Posts Tagged ‘flexibility’

049 How to Use Adaptability to Overcome Obstacles and Find Success with Merle Lefkoff

Many of us have been raised to think that the way to get ahead is to make a plan. Schedule, structure, and plan if you want to succeed. While thinking of the future is important, we no longer live in such a rigid, structured world. Information develops and changes rapidly, so much so that a plan that may have made sense yesterday no longer makes sense today. According to social change entrepreneur Merle Lefkoff, we ought to be more flexible in the ways we look at problem solving if we want to get ahead in today’s fast-paced world. How can we do this? By changing the way we think about problems, she explains. Instead of viewing challenges and our relationships to them as one-dimensional, we ought to recognize the complex networks and systems that contribute to their development.

In this episode I speak with Merle Lefkoff, a social change entrepreneur whose practice is devoted to the application of nonlinear complex systems thinking to whole system change. Merle holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, USA and has been a mediator, facilitator, and leadership trainer in conflict zones around the world. Merle received a research appointment as Guest Scientist and Affiliate of the Center for Non-Linear Studies at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where she worked with computer scientists, physicists and mathematicians exploring in computer simulations how groups form collective identity.  She is Founder and CEO of the Center for Emergent Diplomacy which applies the self-organizing power of Complexity Science to global policy agendas in order to reach resilient and collaborative agreements that address the critical issues of our time. Merle and I talk about how we can view problems as complex systems, how we can use adaptability and flexibility to overcome them, and why this is a particularly important and intuitive relationship for women.

Get Giovanna’s FREE worksheet -Communicate My Purpose!

What You’ll Discover in This Episode

  • Merle’s recommendations for getting your kids involved in political thought and activity

  • How you can change your perspective to incorporate a centering morning routine into your day

  • How you can use adaptive solution finding, role sharing, and flexibility to overcome any challenge

More About Merle

As a social change entrepreneur who studies complex adaptive systems, Merle is accustomed to studying humans’ responses to change. She notices that in recent years in social science, there’s been an interest in embracing the notion that change is happening constantly, evolution is happening constantly.” What this has led to is greater fluidity in roles, or role sharing. While historically one person may maintain one career title their entire lives, in today’s world people jump around in titles, roles, and careers. And this is a useful thing, she explains. With so many morphing challenges arising all of the time, “being as adaptive as possible” is the only real way to succeed.

As a woman working in social sciences, Merle is thrilled by this shift. She suggests, “women have always collaborated in these ways. Now we have scientific validation of these models.” Merle sees this movement as a sign of a shift toward a more feminine presence in the corporate world on a large scale. Since the notions of role sharing and flexibility are strongly associated with feminine approaches to overcoming obstacles, it only makes sense to include more feminine thinking, and therefore more females, in the workplace. She sees that “small changes can change the whole system,” and “one of the ways these organizations can move [these changes] along is by letting women rise to the top.”

Check Out the Links Mentioned in This Episode!

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Merle Lefkoff and Complex Adaptive Systems

Get Giovanna’s FREE worksheet -Communicate My Purpose!

047 How to Change Your Unconscious Story with Pam England

We all know what it feels like when a plan doesn’t go as expected. Perhaps you’ve had a goal in mind and you did everything right to achieve it. You planned, prepared, and became convinced that you would, and deserved to, reach your goal. And then, to your shock, the outcome is not what you had anticipated. You don’t reach your goal, and suddenly your world is turned upside down. This experience can be so very difficult because it leads you to question what you thought was true, and can even cause you to question your understanding of your own identity. If I followed the rules and did everything right and I still did not reach my goal, then are the rules flawed? According to Birthing From Within author Pam England, we can find peace from this self-destructive way of thinking by examining where we learned these ‘rules,’ and by recognizing that the journey has just as much to teach us as the supposed outcome.

Pam England is the author of Birthing from Within, a world-renowned book that provides a holistic approach to childbirth by examining it not as a medical event but as an act of self-discovery. Pam lives, works, and paints in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She teaches workshops and speaks at conferences all over the world, on topics such as preventing and healing birth trauma, cesarean birth, storytelling, visualizations and hypnosis, and many other aspects of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. In addition to working on a number of manuscripts (including ones on prenatal nutrition, birth trauma, and cesarean birth), she teaches childbirth classes and does Birth Story sessions in Albuquerque, NM. In this episode, Pam and I chat about how her birth experience led her to reexamine the way we approach birth preparation, how we can look at big ordeals in our lives as transformational, and what steps we can take to change our unconscious stories about ourselves.

Get the FREE worksheet “Four Steps to Start Living a Well Woman Life” now!

What You’ll Discover in This Episode

  • How you can use Pam’s tips for self-discovery to view all of your experiences, even the disappointing ones, as a means for growth
  • How to question some of the stories you’ve grown up with to be more flexible and forgiving with yourself
  • What you can do to prepare yourself for a new position or role in your life, such as a new job or motherhood

Get the FREE worksheet “Four Steps to Start Living a Well Woman Life” now!

More About Pam

Pam experienced her ‘shaking of reality’ moment at the birth of her son. As a birth educator and midwife, she was shocked, disappointed, and utterly confused when her planned home birth ended up in an emergency c-section. How could she, the authority on avoiding hospital intervention, have ended up in the surgery room on the day of her son’s birth? As she lay on the operating table, “all of [her] belief systems fell apart.” In her shock, a question popped into her head; “what is it that I need to know as a mother to give birth that I didn’t know as a midwife?”

After the birth of her son, Pam began to question the stories we have been told about birth. She has come to understand that “birth is a right of passage,” no matter what kind of birth an individual experiences. Since childbirth is something that cannot truly be planned, it is inevitable that during the birth some side of yourself will come out that you did not know was there. Pam saw that as an educator, she “needed to help women, not with education about the medical model or breastfeeding, but with their beliefs: what do they believe about themselves.”

Only when we change our unconscious insecurities and expectations about ourselves can we grow in our experiences, and not be met with disappointment and self-loathing.


We need to prepare women for the role they’re about to take on//We need to question the ‘stories’ we learned as children. At the time, interpreted them as truth. Now as adults, can see that they don’t hold power.
Check Out the Links Mentioned in This Episode!

Pam England’s Birthing From Within

Get the FREE worksheet “Four Steps to Start Living a Well Woman Life” now!