ABOUT THIS EPISODE
Dan is a strategist, creative, and skilled facilitator. He is also an educator, global speaker, tech investor, and startup founder.
His ethos is embedded in the More Space philosophy, to transform employees to intrapreneurs. So they are better equipped to tackle big problems. So they have the capability to create new solutions, and the confidence to put them in motion. This enables organizations to foster a culture of creative confidence and collaboration.
Human-Centered Design (HCD) and Design Thinking is at the core of what we do. Our programs are centered around the More Space framework. The More Space framework incorporates the methodologies of Design Thinking, Futuring, Lean, and Agile.
Talks about Innovation, Design Thinking, Human Centered Design.
2:37 From designing things, to helping people make sense of things
7:01 Being the Gandalf to a classroom of superheroes
8:26 Using MURAL technology as a facilitator’s tool
11:51 Being vulnerable builds trust in the room
16:04 Digging in and dealing with hiccups
19:05 Planning and scheduling for business – a balancing act
20:19 The birth of More Space for Light
25:11 What makes a good workshop
26:40 Self-care and the importance of sleep
31:10 Identifying the patterns and seasons of business, then making plans around it
32:56 Reclaiming a stolen focus
35:28 Motorbiking and being present in the moment
37:10 Understanding the “why” in the change process
More Space For Light
The Future of Now – Talkshops: https://morespaceforlight.com.au/the-future-of-now/
The Future of Now – Podcast: https://anchor.fm/the-future-of-now
Follow Patti Dobrowolski – Instagram https://www.instagram.com/upyourcreativegenius/
Follow Patti Dobrowolski – Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/patti-dobrowolski-532368/
Up Your Creative Genius – https://www.upyourcreativegenius.com/
Patti Dobrowolski 00:03
Hello Superstars! Welcome to the Up Your Creative Genius Podcast, where you will gain insight and tips to stomp on the accelerator and blast off to transform your business and your life. I’m your host, Patti Dobrowolski. And if this is your first time tuning in, then strap in – because this is serious rocket fuel. Each week, I interview fellow creative geniuses to help you learn how easy it is to Up Your Creative Genius in any part of your life.
Patti Dobrowolski 00:39
Hey, everybody, it’s Patti Dobrowolski. As you know, and today – oh my gosh, I have like one of my new best friends that is just incredible. And I would just say he’s my new Australian best friend, because I have a best friend in Australia, and I have one in various different cities – but this one is somebody brand new, who I really, really love. He’s so incredibly creative, you’re gonna love him – Dan Levy, and he’s with the company More Space For Light, which we’re going to talk about what that means – but first, I want to introduce him to you. He’s a strategist, a creative and a skilled facilitator – I’m telling you, he really rocks it on MURAL. So he’s also an educator, global speaker, a tech investor and startup founder, he’s done so many things that to help employees transform, and they call it becoming an INtrapreneur – so you really are living in alignment with your true purpose, as you go out and spread your work and your business into the world. So, his whole thing is around helping you creatively problem solve, and getting you to understand how to do it yourself, and he loves to enable organizations to foster a environment of creative confidence and collaboration. So, he does human centered design, and he’s just a design thinker – you should check out his website right away, because it’s incredible. And there’s a whole bunch of case studies there that I was just like stalking you on Dan, and they’re amazing. So please help me welcome Dan Levy – yes! All the way from Adelaide. Aren’t you in Adelaide? Brisbane?
Dan Levy 02:23
I am in Adelaide, in Adelaide.
Patti Dobrowolski 02:24
Oh, Adelaide, okay. Yup.
Dan Levy 02:25
Patti, you’re gonna mess with everyone because I’ve got an English accent. So people go: “Oh. That’s not very nice.”
Patti Dobrowolski 02:30
That’s right. It’s so true. Oh, well, but whatever. Here you are. You’re here. Thank you for being on the show.
Dan Levy 02:36
Thank you for having me.
