Each month we feature a short editorial from one or more of our strategic partners containing useful information related to work and life
This month Divya Marie Kato provides a recap of her workshop at our recent Career Strategies Seminar, Furla Yoga shares some tips on to refresh your feet during a yoga break at work, and Sarah Furuya offers some tips for increasing curiosity and reducing judgement.
1.) Divya Marie Kato: Lose the Labels, Lose the Weight & Rise
Women Rising. A truly incredible day with incredible people. A big thank you for joining us and entering into all activities in the spirit of exploration. With curiosity and an open mind.
Thrilled to hear that many of you wanted more time to draw! I hope your “When in doubt, draw,” pencils and canvases are with you at home (gently calling your name!). Not gifts. An invitation.
Given with all my heart. The two, simple things that have served me so well. Because when you know about something SO good, you want to shout it from the rooftops!
So here’s to that very first line of yours. May it be the start of a great adventure.
I thought for this month’s offering, I’d run through the main takeaways from my presentation for you.
Our theme for CSS 2016 was “Women Rising” and I opened with the question: “What prevents us from rising?”
Where does this weight come from? We all have experiences that happen to us — the day-to-day ups and downs of being a human. These experiences get stored in our bodies as information. We often take it for granted that our bodies magically process our food — extracting required nutrients and expelling the rest. So, how do we go about processing the information too?
Here’s an invitation to try a way that will surprise you — and notice I said “will” and not “may!” Because of the very nature of the process putting you in a place, a space of not knowing. Putting you in the playground again. The Playground of Possibility.
Peel Off the Labels
“Who or what are you without your label, your name, your title, your qualification? And are you happy being that?” I invite you to peel off the name of the activity I’m talking about. To peel off the labels of good and bad. Of buzz words like “creativity.” Of big words like “art” (this is a BIG one, you may need to tug a little).
Let’s dive into the space of not knowing and leave the weight behind.
In the same way Ai Futaki, diver and Guinness World Record holder, took you back and invited you to reconnect with the ocean and water, so will I. I will take you back to our beginnings — to painting in caves, to carving into rock and to our essential nature, as creative beings — back to the roots of our development, to when your chubby, child fingers first clutched a crayon.
“What do you need to let go of to rise?” We’re under the surface — imagine what you need to let go of so you can reach the surface — now let go of that weight! On your paper: Take 2 minutes to write down all the things that are weighing you down — get the weight down and out of mind — e. g “I’m not creative . . . I can’t . . . I’m too . . . I’ve always been . . . I’m this . . . I’m that . . .”
Things to Notice When Drawing
Think: Not how to draw, but why draw — focus on the process, of engaging mind to hand connection. As you begin to make marks on the paper: Reflect on the organic lines you’re drawing — I always encourage people to begin drawing things from nature like flowers, leaves, trees, shells — notice how you can find similar lines in your own hand and contemplate your intrinsic connection with nature. Meditate on how you’re actively fostering connection to yourself and consider how often you make time to sit and see.
My offer to you: Enter the space of not knowing more often. To play and discover. Make it a practice. My invitation to you: One back to yourself. To be with and better understand yourself, your experiences and your stories.
My 3-Step Process
Through a lifetime of sharing and practicing drawing, I’ve unearthed many discoveries and distilled them into a 3 step formula. This is how drawing can help us process our experiences:
Observation. Reflection. Expression.
- Observation: Taking in the world around us.
- Reflection: The inner work — taking time to transfer what we see onto paper and check in with ourselves. How do I feel?
- Expression: The outer work — we have a way of translating our inner work out onto paper, to connect with others and show them. This is how I feel.
Rise Up, Women
I hope you’ll catch a glimpse of the more in you that is yet to come out. Once weight has been lifted and you’re allowed to play. Without the burden of expectation. The rest of you resting inside. Ready to help you rise.
FEW CSS 2016 Cornerstones
- Knowledge: Stretching ourselves — thank you Jay Ponazecki! — aiming high and reaching to learn. How to process the weight of information that comes from our daily experiences.
- Inspiration: Allowing ourselves time to play and explore. To be inspired by nature and by discoveries made in the space of not knowing.
- Connection: To nature, to the bigger picture, to our place in that bigger picture, to ourselves and to others. Making time to be with ourselves, for inner reflection.
To see how this affects our connection with others so we don’t bring our weight to them. So we can help them rise, too.
2.) Furla Yoga: June Yoga Tip — Happy Feet!
Take a “yoga break” at work. On a break or under your desk, slip off your shoes and s-p-r-e-a-d your toes from side to side. Then, try spreading the sole of your foot w-i-d-e. After that, wiggle your toes and rotate your ankles to finish this 1-minute foot refresher. You’ll be surprised how good you feel all over!
