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Movie Review: Everybody’s Talking About Jamie * Teen Musical Reminding Reminds You To Find Your Place In The World

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Movie Review: Everybody’s Talking About Jamie * Teen Musical Reminding Reminds You To Find Your Place In The World

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is a 2021 biographical coming-of-age musical comedy-drama film directed by Jonathan Butterell (in his feature directorial debut) from a screenplay by Tom MacRae based on the stage musical of the same name, in turn adapted from the BBC Three documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16. Despite obstacles, 16-year-old Jamie has the courage to fabulously follow his unconventional dream in this inspiring true story turned musical sensation.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Katie F. comments, “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is the new musical film of the year! With music to get you on your feet and comedy that will make your stomach hurt, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is one to watch.” Eshaan M. adds, “A glittery, glamor-filled, unique and entertaining film, everyone is bound to be talking about Everybody’s Talking About Jamie! The musical numbers, the classic plotline of a teen finding their place in the world, and lovely messages of having confidence in yourself and following your passion all make this production an especially fun watch. However, some directorial choices might cause you to divert your attention from what’s happening on screen.” Heather S. wraps it with, “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is the empowering spectacle everyone needs! With its amazing songs, incredible dresses and an iconic protagonist, the film will have you wanting to dance along at your nearest cabaret.” See their full reviews and talent interviews below.

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

Katie F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Aged 12

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is the new musical film of the year! With music to get you on your feet and comedy that will make your stomach hurt, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is one to watch.

Based on true events, the story follows Jamie New (Max Hardwood) , a sixteen-year-old boy with the passion to become a drag queen, and he gets help from a former drag queen. With his best friend, Pritti Pasha (Lauren Petal), he attempts to prove wrong the people who doubt him, including school bully Dean Paxton and his own father. Although his father has chosen to cut him out his life, his loving mother is always there to help.

Jamie New is a huge character. He has an answer for everything and always has some glitter to spare. As he attempts to become a drag queen he is more confident than ever. Hugo/Miss Loco Channel (Richard E. Grant) is a former drag queen who attempts to help Jamie as he sees him as the next generation and the future of drag. Pritti Pasha is definitely the brains of the duo. She is a high achiever and would never break the rules. The rest of the cast are incredible and every single character stands out.

The music in this film is from the original stage musical. My favourite song is the opening song, “And you don’t even know it.”  It serves as an introduction to some of the characters and is an upbeat dance number that will have you dancing and singing along just like the rest of the soundtrack. My favourite part of the film is when Jamie realizes that all he wants is to be a drag queen and becomes Hugo’s trainee. As a result he starts saving for his very first drag queen dress – his mum already bought him the shoes.

The message of the film is to be who you want to be. Don’t let others pull you down from what you want to do, especially if it makes you happy. You should be aware that this film does contain very strong language.

I give Everybody’s Talking About Jamie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Everybody’s Talking About Jamie steps out of the darkness and into the spotlight on September 17, 2021 on Amazon Prime.

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

A glittery, glamor-filled, unique and entertaining film, everyone is bound to be talking about Everybody’s Talking About Jamie! The musical numbers, the classic plotline of a teen finding their place in the world, and lovely messages of having confidence in yourself and following your passion all make this production an especially fun watch. However, some directorial choices might cause you to divert your attention from what’s happening on screen.

The film follows Jamie New (Max Harwood), a gay 16-year-old boy from Sheffield, England, whose secret dream is to become a drag queen. His mom, Margaret (Sarah Lancashire), as well as his best friend and fellow outcast Pritti Pasha (Lauren Patel) support him, but his absentee father (Ralph Ineson), homophobic bully Dean Paxton (Samuel Bottomley) and future-focused career’s teacher Ms. Hedge (Sharon Horgan) all seem to be against Jamie. Mentored by former drag queen and current shopkeeper Hugo Batters by (Richard E. Grant), a.k.a. Loco Chanelle, Jamie embarks on a journey to discover his true identity, tearing down boundaries and burying toxic relationships along the way.

Max Harwood brings viewers along on his emotion-packed hero’s journey; he certainly steals the show. Besides Harwood, though, Lancashire’s portrayal of Margaret captures all of the motherly emotion that a sentimental coming-of-age story needs. The care between the two is palpable. Jonathan Buttrell makes his silver-screen directorial debut with this film, and his technique of capturing emotion is superb. Unfortunately, lighting, camera angles and focal choices leads to some distraction in some compelling moments. The score of the film, as with the musical version, is superb, but the sheer number of songs and usage of varied background tracks causes the film to drag as it nears the end. Nevertheless, the music is undoubtedly the highest point of the film.

