Step Up Create

March 15, 2022
E18 – Opening up (at the airport)
The Step Up Create Podcast
The Step Up Create Podcast
E18 - Opening up (at the airport)

Show Notes

Vishal and Katie have just finished running a career training and coaching programme at a top business school and they managed to sit down at the airport on the way back to get the Raise Your Voice episodes back on track.

They talk about what they’ve been doing, why they do it and how it impacts their clients. Beyond this they discuss how these interactions impact them and change the direction of their own stories.

In a new take on sharing our stories, we asked for a prompt question (and got a really difficult one): What’s the internal story you’re telling yourself? Katie has a stab at answering this while Vishal escapes.

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Follow Katie’s art at an on Instagram at @katieannice

Original music written and performed by Jonathan D. Mellor licensed to Step Up Create S.L.

Welcome back, and it’s a little bit different this week because we have attempted to record it at Geneva airport on the way back from a work trip because we really couldn’t find any time to do it. Before then I would say the result has been mixed. You’ll hear we are capable. We are all capable not just Vishal and I have deep conversations at any place. So the airport is as good as any. However, the announcements that you get every now and then interrupting can become very annoying, and it’s also quite easy to miss your slide. We didn’t miss our flight, but we didn’t finish our conversation. Not how I would have liked it to finish because Vishal doesn’t tell his story in the end, but I’ve marked that down and that will definitely be something for next month. You’ll notice it’s a little bit different from previous sessions and was say a bit in there why we’ve changed it but essentially, to make some smaller, shorter, more personal sessions for you. And while I’m talking about personal sessions, I would like to say a big thank you to everybody that reached out to me about last week’s episode on grief. It was really difficult for me to record as you could hear, but it’s been wonderful to connect again with people and to just hear the encouragement from everybody about just sharing what we’re really going through and not making it a therapy session, but sort of going hey, I feel a bit like this. If you feel like that too, or something like it, that’s okay. And that’s what Vishal and I would like to do a little bit more with our storytelling and this raising your voice episode if you like. We’re raising the bar for ourselves because until now we’ve done quite a lot of talking telling stories, intellectualising and maybe not really being open completely. And that’s something we’re asking our clients and our students to do. So here we’re going to try and lead by example. I’ll leave you with this recording, and I’ll come back to you at the end for now.


I’ve kind of a special, almost against his better judgement this morning to record the podcast so that we’ve got something to go out. And we’re doing that from Geneva airport which is a different technological challenge to normal. So let’s see how it goes. Yeah. How’re you feeling? Michelle? We’ve just finished a whole weekend of teaching at IMD, which we also did last weekend, so it’s a little bit tired and Vishal is the main man on this centre stage the whole weekend. Something that I find a little bit challenging I have to admit not because it’s him just because I’m not allowed on the stage all the time to finally talking about it. What better place to broach these issues on the podcast, dirty laundry. It’s been it’s been fun. It’s been fun, but it is it is interesting how when you used to play a different role, like I’m used to sort of leading the room and stuff, taking a back a backseat and supporting which is something that’s really good to do. can be hard. Yeah, I can imagine. So I feel pleased with myself having hopefully not being a dick have answered.


Easily though, I mean, I’m a bit tired from the whole weekend. I do need some coffee. It has been an intense weekend, eight hours of being on my feet. Talking has been it’s pretty tiring as you might imagine. But yeah, but I know I know. I know what you’re referring to because in some way I actually feel the same when we’re doing the podcast because I see it on the podcast, but you’re digging back. So yeah, I think it’s interesting. I think there’s so there’s a bit of a quid pro quo, if you want to call it that, but I guess Yeah, I guess we’ve this is actually the first time we’ve we’ve worked together for the full for the full journey that we do with education. And so so in a way I think this time you’ve had an opportunity to see actually how our process works


and how much of a pre Madonna Vishal really is right


yeah, but so yeah, I think, you know, I think we can always look at some new explanations, like follow it, but no, it’s true. I do. I do understand where you come from the sense of like, it can be hard when you have to change roles, right?


Yeah, yeah.


Yeah, I don’t know. For me so like, yeah, like to be in control clearly. That that came up. That’s, that’s pretty evident. And so I can imagine like, if I wouldn’t have this, I don’t, I think it will be quite hard for me to.


