Investing in Regenerative Agriculture and Food

268 Giles Hutchins - How we can use the achiever mindset as a tool for crafting a regenerative world

December 08, 2023 Koen van Seijen Episode 268
Investing in Regenerative Agriculture and Food
268 Giles Hutchins - How we can use the achiever mindset as a tool for crafting a regenerative world
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

A conversation with Giles Hutchins, executive coach, keynote speaker and author of Leading by Nature, about the role of mindset in regenerative food systems, the achiever mentality, reconnecting with nature and achieving a more sustainable business mindset, interconnectedness and the “field” in science and spirituality and more.

We kick things off by diving into the crucial shift towards a regenerative mindset, a paradigm shift from the potentially harmful "achiever" mindset. Giles imparts wisdom on the importance of staying grounded, cultivating meaningful relationships and the risks we face if we allow the traditional achiever mindset to dictate our solutions to environmental crises. 
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Speaker 1:

Welcome to a very special series of conversations diving deep into the mindset shift needed for the regenerative transition, hosted by Emma Chauw, friend of the show and active in the regenerative space. For a while, she worked with many of the largest food corporations in the world and went on a deep personal regeneration journey, leading, among other things, to a love for cacao. This is the first time we host another voice on the podcast, so I hope you all give her a very warm welcome. Emma, the mic is yours.

Speaker 2:

Thanks, Coon. It's great to be back, and this time in the hosting seat. Through six rich conversations with a range of guests, we're exploring the role of the mind. What mindset enables people to serve as regenerative leaders for a radically better food system? What are the common threads across these conversations? Well, we're about to find out. We're looking at regeneration from the inside out. This series is supported by our friends at Stray, who are exploring systemic investing with awe and wonder, as well as our friends at Mustard Seed Trust, who are enabling a transition to a care economy that fosters regenerative food systems.

Speaker 2:

Thanks so much for tuning in. We hope the conversations crack the door open for you and invite you to explore new ways of thinking and embodiment towards a regenerative tomorrow. Is the achiever mindset the very mindset that's been overly applied and gotten us into so many of the issues we're trying to solve and unpick today? Is it that mindset that's at risk of hijacking the regenerative movement and undermining its integrity? How do we learn to use the achiever tendencies as a tool for becoming regenerators ourselves? In our everyday, we get into all the juicy bits of this and so much more in today's conversation. I really enjoyed it and I hope you do too. Thanks so much for tuning in. Welcome to the show.

Speaker 2:

Today I am joined by Giles Hutchins. He is an executive coach, keynote speaker and author of several books, including his most recent, Leading by Nature. Amongst his roles, Giles runs a 60-acre leadership centre at Springwood Farm, and when it comes to all things regenerative business leadership and organisational culture, Giles has been a true pioneer in the space, exploring the depths of these topics well before regeneration even became more mainstreamed. So I'm really happy to have him with us. I know we'll have plenty to talk about. Thank you so much, Giles, for coming on the show.

Speaker 3:

Oh, it will pleasure. It's lovely to be here with you, Emma. Thank you.

Speaker 2:

So you have written and spoken so much about these themes, and so I want to start with a question that I ask all the guests, and I know you'll have lots of interesting things to respond with. So what comes to mind for you when you hear that the phrase regenerative mind and this can be something more concrete and conceptual, or it can be totally abstract random emotions, feelings, words, whatever comes up for you.

Speaker 3:

Yeah Well, thank you.

Speaker 3:

I shared actually the recording with Lawrence, another of your guests from the cacao source, and I thought what she shared about how about sort of the soil of the mind.

Speaker 3:

I loved that because before I even listened to her recording, when I reflected on regenerative mindset, the first thing that really came up for me was rootedness, but also relationality, and the two don't necessarily go together in the mind because we've been conditioned which we'll talk about to sort of see things as kind of you know, sort of hard and fast. But actually for me, regeneration and regenerative mindset has that movement, it has a dance, it has a flowing interrelationality to it and of course, the more we go into soil, the more we realize that soil is full of mycelia, bacteria, all sorts of microbes that are continuously sensing and responding, are dancing with each other through relationality. So I love that idea really of a regenerative mindset being a depth of soil, a depth of richness that we go into inside our own cells, rather than a kind of thin, eroded soil, if you like, of the achiever mindset which is quite dominant in leadership today.

Speaker 2:

Can you speak more about what? How do you characterize the achiever mindset?

Speaker 3:

Well, the achiever mindset really is this outer. It's focusing on the outer, it's outer achieving, it's grasping. It's actually lost that rootedness and there's a whole philosophic and historic reason for that that I've written about elsewhere. But really, since mechanistic materialism, since the industrial revolution, we've really come to prioritize the outer and that gets us more into our ego mindset. It gets us more into what actually neurobiologists now call the achiever mind, which activates certain attention systems, and there's more in the left brain hemisphere. All of that means that our attention is more focused on outer rather than inner.