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie promotes acceptance, following your dreams and never being afraid to take a risk. There is some mild profanity in the film.

I give Everybody’s Talking About Jamie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is available on Amazon Prime Video beginning September 17, 2021. Go check it out!

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

By Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is the empowering spectacle everyone needs! With its amazing songs, incredible dresses and an iconic protagonist, the film will have you wanting to dance along at your nearest cabaret.

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is based on the true story of Jamie New (Max Harwood) and adapted from the West End musical of the same name. Jamie was always taught to be conventional, to choose a “realistic” career and be basic like everyone else. On his sixteenth birthday, he realizes that’s not who he is, and decides to become a drag queen. The film has mind-blowing choreography with top-tier songs that pay homage to the musical.

This movie is a real Broadway show in your living room. The elaborate dance numbers with large groups of people, neon lights, phenomenal singing and fabulous drag dresses leave little to be desired. Jamie finds his way into the world with glamour and by making a statement. He encourages audiences globally to be yourself. Being a drag queen in the small town of Sheffield, England was very different. Jamie grows into the stunning personality of Fifi la True with the support of his amazing mother and friends. The film itself really proves how much effort the filmmakers put into their work. The movie shows the real truth of what it was like to be a drag queen in the past. Richard E. Grant is the best mentor Jamie could ever have. He explains his life in the 1980s reminding Jamie about the epic beginning of drag culture. He is so amazing; his fluid movements and the way he speaks just make you want to be his friend. Richard really worked hard on not making his character a parody of a drag queen, but reflect the beauty of a queen. He shows he has what it takes to be called Loco Chanelle, on and off the stage. The movie also has amazing cameos like the iconic queen Bianca Del Rio and Layton Williams, the star of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie on West End.

The moral of this film is to always be yourself. Jamie never gave up on his dream of being a drag queen and most of all, he never gives up on being himself. He put in the effort of becoming an amazing queen, and working on himself. He always shines and never cares what others think.

I give Everybody’s Talking About Jamie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18 plus adults. It is available in theaters September 17, 2021.

Keywords: movie reviews,by kids for kids, prime video, musical, amazon, amazon prime, prime video, drag queen, jamie musical, jonathan butterell, west end, jamie new, queer, amazon original series, Everybody’s Talking about Jamie, music, Jamie New, Max Hardwood, Pritti Pasha, Lauren Petal, Dean Paxton, Richard E. Grant, musical theatre, London theatre, drag, pride, drag queen movie

Movie Review: Come From Away * Life-Changing Stories of Passengers Diverted to Newfoundland Following 9/11 Attacks

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Movie Review: Come From Away * Life-Changing Stories of Passengers Diverted to Newfoundland Following 9/11 Attacks

Come From Away is a 2021 American-Canadian musical film comprising a live stage recording of Irene Sankoff and David Hein’s 2017 musical of the same name, which tells the true story of 7,000 passengers who were stranded in a small town in Newfoundland, where they were housed and welcomed, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The film, produced in response to the shutdown of Broadway caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020, was directed by Christopher Ashley and filmed in May 2021 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater in New York City, featuring members of the Broadway cast. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Katie F. comments, “Come From Away is a modern musical telling the life-changing story of the stranded passengers diverted to Newfoundland following the 9/11 disaster. With an incredible cast, catchy tunes and a moving tale Come From Away is definitely a film to watch.” Avalon N. adds, “This musical is a lot like the film Hamilton in that it is a live recording of the stage musical and is based on real historical events and people. It is about the aftermath of 9/11 when 38 planes were forced to land on a small Newfoundland island and tells how all the residents of the town of Gander took care of 7,000 people who were on those planes while they were stuck there for five days.” See their full reviews below.

Come From Away
By Katie F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Come From Away is a modern musical telling the life-changing story of the stranded passengers diverted to Newfoundland following the 9/11 disaster. With an incredible cast, catchy tunes and a moving tale Come From Away is definitely a film to watch.

Twenty years ago, on September 11, two planes crashed into the world famous twin towers in New York City, after they were high jacked. American air space was closed and all planes in the air were forced to land; thirty-eight of them were diverted to and stranded in Newfoundland, Canada. This story follows the passengers and crew from one of the planes as they come to terms with life in their new surroundings, while forming new relationships and bonding with the locals. This is the filmed version of the award-winning Broadway musical, filmed live on stage at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater in New York City, which tells the story of those 7,000 stranded passenger.

