Vertical Growth with Itziar Canamasas

February 22, 2022

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Our guest, Itziar is passionate to help people and organizations grow in order to achieve breakthroughs that will impact people’s lives and the world. She is an inspirational leader with impact. An idea generator and an enabler of environments that will unleash growth, value and spark.

Living Room Conversations: Vertical Growth with Itziar Canamasas

Rhea = Rhea Ong Yiu (Host)

Itziar = Itziar Canamasas, PhD (Guest)

RHEA: Hey, good morning, good afternoon and good evening to our guests from all over the world! We are entering our 20th episode of the Living Room Conversations with the topic of Vertical Growth. And I am Rhea Ong Yiu and hosting you straight from the LIVESciences living room. 

So vertical growth, what is it? Before we dive into that and before I welcome our guest, I would just like to welcome our friends over on Youtube and Facebook. So if you’re watching the stream, thank you for joining us and please do interact with us. Shoot some questions, send us some feedback, we’d be happy to hear from you.

And so that vertical- back to the concept of vertical growth, I’ve been in conversation with Itziae for quite a bit already and it’s her- is really passionate about this topic. So Itziar is one of the executives from one of the leading chemical companies and pharmaceutical companies and she’s very passionate about helping people and organizations grow in order to achieve breakthroughs and so she’s here, not from her pharma head but she’s actually here as a leader. And she will tell us a little bit about the inspiration that has fueled this idea of vertical growth and without further ado may I welcome Itziar Canamases to join me here on our living room, hi Itziar!

ITZIAR: Hi Rhea! Thank you so very much for the invitation and thank you also to LIVESciences for putting this wonderful show together and the opportunity that it gives us to convey our thoughts, passions and hopefully learning opportunities for those that are listening today.

RHEA: Yeah. Thank you. So Itziar, I’m just gonna go right directly into the question of vertical growth. What is it? What do you mean when you talk about vertical growth?

ITZIAR: And what a great way to start. But before starting there maybe I like to set an intention. As to what I would like people to leave this show today with yeah?

First of all I like for them to live inspired because of the conversations that we’re to have today. And then also I like for them to identify already one thing that they can start doing tomorrow

in order to unleash that vertical growth in themselves, their teams, and their organizations if that’s applicable.

And going back to the question about what is vertical growth, and what it is – for me, vertical growth for me is the conscious application of a specific interventions that allow for growth of a person, of a team or of an organization. And I deliberately use the word ‘conscious’ because

how many times all of us have finished days super happy really thinking about what a wonderful impact we’ve had on others or what learning opportunity we’ve had or how happy we are, the very few of us really reflect and think why is it? What’s the framework? What have I done today differently? What’s the environment? Like that has enabled for that growth moment to happen?

So again it’s this conscious understanding and application of interventions that will help you unleash that growth.

RHEA: Yeah that’s- I’m very curious, I am very curious about what these factors that play out right? So before we go into kind of, a bit more the details and the depth of the topic, what’s the story behind? Tell me like-?

ITZIAR: Yeah. What another great question. I would say this story for me started about four or five years ago when I was given the opportunity of being the leader of the buyer organization in Ireland so I was a CEO and this is something that I’ve always wanted to be. To lead a country organization, to lead an entire community, a group of people to really enable them in the best possible way.

So, okay I was there and I started thinking what do I want to be next? And that work set up emotion. A series of actions that have brought me to where I am today and that ultimately have allowed me to grow vertically for the last four years and that’s a little bit of the story and the why.

RHEA: Yeah so is there you have I mean accomplished quite a feat. I mean being a female leader in an industry that is predominantly and dominated by male right? And maybe I’m curious as to what are the secrets, or the key focus areas that enable this growth for you to happen?

ITZIAR: So like a good scientist, I’ve developed a matrix right? And for me there’s like a three by three- there’s three levels where you can apply vertical growth. That’s the level of the person, the level of the team, the level of the organization.

And then there’s three focused areas that you can apply across those three levels. The first one is all about connection, the second one is purpose, and the third one is all these series of interventions around curiosity, yeah? And unleashing that curiosity and what curiosity really

does for growth.

