In this new Scrum Facilitators community podcast episode, Steve Trapps talks to Georgina Shute about being kind to yourself and recognizing that the more you practice being thankful for things the easier it is to see what you should be grateful for. Gina is a digital leader, charity founder and consultant who champions kindness in technology teams.
Gina shares her daily tip on feeling fulfilled and noticing what is going on in her life.
Gina's talk on Why Neurodiversity and Mental Health Matter - https://youtu.be/znBu7YT4aZA
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What's going to be your question for the next person that's appearing on the podcast? So my question is twofold. It's how do you. Welcome to the Scrum Facilitators Community Podcast. The place for real conversations around Scrum. Welcome back everybody to the Scrum Facilitators Community Podcast. My name's Steve Traps. I'm a Scrum facilitator. I'm also a Scrum trainer. And today I'm also joined by Gina Shute and Gina: would you like to say hello and introduce yourself? Yes, I'd love to. Thanks for having me today. So I'm Gina I, a digital leader, charity founder, and also a consultant who champions kindness in technology teams. I've worked in various DevOps style teams with various versions of Scrum, Kanban, Agile, as you like, the methodologies over the years. And I found that a blend of most or some of them work well, better or worse, with different teams. I like to think that the foundation of leading a team starts with yourself and also the ability to be kind to yourself and others. I love the fact that you described yourself as a that you champion kindness in teams. So you obviously spend a lot of time working with teams and getting maybe a culture. That's what I've seen over the last few projects that I've worked since I've been in technology for ten years or so now maybe, and I've worked in decent cultures maybe some challenging environment, shall we say. And I found that if you can start with yourself, if you're leading a team and you can be kind to the people around you, start with. People aren’t always trying to do the trying to do rubbish things. They want to work with each other and they want to achieve something. And it's not necessarily about being nice that there was a real for me anyway, there's a differentiator between the word nice and kind of nice I think of as wallpaper. So wallpaper can be nice, but when you're kind to someone, you can give them good feedback, critical feedback, and you do it in a way that from a point of understanding them and how with your feedback, can kind of affect the people that you're with and also how they affect themselves. Yeah, I love that analogy. Wallpaper is nice, you know it. Wallpaper can be nice, but feedback is kind and you know, feedback is good, you know, either positive or negative. So I love that the stigma difference between the two. So we, we the on this Scrum Facilitators podcast we have a thing where the previous guest gives the next guest the question to answer. And your question from Danny Derailed was What is the lesson from your childhood that you value the most? Great question. I would say an answer to that question is be yourself. You are the only person that is like you. I've spent years and years trying to fit in boxes in places that don't fit. I've spent a really long time trying to inadvertently be not necessarily someone I'm not, but trying to create a space for myself and places that don't quite fit. And I am the happiest I've ever been by being myself. Brilliant. I love that. Just be yourself. And you know, it's so valuable. So, so valuable. And actually being yourself, one of the questions goes, how would your friends describe you? I asked my friend this question and I wasn't quite sure how to answer. I would say that it just said something. My friend answers the question, so I'm going to go with her answer. The I champion being myself in spaces that people feel that they can do things in spaces that they may not have felt that they can. So in teams, I'm going to make a silly joke or an. Never underestimate the power of kindness. Never underestimate the ability to have a laugh at a difficult situation. And that's not so. But my friends would describe me as loyal, kind of a bit scatterbrained. Either run a million miles an hour and want to do a lot of things exotic at the same time. Or I want to sit and watch Netflix on my own for two and a half days. We can do whatever. Nothing gets sucked into those boxsets and the next thing you know, hey, that's a whole day lost to Breaking Bad or something. And kindness. It's appeared again that word. When did you when did you first find or realized the importance of kindness to you? Probably about six months ago. So we've lived in a global pandemic climate for, what, 2 to 3 years? And we've come out the other side, not sure what's going to happen next, but I did some reflection over COVID, too, and I realized that a lot of my life was about work and I couldn't quite put my finger on what I did outside of work because of that do my work. So I started to