Why You've Got To Check Out Today's Episode:
[00:00:00] Kathi Burns: Hi there. I'm board certified professional organizer Kathy Burns. I'm really glad you're here. This podcast is designed for busy entrepreneurs just like you, who wanna take better control of your business and move forward with less stress and more success. If this is your first time listening, then thanks for coming.
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Now, let's get into the show.
Hello again and welcome back. Today I'm speaking with Pamela Thompson. We're gonna talk about how to navigate life through transitions. She's my girl cuz she wants to talk about ease, grace, and playfulness. Yes, as we transition, we should all have fun doing it. So Pamela Thompson, my guest, has experienced many transitions throughout her life, including living and working on five continents.
Divorce, burnout and finding the love of her life. Yay. She's passionate about sharing your insight, stories, and strategies on how to navigate, change and lead in uncertain times, and also to thrive in life. Pamela works globally throughout experiential workshops, speaking and writing, and is committed to making a difference.
She is a powerhouse and the founder of the National nonprofit Female Wave of Change, Canada. She's also the author of the number one bestselling book, Learning to Dance With Life, A Guide for High Achieving Women. We're gonna talk about how to achieve your dreams and go through any transition that you might experience, cuz that what happens when you follow your dreams with ease, grace, and playfulness.
So I will see you in a jiffy. Hi everyone. I am back with Pamela Thompson and we're gonna talk about transitioning through change with ease and playfulness. Thanks, Pamela, for coming on the show.
[00:02:09] Pamela Thompson: Thank you, Kathi. I'm excited to be here.
[00:02:11] Kathi Burns: Yeah, this is gonna be a fun, fun talk for sure. So talk to me about your transitions and what has gotten you to this point in your life. Where here we are talking about transitioning and change.
[00:02:22] Pamela Thompson: How much time do you have? Kathi. It's interesting because, I have since you're about age three, knew that I was going to travel around the world and work with different people being of service in some way. I can still remember the moment I was visiting with my parents at a friend's home. And this was a very good friend of my dad who was single, and she traveled extensively and she was showing us slides of her most recent trip. And I remember thinking, when I get big, I'm gonna travel around the world. And she had all these treasures around her place, right?
And I thought, and I'm gonna collect beautiful treasures too, so it all started years ago, and It's interesting because as I mentioned before the interview, I actually have had four businesses since the early nineties. So I guess my whole life is about change. I guess I get bored fairly quickly and before I started my own business, I averaged about three years in any one position.
And then I would think, oh, this, I'm not learning anymore. And either I would put it out to the universe to say what's next? Or I would be in a social situation and someone would say, Hey, we have this opportunity. Do you wanna take us up on it? I'd say, oh, that sounds great. And I just jump in with both feet. So that's been my pattern throughout life.
[00:03:44] Kathi Burns: I love that. I love that. Yeah. I've had seven careers myself, so it's easily bored is what we are, but also easily ignited I think. Don't you think?
[00:03:54] Pamela Thompson: I do that that's a good way to put it.
[00:03:57] Kathi Burns: Yeah. We are easily ignited. So talk to me about what you help clients with. I know as a change agent we all help in our own way. So talk to me about the process of what you do with your clients.
[00:04:12] Pamela Thompson: Okay I have a five step Art of Change framework that is based on the metaphor, life's a dance, and underpinned by the belief that embracing change is a creative process that opens us up to new possibilities.
So Kathi, it's really about putting change on its head and instead of fearing it. Embracing it. And so I have this framework enables people to explore how they respond to change and why. And that it gives them a particular framework they can apply to any life transition, be it a change in career leaping from a real job to a new business, a new relationship, whatever it is.
And so the process takes them through three distinct phase. An ending, a neutral zone and a new beginning. And part of this process, I draw largely on William Bridge's work, and then I've modified it and enhanced it. And he was an organizational theorist. You may have heard of him. So based on over 30 years of work with people in organizations, he identified these three phases regardless of any transition you go through.
And he said that there's work associated with each phase, and if we don't do the work, we keep repeating the same patterns often in our lives and remaining unfulfilled and unhappy. Hence, people who get married three, four, and five times. Basically some. Some of them, some of the partners may even look similar and they keep, after the honeymoon phase, they keep repeating the same issues as the previous relationship because they haven't taken time between them to find out who they are and what they truly want in their life. So this process really helps people to understand, okay, what's the work in the ending?
