#192 – (Un)shakeable Resilience – Mike House

This week, survival expert and instructor Mike House returns back to the podcast to talk about resilience.

Spurred to investigate resilience by the recent impacts of COVID and specific requests of clients, Mike carried out an extensive research study into resilience through interviewing a range of leaders which he’s collated in his book (Un)Shakeable.

In this conversation, we dive into just how the differing personal definitions of what resilience means to different people plays out in in their lives; we have a particularly interesting exploration into the delineation between adaptability and resilience.

Mike puts forward that a key part is acknowledging that we as humans are resilient and we are impacted by events. And this, in and of itself, then starts to build an amount of trust not just in ourselves, but in the collective among us.

As always, chatting to Mike is a real treat. He has a unique perspective and depth of thought that he brings from his experience as a survival expert that makes this a great conversation.

Read Full Transcript

Bryn Edwards 

This week, survival expert and instructor Mike House returns back to the podcast to talk about resilience. Now, he was spurred on to investigate this further by the recent impacts of COVID. But also, interestingly, by the growing requests during this period of time from his clients, who were CEOs and senior leaders, who wanted Mike to help them sort of get more resilience into their workforce. This got Mike thinking. And as a result of that, he went out and interviewed a whole range of people to start to see some of the emerging patterns and how they lined up with his own beliefs. He’s put that together into a recent book called (un)shakable.

 

In this conversation, one of the things I found super interesting, was just diving into the different definitions of, of resilience, and working out how they play out when you sort of play out those different definitions particularly listened for when we started to delineate the difference between resilience and adaptability. There’s a really interesting part in the conversation around that.

 

Mike puts forward that the big part is acknowledging that we are resilient and we are resilient. Humans, as humans, we are resilient. And this in and of itself, then starts to build an amount of trust not just in ourselves, but collective trust. And we really started to talk about the impact of that, particularly about instead of being a special person inside of a normal society, but a normal person inside of something special that’s way bigger than us.

 

As always, chatting to Mike is a real treat, you know, from his unique perspective, as a survival expert, you can really feel his depth of thought, and the way he thinks about things as we go through this conversation. He’s really good fun. And there was another really great little point, which I’ll leave you with, which is, as Mike was forwards, calmness is contagious, same as any other emotion. So enjoy, Mike.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Hello, welcome back to WA Real. I’m your host, Bryn Edwards. Today I have the great pleasure of welcoming back. Mike house. Mike, welcome back to the show.

 

Mike House 

Good afternoon. Great to be back.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yeah, you were episode number 16.

 

 

Is that right?

 

Mike House 

Yeah. And how many have actually now

 

Bryn Edwards 

we this will be 192. I think Oh, wow.

 

Mike House 

Well done. That’s, that’s a good bit of longevity in this kind of world?

 

 

It is.

 

 

It is.

 

Bryn Edwards 

It does actually make me think about the journey from then to here. But yeah, and the last time we talked a lot about your background as a survival instructor in, you know, surviving versus thriving, and stuff like that. But I gather recently, and this is what I thought would be a great conversation to have you’ve been diving into resilience?

 

Mike House 

Well, sort of, sort of sort of say, I think what I need to do about resilience is, is reframe it a little bit, I

 

 

think, yeah. Because that’s why I thought this would be a fun conversation.

 

Mike House 

I reckon we’ve, I don’t think we’ve played it well. And particularly over the last 12 months. The you know, COVID is the obvious conversation when it comes to resilience. It’s had an impact globally, it’s had an impact on pretty much every human on the planet in some way, shape, or form. Everything from loss of life to change of plans. Yeah. So there’s a massive continuum are loved what someone said, and I can’t remember who it was, but somebody made the point last year, in response to somebody saying we’re all in the same boat. They said, No, we’re not. We’re all in the same storm. We’re in very different boats. And I thought that nuance was really quality. Because, you know, here in Western Australia, compared to the rest of the planet, we’ve had a very, very light rush of this thing, personally. And economically. Yes. Compared to pretty much everywhere else on a glide. Yeah. That said it’s had significant impact here. So it’s not like it’s gone by with with no ripples.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yes. I have this discussion with my mother and father who obviously, in the UK, they’ve had three sets of lockdowns. And I’d sort of explained whilst Yeah, it’s completely different to that. But we’ve just we’ve had about 12 months of lock in. Yes. Which brings a different Yes. level of difference.

 

Mike House 

Absolutely. And especially given that were, especially here, you know, you’re the most isolated capital city on the planet anyway. If you can’t leave the village, then you the risk is you become a bit insular. It’s also got the big upside right. We’re isolated and so the impacts been small. Yeah, but back resilience, I think, the way that that game has been played over the last 12 months. So when when COVID first hit a lot of my longer term clients got hold me very, very quickly and said, Mark, can you come and do stuff with us and our team about resilience? We’ve, we feel like we need more of that right now. And I think that there’s a number of problems with that as a proposition. So Problem number one, is that it ignores the fact that if you’re a human being you are, you are resilient. I think we sort of undersell where, you know, it’s absolutely built into our DNA as humanity, that we are resilient, you know, time and time again, throughout throughout human history. We’ve had our back to the wall, either individually or collectively. And we’ve gone Okay, well, let’s find a way. And it’s not easy, and it’s not pleasant, but we just, we just crack on and navigate our way through things. And sometimes that’s really successful, and sometimes less so. But it’s, it’s genuinely a part of us. So I think, to not acknowledge that diminishes just how capable we are. The second thing is that the key foundation

 

 

stone, isn’t it, I reckon, is it puts puts a level of confidence and capability. I was going to say strength, but I was retracted from that, you know, solid capability in there to start with? Yes, yes, the weekend. Draw from Yes, rather than, well, I’m just pathetic. Yeah, I’ve got no resilience.

 

Mike House 

And I’ve seen a lot of people pointing at various chunks of the population and saying, look, you know, those young people were just not resilient these days. You know, this, this group of people or whatever it is, you know, they’re not resilient. And fundamentally, I think it’s Bs, you know, we are all resilient. Let’s just acknowledge that now. Can we be more resilient? Sure. Can we build skill sets around that? Sure. Can we test it and build it? Sure. But we’ve all got it. And our default when our backs to the wall is find a way? Yeah, and I think COVID if one thing it did in spades was proof that, you know, the amount of adaption most humans have done in the last 12 months has been stunning. Yeah, you know, business models have shifted, people’s personal interactions have shifted. We’ve just individually in on wholesale, large scale kind of capability just pivoted in all kinds of ways. Yeah. And we’ve, we’ve just done it, you know, it hasn’t taken some experts to come and teach us how to be resilient. We need to find a way to work from home. Let’s do it.

 

Bryn Edwards 

So in that, how do you? How do you delineate resilience versus adaptability? What?

