The REACT framework™ – blog post #5

REACT_CalmThis is the final post in the series on the REACT framework™, a practical and powerful framework that enables you to be the best you want to be, and to be in this position on virtually every occasion. I have developed and optimised the REACT framework™ over time. I use it personally, and I help my clients to learn how to use this powerful tool to have available to them the resources they need to be the best they want to be.

 

R

 

Recognise

E Evaluate
A Appropriate
C Claim
T Take
 

The framework enables you to recognise and evaluate your current state and to then identify and claim the appropriate resources that will enable you to be in the optimum state to be the best you want to be, in order to achieve what you really want – your Big Dream(s). A fuller explanation is available in the bonus material that accompanies the book ‘Dance with the Elephants’ which you can get from http://bit.ly/BonusMaterials

As you can see in the table above, the last element of the framework is T, which is for Take your claimed resources forward with you. When I work with people to help them get the most out of the REACT framework™, the best way is to do so in a safe environment. So it is important that I help them to experience using the resources that they have claimed in their minds before using them in the real world as they strive to achieve what they really want (for example, successfully presenting to a large group of people at work). I work with them so that they fully experience what could be possible using their claimed resources. It is important that they experience in their minds before they attempt their goal (e.g. their presentation) in real life. Repeatedly imagining in their minds how things could be strengthens their confidence and capability, as they build different scenarios that might happen and work out how they will use their claimed resources.

Sometimes this gives them the confidence to move on. Sometimes they discover that something is missing, they do not have all the resources they need. In this situation, I work with them to identify what appropriate resource(s) is or are missing, to claim those resources and to take them with them. This can take several iterations, but curiosity, compassion and creativity always win the day.

curiosity compassion creativityThe final step is to help them with the learned skill of accessing these resources again at the time they are needed. This is largely a question of practice leading to confidence and familiarity. I always remind them to run through the REACT framework™ shortly before going into the situation where they need all the appropriate resources with them. In practising running through REACT, I will introduce the ‘triggers’ that will help them more easily, more quickly and more powerfully access the appropriate resource to support them. Creating, cultivating and calling on these triggers will be covered in a subsequent bonus material which will be available from http://bit.ly/BonusMaterials . For now, I encourage you to practice the use of REACT to counter the limiting influence, power and control of your other-than-conscious mind so that you will be able to be the best you want to be almost all the time.

Now you have knowledge of all five elements of the REACT framework™ it is time to ask yourself a question: – how committed are you to being the best you want to be? I hope you are fully committed, and if you are I would like to help you and others like you. I have developed a low-cost, experiential and interactive workshop that will enable you to hone and perfect your use of the REACT framework™ to enable you to be the best you want to be. You can find out more here http://bit.ly/REACTworkshop

surprise bonusHere’s a bonus for you. Not only do you get to learn how to use the REACT framework™, but also let me share with you my personal experience which will make your use of it even more effective. I want you to understand the vital importance of the Evaluate step.

I was planning to use a holiday period to complete a large quantity of very substantial pieces of work, significant in both volume and value to my business. I did not feel I needed to run REACT – I had successfully achieved such volume and value in the holiday period precisely one year earlier, and I had the triggers to help me access the resources I had used twelve months earlier. It would not be an absolute certainty to complete the tasks, but I had done so previously and was very confident that I could do so again.

Day one of the holiday period was fantastic. I completed a large volume of work and was very pleased with the extent of my progress and the quality of the output. I even recall thinking that, if I progressed at the same rate for the next few days, I would be able to reward myself with a totally indulgent day with a TV series box-set and a couple of hours reading a book I was looking forward to. I was in a wonderful mood that evening and slept the sleep of the contented.

Christmas joyDay two was a disaster! I could not focus, I could not decide which task I wanted to move forward, and I kept distracting myself with tasks that were not on my ‘to do’ list. My output was minimal in both volume and quantity. I did not sleep well.

