Last week, transformation work brought me and a colleague back to France. Specifically in Paris this time. The previous time was ages ago. That now feels like a different lifetime. What struck me was that I totally forgot how beautiful the city is. Paris, early spring, with the sun a bit tentatively playing around, people enjoying themselves on heated terraces.
The Parisians were very hospitable, friendly and helpful. For instance, the owner of the Hotel we stayed at saved our car from being towed away. We parked it illegally to offload some luggage and within minutes a piece of paper was under the windshield wipers and the towing car already passed once to see if the car was still there. Had the hotel owner not taken action, we would have been in trouble. We gratefully bought a bottle of French wine for him which he accepted saying that this was not necessary. He was right, and it was also not necessary for him to save our car form being towed.
We went to Paris to meet with a CEO of a French bank and one of his executives. Again my expectations, which I will not share here, could not have been further away from my experience. The conversation was very open, inspiring and sharing lot’s of mutual experiences. We spoke English since my French is not good enough to speak French. We all gained so much energy from the meeting, wonderful.
After the meeting we went and saw some of Paris’ treasures and enjoyed the Gastronomie Francaise. The day after we planned a coaching conversation at another client which was very open, meaningful and valuable. Truly transformational for all people present. Amazing how people can create a trusting relationship within minutes/hours, even across cultures and languages.
After this, I drove back home in just under 5 hours. Amazing how close Paris actually is, I intend to be back for more transformation work in France.
Transformation is happening (to us) all the time, we just need to be aware to notice it.
Paris, merci beaucoup. Je reviendrais et entre-temps, j’ai l’intention d’apprendre á parler Francais.
I’m so thankful for the last 2.5 days! Yet another leap. These last 2 years together with Reinoud and Arjen have changed my life.
It is not that my environment has changed – my friends, my family, my colleagues – they are as they were. But the way I see the world – “my world” – has changed. It’s so beautiful, there is so much grace in it.
Thank you for that gift.
PS The picture is taken at the grounds where it all happened…Castle Vaalsbroek, The Netherlands.
How do you explain transformation to someone? I mean plain and simple personal transformation. Not how organisations change into digital ways of doing business. No. First I did this, then I did that. First, I was like this, then like that. I felt like so, then like such about something.
The first time I took my firstborn out for a stroll in the park, he was eight days old. He was warmly tucked under my long overcoat, as it was a fresh April day. I looked him in the eye, felt his warmth and knew, or rather, realised something in my life, in me, had changed and would never be the same again. I would take care of this little one forever. My root perspective shifted from being at the center of my world to feeling responsible for others.
My first paycheck, in my first proper job. I remember looking at it for minutes. It meant not being financially dependent on my parents anymore. I was happy for them, and for me. From now on, I would stand on my own two legs and support myself. Finally, I was a true grown-up.
My father was diagnosed with cancer. We took care of him during his last weeks. I discovered a side of myself I never knew I had. So patient. He suffered from dementia and thought he had to go to the toilet every ten minutes. Sixty times a day, off we went. And back. Days on end.
Until he couldn’t anymore. His last words to me were ‘goodbye, my boy’. I cried. I transformed, in inexplicable and subtle ways. Knowing it ends, knowing my patient nature, knowing the love I felt. And later, the gratitude.
How do you explain transformation? We all transform, continuously. It’s just not so easy to explain. Today, my son turned 18.
From Intention to Possibility to Probability to Actuality… In the year 2013 I was standing in front of my coaching class in the US sharing my intention. It sounded like this: “I will not run away from Germany because it is my intention to help the people in my country to transform – from guilt to joy and love.”
During five and a half years I went through several deep transformative steps for myself. I made a choice to leave the corporate world as a business leader. I received a certification as an ontological coach and accreditation as a facilitator of transformation by GBA (Gita Bellin Associates). Just after this, Zhimble approached me to ask whether I could help to translate all transformation workshop materials into German. Additionally, they asked me to support a day of practicing delivering the work in German. For a ling time, I also held an intention to deliver this great work in my home country.