Throughout this film, twelve cast members each play a number of roles and it is very hard to single people out at times. All the characters are based on key individuals involved in the plane diversion. Some cast members who really stood out to me include:  Jenn Colella who plays one of the pilots and a townsperson, Annette. She plays sets the bar very high for anyone who might play these roles in the future. Her amazing solos and riffs will knock your socks off. Sharon Wheatly plays Diane and Jim Walton plays Nick, two people who meet on one of the planes and, throughout their time in Newfoundland, start to feel a connection. Sharon and Jim are both very talented and share and amazing duet, “Stop the World.”  The remaining cast members each bring something different to this amazing production in their own unique way, from comedy to heart-break. My favourite song is the opening song “Welcome to the Rock.” I love that it’s an upbeat dance number that introduces you to the cast and the characters they play. I don’t think I could choose a favourite part of the musical as all of it is just so interesting, moving and inspirational.

The message of this film is to remember how precious life is and how quickly it can be taken away or changed forever. My thoughts are with all those who have been affected by this tragic event over the past 20 years.

I give Come From Away 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. It premieres September 10, 2021 on Apple TV+.

Come From Away
By Avalon N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Come From Away is an amazing filmed version of the Broadway musical. With all the singing and dancing, this show is sure to get you up and dancing.

This musical is a lot like the film Hamilton in that it is a live recording of the stage musical and is based on real historical events and people. It is about the aftermath of 9/11 when 38 planes were forced to land on a small Newfoundland island and tells how all the residents of the town of Gander took care of 7,000 people who were on those planes while they were stuck there for five days.

This musical is different from most because there is no main character; every character is equally important. Also, all the actors play two roles, often both a passenger and a helpful Newfoundlander. The costume changes are incredible as they often do them while on stage, but that is so small that you might not notice it. Another cool thing is that in the back of the stage there is a door that some people walk through and then it shuts again, which I found intriguing. Some of my favorite characters are Kevin and Kevin, who are dating and Bonnie, who takes care of animals. One of my favorite scenes is when people are walking on chairs and others keep moving the chairs and the stage rotates so it looks like they are moving. It has so much music. I continued listening to it right after I finished watching the film and listened to it while i was writing this review.

The message of this show is twofold. First, that you can make the best of any situation and second, when you can help others, try to help.

I give Come From Away 5 out of 5 and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 plus adults. It is available on Apple TV+ now.

What does EA mean? Why an Enrolled Agent is the Best Choice!

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What does EA mean? Why an Enrolled Agent is the Best Choice!

First created in 1884 to prepare claims against the government for the American Civil War, Enrolled Agents have been at the forefront of representing taxpayers who need the extra help with personal and business taxes. But, what exactly is an Enrolled Agent? Many taxpayers have never heard of an Enrolled Agent, much less even know what the initials “EA” mean. This program helps you to understand what an Enrolled Agent is, what is required to become an Enrolled Agent, and why it is beneficial to use an Enrolled Agent to prepare your tax return. I will explain my personal journey to join this exclusive group of tax professionals.

Click here for this very informative show.

Movie Review: Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty * Totally Engaging; Makes Us Want To See More

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Movie Review: Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty * Totally Engaging; Makes Us Want To See More

Continuing the dramatic tale of survival revolving around three families of meerkats who are descendants of the legendary meerkat matriarch, Flower. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Dominic D. comments, The latest series, Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty, is totally engaging and makes us want to see more of our favorite mongooses.” See his full review below.

Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty (2021)

By Dominic D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

Many of us live in areas where Mother Nature brings a variety of seasons which exposes us to a wide array of ecosystems. Because we’re used to this variety, we have become incredibly curious about areas of the globe whose ecosystems are perhaps not as vast; one area in particular is the desert. With its harshly hot and dry climate, we know that anything able to withstand such brutal weather has to be an amazing creature and that’s one reason we have completely fallen for the South African meerkat.  The documentary series Meerkat Manor has entertained us for over 15 years and has brought the wondrous secrets of the Kalahari Desert right into our homes. The latest series, Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty, is totally engaging and makes us want to see more of our favorite mongooses.

Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty follows three families of the most charismatic desert mammals and showcases their family dynamics. In the spotlight of this series is Swift, the granddaughter of the original Meerkat Manor Whisker family matriarch, Flower. We’ve waited 12 years to catch up on what the Whiskers, Hakuna Mata and Ubuntu families have been up to and there are many surprises within this series as some things have changed. The new series continues to show us just how difficult life in the desert can be, yet with the perfect family dynamics and role assignments, animals can overcome these challenges. Just like in our own lives, people compete for space, food, and other resources, the meerkat families are no different. These episodes highlight that, despite the fact that the meerkats share a common bloodline, individual survival and the survival of their family is their main concern.

There are a lot of great things about this series, but my favorite part is the character led story telling by narrator Bill Nighy. The series humanizes the meerkats and gives each their own entertaining personalities. There are heroes, villains, babysitters, a Romeo and Juliet pair, and so much more. These personalities are hilarious and interesting to watch. The cinematography is also fantastic with its capturing of some of the most harsh weather conditions on Earth. I especially enjoyed the scenes where the camera was placed deep within the meerkat burrows. Meerkat Manor:  Rise of the Dynasty is a captivating series about the natural world and I appreciate its educational value.

The message of this series is about teamwork.  Of course, family, culture and perseverance are worth  mentioning here also; however, if this species didn’t have a system of working together, they could not thrive within their harsh ecosystem. Each meerkat has a specific role to support its family. They work cohesively in a variety of ways to assure the success of their family. Whether their role is one filled with drama or with entertainment, one thing is for certain – these desert dwellers are sure to tug at your heartstrings.

I give Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18. Adults, especially animal lovers and nature enthusiasts, will also love this series. Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty is available now on BBC American and AMC+. Episodes 7 and 8 are coming out on September 4 and September 9, 2021.

Stratified Systems Theory Applied to Dream Teams

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Stratified Systems Theory Applied to Dream Teams

This week’s article is an excerpt from The Science of Dream Teams: How Talent Optimization Can Drive Engagement, Productivity, and Happiness by Mike Zani, CEO of The Predictive Index, a talent optimization platform that uses over 60 years of proven science and software to help businesses design high-performing teams and cultures.  It is a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled The Science of Dream Teams that aired on Tuesday, September 14th, 2021.

What do you have to do next week? What will be on your plate four months from now? How about in two years? If you pose these questions to different people in your organization, you’re sure to get very different answers. Some will provide full to-do lists for different scenarios, while others will shrug, wondering why you’re asking questions that seem irrelevant to their jobs.

People across an enterprise hold wildly different ideas about the future. During the Cold War, a psychologist named Elliott Jaques carried out research on this subject and called it the Stratified Systems Theory. The idea, which was especially useful for the military, is that different jobs require different time horizons. Certain people are comfortable projecting far into the future, while others limit their view to a single week, or even a day. So the trick for a large bureaucracy, Jaques wrote, was to layer the talent according to people’s time horizons.*

If that sounds a tad theoretical, consider concrete examples. An engineer is heading up a team building a manufacturing plant. Working on the construction might be a welder who handles assignments thrown his way. He doesn’t have to plan too much for tomorrow or the next day. His time horizon can be counted in hours.

But the engineer takes a longer view. He has to consider the supplies he’ll need next month and the month after. By that point, winter storms might be blowing through. How will that affect supply chains and construction? He’s dealing with a number of variables over a time frame of several months. Next year, he knows, he’ll have a different project. But he doesn’t have to plan for it.

His boss does. She’s a regional manager who has financial responsibilities, a profit and loss report due every quarter. She’s already prospecting for next year’s projects, some of them in Europe. She’s busy calculating how many workers she’ll need, considering currency hedges, and gauging the risk of banking on contract laborers, which hinges on the job market next spring. She has to think ahead, at least a year or two.

She reports to a chief executive, who might be plotting an Asian strategy, including a massive acquisition in Japan. This person has to weigh variables far into the future, perhaps a decade, even longer.

When Elliott Jaques was drawing up his Stratified Systems Theory for the military, the expanding time frames, Strata 1 through 5 (see Figure 4.1), fit neatly into a rigid hierarchy. Privates didn’t need to think about the future, only to follow orders hour by hour. Each ascending rank required a longer vision, until you got to five-star generals, who had to consider the geopolitical implications in 5 years, or 10, of nuclear weapons development or the containment strategy of the Soviet Union.

While few of us run companies as hierarchically rigid as the military, it’s still valuable to measure the time horizons that employees are comfortable with, and to use them in the deployment of talent.