Just to clarify, it has been fine. Yeah, it’s been awesome. So it might be interesting to just shed some light on what we’ve actually been doing not so much as a sales thing, but just to give you guys some context, because it is relevant to this idea of raising your voice and it’s also relevant to storytelling.


Yeah, totally. So essentially, what we what we do is we build these into one line. That would be We help business graduates get a greater awareness of who they are and what they want to do with their lives. So that they may take decisions for their career in the future and essentially, advance their stories in a way that’s meaningful to them as individuals. And the way we do this is based on a series of workshops, each of which is designed to unpack some aspect of who they are as individuals, and then apply what they learned on their career. So for instance, they understand what their inherent strengths are, and then they learn how to tell a story about what they can actually bring forward and what they want to do. They unpack their values, and then they learn how to take decisions so that they can advance their stories in a way that’s aligned with what they really want in their lives. We also get them to think about their long term future and dream about the kind of life they want to build, so that they can take decisions that I’m in alignment with that and then finally, we work with them on how to actually execute all of this. So So yeah, that’s essentially what we do. And so that is basically a bunch of workshops and you know, it’s a lot of facilitation. It’s a lot of speaking which is fun. But it’s also I think my favourite part is meeting these students, because they are so cool. It’s so interesting to such interesting people. And what I was doing my way I noticed that we all have this interesting side to us, but we don’t really have the permission to talk about these things in the traditional school setup. Yeah, so actually creating the room for them to have the conversations with each other is it’s just, it’s just so nice to see them open up and talk about really what matters to them, right?


Yeah, there’s a really interesting part where you compare how Bilbo Baggins would present himself if he was just a normal business students, and how he actually presents himself. Yeah, totally.


Yeah. That’d be a really like kind of works to get that attention. What was your What was your highlight for the weekend given that it’s your first time without seeing the full journey? What part has really stayed with you?


Well, I think there are two sides, one side would be the way that the programme is designed and I’ve done quite a few career workshops, but I didn’t only once got the chance to design the whole journey and to realise I think overcomplicated it a lot. And what I really like is the simplicity and the space that you’ve developed within the programme for it to allow for proper reflection during not giving them 20 different exercises, but being very precise on the type of thing that they really need. And I think seeing that in action was great because sometimes I feel like holy there’s so many things you could do and I’ve got another idea and another idea and another idea. One of the things that I find a challenge generally is to keep things simple and to Yeah, you’ve got loads of ideas, but how do you distil that down? And I know that for you. There’s one person missing in this conversation, which is and that’s one of the roles that he takes as well with you to design the programme. So it was interesting to see how someone else’s programme design was working and someone else who you know is designed it in such a way to really try and hit all of the of the goals of the career services, the students, make it interesting, keep their attention, all of this information. That, you know, I would try to do in my programmes that isn’t always the case in programmes that you see and to see how it’s designed differently and how it worked differently. So that that side for me has been really interesting is sort of buying on the competitive but we don’t actually compete on this. We work together so no problem. And then, obviously, there’s this wonderful thing that always happens in leadership, but especially when you’re at sort of top business schools is that you come in and there’s this class that you don’t know and you make all these assumptions about because we can we can say we don’t make assumptions about people but basically for all of us. That’s a lie. We just need to suspend that. And over the over the weekends, they develop into these really interesting, dynamic people and you start to get to know them and and I guess the sad thing is that we’re leaving today and you know, we’re keeping contact with them. On LinkedIn. But just seeing how the stories develop and how, how the people that are underneath them come out and shine. And I think that’s really nice thing for about you