It's letting go. And then I've added identifying lessons learned. What did you learn from that job? What did you learn from that relationship? What do you have to let go off to move forward? And then the work of the neutral zone is to envision that new life, that new relationship, that new career of your dreams.
So that's a creative space, but that's also the scary space because that's when you've taken the leap and you don't know where the net is. So many people go back and forth. Like I remember my first husband. We went back and forth five times before I married him. Maybe there was a reason why I'm divorced from him now.
I wasn't really listening, although we had a lot of, many fun years together, I must say. But anyway, but there's yeah, it's like that, that it's a scary place and so it, and yet it's a very creative space cuz you get to dream and then the new beginning, the work is taking action towards you, what you've envisioned in that neutral zone.
So I really love taking my clients through this. And the cool thing about it is it not only is something you can use one-on-one with, say, coaching clients, you can also use it with leaders and their teams in businesses and organizations. Because if you're going to pivot, for example, it's really important to, have everybody on the team say, okay, how do I typically respond to change and why? So Kathi, put you on the spot here for a minute. Scale from one to 10, how do you typically respond to change? One being scares me to death. 10 being I thrive on it.
[00:07:18] Kathi Burns: 10
[00:07:20] Pamela Thompson: I would've thought. And both leaders, many leaders are nine or 10. So now I'm gonna ask you something a little bit different. What if a change comes out of the blue at you and is imposed? It's nothing that you chose, do you think? How would you rate yourself then on that scale.
[00:07:34] Kathi Burns: I give myself a five or a six, and I'd have to reframe it in my mind. I did it to myself, or it was given to me as a gift, and then I could maybe move up the scale , but at first, anybody who imposes any kind of rules on me is not a good thing anyhow. So I'd probably be a 4, 5, 6 at that point until I could lock it in.
[00:07:56] Pamela Thompson: Appreciate you sharing your vulnerability around this, because that's often the case. A lot of people who are leaders and rate themselves nine or 10 often when I ask that second question, say five or six. And the beauty, the insights related to that is huge one-on-one. But it's also beautiful and it's powerful in a team because you get to share. And when Brene Brown would say, rumble about it, and if I'm a 9 and you're a five. That doesn't make me better. It just is. So then it gives the opportunity to say, okay, we're going through this change. How can we support you as a team?
How can I support you? And then when we move through, we understand that person needs more sensitivity, more support. And then instead of people getting really reactive and resisting the change, which can have really negative impacts on your body, your mind, your relationships, and your business. the person then can be taken forward to embrace it and then see it as an opportunity, create to be creative and to envision new things. Move forward in a positive way.
[00:08:55] Kathi Burns: Yeah, I absolutely love that. So what do you think is the biggest stumbling block for people? And I love the idea that you're doing this with teams, by the way. Cause I think right now everybody's pivoting. So many, pivoting all over the place at having everybody congruent with what they're doing is always a good thing. But what do you think is a stumbling block? The biggest stumbling block that you see once people are saying, I know where I am with this and now I wanna go to phase two. What stops them from moving into the second part of it? I'm sure it's all sort of things.
[00:09:25] Pamela Thompson: It's typically, it is fear and it's because you probably know we're physiologically hardwired to fear change. And our amygdala part of the brain is constantly searching our environments for things that are different. And then as soon as it identifies something that's different. It sends stress hormones throughout our body and puts us into fight, flight, or freeze. And that's when, those are, no, none of those situations are in good, put us in a good place to make rational decisions. So part of that is, So part of it's mindset, right?
So making people aware of this physiological response and then giving people tools so that when they, the fear comes up, they can learn to deep breathe. Cuz there's, the, that oxy breath taking, breathing in through your nose really deeply and holding it and then letting it out. Doing this about three times, it releases oxytocin, which is that hormone that helps us relax, right? So giving people tools to notice how their body's reacting or responding to this, to the change is the first thing. And then grounding tools as well and say, okay, I'm okay. I'm safe. And then they can be in a better place to make that decision or say, okay, why am I afraid? And then to really analyze.
Okay. Is it really something for me to be afraid of? And how can I move forward? How can I let go? What do I need to let go of, what are, what lessons have I learned from this previous way I've been, and how can I create something new so that I can move forward?