Day three was like day two, only I felt light-headed, somewhat warmer in my skin than I would have expected on a winter’s day, and slightly nauseous. The changes in my physiology almost automatically kicked off the REACT framework™ – they were so obvious that the recognition routine kicked in, perhaps initiated by my other-than-conscious mind. I recognised I was not in the best state, and moved to the evaluation phase. It was clear to me that I was ill (it later became apparent that I had an ear infection). I easily evaluated my state as ‘not fit for purpose’ for completing the tasks I wanted for the business. My learning (or reminder perhaps) is that your evaluation should include assessing the appropriateness of the resources you need to support you. Thus I realised the fact that I was ill should affect which appropriate resources I should select.

The resources I had a year earlier that had enabled me to achieve all I had that year were totally inappropriate. The resources I needed were those that I had previously had when I was ill – the situation I needed to recreate was a time when I had been clearly rather ill and had recovered quickly and effectively. That really wasn’t too difficult. I once had a bout of severe ‘man flu’ which really did hit me hard so I set about reliving that time. It was pretty easy to recall how I felt – pretty much how I was feeling this time around. As I relived history, I recalled the sights and sounds that had been around me, and the smell and taste of chicken soup and plain toast came to mind. The memories convinced me to break out the TV box-set, to prepare some soup (actually vegetable and pasta as they didn’t need defrosting), and to just chill out!

soup and toastSo when you are in Evaluate be realistic, be compassionate for your own needs, and choose resources that are appropriate to the state you are actually in, and not the state you would like to be in. Sometimes there is no direct route to the state we would like; we have to take the detour that allows us to make progress. Dogged determination to get straight to where we would like to be, to the state we want to be in to achieve our original goal just isn’t always enough to be effective.

Remember, if you are seriously committed to being the best you want to be, help is available to you here http://bit.ly/REACTworkshop

 

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The REACT framework™ – blog post #4

REACT_CalmIn this penultimate post in the series on the REACT framework™, we will start to get more resourceful. Being more resourceful will enable you to have the access to the means to be the best you want to be, and for you to be in this position on virtually every occasion.

 

R

 

Recognise

E Evaluate
A Appropriate
C Claim
T Take
 

In the A part of REACT, you imaginatively identified appropriate resources that would enable you to be in the right state (made up of a combination of any or all of your physiology, your emotions, your acuity, and your spiritual condition) to achieve what you really want to achieve. You didn’t limit yourself in any way, but let your creativity, imagination and child-like sense of wonder create the maximum possibilities for you.

GBS quoteC is for Claim your resources. Now you know what resources are appropriate to your situation, it is time to find and claim those resources, to make them available to you in the here and now. Take one resource at a time (for instance, to achieve the state that is best for what I want to achieve, I need to be really, really creative) and think of a time when you had that resource in abundance (recall a time when you really were at your creative best). Relive that time as fully as you can, recall it through as many senses as you are able. Hear what was said (actual dialogue if you can, both yours and any others involved), see what you saw at the time (with as much detail as you can; what colours were you wearing?) and experience once again the feelings and emotions that coursed through you. If you can, notice any smells and tastes associated with the experience. Make reliving the experience as full as you can, and enjoy it.

I recall working with one client who identified an appropriate resource as ‘being very happy and care-free’. As the client searched for a previous time when this had been her state, I could see that it was taking a lot of effort and processing by the brain and memory banks. After a while, a massive grin appeared on her face, followed by tears of joy. It was apparently a long time previously that she had last experienced such happiness in a care-free state.

real-tears-of-joyRelive the experience, and recall the resources that you had at the time and keep with you the knowledge of having the resource, so that you can bring that resource into the here and now. Repeat the exercise for each of the resources appropriate to achieving what you want in the present and the future. In a future bonus material, I will share with you ways of creating ‘triggers’ that make easier the accessing of your previous resources. The triggers enable me to access the resources I need and I have many, many triggers that I have amassed, cultivated and treasured over time. When the bonus material is released, you can get it from http://bit.ly/BonusMaterials

But what do you do if you genuinely cannot recall a time when you had the resource that you know is appropriate for you right now? The first response is to persist in your search as my client did a couple of paragraphs back. If you initially think you have never had the resource, ask yourself again. ‘Really? Are you certain? Is your mind telling you that you have never had the resource doing so because that seems the easy option?’ So often, patience, persistence and positivity, along with encouragement, curiosity and open-mindedness, enable the apparently resource-less to find and claim their appropriate resources.

