we lose the interconnections and the holistic element. Of course we see this in every level, whether it comes to the environment with the climate, or whether it just comes to us as individuals and our internal environment and how that works with the team and the environment of an organization and the environment of a family. I mean, it's just everywhere.

Beth Stallwood 00:40:46 – 00:41:20
Just sitting here thinking about even just the education system, you're taught history and science and maths all separately, but actually they're all part of the same thing, aren't they? If you connected economics to history and what forces got you into geography. Everything is connected, but we disconnect it and we put things into nice neat boxes, but actually the world doesn't exist in nice neat boxes. Reconnecting.

Felicity Dwyer 00:41:20 - 00:42:13
It’s the interconnections between things that matter. So where can we look at the connections and just to bring it back to a simple dynamic of a conversation, the magic is in the interconnection between, I listen to you and that sparks a thought in me, and it's in that interconnection that something new is created. So I find that really exciting and enjoy conversations like this because they spark ideas and different ways of articulating and hearing some things reflected back and different perspectives. To me, that's where the joy of a conversation is. It isn't just about, I've got something to say and you're going to listen to me. It's about, I've got something to say and I want to hear what you think and that dynamic element again.

Beth Stallwood 00:42:13 – 00:42:52
Sometimes just having a conversation helps you fill in the blanks or it helps you connect things together, or it helps you look at things from a different angle. So it's like what you just said about ballet being about the logical side of that. That's why I'm drawn to it at the moment. I understand it more now and I think that's the great part of talking and connection and working with other people, isn't it? Right, I'm going to move us on because we could talk all day about all of this stuff, for sure, but I'm going to move us on to some quick fire questions. Are you ready? All right, here we go. So, for you personally, what is always guaranteed to bring you a little bit of work joy?

Felicity Dwyer 00:42:52 - 00:43:53
My thinking on this, it's when I'm working with a group, and most commonly I'm working with small groups. So when facilitating I'm either just facilitating discussions between people or I'm in more of a trainer mode, where I'm bringing in some content, but then facilitating discussion. It's when a group gels, it's when people are sort of working together. If it's within an organization, it's when people say something like, oh, I didn't realize what interesting knowledgeable team members I had, and I think, oh, that's great, because it's just knowing that I've helped to facilitate an environment where people are learning with and from each other. Sometimes your role in doing that is a little bit invisible because you're not pushing yourself forward, but you're just helping that, asking the questions, putting in structures that bring people in. So when I know I've done that well that gives me a little bit of work joy, that makes me feel yeah, I love what I do.

Beth Stallwood: 00:43:53 - 00:43:58
I love that. Brilliant. Question number two. What book are you currently reading?

Felicity Dwyer 00:43:58 - 00:45:21
I'm excited for this question because I've just started it, but it's a book called The Master and His Chemistry by Ian McGilchrist, and I believe he was initially a professor of literature, I think, and then he trained as a doctor and psychiatrist, so he's very eminent. His field of study is the left brain and the right brain and the way they work together. A lot of what's popularly believed about left brain and right brain is completely incorrect. However, the two sides of the brain are very different, working in very different ways. Where I find him interesting, obviously he's going to talk about science, I'll know a lot more about it when I read the book, but also the impact on the culture of thinking that's perhaps more dominant by one hemisphere or another. Certainly he will argue, I think, that the left hemisphere way of thinking and perceiving is probably more dominant in our culture. So I think this is going to be interesting. Philip Pullman, I know, has rated this book very highly and I have a lot of regard for Philip Pullman, so I'm very excited about that book.

Beth Stallwood 00:45:21 - 00:45:44
It's really interesting because the title rings a bell and I think somebody else recently has recommended it to me and I have a thing if people recommend it, just go buy it and give it a go and see what it's like. So thank you for that recommendation. I'm going to pop it on my wish list. Right, question three. What is one bit of advice that you have been given by somebody in your lifetime that you always find yourself coming back?

Felicity Dwyer 00:45:44 - 00:46:21
There were a couple here, but the one I'm going to pick, because it's really relevant to what we talked about, is this quote from Gabrielle Roth and her idea about the fastest way to still your mind is to move your body. The idea that if my brain is going to overdrive, which it can easily do, I need to get out there and move or put on some music and dance or something like that, because I can’t think myself very quickly out of overthinking but once I start to move I can.

Beth Stallwood 00:46:21 - 00:46:51
You can’t think yourself out of overthinking because that's more thinking to add to the overthinking. I love that. It's a great quote and it's one that I think I need to kind of remember when I do get into those overthinking states, and I think many of us do, and actually just move your body and see what happens is usually a good idea. Love that. Right, question four. What is one super practical bit of advice that you would like to give to our listeners that you think would enable them to get a bit more work joy today, tomorrow, the next day, something they can really practically do?