is to touch on what he said. Yeah, I fully agree with the last thing you mentioned that that’s actually for me the most gratifying part of the experience is to see the beautiful person kind of see to the to the MDF aside, right. So that’s really nice. It’s very fulfilling to see that and to see that they also feel safe enough to do that. The other thing you mentioned, which is nice to see the journey and that we’ve been able to distil it down thank you for that. That’s something that’s been a huge effort for us. I think it will resonate deeply with you in this bit about you know, I have a lot of things that I want to talk about but really narrowing it down into into something that that that specificity is something that yeah, we’ve we’ve kind of gone back and forth with that quite a bit. For me one of I would say one of my favourite moments this over both the weekend lunches this weekend, but over both the weekends. So one part of the event is to give more, some more context. In one of the workshops, we get students to think about that entire life. So we get them to share the story of their entire life by making a graph that we call the lifeline. So that you can see the ups and downs that they’ve been through. And they share their story with each other and they use this to unpack how they made decisions in the past and what they value. So in order to facilitate this for them, and to show them how it’s done. Someone has to do that through them and usually I’m the one who does that. So I shared my story last weekend and what I really liked was when you Katie, facilitated upon this conversation in the room, I tried to unpack my values in front of the room. For me that was very distinctive. It’s the first time we’ve done that. But also, it was the first time that my own values became so clear to me, because I remember when I went back home, and from last weekend, I dropped this little post it note and I just wrote down the words that I remember they’re still on they’re sitting in my workstation back home. And for me that was really special because even though I’ve told my story in front of the room so many times before, the standard was completely different because of the way you unpacked it and actually kind of showed the students what we’re trying to do to this. So that was that was very cool. I really like that. And another thing that I see every time but this time I found it when layer deeper was that as I evolve as a person, I see the way I show up in the classroom as well evolve and the way the database the students also evolves. So this timing for me 2021 has been a year of a lot of change. And so to see how that has actually helped me create more value for the students has been something that’s been very personally fulfilling actually. So that is something I’m generally very, very, very thankful for these last two weekends. Those two things are


pretty good. Yeah, it’s interesting that connects with this idea that we need to show up how we’re asking them to show up. So we’re sort of encouraging people to be a bit more vulnerable to share who they are and not just sort of this NBA facade, as you’ve heard, and we can’t then show up as we’ve come to tell you what to do. in need. There is some time where you shared your story. It’s it was really interesting for another purpose as well because it showed them that someone who was leading the room, someone who was very much in control and who they could look up to was able to be vulnerable. And not pathetic or in any way. I think there’s a kind of a connection, isn’t it between vulnerability and weakness and weakness and pathetic and that can be very, very damaging in terms of how we, how we encourage people to tell their stories or how we tell our own stories. There’s one other thing I wanted to pick up, which was yeah, when we when we’re facilitating the lifeline kind of connects what we were talking about at the beginning and I was seeing it as a joke that you were on stage. But that bit I really felt like I was bringing something different. So instead of one of the reasons that I don’t get up and go, oh yeah, I’m gonna just kind of facilitate this. Because you’ve got to ask, what are you actually adding? Am I just making the message more difficult to understand? Or is it something useful?


I tried that but and I also enjoyed this meeting. Some of the students like one of the students came up to me after he went, we didn’t actually ask you about your book, What are you writing about? And that was it. That led to a very interesting conversation as well. Yeah. So those those conversations that happen outside of the room are always fun. So


we’ve thought that we might change this up a little bit on how we record these because we listened back to our own recording that we thought was really, really good. But it actually got very intellectualised Which is fine and we’re not looking to stuff. Now we’ve got we’re gonna have some coffee so you can expect the conversation to up tempo a little bit. And we’re seeing the coffee looks really nice. Thank you Debbie the we’re still recording. Bonus everyone will be having devotee on the podcast shortly. Everything’s really on mindfulness. Interesting.


If you if there’s going to be an episode with Katie and every day for morning, just sharing my experience of the Dinos we’ve been having get ready for a very long conversation.


Don’t worry. Be a bit deep so not in a stupid way. Anyways, so actually, Debbie, they had a question for us which we were basically what we thought was that we needed to reformulate the story prompts


stop ourselves from intellectualising many topics in the same talk about one or two.


actually hiding behind intellectual stuff instead of talking about who we really are,


which is a classic go to way of working Yeah. So now we’ve got some people behind us talking loudly but that’s just training on. What should we do now? Should we intellectualise something else? It was from from that video. It was about the stories that you tell yourself aside,


like what’s our narrative? At the moment about who we are?