 

Mike House 

So I’ve just been trying on VLANs? They’re really tightly coupled? It’s a good question. Yeah. I think adaptability is a mindset that’s inherently fairly light. So we’re not too tightly coupled to our expectations and our plans. And I think, you know, the most, the most Stark version, I guess of that is the Buddhist framework that says, you know, if you want to be unhappy, then compare yourself to others and have expectations. And then, you know, if you’re into most of the known world, that’s exactly what we do. We get massive expectations and comparisons arrive. So that’s that, I think, is the extreme of adaptability. Because it’s like, Whatever happens happens. Yeah. And we’ll just go with the flow. Yeah. The further we come towards, you know, what, I have a heap of expectations and comparisons of myself with myself in a past or future form. with other people around me with industry benchmarks with learning benchmarks with, you know, various other forms of status, then I think adaptability in that setting comes down to how lightly can we hold on to our expectations? I think they’re a very powerful thing. You know, again, it’s a fundamental part of human history is that we set too often really unrealistic expectations. I reckon we can drag that out of my head into reality and all assemble his tribe, and we’ll go get it done. Yeah. And sometimes it’s just so really, what were you thinking? That’s outrageous, and we’ve done it? Yeah. So at one level, expectations are a super powerful thing, but they’re also really dangerous. You know, we used to say in survival land when I was teaching people those skills. Expectations are actually what kills people. You know, if you’re lost or stranded somewhere that in itself isn’t a problem. But if you expectation was to be somewhere else, the chances that you’ll rush to try and get there and in that process will kill yourself is really high. You’ve got to be able to go, Okay, that’s not serving us now let’s drop it. And yes, and change the benchmark. And I think that’s what, you know, online. adaptability is, yeah, resilience is more about when were under duress, its capability to, to keep showing up and to keep trying. And obviously, they go hand in hand, rather than just accept that all is lost. So there’s some key transition points in there. You know, I think there’s there’s moments of impact, where we experienced something that really rattled our cage. And it takes a while. Yeah, sometimes a short while, sometimes a long while to find that place again, of we’ve got this let’s let’s get out and have another go.

 

 

Yeah. So it’s interesting that listening to your answer that question because it just came up. So there’s a real sense of adaptability being how tight or loose you are with your expectations, and their resilience about almost the con, the impact of the change the consequence. Yes. Of that yet to our being

 

Mike House 

Yes, words. Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, it’s interesting how those things are viewed. I had a fascinating conversation with a really delightful Maori woman last week, and she was saying in the indigenous community resilience is not seen as a positive thing. It’s that because it speaks to we are constantly backs to the wall fighting our way out of something. Yeah. And it’s it’s not seen as a as a positive state, whereas for a lot of businesses they go, that’s a really desirable thing to get hold of,

 

 

because you’d be you’re constantly in that fight flight. sympathetic, stressed out nervous, anxious. state. Yeah. having to deal with the impact Yes. of stuff in the outside world. Yeah. Because it will. Yeah, it will come to your research in a minute.

 

Mike House 

So a couple of other loops, I think in that resilience picture. So one is it’s fundamentally human to be resilient.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yes.

 

Mike House 

The second thing is that I think we have overplayed it at an organisational kind of level where people, the the request that people were making, can you come and teach our staff how to be resilient? I think is a little bit akin to me fronting up to the start of an ultramarathon and on the start line, calling my personal trainer and saying, mate, I’m just about to do this marathon, can you help me get fit? him turning up in that moment is zero use, I am as fit as I am. And I either can or can’t get through it? Yeah. him turning up is actually just highlighting the fact that my capability isn’t what it should be. And I was saying to CEOs and others who were asking me for that work, what you want to be doing right now is giving your giving your people the message, you’ve got this not giving them the message that you haven’t got this and you need all these tools and capabilities, your bits to put inside of you to make you feel

 

Bryn Edwards 

like you can do the thing

 

Mike House 

they’ve got what they’ve got, help them to feel confident in that not tell them that they lacking. There’s a time and a place like I think around now in Western Australia, that’s a great conversation to revisit where the bulk of the impact is past Let’s spend a bit of time looking in the rear vision mirror and go Okay, so what went well, where where were the pressure points? How adaptable was four hands up?

 

Bryn Edwards 

Who freaked out and went to the supermarket to buy shit tonne of bog roll. Always made right. Oh, man, we need to have a chat about That’s right.

 

Mike House 

Yeah. So you know, in hindsight, let’s refine that a little bit. That’s a great conversation to have. Yeah. But in a moment of pressure. I think it’s probably the worst conversation is

 

 

because the thing that comes through for me, when you tell me I’m getting we’re getting CEOs and senior leaders come in and saying are Kenya how our staff with resilience? Yeah. The other thing that that screams out to me is, and this is where I think it’d be fun, because I think there’s what you’ve said in terms of, you know, tinkering around with definitions of impact and what people think it is. And it isn’t, yeah. Is that what screamed out to me is when a CEO goes, Oh, can you come in put this resilience thing into my staff? Yep. Why? Possibly because the CEO wants the organisation to stay roughly the same.

 

Mike House 

Yeah, often that’s the request and, and

 

Bryn Edwards 

and it’s it I find it interesting this word resilience because it can have different functional meanings to different people. Some Yes. productive, some less. So yes. Yeah. What have you seen around that?

 

Mike House 

Around read the different definitions or where definitions. So I think one of the least useful ones is that if you’re resilient, it won’t be hard. All right, it will kind of have an easy time. But there’ll be all this disruption that you just saw. Right? I mean, super unproductive. To me, that’s like saying, if I’m courageous, I’ll never be afraid to say Actually, that’s nonsense. You only need to be resilient people. It’s

 

Bryn Edwards 

really hard route one to a nervous breakdown. That narrative and yeah,

 

Mike House 

if I’m courageous, it’s because I’m crapping myself, you know, I’m not crapping myself. Courage doesn’t apply, you know. So people sometimes say to me, I’d certainly pre COVID did a lot of quite large stage public speaking at conferences and things and people would go either, you know, you must be really courageous to do that. And I actually find that environment deeply energising and I love it, I actually don’t have a fear of public speaking in the way that many people frame that. I go now, for me, it doesn’t take courage, and that narrative isn’t actually useful. Yeah. Courage is coupled to fear it has to be yes. Otherwise, it’s not courage. Yeah, resilience has to be coupled to hardship and duress, because otherwise, why do you need it? Yeah. So we may have those things in the bank, you know, I can have a bank of courage or I can have a bank of resilience that are may or may not be drawing down.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yeah. Depending on what you’re meeting in the environment,

 

Mike House 

the deployment of them is inherently under pressure. And I think we can have the least useful definitions of those things. We assume that if we have that we don’t we’re not going to encounter these. Yeah. And that causes us to gloss over a whole heap of things. We don’t have the conversations about the duress and the fear. We go over the sort of resilience, just crack on everything be fine. Just crack on. Yeah, yeah. Get on with it. Yeah. You know, there’s no need to be talking about how hard it just got just get on with it. Right,

 

 

exactly.

 

Mike House 

And I think that’s really unhelpful, and is probably part of the mechanism that’s led to, you know, we’re seeing lots of stuff coming through now about the mental health impacts of COVID. And particularly, for workplaces, and how much of a sky rain we’re facing there around around mental health issues in workplaces that I think are both individual and collective. You know, we’ve got teams that are so

 

 

underplaying, I think I’ve mentioned this on the podcast. I appreciate Firstly, from some of the people speak back to last year that Yeah, we’ve all had a bit of trauma, we’ve all had trauma in our life, big or small. Let’s just say it is no, there’s no register. And that has promoted a, a traumatic response to pressurised situations that may or may not be productive. And that’s our own work to sort out. But at the same time, I’m fast getting to the place, my emerging hypothesis is that the increase in mental health issues is a is an appropriate response to strange things in the environment. Mm hmm.