3.) Sarah Furuya: Tips for Increasing Curiosity and Reducing Judgement
“Curiosity can’t lie, justification can.”
I was having lunch with a friend. A smart friend, currently in recruitment with three companies. She had decided to follow her gut, Her intuition. Her curiosity when making her decision. Because her instinct had previously been to use logic, weigh up the pros and cons, justify, judge and follow her should. The large, stable company. That would provide security and stability. That didn’t work out. Or the NPO that seemed like exactly the thing she’d been looking for but didn’t seem quite right somewhere in her gut. That didn’t work out. So this time round, she followed her intuition more. Listened to her gut. Followed her curiosity. I could hear it in her voice.
She lit up talking about the start-up and the job with no name yet. The risky choice perhaps. Her body language opened. Her voice rose. Her face smiled. There was the safer choice. The big stable company with a good name and an equally good package. But she talked about it like she was reading ingredients.
“Curiosity can’t lie. Justification can.”
Here are my tips for following curiosity:
- Listen. Really listen. Listen to your body, your heartbeat and your intuition, your gut. Listen to others. Get quiet. Stop talking. Stop formulating your responses or agreeing and disagreeing in your head. And just let the information and offers land on you. Imagine them just entering you and landing. That’s all. It’s kind of uncomfortable, not having a whip-smart come back or a ready internal or external debate. But it’s interesting. Just noticing. Just learning . . .
- Learn, don’t prove when listening. Try not to let your internal voice start judging as right or wrong. When we evaluate everything as right or wrong (unless you are in mortal danger) we look for evidence to prove that. We seek it out. Recently I was on the other side of facilitation on a three-day program in Dubai and I had to do everything in my power to switch off the facilitator and switch on the learner. I actually had to say to myself “learn” repeatedly when I felt myself judging or proving. “Learn, learn, learn. Let it land. Just let it land and let your intuition do the rest.” See it’s just information. Just opinion. Just offers. Just proposals. No danger (it may feel like danger if you’re not the best one, the right one). Just learning. Just staying curious . . .
- Notice what gets you curious. Follow that. Move toward that. Be as curious as possible about everything. Any input. Not to prove or to respond or to justify but just to see what happens when you follow what turns you on. Without having to judge or prove or justify.
“Curiosity cannot lie. Justification can.”
How I Got Here: Tia Haygood
If you were to tell me that I would be an entrepreneur in a country 11,000 kilometers from my hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, I would have laughed. Yet here I am running my own business, TopTia Photography. I officially moved to Japan in 2011 as an English teacher, biding my time before graduate school. […]Published on 1st March 2017
History of FEW Series: Illustrating Women in the Workplace
In celebrating 35 years of empowering women in Japan, FEW has been looking back on our unique collection of FEW historical items and information. One of our favorites is the FEW 20th Anniversary Newspaper, which highlights the early years of our organization. This newspaper is full of great mentions, interviews and historical anecdotes, all of […]Published on 1st March 2017
February Meeting Recap: Lean In: Japanese Women
By Lisa Matsumoto, Public Relations & Communications Intern On February 9th, FEW members and guests leaned in to listen to our guest speaker, Rena Suzuki, co-founder and leader of Lean In Tokyo. Lean In is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping women achieve their ambitions. Lean In Tokyo helps women gain confidence and take an active […]Published on 1st March 2017
February 2017: Welcoming our new FEW Members
This month, we are proud to welcome five new members to the FEW community! Our members hail from all over the world and have diverse and unique experiences to share with FEW. As the go-to place for personal and professional learning and connection, we’re constantly inspired by our members. If you’re interested in FEW membership, click here for […]Published on 10th February 2017
Q&A with Rena Suzuki, Co-founder and Leader of Lean In Tokyo
Leading up to our upcoming monthly meeting on ‘Leaning In’ in the workplace, we’re featuring a Q&A with speaker Rena Suzuki, Co-founder and Leader of Lean In Tokyo. The Q&A is modeled on the Proust Questionnaire, designed to reveal insights into the respondent’s personality. Here, Rena reflects on following her passion, the power of connection, […]Published on 6th February 2017
The Art of Pricing and Negotiation
Join us for the fourth Women’s Start-Up Club meeting on Wednesday, March 29th, where we’ll learn about the "art of pricing and negotiation" in an interactive workshop featuring Vanessa Oshima, General Manager, Women's Category, at Nike Japan.
Midweek Lunch Mixer at Le Petit Marché
Join us for delicious food and great networking on Thursday, March 30 for our monthly midweek lunch gathering at Le Petit Marché in Roppongi.
Unveiling Japan: New Themes in Travel & Tourism
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Special Lunch Mixer in Midtown Park
Join us for delicious food and great networking over a picnic in Midtown Park on Thursday, April 20, at a special edition of our monthly midweek lunch gathering.