Heartstyles blog

How to cultivate your personal character journey

We talk about the loop of ‘information, revelation, and transformation’, which is all underpinned by the ‘conversation’. When you attend a Leading with Heart program, you are given a lot of information. You will typically have a revelation of some kind. There will be something new that you have learnt, an ‘ah-ha’ moment, whether it is in reviewing your results on your PDG, or S+T=B, or simply learning something new about how others perceive you, that you did not know before. There is always some instance of revelation or new learning, which is great. However, the transformation side of it rarely happens in that room, in that session. We need the ‘back to everyday life and work’ to bring us real-time opportunities to practice. 

It is not often that something will happen in the learning environment that will trigger us. It provides a safe place of learning, like a low-trigger environment. Participants may have an emotional reaction to the content, but in terms of embedding the learnings, it is when you go back into your normal course of work and life, that you start having those opportunities to practice.

One of Carly Morgan’s (Heartstyles Director and facilitator) first interactions with Heartstyles was like this- Picture it: It was a very busy day. She had travelled by train into London to co-facilitate a program (She was new to facilitating Heartstyles). The train was delayed on the way back, the weather was bad, she had to lug a very large and heavy suitcase full of training material with her, and was feeling very exhausted and emotionally drained after a long day. When she got closer to her front door, all she could hear was her children arguing loudly with their Father about dinner. “I was instantly irritated, and walking into that stressful environment (although I knew I had a choice to make about reacting or stopping to think, breathe and then choosing to respond in the right way), I did not handle it well at all! I entered the house and made the bad situation even worse with Below-the-Line controlling and easily offended behaviour. I instantly shouted at them all for making my hard day worse and not caring about me, then rolled my sleeves up and took charge, totally undermining my husband and his handling of the situation. Oops! Not my proudest moment, but a great learning opportunity!”   

Welcome to real life. This is where the practice and ongoing transformation is going to happen. Even though Carly slipped up, she did reflect later on how she could have handled the situation better and took some practical personal learnings from her experience.

In the learning bubble (the facilitated program session), we have the safe space to learn and receive the revelation, but life isn’t testing us as much as when we leave that space/room, and the true active learning process starts -putting your ‘theory into practice’. In your own cultivate journey, as in, how you will walk out and work out your active transformation in your day-to-day life at work and home, there are 2 ways to help cultivate your character:

·         The proactive way: this is where you drive this process. You can proactively look at your results, and at the end of the program, you can decide what you will focus on first. E.g. focusing on your Reliable behaviour and doing 3 activities to enhance that behaviour. You could also proactively reflect on what are the typical situations that trigger you, and build self-awareness around this so that you are more ready for them when they happen.

·         The reactive way: true moments of change happen in those reactive moments, those moments of challenge or testing in the present. It doesn’t happen in the pages of your journal – e.g. ‘I intend to be more compassionate in future if my colleague arrives at work sick.’ True transformation happens the very next time you are triggered, and you choose to respond differently. This is about real-time learning. And there will always be plenty of opportunities each day for this type of ‘on the job’ learning. Leaders who apply Smart, Heart and Courage know that giving people the space to try out new behaviours, make mistakes and improvements, then continuously learn from them, are leaders that will help us build our People First Culture at Yum!

Don’t underestimate how much you can learn and grow around people that you may find challenging, or situations that are frustrating for you. See life as a million opportunities to practice S + T = B (situation + thinking = behavior), and choose to behave Above-the-Line. From a coach and organizational perspective, it’s how you create that safe space where people are allowed to practice, discuss and reflect with no judgment.

After your program or even if some time has passed since, talk to your coach about what is next and how you will practically work on cultivating (growing) your character.

Some proactive ideas are:

·         Check in with yourself on a weekly basis- just a quick stop and reflect on how you are, what is driving your behaviour, do you have any fear or pride in your heart, what upset you this past week and how you responded.

·         Reflect on - what behavior do I want to focus on this month? Creating a diary/journal on some of the bigger moments that trigger you, and where your behaviour travelled, can be helpful.

 All the self-awareness builds the revelation that leads to transformation over time.

Ready to start your own Heartstyles journey? Contact us.