 

Mike House 

No more about that. Well, so because an appropriate response is a really interesting frame a lot.

 

 

Actually, we can draw on what you’ve you’ve mentioned earlier on, if if you take your premise that humans are resilient, right? And we delineated resilience and adaptability from managing expectations, and managing the impact of something else, then sticking those two together, by definition as humans, we are impacted. We are impacted beings, yes. The outside world. Yes. Right. So therefore, that impact, the nature of that impact will show up. So therefore, I see you’re really helping me articulate this with what we’re talking about. Therefore, rather than if we just take a moment to come out of our impact, and just recognise it as it is, like, there is something going on here. There’s something going on with that person, that person, that person and if we do the stats, were all our anxiety levels are all going up. So there must be something a in the mechanism in which we’re impacted, but I would say even more So in the environment that’s impacting us. So therefore, if we just, if we look at mental health, we can go one of two ways with this. And I think it’s a bit of both. But let’s just let’s just look at it either all for a second. The first one is where a lot of unders, I believe, are societal and collective understanding in perception of mental health, is that it’s within the individual to go and sort out. Yes. So what’s the underlying coordinates of that underlying coordinates? Are you not resilient? You are a bit broken yet, you don’t know how to do this. So it’s all on the individual.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yeah, I have a lot more confidence in the human being, you know, just the way we’re wired up and what have you.

 

 

And I think we are, you know, we are resilience. There were four, we do react to stuff like a canary bird in a mineshaft. And so therefore, you know, I do believe that we’re incredible beings. And I do believe in our capability. So if we’re under, if so many people are firing up, and mental health issues, suicide and the other, then and it’s becoming widespread, then at what point do we go hang on a minute? It can’t because we’re all fucked. Right? There’s got to be the way we’re doing it. Yeah. is a bit fucked. Yes. Yes. So then it becomes an appropriate response, yes. To the fact that the stuff the way that we’re doing it, you know, in our collective imaginary Yep. In our collective understanding, you know, in our systems on a community to national to a global level. Yeah. And some of those key ways that we’re structured and organised. Yeah, we do stuff. We are the canary bird in our own mineshaft. Yeah. And so therefore, it is an appropriate response. Oliver.

 

Mike House 

Yeah. So the, this really leads into the third reframe of resilience. Yeah. Which I think couples very, very closely with that. I think, goosebumps I think we use it as a resilience studies. Yeah, as a as an easy and convenient excuse not to deal with systemic issues. So if I can say to you, if I’m the CEO of this entity, and I can say to you, what you need brain is more resilience. So let’s grab some sort of resource. Yeah, to make you more resilient, then I can kind of mentally take off there. I’ve solved that problem. Yeah, race. was very easy for me whilst doing that to put the blinkers on and not go hang on a minute. We’re doing a whole heap of things systemically, that’s creating the duress for our people. So sometimes, I think we will use that resilience, adaptability frame as an excuse not to look at the bigger and more complex and more difficult issue. You know, sometimes I think, well, just make your systems easier to navigate, you know, take some of the take some of the complicated. So I love some of the stuff that Tyson younger Porter has been saying about the difference between complexity and complicated.

 

 

Yes.

 

Mike House 

Where he says complicated is what we make it complexity is, you know, a really intricate, weaving many, many different factors and players in the environment. We often make things way more complicated than they need to be. And I think we’re seeing that in the conversation around mental health right now, you know, part of the reason that stigma is such a big deal. Still, you know, it’s very hard for people to raise and yet speak about mental health openly, especially in the workplace. Partly, that’s because the the complication is, well, it implicates you in exactly the way that you’ve just described. It says, You are the thing that’s broken. Yeah. And as long as we can fix you, then all of this will be okay. Yeah. It also is how the ground for victimhood, isn’t it? Absolutely. Some of the some of the conversations I’ve been having with leaders at various levels. They’re kind of going we recognise that we need to have conversations about this with our staff. But in the back of their mind is the question. I’m feeling duress. And if I started to talk to you about yours, that just compounds mine. And so the Yeah, the complicated nature of it is where we’re starting part of the narrative is, well, if you’re feeling the pressure, and so am I then we’re even more we’re done. All right, rather than going

 

 

with so then we all carry on it. And it’s like, Don’t look at that. Don’t look at that. Don’t look at that. And you’ve you’ve actually now described exactly the characteristics of what went on it at boarding school. Because I spoke to a guy last year about the basically boarding school syndrome. Yep. Which was interesting. And it and it’s exactly this. It’s like, I’m eight years old. I’m now in this strange, bloody environment. All I want to do is cry. Right? But I’m not. And I know, but I don’t I’m not going to let that on. And then the next person is in the same boat. And everyone’s in the same boat. Yeah, so we all just shut down and carry on and yes, and deal with it. Yeah. And so, you know, particularly resilience for a long time. For me. That’s why I wanted to ask you about the different

 

Bryn Edwards 

inner definitions that people functionally operate on is because for a long time to me, resilience was was always like a shield. Yes, right. Yeah. The fucking dress and the world. Can you map me? Yeah,

 

 

back. Yeah, there you go. You know, stiff British shuffler? Yeah, take some of that. Watch. Watch me like, yeah. And and then not realising and thinking I’m alright. I’m alright. not realising that. You know, I drink quite a bit. Yeah. and stuff like that. Yeah. And so a large amount of transition for me in the last several years has been to drop the shield. Yes. Drop the armour.

 

 

Yeah.

 

Bryn Edwards 

And allow it to come through anyway. And recognise, I am a human. So I am going to get battered around by stuff. And I am going to be impacted. Yeah. And that’s okay. So I’m not going to stop with this bullshit story that I don’t get impacted. I think right here. Let’s see here.

 

Mike House 

Yeah. Shields good. Yeah. And

 

 

so, so that in itself, just those realisations big drop of anxiety out there, which I didn’t even realise I was carrying around, right. Yeah. And then after that, it’s like, okay, so some days it shits gonna knock me around. Yeah. And it’s gonna get untidy. Yeah. In the system of brain. Yeah. But I’ve started to develop in the tools to what can help me gracefully come back to homeostasis? Yes. And then once that impactors been in past Yeah, I’m still in this situation. Yeah. But I’m not getting battered around anymore. Yes. Oh, space now.

 

Mike House 

Yeah. And I think that that’s each of us on because, you know, we’re human, we all have that journey, right? moments of impact things that knock us still happen. You know, it. I don’t believe that it’s, as part of the challenge with that, you know, we’re resilient things will be easier. If we’re courageous. We’ll never feel fear. Part of the problem with that narrative is that we kind of build this illusion that that there’s some obtainable imperviousness. Yeah. Where things will come at us. And we’ll just go. Yeah. And it’s almost like that shielding version is, is playing out that illusion. Yeah. Oh, that just bounced off the shield, nothing to see here. I think we do that collectively, as well. So in, in microcosms, like families and communities and organisations, and probably globally, but I’m not, I don’t have a high enough position on the hills, to be able to

 

 

see that.

