Post of the month
The grace of imperfection
Human genius is being able to talk about the same thing in a myriad different ways. Here are the words Brené Brown uses to describe what we endeavour to share during our courses: “our vulnerability is our power, our flaws are our gifts”.
In a nutshell, her social science studies have led her to tease out the principles of a fulfilling life, based on thousands of interviews with private individuals [ordinary citizens]. And what it comes down to is developing courage, compassion and connections to others. According to her, we need to show ourselves as we are, rather than play the roles we’re expected to play. Daily practice of this “philosophy” quickly brings to a halt our quest for perfection, our strategies to avoid anything painful or uncomfortable, or our propensity to want safety nets before we attempt anything. In other words, Brené Brown invites us genuinely to embrace our imperfections and uncertainty, because in order to smell the incomparable fragrance of the rose, we must be willing to prick our fingers…
In a memorable presentation, she argues that this openness enables us to create a unique way of communicating, of connecting with others by talking about what matters to them – our personal stories of adventures in overcoming obstacles.
We could very well continue to believe we have inadequacies [shortcomings]. Or we can choose to think instead that they are unique qualities that we need to accept to discover their beauty, to see their strength in us and their usefulness for others.
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re supposed to be and Embrace Who You Are, Brené Brown, Hazelden, 2010.
Performer of the month
The call of the wild
Stuck for an idea for a hook? Think out of the box. Think like Jane Goodall. Look into what you know best: yourself and your environment.
It happened to them first
The cure for interruptions
“During most of the presentations I give to clients, I am frequently interrupted so that I end up discussing a variety of topics in an improvised way, instead of being able to build my argument in a structured and convincing way.” Does this sound familiar? That’s probably because, at the moment, your presentations are not doing their job properly… So here is our advice: design presentations that are so captivating that your audience will not even think of interrupting you!
A reminder: start with a hook that makes your listeners impatient to hear what comes next. Follow this with an introduction that includes the situations or issues that they routinely encounter. Then in the body of your talk, make sure you answer every single question your audience might ask if they hadn’t attended your presentation.
In summary, an audience has every right to get restless if they’re not interested in what’s being said. If, however, you start with something unexpected, talk about them and their problems and, furthermore, you offer solutions to most of what’s on their mind then… any grounds for interrupting will melt away as if by magic!
Be bold: become fascinating.
And what else?
What is la sprezzatura? It’s a term borrowed from the Italian aristocracy that expresses all that style, personality and self-awareness can enable you to accomplish. Behaving with sprezzatura means achieving without apparent effort, making success look easy.
The phrase, used in the world of fashion, suggests a certain nonchalance, a touch of casualness, a sophisticated composure. Attaining la sprezzatura and giving an impression of obvious mastery can paradoxically only be achieved through hard work.
The expression seems to define beautifully today’s presenter. A relaxed yet sophisticated individual, capable of asserting her style and identity without ostentation nor excess, in an unaffected way. La sprezzatura is this confidence built through years of work, this certainty that you’ve got what it takes to succeed and that allows you to look relaxed, secure and at ease with yourself.
Najberg Milne news
Thriving under pressure
Everything you thought you knew about stress has been turned on its head by recent research. On our stress management course, we discover it’s not just a primitive fight-or-flight response characterised by a deluge of harmful hormones wreaking havoc on our mental and physical health. For example, the stress response also includes the strong survival impulse to connect with and help others. Finding ways to do this in the workplace drastically reduces stress, increases engagement and creates resilience.
Far from fearing stress, how about learning to use it to actually improve our lives, our performance and our wellbeing?
Najberg Milne: Thriving under Pressure
The link of the month
Oneself, quite simply
Being serious about the work, without taking oneself seriously… Having enough self-confidence and inner strength to shake things up, while sensing where the boundaries are, to lead with firmness but without rigidity, with focus yet without obsession.
For 8 years, the USA has been led by an exceptional man. If the most powerful man on the planet is able to use humour and wit to put his ideas forward, if he’s able, fearlessly, to be himself before the whole world, then what’s holding us back?
Take a look at the clip starting at 31:31…
Sean Connery was cast as Agent 007 not via an audition, but because one of the producers had watched him walk down the street as he left the studio: a determined stance, long strides, his chest out, his head held high, his gaze sharp. While the way we hold ourselves physically isn’t everything, it expresses – and in turn affects, in a fascinating neurophysiological feedback loop – the way we face the world. Why not be the James Bond of our own lives?