I was excited to participate in the Program with Silvia Damiano because I have a background in psychology and also organisational behaviour. I thought this would be a repeat of what I already knew about brain physiology & plasticity - but now I realise I was very wrong.
The course helped me understand so much more about:
How the brain works in terms of the whole system
The importance of leaders having all "three brains" working optimally
The ability of this program to be applied to every situation (not just work, but life in general)
I was particularly impressed with how much relevant and useful information is available in the program to help a coach/practitioner deliver an absolute "beast" of a product to any client.
Also, Silvia's ability to translate extremely complex concepts and ideas into a language that is easily understood was amazing. We had people from all over the world in the room, and not one of them was confused or asked for extra explanations at any point in time. Truly remarkable.
The learning occurred in a very natural, easy way, and there was such honesty, authenticity, acceptance and wonderful energy throughout the three days.
The online component is equally fantastic, as it covers everything a practitioner or coach may ask. I found the part where a coach and client are having a conversation particularly useful as it delivers a practical view on what a coach/practitioner may encounter.
In terms of explaining all the pillars, the video segment was great. It complements the book perfectly. No matter if you are a visual learner, or prefer reading like me, the videos are a helpful add-on to achieve accreditation.
I find myself using and talking about the program frequently, and it is amazing how quickly the concepts of integration, intuition, inspiration and imagination become "everyday language". I believe this is because they are so applicable to anyone in everyday life.
I even use this with my sons at home, especially with my 17-year-old, who is at the moment trying to "find his way". I keep explaining to him that he is much more than “just a head" and for him to be present in life and perform at this optimal and best level he needs to integrate all of his body and mind by taking care of his teeth, skin, diet, exercise, reading, thinking and anything else.
I know at times it is hard for him to understand, but since we began having these conversations, I notice he's been going to the gym more regularly, his sleep pattern has improved, and so has his diet. For example, he's stopped getting Uber Eats for dinner (or breakfast) and is asking me to cook fresh, nutritious food. I also find we are spending more time together and I feel the program has improved our lives directly.
For myself, I also realised I have been neglecting various aspects of my life which resulted in me getting sick frequently. As a leader, I got into the habit of working very long hours, eating takeaways and drinking coffee way too much to cram so many things into my working day. It's as if I became addicted to working hard and working very long hours.
Strangely, this made me feel like I was productive, in control and in charge of work tasks and admired by my peers and my staff. But what I forgot to notice was that I was feeling very much run down, that I was irritable, and not really taking even a minute in my day to just stop and reflect or think. I was not giving myself time or space to let my brain recharge and be creative or intuitive.
Spending three days at the program made me realise this at an intellectual level, but I guess I was still not ready to give up on the addiction to working long hours and not really paying attention to myself. So, I kept on doing the same thing.
Two weeks ago, I contracted a serious chest infection. I had to spend eight full days in bed on very strong medication. During this time, I started reading the Leadership is Upside Down Workbook, and watching the videos on the website. Very slowly, I started understanding at a different, more emotional and visceral level that I was not applying the learnings to myself.
It hit me all of a sudden. I could not transfer this knowledge to any of my clients unless I truly started applying the learning to my own life and habits, especially at work. This was such a huge eye-opener. When I went back to work, I had a conversation with my boss and explained that for me to be my best self and bring my best self (and best leadership) to work, I needed to have my life in balance.
We had a conversation where we agreed my working hours would be more within a sustainable range (9 - 5) rather than the unrealistic and harmful 7:00am to 7:30pm or later. My boss is understanding and I am fortunate I can have open and honest conversations which enable me to apply what I learned at the 3-day training. It also helps that my boss was at the same training as me.
I would like to see my boss start applying the learning we got in the 3-day course, as I believe true leadership begins with self first. It's all about the role modelling. What Silvia teaches is rooted firmly in science, so this also works very well for sceptics. But, to fully grasp it, integration needs to happen.
I am very lucky my integration happened quickly. Thank you, Silvia!