make active decisions, to be kinder to myself, to go out. We've been through a few things in your life. Maybe you should be as kind to yourself as you are to the people around you. And I'm not saying I'm Theresa, who's first person that came to my head to that same on this perfect person. But what I am saying is the kind I am to myself, the better I feel to kind of let go of some of that, the expectations I put on myself to do the right thing at the right time. You don't always know the right answer. And I find that by being kind to myself, I'm inadvertently kinder to the people around me because I start with that actually. I'm trying to do the right thing and as a yeah. So six months ago, I mean, yeah, I think we could all learn a lot from just being kinder to ourselves, less critical of ourselves, less demanding on ourselves and, you know, comparing ourselves to somebody else, comparing ourselves to what we see on social media. But yeah, it's a kindness is possibly something that we overlook of our own strengths. You know, it's the the secret sauce. Be kind to yourself. Yeah. And also, it's seen as a soft skill. A soft skill rather than a hard skill. And it's very much into hard skills and the things that you absolutely have to be good at. But actually, for me, the soft skills are the ones that are harder to figure out whether you're good at them or not. So what is hard? And so yeah. I heard soft skills being referred to as key skills, you know, trying to change the language of the train and to try and change the language around this soft feeling kind of fluffy. And they said, no, it's a key skill for people to be able to get on and work with each other. So then if that resonates with you, it's a key skill. Yeah, I was just. Try trying to know enough information at any one time to give someone an answer that they need. So I work at a program management level at the moment, so I look after a project where there's multiple people of multiple disciplines and multiple things to achieve a bigger goal. I'm not going to go into it more than that. Yeah, but what you do find when you're managing lots of things and lots of other and when you're leading lots of people, is they all come to the party with different understandings of the same problem or they want to achieve different things with the same problem, and they all want different answers at different times, which probably works quite well with my brain, actually, because I connect stocks very, very quickly. But sometimes I find it quite difficult to hold that information in my head, to be able to get the right answer to the right person at the right time. So from a challenging point of view, is it just getting that information to them or putting the dots together? Putting it together? I find quite simple, actually. It's more maybe the on the fly conversation sometimes. And again, going back to that kindness thing, I can't be too bad at it because I've been doing it for years and someone someone decided to hire me to do it. So maybe I'm being a bit critical of myself, but yeah, making sure that I don't know the right deck exists to give the information about the project, but then we really look into it. Does it really matter as long as we have the right information? How much do you need to have spent hours writing a deck or a spreadsheet or whatever the right tool for the job is? Yes. Given the information that they need, I suppose, and allow them to maybe explore as well and explore. And so we talk quite regularly. You know, every couple of months we catch up and just see how each other is doing and, you know, keep each other sane a little bit. Now, the last time we spoke you, you intrigued me with something. You said you were going to write a book or you were writing a book or in the middle of writing a book. I asked you what was the what is it? You said it was about strategies, strategies for coping with life and how you found yourself here. Not on this podcast, but you know how you find yourself here. Do you want to tell you want to share that a bit more about that? I mean, the strategies for coping with life, that's really intrigued me. Where are you going with that? It's a bit of a winding road, which is how my life is ended up, to be honest strategies of how I cope with life. So I'm kind of looking at it as how the things I've learned along the way in my life. How can I put them on paper to create some beautiful visuals as to how I, if I don't know, got to this place and the things that help me on a day to day basis, the things that help me on a micro, on a macro level exist, survive. Whether it's a silly lists are really helpful to write things down. I'm not selling this at all. I'm like. Please, I mean, because you've got you've got the visualization aspects. It's really powerful. So would this be describing the techniques or is this giving people actual things? It's a bit of both, actually, and also weaving in my personal experiences into those things. It becomes a bit of a self-reflection journey with these are the strategies that I've learned along the way, and this is a visualization