Patti Dobrowolski 02:37
Well, now tell us, Dan, now that I gave you that big drumroll of an introduction – and just want to say that it’s his morning, it’s my night, so we’re on opposite ends – and so he’s just waking up and I’m just trying to stay up, as you know. But here’s- the conversation is going to keep all of you awake as soon as we get into it. Dan, you have to tell us how did you come to be a creative- and game-stormer and design thinker? How did you ever get to this place?
Dan Levy 03:09
I would be lying if I said it was intentional. I started in design. And what I found was, as I got further and further away from the tools, I found that people either go down one or two paths, they either go, well, one of three paths: they either go into leadership in regards to they want to manage a group; they either go into development, meaning they want to own the experience; or they go into a more user-centric role, which means they want to be able to help people understand what the hell everybody else is doing. So that they can make sense and-
Patti Dobrowolski 03:48
– And be fantastic. Yeah.
Dan Levy 03:50
Yeah, yeah, yeah. So basically, I went down that more user-centric role. And what I found was the user-centric role usually involved me helping people to understand or attach rationale or linked things back to business objectives. And slowly what happened was I developed this design thinkers mindset and toolkit. And before I knew what was happening, I found out it was a thing. So then I had to kind of reverse engineer my thinking to fit into frameworks that allowed me to have conversations-
Patti Dobrowolski 03:54
-that already exist.
Dan Levy 04:07
Patti Dobrowolski 04:08
– already existed, right. I love that. You had your own thing. And then you had to figure out: Okay, well, this is what they’re calling that thing that I’m doing – and so I’m going to make sure that I understand that, so I can make sure that this thing that I have, I can do it in my own way.
Dan Levy 04:42
I knew none of the words.
Patti Dobrowolski 04:44
Dan Levy 04:44
I found out about this program by Luma: L-U-M-A, Luma. And I got friendly with somebody from Luma and I was explaining to them my world – and they kept telling me: oh, that sounds like this tool, that sounds like that tool. So I invested, became a Luma facilitator to learn more about what they were doing – just basically to formalize, and make it less punk rock, bit more like there’s this struc-
Patti Dobrowolski 05:07
– legitimize yourself, you were trying to make yourself legit.
Dan Levy 05:12
Patti Dobrowolski 05:12
That’s what your T-shirt should say. Now, were you a designer when you were a kid? How did you get into design? What did you do?
Dan Levy 05:19
I was so into comics. And it’s kind of a relevant conversation, this – because my boys had just started to get into comics. So all I’ve got left from when I was a kiddie is a big box of Marvel Comics, and I pulled them out the other day for the kids – and I just rediscovered my childhood at the moment. And the kids again, and they’re drawing. So when I first got into art, it was all about creating stories, making comics, and getting into art, and then media with film. And then slowly, I figured out I like computers, and then it was interactive and riding the wave of web design and not app, but more CD-ROM designs. So that was really my path in.
Patti Dobrowolski 06:02
So CD-ROMs, meaning you did the covers.
Dan Levy 06:05
Meaning that – for example, Ford or Jaguar would create an interactive CD-ROM, which is basically, these days, like a website on a CD-ROM.
Patti Dobrowolski 06:16
Dan Levy 06:17
And I’d be part of our creative team that would do the UI and the buttons. So do you remember something called Director and Lingo?
Patti Dobrowolski 06:25
Of course, of course. (laughs)
Dan Levy 06:26
Whoa, yes. I was working with Director and Lingo.
Patti Dobrowolski 06:31
So oh, my gosh – so that’s how you started being really a cartoon freak, and a comic book person, and then that evolved into doing this kind of design. So how do you pull that into the work you’re doing now? Like, if you were the superhero in that comic, back in the past – well, how are you the superhero in the room today? What would your superhero do? Or what do you do as a design thinker in a session that makes you a superhero?