RHEA: I am very curious, actually. I’m curious if we have any questions, you know or anyone who’d like to chime into this conversation from our audience. If you do have questions please don’t sit on them, hit the chat function and like send your questions over. We’re happy to entertain them.

And with that also Itziar like, talking about this matrix right? Like you mentioned connection purpose and the third one was..? 

ITZIAR: Curiosity.

RHEA: Curiosity, yeah. Could you elaborate a little bit about you know, yeah why you chose these three things?

ITZIAR: Yeah I chose those first of all when I started reflecting on my own growth over the last years. What were the topics that were emerging and where did that journey first start.

It started first and foremost with a reason. Yeah it’s not only the reason of because I didn’t know what to do next but also because we live in a world that is constantly changing, yeah? Where if we want to succeed, we need to constantly reinvent ourselves right? It’s as if you have this infinity sign right, where you ultimately are constantly you know, on top and then reinventing yourself and on top again and reinventing yourself and on top again and a system that enables for that adaptability, flexibility, agility to make sure that we meet those ever-changing environments, it’s what ultimately led to the concept and why connection first?

Because the journey really started happening for me when I started establishing connections to myself, as funny as it sounds. Which I never really did before and what do I mean by that? I was always doing, but not necessarily being. I was doing things because I’ve always aspired to be the best I can be in anything that I do, and I always look and have a positive mindset and I’m

resilient and all these things in life have led me to that.

But truly I wasn’t connected. I didn’t really know who am I, right? And he was work with a coach in Ireland that she choose for me to do the anagram and we work through the anagram to truly then find you know who I am, what does it really mean, what interventions can I then have

on myself? Because of the type that I am to be able then to start elevating myself from the type that I am ruling my impact and being more present and truly, that’s where connection all start. Because if us leaders, as persons, we don’t connect to ourselves and we don’t achieve

that first step, we will never be the best possible leader. We will never be able to abstract ourselves from our story right? And impact it in a different way to be able then to make the most happen in a given situation. 

RHEA: Yeah. Yeah. That’s a very interesting point right? Too often we downplay connections and relationships but they’re actually really the strongest vehicle that brings success to many things. How movements are worth it right? How things come to life is through connections through friends who believe in us and I really- I could totally resonate with that. 

Itziar, I’m gonna pause with all my questions but I do want Anna to feel like we have heard her question. So Anna has a question, and she’s like what is it? Is it a concept that you have come up with? Are there any examples that you could maybe share? And maybe something personal or something that is you know people you have taken up on your wing as they-?

ITZIAR: Yeah. Hi Anna to answer the question, yes it’s a concept that I have come up with because of my own experience. But that said, what it’s behind it is ultimately the the awareness of what works for you and what drives your growth and the conscious application of that growth

and to be able to become aware how can you create that space as a person, as a team, or as an organization, to be able then to unleash that growth. 

So for example going back to the topic of connection yeah? When I was in Ireland and working with the leadership team, we all know that one of the interventions that really helps a team bond and grow together and become stronger is when they really can connect, when we really can connect to each other. So what we did was we did the strengthsfinder at your size. Like I said, I did the anagram for myself for the team we did the strengthsfinder exercise. We mapped the different strengths, we communicated the strengths that everyone had we then went back and mapped those strengths into the timeline of our lives. And we’re brave enough to start sharing the moments in life where we thought we had gained those strengths that created a super bond and a connection in a positive sense in getting to know the people behind the person that you typically would see each and every day right?

And creating those moments of bonding, of connection truly makes the unit more ready to accept. Be flexible, adapt psychological safety and trust to be able then to grow together.

RHEA: Anna, I hope you got the answer that you were looking for and some inspiration that came with it. Yeah thank you so much for sharing it. Like your personal stories, it’s very important to also kind of see how is this really applied in real life right?

So maybe before we kind of go into like some more examples and some more details a question would be why is it important – why should I be curious and why should I be investing in my vertical growth?

ITZIAR: Yeah. Again, what a great question it’s all about being the best possible version we can

be each and every day, and adaptable, and flexible to the very rapidly changing environments that we’re in right? If we don’t find a way to cope with that then as organizations, as teams, or as

individuals it would be very difficult for us to succeed.

RHEA: Yeah, that’s true. I am just like sitting here wondering how can I apply it on my day-to-day. So maybe it’s kind of get a little bit into the depth of the areas shall we do that?