[00:10:59] Kathi Burns: Yeah, I think that's so important. And what you said earlier about your body's actually doing it to you for, to, to you be aware that it's not just your brain, it's like your body's going into flight or fight here and it's normal to be a little bit freaked out about change and for, unless you're just a crazy person, that loves change or thrives on change, but not very many people are. And I think giving you the permission to know that it's not just. It is physiological as well. I love the breath work. I was doing wim hof this morning. We do wim hof a lot in our house and it's a really good breath breathing breath work anyhow. So talk to me about a story. Talk to me about a client story something you can think of that really makes you smile every time you think of the breakthrough or whatever happened with them.
[00:11:46] Pamela Thompson: I am gonna go with a team. I'm gonna go with a team that I worked with in Afghanistan. I lived and work for 13 months in Afghanistan from October, 2010 to November, 2011, Kathi, and my role was in as a team senior technical advisor to help the ministry develop their first strategic plan and build the capacity of internal teams to do strategic and operational planning.
And what happened initially is I was given the strategic planning team and the first meeting I realized that the only person who understood English and got 80% of what I was saying was the team lead. Oh, all of them spoke local language and I didn't have a budget for an interpreter, translator.
[00:12:30] Kathi Burns: Wow, okay. There's some change right there.
[00:12:34] Pamela Thompson: This wonderful doctor who was in charge of this position, who was in charge of this EU funded project and gave me this guide, 15%, it was time. This Afghan, who was a really good interpreter. But anyway, the long and the short is, I trained this team and initially, I was teaching the facilitation and I was teaching them, how to, how to use different skills to initially assess the current situation and get input.
So people across the 74 departments of this ministry, had ownership for the change. And so it started with people not speaking each other's language. And then it went to, I was teaching them how to observe one another and I gave them this tool. And the first thing I noticed is typically in, in this group, And in many countries, and even in the States and Canada, is people, whenever somebody says something, instead of saying, does something, instead of talking initially about what's positive, they go right for the jugular, oh, that's so bad, or no.
All the negatives. So I had to really underscore for these people when they were doing behavioral observations of what someone facilitated a session to say what's something, what that this person did that was really good before they went to the areas for improvement. And I would specifically say areas for improvement. Not what you did wrong, right? Yeah. You had something that you thought was wrong. Then you focus on how could you suggest to them to make it right, rather than just poking holes in the discussion. So we moved from there. To this process where I trained this group and then we trained other people.
And within a space of nine months, Kathi, we created the strategic plan for this ministry. And the minister actually attended a national meeting and she sat back and just listened. She didn't intervene. And at the end of the day, can you believe it? Like it would probably never happen in North America. We had agreement through all the policy layers for this plan, and it was because of the ownership that was built through the process. That was like a pivotal moment to actually see, we even had somebody, one of the other external donors paid to have the document translated and printed.
But it was incredible to see the change in the people in terms of how they reacted and responded. And also to see them really listen to process because it was all about the point. And I'm a really process oriented person cuz I'm a facilitator as well as a coach. And so it was really interesting to see them understand that process and see them buy into it and see the changes that actually happened as a result.
[00:15:09] Kathi Burns: That's an amazing story and congratulations for all of them and for you. And for the minister has probably fallen off or fallen off her seats , but I can't believe this is happening. Anytime you have a party of more than two, there's an issue. As regarding entrepreneurs and Many women who are listening to this probably are small businesses. They have teams. And where if there's some type of dissension within the team where would you suggest that they start? Would you suggest that you start with like one-on-one to see where they're at and then do a team meeting, or maybe just jump right into the team meeting with them and see where they're at with who's saying what and who's, how's, who's feeling?
[00:15:50] Pamela Thompson: It's obviously that's a really good question. It's obviously tailored a bit to the situation. That said, I would always go one-on-one with the leader and really find out is this something that they're projecting? Because a lot of times we do project, right? Yeah. And a lot of times I don't really, you've noticed in your life you probably have because you're very self-aware, but a lot of times we react to people based on them reminding us of someone in our past. So a teacher, someone who had a position of authority over us, and so we're not really reacting to them, we're reacting to that persona. That they're and so it's and so part of my discussion would be with the leader or the business owner of the team to say, so tell me more about the situation and what's happening and how does it feel in your body?
And then I'd say, does this person remind you of anybody in your past? And then it's oh. And it's amazing because if a person connects with that, and when they do, for example, it's it's such a relief because it gives them so much freedom to realize, oh my goodness, that person really, it's me. It's all about me. So I don't have to try to change them. I have to change me and really go into the situation, take deep breaths, ground myself, and really observe and see in the next situation how things happen.