Dan Levy 07:01
Okay, so I always say that everybody else is the superhero. I’m just the Gandalf. I’m the person that stands in the corner – or the Doctor Strange that kind of sets the constructs and creates the worlds for people to operate and to facilitate conversations. There’s a chap called Daniel Stillman, who really changed my mind in regards to what it is to be a facilitator and actually thinking about designing conversations – not just about asking questions, but actually constructing that conversation. And since the pandemic – and we switched to a remote way of working – what I found is that because we’re using collaboration tools like MURAL to facilitate conversations, that I am legitimately a conversation designer now, because ultimately, creating the conversation in the backdrop of a board to-
Patti Dobrowolski 07:58
Well, and you’re creating the – almost like the tapestry on which people can form and connect, and- Well, tell people what MURAL is about: you know, say a little bit about it, how you use it in design thinking, because not everybody uses it. And so how do you use it, and what’s the advantage of using it compared to just live facilitation where you’re there, and you might have Post-It notes and a room full of crazy people at tables.
Dan Levy 08:26
The best thing about MURAL for me is that you don’t have to rewrite hundreds of Post-It notes at the end of a workshop. (laughs) Its got this wonderful little function that says “Copy as Text”, and you pop it straight into a spreadsheet. I know, because I felt the pain of that yesterday. But besides that, it’s – well, you know, Patti, from your work that we work synchronously and asynchronously. And through the way we work now, we are able to actually conduct conversations without people needing to be there, we can keep momentum in the conversation. And MURAL is a tool that allows us to work asynchronously, as well as synchronously so we can keep decision making, collaboration, all these types of things, we can keep that in motion. And that’s a great enabler, especially for people like ourselves that work with organizations across the globe and need to basically bind teams together to be able to collaborate and communicate and co-create.
Patti Dobrowolski 09:30
Yeah, do you think that people are more willing, when they’re using a collaboration tool like that online, they’re more willing to be part of the game?
Dan Levy 09:40
Mmm. Now, this is interesting. So we’ve run a couple of workshops over the last few weeks. And we found a bit of both. So somebody who don’t want to be involved, it doesn’t matter, they just like to- I call them lurkers, they lurk in the background, they don’t have their camera – and other people want to get involved, something I’m really mindful of. And I don’t know if you find this as well, when I introduced tools into a remote workshop, I’ll try to reduce the amount of tools because regardless of how easy it is – and also bear in mind, we’re super biased because we use these tools, yeah, almost fluidly for our work – they get a sense of overwhelm. Now I’ll give you an example. Say, for instance, we’ve got a present- somebody wants to do a presentation. And we’re then doing some interactive stuff, I’ll put it all on the interactive board, and that way, we keep them in one spot. So even though it might be a little bit difficult for people creating a spreadsheet, their slideshow, and they have to take the pain of that – what that means is the user experience, they get a better experience. So I’m all about – how do we take the pain away from participants and own that pain to make the experience so much easier. And again, a tool like MURAL allows you to do a lot of, like, consolidating all the different other things that you could potentially use, or integrate in with a video conferencing tool – just makes it so much simpler.
Patti Dobrowolski 11:16
Yeah. Now, for you – I don’t know, you know, I have my sweet spot where I really know when I’m in the experience at the highest level I possibly can – you know, I’m fully engaged, and I’m really paying attention – what for you are the things that create the environment in which that happens for you. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be online – it could be in person – but I’m curious, what creates the environment where you have, I would say, More Space for Light in what you’re doing in the room with people.
Dan Levy 11:51
This is hard. Because again, sometimes this is a form of flow, which I feel can be quite rare to get to. And I’m always nervous at the beginning of a workshop, so I’ll try and get people out of their comfort zone – so they can meet me where I’m at.
Patti Dobrowolski 12:09
Yeah. Do you ever tell them that you’re uncomfortable with the beginning?
Dan Levy 12:13
All the time.
Patti Dobrowolski 12:14
Okay. And that does that normalize it, you think, for people in the room?