 

Mike House 

We play out that same narrative. So like you say, with the boarding school, you know, we emotion is contagious in humans, and now how we collectively view things and deal with things is, is really, that’s, that’s infectious and intentional culture, I think, looks at how do we, how do we develop some of that certainty inside of ourselves that, you know, it’s inside me, and it’s inside us collectively, whether that’s just you and I, or whether that’s a bigger and bigger collective experience so that we know we can rely on each other to some degree, regardless of what happens out there. Yes. And this, there’s some great models for that. So I’ve got a proposition that, you know, I think one of the one of the good, easily visible working models of that is, you know, something like a small unit of a light special for soldiers. And I think these metaphors are useful up to a point you know, yeah. Because at one level, we’re just like us to know another level where you’re a completely different animal.

 

 

Yeah. And then we disappear and back into shape. Yeah, that’s

 

Mike House 

right. But you know, one of the ways that those teams operate, that is highly effective is that they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if that person’s role is to guard area, they don’t have to be looking over their shoulder, they know the rear is guarded. It’s all good. It’s all good. That person is doing what they’re supposed to do. Yeah, I can rely on it without question.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Again, III think there’s a notion of anxiety in your system,

 

Mike House 

if there’s an issue with that, they’re gonna tell me they’re not going to turn anything up and go?

 

 

Good. Yeah,

 

Mike House 

they’re gonna say, hey, we’ve got a problem, or I’ve got a problem. And so we need to resolve that they’ve got a way of reorganising themselves very, very quickly, in moments of deep pressure, where the consequences are life and death, around certainty of how we will respond. And they drill a, there’s a great little clip from a guy called rock Denver, who’s an ex Navy SEAL commander, you can find it on YouTube, he talks about calm is contagious, so they drill into Navy SEAL commanders, calm is contagious. And effectively, what they’re saying, Look whether things are gonna go pear shaped any of the leadership is running around unspooling then the whole thing unspools. So I think there’s, there are ways that we can collectively bring our attention to our culture. And you know, this, this is everything from individual level, micro team level organisational concept, us as a father, son, parent, us as a, you know, part of a family unit, us as a part of a community, us as a part of a global system, you know, we can bring that sort of thinking, I think to say, Well, okay, how do we how do we show up in ways that are certainly comes from how we show up not from what’s going on around us. That doesn’t mean that what’s going on around us will be easy, just that we’ve got a level of well, in the book, work on land shake ability, a level of when we know we’ve got this, it’ll get untidy, it’ll get messy, there will be impact. There’ll be all Yeah, but collectively, we’ve got this I know what I can call on you for why know how you will show up, you know, how I will show Yeah. That’s, that’s really useful. And my sense is from the bits of reading that I’ve done and conversations that I’ve had, that that’s not dissimilar, you know, it’s a bit of a turning back to how we turned up in villages and small farming communities and indigenous hunter gatherer societies, where the environment was inherently uncertain. And there was a deep acknowledgement of that, in the culture. You know, the moment I think we try to force ourselves that they won’t be answered, and they will have this clear road. Yeah, let’s set a goal that’s out there. And we’ll just go straight line to it. Yeah. Okay. So that’s delusional. And we’ll sit and we’ll compete to model a map. And that will just

 

 

Yeah, tickety boo.

 

Mike House 

Yeah. And we tie things like identity and purpose and some really quite deep seated stuff to things like roles and achievement and those kinds of things, which are very, very, they’re easily impacted. Yes. COVID shown us that if it’s shown us nothing else. Well, yeah,

 

Bryn Edwards 

I mean, I spoke last year about how they use the analogy of we, our identity rien takes maintenance. And often, you know, we’ll do it and we don’t realise we’re doing it, that identity is built with like, these external structures to hold it in place. And when the external structures get shaved, or, or taken away. Yeah. Then it can be like, Oh, yeah, and last year, it was almost like,

 

 

Yes,

 

Bryn Edwards 

yeah. The lot of them. Yes. So you’re right. So when that sense of identity, belief, core values, purpose and all of that, which helps us shape the little enclave, which we know was ours. Individually, then, yeah, that all becomes that’s why it becomes an existential crisis.

 

Mike House 

Absolutely. Yeah. Because then suddenly, and you know, I had a patch of last year where I dive pretty deep into that particular Well, it’s like okay, what’s going on because from a business point of view, I have historically been able to see the value of what I bring to the marketplace, because I’m in front of live audiences delivering it. And you can see moments of epiphany, you can see people nodding, you get insightful questions, all that’s happening live in front of you. And if it’s not hitting the mark, you’re also getting that feedback, you know, you’ve got an audience going, I will have the phone’s more interesting. Or that they’re having a side conversation that’s got nothing to do with what’s happening in the room. So there was that feedback, that a lot of the personal tactics for resilience that I have, you know, I train fairly regularly in martial arts. So the martial arts gym was shut down, because it’s very physical. Yeah, I contact a lot of the people in that community of people that I value, the conversations and the provocations with beyond the physical activity. So that was all shut down. So a lot of the mechanisms that are used to triangulate myself and my value were gone. And there was a period where I was saying to one of my mentors, you know, it actually feels at the moment is they everything is forced labour. And he said, Well, what’s going on there, because that’s not the kind of energy have historically got from you. And as we spoke, talk through it. I had felt as though I had completely disconnected from my purpose. And so everything that I was doing was like, This feels like a strain, whereas when, for me, at least, when action is coupled to purpose, the the action doesn’t feel as though it requires effort. It absolutely does. The the amount of work involved is exactly the same, but word feels white. Yes, and it feels relevant, and it feels meaningful. And, and so the the labour feels irrelevant. Yet, as opposed to this feels like dragging a bloody great big yanking chain up a hill with no real route, no visibility, what the top of the hill is, or why I’ve got this thing in the first place,

 

 

you know.

 

Mike House 

So I reckon these things that we, that we need to do, that are kind of a circling back to that kind of community, where we understand where our sense of certainty is internally driven. I said in an article last week, the only certainty that counts is the certainty we can create, because it’s sure as hell ain’t coming from the external environment. And and I don’t believe that at will anytime soon, you know, you look at any potential source of disruption, whether it’s natural disasters, whether it’s things like global pandemics, whether its technological evolution, whether its competitors entering the market, whether it’s the more individually microfocus, things like bankruptcies, divorces, births, deaths, you know, whatever, then we’re going to be disrupted. And I think that the, the scale, and the speed at which those things show up seems to be getting more and more common, you know, we’ve seen in Australia in the last 12 months, many events that are 100 year events, and they’ve begun to say, Well, we’ve had 12 months of those where we’ve just got out of one and here’s another one. Here’s another one. And some of them are the same type of event, you know, what Queensland I think had 300 year flood events in five years? Yep. So Well, that wasn’t 100 years, and we’ve had three of them. So I think that level of disruption will continue to grow. So we need to, in my belief, find ways of developing certainty amongst us rather than in reference to the external circumstances.