Speaker 3:

We actually impoverish our inner sense of how we are and we're more questing for achieving things, solving things, fixing things, which is fine. It's a very useful tool, there's nothing wrong with it. The problem is it gets caught up and starts to dominate because it has this sort of heightened sense of needing to achieve, because of an insecurity within, because of a sense of set-putness, essentially from nature, we have this quest now to achieve, to try and overcome that insecurity by making stuff happen, and much of them, fortunately, even the environmental and sustainability movements, are pervaded by this achiever mindset, without realizing. And that actually then leads to if you're not careful the very mechanistic mindset creeping in to the very solutions that we think are trying to solve it, which isn't clever.

Speaker 2:

Yes, that was exactly what was coming up to me. To ask you on the back of that was do you think the achiever mindset is hijacking even this regenerative emergence of regeneration and that phrase because it's getting thrown around so much nowadays where a few years ago at least when I was working in the space, you had to explain even what is regenerative agriculture. People didn't know, and you explain it. And nowadays it's in business strategies, it's in targets, it's on news articles, it's everywhere. Do you think it's holding its integrity or that is the achiever mindset hijacking it in a way?

Speaker 3:

Well, there's a couple of things there. I mean one. I think any new meme that forms goes through cycles and it's okay that there becomes a bit of a buzz, because it's great to have a buzz about something that is essentially about wholeness, essentially about connecting more to ourselves and to nature. The problem comes, as you have identified, is that this achiever mindset, it'll hijack everything. It hijacks everything in our lives, you know, and over it's sneaky, isn't it?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, the ego is wonderful. Now, it's actually a useful tool. So we're not going to let's not blame it, because it's very easy to then judge the achiever mind with a kind of left hemisphere, you know, mechanistic approach that splits it and focuses it. So we're not going to do that with the achiever mind. We're actually going to recognize that it has its worth, it has its place, and that we can work with it as a tool. So how do we work with it at all? Well, we need to make sure we have a balance inside ourselves of this awakened mind and achiever mind, and we do that through all sorts of advanced practices that I take leaders through.

Speaker 3:

Now, what often happens, though, when we talk about sustainable business and so forth, is that people, leaders, organizations, cultures are not necessarily embracing, and even farmers and investors and so forth are not necessarily actually investing time in practices that help keep them connected, and so it's very easy to get caught in that achiever mind because it's so dominant. We've been taught it at school, it's everywhere in society. It's easier, in a way, to actually grasp out there rather than really connect in here. So, yes, it will uproot things and it will impoverish the soil, even of the regenerative movement, if it's not caught. So yes, the integrity will, as you say, degrade unless we bring in practices and we really have the depth of understanding around what learning from living systems and actually working with living systems truly means Now I want to get more into all of this, but before that I want to step back because of course, I gave a very brief introduction to you and everything that you've done and who you are.

Speaker 2:

But can you trace us back a bit into your story and your journey? How did you even get into all of this and what made you start to adopt what we can call a more regenerative mindset or consciousness level?

Speaker 3:

Well, it's been pretty much a life journey really. I mean, before I go into what happened as a child that kind of provoked that. More recently, I purposely engaged in business inspired by nature back in around 2007, 2008. So that's sort of over 15 years ago now and I started running workshops on business inspired by nature at Kew Gardens in Amsterdam and so forth. We set up a collaborative called Biomimicry for creative innovation and at that time you know it was very niche, but actually I was surprised that were many people in business that understood how actually our organisations are essentially living systems and that by taking inspiration from nature we can help those organisations become more future fit.

Speaker 3:

So the reason why I did that is because for me, my underlying philosophy is that the problems that we're facing in the world today really stem from an underlying root problem, which is that we've uprooted ourselves from life. We think we're separate from life. We think we're separate from nature itself, from each other, and that creates this overachiever mindset which then dominates everything. So we can try and deal with the achiever mindset at the level of the mind, but actually we need to go into reconnecting and that's why this sense of reconnecting to nature is so important, and that's why I started exploring business inspired by nature, because the business mind isn't interested in things unless it thinks you can learn from them, and so the first way into that is by recognising how the organisation as a living system can actually take inspiration from nature.

Speaker 3:

But that's only one level and it's what I actually say. There's just a number of different levels of learning from living systems, but that's where I started 15 years ago. Before that, though, I actually had a couple of profound out of body experiences as a child that enabled me to sense the interconnectedness of life. So I always had this embodied sense. And then, later in my 20s, I actually had a near death experience, as well as a couple of out of body experiences at different times, and those again just reminded me of essentially what the ancients, what indigenous people have long known that we are immersed in life and that actually this is a sacred experience, this experience of life, and that we've fallen out of love with it. We've forgotten how to be in love with life, and that's that that's creating this achiever mind. So that's my underlying, I suppose, reason for doing this work, and you know, things like deforestation or child labor are downstream problems of that underlying wound, if you like, of separation.

Speaker 2:

And that you grow up in nature, in the natural world.

Speaker 3:

Well, yes, I mean, I had parents who very much enjoyed nature, walks and so forth. In fact, that first experience, the out-of-body experience I had, was during one of a walk with my parents in nature, where they thought I had gone off and was sort of hiding from them and was about to ambush them, but actually little unbeknown to them. For about an hour I was in a completely different, altered state of consciousness, at one with nature. So yes, I think nature and being in nature has been a very important part of this. But even watching nature programs on television with David Attenborough and so forth, it got me questioning. At that time, when I was young, I obviously couldn't put words to it, but it never rung true to me that nature was all this sort of just competitive, just about survivalism, and that even this neo-Darwinian view that species is just continuously fitting in to adapt, to survive seemed simplistic to me.