positive_patient-persistentHowever, there have been times when a client has not been able to identify an occasion when they have truly had their appropriate resource. This is challenging, but not entirely insurmountable. Sometimes people say to me things such as ‘I will be presenting to 50 people, and I have never done that before, so I don’t have the resource I need to present to such a large number of people’. I work with them to break down the resource(s) they need into smaller pieces. For example, can they recall a time when they presented really well, if only to a few people or to one person even – a time when they persuaded this smaller number and were comfortable in doing so? I then help them to relive that experience. Having done that, I may then ask if they can recall a time when they were happy and comfortable in a large group of people, say at a party or a wedding or a company social outing. Again, I help them to re-experience that event fully using all the senses. I then help them to take the two constituent parts they need (comfort with presenting and comfort in a large group) and imagine how things would be if they combined those two resources to help them present to a large group for the first time. (In this particular case I would also tell them that the best presenters don’t present to a collective audience, they make one-to-one contact with individuals, one person at a time).

When searching for and claiming your resources please do not limit yourself by looking only in places that have the same context. In the example above, the context was presenting to a large group of people in the business world, but one of the resources needed came from a social setting. Context is irrelevant – it is still your resource, wherever you had it.

In the final post we’ll look at how to use to best effect the resources you have now claimed. If you want to really understand the REACT framework™, and want to perfect your use of it to be the best you want to be click here http://bit.ly/REACTworkshop

 

The REACT framework™ – blog post #3

REACT_CalmFor this third blog post in the short series on the REACT framework™ it’s ‘give us an ‘A’!’ The REACT framework™ will enable you to have the finest chance to be the best you want to be, and for you to be in this position on virtually every occasion

 

R

 

Recognise

E Evaluate
A Appropriate
C Claim
T Take
 

A is for Appropriate resources. What are the resources that would enable you to access the appropriate state? That is the state that would give to the best chance of achieving your goal. Resources include obvious physical things like equipment, clothing and even chocolate, but also include the less tangible such as feelings. It may be that what you need in the appropriate state is to feel happy, or to be excited, or to have a great sense of achievement. They also include thoughts. In order to achieve what you want right now, what would it be helpful to think about? For example, you may want to create a new product or service – might it be useful to think about that last time you did so, or perhaps a time when you were particularly creative or inventive? Beliefs are also an example of intangible resources – was there a time that you really believed you could triumph over adversity, seemingly overwhelming odds, and outstanding competition? Initially select the three most important resources you have identified.

AppropriateIn imagining the resources that would be most appropriate, you will want your current state to be congruent with you. The ‘Dance with the Elephants’ chapter Your Congruence is Vital and the bonus material called A Model for Alignment outline the importance and power of congruence. Your state is the way that you are in any given moment. It is made up of a combination of any or all of your physiology, your emotions, your acuity, and your spiritual condition (the latter being the relationship between you and a sense of something larger than you). When you think about what would be the appropriate resources to enable you to change your state, make sure they are all congruent with you. That includes those chocoholics whose beliefs and values include purity of diet.

In the A stage, it is useful to focus on identifying what the appropriate resources would be, with no thought about where to obtain them from, and no regard for whether or not you have ever had such resources. Don’t limit yourself, let your imagination run free, let a child-like curiosity determine the resources you would like to have in order to be the best you want to be.

child_like wonderCreativity in identifying appropriate resources will give you fewer limitations, a greater number of options, and will create new possibilities for you if you let it. The chapter of ‘Dance with the Elephants’ titled Get Creative! Introduces and explains the CREATE process for increasing individual and collective creativity. There is also a planned Bonus Material on innovation and creativity that will be available from http://bit.ly/BonusMaterials when it is released.

The next blog post will explain what to do next, and how, after you have identified your appropriate resources – that is claim them! If you want to really understand the REACT framework™, and want to perfect your use of it to be the best you want to be click on http://bit.ly/REACTworkshop

 

Be the best you want to be – blog post 2/5

In this second blog post in the series on the REACT framework™ we reach the letter ‘E’.