ITZIAR: Of course we can. 

RHEA: Yeah we spoke a little bit about connection already so I thought like hey what a perfect place to start. 

ITZIAR: Yes. So we spoke about connection and starting with the exercise of getting to know yourself, maybe a general thing just to say it doesn’t matter what tool you end up choosing. I said anagram because that’s the one that I choose or strengthsfinder. The key thing is using a tool that you think will be fit for the situation you will be in and then have a coach that will help you really understand what the outcomes are and how to better integrate it in your own life, in your team or if it’s more let’s say a survey of your organization in your entire

organization right? Then there’s a series of actions that over the years really have made me stronger and allowed for a stronger growth. That’s anything that has to do with nutrition, with sleep, with exercise, breathing, right? I’ve done workshops of breathing with my own teams

to just experiment the power of breathing and how it changes our interactions in a given meeting

and if we do it in the morning, or if we do it in the afternoon, or if we do it right before the end of the day right? So all of these I would call basic interventions of taking care of yourself are super important to create that space and to create that connection to oneself right? 

RHEA: Sorry, just a quick question, so when you talk about connection it’s not just the connections in terms of relationship, but your relationship with yourself right? How-

ITZIAR: Yes.

RHEA: Yeah, how you think, and be like create extra awareness about how you show up.

ITZIAR: Absolutely. And it starts everything with right? Because how you show up and particularly if you’re in a leadership role, it impacts your entire organization and how better way of experiencing it than when leading the entire country right?

Being present and creating that space to be present, it’s super important. Another thing

over the years that I’ve really found that helps me is a concept called Niksen which is actually a word in Dutch. Which is truly the art of do we do nothing which for the person like myself that it’s in constant action is one of the most important concepts to really apply and I would think it really

helps and who says that a similar concept if you apply it again then to teams, or organizations is this time of funding on connection where you may have a summer conference where you may go for a hike with whomever ones in the organization when you do things that take you outside of your day-to-day work that allow you to create that space and to connect yeah?

And then also other tools that I’ve used over time and that I find very useful is the tool of journaling. And journaling as applied depending on where you are in that given day yeah? I don’t mean it necessarily that you write every day what has happened on the day but that you connect to yourself and really reflect about where are you on that given day and what is it that you want to work on. Because you have your clarity of what your goal is and somehow you manifest that through paper and that I’ve always found is a super important tool to make that happen right? 

RHEA: Yeah.

ITZIAR: And then there’s other things that I found very useful. For example, routines. So the least you waste energy on things that are not necessarily creative but that need to be done and you keep the same process then that allows you to use more of your energy on what matters right and making things happen and there’s more examples maybe we can go more right but there’s so many things that you can choose to help you be more connected every day the trick is to be consciously applying which are the ones that you want to apply and that you want to apply them to make that growth happen.

RHEA: Yeah I love, I love that you stress that you want to apply because when you are encouraged and when you want to do things, discipline follows right? Because I think you will not be successful with this if you don’t have the discipline to actually do it.

ITZIAR: Yeah absolutely yeah.

RHEA: It was funny, it was super funny because you mentioned Niksen and being dutch right? I’m also very very much protective of my Sundays. So I really love my Sunday Niksen, especially in the morning where, like you know, I just lazy stretch on the couch and play with my puppy and just do nothing. I don’t know agenda, we go walk in the afternoon, no agenda, just running around and it’s fun.

ITZIAR: Yeah I mean I love it. I don’t know if there are other cultures that have that concept like this. I just found that for me was fascinating and it helped me when I discovered it at that point in time to slow down and to consciously integrate that in my day. 

RHEA: Yeah, that’s really cool. I need to go from a weekly routine to kind of a daily Niksen. [Laughter]

ITZIAR: Yes, exactly! And the nice thing is once you give it a name, once you label it right? Then it becomes more real so even my eight-year-old son right, he may say ‘oh mommy are you doing Niksen?’ right? So he knows okay that’s Niksen which is time that mommy has where it’s important then to just disconnect. Yeah so I love the label and the concept of it and it’s something I try to live in very frequently.

RHEA: Yeah. Okay so there’s a bunch of questions so I’m going to start the Niksen so Jenny is curious, is this reflection and slowing down something that you’re doing throughout the day?