There are tremendous advantages in a workforce marked by higher strata proficiency. We strive for it in our company. One big plus is that a person who envisions what’s ahead is more likely to figure out what to do—thinking through the steps that lead in the right direction. These people need less management, and are frequently self-starters. They’re more likely to generate ideas because they’re imagining the future and scenario planning. People who think far ahead also have potential to climb into management and executive roles.

Getting a grip on strata is fundamental for designing reporting relationships in an enterprise. Think of what happens, for example, if a chief executive has an administrative assistant who functions on a Strata 1 level. To manage this person, the CEO must drop down to Strata 2, allocating perhaps 15 minutes every morning to go over what the assistant is going to do and how to handle certain calls and emails and calendar items. This is not time well spent. And for this reason, many CEOs hire executive assistants who function at high strata levels. These elite assistants can see the entire operation, and anticipate what’s ahead and what needs to be done. Often, they shed the assistant moniker and become executives in their own right.

If you’re in a small startup, you don’t need to think much about reporting relationships. But as a company grows to 200 people, it develops new levels, with executive vice presidents and division leaders. It’s while managing talent in such an enterprise, with five or six levels, that the strata take on importance. Ideally, each level will have to drop only one strata to manage its reports. Big gaps waste time and lead to frustration.

How do you test for strata? Tom Foster, a management consultant and author, proposes a question, such as: “When you finish what you’re working on now, how do you get more work?” Some people say they wait for their next assignment. Others ask their manager. Others might start to enumerate everything they know that needs to get done. The answer often reveals a person’s time horizon.

I often test for strata during the hiring process. After all, if we want high-strata employees, the job interview is a great place to screen for it. I might ask candidates to tell me a story about the most complicated project they ever undertook in their youth or early in their career. I’m not looking for altruism or team play or any other virtues. I’m focused on comfort with complexity and long-span thinking.

Some people, eager to flash their entrepreneurial credentials, tell me about a business they started. But when you poke further, there’s little there. For example, someone designs a website in college. It’s pretty good. And a local business pays him $500 to make another one. Pretty soon, he has a small business of his own, which pays a chunk of his expenses through college. That’s great, but it doesn’t show a strategic vision.

One of the best strata stories I heard was from a former high school actor named Rich Weiss. He and his friend worked on sets for a high school play. That didn’t sound so complicated to me at first. But then he described the constraints. There wasn’t much money or space. They had to figure out how to make a set that fit into the gym, one the school used for all kinds of activities. So the set had to be compact, moveable, and affordable. They had to plan in September to build it over the winter holidays, without interfering with basketball and gymnastics, and then stage it in March. Rich was clearly a strategic thinker. He now uses those skills to run important processes at our company. He doesn’t have to wait around for someone to tell him what needs to be done.

Excerpt from The Science of Dream Teams: How Talent Optimization Can Drive Engagement, Productivity, and Happiness by Mike Zani, pp. 60-65 (McGraw Hill, July 2021).

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author
Mike Zani is the author of The Science of Dream Teams: How Talent Optimization Can Drive Engagement, Productivity, and Happiness and CEO of The Predictive Index, a talent optimization platform that uses over 60 years of proven science and software to help businesses design high-performing teams and cultures. Zani is also the co-founder and partner at Phoenix Strategy Investments, a private investment fund. An avid sailor, he was the coach of the 1996 US Olympic Team. He holds a BS from Brown University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Photo by Leon on Unsplash

Setting the Virtual Table: How to Build a Culture of Belonging One Cyber-Meal at a Time

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Setting the Virtual Table: How to Build a Culture of Belonging One Cyber-Meal at a Time

This week’s article is an article by Jeffrey Hull, CEO of Leadershift, Inc.  It is a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Flex: The Art and Science of Leadership in a Changing World that aired on Tuesday, September 21st, 2021.

After a year of forced remote work, Zoom overload, and a substantial loss of work-life balance for many of us, the news is stark: virtual work is here to stay. That is according to workplace expert, Dave Burkus, who I had the privilege of interviewing recently for the Institute of Coaching at Harvard. But the news is not all bad. As Dave points out, research shows that many benefits outweigh the drawbacks once we learn how to optimize our work lives in virtual spaces: we have more work-time flexibility, no commute, can spend less on work “costumes” and can potentially work anywhere there is a good internet connection. Virtual work can also increase a worker’s sense of autonomy, which according to research on self-efficacy by Richard Ryan, PhD at the Center for Self Determination Theory is one of three evidence-based factors, along with competence and relatedness, that underpin performance and motivation.