of this information. So there's a mixture of the the concept, I guess, is a mixture of writing. It's a personalized story because people connect with stories. And if you can connect yourself to the story that's being told, maybe the strategy, maybe the strategy will connect with you more and you'll understand that a bit more rather than that's the way I work and I know everybody is the same. People can get lots of information so that from a book I find that quite difficult. I find visuals and stories a lot easier to connect dots. So what's been the most powerful story that's helped you in your life? Oh, it's a great question. What is the most powerful story that's helped you in your life? I went to a yoga retreat a couple of weeks ago, a three day yoga festival in Henley. That was followed by Netflix. And this lady was explaining the story of a young and an old man. They lived in a village in India in the middle of nowhere. And they were talking about luck and the concept of luck. And there was two there was a young man and his father, and they used to plow the fields every day. And they had a horse and the horse helped them a monday. The horse run away and the villagers said, Oh, it's such bad luck. What are you going to do? How do you feel, etc., etc. You're going to have to work hard. You're going to have to do more. And the father said, It's not good luck. It's not bad luck. Who knows? The story continues. The the horse comes back with another horse a few years later and then they can you know, they said, I've got two horses on that. The answer is the villagers say to them, oh, you've got such good luck. You know, you can now plow the field at double the amount you've got less. So it's double the speed with less sun and the mountains the same thing. It's not good luck. It's not bad luck, who knows? And there's a few other winding roads in the story, but it ends up one I that there's a time of war and that the villagers are being asked to go and conscript one of the largest and be signed up and the boy's broken his leg and the villagers have such good luck. The son doesn't have to go. And again, it's not good luck. It's not bad luck. Who knows? Who knows what's going to happen? Are you going to go left to the door? Are you going to go right out of the door? Something happens. Is it good luck? Is it bad luck that. No, it just is. If you start your day thinking, I've got to do these five things and if I don't do them, then I have a really bad day. It's is useful to have routines and things like that, but if you don't do the one thing of that day, then it's not necessarily going to be a bad day. It's just a different way of looking at the same day. Just a different day from what you were expecting. Yep. Yeah, yeah. So would you say you're lucky? I'm just thinking about the power of the story. Would you say you're a lucky person or is the luck? So I don't know if it's luck. I think cause I've been through operations in my childhood that were quite traumatic. I moved to London when I was 21. Was any of that luck that, you know, I had the operation, that my scoliosis was found, etc.? Was it not? So I moved to London, was it not? Yeah. You was it luck that was it not. Was it bad luck that I spent a year on my own, in my own flat. I didn't know that. Just the things that happened in the world. And that doesn't relate to why two things often in the world and thinking about it very specifically in my life, I don't know if luck exists, whether there's a pathway that now. So I'm just thinking about, you know, the the idea of this book, the strategies for coping, the visualization use, talking about lists and things like that. So what else for you, considering? What else are you talking about in this in this book? It's going to be a lot of life journey in the. So I'm at the stage at the moment. I'm thinking about how I grew up, how I went through school, how I moved to London, things that happened in my life that have been quite key moments and how what did I do at those points in time? Did I go left or go right? Yeah, the front door. Did I decide to fly to Belgrade and spend three weeks here because I want to learn a language off the back of seven months of learning the language on my own with a teacher, because I think that's the right thing for me to do right now. Is it is it exciting? Does it sound a bit different that that's what I'm doing? I don't know. It's what I want to do at the time. And I feel very lucky in that regard that I have the ability to do this. Yeah, I feel very privileged. I didn't have one life, so. Exactly. And I feel very privileged to have certain people in my life that I absolutely cherish for being around. And they they make my life a better place. And I hope that I make their lives the precise by being around. So what's the the the I can say the favorite strategy or what's the what's the strategy you would recommend for people to use, you know, it's for coping with life. What's what's the one thing that you've got a lot of value out of. Journaling when I don't know what to do, when I feel a bit stuck, when I feel like