 

Bryn Edwards 

And doing that, in a way that is both individual and yet and collective shared. Yes. Because the real delicate part I get concerned about is when we start looking at our internal capabilities, or doing work on ourselves or personal development, it becomes an incredibly individualistic pursuit.

 

Mike House 

Yes.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Which on one level is great, yes, because we all need to sweep our own house up. And we, you know, we need to,

 

 

was there at once we all need to, you know, attend to the wounds that we picked up so we know continue to bleed upon the will. Right. But at the same time, if we disappear too far into ourselves, this you’re just going to end up with a lot of individuals that don’t know how to genuinely genuinely interact with others. Yes, and And also you’re not to continue an allergy. Unless we go into battle together or we’re going to do something together, then I don’t, I’m not going to really truly know that you’re going to show up. We know the training. Yeah. And over that time, we can build up that. And then we will go into battle. I think anyone is interesting, as you were saying that I’ve, you know, anyone who’s played team sports, you’ll have all I think most people will have been in a team where you rely on everyone to do the job, it means you can just do yours. Yes. And everyone’s been in one way. There’s a couple of weak legs really, like, I used to play rugby. So it’s like, Fuck, he’s on the team, which means we have to do more shares of

 

Mike House 

tackles or the opposite extreme of that, where you’ve got the superhero that wants all the glory. And yeah,

 

Bryn Edwards 

and once you everyone’s tackles, yeah, so you get those imbalances. So I really like that analogy. But I think it’s that I’m quite sensitive at the moment that over focus on individuality.

 

Mike House 

I agree. Yeah.

 

 

You know, and paradoxical. Which you talk about in your book? Being Alright, with paradoxes? Yeah. It is so important for us to clean our own house up inside. Yes. But recognise that the man is not an island otherwise we disappear into this. narcissistic? Yeah, can

 

Mike House 

you know, well, there’s two streams. One is the narcissistic stream, we get this overinflated sense of importance. Yeah. And, you know, again, Tyson young reporters got some great stuff to say about that. Yes, is in indigenous communities. One of the significant elements of those is to find and beat out now tendencies in a way that reforms people self punishment. You know, he’s very clear about that. And I think the words he uses are you You are not special, but you are part of something special?

 

 

Yes. Yes, yes. Yeah.

 

Mike House 

And he speaks about that moment that you realise that when your first thought is, what do you mean no, not special, that’s terrible. And then very quickly, you got that also means no one else is either. So that’s okay. That’s all cool. And this is really important, or really special. So I think that’s a, that’s one road is we go down the narcissistic, it’s all about me, it’s all about either my untidiness, or it’s all about my aspiration. The other potential road there is that we collectively load each other up, which is, you know, we there’s an echo back to an earlier point in the conversation, where we say bring the whole of this responsibility lies with you. Yes. If you can’t sort yourself out if you can’t be resilient, courageous, blah, blah, blah, blah, then we’re all screw. So you know, get on with a mate. Yeah, get it sorted. And it’s an unrealistic burden to put onto each other. Where we end up in these little microcosms of it’s made here and you they’re dealing with our internal and external experience in the world. And there’s very little of that joining up and when we do join up at tends to be either defensive or adversarial. Yeah, rather than let’s, let’s stand shoulder to shoulder and face that way and go that way together. recognising that there will be times where I’ve got this and you’ll be I’ll be dragging you along a bit. And there’ll be other times where it’s the other way around, and that’s okay.

 

Bryn Edwards 

And the challenge of find is that dialling back to other parts that we were talking about earlier on is that you stick that in an organisational setting.

 

 

Most of the systems are not set up to encourage that. You know, because, particularly for some of the larger management consultancies, I worked for him a time. Yeah, I know that at one point during the year, that there’s going to be an assessment of Britain versus my and that could be the difference between whether I get a 10 round pay rise or you do get a 10. Yeah, one of us is going to get it. Yeah. Right. So therefore, I am encouraged to collaborate with you, but stick my nose ahead at this. Yeah.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Collaborate? No, that’s not nice. Bringing the team together. Yeah. And so it’s just competitiveness. Yes. And and this, yeah, this is where,

 

 

you know, coming from the, you know, during the study of the business psychology Master’s, and being the management consultant for several years, but always been a humanist at the same time, which is why I ended up doing the podcast,

 

Mike House 

and it must have been hard for a fucking Christian.

 

 

And I couldn’t understand why. But then after years, after years, after years, you just have to give into the world. You have to give into the understanding that in its current format. This ain’t guy, we can try our best. I was talking about this morning I was listening to. We talked about integral theory and and a guy called Jamie whale tried to set up an integral management consultancy. But then the first thing, all the leaders of the operation centres or tail, how do I get there as quickly as possible? right to be in the ultimate level of development? Yeah. It’s a competition. Now, I need to be there, because I know that that will make me better, and I’ll get paid more. Yeah. Yeah. Now, we’re not encouraging that shit. Yeah, it’s so important. Yes.

 

Mike House 

Yeah. And I think that speaks to the the sort of dominant frames and systems that we think through it. So we tend to view this as both a superpower and a problem, right? Yeah, there’s the the superpower of us being able to frame the world in a particular way, and operate from that frame in ways that are very often highly successful, is absolutely a human superpower. And at the same time, those frames can become things that bind us. And that’s a really great example. We’re trying to actually put something that’s quite dramatically different into play. Yeah. And what we end up doing is just subverting it to the frame anyway, yeah. We’ve changed the colours, and we’ve changed the levels. But we’re still playing this competitive.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yeah. How can I go?

 

Mike House 

Yeah, there’s only so much room at the top. And so it mentally may not you and yeah, it’s interesting. I think that stuff is I, you know, I don’t have easy answers for how that’s not resolved. I don’t know, I think there’s a lot of both complexity and complication attached to that. But I think the questions we need to be asking, and, and for me, COVID has really provoked that thinking, yeah, that, you know, I think it’s been easy ish, in the world pre COVID, to both buy into and maintain the illusion of control, that, you know, the, the environment around us will largely conspire in our favour. And, you know, we can set outcomes and we can go towards them, and we can get them and yeah, there’s a level at which that’s absolutely true. And then something like COVID comes along, and, and the vast majority of his record, absolutely flat footed, I didn’t say that Garmin, had no idea that was even possible, you know, someone blogged a bit about bird flu A while back, but it didn’t seem to be a thing. And then we got going, you know, here we are. So it shows us I think, in an undeniable you know, you can’t avoid the reality that actually the amount of control that we’ve got over the external environment is pretty low.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yes.

