What is a human being? Who are we really? There are so many ways to answer this question, so many different aspects of humanness to consider. There is our physicality, our physical bodies. There is our mental capacity, one of the things that define us as humans. There is our emotional state, moods and emotions that can gently affect us, or emotional states when we can feel frozen, panicked; where we can “lose it.” And there is an energetic self, the energy and aliveness that courses through us all the time, and there is a spiritual self. Why is this important for our “team” conversation?
Most of us reside most of the time inside of our “thinking self.” It is recurrently drilled into us subtly and overtly that our thinking is who we are and is clearly the most important part of ourselves. Without a doubt, the ability to think clearly, to be able to focus our thinking, to be able to think through problems and to innovate are all very positive skills and abilities which our thinking-self offers us. There is the power of effectiveness that comes from these skills and abilities. Because this is so important and is the domain where we often get the biggest rewards, it can be easy to minimize or ignore the rest of ourselves.
One of the biggest complaints when working virtually, is lack of human connection. Feeling isolated, alone, missing that touch on the arm, or a well-placed hug. For many, it was not noticed how important human connection is until it was gone.
“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” ~ Brené Brown
This is not something we can think into existence, this is a conscious, energetic practice. Having an energetic connection to others as a skill and requires a strong connection to our own energy, life force, aliveness, however you want to name it, and it is not a given that we are connected to our own energy. It is always there in us, but over this last few thousand years, humans have learned to disregard, minimize, or deny this aspect of our humanness. We have all met people for the first time and are immediate drawn to them. The opposite also, when we meet someone for the first time, and we are repelled in some way. That is mostly an energetic reaction.
When forming and constantly improving high performance teams, this underlying energetic connection is critical, and it can be created and lived in a conscious way. We can extend energy into every interaction and meeting to not only be smart, but to be intuitive and aligned with each other, to be able to “feel” when something is off, and to sense when it is appropriately accurate.
Managing our moods is a capacity humans have. It is a practiced skill, and it not about denying our pretending what is happening to us in the moment. And, we can bring forward the “appropriate” mood for the occasion. For example, I am in a meeting where the team commits to a decision that I fervently disagree with, and I am angry that this decision was made. Instead of being a complainer, or using one’s, “I told you so” voice, I put that mood into the background and bring forward an upbeat mood of commitment and alignment with the team for the sake of the success of the team.
Our moods and emotions are also part of the feedback loop of our humanness. Have you ever left home with that feeling you have forgotten something? Do you notice that it is a visceral feeling and not a thought? Feeling guilty is often a message suggesting the need for an apology, feeling resentment is suggesting the is an unfinished past action that has not be completed, and on and on. Deep ongoing connect to ourself is living our humanness.
Connection to the Natural World
In 2003 I had the opportunity to visit a hunter/gatherer tribe in Africa. Having already spent two and a half weeks in the bush, I was living in a beautiful hyperawareness, and as a Somatic observer (how people live in their bodies), I could see and feel that the people in this tribe are the forest they live in, there is no separation. It was the realization of the distance we, particularly as westerners, have come from an embodied connection with all life. It is clear there is a necessity for that connection as their life literally depends on it. I am not suggesting we all go back to living this way, our daily lives don’t require this as a necessity for survival, and the distance we have come from that connect has, among other things, allowed us to wreak havoc in the world. We suggest that part of our humanness is the capacity and role of caretakers of the world we live in.