a bit anxious and I don't want to leave the house British way of saying sometimes I get quite anxious when I leave the house, so I get that information out of my head onto paper. It's a physical writing and I ask myself full questions. I try to do this every morning of What did I do? Yeah. So there's four questions I ask myself every morning I try to do on this thing. I do every day, but I try to ask myself, Well, what did I do yesterday? And pay attention to the way that that made me feel? Did I do things in the day that made me feel stress? Did I do things in the day that make me feel really happy? And then as you start to move back at it, it can start to pinpoint things that you're doing or not doing that can change how you feel. The second question is, Well, what have I got coming up? What things have I got coming up? Is there anything that I think maybe a little bit difficult? So I so I can plan around it. I can plan for the things that are happening. And then there are two other questions. One is about cross. You go for questions. What did I do yesterday? What am I planning towards right now? So this one's about reaffirmation of the things that I want. So I want to become financially stable. I want to live in a place with my boyfriend. I want to be in a position where I can travel the world and I can do fun things. And it's about reaffirming it. If you can see it, you can be it. If you write it down, you keep saying the same thing. It can come true because you're finding a way to do it by reaffirming it to your self. Brilliant. So I've read every day you've been doing that or just I try. And of course one is about gratitude. So what am I grateful for today? In that moment, what am I grateful for? Yeah. And when I first started doing this, I found it very hard actually. And the first, the only thing I could seem to like it was I'm grateful for the sun. But now I sit and I really think about what I'm grateful for in that moment in time, about my friends, about my family, about it. I don't know the opportunity that I got to speak with you, the things that I do that I really enjoy, the fact that it is funny. I do like the sun, but I can go swimming because I enjoy swimming and it's how I try to and it's that writing process. I'm really intrigued and I don't want to go to a coaching session, but the idea of, you know, being initially quite difficult for you to be appreciative of what you've got to say, thank you or what am I grateful for that kind of thing. And the more that you do it, the if I heard you write that, the easier it's become for you to recognize what you should be or what you could be thankful for. Yeah, and I think a lot of that is about habit building, about showing up and doing the same thing every day that you should, because it gives me volume or because it makes me happy. And on the flipside of that, not doing something every day. If it doesn't give me value or it doesn't bring me happiness. It's a really great idea. Just to just to evaluate what you know, what you're grateful for, what you're doing. Where am I heading? What didn't I get done? What? What should I focus on? That's a great tip. Is a great tip. So what's next for you? Where are you heading? Next to me? What am I doing? So I'm on a bit of a language journey at the moment, so I'm learning Serbian. I've been learning for seven months, so I'm very keen to be, I don't know, influence the right word, but I want to be able to hold an actual conversation. So again, as I kind of English, so that's next. Yeah, I'm in the process of writing a book on the very early stages of the book. I've been asked to charitable work on the importance of neurodiversity and how working with neurodiversity and there are diverse people is a good thing. And so that's going to be very exciting. That's a media thing that's on the horizon. I also really want to be able to swim a kilometer. Okay, what's the furthest you've swim so far? 549 meters. I love it. The fact that you know it to the exact meter as well and 549. Where the pool the pool is 61 meters and I think it must have been created, in fact. So whatever 61 meters is in place. Yeah, okay. I've done nine lengths, which is 540. Right. Excellent, excellent. So why why a kilometer. Is that just the height that's. Or are you trying to reach something if you're trying to do an event or something or you just set your size a kilometer? Yeah, I've done over half now. So I think if I can do it for half, I can do a four kilometer. You're over the hill, as it were, in the pool. So I'm intrigued. Did you say you're doing a talk on around neurodiversity? Yes, I am. Tell me more. Tell me more. Tell you more about that talk. So the talk is on the 21st of September. It's in London. And it was a very random conversation actually that led me to that. So I'm starting to speak to a coach that specializes in ADHD. And we were talking the other day is like an initial and initial conversation. Is this, you know, is this a coaching relationship is valuable for both of us? We decided yes. And then she said, I've been asked to do this talk. I think it be