 

Mike House 

What we can control is all this stuff internal, your internal to me internal to our interactions, how can we collectively interact with the, with the other entities around us how we collectively interact with the circumstances around us? And, you know, we were talking earlier about I think this is a looping back to how humans have historically done stuff, you know, in religious farms, tribes, we kind of did that. So we know our roles, we have a, an, an easy way of shifting accountability and responsibility, depending on you know, whether the thing we need most right now is a shaman or a hunter, or Yeah, there are a maker of things. And we deploy the best of ourselves individually and collectively in that effort. And he goes fairly low down the list. And expectation,

 

 

not

 

Mike House 

exactly, it’s very adaptive to whatever comes our way, both in terms of opportunities and challenges. So I reckon, you know, I’d like to see this as a spiral where, you know, it’s not a case of, alright, let’s go back to a village lifestyle is not realistic, no, but to recapture some of the essence of what we were in that kind of world and apply it to now when we are, you know, genuinely global and so interconnected and, and start thinking about, like I said, What would that look what if we could, if we could channel a bit of that, you know, if we, if we could get back to that sort of sense of collective capability in essence where, you know, it doesn’t matter so much your individually. Whether you individually got this Yep, together we have Yes. And at some point, you’ll be carrying more load than I will or you’ll be adding more value than I will but on the whole Yeah, it’s okay. We’re not. We’re not keeping score directly

 

Bryn Edwards 

against each other. You guys dropped out of this.

 

Mike House 

Yeah, yeah. So you know, I might give you food today and tomorrow, you might give food to somebody else. And that’s okay. It’ll come back around, you know, some will come and put a fire out at my joint eventually. And that’s all seen as Okay, yeah. Rather than this straight transaction or way, you know, you can, yeah.

 

Bryn Edwards 

I really like this. Trusting those around you. They will look after you. Yeah. That you can contribute. But at the same time, they will look after you

 

 

as well. Yeah, the interview with Thomas Bjorkman about the Nordic secret, which I told you about earlier on. One of the key things in that book is that if you look at the Scandinavian countries, there’s a high level of trust amongst citizens

 

Bryn Edwards 

amongst themselves and with yet designated authorities. Yes, there’ll be doing the right thing. He’s doing the right thing. Yeah, we’re all doing the right thing. Yeah. A lot of that’s eroded as

 

Mike House 

I think so there’s a there’s an inherent suspicion was really interesting. I was having a conversation with a client a couple of days ago, I was on the train down the freeway to meet with another client. And I said, I said, Oh, it’s been background noise. This is good time to tour. And so yeah, it’s all good. I’m on the train. And he said, Oh, Sheila, you okay? So there’s this inherent threat about being on public transport, and then saw, Milo catch trains a lot. And so far, it’s all been fine. There’s an interesting assortment of characters on here, but I’m not at risk. So there’s that I think a bit of inherent suspicion of default footing is more likely to see you as foe than friend. And I think, you know, we’ve got to be careful with trust. We shouldn’t just dish it out willy nilly. But yeah, but I reckon there’s more, more to be trusted than not in the majority of people

 

Bryn Edwards 

to actively look for that. Yeah. Because if again, if you’re going into if you’re going into most interactions with the base assumption that generally I trust people, yeah. Prove me otherwise. Yes.

 

Mike House 

I’ll put a quote in the book. I can’t I can’t remember who said it, but I’ll put it in at the start of the chapter about trust. The quote was, the best way to find out if someone is trustworthy is to trust them. Yes, after all, that’s gold. That is, I love that. It’s gold, it actually requires me to prove your trustworthiness requires an investment. from me.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yeah. So it’s there. Yeah.

 

 

If you

 

Bryn Edwards 

shit on it, then that’ll be that. It was there from the start. Yeah.

 

Mike House 

Yeah. Yeah, I thought that’s a really useful frame. Because I think we often we often operate from a default lack of trust. It’s like, I prove I can trust you. Yeah, we saw that a bit in I don’t know, in the people you’ve been talking to. But on the whole, there was a massive uptick in trust in organisations with the whole work from home thing, because all of a sudden, we’ve gotten, we’ve got a trust that you’ll come back here. Yeah. And you’ll get on with what you’re supposed to be doing.

 

 

doing stuff,

 

Mike House 

you know, you’re at home, you know, you’re not sitting on Netflix and and yeah, perfecting your sourdough recipe, you’re actually applying yourself to your world. And on the whole, we did that, I think really well. And there was a bit of an uptick in trust, perceived trust in organisation. There were some people that were the opposite was true is like, you know, I want to check in with you every hour because I’ve got to make sure you’re working and you know, you might be slacking off. And it did the exact opposite of Gong road that

 

Bryn Edwards 

that kind of infantilizes people it doesn’t absolutely, you know, because what, again, was the coordinates of underlying coordinates so that you can’t be trusted. Yeah, much like kids. Yes. So we just got to check up on you. Yeah. Okay. Daddy, mom. Yeah. All right. Yeah. Yeah.

 

Mike House 

Yeah. So become, you know, a bit like, armies can contagious thing. It’s, you see trust and it grows. And the more you see it in action, the more reliable it becomes. And largely, that’s just an unspoken agreement between us. Yeah, but the more we test it, the more we find it to be true. And so the more reliable it becomes, the more certainty it builds between us. So that now when this comes along, Sokka don’t have to look over my shoulder to see Rins gamma back, but just know he is, let’s just say and if he’s not, he’ll tell me. Yeah. And we only know that because we built that up. It’s like the rugby team. Yeah, drilling, the set plays to the point that when they’re on the field and they’re under pressure, they can flick off a no, a no look, pass and know that guys, they’re correct. And the only reason they know that is they built that pattern. Over and over again, one of my deeds will be that they know how fast that ball has to travel, they know exactly where it will be they they’ve got a peripheral view of the opposition in front of them only. And it’s an instinctive act by stone. Are you there? And it looks magical.

 

 

Yes,

 

Mike House 

but it’s built on we’ve we’ve tested this, it’s not effortless.

 

Bryn Edwards 

It like, right at the start, you were saying resilience makes things look effortless?

 

Mike House 

Yeah. It has that appearance. But the appearance is an illusion, an external illusion, because those guys know how much blood sweat and tears is put into that. Yeah. You know, it doesn’t it’s not YG passes beforehand, you can’t just turn up and make that happen, you know, you don’t just switch it on or switch it off as well. Quick resilience training. So we can do that.

 

 

Yeah. Because I guess that’s one of the questions I’ve got now. And you mentioned it earlier on in that, probably Now, let’s stay in Western Australia. Yeah, given that we have a bit of breathing space, we sort of have to be locked in. You know, many other people can talk about breathing space, right?

 

Bryn Edwards 

Because we do have the breathing space to look back now and go, because it almost strikes me that you don’t. Resilience is not one of these things where we do resilience training, we have to do almost be curious about how we learn how we grow our human journey. And and being alright with that. And then resilience comes as a consequence. Probably needs a bit of resilience, like chucked in there. But yeah, not just resilience. We’re really resilient sake. Yeah, his resilience comes as a consequence of being more solid in ourselves. Yeah.

 

 

So with that, now we have the space, because like you said, there’s no point chucking resilience training in there when you’re in the thick of it. And it’s like, you’re at the starting line? Like, are you starting to see people being more

 

Bryn Edwards 

drawn to the things that will bring about more resilience? Or are we now very well, it’s over thrips on the carpet. Let’s see if we can get back to that gentleman.

