Sarah | Acceptance
Acceptance is the ability to assent or agree to the reality of a situation or a person without trying to change anything. Easier said than done! Perhaps acceptance can be seen as the light to its opposite - resistance, frequently expressed as judgement or as a longing for things to be other than they are. I might feel anxious about whether I am receiving acceptance from others. I often find it hard to accept that other people cannot read my mind and live up to a story I have running, but haven't communicated.
Acceptance is the ability to sit with discomfort, accept its presence and experience the feelings and emotions that arrive with it. In this allowing state I provide myself with the opportunity of processing this experience. Once my feelings have been processed then another layer of the experience of acceptance can be accessed. It becomes a sensation of opening, of relaxing, of being curious, of allowing an awareness of just how much there is to be grateful for in all the challenges that happen as well as in all the good things that surround me and that I have access to. It could also be described as a calm and content state of being. An ability to be in this moment, just as it is - a state of flow.
Nick | Embodying
'The only output of the nervous system is the motor system, whether in cognition or action' (Sten Grillner). I first learned about embodying at the Buddhist Centre, Lam Rim in South Wales, where we lived when I was a kid. As well as routine meditation with the community we joined in the many weekend retreats experiencing ancient physical practices from master practitioners.
I was taught Tai Chi, and used to go from the rugby pitch, battered and exhausted, to a Tai Chi and Chi Gong class in the evenings, and that would bring my body back to life. I think it was this contrast of states that was so memorable. Helping my wife and co-director, Sarah, revise rehab in her physiotherapy exams in the early 90s gave us the neurological basis for body work.
The value of embodying is its innate pragmatism - how do I do it? To answer this requires openness, curiosity, and creativity. Bringing these into our lives takes practice and reflection and then we can find that point of clarity - aha, this is how I will do it! Then we have to deal with our fears and take a new step, a new shape, a new direction.
When we think about how the body and brain work together, then embodying captures the whole of my expression, and this is at the heart of the Alembic Way. I love the emphasis our embodied practice places upon the body, which brings us into relationship and balance with our physical reality, and the need for health and movement.
In the end, everything is behaviour as we express (or hide) our inner worlds.
Matt | Enjoyment
What is life without enjoyment? At Alembic we value enjoyment as highly as anything else. Enjoyment for our team, enjoyment for our clients and enjoyment for any of the people we work with.
For me, enjoyment in what you do is paramount to a healthy, balanced and fulfilling life, and if you are enjoying yourself, it is easier for others to enjoy themselves around you as well.
Reflecting about enjoyment at work reminds me of having children. The process can be hard and not every moment is wonderful, not by any means, but valuing and enjoying the journey makes it worthwhile at the end of the day. For me, work is like this, with a few less tantrums and a little more order... most of the time.
From enjoyment comes the energy, companionship and flow that makes working with Alembic a brilliant experience.
Alice | Belonging
A sense of belonging is something I think of as comforting and familiar. Sometimes it is nice to stand out and be outside of our comfort zone, but a feeling of belonging and that we are where we need to be helps us recharge and re-centre before we face the world again!
It is important that we have a safe space to escape to as and when we need it where we feel supported, loved and there is a strong sense of trust. We can create it in the environment and in our relationships but it is important to be able to create that feeling of belonging for ourselves and not relying fully on others around us to create it. Where do you feel that sense of belonging? What about it creates that feeling?
I find it interesting to write about belonging as a lot of what we encourage at Alembic is to push ourselves and guide our clients outside comfort zones as this is where growth occurs.
At Alembic we create a sense of belonging through the inclusive, engaging way that we work. Our clients feel a sense of ownership around their strategy change plan; that it is uniquely theirs and the accountability for achieving these goals belongs to each of them.
Ben | Investing
What does it mean to invest? For a lot of people, myself included, it is a largely financial term. This definition alone does not do investing justice, however. The concept of growing for future benefit stretches far beyond the bank.
We value investing. Not just financially, but intellectually, and emotionally. We value consciously making decisions that will lead to growth for ourselves and our clients, and enjoying that growth when it arrives.