ITZIAR: Wow. Such a super question Jenny I would love to consciously do it throughout the day

because I think that that’s how you really can connect most to yourself. Am I successful at it? Absolutely not, there are some days that are more successful at it and I find that breathing and breathing techniques really helped me achieve that and that’s something that I can plan for it a little bit more. But in theory if you’re really living connected then you would do it throughout the day as you’re mentioning it’s super question and super reflection.

RHEA: Jenny we hope we answered your question. And there’s another one and it’s more I think a feedback and some sort of comment from Kate, is it better to sort of insist gently

to push a session or to wait for a concept and I think this came around the time that we were talking about coaching? 

ITZIAR: Yeah.

RHEA: So she’s kind of looking for ways to figure out how to balance right? The push element of coaching here and there. Kate, I’m not sure where you’re from, but there should be coaches in your area so please hit me up on LinkedIn and we can connect you with coaches, amazing network of coaches that we have all over the world. So let us know where you’re from and we’ll we’ll be happy to connect you.

ITZIAR: Yeah that’s so nice of this offer. Yeah, so okay. Number one thing, even if you don’t have a coach, take the analysis yeah? And work on it yourself because there’s tools online that you can then ultimately leverage and learn a lot from yeah? If you have a coach or someone that understands the tool at your disposal then that’s even better right? And maybe it’s not necessarily a coach, maybe it’s a friend that you can then discuss and you both can take the test and you can learn from each other so yeah I made a comment of the coach because

optimally these people have been trained to make the most out of this kind of an analysis but let’s not stop you to get to know yourself better just because you don’t have a coach. Hopefully that answers the question. 

RHEA: Yeah. Thank you. Thank you so much um Itziar, for sharing your perspective. Yeah, I’m just looking at the time and I don’t want to miss out on the full package right? So we talked about- and shall we talk about purpose? I mean-

ITZIAR: Yes.

RHEA: I think it’s a big thing. Almost every organization I work with starts with a purpose right? It’s one of the biggest things. Why is focus important and how can it help our vertical growth? 

ITZIAR: Yeah. So again here maybe I’ll tell you my own personal story as to how I came by

understanding purpose so probably like all of you, I saw purpose. Purpose leader everywhere

there was purpose and I really didn’t understand what does purpose really mean? And what is my purpose? And how do I start by finding my purpose right?

So actually that was the first action I took when I started my journey of vertical growth. I started reading a lot of books, I went to Youtube and I saw Simon Sinek’s video which I hope or TEDtalk which I hope you guys have watched. And attended also a great conference with Terence Mauri.

And Terence Mauri spoke about purpose as something that helps simplify, it helps you focus and actually gives you energy when you are leaving your purpose right? In addition to all of it when applied to organizations, if you go back to the S & P 500 organizations that are purpose driven actually are more successful right? So that intrigued me very, very much. And I went to the leadership team in Ireland again and I said ‘look guys, I like to try this concept of purpose

because I think it can help the organization but how about if I tried first on myself and I can walk you through the journey?’ Some people in the leadership team already had gone through that journey of purpose. So that was also very helpful as well to understand how they were applying it in the concept of an organization and then basically I went into discovery that the first version of the purpose which I then evolved was unleashing growth for Better Life. Why Better Life? Because our organizational purpose was science for a better life living in pharma. Better Life it’s

something that truly has the ultimate wide ultimate meaning right? And my role in helping within the organization was unleashing growth of people is what truly was giving me energy. 

When I thought about it and then the next exercise I did was I said ‘okay, how can I start living my purpose consciously throughout the day?’ So what I did is every morning while I was in the car on the way to the office, I went mentally through my agenda and then I said ‘okay so what two, three, four interventions during the day can I best help unleash growth?’ right? And just the fact that I was planning for it made me more conscious. Acting and ultimately unleashing that growth in that interaction, in that opportunity and that meeting with the customer and whatever the opportunity was right? So I shared all those experiences with the leadership team and then we decided to apply that through the organization, give the opportunity the organization to go through that journey as well and then yes I told my story but it’s always better also to have someone else tell the story not only you so we had an external speaker that was speaking about the power of intention and of purpose and then we finished that conference, each of us having developed a first version of our purpose and then also with the goal of by the end of the month having all the teams in the organization develop their own purpose right? 