Last week my intention turned into an actuality. I was co-facilitating a workshop with Reinoud and Arjen for one of their clients – auf Deutsch!
What a gift, what a joy to be able to create a field for over 30 participants in which shifts in root perspective took place. Participants courageously stepped into owning what they are creating in their lives and started to realise that their upsets are opportunities for growth. We had A-ha moments and moments of reflective silence. Furthermore, a connection amongst participants emerged that helped to support each other on their journey. As individuals to expand their consciousness. To improve relationships and growth within their company.
What emerged with the trusting support of senior management and Zhimble facilitation is a powerful transformation journey. One sustaining itself and generating continuous development for all employees in the company. Both in their interaction with suppliers and customers as well as – not to forget – in all the families.
It was very beautiful to feel your joy during and after the workshop, Arjen and Reinoud. Your first workshop in German after 6 months of intensively studying the language. “You have it under the knee now.” (Dutch way of saying that one is capable of doing something as I learned.)
I am now more than curious to see what will emerge with our transformation work in Germany and beyond.
“Träume keine kleinen Träume mein Freund, denn sie haben keine Kraft die Herzen der Menschen zu bewegen” (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)
Welcome to the new Zhimble website. Zhimble is all about Transformation.
“Transformations are growth changes that emerge from a source deep within the innate structure of an organism. – Gita Bellin”.
Zhimble facilitates transformation programs in multinationals all over the world. By doing so, we continuously evolve, expand and transform ourselves. On this website, you can read all about our own transformation, our endeavours with people and teams in organisations, inspiration articles. And, should you be willing, you can share your transformation story here.
Or, how language shapes the way we experience life?!
The work we do with Zhimble brings us to different countries with different cultures. And also, we often meet people who have a different mother tongue and sometimes do not speak English well enough to have meaningful conversations. This challenges us to translate the important parts of the work into the language of the people we meet. To do this in a good way, we work with highly skilled translators. This is an enriching experience.
First of all we learn more about the English and the Dutch (my mother tongue) language. And secondly of course, we learn a lot about the other language. Since a lot of different languages have developed from the same roots, we dig back into the etymology, the origine of specific words. This teaches us not only about which translation to use, but also about the culture and about the history of the country. Sometimes a word does not really exist in a different language. Because the culture simply does not have a word for it.
One of the most famous example is the word “No”. There is no word in Chinese that expresses no. There are other ways to express no, but they all mean something slightly different. See more here. Sometimes because the word has fallen into disuse or has gone extinct. For example: Accountable in English is Rekenschap in Dutch and Rechenschaft in German. These are the literal translations, however, they are not used often any more.
Also the word “Growth” is interesting. In Dutch it translates directly into the word “Groei”. We can see the resemblance. However, in German, which is also a Germanic language, “Growth” translates into “Wachstum”. There is no German version of Growth. Also in Swedish, “Growth” translates into “Växt”. Now “Wachstum” and “Växt” do translate back into English as “Waxing” and Dutch “Wassend”. In these languages we recognise the phrases “The waxing moon” and “de wassende maan”. Also, an adult or a grown-up in English translates into “ein Erwachsene” in German and “een volwassene” in Dutch which clearly relate back to “Waxing”, “Wachstum”, “Wassende”.
All these meanings lead to very interesting conversations in our work, mutually making an effort to clearly understand the essence of what the other person means when they use certain words. This increases mutual understanding and strengthens the connections.
In the linked TED talk by Lera Boroditsky, she gives a much broader perspective on languages. The title of her lecture is “How language shapes the way we think”. What if everyone would have this level of understanding when we meet someone else… It would transform our interactions for sure.
Just like the stars in the Universe, we are all unique sparks in the same Universe. Unique in who we are, how we are, why we are. As unique sparks, we are all looking for our place in the world, for meaning and purpose. We accumulate wealth, things, information, knowledge, time, etc. However, can we ever get enough of the world outside, when we ourselves are not fulfilled with a sense of purpose and meaning inside?
