Leadership Lessons from.....Care Bears?
Are you familiar with the Care Bears? It was a children’s cartoon which showed coloured bears with images on their furry tummies. The Care Bears' ultimate weapon was the " Care Bear Stare” in which the Bears stood together and beamed a ray of light from their tummy’. These combine to form a ray of love and good cheer which could bring care and joy into anyone’s heart.)
Well I was reminded of this when I recently attended the Association of Executive Coaching annual conference. Among the sessions that I attended was one called Connectivity in Coaching run by two blonde bombshells dressed in black called Sue and Penny from Connectiveness Ltd. Full of energy and stillness at the same time, they gave us a whistle stop tour of what they described as the new paradigm of leadership, which is organic, sustainable and concerned about social justice. Much has been written on this see Avery, Boyatsis and Western to name a few.
Following this, they asked us to take off our shoes, so I took off my killer heels and began to enjoy the feel of the manmade fibres between my toes. Sue and Penny proceeded to get us breathing deeply, walking around, all to the backdrop of what sounded like the music of Native American Indians.
I know for some of you reading this, it probably sounds like a load of new age hippy nonsense and for others I am not doing the session justice with enough detail. However, for me what was important and impactful was that they asked us to breathe deeply, feel the ball of energy deep within us and then project it out, out through the room, out through England, out through the earth and through the universe. Our very own Care Bear stare! my words not theirs.
I found engaging in this exercise deeply moving. During the exercise my eyes were closed but when I opened them my eyes were moist. There was something re aligning about the activity, which highlighted for me a profound connection to others and everything. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by this connection, as I sometimes do, I felt accepting of it, which had a nurturing and energising rather than draining effect. They should start Parliament, or any major political talks, in fact all business meetings with this activity. There was something harmonising that can’t be explained and what’s interesting is that I feel that I can bring that feeling anytime that I want to.
This has helped me to start to think about a vision of promoting this harmony and acceptance that I am feeling. I believe that what we embody we can create. I felt like an outsider at the AoEC conference as I had not attended any of their programmes, but felt a real connection with all in the room by the end of the session without talking to or touching any of them.
Why am I sharing this with you? I suppose it’s the What If?
What If you felt connected with what is immediately around you and beyond?
What if you weren’t disconnected or desensitised to what is going on in the world?
What if you could turn on your care bear stare, what would it mean for your behaviour and relationships?
What if you felt this deep connection to the universe, how much more difference could you make?
What if you brought this harmony to your workplace and to your approach to leadership?
I am personally trying to realise the What If, with small tentative steps. My first is that from now on each month I will be offering a complimentary forty five minute coaching session (via telephone or Skype) to the person who posts the most interesting, inspiring, reflective or thought provoking comments on this blog. I want to open up a two way dialogue with you, so that this blog will combine the thoughts of you and me to create something unexpected and special. My intention is to give something back, so there will be no obligation or underlying agenda of further coaching sessions being booked.
I really look forward to connecting with you.
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About Jenny Garrett
Jenny Garrett is the award winning coach and founder of Reflexion Associates and Rocking Ur Teens. She’s also the author of Rocking Your Role, a how-to guide to success for female breadwinners, Creator of the online coaching programme, the Happenista Project http://www.happenistaproject.com