And again it didn’t matter if it was perfect or not, it was just a matter of doing it and you may ask okay but what happens? Did everyone play along right? Not really. You know many times whenever you introduce concepts some people are more open to it other people are less open to it? But going through the process was super helpful because let’s say one of the first comments that someone may have is ‘oh my purpose is to make money’ right? I say okay and then it’s when the process of peeling the onions starts, when you have such a conversation right? So why is it that you’re making money right? ‘Oh because I would like for pay for my children’s education in a private school’ Okay so why do you want to pay for your children’s education in private school? ‘Oh because O like for them to be the best versions they can be’ Ah, and why do you want that? They are the best versions they can be right? And so you start really feeling the purpose and finding people understand their own purpose which then in turn they can start applying to work and feeling and experimenting how the utilization of purpose really gives them energy and helps them be a better version of themselves right? So it’s all about peeling the onion and finding a purpose. That’s what I always talk about. 

RHEA: Yeah I love that you used, like the concept of like five whys. For example why yourself five times. And see what you get out of that conversation with yourself. I love the thinking behind it. Yes, so I’m just curious, what happens if you don’t follow your purpose? If you don’t even know what your purpose is? Any thoughts?

ITZIAR: Let me say life happens. I didn’t find my purpose or found out about the concept of purpose until you know, four or five years ago right?

RHEA: Yeah.

ITZIAR: I lived also a happy life but once you understand it, your life is more fulfilling you are able to reframe things right? So I’ll give you another example, we had a small child both were working let’s bring an au pair like with an au pair at home and family life and then I applied my purpose then I said wow what an opportunity, I’m going to be able to touch another person very deeply because she’ll be living with us and unleash growth how cool would it be and then all of a sudden my energy completely shifted because I had looked to apply my purpose seeing it as opportunities in that given situation right? So it’s yeah, I find the application of purpose super interesting and it goes also to let’s say who do you hire? When do you hire that person for it right? Because I find that if people have gone through the journey of finding their purpose, or following their dreams or having this clarity defined, they’ve done quite a lot of work of this

inner connection and most likely they are going to have a growth mindset.

And this, you know, constant reinvention mindset that we were talking about and they’ll be much easier to align to your company purpose and to start understanding a concept of organizations that will ultimately maximize their potential right? 

RHEA: Here’s a very important question from Jenny. Jenny, thank you for engaging us and really participating in this dialogue. So Jenny’s asking you know you’ve shared your journey. You have been talking about it how far did you peel back, Itziar? How far did you share the tough learnings or the saboteurs that you might have or how much of this was also unveiled towards you in your purpose, conversations?

ITZIAR: Yeah. So Jenny, again, a very good question now I’m four or five years down the line so

I’ve learned backwards how I would do things differently. So for example when I first was looking at my own purpose I choose just to map out where my energy was going and understand through that exercise what my purpose would be of unleashing growth yeah? Because that’s what energy was given to me so it was kind of a self-taught approach then afterwards I read

other frameworks- it a little bit right? So now my purpose is enabling breakthroughs for a better life. Thinking back about saboteurs, I think the way to sabotage ourselves as the minute that we

don’t connect to ourselves the minute that we think that because we found something, that’s it and that things cannot evolve, life evolves all the time we’re in constant perpetual change.

So making sure that we keep that in mind as much as possible it’s what I found, helps that part of vertical growth.

RHEA: Jenny, I hope that answers your question. But yeah thank you so much for being so authentic in this conversation, Itziar, and in every conversation that we have always. Yeah there’s also questions coming in and Patricia is asking like you know I’m still starting out, I’m

learning, and I’m growing. What sign should I watch out for that I am actually working on my vertical growth? And this is such a great question for someone as well right? Because you can’t really see the potential for that you can take it.

ITZIAR: So Patricia, you know if indeed you’re so early in your journey, then I’ve already achieved my champagne moment because I wish I would have had that knowledge when I was

probably at the start of my career like you right? At the end of the day, for me, the difference between being on a vertical growth path or in a horizontal growth path is these awareness of consciously applying those interventions. So if you’re consciously trying to be the best version of

yourself every day trying different things and experimenting with yourself as to what works better for you or not, then believe me you are really on a path that will exponentially allow you to grow over the years right? I wasn’t on that path, I basically always wanted to do and be the best but I never took the time to reflect and consciously apply that I was just doing not necessarily being. 