Like stars and people, organisations are also unique sparks in the Universe. Unique in their raison d’etre, and unique in their ways. People are at the heart of this. They make every organisation truly unique. People love work because of the challenge. The money, career, good colleagues are all important qualifiers, but they are not the essence. Work that enables us to grow in who we are is meaningful. Achieving something purposeful, together with others, making a difference, is fulfilling.
And yet, in our organisations today, many people still feel their talents and potential are far from fully utilised, noticed or appreciated. These are missed opportunities for achieving high levels of engagement. But also commitment and creativity and low levels of absenteeism, burn-outs and staff turnover. In short, an area of great opportunity to improve business results AND fulfil people’s lives.
To fulfil our need for meaning, purpose and making a difference, we need to turn inwards. We need to transform. We need to introduce a continuous process of personal growth and transformation into our offices and workplaces, rather continuously changing our workplace structures.
Global Transformation drives us
Zhimble assists leaders in organisations to transform. Truly life changing. Zhimble delivers Transformation Programs to multinational corporations across the globe since 2003. Based in in Europe, Zhimble provides of a global network of experienced Transformation Experts in the America’s, EMEA and Australia.
Exploring safety awareness. A question often asked is: “How do we make people more aware on safety”. Last week we were in Antwerp for a workshop on transformation. The context of the workshop was a Safety culture transformation program. Knowing that the Belgian energy production industry is facing tough times with most of the nuclear facilities offline and the winter coming.
Exploration and paradigms
What happens when we begin to think about a subject? Our experience, our upbringing form the basis for the thoughts that come up initially. How you ever asked yourself, how many of my thoughts is original? How do I know if a thought is original? I.e. not based on any prior event, circumstance, incident, or trigger. On the morning on the second day, one person asked himself this question out loud. The whole group was pondering on this for quite a while, including us, the facilitators. What a great question! It opened up a whole range of possibilities in my thinking.
During the closing of the workshop, people shared their insights in the group. Many people realised that taking accountability for their reactions in difficult situations would be beneficial for everyone. Instead of blaming, complaining, or giving someone the silent treatment.
The process of growth in life was another subject people found useful in the workshop. Many people were amazed to become aware of the different stages we all go through when we learn something new. Remember the first time when you learnt how to drive a car? And, driving alone, when you just had your license? Or, the first time you had a relationship that was a little bit more than having drinks together?
At the end of the workshop we had a conversation with the site leader. Shifting the paradigm from which we look at safety and continuous improvement was the most important principle of the workshop. Not doing more of the same, but truly transformational.
Letting Go describes a simple and effective means by which to let go of the obstacles to Enlightenment and become free of negativity. During the many decades of the author’s clinical psychiatric practice, the primary aim was to seek the most effective ways to relieve human suffering in all of its many forms. The inner mechanism of surrender was found to be of great practical benefit and is described in this book. Dr. Hawkins’s previous books focused on advanced states of awareness and Enlightenment. Over the years, thousands of students had asked for a practical technique by which to remove the inner blocks to happiness, love, joy, success, health, and, ultimately, Enlightenment. This book provides a mechanism for letting go of those blocks. The mechanism of surrender that Dr. Hawkins describes can be done in the midst of everyday life.
I am a Facilitator of Transformation. After a long career in the financial services industry I decided to switch career and develop myself into a different direction.
In the beginning of 2018 I joined the Facilitator Development Program of Gita Bellin & Associates. By the end of November 2018 I received my accreditation for this program.
What are my most important learnings?