The trouble is that the third factor, relatedness, is particularly difficult to maintain, let alone enhance, in cyber-space. So how do we build a sense of connection, community, and belonging when we’re sitting alone watching tiny boxes on a two-dimensional screen? The answer may surprise you. As Dave points out in his excellent book, Working from Anywhere, the key to connecting in virtual spaces is being intentional about re-creating those experiences that foster cohesion and collegiality.  First among them? Food.

For centuries, human tribes have communed by breaking bread together. Either sitting around the fire or the dining table, the simple act of sharing a meal ensemble has been part of all human cultures. As Burkus describes, a perfect example can be found in Sweden, with the “cake and coffee” culture known as “Fika:” where employees share a drink and a bite to eat with co-workers (not alone at their desks like many Americans) on a daily basis.  It is a deeply important ritual that underpins their well-known collegial, yet high-performing, work culture.

Yet, as regenerative design expert Ben Preston points out, it is challenging to “feel” that same emotional arousal provided by the lived experience of taste, smell, tone, and touch through a two-dimensional screen. The human parasympathetic system needs a certain amount of stimulation to mediate the “fight or flight” response, to bring us into a state of calm rapport.  Eye contact, gestures, smiles, and yes, the arousal of our taste buds and sense of smell, are keen aspects of how humans build trust. So how do we do it virtually?

Well, if you have ever watched a cooking show on TV, or recently saw Stanley Tucci devouring homemade pasta on his gastronomic tour of Italy for CNN, you know that just watching someone eating delicious food can make your taste buds tingle. Breaking bread in cyberspace can work. But you have to pay attention to the details. So here is my five-step recipe for virtual dining that is sure to delight, and inspire, a high-performing team.

  1. Get serious: Food and drink are the lifeblood of vitality for all of us. When we dispense with mealtime gatherings due to remote work we are missing out on something important.  Leaders take note:  creating an opportunity for your team to come together over a shared meal – even if very much BYOB – is serious stuff.  You may not be able to take your team out for lunch or dinner, but you can bring them together, turn off the “to-do” list and share the intimacy of a meal. In fact, by having your team bring their favorite foods, or perhaps a special drink concoction into the mix, the experience can not only be fun but can become a cross-cultural learning experience.
  1. Get personal: Food and drink, are actually just the appetizer, for it is in the stories we share about the highs and lows of living life—taking care of friends and family, overcoming obstacles, watching our kids grow and achieve—where bonds are forged. The virtual meal is an opportunity for leaders to invite everyone into a shared experience. Norms, myths, symbols, and intangible “moments” are what coalesce into a culture of teaming (and psychological safety).

It is important, however, for the circle to be complete by encouraging — not demanding — everyone, even introverts, participates. The key for leaders in this regard is to be the role model: share with humility and vulnerability some triumph or failure, which gives others permission to let down their hair, be human, and imperfect. Cultures of safety and trust are not born of competition, one-upmanship, or “sucking up” to the boss.  It is imperative that the interaction be facilitated well — that employees feel relaxed, supported, welcomed in their diversity and uniqueness.

  1. Get physical: Another key element of meal gatherings that is often taken for granted in the “real world” in the sense of tactile connection afforded by varying our somatic movements, postures, seating arrangements, and so on. To include this physical and energetic component in cyberspace requires intention and attention – to detail.  A leader might suggest people “dress up” (remember office attire?) or wear a costume.

It might be appropriate to suggest participants invite significant others to join in, or bring a child or pet to the “dinner table”.  One way to bring sensory experience into the meal is to have everyone bring a symbolic object that is meaningful for them — to “show and tell” — and share the meaning with which an object or symbol is imbued.  Another possibility is a poetry reading or musical interlude. Often at pre-covid gatherings, we would invite a co-worker to play an instrument or sing. This same activity can be accomplished online: a musical interlude adds color and flair to a virtual meal. Finally, consider adding variation in the use of physical space:  have everyone join in on some dance moves, stretch, or breathe together.  The key: get up and move!

  1. Get game: Last, but not least, in contrast to all of the above; don’t take the whole thing too seriously.  What makes gatherings special, memorable, and relaxing in the “real world” is also true virtually: stuff happens. Make space for slip-ups, jokesters, break-downs. Take time for fun and games. Dining together, virtually, should be what I would call “serious fun.”