So if you’re able to truly achieve that connection to yourself to make that conscious decision of

applying those growth interventions then you’re well on the path and I look forward to seeing where you’re going to go in the future. 

RHEA: Yeah, same here. Cheering you on, Patricia, really. Yeah so much stuff about purpose that I still would love to unpeel. But yeah also curious about curiosity, you know? So should we talk about curiosity?

ITZIAR: Yeah. And curiosity is everything and obviously to be connected you have to be curious to want to be connected to yourself but to be connected with people right? For me, curiosity and one of the most important aspects in that journey is the willingness and ability to learn, to relearn, or to unlearn, and to learn again right? And that again goes for all three levels. Imagine if we would be you know, living in a world where we would be told by the employer that out of the five days of the week, one full day you take for your own growth and not to do SOPs or other

boring stuff. Truly to make the work on those three elements that we’re just talking about right?

To connect with others, to really share, to learn to open yourself to the world right? This for me is the most, most important thing and if we have this ability as teams or individuals to do that then automatically you’ll be adaptable, you’ll be flexible because you’ll be in this constant perpetual evolution and change then other things obviously is having a growth mindset, driving forward innovation being creative right? So always challenging the status quo right? Not getting stuck in the everything needs to be perfect but work in ways that allow you to define the best possible next step but it’s not going to kill the company, or kill the team, or kill yourself right?

Always trying that next step in order to be able to make things happen and yeah and if at the end of the day we are connected and looking at life with that curiosity lens, then opportunities come and then growth happens you know? Because growth is life, ultimately. 

RHEA: That’s very beautiful. I mean curiosity is what births innovation right? So also, Itziar, how important it is for individuals to stay curious? To ask questions? To challenge the status quo? But also within organizations to kind of really invest for that curiosity to be let’s say a characteristic of your team of your organization, right? They have the safe space to be curious to ask questions and experiment.

ITZIAR: Absolutely. And I know we haven’t talked about organizational frameworks yet right? 

RHEA: Yeah.

ITZIAR: But we’re both passionate about Teal and you’re doing an amazing job in the Teal Around The World conference that is upcoming and all the activities and the books and really that’s a call to the audience. If you guys haven’t heard yet about Teal Around The World, the conference is in about two weeks and I just suggest that you go and buy a ticket and a tent because there’s going to be wonderful opportunities of growing, and being curious about how

to apply a Teal framework or the Teal way of doing in organizations yeah?

And ultimately this framework fits perfectly across the three levels as well. Because if you think about what the concept of a living organization is you would start by creating the safe space and allowing people to connect, you will define your purpose, you will then apply interventions that will allow you then either to be more connected like let’s say check-ins, pension meetings you would then apply co-creation opportunities or integrate decision making frameworks that allow you to be more curious and to bounce ideas from each other and ultimately help the collective intelligence. So ultimately it’s really a very good framework to apply if we want organizations to vertically grow.

RHEA: I love that perspective Itziar and thank you for the shameless plug for Teal Around The World! [Laughter]

ITZIAR: [Laughter] Yeah!

RHEA: There, please don’t miss it. But hey I have a question and you know, coming from corporate, before I joined LIVESciences, coming from corporate, there’s always this cap to curiosity. I felt like because you don’t have a lot of decision power right?

How do you tap into the potential of really staying curious within a bubble like that? Within a bubble that is probably not the best environment to stay curious? How can you still be curious within that?

ITZIAR: Yeah and that’s such a great question. First of all is the realization that it doesn’t matter where you are. You’ll always always be able to create your space of the things that you have under your own control. To be able then to live and unleash that vertical growth right obviously at the beginning of your career most of your space will be on yourself and how you show up and how are you executing the things that you’re doing but do not underestimate the power also of the impact that you’re going to have on others. How do you show up when you’re in those meetings? How present are you? How curious are you showing yeah?