[00:17:09] Kathi Burns: Yeah, that's fantastic. I always say, it's never about them. It's always about you and be the change you wanna see. You start with changing yourself and then everything around you just changes it's magic like that.
[00:17:19] Pamela Thompson: Like that it's so magical. You're right on.
[00:17:23] Kathi Burns: Hey I have a question. So if you were gonna look back, okay. When you were little, you said, I'm gonna travel around the world. Okay. Now you're 18. If you're to look back at yourself at 18 what advice would you give this girl?
[00:17:35] Pamela Thompson: Oh, I would say listen to and trust in your body's wisdom. Don't listen to people outside you and what they're telling you to do, but really when an opportunity or a choice is given to you, really don't just think about, oh my dad would think I should take it, or, this would be really good for my family. Really go inside and say, is this really what I want?
[00:17:58] Kathi Burns: That's good advice. And it seems like you've been a pretty good director of your life up to this point. You've done what you wanna do. So what's on the horizon? What is your exciting new project? I know we have something in the room.
[00:18:09] Pamela Thompson: The most recent project, I hadn't done this before, so of course I had to do something new, is I launched a nonprofit in December of 2020 during Covid? Yes, of course I did. Yay. And it's called Female Wave of Change, Canada. and we'll, we believe that feminine leadership holds the key to creating a better world, a more conscious, equitable, just sustainable and peaceful one. And when I speak about feminine leadership, qualities like creativity, collaboration, inclusiveness, emotional, intelligent, these qualities that are typically associated with the feminine.
That said, men can have them and learn them as well. And we actually have men as part of our movement. And I also wanna say that I did not found this movement. It was founded in January of 2017 by an amazing woman in the Netherlands called Ingen Bull. And now we're in about 40 countries, and I was a named ambassador for Canada.
In March of 2020, after being interviewed and being offered and having offered it and thinking about. Yeah, it's been an amazing journey. We're member based, we have monthly meetings with featured guests, and we have projects in five pillar areas, economy, environment, education, health and humanity. We have collective wisdom circles where women get together once a month and share their wisdom around a certain topic, like dealing with change and uncertainty, for example. Yeah. And we're always dreaming up new things to.
[00:19:33] Kathi Burns: That sounds amazing. And do you have occasions probably when all of the different agencies around the world get to get together and do collaborations?
[00:19:42] Pamela Thompson: That's a good question. What we typically do is we have monthly female wave of change, global leaders that all the ambassadors and some of their wavemaker participate in. So we get to share what we're up to and the opportunity is there, like we, we have something called the Mother Earth Ambassador Project that we've created. Which links the environment with the education pillars. And it's an experiential outdoor education project for girls age nine to 12 to teach them about how to be mother earth ambassadors in their homeschools and communities. Oh, so an example of that is to share it. At a global team meeting and saying, we're piloting it now and after we get the bugs ironed out, do you think this is something you wanna, might wanna do in Namibia or Germany or South Africa or wherever?
That's an opportunity. But also once typically, I think it's about every two years now we have international conferences and they used to be pre covid. They used to be in person. So the last one was in South Africa and they combine, presentations and speakers from all around the world with music and dancing and all sorts. And the last one we had was virtual. The last couple we've had of were virtual and each country got the opportunity to submit a proposal to speak from 10 to 30 minutes and present what was really, on their hearts or something that they were really excited.
[00:21:01] Kathi Burns: Yeah, that sounds really powerful. I'm sure you'll get back to in person one time, but at the same time, we don't need to anymore because we have the great capacity to have so many people together virtually. I just love that. I love the fact that we can st do that now. Talk to me about anything that you use to keep yourself organized. What's your favorite organizing tactic or hack that you use to keep focused or in line with your business?
[00:21:28] Pamela Thompson: The thing that I used that I found really helpful over the years is to make a list at the end of each day of what I want to do the next day. And if it's really long, then to set priorities on the list, like what's a must do and what's a maybe nice to have, maybe moderate. And what's a nice to have that can be pushed, right? And so the next day I don't spend a lot of time mucking around deciding where to start. I start with the priorities at the top of the list. Yeah. And at the end of the day, if I haven't done everything, I don't beat myself up. I'd rather check off the ones I've done and say Woohoo and then, create another list. I sometimes have crossed off and added bits, but it's really not so good. It's better to just have a new list and do it all the same way again.