One of my clients plays virtual charades with her team, another had a cocktail invention contest (e.g. They sent around a list of ingredients, all non-alcoholic, and then proceeded to find creative ways to mix and match for the best flavor combos). Another leader held an impromptu karaoke event on Zoom, which brought out the best and worst – in everyone.  The key here is to be playful, light, inclusive (invite the introverts, gently, to participate), and serious, all in the name of bonding.

There is a reason why the most important scene, the finale, in one of the longest-running Broadway musicals, recently celebrating 25 years of success across the world, is set in a restaurant around a big dining table. The cast of RENT sings the famous anthem La Vie Boheme while, eating, drinking, and dancing on the table. This ritual celebration symbolizes the ultimate experience we all crave as humans: to belong.

So as the RENT cast might say, there is no time like today. If you are leading a remote team, get serious, and get playful. Bring everyone together on Zoom, Teams, or whatever platform you like, set aside work for a bit, and instead, set a virtual table, eat, drink and make merry. Your team will be glad you did.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author
Jeffrey Hull, Ph.D. BCC is CEO of Leadershift, Inc. a leadership development consultancy based in New York City and author of the best-selling book, FLEX: The Art and Science of Leadership in A Changing World, from Penguin-Random House in 2019. A highly sought-after speaker, consultant, and executive coach with over twenty-five years working with C-suite leaders worldwide, Dr. Hull is also a Clinical Instructor in Psychology at Harvard Medical School and adjunct Professor of Leadership at New York University. He is the Director of Global Development at the Institute of Coaching, a Harvard Medical School Affiliate. Dr. Hull has been featured in Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, Investors Business Daily, and a wide range of media. He can be reached at www.jeffreyhull.com

Photo by Jay Winnington on Unsplash

Pursuing What Matters

Posted by Felix Assivo on
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Empowerment
Pursuing What Matters
When you continually compete with others, you become bitter. But when you continually compete with yourself, you become better.
How often have you faced adversity and yelled, “I can’t take it anymore” and contemplated whether or not to quit? How often have you heard ‘no’ and you perceived it as a form of rejection as if you or it didn’t matter? Or discovered yourself engaged in self-sabotage due to limiting beliefs? Lastly, as you faced a whirlwind of uncertainty and difficulty managing change, you found yourself feeling defeated? These are some of the many reasons people think they don’t matter. They aren’t good enough or want to give up. Beloved, different motivations drive each of these. One of them is the struggle of what I have coined as the Comparison Syndrome.

An Exposure of the Comparison Syndrome

We can sometimes find ourselves challenged by judging ourselves very harshly and rather than walking out of the challenges we face, we are tempted to walk away, assuming that we have failed. How many of you recognize that this challenge is often a result of comparing ourselves to others? In actuality, while comparison is something that we all do, the problem lies at the root of our comparison. Specifically, are we trying to figure out how good we are or trying to make ourselves feel better? The critical principle lies in understanding the root of our motivation, and to weed out unhealthy comparisons.

Let’s say there’s someone whose craft is impeccable, and you find yourself seeking an understanding of the quality of your work. This is, frankly speaking, a healthy motivation. On the flip side, if you find that you are comparing yourself to others to boost your self-esteem, this is an unhealthy motivation and will create some problems. These problems mask themselves in the following ways and can rob you of your joy when:

  • you compare your flaws and shortcomings to the best you presume about others
  • you use too much time comparing your accomplishments to others
  • you lose focus and give too much attention to the wrong things or the wrong people
  • you find yourself flowing in resentment towards yourself and others
  • you find yourself dissatisfied, miserable, and unhappy
  • you struggle with celebrating and complimenting without partiality

Unpacking the Struggle with Comparison

In an attempt to encourage you to stay the course because you matter, allow me to unpack the danger of unhealthy comparison just a bit further. My husband is a fisherman. While I know very little about fishing other than what he has shared, comparison reminds me of fishermen casting their net. When you compare yourself to others, you tend to cast your nets around the people you choose to connect with. You evaluate whose attention you’ve caught, and then you tend to use it to form opinions about yourself.

How many of you are shaking your head or saying to yourself, ‘I sometimes find myself doing this.’ But really, did you realize that you’ve been doing this all your life which has had an impact on the opinions you have of Yourself, YOUR self-esteem? These opinions form our core beliefs and dictate your every day, getting up, walking around life. If you are guilty of ‘unhealthy’ comparison, I need you to do this immediately: STOP! STOP IT! Take a moment to imagine how your life could be transformed by abandoning negative comparison tendencies. So how does a beautiful soul like you do this?

