We need to help people realize what it is that goes on behind the scenes of our minds.
Welcome to our interview with Natasha Swerdloff. Natasha is an Author and Owner at The Principles Institute and swerdloff.dk ApS. She is a consultant specializing in coaching, leadership training, organizational change, communication and human processes.
Natasha co-authored the book Coming Home, which she wrote with Dr. Dicken Bettinger. The book is available on Amazon.com and Amazon.uk.co and is an exploration further into the foundations of psychological well-being.
Welcome Natasha, and thank you for contributing to the questions that are at the heart of the Exploring Forward Thinking Workplaces 2.0 conversation.
How can we create workplaces where every voice matters, everyone thrives and finds meaning, and change and innovation happen naturally?
The work that I do in businesses today is to help the organization see where innovation and motivation come from, and what it takes to perform naturally.
The way I do that is by sharing with them this understanding that we call the 3 Principles or the Inside-Out-Understanding. This understanding offers a way of understanding how the mind works, and where motivation and well-being come from.
I believe the answer to your question is that we need to help people raise their level of consciousness. We need to help people realize what it is that goes on behind the scenes of our minds. I think it’s an educational challenge. It comes from our heart and insights into the workplace so that people can see for themselves how this works.
That’s the thing about this understanding that we call the 3 Principles, the realization of how the mind works come from inside. It doesn’t come from us just talking about it. It doesn’t come from your conceptual mind. It comes from people realizing it for themselves, and all we can do is to create an opportunity for that to happen organically, from within.
What does it take to get an employee’s full attention and best performance?
When people understand that the only thing that stops them from performing well and being motivated deeply, is their thinking, it’s often a revelation to them. When employees find out what they’re looking for is already present inside of them that makes a big difference to getting the best performance out in the workplace.
It’s true for everyone that there’s a space inside where we are at ease, where we have well-being, and where we are resilient in the face of changes. Unfortunately, this space inside is often covered over by our thinking. The way we think of a struggle or challenge in a certain way often makes us unable to access this space of well-being inside. But once people realize how the mind works, it’s like we get full access to this space within—which is where performance comes from.
Again, what it takes is to point people to an understanding of how their mind works and then the full attention and best performance will arise from within each and every person naturally.
What do people really lack and long for at work?
I think everybody longs to be doing something that’s meaningful to them. I think everybody wants to feel like what they do matters to someone—not necessarily that we all have to be doctors and nurses—but that what we do can be seen in some greater whole. I think a big part of motivation and well-being at work comes from having a sense purpose that arises from the quiet space within.
I also believe that a lot of people want to have autonomy in their work—to be free to create whatever they will. The more we let people find their creative voice, the more innovative people would become, and what they created would be of much higher value.
I think the only thing that people are lacking is the knowledge of where that creativity comes from. I believe everybody has creativity and motivation inside. They have innovation right under the tip of their nose; they just haven’t seen it yet. By helping people see what’s already inside of them, well-being arises, creativity arises, and everything they’re longing for they will find within themselves.
What is the most important question leaders should ask employees?
I think it would have to be something about, “How can I help?” What can I do as your manager to help you find purpose and autonomy? And also to a degree, “How can help you become a master at what you do?”
People love it when they get better at something. It is valuable for managers to find out what they can do to create opportunities for people to find out what excites them. An important part of being a manager in my view is to create an environment where creativity and well-being thrives. This kind of environment arises from a realization of where well-being, creativity, and motivation comes from, and then helping each and every employee to have this realization for themselves. By doing so, relationships grow stronger, conflicts disappear, stress goes down, and thriving goes through the roof both regarding employee satisfaction and in the earnings of the company.
What is the most important question employees should ask leaders?
It’s the same question before. How can I be of service? How can I make management easier? How can I be a part of creating change for the organization?
We all have different roles. Even in a relationship, we have different things we’re good at. I think it is helpful to ask yourself questions. What do I love to do? What would I like to do? What would I do if nobody paid me?
We do our best work when we do what we love to do, not necessarily because we are paid for it. I think the intrinsic values around motivation are much more powerful than the extrinsic values. I think that carrots and sticks are very much part of yesterday´s way of management and today it’s much more about working together in creating a workplace that we want to belong to. So asking managers “How can I help?” “How can I be of service to you so that you as a manager can be your best.” By working as a one we can all be part of creating some of the larger changes in the organization—and hopefully, this can create ripple effects that will help serve the world.
What is the most important question we should ask ourselves?
For me the most important question we can ask is, who Am I? I think the more we see our true nature, the more we find this space inside where there is no division. The space within has no gender, has no religion, has no opposites. There is union, peace, and compassion. I believe that any problem we face, any challenge we have is the world of form. When I say form, I mean thoughts, feelings and also this form we call our body. The moment I realize that my true nature is pure consciousness—that what I truly am is formless—everything starts to change. Pure consciousness doesn’t get stuck, and it doesn’t get into conflict.
There are no challenges in the formless. There’s no you and me. There are no problems. There’s no pain and no struggle. I believe that the more we can realize our true nature, the more we will all thrive and together create a world that we all want to belong to.
As you know from my website, I work in organizations, so the kind of work that I do is always and only about helping people realize who they are, where their potential lies, and where well-being comes from. I point people in the direction of their true self when I coach people, when I teach in organizations, and when I write books and articles.
It’s all pointing to the same deep question of who are we? Who are we really? What is it that’s our true nature? What is it that connects us all? How are we all expressions of life that look different on the surface level, but is the same on the deepest level?
By pointing people toward something that is already true, it is like helping them recognize and reacquaint themselves with the deepest and truest part of themselves. It makes sense to people when they see this for themselves, and it helps create healthier and happier people and organizations. A ripple effect of that is that the organizations who realize this get better results, look towards the future regarding innovation and finds solutions that help all parts of life thrive including our environment.
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