Dan Levy 12:18
Maybe, but it normalizes it for me. Because, see, when I conduct a workshop – I’m sorry, if I’m not directly answering your question-
Patti Dobrowolski 12:25
It’s okay, we’ll go back to it.
Dan Levy 12:27
When I’m in a workshop, I feel like I like the environment to be like, we’re in the pub, and we’re sitting around a table, and we’re having a conversation, and we’re capturing it, and everyone feels empowered to be able to talk. Some people don’t like that, because they are used to more of a cooperative meeting structure where they’re told what to do.
Patti Dobrowolski 12:49
Dan Levy 12:50
-Hierarchies, and people feel like if they talk out of turn, they might be seen as stupid. Whereas in a – using air quotes now – but in a more pub-type friendly environment. people say stupid things all the time. And either people will play on it or call them out, and it’ll be a bit of a joke, and it’s not such a risk. Because the stakes aren’t high.
Patti Dobrowolski 13:13
Yeah, it’s not high stakes. Yeah, not high stakes.
Dan Levy 13:16
So how can I reduce the stakes, reduce the risk, build that trusted environment where people want to take risks; and I feel as a facilitator, I have to demonstrate that vulnerability, so people – and maybe I don’t need to, because maybe that compromises my message by saying: right, I’m gonna get everybody to take a deep breath now, and I need it as well. I don’t know if that compromises, but at the same time, I’m being quite selfish in my space – because for me to deliver the best possible experience, I need to get everybody into my zone; I can’t be in their zone, because if I’m in their zone, you know, I inherit all of their culture, all of their permissions, all of their weight-
Patti Dobrowolski 14:05
Yes, yes…and so you’re suddenly in their norms, instead of your norms. I would say imposing your norms on the space itself, and inviting them to step into it, is what it sounds like. And what’s true is whether you’re in person or online, there’s always people who don’t want to step in the space, but you don’t know what’s going on with them. So my thing is, like, leave them – you know, don’t try to torture them. Although I will torture them a little – do you do that a little to try to get them to turn on their camera and stuff like that?
Dan Levy 14:41
I’m from, say where I grew up, people are very vocal, and-
Patti Dobrowolski 14:47
Where did you grow up?
Dan Levy 14:48
I grew up in northeast London? So I’m from-
Patti Dobrowolski 14:50
Northeast London, Yes.
Dan Levy 14:51
Yeah. So it’s a lot louder. I grew up from a very loud family, and I have to be really attuned to other people to know where their boundaries are. And so I need to test that to pick up their frequency. At the same time, sometimes when you’re trying to bring the masses along, you can’t bring the 20 or the 10% outliers so – you have an objective, you bring everybody along, and sometimes people might not collaborate as much, but you have to be comfortable with that. As long as it’s different people’s-
Patti Dobrowolski 15:26
Yeah, otherwise you spend time, don’t you think? You’d spend time like trying to get them to come, trying to get them – it’s exhausting for everybody in the room, but especially it’s exhausting for you, when you know that your agenda is already set. I love this, because I don’t think that I have – I had Sunni Brown, you know, on, but we really didn’t talk about facilitation that much. But talking to you, it’s so great to hear from skilled facilitators, some of the challenges that you deal with, and how you manage them. Like, what’s the worst thing that ever happened to you in the session that you were running, that you had to handle?
Dan Levy 16:04
Okay, so I’ve come to learn that sometimes if you run as many workshops as us, you’re not going to get 100% – like, you know, you watch a soccer match or a football match, and there’ll be a player that won’t always have a great game. That’s just what happens when you run so many. And that’s not always your fault. We ran a workshop the other week, and it was military precision. And this, I didn’t feel comfortable, military position – because it takes away some of my spontaneity.