 

R

 

Recognise

E Evaluate
A Appropriate
C Claim
T Take
 

E is for Evaluate your state. Is your state appropriate for what you want to do, how you want to feel, how you want to be with the world? If you are feeling a little blue, is that helping you right now? Are you excited, buoyant and focused?

If your breathing is rapid and shallow, does that fit with what you want to do? If you want to really exercise, it may be appropriate. If you want to deeply consider something complex, important and long-term in nature, perhaps controlling your breathing and taking long, deep, slow breaths would be more useful.

Your state can be affected by your environment; what is your environment like at the moment and what impact is it having on you right now? Continuing with the theme of deep consideration, are you somewhere calm and tranquil, or are you in a noisy, bustling, crowded area with many visual and auditory distractions?

evaluateWe don’t always appreciate where our state originated. It may be it is not even our natural state, but one that has been conditioned into us. To this day, I have ‘white-coat’ syndrome whenever someone suggests taking my blood pressure. I know where it comes from – my father’s family had a strong (and correct) concern that having their blood pressure taken could reveal an increased possibility of experiencing a heart attack. I know it isn’t my state, and if I don’t react to that state, I can feel my heart rate increasing. Years ago, I would not be conscious of my state of anxiety at the time of annual medicals, would not recognise that it wasn’t even my state and that my resultant actions followed my state. There was a period when my company doctor had concerns that my blood pressure readings were consistently higher than he liked. Once I learned to recognise my state, and to react accordingly my doctor’s concerns lessened as my readings fell. (I would love to tell you they fell and stayed low, but if you recall, earlier in this paragraph I told you I still struggle with the condition even now.)

doctor_white coatIn the Evaluate stage, all you want to do is to understand whether or not your state is appropriate. If it is, is there anything you can change that would amplify the effect, would give you an even more appropriate state? Perhaps some quiet and soothing music would help. Switching off that ‘phone or computer so you know you won’t be interrupted? Some little treat that would make you feel even better? (Chocoholics know what I mean!)

Stay calm as you evaluate your state; it is what it currently is. The talent lies in recognising whether or not your current state is the right state for you to be in to be the best you want to be.

In the next blog post, we will move towards creating the right state that will enable you to be the best you want to be. If you want to really understand the REACT framework™, and want to perfect your use of it to be the best you want to be click here http://bit.ly/REACTworkshop

The REACT framework™ – blog post #1

 

REACT_CalmThis is the first post in a series that will enable you to be the best you want to be, almost all the time. On several occasions in the book ‘Dance with the Elephants’ reference is made to recognising and recording the positives that you experience each and every day. The chapter entitled ‘Celebrate!’ explains the process that your conscious mind can use to train your other-than-conscious mind, creating new neural pathways in your brain. The framework that will be explained in this series of blog posts will enable you not only to supplement the creation of these new neural pathways but also to access resources that will enable you to be even more successful.

Doing the work on your Big Dream, Crafted Well, Engaging All is vitally important, but sometimes it just isn’t enough. Surprisingly (or, maybe not) we get in the way of our own success. I write ‘maybe not’ because it probably isn’t surprising given that a lot of our moods, thoughts and deeds are determined by our other-than-conscious minds. We really aren’t consciously in control a lot of the time.

So how do you counter the influence, power and control of your other-than-conscious mind? How do you seize back control in order to give yourself the best chance of realising your Big Dream and achieving your transformation?

Here is a framework I have developed over time. I use it personally, and I help my clients to learn how to use this powerful tool to have available to them the resources they need to be the best they want to be.

 R Recognise
E Evaluate
A Appropriate
C Claim
T Take
 

R is for Recognise your state. Your state is the way that you are in any given moment. It is made up of a combination of any or all of your physiology, your emotions, your acuity, and your spiritual condition (the latter being the relationship between you and a sense of something larger than you). In order to manage your state you must first be able to recognise your state, something most people don’t do very often, often only recognising their state when it gets to be at an extreme end of a spectrum. Sometimes we only recognise that we are fearful when we are very, very afraid. Sometimes it is only extreme giddy elation that leads to us recognising we are elated. Sometimes it is only when we have really lost our cool and our tempers, when we are screaming out loud, when we are physically shaking, that we recognise we are very angry about something, or somebody.

unawareRecognising your state is a learnable skill that improves with practice. Take a moment now to notice your physiology. Is your breathing deep or shallow? Is it slow and long or quick and short? Is it through your nose, your mouth or a bit of both?