Taking YOUR Power Back

To take your power back and halt unhealthy comparison is to understand your core belief about your self-worth. As I teach, the first step to embracing that YOU Matter is to learn to love yourself and the importance of focusing on your self-care. Next, because YOU are fearfully, wonderfully, and marvelously made, shift your attention to those things that empower you to embrace and appreciate your uniqueness. As you begin to give attention to yourself, start a gratitude practice for the good things in your life.

I am a humble witness to the power of embracing your uniqueness.  I have forever been a dreamer.  My tendency to over-analyze and to make sure everything was just perfect, created hiding places that caused me to become stuck.  One of my ride and live sisters, who has challenged me in so many ways, once shared with me during a time when I was trying to figure out where I was going to get the money to publish a book said, “Cheryl, stop focusing on where the money will come from.”  “Instead, visualize yourself sharing an excerpt from your book and a panoramic view of people standing in line to sign your book.”  Can I tell you, when I took my power back, I attracted precisely what I visualized, and it blew my mind.  That has been the trajectory of my journey, to appreciate being uniquely me and my heart’s desire is to empower other women to do the same.

Implementing these strategies to minimize unhealthy comparisons, will position you to feel more positive about you. Practice gratitude and focus on attracting things that bring you joy and happiness.

7-Day Action Plan 

Over the next seven days, I challenge you to focus on things that bring you joy intentionally. I want to challenge you to start a Happy Journal. In this journal, write down things that have made you happy for which you are grateful.  Don’t stop – keep it going!

Final Step

As you embrace the beauty of you, you develop a greater degree of gratefulness and a renewed sense of purpose. Guess what? You are so worth it! This week’s Call to Action: Focus on what you want to achieve and celebrate the small wins along the way.

Dare to Live Your Best Life in Abundance,
Cheryl

Your Mindset and Wellness Coach

focus.jpeg

LOVE LIGHT GUEST TESTIMONIAL

Posted by Felix Assivo on
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Empowerment
LOVE LIGHT GUEST TESTIMONIAL

 “In absolutely love Dr. Jean Marie Farish and the engineers at VoiceAmerica. The engineers make everything run so smooth with the show. Dr. Jean Maire Farish is always so intuitive, creative and warm with her conversations. It always feels like I’m talking to a best friend that I’ve known forever. She is very embracing of other’s diversity and unique abilities. This is the place for lightworkers. She is a joy to the show and a joy to the world. I am truly grateful to her and the show, VoiceAmerica LOVE LIGHT: Living in the Spirit of Love”.     

-Monica Bermudez, Intuitive Quantum Energy Healer, Author, Spiritual Teacher and Counselor, Founder of Sacred Heart Awakenings

https://www.sacredheartawakenings.com

LOVE LIGHT Show “Overcoming Self-Doubt, The Power of Joy

Is the R & D Tax Credit a Part of Your Wealth Creation Strategy?

Posted by Felix Assivo on
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Business
Is the R & D Tax Credit a Part of Your Wealth Creation Strategy?

What is the Research and Development Tax Credit? Is your small business doing research or some other type of activity that would qualify for this tax credit? What types of businesses are eligible to claim the credit? We will discuss these questions and much more, including what the Research & Development Tax Incentive is, the background, what activities qualify, and the best industries to qualify. If you missed taking this credit, we will discuss the necessary steps to apply for the credit for open tax years. The R & D tax incentive is underutilized by small business. We will help you to use this power strategy to create a legacy of wealth.

Click here for all the details

IRS Collections & Enforcement-How to Solve Unpaid Tax Issues!

Posted by Felix Assivo on
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Business
IRS Collections & Enforcement-How to Solve Unpaid Tax Issues!

We have all heard the commercials asking, “Do you owe $10,000 or more to the IRS?” Or, you may wonder “What is the IRS really doing with collections and enforcement?” Though it may be calm now, taxpayers who have unpaid taxes or who are non-filers will soon be in for a big awakening. Eric Green of the Tax Rep Network and managing partner in the law firm Green & Sklarz LLC will explain the current status of IRS collections and enforcement. He will also discuss the options noncompliant taxpayers have if certain filing deadlines are missed. When should taxpayers start to prepare for this downpour of IRS enforcement action? We will answer this and many other questions about how the Internal Revenue Service’s coming soon to collect taxes from non-filers and taxpayers with unpaid taxes.

Click here for this very informative show.

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