 

Mike House 

I reckon I’m seeing both. So yeah. And I’m seeing both at an individual level and at a collective level as well, and sometimes simultaneously. So have a look at myself as a microcosm of that, you know, we were talking before we started about, you know, this last couple of weeks has been the busiest period in my business since the first lockdown in Western Australia. And a lot of stuff that I was doing back then is coming back online, and I’m on a pretty steep, you know, ramp up again of delivery capability. And I can see in myself a temptation to discard some of the things that I was doing that feed my resilience through the quiet period. And that kind of kept me together when I was hunting around for what’s the purpose? Why am I dragging this chain up the hill? I can, I can see how readily I could just go like, I don’t need that. Now. I’ve got to focus on transaction go, go Go doo doo doo. Yeah. And there’s a part of me that says, I’ve got to really watch that, you know, because I could easily put myself into a position where I have overplayed my transactional hand lost touch with that, and I’ve got us I’ve got to try and scaffold this back in now because I’ve created my own jurist.

 

 

Yes.

 

Mike House 

And obviously, I’m seeing that also in organisations. I think, you know, there’s a good example. Well, I think the mental health conversation is a good one. where a lot of organisations when you know, and sticking to the Wi Fi context, when we were doing a lot more, we have to work from home. There is no choice in that. I think there were there was quite a bit of certainly among more clients, intentional check in you know, how you’re travelling. What’s going on your knowledge meant that you are not only an employee of this place, but there’s an ecosystem that leaves behind you be and we can kind of say that because your kid or Bama zoom meeting and yes, you ballcarriers ripping aside for a partner. Background and you know, your partner comes home from wherever and you know, all that stuff is happening in the Yeah. In the context of work. Yeah. And as we’re getting your whole life shows

 

Bryn Edwards 

up in zoom tend to hear I didn’t know you’re here wearing the embroidered top. Yeah, just doing work and

 

 

stuff behind.

 

Mike House 

And despite the green screen and the beautiful sort of organised offers, there’s these random entities inserting themselves into the picture. Yeah. I think there’s a bit of a sense of some people are wanting to just get back to normal. Yeah. Now, and that’s, that’s compelling. I think it’s one of the biggest risks that we have right now is, alright, well, that’s past, let’s just go back to normal and that we actually lose, potentially all of the, all of the insight from the last 12 months, because we just go, alright, let’s just hop straight back into the familiar patterns of everything. reckon they’d be good if we can kind of balance some of those. And, you know, I can certainly recognise in myself, and in the people I’m talking to, there’s a tension there, you know, at one level, it’s kind of nice to just go back into the groove and add another level assignment. Okay, well, we need to, we need to make that groove more expansive, somehow. And yet, I keep that zoom background picture running, even when we’re face to face. I think one of the things that showed up, you know, we saw these interesting polarity. So you mentioned the toilet roll fiasco in Western Australia before, you know, we saw, we saw that kind of behaviour where we’re, you know, pretty much in gladiatorial conflict with each other in the supermarket, carpark over who gets the 36 rolls, and he goes home with a dirty bum. And, on the other hand, deep care for each other at a level that I don’t think that we’ve seen collectively Express for a good while, yeah, or at least not in our cities. And those things almost operating as extreme juxtapositions of what, hey. And I reckon we need to keep sight of that, you know, we can easily be drawn into that highly reactive territory of things are moving, I need to quickly, you know, latch on to whatever, I need to make sure I’m okay. And stuff the rest of you. Yes, we had, we all have that, you know, we do that we get triggered. And then at the other end, we can do the collective thing really well, as well. So let’s, let’s try and keep hold of that, I think, try and keep them both in view. And acknowledge that both are ever present. You know, it doesn’t, it doesn’t necessarily take a set of circumstances to bring them to bear, we can create that internally that which comes back to some of that certainty we were talking about, yeah, if we, if we start to empty, the metaphoric toilet roll oil, then everyone that walks down and started is getting twitchy. And if they’re seeing stockpiling there, you know, it’s back to the car is contagious thing. It’s like all the herd is moving, I bet. You know, I bet own something’s gonna

 

 

happen. All right.

 

Mike House 

So I think the more we can keep that stuff visible, the more likely we are to get to some of those larger systemic realisations and possibly be able to scaffold that with some really good, you know, interpersonal, individual and more collective expressions of humanity that that build a sense of certainty, regardless of what’s coming down the pipe palace.

 

Bryn Edwards 

recovered most of the topics in the ball recovery in form of a direction we kind of have, yes. So because this was what I found interesting about this is you, you’ve done kind of what I do for you went and spoke to a lot of

 

Mike House 

people overall. Yeah.

 

Bryn Edwards 

And then drew a pattern. Yeah.

 

Mike House 

Yeah. So there were kind of a few things happening in parallel. So when I wrote my first book, thriving, adapt back in 2017. It’s interesting, you go through that process, and almost immediately there’s some evolution of thinking. Yeah, because the process of writing it down and it does make it digestible to another person. It forces you to shape it and deeply consider it and question it. And you know, you get editors going, well, you’re banging on here for three pages. And I’ve got no idea what you just said. So our high K, that was really clear in my head. So back to either it’s not a thing, or I just haven’t articulated very well. So you kind of go through that process. And it’s it’s an interesting process, because you are forced to externalise a lot of the thinking that you would otherwise just be doing internally. And you’re attempting to do that in a way that’s digestible for somebody else, which means that you reach a level of personal clarity about it that you couldn’t achieve readily via another mechanism, I think, yes. So write the first book, and then I had this one on the drawing board. And it’s largely been a matter of courage to write it. So I could have written it pretty much off the back of the other one, but it was like I just feels there was a sense for me of it would very easily add to the screaming noise of pop psychology. where, you know, he is something that sounds great, but he’s nothing of substance. There is plenty. And I thought, I really don’t want this book to be that. And there was a part of me that says, well, who am I to say anything about this anyway, because of all sorts of things we’ve been talking about, you know, I’m impacted by plenty of stuff. And I, there’s moments where the wheels fall off entirely and times where my partner and even some of my clients point to a chapter in my first book and go, you should read this, you know, you can’t argue against that, you know? So it’s like, well, who am I to tell people about and shake ability, the the beauty of COVID was, there was a bit of a wondering for me about moments of impact and what they look like. And there was a sense of luck. I know, we experienced these things. We’re all vulnerable to them. COVID came along, and it’s like, right, we’re collectively globally experiencing one right now, if there’s no time to write this book, when is that? Yeah, so that was a real trigger. And the second thing around the interviews was, I was acutely aware that many of the leaders and organisations and teams that I’ve worked with over the last sort of best part of a decade, were all at once experiencing their own version of a moment of impact, as a result of the circumstance of COVID. And for some businesses like mine, that was a total flatline, you know, you’ve gone from a trajectory of growth and lots of good stuff happening to be holy cow, you know, yeah. And on the other hand, say anyone in the event space, that was their experience. On the other hand, a lot of my clients are not for profit health providers, and aged care and disability providers, and they will went bonkers their workloads were off the scale, compared to what they’ve ever been. And with substantial uncertainty, you know, I remember talking to one CEO, who was saying, you know, we’re down to a two week supply of masks and gloves in our business. And if we run out, we’ve still got to provide, you know, really intimate personal care to our clients. And that significantly lifts the risk to our staff and to our other clients. So we’re in this thing of what do we do, and it was a real probability that they would run out of that stuff. And at that point, the impact of COVID was still very unknown. So they are we are we effectively sending our staff to, you know, potential very real risk of physical harm and or death. As a question mark, and yet not being able to go, well, we’ll just turn all of our 24 seven services off. Because you know, that that elder of our community will be able to probably get by on their own. And that’s just not an option. So, so in their world, the pressure, the pressure to deliver was immense, and in other people’s world, the pressure to deliver and completed.

