Every morning when we wake up, we make a choice: an unconscious response from fear that drives us deeper into a dream state or a more conscious response driven from freedom to evolve into what life is asking from you.
The practices that unlock this inner (r)evolution is Self-Awareness, the focus of our conversation with Veronica Love, the Global CEO of the Newfield Network. Veronica has led Newfield’s signature Coaching for Personal and Professional Mastery program for 18 years, in 8 countries, and in two languages.
She has trained leaders coaches from organizations including NASA, Google, Fortune 50 Consulting Firm, Nike, and IBM. Ashish is a testimonial to this amazing work that opens up possibilities.
How does she do this?
Veronica powerfully integrates linguistic, emotional, and somatic awareness to foster potent learning environments, equipping coaches and leaders with the capacity to generate transformative and sustainable change in their clients and organizations.
Veronica talks through two models that allow one to develop their self awareness.
What resonates is the difference between remaining asleep or setting aside the time to become aware and emotionally agile.
We love to ask our guests: What does happiness mean to you?
That is such a gorgeous question. What really comes to my heart when you say that is one of the happiest moments in my own life when I connect to that moment of profound joy. I’m thinking about when I was pregnant. After about 20 hours of labor right, my daughter was born and when she arrived the very first time that I gazed into her eyes. There was such an explosion of joy. That just coursed through my whole being and it was this simultaneous stillness and expansion in that moment and I think that’s one of the deepest moments of joy that I’ve encountered so when I connect with your question around “What is happiness?” I think at the heart of happiness is joy which for me is a profound connection and it’s a profound connection. It can be in this case with another human that just came into this glorious world. It can be a joy that emerges when we deeply connect to our own humanity and our own hearts or with nature. There’s some communion that arises that puts us in contact with this virtue of joy.
“Connection is also a dissolution of these hard self imposed boundaries that we often create. This huge identity of me and we connect to something that is divine which is all around us.”
You have spent your life and touched more lives helping people become more self-aware in how they see the world and become better observers of self. Share more about the importance of self-awareness and why you dedicated your life towards helping people wake up.
Self-awareness where we are in connection to everything is a bit of a misnomer because it has the sense that it is just me, myself and I that is becoming aware. I find that many of us never learned basic human skills, so in our education for the bulk of us is that we weren’t taught the beauty of really being human. Self-awareness is the cultivation of becoming aware of our own practice of seeing deeply and if we recognize ourselves as a profound wholeness. So we’re moving into more contact with greater wholeness.
One of my favorite quotes by Oscar Wilde, is
“Things are because we see them, and what we see, and how we see it, depends on the Arts that influenced us. To look at a thing is very different from seeing a thing. One does not see anything until one sees its beauty. Then, and then only, does it come into existence.”
Meaning our own being and every being we encounter, so the practice of awareness is that we connect and see that wholeness. We’re often taught that there’s something wrong with Us. We’re not enough. We have to hide these aspects of ourselves.
When we look at it, we recognize that it’s the wholeness that has gone through a challenge and we’re struggling through something. We’re always on this unfolding and this path of exploration and fundamentally the core of our existence is wholeness and tremendous beauty. For us to be able to experience the challenges of life and see possibilities when we frame it and experience it from a place of Wholeness radically alters our experience of aliveness.
How does one go about developing the practice of self-awareness?
Self-awareness is an ongoing practice. We never fully arrive like, “Oh, I’ve landed and now I have nothing to do.” Rather, it is an ongoing practice. On this journey of practicing awareness, one element that I think is so essential is to be in good company. Know who your partners are in crime. Do we have a community of learners? Do we have folks that we can count on to reflect with us because we will always be blind and every single one of us has blindness or an area that we do not see or have yet to discover.
People can illuminate aspects that we would never see on our own. True relationships and friendships are where people can point to things that we would otherwise miss.So there’s an element of recognizing the value of being in relation to others.
The second piece is you know there are 10,000 practices out there in this universe and they’re all amazing. What really resonates with your being in this moment in time? Some practices don’t resonate, as they do not work for us. Later, we discover that they do or the next season they’re really valuable and so the beauty is that there’s such a wide array of practices.
To actually put in the commitment and the dedication to say you know for this time I’m choosing this one or these 2 practices as a way to commit to some rhythm and to some commitment of time that we dedicate to ourselves and the other. Part of it is curiosity and compassion.
I think that is the aspiration that is at the heart and center of the work that you know and what we are doing at happiness squad. The Happiness Squad masterclass and community that we’re building to Veronica’s exact words is a community of learners, teachers and, most importantly, practitioners. It’s an invitation to show up with others who are like-minded who are constantly looking to discover and practice.
It is a lifelong journey. That’s why it’s called a practice. It’s not called a skill that you know. Yes, now I am a black belt and I’m good right? No, it is something that you practice by the way most black belts practice every day. You’re a lifelong learner.
What might work for you today might not be what actually serves you tomorrow. There might be something else depending on where you are right now. So, engage, listen, and practice. Don’t just listen and read. Putting it into practice into your life to become more self-aware. Continue actually increasing and going deeper and deeper into our whole being.
Tell us more about the two models that you leverage through the Newfield Network
Newfield is looking for new ways of learning. And it is about a term I love: radical revision. It’s a radical revision of learning and an invitation for us to shift from a focus on our past.
We utilize a few models to really help us in this capacity to strengthen our capacity to be leaders. Of our own life and the organizations that we’re a part of the communities that we’re a part of and the services that we want to give to the world. One of our models is the O – A – R. The O is about what we’ve already been talking about in terms of awareness. How do we observe and the way in which we observe is not innocent right? It’s not just a neutral everybody observes the same way.