Speaker 3:

And of course, now we're finding deeper understanding of how life works. Actually there's a dual process going on. There's an impel of the sense of becoming of the living system, its essence, what it really is becoming in the world Think of the acorn becoming the oak tree and that is being affected by outer changes, and so it's a dance of inner and outer, and that relates again to our earlier conversation. The achiever mind sees just the outer change. Ok, we need to struggle to adapt to a changing world, but actually it's a dance. We have our own essence and we gain wholeness, we become more of who we truly are through adapting to change. But that activates our genes in certain ways and we express that activation in certain ways that are unique to us. And then there's all sorts of other studies that now show how human beings even tune in to certain ways through the field and that interconnectedness, that how changes can happen across the collective as well as individually.

Speaker 2:

And for listeners who might have just picked up on that term the field. What are you referring to? We're referring to a field where we're farming it.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, no, but a field is a nice metaphor. The field of the farm is a special place to be rooted and farming always used to be a very sacred endeavor really putting your hands in the soil and allowing things to become. It's a craft full of love. Now these days, obviously it's all about the margin because of that achiever mind, and again, there's nothing wrong with that, but as long as it also sits within the ability to earn a healthy profit is important, but as long as that sits within the craft, the love of what we do. So, yeah, now the field really relates to advanced scientific findings that started happening from the early 20th century onwards, with brilliant minds like Albert Einstein, irving Schrodinger, david Bohm, all sorts of people, neil Burr all exploring and then studying this immense field of energy that is pervading life, which of course relates and resonates with what the ancients have long understood, and we find this all the way through Western history, even until late medieval times, there's this understanding of this ether, this field. It's only with the scientific revolution that really that got suppressed completely into something that was just seen as purely religious and therefore separate from science, but with the advent of quantum science and complexity science that we saw in the 20th century, we started seeing how science was getting its head around this idea of an interconnected field. And what does that mean for the way in which living systems behave, through morphogenetics, through lived learned experiences that resonate through the field, and this is really shape shifting how we see things.

Speaker 3:

Much of this is now known in science, but we're still caught up in a worldview that's so dominant that it's not adjusting to that science, and so even today we're still teaching our children a science that is based on something that was 400 years old, whereas cutting edge science these days knows that even consciousness itself, for instance, is in the field, that the brain is a limiting organ. It's a sensing, responding transducer where we are like a TV set, picking up on certain frequencies and channels and we're also then engaging with them and co-creating with them and then resonating back out. But actually looking for consciousness is a bit like looking for the TV announcer in the TV set. It's not in the brain, it's in the field, and that is quite a profound shift for people to understand.

Speaker 3:

And what it means is that when we go into nature, which has alpha waves and so forth, that helps settle the beta waves of the brain, help us become more in tune with the resonance of the Earth, which again has been scientifically measured and proven that we start to open to more of this consciousness. It's like the TV radio set becomes more able to tune into different channels, and that opens our consciousness. It makes us more wise, more able to be in right relation with not just ourselves as human beings but with life on Earth and we fall back in love with life. That sense of separateness of the achiever mind eases and we become regenerative whilst still being able to draw on the tool of the achiever mind. So that's the importance of the field and understanding that idea that we are an experience of consciousness. We're not actually, you know, the brains are not producing consciousness, they're tuning in and limiting actually our experience of what is otherwise a relational, immersive experience of life.

Speaker 2:

And so it's almost like we collectively have that invisible interconnectedness through the field. But then, even coming back to the farm as an example, or a food company, an organization, they're creating their own subset of a field too, because when I think about, for instance, some of the beautiful regenerative farms that I've had the privilege to visit, those that team that's stewarding the land are in such deep connection with it and it there feels like this resonance, like there is that atmosphere that you sense in the life that's just teeming, and it feels like it goes well beyond just the physical tending to the soil, the physical planting.

Speaker 3:

It's something beyond yes, I mean, the more we look and the more scientists have really delved into the deeper recesses of reality, the more we realize there's a holographic nature. So what do we mean by that? It's not just systems nested within systems nested within systems, which is often what people in the regenerative movement talk about, and it is that, of course but it's actually fields within fields within fields, and that's, I mean, the image is one of, perhaps of Indra's net if one has ever knows that, that's from Vedic philosophy which is this idea that you've got these little holographic. You know the whole is actually in the parts and the parts are reflecting the whole. So what do we mean by that?

Speaker 3:

And practically, you're in your field, you've got your farm, you're engaging with life, you've got that open-hearted, awakened and also achiever mind working. You know there's nothing wrong with project managing and getting things done and having the balance sheet. You need all of that, and I coach a number of investors in this space that actually, you know, are very good at that but yet also need to nest that within the deeper understanding of life. And so the farm has that love of life is connected to a sense of place and that also calls upon us as individuals, to have a deep sense of place, connected inside our own selves, by going into a deeper consciousness, because that sense of centering into oneself gives us that sense of rootedness in our own selves, a sense of place and purpose in the world. Then we're working with our space, our farm, and we're tending to the soil, all through that loving attentiveness. And that is a field. And that field, by its nature, as part of Indra's net, is also enriching the wider field.