right for you. So the so I emailed the people and said, well, I was introduced by the coach and then thought, yeah, okay, I'll do it. So that's, that's another thing that I try and do is jump opportunities when they arise. So what's the premise of the talk? So the event, what are you. Going to be talking. About? Why neurodiversity and mental health matter. So the the aim of the aim of the conversation is to get people speaking about neurodiversity as a as a key topic, why neurodiversity does matter. And there's no there's no right way of thinking. And neurodiversity can have different connotations if people don't understand what it is. It has been defined as the way people interact with the world. And again, this is their right way of thinking, learning or behaving. According to Forbes 2002. So we're going to be talking about creating a neurodiverse inclusive workspace, why representation matters, how to support mental health, wellbeing. I can make reasonable adjustments in the recruitment process, the power of terminology. So words like mad, mental, crazy, and what you can replace them with and not. It's not a one size fits all approach. Okay, that sounds really interesting. That sounds really, really interesting. What was that? The 21st of September? 21st of September. So it's in London and it's with the women in DevOps community. And is that in person or is that online people join online or do they have to come to London, too? They they do for this one. They do for this one. So it's somewhere near Mansion House and under that is an in-person event. And in an actual in-person event, imagine that there's reason to do this all the time. And now it's like it's so rare that actually we get together as a as an in person, but so much more engagement, I think sometimes. So if you've got any other talks, you're going to be appearing on or anywhere else, how else could people find out more about you? I'm going to jump on another podcast actually with an adequately I must go. So she is an ADHD coach and I'm going to be speaking to her at the end of October. So again, talking about how I came to find out that I had ADHD, is it and what it means for me, what it means for me now that I know is my life any different? I would say yes. It gives me the ability to look at myself in a different way. No way to go about that kind of thing that we talk about right at the beginning of this conversation or not with different know I think about things in a different way that actually makes me quite valuable to myself and the people that are around me. Yeah. Yeah. I love that. I'm, I'm quite valuable to myself. Yeah I love that. So and if people want to find out more about that podcast, what was the I'm the name is Leeann Maskell and presumably it's available on all the normal podcasting places. Yeah, it's going to be on LinkedIn live. Actually, I can't remember the day. Oh, wow. Yeah, it will be available after. Okay. Couple of things. Well, as we wrap out here, if people want to get in touch with you, how can they get in touch with you. On LinkedIn is probably the best way of getting in touch with me. I like to in performance. Yeah. Okay so LinkedIn and go. Sorry I was going to say my name is Georgina shoot the my name. Using your Sunday name Georgina. Shoot, shoot. What's that. We just see what we've got here. We've talked about everybody talks coming up. How can people connect? Oh, and before we we leave. Okay, are we. You need to leave a present for the next person coming along in this series. So what's your question? Is Danny left you a question? What's going to be your question for the next person appearing on the podcast? So my question is twofold. It's how do you know you're doing the right thing? And depending on said answer, what is the right thing? That is a great question. How do you know you're doing the right thing and what is the right thing? That's brilliant. Brilliant question. So Gina or Georgina, depending on if it's Sunday or anything, but Gina and Gina, thank you. Thank you for appearing on the Scripps Society's podcast. Thank you for coming all the way from Belgrade as well. So if you're dropping in and out, that's why, again, thank you listeners for coming back and listening to our podcast. We're getting more and more subscribers, so thank you. Please share these podcasts. It does mean a lot to us and hopefully we're giving you a little bit of stuff back as well. So please come back to us. We've got some great guests coming up soon. And also, don't forget, we've got the Scrum Facilitators conference coming up in November 10th of November. In sports, if you want to come have a look, check out the scrum facilitators websites. It's on there. And so again, Gina, thank you for joining us. And thank you again, listeners. And so from me, goodbye and from Jean from Gina. I stay 540. And see you later, folks. Take care. Bye bye. Thank you for listening to the Scrum Facilitators Community Podcast. The Place for real conversations around Scrum. Do you have a story to share in this podcast? Get in touch with us at podcast at Scrum Facilitators dot com.