When we notice how we’re observing, that is at the heart of the work that we do so we observe and then from that observation we take action. It could be a methodology. It could be a practice. We take action and then we obtain certain results. And when we’re not satisfied with our results. Our tendency is to inquire and to shift in the realm of action and that can be wonderful. But often the shift that we see that’s available and action is limited.
The invitation is to rather than simply change our actions, I’m going to work longer, more hours. I’m going to work harder, more of the same is to actually look at the observer and when we shift. In the realm of how we’re observing life in ourselves all of a sudden that small limited range of possible actions expands tremendously and so now we have all. Expand possibilities expand what worlds we are co-creating.
How do you truly observe your observer for whom there’s a set of actions available that are not working and keeping you stuck in the same place.
I love what you said when we’re stuck and going through a transition, a divorce, a death or a financial crisis, we cannot level up to the vision that we have when we’re in that space. We’re in this place that we do not know how to navigate. We yell more and listen less. We become more entrenched in the patterns that we’ve already developed. So the OAR model then invites us to look at how well we observe and recognize that our observer is individual.
The second model is focused on the observer: the BEL model which creates a very simple way of becoming aware of how we both see and observe the world.
The B is for our body recognizing that we’re just we’re not just cognitive human beings. We’re not solely rational. We have a rational aspect, but that is only one part of many. The body has been excluded from how we learn and so to integrate this aspect of self is to say that I am always in my body.
The E is for emotion. Emotions put us into action and movement, they are not something fluffy. We recognize that when we’re anchored, we enjoy the actions that we take that become available which are so different than if I am in depression, resentment, anger or frustration. When we become emotionally literate and agile, we recognise that this also impacts how I’m engaging in conversations in relationships in my organization. Emotions become a critical center point to examine, observe and cultivate.
The third area is “L’ for Language . Most of us are like a little fish in water. We do not even recognise that we use our language and traditionally we have thought of language as simply a way to describe – I say red shirt and then we we know that is a thing out there. But, what many of us are not in contact with is that language is generative. Language has this power to shape the future which is phenomenal. It’s an incredible thing that can happen. It’s magical.
I begin to look at all of these elements: body, emotion and language to see how I am observing in this moment.
I admire this notion of how these 3 elements together to create a unique observer. I often note with language that we also have belief of what is right and wrong. What is good and bad. The work that you, Julio and so many others write and work that you have done as coaches in the world around this notion of waking up to the unique observer had not come to me. I would like to read a poem from Rumi. The work you’re doing is a way for people to actually not just understand it cognitively and feel it, but actually put it into practice because you are helping people do that. Here is the poem called The Great Wagon:
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. Ideas, language, even the phrase each other doesn’t make any sense. The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep. You must ask for what you really want. Don’t go back to sleep. People are going back and forth across the doorsill where the two worlds touch. The door is round and open. Don’t go back to sleep.”
By being our own designers of language, we generate moods and body to create better, kinder, and happier worlds more connected with more meaning.
Could you share a story of a personal transformation or an example of common themes that prevent people from developing their self-awareness. The themes may be similar or different, as your work has spanned the globe and you’ve been very fortunate to work with people in different settings.
Some of the things that keep us from really working with our capacity to observe and our awareness is one that I would call our villains. They’re often hidden. They’re very sneaky and one of them is our attachment to being right. I’ve got this – I’m right, right? My perspective is the correct one.
There is often a shutting down and shying away from curiosity when we’re really in that place of “I know what I already know” and and not only do I know, but also I am correct. I believe that is something that often takes us away from being curious and to say, “oh, I hadn’t thought about it.” It is just the sense of openness and curiosity.
The sense of, “Well, that’s just the way I am.” This belief as I mentioned earlier around language. If I’m feeling, “That’s the way I am,” then I immediately close the possibility for change, evolution or movement. I would like to say that we are a process, we are a verb, we are becoming and in that we have the possibility to change. Maybe that’s the way I was a moment ago, but how will I show up in this new moment? I believe When we believe very strongly that “that’s just the way I am,” I do not do that. Right? We disengage from really cultivating our capacity to become aware and to observe.
The other one that I think is huge right now is “I have no time to learn.” I don’t have time, right? I got to get on to the next thing, the next meeting, the next whatever it may be. We don’t have time, and as soon as we say we don’t have time, that hurts not only ourselves, but also what becomes possible for the future and how we want to engage in life.
One of my favorite stories is about a student from a handful of years ago. She was one of the eldest people we’ve ever had in our program – close to 80 at the time. After the end of our program nine months later, she said, “My life is filled with possibilities!” That made my heart sing that no matter how far along we are in life we can see life as discovery!
Life is discovering that at 80 years old that she would hold her life in the space of sheer possibility and I asked myself what happens when leaders, when people who are in positions of influence can invite everyone to be in the space of what is possible. What can be discovered and secondly how can I be of service?.
When we come into contact with our own authenticity and that deeper drive that comes from the heart not of ambition but of simply of this deep generosity that comes from that wellspring of joy that is gorgeous.
What are 1 or 2 tips that you would share with our listeners as your parting thoughts on how they can truly unlock their full potential and wake up into their full breadth of possibilities
On around unlocking potential, I’m going to reiterate what I said in the beginning which is connect to the community.
It’s our potential collectively to be part of the community. Whatever communities work for you, engage with others.
Can we orient ourselves to the goodness in every human we encounter from a place of curiosity. Life is discovery and if we look at the etymology of the word conversation, it means turning towards it coming together. My perspective is amplified when I am in dialogue in conversation and truly take in and listen. Our compassion and our hearts expand because we can hold as legitimate each person’s perspective and views and I think we’re at a critical time where we need to learn how to honor different views that aren’t necessarily our own.
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