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Julie's One-Degree Shift - Issue No. 3

Transforming the way we Connect Newsletter

March 2024, Issue No. 3


OVERVIEW: This one-degree shift guides us to lean into others when there is a need. But first, we need to understand what has us turning away!

I’m not trying to oversimplify things by saying that fear is the greatest barrier, but it is the root cause of so much of our disconnection.

It’s time to: shift perspective; lean into the discomfort; and, Transform the way we Connect.

~ Julie Gillespie


Doing nothing at all leads no where. However, making small, consistent efforts creates great change

Barriers to Connection

In my years of delivering mental health and leadership training, I have been asked these common questions when people are faced with difficult situations:

  • What is the right thing to say?

  • What if I say the wrong thing?

  • What if I cause more harm than good?

  • What if they become reliant on me to solve their problems?


I get it; these questions stem from genuine fear and uncertainty. But they change our behaviour; they have us turn away from a person in need. 


As a seasoned trainer, I've learned to navigate these fears and barriers, to maintain a steady presence and lean in, for those in need. It is these skills that I want to share with you.



Finding our Focus

Monthly Focus: Shifting Behaviour


What does ‘Good’ look like:


To support the people in your care, your role is to listen, be attentive, and offer empathy. It's not always about finding the perfect words; sometimes, a steady presence speaks volumes. Let me be clear here:

  1. Listen: This isn’t sitting back while someone spouts a monologue at you. This is intentionally asking questions to help the person understand how they’re being affected by a situation – AND – what resources they need to support them in their role. (See activity on the next page)

  2. Be attentive: This isn’t about duration. This is about being observant. Recognising not only what is happening around you but also how it is affecting people which is imperative. Then, put a plan in place that is in “Response” to the situation – Don’t be reactive!

  3. Empathy: We are not here to catch other people’s feelings. That isn’t appropriate. Offering empathy can be as simple as saying, “I can see that something is affecting you.” Because if you react and get distressed, too, you end up magnifying the distress of the person you’re trying to support. Compassionate empathy is the balance between emotion and logic, between care and accountability. It’s not about caring more!!


These activities are designed to help you develop your emotional intelligence, and with practise they save you time, energy, and effort. They can also save you from burnout!

Emotional intelligence is how you manage yourself and your relationships with others.

~ Daniel Goleman


Let’s take this from being inner work, to ‘we’ work. The responsibility of care is shared. It is not singular in direction. 


How do we promote mutual care and support across our teams? We say out loud that we need to. This next activity is going to help with getting you started.


Communications Activity: Pet Peeve

Before getting into the activity, there needs to be some ground rules. I don’t believe that a person should have the right to dump their feelings on another without having an established etiquette in place. What does good look like?


“I’m needing to blow off some steam, do you have a minute to listen and offer some feedback?”

The listener now understands what’s needed from them and has an opportunity to listen with a purpose. 


In this activity, one colleague has a full 60 seconds to rant about something that irks them. It‘s best if the topic isn‘t work-related; it keeps the activity safe. For instance, if you hate pop-up ads, you’ve already got great material for your rant. 

Player A simply lets loose while Player B listens carefully, trying to cut through the noise by singling out: (Focussing your Listening Lens)

  1. What Player A really cares about – e.g., smoother user experience on the internet;

  2. What they value – e.g., clarity and transparent advertisements;

  3. What matters to them – e.g., getting work done, doing their online shopping in peace, or a more intuitive, user-friendly adblocker.


Player B then decodes the rant by repeating it back to Player A, isolating the key positive points without the fluff or negativity. They can use some variations of the following sentence stems to guide their decoding:

  1. “You value…”

  2. “You care about…”

  3. “You believe that…matters a lot.”


Then, they can switch over and repeat the game again. This activity is aimed at helping teammates appreciate that feedback has positive goals. This formula for listening can be brought into work-related topics to turn ‘difficult‘ conversations into just conversations!


Let’s Shift: I’m here for you.

What now?

If you’re interested in deepening your understanding of this topic, here is a list of some great podcasts:


If you are unsure how to take this work into your teams, I am here to help. We have a number of programs that will get you started: contact us for more details

  • Unleash Team Potential: Fostering Psychological Safety & Effective Communication for Sustainable Success (2 hours) - you will gain the tools and strategies to effectively communicate, establish clear ground rules, and build a more collaborative and resilient team environment, even amidst demanding workloads.

  • Unleash Team Creativity and Collaboration: Unlocking your team's full potential starts with building a strong foundation (2 hours). This program is designed for teams at all stages, offering practical tools and strategies to navigate challenges, overcome communication barriers, and unlock a new level of collaborative success.


My hope is that this newsletter will be your support throughout the year. Effective practices will be laid out within it, designed to meet you where you are. Each month, we are going to widen your lens, one degree at a time.



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