I cannot wait to tell you all about the training I went to in the US last week!
I’m a highly visual person. My brain works like those scenes in The Lego movie when the master builders start making new creations. Often it feels like things are just floating around and then the missing piece is discovered and then suddenly –click, click, click – it all comes together.
I’ve been feeling on the verge of that sort of all-clicking-together sensation for months. Last year I listened to this podcast on the Personal Leadership framework for working across cultures on the Tandem Nomads podcast. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard of PL before – it combines all the different sectors of my professional experience and it also aligns brilliantly with my personal spiritual and world view. As I learned more about the PL method, I knew that I wanted to become trained as a facilitator and begin integrating the work into my personal and professional life.
Finally, last week I attended the Personal Leadership Training of Facilitators program on Whidbey Island in Washington State.
I’m so excited about this that I find it a little bit challenging to find the words!
Perhaps it’s best to simply sum up what PL is.
The Personal Leadership framework was originally created in the mid-90s by three intercultural trainers/educators who felt that the individuals with whom they worked needed a better way to handle the challenges of intercultural communication. They found that being kind and smart and interculturally competent wasn’t necessarily enough to give people the tools they needed to deal with complex problems in culturally complex settings. So they set about developing a set of guiding principles and practices to help people.
Perhaps the primary context for PL is not that it’s simply something we do at work or with a particular team or group of people in a designated setting. PL is a framework that you can use across your life. PL is supported by two foundational principles – mindfulness and creativity. It is based on the assumption that paying attention to the world around us and approaching challenges from a place of creativity can guide us to making better decisions. Establishing these principles as the way in which we engage with the world enables us to engage from our highest and best selves.
This is something that seems obvious, but one of the things I’ve often run into as a coach is that knowing this and actually doing it can be incredibly difficult for people. The creators of PL recognized this as well and so they established some practices that could help people get to this point. These practices are based on research in multiple fields including – leadership development, intercultural communication, positive psychology and whole-person self-development, among other areas.
Personal Leadership is put into action through the practice of 6 simple tools – Attending to Judgment, Attending to Emotion, Attending to Physical Sensation, Cultivating Stillness, Engaging Ambiguity and Aligning with Vision.
Our training was designed to help us learn how to integrate the PL practice into our own personal and professional experience and to give us tools, activities and a framework for bringing these practices to the people we serve.
As I mentioned before – it was awesome!
The highlights for me were:
- The incredibly well done integration of the personal and professional aspects of PL. I’ll admit my one hesitation before registering for the training was that the spiritual nature of the practice (no doubt there is one) would detract from the training platform. In other words, despite being a very spiritual, somewhat dreamy person myself, I worried that there wouldn’t be enough science, research, fact or practical application to support the training. It’s not that I didn’t think PL was based on those things….I just wondered how you could successfully bring both. Our training team did an exceptional job with this. In the sense of content – this was classic training format. There was a lot of play, but we were there to work. We were held accountable and we had things we were required to do – most importantly, to show up fully.
- The combination of multiple learning formats throughout each training day. This was key to supporting us in being fully present with tons of information. There was never a dull moment. In fact, I’d say it’s the first training I’ve ever been to where I don’t remember feeling bored at one point or another. I was never bored. Every moment was thought provoking and engaging.
- The people. It’s probably not surprising that the Personal Leadership framework attracts people you’d like to be around. This training brought together incredibly thoughtful, insightful, smart and reflective people. There was so much humor and camaraderie combined with real reflection on everything from personal experience to social justice. The space felt really safe. I love my fellow participants. It’s one of those moments where you realize if you’d never had the experience you’d never know these people…admittedly I have those experience a lot in this lifestyle. This one was particularly special.
- Also, the Whidbey Institute is incredible! Being close to nature, eating from the earth and having so much stillness enriched our learning and, for me, was very much needed after 18 months in the world’s largest city.
Really I could say so much more…but I’ll wrap up here…
This is amazing work and I’d be thrilled to have you along on the journey.
UPDATE: I’m now a recognize Senior Facilitator in Personal Leadership. You can learn more about my work in Personal Leadership and Mindfulness with individuals, groups and organizations here. I’m also incredibly happy to be offering 3 online courses in mindfulness and Personal Leadership.
Wow Jodi, Thanks for this terrific write up on Personal Leadership!!!
Thank you Gordon!
Hi Jodi – I’m finally (finally!) taking a moment to read this. It’s wonderfully evocative of our time together, and great to read here about what most stood out to you. Please know that it was a very deep pleasure to have you in the learning community. Your presence greatly contributed to what we all co-cocreated.
Thank you Barbara! The pleasure is all mine! I am thrilled to be on this PL journey and looking forward to deep and thoughtful learning ahead.
Jodi..We have not met YET and to say I am also sooo appreciative of your interest, your joy and you spreading the word to the world abut PL. We are more than gratified to have you be part of the community. I assume you are in Tokyo..there are people there connected to Japan SIETAR who know of PL. I can give you a connection if you wish. And it might be of interest to you to know that in 2009?? Gordon and I did a PL foundation in Tokyo, under the sakura I recall!!
Hi Sheila. Thank you! I look forward to meeting you some day and it is my pleasure to share PL. It has really spoken to me and I feel so happy to be on this journey. Katusko and I have been talking and I do know that there is a PL community here. The biggest challenge I face is my language skills. I have everyday Japanese, but definitely not enough for deeper conversations. However, I would love to have some contacts – please do share them via email. I would be delighted to connect with others. And you’d be happy to know the sakura are fabulously in bloom right now. I just finished a lovely morning run with the gently rain of sakura blossoms filling the air around me. 🙂