Speaker 3:

So even the act of engaging in a farm in a really regenerative way, through that loving attentiveness, actually has repercussions throughout the field. It sets up a morphic intelligence, if you like, a capacity that makes it easier for other farms to learn and tap into this. So that is fascinating. Quite frankly. I mean advertising and stuff uses this and knows about it through the power of advertising and changing people's minds. But we can do this in a more life affirming way through the work that we do in farms. Hence why farms, I feel, are such an important part of this. They're right at the ground, if you like, the soil of it all. Our ability to connect to nature whilst also earning a living is such an important way for the regenerative mindset to work, we need to achieve a mind, but we need to have that sense of connecting deeply and coming from a more connected sense of the field whilst working in these fields.

Speaker 2:

Mm, thank you for that, and I want to go back to one other phrase that you spoke about a couple of minutes ago, which was right relation.

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

And at least in the food world, there's been a lot of emergence in terms of right livelihoods when we talk about just transitions, and so I want to dig into what do you actually mean when we're talking about right relation?

Speaker 3:

Yeah well, right relation in many ways sits underneath all the right livelihoods and right thinking and all that. Again, it's a kind of ground, if you like. So everything's relationality, like we talked about earlier, we've got our own sense of becoming our own impel of life that is coming into the world through this inner and outer dance. So everything's relating, everything's interconnected, but it's also relating systems within systems, fields within fields. It's all dancing and right relation is our way of dancing. Are we completely caught up in our egos and achieve a mind and therefore quite transactional? And therefore our way of leading and engaging with others is a control, manage dynamic. You know it's quite tight, it's. You know it can feel quite exciting actually because you're getting stuff done and it's focusing in, but it's, it sets up. A parent, child dynamic is what we call in psychological lingo, rather than an adult adult. You're not. You're not really seeing and connecting deeper with the other person as a whole being. You're just trying to get the job done and nothing wrong with that. As I say, it can be a useful tool. But if it dominates, it undermines our way of relating to life. So when we're in right relation, we're more, in a sense, respond capacity. We are more left brain hemisphere, right brain hemisphere, so both working together like two hands of the piano activated the, the, the brain, the heart, the gut. We have body, mind coherence. We are in flow. Essentially, we are aware of our own voice in the head. It's not hijacking us with judgment, fear and cynicism which is always playing out in the ego. We have the capacity to master that and we are connected and in that way of attending we have a deeper self awareness and we have a deeper systemic awareness. So systemic awareness is the ability to sense into the system, whether that be the farm, whether that be the people working on the farm, whether that be the, the wider ecosystem of people that we're working with, like the investors, like the regulators, the government, local council, or whether that also be the ecological ecosystem, the, the bio region and everything else that's going on. That ability to truly sense into that gives us a feeling of right relation. We can start to use our body, mind as a powerful instrument. This is what indigenous and ancient people have done for the large portion of our human history. We have had the capacity to do this, so it's latent within us. We can still do this and really start to sense with our own body, mind, when are we dancing, when are we in tune with the flow of life and when are we kind of out of tune? And so we feel that sense of right relation.

Speaker 3:

Now I break like right relation down into three parts right relation with self, with other and with world.

Speaker 3:

So self, other, world and so with self, keeping oneself truly connected with one's own soul and heart, consciousness, so really connected into the body, as I say, through body, mind coherence, and there's advanced practices that I help clients with to enable that.

Speaker 3:

And then that helps with other, our relationship with the other, rather than othering and creating a sense of separation and judgment and projection onto the other, we start to open up and become more embodied and receptive and we see our relationship with the other as sort of a deep listening kind of capacity, a dialogic capacity where we truly listen, we truly feel, we truly sense, we hold a guest stolt with the other and then the other becomes actually a deep capacity for our learning and development, because they are seeing the world through our eyes, we're part of them, we're welding together, if you like.

Speaker 3:

And then there is the world itself, or the system, the wider system, whether that's the farm, whether that's the wider ecosystem and bio region, or whether we look at the whole of the earth system or even further into the cosmos. And so all of that right relation is nested in, firstly, our right relation with our own selves, our own coherence, and then relating to others and to the wider system. And often we sometimes forget that initial connection. So we get caught up in trying to fix the problem out there which is moving from a mechanistic practice of farming to a regenerative practice of farming, but in so doing forgetting to keep our own right relation in check.

Speaker 2:

I love that and it resonates so much with me because I realized and for those who've listened to previous podcasts where Koon digs into my personal journey I realized that going out and saving the world out there and working in sustainability and then working on our food systems, I was neglecting the right relationship in myself and it was an amazingly successful distraction. It was an amazing way to escape actually some undone work inside, some healing that needed to be done, and it's some of the underlying motivation to have this very serious in conversation because I've realized that, as I've shared my story with others, that there's so many people who say, oh, emma, me too. You know, I, wow, I hadn't realized that in myself and I think it's. It's so common and sometimes I wonder how many people working in impact space are, you know, having this dutyful sense of surveying but at the same time, we don't.