Felicity Dwyer 00:46:51 - 00:48:11
Yes, I've got something and they can do this the next conversation they have. It's about just about listening, really, and the couple of things that I find really helpful when going into a conversation and listening better, whether it's a networking event or just having a chat with a colleague. It's firstly the intention to listen, just remind yourself that, oh, I really want to listen to this person because I've noticed myself that if I just remind myself and go in with the intention to listen, well, it just seems to make a difference. It's almost like I want to remind myself because our default is often not to listen as we've talked about. The other thing that helps me to stay interested in the conversation is something that I call gentle curiosity. So it's not a nosiness, it's not like asking lots of questions that put people on the spot, but it is just being interested. I wonder how she sees this, I wonder how she thinks, I wonder how he feels. So it's just being interested in them and trying to keep that curiosity going when you feel like, oh, I want to say something now, it's just being interested a little bit longer. Where is she going with this idea? So they're just two small things that I think can help you to be a better listener and get more joy out of listening to somebody and connect with someone.

Beth Stallwood 00:48:11 - 00:48:52
I love those two simple things. Actually reminding yourself of your own intent is a great thing to do and it doesn't take very long or very much effort, does it? You remind yourself, I want to listen here and your brain will allow yourself to do it because you've stated your intent. And as a person who is quite nosy, I like to know what's going on with people. I feel like gentle curiosity would be a better term for that in me. But also I have a podcast so I get curious about with people all the time, but I love the idea of just keep it going and keep being interested and see where that gets you to. Love it. And then final question from me is where can people find out more about you and your work?

Felicity Dwyer 00:48:52 - 00:49:50
Thank you. Beth? I've got a website which is that's got information about all the sort of training facilitation services that I offer and you can find things on there. I'm on LinkedIn and Instagram, most active on LinkedIn and of course, if people are interested in Crafting Connection and all the ideas there, it's available from all good bookshops and it hopefully brings a wide range of ideas, it's got some really practical tips in every chapter that people can do to implement the ideas. I've also put together a craft kit with workbooks and audio, so just some recordings to support the book as well so that's something that readers can download. If there's someone who likes a workbook, I do. like me because I'd like to scribble things down.

Beth Stallwood 00:49:50 - 00:50:26
Like me because I like to scribble things down. I love that. Great. So we will put those links to your website and to your LinkedIn and to the wonderful book Crafting Connection into the show Notes, so that people can click on straight through. Thank you so much, Felicity, for coming on and talking all about you, your work and connection and all of the wonderful advice there. I think I'm going to be really thinking a lot about the, if you're stuck in your head, go move and see what happens, bit of advice. I think it's a great bit. Thank you so much.

Felicity Dwyer 00:50:26 - 00:50:31
Thank you, Beth. It's been a delightful conversation so thank you for inviting me on.

Beth Stallwood 00:50:31 – 00:53:45
Well, a huge thank you to Felicity Dwyer for joining me today on the WorkJoy Jam podcast. It's always great to have discussions and to have those moments where you take something and go, oh, that's just connected something in my mind for me and now I understand this a little bit better. Isn't that one of the joys and the beauties of talking to different people and getting some of those things into a conversation rather than in our heads? So many takeaways, I think, to listen to from Felicity and a couple that I'm going to really think about are this idea of connecting with ourselves first and really understanding ourselves and doing the work where we know what our triggers are, we know what we get excited about, we know where that joy sits. I'll just remind you here while I'm saying it, if you're struggling to understand where you get your work joy from or what's causing you the gloom, on the website head to the Freebies. There is a free download that is called Workjoy: Where do you get Yours? It will help you track and understand and reflect on where you're getting your joy from so that can be a really good place to start if you want to do some connecting with yourself and understanding things. And this idea that actually in connection with other people, we need to be thinking about being better listeners, being gently curious. I think maybe I need to be a bit more gentle and a little bit less nosy, that's a work in progress for me. Then thinking about widening our network and the people we talk to, really considering stepping out of our comfort zone, out of the box that we put ourselves into and meeting different, interesting, wonderful humans and getting to know them. If you're scared of that networking thing, which many, many people are, is to have a couple of questions ready and to be prepared for it so that you don't feel like you're walking in and you don't know what to say. Also some great advice here around the movement side of life and I know for sure that I am a person that gets stuck in my head sometimes and I know that if I don't do my daily practices of going for a walk or doing some exercise or doing something in my body, that gets worse. So finding whatever it is, whatever type of movement and Felicity's one sounds amazing. Whatever type of movement works for you, making sure we build that into our days and to do it for our minds, not necessarily just for our bodies, but realizing that there is that connection. And this idea that when we're making decisions to be able to bring together the logic, the information, the data points and the intuition, the feelings, the emotions, the gut feel stuff and using all of those data points, not just the logical ones to be able to help us make decisions that are right and feel right and enable us to do the things that we want to do. So a huge thank you to Felicity for joining us. As I said, all of her links will be in the show notes, so go and click on through and get connected with Felicity. Thank you so much for listening to the WorkJoy Jam. We have lots of episodes, I think we're at nearly 100 now, so do go back and listen to different ones. Remember to subscribe to it so that you always get the latest one into your queue and do leave us a review. If it's something that you have been enjoying, we would love to hear from you and if there's anything that we can do better, we'd love to hear that too. Thanks all and speak soon.

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