[00:22:13] Kathi Burns: Yeah. Lists are so important. It sounds like you're using a, like the Ivy Lee method where you have, your five things and the top three you've got to absolutely do, and then the last two get moved up to the top three. The next day you're using something similar. And lists are so important because otherwise we walk into our office anyhow and we don't really know what to do for a second or third. And knowing it before you walk into the office, I think is super important. Especially don't check your inbox in the morning. Not the first thing ever. .
[00:22:40] Pamela Thompson: That's actually, that's another hack is if I haven't something creative, if I'm writing a blog, cuz I write quite frequently or I'm designing something. Do that first. Maybe take a couple hours and don't look at my email or my social media. Cause otherwise I get down the rabbit hole.
[00:22:56] Kathi Burns: Exactly. Out into the universe, there we go. And then we're looking for shoes. Okay what have I not asked you that I should have asked you? I know we have something exciting on the horizon for you. So let's talk about Minerva a little.
[00:23:09] Pamela Thompson: Thanks very much for asking. Yes. I have a new book, my second book that's actually launching December the eighth, that's called The Exploits of Minerva: Reflections of a Sixty-Something Woman. Do you want me to share a little bit about it? Okay. And it's all about six women who've been supporting each other for over 20 years in a women's circle through a variety of life transit. Burnout, separation, divorce, finding the love of your life, losing the love of your life, aging, retirement, and such and it's told through the eyes of Minerva, who's quite playful and sensitive.
[00:23:41] Kathi Burns: That sounds wonderful. Okay, so when is this out? This is gonna be out December 6th you say?
[00:23:46] Pamela Thompson: December the eighth is the official launch. It's actually on Amazon right now, but the, and the official launch is December the eighth.
[00:23:53] Kathi Burns: Congratulations. I'm so happy for you. That's fantastic.
[00:23:57] Pamela Thompson: Thank you.
[00:23:58] Kathi Burns: Yay. Okay, so do you have a free resource that you would like to offer the listeners here? Anything that they can download or upload or have fun?
[00:24:06] Pamela Thompson: Yes, I do. On my webpage or my firstname.lastname@example.org there is the Art of Change framework that I spoke briefly about before, and it's the more detailed white paper on it. So if people are interested in learning more about that and how you can apply it, that's, it's right there. You just go to the homepage and sign up for it.
[00:24:25] Kathi Burns: Perfect. Perfect. And for those of you who are on a site that you can actually click link, the link will be below as well. If you're watching this video, you'll see the link. So you can just click on that or you can go to pamela dash com Thompson, right? Yes. Yay. Okay, cool. I really appreciate having you on the show. I know what I wanted to ask you. So do they have the women's organization in the United States?
[00:24:47] Pamela Thompson: Yes, they do. However, it's not for the whole US. We're only now in several of the states, I believe California and Virginia. We used to be in New York, but that person left and so no, there's opportunities to, for ambassadors in different states.
[00:25:03] Kathi Burns: So it's a state by state type of thing.
[00:25:05] Pamela Thompson: It's a state by state sort of thing.
[00:25:07] Kathi Burns: In the US because we're that's right.
[00:25:10] Pamela Thompson: Although I was sick in Canada was pretty big. I thought they were gonna make the ambassador for British Columbia, but no. At the end of the interview they said, no, you get Canada. Oh, really? Okay. Wow.
[00:25:19] Kathi Burns: So anybody out there in Canada that wants to start another another area like maybe a Vancouver branch you'd be the girl to talk to about that?
[00:25:27] Pamela Thompson: Yeah, because right now we do national meetings, but I'm encouraging people to develop hubs and have their own stuff. Yeah, we do virtual naturally. Oh, certainly. Yes.
[00:25:36] Kathi Burns: You're doing great work and I love the idea of the girls, putting tourism in with education and e and I'm sorry, ecology and saving the earth with the youngins because they're the ones that get to do it after we've done such a great job at it. So I love that.
[00:25:52] Pamela Thompson: Thanks, Kathi.
[00:25:53] Kathi Burns: Absolutely. Thanks for being on the show and for all of you, I'll see you next week. Download. Go ahead and download so you can see where you are with change and how you can deal with change better with Pamela's download. I'll see you next week.
[00:26:07] Pamela Thompson: Bye-bye
[00:26:08] Kathi Burns: Bye.
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