 

 

And so

 

Mike House 

how am I even going to put food on the table tomorrow, particularly pre some of the government initiatives that have happened here to support that? So the interview process was to ask those various leaders across a big range of sectors so spoke to people in government at some fairly senior levels, small business operators, some large publicly listed companies, some of those not for profits in the sort of community support services sort of space, and a bit of a mix with people in between. and I said Look, do you mind if just chew your ear about what are your What are you experiencing as a leader right now? And how are you kind of navigating the deep uncertainty? And I think because of COVID there was a authenticity and transparency in those conversations that may not have been there. Had I been asking them about an impact in just their business?

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yeah. might have been more of a front?

 

Mike House 

Yeah, you’d get the kind of sanitised for public consumption version. Yeah. Whereas people were just saying, Look, here is how it is. And, you know, those conversations were profound, you know, some of them we were weeping together, some of them we were laughing together, we were speculating about potential futures. And, you know, how do you triangulate and make decisions when the amount of unknown is way exceeding the amount of known? And it’s rapidly moving? So, you know, the basis for a decision on Friday could be completely redundant by Monday? How do you keep that cadence up without, you know, cooking yourself and the people around you. So there’s really, really rich conversations about all of that. And what started to emerge was some very key themes about how people were navigating that, that correlated very strongly with my survival experience, so the there’s a whole world of psychology that comes out of survival, where they talk about the survivor personality. So people who do well against the odds, you know, whether they get a dire medical diagnosis, whether they get a you know, a bankruptcy or divorce, whether they’re lost or stranded in the outback, whether they’re in a combat zone, either as a military personnel, or civilian, you know, all these various experiences of deep duress. The survivor personality is kind of a set of trades that allow people to typically beat the odds, you know, and there’s an element of luck there, you know, you’re sometimes just underneath the moment. Yeah, sometimes a block away, and that’s good enough. But the but there are attributes that sort of allow people to show up and get clarity and direction and take action, that stack the deck in their favour. And a lot of those things were correlated with what leaders were telling me. One of the beauties of it was that there was a real sense that for some people going right, here’s the thing, here’s a piece of territory, that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt positively impacts this. Yes. And they were actively deploying that. There were other times where they’re gone. There’s a sense of something commander, fuzzy here that are recognised important, and I’m sort of trying to drag understanding out of that gloom and deploy that. And there were other times where it’s like, I’m just totally winging it, I’ve got no idea. And so that sort of spectrum of understanding and capability to deploy things was really variable. So I’d speak to you and you’d be really strong in this channel, but no, hadn’t even considered this one. So there wasn’t a single person that had all of it. Yeah. Or who couldn’t develop something to a greater degree. And so we tried in the book to codify all that and give primarily what and why, you know, what do you need to develop and why? And not too much? How? Yeah, because partly because I think that that’s a personal journey, a personal journey, and a contextual journey. And partly because I think it’s, it’s probably a doorstop, yeah. Another book. But yeah, it was a it was useful insight. I think that thing of testing, thinking, you know, we’ve done it a bit today, where you kind of go, here’s what I’m noticing. And you go, oh, here’s what I’m noticing. There’s a third thing that emerges from noticing that noticing that Yeah. And sometimes there’s a bigger context that that third thing sits in. Yes. That process is really valuable. Yeah. You know, I think I think I’ve got some pretty good thinking in my own right. But it’s all way stronger when I triangulate it against others.

 

 

Yes.

 

Mike House 

And that’s part of that collective certainty that I think we’ve been talking about.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yeah. Yeah. And as I mentioned before, that kind of where I’m taking this podcast now to, instead of, it’s just you and me, it’s you and me talking creating a third. Yeah. And then that’s quite exciting. And you know, there was a bit earlier on I think I mentioned it were a bit were talking about, but it’s like, oh,

 

 

yes,

 

Bryn Edwards 

yeah, hair standing on the back of my arm. I’m like, Yeah, for there you go. Yeah, we’re in something at the moment. Yeah.

 

 

Hmm,

 

Mike House 

absolutely. And then, you know, me start to get other people interacting with that moment and adding their, their knowledge to it and their perspective to it and furthering the, furthering the dialogue, which I think is really powerful. Yeah. If, for me the, you know, if I had one sort of hope for us collectively out of COVID, it would be that, that we deepen the collective conversation.

 

 

Yes.

 

Mike House 

And I don’t know that we’re in a position that we would ever abandon the transactional stuff right now that it is so sort of built into our systems, but but I think it’d be really cool if as a result of this, we started to talk more about how do we build a collective experience that’s more robust. Yeah. And it’s less vulnerable to external circumstances. And that almost has that footing of throw whatever you like at us. We’ve got this. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. And, you know, inevitably there’ll be times the reason I’ll put the onion unshakable. Yeah, this is, you know, we are all deeply shakable. Exactly, individually and collectively. And that’s okay, too. And, and I reckon that that needs to be acknowledged for our handshake ability to have any value at all.

 

 

Mm hmm.

 

 

So the last question I asked my guests nowadays, since the last time you were on a hypothetical question, but I always enjoy the answer is, if I could just chill everyone out five or 10 minutes, Ryan, and Mike house could upload the question into the collective consciousness. So everyone just sat and considered or journaled out for that five or 10 minutes chilling out their answer to that question. What would it be?

 

 

Oh,

 

Mike House 

great question, who’s likely to take five or 10 minutes for the cogs to spool up on that? I actually think that I’ve been saying for a while that there’s a distinction between positions that are inherently black and white, right or wrong, good or bad, and effective versus ineffective. So the question would probably be what, what can you do as subset one? And then what can we do in whatever our collective experiences to shift the dialogue from? Good, bad, right, wrong? black, white, which is inherently adversarial, into what would be more effective? That would help us I think, to elevate beyond the question of, you know, is resilience a thing we need to plug into you? So you can do better? Or is it a systems thinking thing, too? It’s actually both. So how can we effectively do that would help us to get beyond you know, how do we deal with that? You and I are trying to compete for a limited space there to air can we collectively make this more for more of whatever the measure is for all of us, you know, more safe, more abundant, more clear, more healthy, more meals, whatever that is? What would be more effective?

 

 

Yes. Like it. It’s been great talking.

 

Mike House 

Likewise, Brendan’s always generally very interesting,

 

 

in my way.

 

Mike House 

So if people want to find you and get a copy of the book, The best place to go is www dot Mike house.com.au. That’s my website. It’s got the book and a whole heap of other stuff there. Yeah. And all my contact details are there too. So I’m always up for engagement and conversation around any of this. In my view, you know, sometimes that’s commercial, but often, it’s just let’s have a chat. I think that’s, that’s really valuable. So I would encourage people to stalk me there and reach out. And by all means, if people want to grab a copy of the book, it can be found there and feel free to reach out and have a broader conversation that springboards off this if they would like to.

Awesome. Thank you very much for your time.

Leave a Comment