Patti Dobrowolski 16:36
Dan Levy 16:37
And I like to feel the energy and, and also, but – I needed to do that so that the client felt comfortable, because it was a really, really big client. Like, I can’t say, “hey-” And they had my script, they had the board, we did rehearsals. Anyway, we’ve got into the workshop: within five minutes, the technology wouldn’t work for the client, the client decided to change to another technology, which basically when we couldn’t do breakout rooms, none of the presentations worked, none of the videos worked. There was too many people, they then started switching off their videos. And I basically put in the chat, and now we improvise. And I knew my script like that – I’d spent a long time on the script practice, I just closed the windows, I was like, right. I’m gonna have to just basically-
Patti Dobrowolski 17:30
-and now the actor in me comes out. Doo doo doo! Superhero cape on, right.
Dan Levy 17:36
Yeah. And it was just like, dig in, and do it – dig in and do it, and that. And we got through it – we got to the outcome we needed to. It wasn’t the most comfortable workshop, because we had to constantly adapt. But we, but from an outcomes perspective, and getting everyone through and having everything needed to go as planned, it was perfect in that respect.
Patti Dobrowolski 18:00
Yeah, that’s fantastic. Well, you know, I love that. You know, the worst workshop I ever ran was one of the first change workshops where I didn’t realize that people were getting fired – when they got called out of the room, they were getting fired, and they weren’t coming back in the room – but nobody told me that. So I just thought I was really bad, so I just kept overacting – you know what I mean, like, I got louder and louder, and bigger and bigger. And what was true is everybody in the room was so sad, but I had no idea of knowing because it was my first engagement as a facilitator, so I just didn’t know. And after that, I was like, you always have to be willing, and able to read the room first and then pivot, you know – read and pivot, and see and ask, like, what’s going on? Why are you all, you know? So, I love that. Now, Dan, you run a lot of sessions with a lot of companies, how do you manage that kind of a schedule? And you got kids and a wife – I mean, how do you do all that balancing?
Dan Levy 19:05
I’m getting better. I’m getting better. I’m starting to schedule and plan and, and be quite strict in regards to you know, like, only booking two gigs a month – maybe three at most? But yeah, and that seems to be working, but it isn’t easy – I’ll be honest, it isn’t easy. It’s the toughest thing, running a business – there’s so many levels: see, we’ve just spoken about facilitation, and already there’s like a multitude of levels there in regards to planning strategy, actual delivery and then all the human parts and soft skills and humility you need to have with that. And then after that- before and after and having to prepare and deliver the outcomes. And then on top of that, how do you market that and then how do you think, what’s the flywheel to get more work and then you’ve got to think about all the accounts, oh gosh, run a business-
Patti Dobrowolski 20:01
oh, yeah, it’s a lot; then tracking them, It’s really – it’s a lot, and you know, you need like, a lot of people – it takes an army, really; it takes a village, they would say – you know, it really does, though. And so, tell me how you started More Room for Light. How did you start it?
Dan Levy 20:19
How did we start-
Patti Dobrowolski 20:20
-Light, yeah. Is it Space for Light? Why did I suddenly thought it was “room”? Space. Room – I think room and space, same thing, right in the US. Room is in your world, space?
Dan Levy 20:33
Well, we get emails from lighting and room companies asking us-
Patti Dobrowolski 20:36
I bet you do. (laughs) “Dear Dan, do you need help with the equipment? Because we have a whole lighting kit that you’re going to love.”
Dan Levy 20:47
Absolutely. Yeah, if you need a discount, come to me, I can get trade prices. (laughs) More Space was started almost seven years ago – it was six and a half years ago, when my second was born. I was hitting a point in my career, where I wasn’t happy. I was the strategist that was rolled out when a company needed a website or whatever it was, and I felt like where I’d been in my career, I’d regressed. I’d be working on some amazing products with amazing companies in incredible teams, whether it would be in London and Sydney. And I found myself in the marketing world, where the value, I felt, was more about the idea or the execution, but not about what difference does this make to the business from a more sustainable aspect.
Patti Dobrowolski 21:46
Yeah, how’s it gonna help them? How’s it going to help them, yeah, right?