Speaker 2:

It's not something explicit, not something that's trained in and organizations or a school to actually be like oh, where do we start? You know, inside and actually name that there is a clear dynamic, as you're discussing, from the inner and the outer. That's not some woo, woo thing Like there actually is. It may be invisible, but it's a huge, hugely impactful time, and this piece of remembering I think that's what gives me hope too is that it's not something new that we're trying to seek, but actually this is is our essence in our core, and we see it in indigenous cultures around the world and and it's this unlearning and unconditioning of everything we've been entrenched to believe, I think, yeah, it's a it's a significant thing.

Speaker 3:

I mean, the good news is is that today, still today, whilst we are definitely understanding sustainable business, understanding regenerative farming, much of it is still at the head level, which I call gathering at the threshold, and what we're needing now is more people and more initiatives that help projects go through the threshold. So what do I mean by that? Actually really deeply connecting into nature's wisdom and attuning in that way with how life is, which is an embodied experience. It's a consciousness shift, and we need investors, leaders, businesses, all parts of the value chain to be engaging in this, as well as farmers and families and so forth. So I think that gives me hope because at this point in time, with much of it it's still at the head level and it's almost like the real power is yet to be invited to the party. But there are more and more people starting to go through the threshold, and so it's happening and it's a positive tipping point which is beginning to happen. I think the shift from achiever into regenerator is becoming more prevalent across leaders?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, because that diagram of the net negative, conventional business to sustainable, net zero and then restorative, regenerative, it's becoming. I'm seeing it more and more often. But I love your version of it because it has that threshold, because it seems to portray this belief and image that oh, we just continue, we have these net zero targets and then we just keep going for more and more positive and then we'll just get there to regenerate. But actually there's this very difficult to cross threshold that you talk about. We're on the diagram at least it's like metamorphosis, is the label on it. Can you speak more to that? Why did you call it that? What's the process?

Speaker 3:

Well, I kind of like metaphors and symbols because I think we can sometimes get too much into the wording that we get left hemispheric with things so, and this becomes quite deep, and so the power of metaphors is a rich thing. So the metamorphosis I mean, the common one is the caterpillar to the butterfly. And what we know now about the process of the caterpillar to the butterfly is it goes through these stages where the imaginal cells in the caterpillar start, you know, creating the new. But the caterpillar is still caught up in the status quo thinking let's call it mechanistic materialism and sees these imaginal cells as a threat and so actually uses vital energy to try and dampen them. But that gets a point, a healthy tipping point, where these imaginal cells start to really keep on pushing and then the threshold happens where actually the caterpillar in the cocoon starts letting go and realizing it needs to die, it needs to go through a psychological death process to let go of the old self and start embracing the new. It starts recognizing these imaginal cells are part of the new. And that is happening collectively in society right now, as we go through a massive process of worldview shift from what I call mechanistic materialism into quantum complexity, this recognition of life as it really is is happening as the old systems start to crumble, but it's also a very deeply personal journey, unique to each of us, where we go through what could be a midlife crisis often is, or started by that.

Speaker 3:

But then, rather than you know, staying at the superficial, outer level, you know, ie, we change our job, or change our lover, or get a new car or whatever, which is the sort of, you know, the way in which the midlife can sometimes be caricatured. Instead, we go on a journey, a journey of descent into ourselves to find wholeness. And we find this myth of the journey everywhere, in all ancient civilizations and societies and indigenous communities around the world today. So it's everywhere and it's a strong part of also the Western heritage, this death, rebirth mystery process, and we see it even in the symbology today, in Jesus and so forth. So it's everywhere, and we often don't read the underlying wisdom, we just see the outer form, and so when we hear the call, we have a rising dissonance inside ourselves. We know that something's wrong with our lives or something is wrong with the way the world is and ourselves as well. We start to recognize that the achiever mind, that's God, is where we are in our lives and probably God is a salary or a way of living and so forth is actually not fulfilling, as it's not truly who we are and that what society has been telling us to do we've now fitted in with. But now we know this isn't something not right.

Speaker 3:

We can either then refuse the call, in which case the unconscious keeps knocking harder and harder and starts creating challenges for us, or we can accept that call and go into what is quite a profound journey of transformation, of metamorphosis, where the old self starts to die, involves all sorts of phases which I take clients through, senior leaders and practitioners and heads of charities and investors, all in their own way through a process where they start to disintegrate their old self and they start to reintegrate and bring out their new self. So it's an alchemic process which is very personal to the individual that can take months or years to really do justice to. But what happens through that process, which is essentially called a dark night of the soul? We start to mine our own inner self, our lead starts to transmute into the inside of gold and we start to then come through that process and we start to find our innate gifts, our true nature, in touch with our own soul and also in touch with the deeper world soul of nature, of life and the wisdom that comes through life. Through our own center point and learning to work with our own stillness within, we access that field and whole energy pours into us, which allows us to then work our soul craft, and many of the people perhaps now working in the regenerative movement or in regenerative farming have this energy about them and this coherence which is being because it's flowing through them. They are a portal for the energy of life and by its nature we then are serving life, we are becoming life affirming, and that is what it means to truly be human.