Notice other things about your physiology. Are you sitting upright or are you slumped? What is your temperature like? Are you cold, or warm, or is the temperature just right?

Consider what your body is telling you. Do you have any aches or pains? Can you feel how your feet are touching the ground? If you are sitting, which parts of your body are touching whatever you are sitting on?

What is your emotional state right now? How are you feeling about what you are experiencing right now? This exercise is having what effect on your emotions? Are you happy, frustrated, or perhaps curious? Don’t process these questions intellectually, but instead feel your responses.

How is your mental state right now, in this very moment, in this very place? What is your level of attentiveness, your degree of awareness, your volume of conscious brain activity?

Having conscious awareness of your current state is the first step. In subsequent blog posts I will take you through the rest of the journey to being the best you want to be.

The CREATE process – blog post 3 of 3

get creativeA process for creativity – post 3 of 3

This is the final post of this series covering the CREATE process which was developed to optimise the creativity of both individuals and teams. I use it when I am working alone and want to maximise my creative capacity. I also use it when working with teams of people or with individual clients. Let me explain the acronym once more:

C Cosmos
R Roster
E Enhance
A Assurance
T The Funny Side
E Emancipated

Posts 1 and 2 covered C to A, so let’s finish with T and E.

Funny sideT is for The Funny Side. Seeing the funny side, being unafraid to be humorous, keeping the mood light and playful, all give access to the quickest and most effective ways of moving into the creative mode. Often we limit the use of humour because we regard it as inappropriate when discussing important, weighty, serious matters. So often we confuse seriousness with solemnity, but it is wrong to equate seriousness and solemnity. I would argue that solemnity is the defence of the pompous and self-important, who need to protect against their egotism being punctured by humour. Humour might impact their self-image. The lack of humour is used by them to argue they are more serious, and their arguments therefore carry more weight.

In reality, humour is an essential part of innovation, of playfulness, of creativity. Enabling the introduction of humour is a vital component of the process of innovation. Creativity lives and thrives on the funny side. Seeing the funny side may be a little more difficult when working individually, but it is just as important as it is when working in teams. When I am working individually and want to be able to see the funny side, I find a mirror is helpful. It is not about vanity; it is a mechanism to check if I am seeing the funny side. The mirror reminds me that I should be smiling, smirking, laughing out loud. The visual evidence shows me whether or not I am being effective at accessing the funny side. 🙂 or 😦 in the mirror?

E is for Emancipated. This goes to the heart of fully engaging ourselves as creative individuals and to getting maximum creativity from groups. Emancipation is defined as ‘being not limited socially or politically’. So why choose this word? Let me start by linking back to the funny side. The emancipated see no limit to what is regarded as humorous on the funny side. Their humour mocks convention, attacks widely held taboos, and can be regarded as shocking by more conventional people. This is my point. True creativity lies beyond the boundaries of conventional wisdom, of the rules of society, of what we regard as normal behaviour.

The same emancipation applies in the earlier Enhance step. There should be no limit imposed by conventional wisdom on how far our ideas can be enhanced and stretched. Often when the idea is stretched as far as the absurd, new ideas and new thoughts emerge that would not have been considered within the boundaries of what is regarded conventionally as acceptable.

creativity-takes-courageIt is clear to me that pushing the boundaries, stretching the ideas, going as far as the absurd are actually the keys to accessing true creativity. I also recognise, particularly in group situations, that this can be a fairly daunting, anarchic and maybe even dangerous activity. Walking the tightrope that balances accessing the absurd on the one hand and moderating the impact of doing so on the other is challenging. Walking this tightrope is a learnable skill.

Having a skilled observer, facilitator and interventionist to help a group to navigate their way through this process of creativity is, without doubt, helpful. Be sure that whoever fulfils this role has the right focus. You want someone who is focused on future possibility, on creativity and on pushing the boundaries. You don’t want somebody taking on this role mainly owing to their past experiences, as these may lead to a limiting framework. I have a lot of respect for mentors, but the CREATE facilitator role is not for them as their strengths derive from their previous experience. Far better to choose a skilled coach whose focus will be on you and your future possibilities.