Dan Levy 21:50
-And also like what, are we doing things that are risky in the respect of- are we as a brand company, doing things that will help us grow and move to the next horizon? So what we were doing was very kind of superficial and transactional: give me a microsite. So coming from IPTV products, and all this sort of stuff, I just didn’t see a future doing what I was doing.
Patti Dobrowolski 22:17
Dan Levy 22:18
And I didn’t see opportunities in the space to allow me to go out and explore and help organizations figure this out. Because initially, I just wanted to help companies do cool stuff. And I know that’s kind of massive hypocritical from what I’ve just said, but I mean cool stuff in the regards of how do we leverage new technologies? How do we improve the connection with people whose lives we impact and whose lives we’re trying to improve? How can we think about what we’re doing a little bit differently from their perspective? As opposed to how much-
Patti Dobrowolski 22:53
Let’s create something cool, yeah, it doesn’t create something cool, and then push it out.
Dan Levy 22:58
Yeah, basically. And one night – I’ve always had a really high work ethic – and one night I was putting my eldest now to bed, and he said: Mommy, I want, I want more space for light. And I said to my wife, I said: what does that mean? That sounds – that’s really interesting. She said, Well, he’s not ready to go to bed yet, he wants- “more space for light”, for him, meant: more time to read, more time to play, more time to kick a ball, play with his figures and all that. And I was, I want that. I want that, and I can give that. And it almost rejuvenized me and revitalized me – and I had a mission, I had a purpose, like I had something I could get behind, and that has really become a mantra for me, for us, and for the people we work with. Whether that’s the future of now, whether that’s our engagements, whether that’s the friendships we’ve developed, like within the community or partnerships with – it’s how do we make More Space for Light for each other, for mutual value, for our clients, for our customers, and it’s just changed the dynamic of the conversation.
Patti Dobrowolski 24:10
It’s such a holistic view. I mean, I think this is what I love about it – is that you’re looking at the bigger picture. I mean, I can’t tell you how many meetings I’ve sat in, for big companies where they said, you know, and one of the things on the vision is gotta be work life balance. And what you’re talking about, really, is bigger than that – it’s not just work-life balance, it’s that you understand that work and life are integrated. They’re part of an integrated whole that we are graciously allowed to participate in. And that when you make more room for play, for curiosity, like you are a prolific reader, that’s what I know to be true about you. Like I said, and then did you read that; and you go: oh, yeah, and this – have you read this and this and this. I ordered that already, right? So, but that, to me, just tells me about how much time it requires for you to process and to be creative, you know?
Dan Levy 25:11
Oh, yeah. I think, and this is something I love – working with people that are hungry and curious. And I don’t mean hungry in the respect of ambitious, and like – ambition is good, but when it’s self serving and leaves everyone behind the curious in regards to want knowledge, want to learn, are prepared to be wrong, and are prepared to be challenged in their thoughts. And I think this is a really- this is when you know you’re in a great workshop, when people feel comfortable to say things that might not be correct, but just want to get them out into the open, and let other people play with them and just understand from different perspectives. And that’s when you’ve got a really interesting group of people because they’ve – sorry for the pun, but they’ve made the space for light: they’ve bought something out, and they’re exploring – and that’s really interesting, because they will achieve what they want to do, because they have that trust, and they have that capability of, you know, creative capability within all of them to be able to, you know, just have that durability to play with something so awesome.
Patti Dobrowolski 26:23
That’s fantastic. Now, tell me a little bit, tell us a little bit about your day – how does your day go? And how do you find a way to make more space for light in that day, like, what do you do? What time do you get up, and what do you do? I want to know what your rituals are, so we get to know you a little bit better.
Dan Levy 26:43
Okay, so I’m going through a sleep phase at the moment. And by sleep phase, what I mean is I’m taking it a lot more seriously – I’ve got a mentor, or coach who’s just basically impressing upon me how important sleep is, and your self health, your self worth. That’s the wrong term, but self- , just looking after yourself and-
Patti Dobrowolski 27:03
-Care, self-care, yeah.