Yes, if you’re not in the leading role and if you’re an organization that is not empowering you, it will not be as easy as if you are in a frame that it’s empowering but, I have to say in the last 20 years, there’s always been an opportunity. Sometimes it’s been, easier sometimes being not so easy. But there’s always the opportunity where you’re able then to have your own impact and your own environment and if something really is not allowing you to then again if you’re connected to yourself you will have clarity of what the environment that you seek and if that environment is really not it, there’s so many other companies in the world that will have that environment and that will be able to give you that space an opportunity of growth that you’re seeking right?

But again there’s always an opportunity. It’s never impossible.

RHEA: Thank you. Thank you for pointing that out, Itziar. Because sometimes when we are caught up in maybe environments that are- we feel- like claustrophobic, our immediate human tendencies kick in right? And then frustration comes in and all that but I love how you pointed out that there is always that sphere of influence that you have always. So knowing what that sphere is and kind of operating within that sphere where you have influence also is creating healthy boundaries for you right? And I love that awareness will also help you kind of ‘is this the right place for me?’ and if I’m way past it, what would be the right place for me? What is the environment I’m seeking for? And constantly ask that question.

ITZIAR: Yeah. You’re absolutely right, yeah.

RHEA: Yeah. Thank you. There’s one question from Marianna. She’s asking ‘Hi Rhea and

Itziar, I would love to know is there any point to look forward to when we should feel and know that we have achieved our full vertical potential? Will the work ever be done?’

ITZIAR: What a great question, Marianna. Actually, it will never be done and that’s the beauty

of it and the realization right? It is a mindset in words of my friend Aidan McCullen, he’s published a great book on constantly reinvention or constant reinvention and it’s just a never-ending story and the faster we realize that, and the better we shift our mindset and cope with it and allow ourselves to grow continuously to cope with that change, the better worlds are off and the happier we’ll be and the more fun we’ll have in life right? So it will never be done, Marianna.

RHEA: I completely agree. When I was hearing the concept, I was reflecting on it like I guess it will be done when we’re no longer in this lifetime right?

ITZIAR: Yes. And then hopefully we’ve left the legacy that allows for others to be inspired and continue to grow right?

RHEA: Yeah. Exactly. I love that. Leaving a legacy behind for generations and generations to tap into. That’s beautiful. I have one question about enabling a vertical growth. Where should I start? How should I kind of activate some sparks within my growth?

ITZIAR: Yeah what great questions. And it goes back to the intention so thank you for

the question right? Number one, if you have not yet work on defining your purpose start

there. This is I think supernatural power that when you uncover it and you start to apply it

it will allow you to see life differently right? And one good way to start is just start journaling

your experiences that you’re gonna have during the last week and start identifying which are gonna be the ones that really give you most energy and you feel more energized when doing them and from there you’ll see a common pattern from which most likely you will start deriving your first purpose and then what I would say it’s all a trial and error right? So you can start defining that purpose, you start applying it in the morning as I was saying trying to hold your impact during the day yeah and see how it makes you feel.

And so if you start doing that work first if you haven’t done it I would say that’s one of the best places to start. Second place, I also think that it’s good to start is if you have not yet done so or even if you have done so look for maybe doing another one of your, for lack of a better word, personality profiling yeah? For me, as I said, it was the anagram. I really love this work because it allowed me to go in very deep but it was simple enough to understand the couple of things that I have to be more aware of to be the best version of myself so that would be a second thing that I would say.

And then the third thing is that you could also start a planner. And that also was very helpful for me at the beginning of the journey I was reading a New York Times article about how instead of going electronic with things we should go back to journaling and they gave the example of one journal that it’s called the self journal which I love and I used for an entire year now. I’ve evolved it- yeah! [Laughter] 

And basically you just plan your days see where you want to rule your impact, you have your gratitude included in there, you’ve worked on your goals so you have your goals present you try to really understand what you’re going to be trying to do today that will get you closer to the goals and then you also finish the day with a gratitude for the day. Which things you’ve really done super well, where you rock and which things maybe you could do differently yeah?

And this I found also while quite prescriptive to start with is super, super useful and empowering

and allows you for a very, very focused growth yeah? So those are three examples I think that the people can start with and interventions they can start applying to unleash their vertical

growth yeah?