Speaker 3:

Homo sapien has been thought of as wise being, but actually it's more the one who works with wisdom.

Speaker 3:

This is our birthright, this is what we are able to do, and yet we've been caught up in outer fixing that we've forgotten what the purpose of our fixing is, because it's now sort of caught up in consumeristic insanity.

Speaker 3:

So instead, through this process, we can realign to who we truly are and then cultivate our soul craft, whether that be being a regenerative farmer or a regenerative investor, whatever the gift is we then, from that journey inward, we bring it out into the world and then learn to serve in a very different way, a whole reorientated way of being in the world, where the whole way in which we gain reference and whether we're being successful or not doesn't fit with the old KPIs, but yet we still have the capacity to draw upon the achiever mind. We still need to do stuff, we still need to fix, we still need to put bread on the table, do all those things, but that achiever mind is a tool that serves the craft rather than taking over and debasing us and uprooting us. So in that process we start to root back in to the rhizome of regeneration. We become regenerators rather than achievers.

Speaker 2:

I just want to pause so we can all soak that up, because there are quite a few little nuggets in there, and one of them that I wanted to highlight and come back to is the one who works with wisdom, because it feels like we're in an era of being inundated and producing ourselves, like generating as well so much information and knowledge, like trying to feed the rational mind but not spending so much time thinking about how are we receiving and cultivating wisdom and moving from a place that's deeper in ourselves, that's where that intuition and the wisdom that we've always known and coming through us.

Speaker 2:

Right, because some of it you know, as you're speaking about, we go in the forest and we go and have these amazing ideas. Sometimes I think about it like it doesn't matter if it's a really mine, they've just come through me and we're receptive, we're able to receive and also give. And I'm wondering what's coming up for me is also conversations with others who are on this journey and, you know, choosing to still exist and try and change the conventional system, the very mechanistic system, and be in that in the day to day and toe that tension. And I'm wondering, you know, for people who are in that and it's really hard and it can be easy to give in, and going on. This path can require much more courage and embodiment, in a way that maybe your peers aren't behaving and showing up. So I just wonder what words of support or what guidance or practices would you suggest those?

Speaker 2:

listeners think about.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I think this really speaks to the nub of it, emma, which is, on the one hand, we need to survive in the world. On the other, our heart knows that we need to truly thrive. We need to be coming from a place of authenticity, connected to nature in right relation. Otherwise, what's the point? What is this all about? This surely isn't just about surviving, getting to retirement and dying or handing some stuff over to our children. You know it's got to be. There's more to life. We know that, yeah, we know that in our heart and soul.

Speaker 3:

But to really journey inward and to unpick the programming of the old mindset is a journey, because if we don't do that, it's very easy to get triggered by, you know, let's say, someone else cutting in, because they're more short term, they're more in the achiever mind. They just cut into you or they take a deal, or they allure a regenerative farmer and so you lose out on the investment. Whatever the analogy is, we get triggered by that Rather than seeing it for what it is, which is a learning, and it is part of the development that actually things will come round in their own way and that when one is remains rooted in that deeper place, there is a sense of trust in life that actually, quite frankly, things are just so much faster than our little minds can truly comprehend. You know, like even the way this springwood farm happened for me, for instance, showed me how nature's wisdom works in ways that we just can't comprehend. That said, we need to be able to put the hands on the steering wheel. We need to deal with stuff, so we need that achiever mind.

Speaker 3:

So the art here is working with the achiever mind as a tool, but noticing and discerning when it's taking over. And it's the tendency so easy for it to take over because we've been hardwired almost through education, through jobs, through climbing the slippery ladder to have that achiever mind really making stuff happen. It can make stuff happen, it can help promote your business and get the job done, as long as you remain rooted and connected. So this is where practices come in, and we have all sorts of practices like advanced meditation, energy cultivation practices, body-mind coherence, nature immersions, even things like singing and dancing all help connect us. These are ancient practices, working with symbols and mantras. All of these practices, they don't need to feel woo-woo, they can be very much contemporary, In fact, just to illustrate the point of how contemporary they are, and it's a shame because I think it's a debasement of the practices.

Speaker 3:

But, just to show, there are mind gyms now being used in some of the largest corporations in the world that help people get into the right brainwave frequencies and develop body-mind coherence so they can enter states of flow and creativity more quickly, so that they are more resilient in the workplace and so that they can be better at being innovative and fast-moving environments. Now, to me, that's using the technology in a way that then sits within the achiever mind. But the reason why I give that example is that this is contemporary and this is cutting edge. This doesn't need to feel woo-woo, but use the technology in a way that is serving life, not serving a massive corporation that's exploiting life. And I have nothing wrong with massive corporations.

Speaker 3:

I've worked in many of the largest throughout my life and help some very large corporations. Right now we need to work with all in this field. We don't need to other and judge, so the field is open to everyone. But what is important is to discern whether we are tapping into that sense of being part of and in love with life, and so these practices help that and help us discern when we are shifting into the achiever and letting it take over. And I know on other podcasts you've asked about, for instance, can we measure the mindset?