Dan Levy 27:04
Self care, thank you – and how the impact of sleep improves your focus and productivity during the day. And I’ve been playing with that and having early nights generally. Generally, I’m up just before 6am. I’ve got a panned-out gym, I call it – it’s set up in the back in the open garage, I’ve got my weights, I do a little work, work out. I’ve been trying to meditate. I’ve a friend, he’s given me this ADHD meditation tape for people like me that can’t keep still. So it’ll be 10 minutes, I’ll do that – I’ll most probably get disturbed by one of my little ones coming outside to wee on the lemon tree. (laughs) And then – and then pretty much, I’ve been working a lot from home lately, which has been – I’ll be honest, a bit of a drag – because I’m kind of, I feel quite isolated. So I’ve got an office in town, and I’ll go in and connect with people; but I’ve – because we’re going away camping at the weekend, I’ve been trying to avoid as many people as possible that could potentially give me COVID, because I don’t want to cancel this camping trip with my little one-
Patti Dobrowolski 28:11
Yes, of course. (laughs) Oh my gosh.
Dan Levy 28:12
-I’ve become this hermit, which is really awful. But after that, I’ll be out and about. And then I’ve been a bit slack, Patti, because I started the year with 90 Day goals, and then month focus, and then dailies, normal that, I had that – and as the team’s changed, and over, you know, different circumstances, we’ve had to deal with the pandemic, etc., I’ve slowly been more into the fill a bit – I’m in the weeds at the moment, but I’ll have a set schedule, and I’ve been trying to clock off at around five-ish, because the kids roll in at three. So even if I’m on a call, they become part of the call.
Patti Dobrowolski 28:49
Yes, I’m sure.
Dan Levy 28:50
And then dinner, and then maybe, I’ve been trying not to work. Like maybe I’ll do a few hours just to catch up and try and be in bed as early as I can, or chill out with my wife as early as I can. But that’s generally the day is, for now I’ll just be online working, grinding through my list of tasks.
Patti Dobrowolski 29:12
There it is. That’s right. I like that. I think that the idea of sleep is really – I’m glad that it’s at the forefront. It’s sometimes hard to grab for me. You know, I’ll wake up now, and I’ll look at my sleep clock app and it’ll say: five hours, and I’d be like, oh no, that’s not enough, you know – two more and then too late, I’m already awake thinking about coffee. Because there’s coffee waiting for me out in the other room and once I start thinking about it, then I’ve gotta go – I’m a true addict. But I love too that you’re talking about this idea of setting goals but then you have to let them go – you have to at some point let go of what your structure is. I think we get very obsessed with – you know, I guess the first thing I said, when we got on the call, before we started the podcast, I was saying, you don’t have heavy- I read this or somebody sent me something about turning your 12 month year into a 12 week year, so that you get things done in a shorter sprint – you know, do it in a sprint. And the reason that I’m doing that in a sprint is because like you, I set those goals, and then I do those things. And then I know, I just know that right around now – because this is April, right, we’re in the second quarter, right? And in the second quarter in the US – that’s the way they divide it up, unless you work for Microsoft, then the first of the year starts in June, I don’t know how they figured that out, but – so second quarter, then you have to reboot somehow. So either I’ll draw a brand new map, or I will then just start to experiment with what is going to trick me into wanting to have fun again, to do something – what do I need to learn, that’s gonna keep me inspired. So you know, that gym thing, it helps – it gets your dopamine going, you know – your serotonin is up, and then you’re ready to go back in and do it, right?