First of all, I discovered what a paradigm is. And what it is like to discover different paradigms. Change takes place in existing paradigms and Transformation happens in different ones. I also discovered that Transformation is about growth. And the magnitude of growth opportunities presenting themselves every day. I have become more aware of my own growth potential and that of other people around me. I also found out that I am good as I am. Growing from one state of perfection to the other. From outside-in focus, towards inside-out and now rebalancing this to AND and WE. Furthermore, I found ways to be at choice. Have the freedom of choice to respond instead of react. Living Creative Cause. Besides this, I feel very grateful having been given the opportunity to practice a way to relax and reconnect to my inner self, the Dynamic Mind Practice. And to benefit from all the other collateral beauty of this beautiful practice.
Now I can share the wisdom of Creative Cause with others. And it is my intention to be able to do the same for the Dynamic Mind Practice soon. And yet I feel the same way as when I first drove a car after having passed my driver’s license. I passed the test, capability check is OK, and now the driving starts. With all its challenges and opportunities for growth. And Transformation continues. And I am looking forward to the learning journey ahead.
How would it be if you could measure your own brainwaves yourself. To gain understanding what brainwave patterns mean. To change them at will? Great ! we thought, and we invited Andrea Groh from Bamberg. Andrea is a very experienced user of the Mind Mirror, a home EEG originally developed by Anna Wise, author of the book High-Performance Mind.
High Performance Mind
One of our favourite workshop topics is the Dynamic Mind Practice. The DMP teaches you to enter AT WILL the state of consciousness that is most beneficial and most desirable for any given circumstance. A high performance mind. Maybe you want your logical planning mode (beta-waves) to prevail, or single pointed focus (alpha-waves), or do you need more creativity (theta-waves) and intuition (delta-waves)? Or would you rather have them all at the same time !
This summer we decided to buy a Mind Mirror and to ask for the support of Andrea to help us have a look at our brainwave patterns in a two-day workshop. Certainly, it is a very connecting experience to share your own patterns with your team mates. To have a look at theirs and to talk about their meaning. We learned about fishing mode. About evolving mind patterns where openness and non-duality prevails. Most striking was the abundance of delta brainwaves that everybody displayed. Hence, the team came to the conclusion that we can trust that empathy and intuition are always there. That everybody has it and that gut-feeling is naturally present in every moment.
My brainwave pattern
In the figure attached to this blog you can see my brainwave pattern on a normal Tuesday morning. It is the Oneness state. A state where you create your own field where it feels safe and where you are not so much bothered by fields of others. Hence, this is ok and relaxing in some situations. However, it does not help when the situation requires intuition and picking up fields. I was very happy with the exercises of Andrea that enabled me to access other states of consciousness.
People, when true to their nature, yearn to step into their power to be creative, confident, trusting and open. We yearn to learn, grow, transform and enjoy ourselves. To be loving family members and make a positive difference at work.
However, such a grand and graceful state is not how most of us turn up for the first job in our career. Our upbringing, school, college, society, personal history, etc. has left its imprint. We are not yet privileged to be born into an enlightened society that knows how to grow their young ones into holding the full expression of their new born purity as they grow older. Instead, most of us normal healthy adults, carry dysfunctional patterns around. This keeps us from living and experiencing our full powerful creative selves.
Organizations echo individual patterns
Our personal limiting patterns show up as limiting patterns in organisations. When we have difficulty to trust, we contribute to an organisational pattern of distrust. When we have need to control, we create control structures around us. We seek to fulfill our fear-based unmet needs by changing the world around us. This is how our limiting patterns extend into the outside world. Vice versa, such organisational patterns reinforce limiting patters in individuals. Travel cost authorisations can leave people feeling small, having ‘little to say around here’. A team leader with little openness gets cautious behavior from his team.
The problem is that most of us are unconscious of our own limiting patterns. How do we let go of limitations without recognising them? What would it take for organisations to become a great place for people to grow out of their limitations and fears in an accelerated way, as a natural process?
When personal transformation becomes a continuous and normal element of daily life at work, people grow out of their limitations. The organisation benefits. All that is needed, is to help people understand and master their own transformation.