Speaker 3:

I was just about to ask that yeah, yeah, you're doing my job. There you go.

Speaker 2:

I can type it, I can send. See, there we go. Our field is connected through our laptop. Yeah, it's just telepathic.

Speaker 3:

Yes, Well, you know, whilst you know, we've got to be very careful here because measuring and quantizing can be a tool of the left brain hemisphere. But we have a left brain hemisphere for a reason and we can work with it. And so, as long as we're working with it rather than serving it, then, yes, there are tools, advanced tools I use in my coaching work with leaders and with organizations that focus on what we call vertical development or adult vertical development. So horizontal development is, if you like, expanding our capacity to be more emotionally intelligent, more aware, more mindful. All of that that goes on now in mainstream business education. A lot of the business schools I teach at now do a lot of that in their mainstream courses. But vertical development is where the recognition that when we go through stages in our life, we go through up stretches of meaning making, we expand the way in which we engage with reality, and studies with thousands of leaders around the world show that actually there's a profound shift. The shift that I'm calling the shift from achiever to regenerator, happens when we shift from what others have called this colouring of orange green into teal turquoise, you know, sort of tier one into tier two, or from the achiever individualist into the strategist and alchemist there's different labels for it. But that shift in leadership, the shift in meaning making, the shift in how we're living, reorientates us, and Claire Graves, one of the earlier adult developmental psychologists, went as far as to noticing this in his studies as starting to happen and play out in humanity in modern civilization. He said it's not merely a transition to a new level of existence but the start of a new movement in the symphony of human identity. And I love that because this is about working with music again and dance and harmonics and tuning in, being more in tune with how life works. And it is a shift into a new movement in the symphony of human identity. When we're in that way of meaning making, we are open more deeply to our self-awareness and to systemic awareness. We can tune in.

Speaker 3:

The word you used earlier, emma, was receptive. We are more receptive and also responsive to changes happening all the time. That's the intuition, that synchronicities, that's a body sensation, all of which help us guide whether we're taking the right path or the wrong path, whether we are taking a shortcut that is beneficial or is actually taking us down a cul-de-sac. We can start working with that meaning making and bring that into how we lead. So there are tools and some of the leaders I coach I take them through these sort of advanced methods that then map them out as to where they are on those levels.

Speaker 3:

You've got to be very careful with any model like that and I always say people, the map is not the territory, let's use the map a little bit, but let's not get caught up in it, because I've seen people use some of these tools and then judge people and say, oh, you're at that level and you're at the other level, and that's not the intention here. If it can help us, if it can help the business leader see how it's useful to have more of their leadership team as a regenerator than an achiever, then it's a healthy tool. But if it's used to then say hang on a minute, how do we get everybody to the same level? Because actually we need diversity. Just as we need diversity in the farm, we also need to hold diversity in our organizations and it's absolutely fine to recognize that people at different stages of meaning making in their lives and that we can work with that. That's an important part of life.

Speaker 2:

And the body, mind coherence, which again might be a new phrase for people listening. What can you describe? What does that feel like? Like how can someone tell if they're in body, mind, coherence or incoherence?

Speaker 3:

Yeah. So I'll come on to the felt sense in a moment, because it's a subtle but important felt sense. First, just the term body mind candies, purr and other neurobiologists recognized. So this is some years ago now, so it's mainstream science. We now know that actually, rather than thinking of the mind just in the brain, that actually it's embedded throughout the body mind and that they brain, the heart and the gut are three powerful neurological networks, or with sensing, responding capacity. And that when we do certain practices like heart and trainment, we can allow the brainway frequencies to move out of high beta, which is that grasping, achiever mind, into alpha beta, gamma, theta, delta, and start to embed them, that their waves, onto the deeper waves of the heart, which is where actually the gut, the heart and the brain start to cohere. Our hormones change our senses, liven stem cell reproduction, improves memory, enhances the capacity for empathy and creativity. All of this comes on stream. We become regenerators. Now, in that state that shift, it feels different and this is important because then when we embody it, when we feel it, it's a very important sense.

Speaker 3:

It's no longer an academic, you're not listening to someone talking on a podcast, you actually feel it and you go aha, okay, I get this and we may have had many experiences of this. When little mini epiphanies or we go on holiday to a new place for the first time, everything feels more new and alive. But in the body we notice that the nostrils clearing Rather than one being more active than the other. We get both the same. With the ears, we might notice the inner ears just slightly opening or tuning up slightly and opening out. We sense the body as active, but also more relaxed.

Speaker 3:

We're more in flow and body movements like Qi Geng are timeless practices that are going on for at least 6,000 years that help us with this coherence you know all of these ancient practices do, and so we feel a balancing, we feel an aligning in the whole body, mind.

