It’s been a while since I updated my blog, and with good reason! We had a baby girl in January and life has been full on ever since. It has been such a transformational journey to get here, and one thing I’ve learned is the importance of ritual in my daily life.
My friend and colleague, Paulina Cameron and I have been working on a blog series (and hopefully a book one day soon!) surrounding ritual in our rites of passage, and it opened us up to the conversation surrounding ritual and story in our work. We chatted with the wonderful organizers of Social Venture Institute about creating a workshop for their conference in Vancouver, and last week we presented Story + Ritual, How to create a story-making culture. In our workshop, we explored the way we talk about our work and the elements that make up our values. We then discussed how we can form and commit to rituals that turn our stories-into-action.
Being an entrepreneur, I’m not taking an official maternity leave. Instead, I’m finding ways to integrate my work into my new life (it helps to have an entrepreneurial husband who can commit to being the primary parent a few days a week). One way to do that is to introduce new rituals that allow me to juggle all of the balls up in the air while still being grounded and mindful. I’ve been developing new daily rituals (including lighting a candle when I’m in ‘work mode’) as well as holding onto yearly rituals (such as crafting a vision board for my year).
Both Paulina and I have new babies (her son was born 6 days earlier!), and so we decided to bring our little ones to the conference one day. While it was amazing to be out and reconnecting with my work community, it was harder than I thought to be present and focused. I had to leave several workshops if she fussed or when I realized I was no longer paying attention (how did 15min just pass?!). Navigating this new world will take some time, but I’m amazed at how it can all come together if my values are aligned and I have support along the way.
When Paulina and I presented our workshop, we left the babes at home with our husbands. It allowed us to engage with the room at a deeper level, and also to get a bit of a break. My business is such a huge part of my world, and it felt so good to give it my undivided attention. I’m now back to work part-time, working when time presents itself and being open and honest with my clients and collaborators. As a female business owner, I feel compelled to change the conversation surrounding work + parenting; work might not look the same as it did before, and yet we need to move toward a more integrated way of working and living. My husband is from Sweden so he is used to this type of work/life integration. I’m hoping we can encourage and create a more shared parenting environment so that both parents feel they can stay connected to their work and their family without compromising either.
In the mean time, I will continue to explore how our stories and our actions shape the work that we do and the communities in which we live.
Here are some notes from our workshop
Story + Ritual: How to create a story-making culture
Your story defines your culture and if you don’t know what stories are being told surrounding your business, you don’t have access to your culture. The culture of an organization is the story-in-action. If your culture does not reflect your values, mission or vision, your brand has no power. In order to access your story, start by asking questions:
The Art of Asking Questions:
- Establish trust and a safe space
- Ask big and wide – don’t be too specific
- Share and be open – storytelling is a two way street
- Encourage visualization – focus in on sensory details
- Listen and then ask questions based on what you heard
Rituals are actions undertaken with intention, filled with meaning beyond their appearance. They remind us what is important, and return us to what matters. Our rituals lead us to create habits that enable us to live out our values daily. Culture is created by collective actions, or rituals, taken by a group of people. They can be agreed upon or invisible, and yet they are the glue that bonds the team together.
Components of rituals:
- A value or purpose needs to be defined
- An action, or series of behaviours, that is practiced with meaningful intention
- A dedicated time and frequency
- A commitment – in writing!