I’m incredibly proud to introduce a brand new course we’ve been working on for the last few months.
It’s called the VIEW Workshop, and its purpose is to teach authentic communication. It trains people in how to create life-changing conversations.
Not just to have such conversations whenever they happen to show up. But to be the active agent who causes such conversations in any situation you find yourself in.
The workshop is taught by Joe Hudson, an executive coach, venture capitalist, and teacher based in Silicon Valley. Joe has trained over 1,000 people across the country in his VIEW methodology, including executives and teams at Apple, Alphabet, SpaceX, HP, Automatic, Task Rabbit, and Hand in Hand Parenting, among many others. He’s also become a dear friend and mentor to me.
VIEW has been one of the most powerful catalysts not only in the growth of my business, but in the fundamental quality of my life. Since my first experience with it, I’ve been determined to bring Joe’s work online so that more people in more places can have access to it.
We’ve finally done that, using a radically innovative online learning format that combines the best of self-paced courses with the best of cohort-based learning.
I was at a crossroads in my career when I walked into a house on the edge of Alamo Square in San Francisco for a weekend workshop several years ago. I had hired a team but couldn’t figure out how to grow the revenue to pay for them. I had a breakout product but no idea how to make it into a viable business.
And the stress and anxiety of my work was hemorrhaging into my personal life, causing me to toss and turn through the night and neglect my health and closest friendships.
Intrigued yet always skeptical, I settled into my chair in a large circle of 20 or so other participants to see what this experience had to offer me.
Over the next two days, we were introduced to the VIEW framework, which stands for four words that distill Joe’s 25 years of personal, spiritual, and business experience into an easy-to-remember list: Vulnerability, Impartiality, Empathy, and Wonder.
This wasn’t your typical workshop. There were no textbooks, no curriculum, no slides, no tests, no whiteboard, no grades, and no workbook. The medium of instruction was conversation, and the subject was the quality of our inner lives.
Instead of looking outside for answers, we were asked to look inside to our own experience. With our conversation partners acting as mirrors to reveal the wisdom shrouded within.
I quickly plunged into a learning environment very different than any other I’d experienced. There was no goal to strive after, except the goal of feeling more connected and loved. There were no problems to solve, except the problem of why I insisted on treating everything as a problem.
My logical mind, so used to being in charge and running the show, slowly faded into the background. There was nothing for it to analyze or critique. Other sources of intelligence that I so often ignored – my intuition, empathy, and compassion – rose to the surface to speak their truths.
I learned so much about Vulnerability. I discovered that I put a tremendous amount of energy into not “giving anything away,” trying my hardest to hide my emotions and stay impassive in conversations. But that just makes me come across as withdrawn and uninterested, if not outright hostile. Then when people react negatively to this coldness, my story that people aren’t interested in me or what I’m doing is confirmed. A self-fulfilling prophecy.
I discovered the power of Impartiality – the art of asking a question without looking for a particular answer. To truly know and believe that the person before me is the best one to answer their own questions, instead of thinking I know the right answer for them. I saw the cost of my own arrogance in treating so many relationships as problems to manage, instead of gifts to be enjoyed. And breathed a sigh of relief as I saw that I didn’t have to do that anymore.
My partner and I explored the nature of Empathy together. I realized that I had no idea what this terribly overused word really meant. We practiced empathy the way you would practice writing cursive or shooting hoops. I was delighted to learn that it was a muscle that could be exercised and strengthened just like any other. And that the more I exercised it for others, the more gently I could treat myself.
And we practiced what it was like to have conversations in a state of Wonder. To see the human being across from us as a precious gem – the most complex and intricate organism in the known universe. Not to try and change them, or influence them, or persuade them, but just to try and understand how their mind works. To bask in the joy of simple co-existence. It was a completely novel way of being for me.
At its heart, VIEW is a checklist for treating ourselves and others with unconditional love. It is for those of us who are smart, who love order and structure and strategies. But who are ready to experience something beyond being right and knowing all the answers. VIEW is a bridge between the analytical and intuitive minds, treating both as equally valuable, equally good, equally needed, like all parts of ourselves.
The more we practice unconditional love, the more our heart’s capacity grows. And it is our heart’s capacity – not our intellectual capacity – that is the bottleneck to the change we want to see in our lives and in the world.
VIEW is a method, but more importantly, it is a state of mind.
To have conversations “in VIEW” means to have them in a state of vulnerability, impartiality, empathy, and wonder. It is a state that you can train yourself to recognize, and train yourself to drop into anytime. It’s always a choice to do so. But if you do, it is like an alternate reality where the impossible becomes possible.
You find yourself able to express things you never thought you could. The love you have for others comes right to the surface and becomes so tangible you can almost touch it. You are freed up to speak hard truths and gentle affections alike, which somehow frees the other person to do the same.
Whether you are coaching a client, mentoring a direct report, collaborating with a colleague, or working through a disagreement with your partner, what would be possible if you could see past the surface to the heart of what they’re trying to express?
What would be possible if you knew you could shift their perspective and lead them to a breakthrough in whatever challenge they’re facing? And not by giving them advice or imposing your point of view, but by helping them access their own wisdom using nothing but the power of questions.
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