Speaker 3:

We're more open, we're more receptive, we're more in tune, and then we can learn through practice to actually sense little shifts in the body, whether that be in the gut or in the heart, or in the back of the shoulders or back of the neck, whatever works for us when something's not quite right or when actually oof. That is important for me to follow up. So we start to develop our own super nature. I call it activating our super nature, which is actually very natural. It's not something supernatural, but we are developing higher faculties like intuition and the ability to sense into life and the field which is all important and is recognized in this vertical development Adult developmental psychology research shows us that we are able to go take ourselves through that in our lives and that helps equip us as leaders, especially in volatile times, because we're more able to deal with complexity and fast moving change.

Speaker 2:

Yes, thank you for all of that, and we'll include in the show notes a link to a page of your website that has lots of great practices and resources that people can start to bring into their lives. And I'm wondering for people listening who get it. You know they're like yes, all of this resonates and it's great. How do I get my leadership and my company, whether it's big or small, or my boss, to start to also get interested or open up again to receiving, and maybe they're more closed off? Like, how do you find you hook people or open up someone's curiosity at the leadership level in all of this?

Speaker 3:

Well, you've got to meet people where they're at. I've learned that the hard way over 25 years of working in this, and so a lot of this language, if you're not careful, makes sense to people who have already gone through the shift but make no sense to people who haven't gone through the shift. So you've got to change one's language and meet people where they're at. Now I have whole frames that do that. I mean, my latest book, leading by Nature, that you mentioned at the beginning of the podcast, really is aimed at being read by a business leader but yet helping take them through a threshold crossing. So the first level of learning from living systems, which is more head based, really is opening the door to nature's patterns, processes and principles. So this is where the space of biomimicry and systems thinking and so forth and circular economics sits, and there's a lot of good work and a lot of good courses that you can find online that really embrace that level. Now, I'd say that's only the first level. There are other levels that one needs to go into to really deepen this. But that can be a great place to start for leaders and for the busy leadership mind. The achiever wants to know well, how is this actually helping my business? You know it might feel like it's on purpose and I get it, but actually why are we doing this From a business perspective? Why are we doing this? And that's where things like this vertical development research comes in, by showing that bringing in these capacities enable us to be not just more creative and innovative, not just create a better culture for wholeness and so forth, but actually it allows us to adapt to change, allows us to be more fleet of foot and to work with the increasing complexity of the world. So you do need a leadership team. I found, anyway, where at least one or two senior leaders are already on the journey, already starting to tip to into the journey, whether it be at that level one, learning from living systems, and then you can start taking them into the deeper stuff. You don't need the whole leadership team. In fact, I've never worked with an organization yet where the whole leadership team fully gets it. But and this is what field working with the fields shows us by just working with a couple of people and then identifying people across the business that are more open to this, you can start creating your own network, which then they start working with the language of the organization. So it's an organic approach. You apply it to the organization.

Speaker 3:

I've never gone into an organization and said look, here's regenerative leadership. Here's a set of principles and practices, use them Instead. It's what is working in the organization. Where do we meet you? Where we're at and where do we start feeding some of this stuff in so it fits in and so it works? With your own language, your own approach and in leading by nature the book, you'll find there's a whole detailed case study. There's a couple of case studies in there of work I've been doing, including with a consumer goods company, award-winning company, vivo Barefoot, and also with a design agency in Norway hello again. So tools and practices that are proving and helping these businesses become more profitable and grow in times of fast-moving change.

Speaker 2:

Mm. Yeah, thank you, and I want to move on to one question that I also ask. I like to ask all the guests, which is building up of what you just shared, if you could do one thing tomorrow to help as many decision makers and investors develop, including in Food and Ag, develop their inner capacities and a return of mindset. What would it be?

Speaker 3:

I'll cheat by saying self and systemic awareness, because I actually call them one thing, self and systemic awareness, but they're actually kind of like. Possibly could be seen as two things. So deepening that self connection, so going into the center, learning, having practices that really allow one to connect deeply and, through things like body and mind coherence, help there. So that's that self awareness, having that it's felt sense, capacity of where we are truly in our deeper nature. And that comes with systemic awareness. So the two do work together sensing the system, being able to know how to work with the system, to truly sense what works, what doesn't work, and that system could be an investor working with their network of investors and clients what is working, what's not working, where to go, where to place bets, where to develop. And so we don't just have a strategy, a three year strategy. We're constantly engaged with the system. The emergent strategy is unfolding all the time, and so it's a combination of both of those. The small tip amongst in all of that would be the capacity to truly listen.

Speaker 2:

Listening. Well, I think that's a perfect point to end on and say thank you to everyone who listened to all of this. I hope you got lots of it, and thank you so much, giles, for spending this time with us, and we'll include all the links. And there's so much more to discover and that unfolds in your work. So I definitely encourage everyone to just follow their intuition to one of your many books or wonderful blog posts and begin their journey, if they've yet to. So thank you so much.

Speaker 3:

Thank you, emma. Thank you very much for the work you're doing. Thank you.

Speaker 1:

Thank you so much for listening all the way to the end. For the show notes and links we discussed in this episode, check out our website investinginregenderagriculturecom. Forward slash posts. If you liked this episode, why not share it with a friend or give us a rating on Apple Podcasts? That really helps. Thanks again and see you next time.

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The Shift From Achiever to Regenerator
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Regenerative Leadership in Business