The value of investing is embodied by actively preparing to be in a better position in future. It would commonly be associated with finances, but it can also mean emotionally or intellectually. We value consciously making decisions that will lead to growth, both for ourselves and for our clients, and reaping the reward of that growth when it comes. We embody this by actively investing in our skills, in our relationships, and in our clients, so that we can experience both personal and professional growth.
Jess | Curiosity
The word curiosity has many meanings, interpretations, and associations. You can wander about in a little old curiosity shop. Don’t forget that curiosity killed the cat! Sometimes people behave curiously and other times the word implies an inquisitiveness.
Curiosity is a state of mind: an eagerness to learn, an interest in something. It leads us in our investigation, exploration and learning. It’s the part of us that fosters inventiveness and knowledge-seeking, and that helps us identify gaps in markets.
The word finds its roots from ancient language describing care (cura in Latin), so people who behaved curiously were, in the past, being very careful. At Alembic, curiosity is a cornerstone of what we do. It drives the techniques and tools we use as a framework of Discovery. We are curious about you. We use a gentle curiosity to learn all about you and what makes you who you are, and therefore how you all work together. We encourage introspection and curiosity and see these qualities as a vessel for change and transformation.
To me, curiosity means connection-seeking. It allows me to be open-minded when I approach new people, situations and places. So long as you’re curious, you’re learning. It’s a catalyst for growth in life. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it also allowed Newton to see gravity in a fallen apple; for a lightbulb to come on for the first time; for someone to take footsteps on the surface of the moon.
Wanda | Openness
Rooted in awareness, OPENNESS offers us possibility and potentiality. Openness invites us to suspend judgement and embody non-knowingness. This grounded, humble, steady but flexible state allows us to re-think, un-learn and evolve. Knowingness risks us closing to, closing off or closing down. Un-knowingness brings openness to what will emerge as we develop the ability to hold multiple perspectives and views at the same time.
Openness is a radical receptivity.
Receptivity may be bold, stretching us to the edges of what is comfortable and requiring of us to rest deeply in remaining open, even when we want to speak or act from a place of knowing. It may ask of us to re-think things we hold dear or things that we believe. At other times, receptivity may come quietly and persistently, gently reminding us that expansion, growth and openness requires a willingness to let go, to start again or start differently. This shifting helps us build adaptability and resilience by not holding, hand-closed, too tightly onto something. With this openness, we are able to move, bend, change with greater ease.
Openness orientates us toward acceptance and approachability. In teams, this kind of openness supports generative collaboration and safe teaming. It’s a curious exploration toward ‘getting it right’ instead of ‘being right.’ This openness helps us to deeply appreciate the diversity of others' contexts and perspectives and the richness that this brings.
Aspects of openness: open-mindedness (open-thinking, open-processing), essential for innovating, creating and finding solutions. It is key to inviting others with authentic appreciation. Open-heartedness (open-sensing, open-feeling) provides us deeply human opportunities for connecting with self and others. It opens us to compassion-in-action and gives us a sturdy gentle open base for supporting ourselves, our Alembic team, our clients and our clients' teams.
Barbara | Courage
Courage is usually associated with bravery, fierceness, and action. I can certainly relate to situations and times when courage made me take incredible leaps in the unknown and pushed me to do things I did not like, I was scared of, and did not know I could succeed at.
However, the strongest power of courage for me is when it forces me to stay put exactly where I am and be still. When that happens, courage enables me to witness who I am and what I became; it enables me to accept what I do not like about myself, about others, about the world. It allows me to sit with my discomfort. And then, from that place of deep quietness and clarity, from being light, courage becomes fire that sparks action. Sometimes small, sometimes immense.
Courage allows me to crack open and be vulnerable. It allows me to accept what is. It provides me with the energy I need to change what I do not like, what does not serve me anymore, what does not work in myself and in my world. Courage is a beautiful and multifaceted force that guides me and fires up my life. This is why it is so dear to me.