Gerald G. Jampolski MD wrote this beautiful little book on personal transformation over 30 years ago. It’s twelve lessons offer a different perspective on letting go of the past and staying focused on the present, as we step confidently into the future. As a reader you are invited to recognise your limiting thought patterns and automatic responses and embrace love instead. The effect is heartwarming and lasting.
What if a company did everything in its power to create a culture in which everyone could overcome their own internal barriers to change and use errors and vulnerabilities as prime opportunities for personal and company growth? It means creating an organizational culture in which support of people’s development is woven into the daily fabric of working life. In “An Everyone Culture” Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey describe the inspiring stories and examples of three companies that are wlaking the path to create “an everyone culture”.
Please close the eyes… It is 9 AM. 15 people are walking into the room in an office in Madrid to attend a workshop. The workshop is about Safety Culture and Leadership, which is one in a sequence for an energy multinational company. What is connection? Is it the person from Argentina who looks me in the eyes when he tells me his name? I have to ask him to repeat his name. Because I am not acquainted with the Spanish language. His name is Jorge. Warm, welcoming, open energy. Or is it the person who is a bit shy, waiting for me to give him a non-verbal signal that I would like to shake his hand and learn his name. He comes up to me clearly relieved that I welcome his presence. Furthermore, he tells me his name is Manuel, slow and with clearly pronounced. For the reason that he saw that I asked Jorge to say his name again.
The first day is an exploration, coloured by various moments in which we all make an effort to understand each other, and make sure we know the other understands.
What is connection?
At diner, most people speak Spanish to each other. Jorge is sitting next to me at the end of the table, cut off from the others by two Dutch people. He says he likes to sit with us, to talk to different people outside of the group he usually interacts with. It is a typical Spanish diner. Multiple starters show up, which are shared, the main course is individual and somehow, with three courses, diner takes all evening until midnight. When leaving the restaurant, multiple people put their hands on my back as a way of connecting and showing their affection.
Again, what is connection?
Is it the Italian winemaker Giancarlo Tommasi who remembers me after 2 years. Even more, having met only for 60 minutes in his wine cellar? Or looking someone in the eyes, meeting for the first time and having a sense of familiarity and unity or oneness? Or both…, and more.
How can I feel this level of connection? Where does it happen? Between me and someone or something? Or within myself? And, if so, is my outer experience of connection a reflection of my inner awareness of my connection to myself, to who I really am?
High Performance Mind by Anna Wise. Anna studied the link between measuring brainwaves using an Electro Encephalogram and relaxation practices. She based her work on the work of teachers from India, who in their connected Ancient Eastern Wisdom and Western Science, like physics. The Dynamic Mind Practice, which Zhimble facilitators teach in their workshops directly links back to the same work.
Last week Marnix and I attended the Hearts and Minds users day at the Energy Institute in London. This is the annual day where users of the Hearts and Minds Safety culture toolkit share experiences and learning. Furthermore, this is where new and updated Hearts and Minds tools are introduced. This year, a brand new version of the module Understanding your Culture was presented.
Last week I was in Rossignano, a small town in Tuscany, Italy for a workshop about Safety Culture. For the reason that an Energy Multinational Company asked Zhimble to deliver these workshop as part of a Safety Culture Program. Furthermore, this takes us across most of Europe. In the workshop we use Hearts and Minds modules and Transformation work by Gita Bellin & Associates. Furthermore, we touched upon the subject of brainwaves and how we can develop the skill to be able to choose, at will, the state of consciousness that is most beneficial for any given circumstance. Above all, it was a wonderful experience, to deliver transformation related to safety to a Management team of a power plant in Italy!
The power plant situates on a large industrial site in Rossignano Solvay. It has been there for over 100 years. Furthermore, the adjoining village was built around the factory. We met very warm people, it was highly fulfilling for us. Grazie mille, molto soddisfacente!
The support of two amazing interpreters made the language barrier completely disappear. Even more, having multiple languages, Italian, English and Dutch gave us the opportunity to learn. Specifically about the different nuances and the origin of specific words.
