Jennifer England supports soul-aligned missions for the collective good. As an Integral Master Coach™ and highly skilled facilitator, she helps high performing leaders and teams access deeper fulfilment, clarity and alignment to succeed in transition, uncertainty and emergent collaboration. In this episode, Jennifer shares the value of bringing the principles of improv to our lives, and how our ability to improvise in times of challenge or disruption can actually be the soil of our resilience and creativity. They explore the relentless pursuit of ‘self-improvement’, and discuss the concept of ‘holobiont’ – that we become and are becoming an assemblage of the experiences and identities shaped by the ecosystem of our lives.
Listen in as they discuss:
- [00:02:32] The value of incorporating improvisation into life and work. How improv can help navigate disruptions, losses, and unexpected changes.
- [00:03:27] Jennifer shares her personal experience of dealing with loss and how it led her to explore the concept of improv in life.
- [00:05:09] Cultural beliefs about linear progress and external milestones and challenging the idea that linear progression is the only path to success.
- [00:07:36] How improv can help individuals respond flexibly to disruptions while staying aligned with their commitments, embracing the micro-moments of pivoting and adaptation.
- [00:10:10] The improv principle of “Yes, and” and how it can be applied in life.
- [00:12:52] The importance of recognizing that disruptions and disorientations in life can offer valuable lessons and capacities for resilience.
- [00:15:00] The significance of fully appreciating and celebrating external achievements without getting trapped in a cycle of unmet expectations.
- [00:17:51] How through navigating challenges in life we are building capacities we might not have otherwise built.
- [00:18:32] How our experiences are not just about ourselves; they are influenced by the people, history, and realness of the environments that we are in. Jennifer discusses the term “holobiont,” highlighting that individuals are assemblages of experiences and identities shaped by their ecosystems.
- [00:20:13] Chela expresses her fascination with the term “holobiont” and how it challenges the individualistic mindset prevalent in Western culture.
- [00:21:15] – Jennifer references Sophie Strand’s work which is where she first heard the term holobiont. https://sophiestrand.com/
- [00:24:47] The importance of considering identity as a co-emerging phenomenon, emphasizing the permeability of identities and how they inform each other.
- [00:25:15] The impact of leaders embracing uncertainty and not feeling the need to have all the answers, and how this can lead to more inclusive decision-making and the invitation of diverse perspectives.
- [00:30:43] Jennifer shares her personal experience of getting Covid, the immense pressure she was putting on herself to be perfect in various aspects of life, and how this realization led her to let go of the need for constant self-improvement.
- [00:33:18] Jennifer compares her self-improvement patterns to a mutating virus and expresses her desire to dissolve these patterns and unrealistic expectations, emphasizing the need to adapt and let go of unattainable ideals.
- [00:35:10] The challenge of imagining life outside of a capitalist society and how the relentless pursuit of self-improvement can impact our ability to engage in life-giving, healthy, and liberatory practices.
- [00:35:40] Chela questions whether this drive for improvement is inherent to the human condition, regardless of economic models, and how we tend to turn even life-enhancing practices into self-criticism and self-improvement projects.
- [00:36:13] How the pressure to make the most of life can lead to constant striving and improvement.
- [00:36:41] The idea of relaxing the linear sense of time and developing practices that enable a different way of being in touch with the present moment.
- [00:39:00] The importance of the question “on behalf of what” when pursuing self-improvement.
- [00:41:02] Chela expresses the realization that some of her preoccupations with the future caused her to miss precious moments in the present.
- [00:43:20] The importance of being attentive to one’s immediate experience and noticing what invitation might be present within resistance, rather than always trying to move towards a future ideal.
- [00:45:53] Chela shares her experiences as a parent with an age gap between her children and the grief of missing out on different phases of her older child’s life.
- [00:53:13] They explore the idea that memories and identity are shaped by both individuals in a relationship and how they co-create a rich and evolving life.
- [00:54:27] The idea of intentions not always equaling impact and how feedback from the world can shape our understanding of ourselves and others.
- [00:57:58] All the places and spaces where you can find Jennifer and her work.
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Jennifer England supports soul-aligned missions for the collective good. As a Master Integral Coach™ and highly skilled facilitator, she helps high performing leaders and teams access deeper fulfilment, clarity and alignment to succeed in transition, uncertainty, and emergent collaboration. Weaving together her passion for personal growth, leadership and emergent systems she founded Spark Coaching and Consulting in 2019. Before founding her company, Jennifer was an executive public servant and non-profit leader in the field of gender equality and human rights for two decades. She produces and hosts the Tension of Emergence podcast and is the creator and lead teacher of Becoming, a 5 month group coaching program. Jennifer is a mum to two wild teens, student of Zen, founder of the Wisdom North Collective and an avid backcountry adventurer.
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