RHEA: Yeah. Thank you so much, Itziar. I love the thoughts and I love the little nudges here and there early this year I also started having this mason jar for myself and then in the video I like write post-its of just gratitude I put the date and what I’m grateful and my intention is to kind of open this at the end of the year hopefully and I will probably do many colors in it yeah so.

ITZIAR: You should do a party and invite friends, yeah? And start basically celebrate with them

Yeah? Just open it up, yeah? That would be so nice. Thanks for sharing, it’s a beautiful, beautiful practice and what a great idea.

RHEA: So, yeah. I hope we have inspired some of our guests today in this conversation.

I really enjoyed it and I walk away feeling energized and also very excited to kind of apply these

concepts into my own life. Yeah a bit better understanding of connection. Connection to myself,

connection to others, and connection across networks right? And organizations.

Understanding purpose as a North Star for your personal journey but also for your organizational journey right? And last but not the least curiosity to continue pushing forward pushing the envelope further every day so that’s that’s super cool. I’m really excited. So Itziar, what’s next for vertical growth? What are we contemplating? 

ITZIAR: Wow. Yeah, so one of the purpose this year it’s been for me to share with the LinkedIn community a little bit more about the concepts and my own digestion of of interventions of vertical growth so if people are interested feel free to follow me up on LinkedIn and see me also grow through the year and that and then also it’s one of my goals to write a book and hopefully I will find the energy and the space to do it. I’ve started doing so and I’m loving the reflection time.

It’s you know, we’re talking about journaling and I think writing, it’s something that I’m enjoying and who knows, maybe one year from now I’ll have it finished or maybe two years from now, I know I’ll finish it for sure as part of my journey of vertical growth.

RHEA: That’s very nice to hear and I’m already excited for the book. Shall we already plan for our next conversation?

ITZIAR: [Laughter] Maybe we should, it will put a deadline then I’ll have to do it right? That

means it’s a stretch.

RHEA: Yeah, indeed. Well time went by super fast and I’m really grateful for the hour that you have spared for us to share your thoughts and share your reflections and also inspire us right? To take some actions personally and yeah, I just want to pause a little bit if there’s any one last question from our guest, we want to give you this time to actually ask that question. Otherwise,  I’d love to invite you guys – we have a few events coming up so as you’re framing that question let me just tell you about the events that are coming up for us.

We have the next Living Room Conversation with Arosha Brouwer from Qwan WellBeing. So

WellBeing is a big topic and in the future work and in many organizations but also individual

wellbeing right? And Arosha, together with her partner has put together an app to give you some insights around WellBeing. I’m not going to share all of the details, I’d love for them to share this with you so do join us on the 2nd of March at 2PM Central Eastern Time. And also of course the day after is one of the most awaited conferences of the year, this is the third season we’re going to launch Teal Around The World 2022. From March 3 to 4. If you don’t know yet, it’s really running 24 hours and I’m gonna be up for the most part of that just like every year. I’m really super excited so if you know, if you haven’t heard about it go over to tealaroundtheworld.com and Itziar will be joining us there as all of the other storytellers so it’s really an inspiration platform so please join us, and we look forward to have you there. Cool.

Is there thoughts from you?

ITZIAR: No just to say that it was wonderful to be here with you and be able to speak about

this passion of mine, I hope to have touched and inspired some of the audience today and

if any of you have any questions at any point in time do not hesitate to reach out through LinkedIn. I’ll do my best to answer in a fast manner and yeah, it’s wonderful that you’re putting the show together and allowing so many more people to be inspired. So thanks for yeah- I had fun.

RHEA: Aw, thank you so much, Itziar. It’s always a pleasure having you around and having these conversations with you online and offline. Always so nice to have a chat with you. So with that we are going to round up this conversation. Thank you so much for joining us. Thank you for your questions, your engagement. It gave us a lot of more exciting context on what’s going on beyond the studio that we have right here. So thank you and we hope to see you around. If you haven’t already, like and subscribe Hello at LIVEforward on Youtube and we are also on Spotify and many other platforms so follow us. See you soon. Bye!

ITZIAR: Bye!

-End of Transcript-

Be More Pirate with Alex Barker

Our guest, Alex Barker, runs Be More Pirate: a global social movement and consultancy. She is a freelance writer, speaker facilitator, community builder and advocate