So what’s your narrative at the moment about who you are and this we haven’t prepared the details, but this is actually just to intellectualise a little bit before answering the question. This has connected with the idea in psychology particularly ingest cells about the hearing now, and paying attention to the here and now rather than paying attention to what was behind you and before you. So just trying to think about the here and now. Yeah, it’s difficult, right? Because I’m trying to run they’re trying to record this


on these airport noises. So I’ll type thing to do,


but what’s my narrative? I don’t know. I always come out of these sessions. Thinking that you know, having rethought a little bit about my own life and my own story and what I want to do, and think one of the kind of destructive narratives that I have at the moment, which I’m not sure it’s courageous thing to share. is a bit about you know, why am I still kind of floundering around when I should be doing better stuff. And I think it’s also because we’ve there’s, I mean, I don’t really like to highlight this, but there’s a 10 year age difference between me and Michelle and Michelle is 10 years younger, but doing some really cool stuff. Why didn’t I put together that that journey that they’ve put together? Because I had all the tools, maybe even more of them. And yet I didn’t do it? And sort of say is that because I’m not capable of doing it? I don’t think that’s the case. Unless sort of start into this kind of quite negative, well, you just didn’t do it. That’s because you’re not good enough and stuff like that. And actually, then there’s this kind of context question that comes in. Okay, what’s the context? So I sort of thing I started on my own you know, left propose employment Yes, recording. It’s just


to come up with this kitty. Thank you. Yeah. I was kind of feeling that this was there, but we were not addressing it. But now you’ve put on the table. So yeah.


So this is the thing with this is I don’t I don’t think it’s an issue. I don’t think it’s like, oh, you know, to work for someone who’s younger than you is a failure. I think it’s more it’s more because it’s hitting me straight in what I already believe in the story that I already tell myself. I left full time employment in 2014. And that’s obviously quite a while ago, and I kind of expected to have a pretty solid business by now. And in some ways I do. But I don’t have that many products like you’ve actually developed a product here which is scalable and obviously adaptable to other areas. And and you’ve actually gone out and sold it to some of these schools that are saying, oh, you know, I’m not sure I’d approach I MD. And so I feel a bit like okay, why didn’t I do that? And I’m not sure this really has to do with age but to do with the time and I know that part of this is because you’ve had two children. You started a company and did some other stuff, and there’s been a global pandemic. And that context is like okay, well, all of that was going on. And that also connects a little bit if you don’t mind. If you kind of want me to share this. Well, let’s just we were trying to apply our own our own stories to the future. Right. And I told you this the other night that yours was around family and the importance of family and how you saw family in your in your future. And what you described was essentially what I’ve created with my family. And that was just a real kind of wake up calls. Because it was like, Okay, so on the one hand, I was sort of being mean to myself and going, I’m not achieving what I would like to achieve or business sense but I know that the thing I wrote 10 years ago when I was looking at what I wanted to do was more similar to yours and it was have a company and be successful. It was much more okay that that is there in the background. But the most important thing is to have somebody and to for them to be happy and stuff so it’s been quite interesting in that to have these two things moving at the same time. I mean, the conclusion is you know, try and remember the context. So we call it compartmentalise family and work and this is something you talk about in the in the sessions and yet they are connected and they are equally valid. I mean, family work and interests and lots of things. And I think I kind of forget about that when I think about when I’m telling myself this story, this intense Story of You should be more successful by now. You should be doing more stuff and yet I have done quite a lot of stuff and I’m doing that classic thing of comparing myself to other people who have you been in the same situation as me. I mean, not just you obviously other people as well. And so it’s just it’s kind of frustrating. I think my feeling at the moment is kind of frustrated with myself. So that’s a little bit like, I guess, my inner story, and like I say, I wouldn’t say I kind of have an issue with this at all. I think that it’s the same thing that I’ve worked on and continued to work on about self demanding and being more self compassionate. And those are very challenging things for us to try and achieve.


It’s going to be your turn and get ready for us. Yeah, okay. So with that very well, time distraction, Michelle managed to escape telling his story this month. Essentially, we then had to board our plane and we didn’t really feel like recording it actually on the plane since we had the sun on our faces and just felt like actually having a little bit of a rest. We also didn’t feel like hits when we got back to our respective houses and we were talking about linking upon soon to finish the conversation. I really didn’t feel like that I was extremely tired. And when I’m tired I realised that my negative story that I’m telling myself can somehow become the reality. And that’s not what I want to bring out on the podcast and it’s not how I usually feel. So I just took a rest and sorted a few things out didn’t record the rest of the podcast and thought well, that can be something to talk about in itself. So we shall we’ll be sharing his story first on the next episode. And you can send us in suggestions or questions you would like us to answer even story prompts. Please do that to Katie at step up I will be back next week with a properly planned interview podcast. And Vishal and I will be back next month and as I say he will definitely be sharing his story and definitely not escaping either by intellectual distractions. Or houses with pizza shaped gardens. Any bye for now.

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