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We continue the sometimes joyful and sometimes painful path to try to be better human beings - this is only possible because we can rise above logic, that we find the wonder and hope, the language and words to inspire us and keep us going. Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Gen X and Gen Y : To Be What I Can Be

When I first moved to the US back in 1982 before you (many of you anyway) were born, I really missed the newspapers back in Australia where I'd lived. The main reason was the lack of international news. The Boston Globe was illuminating about the US, but what about the rest of the world?

Somehow I got steered to the Christian Science Monitor and we've taken it ever since - wow, 24 years! They have great international coverage and a wonderful humanist way of looking at the world, that keep me connected to the values of community and family. I am not a Christian Scientist, but I really appreciate the good work they are doing in putting out a quality newspaper in an age of Dross. The CS Monitor and the NY Times are the 2 dailies we get. I love opening a crisp new paper in the morning.

Yesterday, Wednesday August 23, I read an opinion piece by Traci Fenton, CEO of WorldBlu Inc, a business design studio by their own description who specializes in organizational democracy. The blog link above takes you to the full article, but I'd like to highlight the insights that particularly resonated.

Did you know for example that the latest Megatrends 2010 book by Patricia Aburdene says that the search for meaning is the Number 1 Megatrend?

Well those of you living lives of quiet desperation, maybe you are not alone.

Imagine, there actually are many many many people looking to have their lives "be an expression of their sense of purpose and identity". And more and more being born every day. Gen X and Gen Y have inherited a world which might as well be run by machines, our human-ness is so little taken into account, that the search for meaning has become paramount.

And these Gen X and Gen Y they are our customers.

And the Gen X and Gen Y are inside companies working to attract and retain customers.

We can't service and "sell" to them in ways that do not reflect their priorities.

Traci Fenton described some characteristics of organizations which would reflect the priorities of Gen X and Gen Y. How would such organizations go about attracting and retaining customers? Would you prefer to buy from one of these or not?

What do you think of this list of 10? A riff on Traci's

1. Get Naked - Open Transparent, Authentic
2. Dialogue and Collaborate - Not monologue and dysfunction
3. Everyone is a Somebody - No one is a grunting nobody
4. Purpose-filled organizations - That people are proud to belong to
5. Constructive Confrontation - People can bring up business issues they disagree about. You can agree to disagree. But once decision is made, everyone supports it.
6. Not a Cog - People are recognized for what they can be, what they can contribute
7. Choices Abound - Dictators Not allowed.
8. Freedom takes discipline. Integrity R Us. Modeled from the top and the bottom.
9. It's about Me: What I can be, how I can improve, how I can contribute to the organization adn community
10. Its an amoeba - not a pyramid, operating from rules that respect individuals and effective action.

Given this, how can we prepare ourselves to work in the kinds of organizations that are emerging? To attract and nurture customers who will stay with us, when the customers are looking for very different things from earlier generations?

Well, I've been pondering this, and here's the first experimental workshop we've come up with.

To Be What I Can Be by Shelley Mitchell that is planned for Singapore and San Francisco in the remainder of the year.

“To Be What I Can Be”

A Master Class for Non-Actors by Shelley Mitchell www.shelleymitchell.org

to be nobody but yourself
in a world which is doing its best
night and day to make you like everybody else,
means to fight the hardest battle
that any human being can fight
and to never stop fighting
e.e. cummings

Public speaking, the act of one human being speaking in front of others, has been practiced throughout the 40,000 years of humans living in groups. For 39,500 of those years, speaking has been in about understanding the meaning of our lives, for healing, for ritual, for assisting with the passages of life, from child to adolescent to adult to parent to community participant to elder.

Acting as pure entertainment is only 500 years old. Before that, acting, public speaking was done in religious contexts and agricultural and hunting rituals. Acting only in relation to banishing boredom and emptiness is new. In the past, its been about searching for meaning in human life.

This master class will expose you to the ancient pursuit by actors and public speakers to stand up and do something meaningful and mutually beneficial. Why should it matter to you?

In today’s industrialized world we all suffer from media pollution, over-exposure to bad acting and bad speaking. Lee Strasberg, artistic director of the Actors Studio, has spoken out in his 1970s Encyclopedia Britanica article on Acting, against the utterly artificial tones of the early radio and tv broadcasters. Through public media, now people unconsciously imitate this sound to seem ‘super’ efficient in their daily lives on and the telephone because they have learned a speech pattern created by bad acting!

To be what you can be, you must learn to communicate from yourself. To do what real actors do.

There’s a sweet spot to aim for: A combination of moment-to-moment presence and one’s self.

Being attentive to the present moment and what is happening around you,

Being in touch with yourself , which supplies the big idea, the force of what it is that you are communicating in that moment.

Only 8 % is communicated by the words you say. The rest is in body language and the tone of your voice. Imagine if the words you speak have nothing to say, after all its only 8% of the message. By working from the inside-out Actors learn to harmoniously send the message with everything they do, how they move, the sound of their voice, where their eyes look from one moment to the next, the set of their chin, the tilt of the head is all intuitively informed when they accept what ‘is’ in the moment and in themself.

We must wake to our own lives, before we can act.

Just like a runner eats the right food to run,
Take time to learn and understand the stuff that feeds our souls
So that we can communicate.

This master class specially designed for non-actors will give you the headstart to

Be What You Can Be.

Shelley has been working her whole life to contribute this master class to the world.

About Shelley:

Shelley Mitchell who trained for 4 years under Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio in New York City. In the US if you have watched the television program 'Inside the Actors Studio' you are probably familiar with the techniques associated with Method Acting and the way in which professional actors talk about their craft: a synthesis of mind, body, emotions and spirit.

The 'Method' originated around 1900 with techniques pioneered by Russian actor/director Constantine Stanislavsky. It was subsequently developed in America in the Group Theater of the 1930's and at the Actors Studio, both under the direction of Lee Strasberg, one of the most influential acting teachers of the 20th century.

The impact of Stanislavsky, Method Acting, Strasberg, Stella Adler, Sanford Meisner, the Actors Studio, Ute Hagen or whatever else you want to call it, in YOUR life is enormous...even if you don't know it! Why? Because for the last 60 years every serious actor or actress in the film industry has been aspiring towards the standard set by Brando, James Dean, Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro and Marilyn Monroe icons of 'Method Acting' and the Actors Studio.

Who are some actors who've taken a shine to 'Method' acting'?-

Angelina Jolie Charleze Theron
Al Pacino Sally Field
Johnny Depp Sean Penn
Marilyn Monroe James Dean
Marlon Brando Anthony Hopkins
Jude Law Sienna Miller
Dustin Hoffman Joan Chen

Shelley's work is very definite, very sound, very detailed... -LEE STRASBERG

"My studies with Shelley have been life-changing -- not to change anything about me, but to discover and embrace the essence of who I am as an individual. While the deeper connection with my self has freed me to be creative on stage, it has as much been so positive in my personal and business relationships."

Rex Ishibashi, major consultant to many startups in the San Francisco Bay Area