I wish you good fortune using the CREATE process. Have curiosity, have courage and have fun!

creativity_Fromm

A process for creativity – blog post 2 of 3

get creativeThis is the second of three blog posts on the CREATE process which has been developed to optimise the creativity of both individuals and teams. I use it when I am working alone and want to maximise my creative capacity. I also use it when working with teams of people or with individual clients. Let me again explain the acronym:

C Cosmos
R Roster
E Enhance
A Assurance
T The Funny Side
E Emancipated

The last post reviewed C and R, let’s move to E and A.

E is for Enhance. So often our creativity is limited by our discomfort at not having the solution to a problem, by our desire to make a choice or to take a decision. This part of the process is about patience, belief in the process of creativity and giving time, more time, and even more time, if necessary, to enhance the emerging ideas.

more timeIt is about giving ideas the time to flourish and the opportunity to be considered without a rush to judgement. The ‘gold standard’ here is to be able to access the child-like wonder and sense of exploration where there are no limitations, no fears and no limits on how much we can dream and create. I recall hearing John Cleese speak about the creative process used by the Monty Python team, and he emphasised this need to give time, more time, and even more time to ideas that weren’t quite working; eventually the really creative (and hilarious in the case of Monty Python) idea emerges.

This ability to really enhance is a learnable skill if you create the right conditions in which to build up your practice time, whether practicing on your own or with other people in a team setting. The right conditions include the physical environment, the right state of mind and a way of being with you, and with others if applicable, that is conducive to creativity. The first two are factors you will most likely understand already; the third is less immediately obvious.

Before I explain, let’s consider the modes we adopt in our work and in our lives that are relevant to creativity. We humans operate in two different modes. The first is the closed mode, which is the one we operate in most of the time at work. In this mode we are very purposeful, with a sense that there is much to be done, and that we need to get on with it. It is a very active, perhaps even anxious, mode. In this mode creativity is very difficult, if not impossible to access. We get lots done, we are very decisive, and action is the focus of our being. Quite often it is seen as a very efficient way of operating – one that is purposeful, productive and proficient.

Contrast this with the open mode. This is the creative mode. It is often seen as the antithesis of efficiency, the enemy of progress and the domain of the feckless. It may be portrayed as ‘lying around’, ‘shooting the breeze’ or ‘daydreaming’. While this open, creative mode may be seen in this way by the action junkies who thrive in the closed mode, it is the open mode that is necessary for creativity to exist, flourish and enhance your Big Dreams. But the open mode in itself is not enough.

children-playing-with-blocksSo what more is needed to create ‘the way of being’ that is conducive to increased creativity in the open mode? Firstly, you should give yourself and others permission to be creative, to be imaginative, and even to be silly. Secondly, there should be no limits here, no restrictions brought about by conventional wisdom, and no strictures. Any statements of criticism or disapproval will snuff out the candle-flame of creativity. Finally, a feeling of fun, a dose of child-like naivety and playfulness and a good sense of humour (which will be needed when you get to T, so start now) all enable you to really enhance the ideas.

This moves us nicely into A is for Assurance. An assurance is a promise. The promise is that no idea will be regarded as irrelevant, unworthy or stupid. This promise attacks the very heart of the biggest potential block to innovation – the fear of making a mistake. It’s important to enable complete confidence that whatever evolves is okay, to create the child-like delight with the playfulness of experimentation and to remember that you cannot be spontaneous within reason. The promise helps people to really harness the innovation that lies in the art of ‘What if?’

If you’re working individually, it is a promise you must make, and keep, to and for yourself. In group working, it is helpful to have a non-judgemental environment where everyone knows they will have an equal opportunity to contribute. In the first case of individual working having a skilled coach can be very efficacious. In the latter situation it is often useful to have a skilled facilitator helping you to create, maintain and enhance the assurance that is so important to your collective success.

creativity without limitsI wish you good fortune using the CREATE framework. Have curiosity, have courage and have fun!