After the workshop, we took the opportunity to visit the Accademia Gallery in Florence. It is the home of the amazing statue ‘David’. An incredible example of mastery of sculpting. The level of craftsmanship almost seems to be not of this world. The statues that Michelangelo did not finish (il non-finito), called “The prisoners or Slaves” also struck me. It is ‘as if’ the human being has always been locked inside the marble just waiting for the sculptor to set him free. Perhaps it is not ‘as if’. Transformation optima forma.
Finally on the way back from Rossignano, we saw that snow is beginning to fall in the Alps. Seeing this remarkable view, I realised that Zhimble is truly about Global Transformation.
Early morning 8 September 2018. A beautiful sun rise on the local train station in Driebergen. I am on my way to The Old Swan and Minster Mill in Minster Lovell. The purpose of this journey is the 3rd phase of the 2018 Facilitator Development Program by Gita Bellin & Associates. An amazing program. Life changing and in a very pittoresk setting, the famous Cots Wolds in the UK. No visa required, routine checks at customs. @UK friends, Can we please keep it this way?
Together with my friend and colleague Reinoud, we are supporting Gita to deliver this amazing program. The purpose is to grow and develop facilitators of transformation. Capable of delivering the GBA Foundation course to anyone. The participant group of about 20 people comes from all over the world, India, Australia, multiple countries in Europe and the Middle East, Amerika and Singapore.
The third phase of FDP is about essence. We can learn all the modules by heart, know the way they are structured, timing etc. However, if we do not know and hold the essence of the module, the meaning and purpose of the module will water-down to a superficial version of the original. Participants learn about their essence and about the essence of the work. One week from now, participants, including myself and the other support team facilitators will have experienced tremendous growth. And they will be transformed as human beings into a new version of themselves. I am grateful and humbled to be a part of this.
This talk by Dr. Brené Brown struck me because she practices what she preaches. Brené Brown is a living example of the proces we often encounter with the people that Zhimble works with. I personally learnt a lot from her work. Also the books that she wrote are highly recommended.
This week brought me to Chalkida and Athens, Greece, for a Safety Culture and transformation workshop.
As we all know, the Greek economy has gone through some massive storms, leaving the country and the people in an economic struggle. Unemployment is huge (18,6% Sept 2018). Especially with people aged 15-24 (36,6% Sept 2018). Very visible outside on the terrace, young people were just hanging out together all day, killing time.
In the workshop, people were eager, had a good level of understanding of the English language. And, already from the beginning of the workshop, whenever someone did not understand something, the others stepped in to assist without the need to ask. This relying on each other had far greater meaning which I was unconscious about at that time, but was soon to find out.
During the evening, people were very hospitable, warm and caring, served amazing food. Beginning the meal with a glass of Tsipouro on ice. It is always a great gift to breath-in a bit of the local culture.
An ah-ha about Reliability
During the second day, working with the Four pillars Trust, we had a small misunderstanding. Looking at reliability, all people considered themselves to be quite reliable. Being surprised I said, “But you are late after the breaks, sometimes you say yes and do something different. How can you call yourselves reliable?”. They were clearly hurt by my remark. They explained: “What we call reliable is; you and I know each other now. When you call me in a week, or a month when you are in Athens and need help, any of us will come. (Note, all people live at least 90 minutes away). This was an ah-ha experience for me. Where I tend to look at reliability as completing tasks as expected and meeting agreements, in Greece, people rely on each other to be there when it’s needed.
The workshop ended with life-changing intentions, not just professional, but also for their personal lives.
On the way back, I realised it really touched me to bring this work to Greece. I will be back.
Βαθιά ευγνώμων, σας ευχαριστώ
Deeply grateful, thank you.
Welcome to Zhimble
Great leadership enables people, and the culture, to make the difference in their business.
Zhimble facilitates transformation towards great leadership, enabling leaders to grow courage, agility, ownership and trust in their teams and organisations.