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Today I would like to share a personal experience. In my coaching practice, we often focus on the concept of the person as a whole  ̶  you are not one person at work and a completely different person once you close the door of your office. Your mood, your strengths, your passions, and what is happening in your life will all impact on the person that you bring to work; no matter if you want it to or not. This does not call into question your authenticity as a leader (something that I would like to write about in a future post), it’s more about allowing us to be considered as human beings that exist beyond our work.

I have been thinking for a while about how I can integrate more of my personal pursuits into my work. As a little experiment, I wanted to share about a place that I love here in Taipei and reflect upon how this could help me to learn something about myself, both as a person and how it links to my work. Dihua fabric market is a little gem that I introduce to any newcomers in Taipei. I keep coming back to this market time and again. What is it that I like so much about it? What inspires me when I get there?

When I arrived in Taipei, I hadn’t sewn for 20 years, and then I was introduced to this market and the urge to sew came back vividly. So sewing has become part of my Taipei experience! Today, when I went back to Dihua once more, I decided that I would go there curious and with my investigator hat on. I share here what I learnt. First of all, I love the amazing diversity of the fabrics. It seems there is nothing you can’t find here: there is a range of colours, patterns, sizes, prices, textures, and thicknesses that fascinates me. If all these fabrics exist, that means that people are looking for them. No matter how terrible I find some of them to be! Another thing that I find captivating is that all these materials are works in progress. They are all destined to become something that is still to be defined, and yet they are already beautiful just as they are. Each of us wandering around in this market see the potential that a specific fabric has. For one person it could be for a bag, a dress ̶ short or long, a tablecloth, a cushion, or … I can only stop and visualise the creative flow that is happening in all of these heads.

How do I relate this to my work? Dihua is a place that displays beauty in diversity and that also celebrates change and transformation; two aspects that I also value in the workplace. Being able as a manager to value the diversity of your team, colleagues, partners, clients etc. is critical to the success of your team. And when I say diversity, it’s not just about gender, race, or religion, it is also the diversity of human beings in the personality that they bring to the table. It’s all there in front of our eyes, like the tons of different fabrics in this market, but it’s our responsibility to see them, to look at the subtle nuances, the different colours, to stay curious and ask questions that allow us to discover more. Different researches have shown that equal participation in a team improves the performance of the team. The second aspect is transformation, which is at the core of my work. When you buy a piece of fabric and start crafting the end product, visualising and designing what you want to sew, drives the whole transformation process. This is an aspect that we often forget to draft with our partners in crime on a change journey: how will this product/situation/culture/etc. look like after the transformation? To be able to define, visualize, and share the purpose is critical for sustainable change.

What about you, have you ever reflected on something that you are passionate about and how it links to your work? Creating a sense of purpose in your work or aligning who you are at work and at home can increase your overall well-being. Give it a try, choose something you like and investigate what lies beyond it and what it says about you in both settings: personally and at work. Enjoy the process!