Dan Levy 31:10
Yeah. Also, I think there has to be a level of confidence and maturity in your business and the patterns and seasons of business. Because for a long time, I panic around Christmas, because nobody wants a workshop or talk to us around from December to January – and now I’ve reframed that. So initially, like I panicked, and then I’d listen to people like Gary Vaynerchuk, who was like, “You should working 48 hours a day”, even though it’s not possible to- hustling, get advantage of everyone to come out of January kicking arse, doing 3D and 4D and Tik Tok and NFTs and all that rubbish. And I was like, actually, this – admittedly, this is the first time I’ve done it this year – this is time for me to clean house and figure out a bit about me, about who I am, what More Space is, what do we want to achieve this year?
Patti Dobrowolski 32:09
Dan Levy 32:10
And hopefully – and it sounds terrible – hopefully, we don’t get any work till March. And so I can do that as soon as possible-
Patti Dobrowolski 32:17
Exactly. This is what I said, you know, there’s, there’s something in my Instagram channel right now, where I say to the camera – I’m so happy when a client cancels the call because then I can go bike riding, and then I speed off on my bike, you know – because this is what’s true, is that we don’t always want to be on 24/7. And, and we’re not meant to be on 24/7. And we need that time to create more space for light, and to understand ourselves and see what we’re going to do next. What are we going to grow? And what do we want to read or play or, I don’t know, go to the beach, something. Right?
Dan Levy 32:56
So I’m reading a book. This is a recommendation by my coach. It’s called Stolen Focus. And he said to me – Dan, your work issue’s focus: you’ve got to do less, but more of like, just focus on what works for you. And I’ve been going through my own personal and professional transformation in regards to just honing in on focus and being quite comfortable to let certain things fall off and not do them. But just – and I’m figuring out that journey, that isn’t like an automatic “Tomorrow, I’ll get this” – like, this is a journey of self discovery for me. But this book’s just been remarkable. So there were some principles that I’d already put in place. Like, I don’t have my mobile phone in my bedroom. Like, I don’t sleep with my phone, I stick with my Fitbit, just so I don’t wake my wife up or we have our little ones sleeping with us. And that’s the most discreet way I can wake anyone up. I’ll try not to look at my phone when I wake up first thing, I want to see a human being if I can. Or if I’m doing a workout, I’ll just put on my music and not look at my emails. And I’m trying to set boundaries. Yeah, I just saw this study on Instagram. It was just photos of people – just an observation of how people use their mobiles, and you see them in social settings, and I’m trying to reduce the amount of time I look at social media. Like, I’m trying to make the phone not rule me.
Patti Dobrowolski 34:35
Yeah, I think it’s – in this time. It’s really difficult. It’s like one of the biggest challenges that we have and not just us, but I think the younger generation is all about it. And so to make space for the phone to be away, is like- I can’t have the phone in my room if I’m writing, because I will just hear the phone talking to me: it’s saying “There’s emails in here, do you want to see what the weather’s gonna be like today” or – you know, everything that you could find in there will call you and distract you. So I love that. And I think that these are some rituals that I hope that our kids are really going to take to heart. And they’re really going to start to put them in place and what kind of rituals, other rituals, do you have that really helped you stay in tune with yourself or in balance?
Dan Levy 35:28
The motorbiking, trying to get – I know we both share a passion of going out on our bikes. That’s been a big thing for me, cause we’re constantly dwelling on the past or anxious about the future; that being present in this mind space right now in this second and maximizing the potential of this minute – often, we take that for granted. And I suppose especially like, when you’ve got this thing buzzing out – your phone, you got access to everything and nothing at the same time, but how can you see-
Patti Dobrowolski 36:02
Everything and nothing at the same time, you said: you have access to everything and nothing at the same time. Oh, that is well put. Mic drop.
Dan Levy 36:16
If you- just being present, and that’s the motorbike for me – where you have to be present, otherwise you’ll fall off the thing or someone will bump into you – that’s been really good. And cycling as well. And just trying to just make the most of things, you know.
Patti Dobrowolski 36:32
Yeah, that’s fantastic. I love that, I love it. All right, now. So you know, you’re a big change maker – you help people make change in their company, so – if you have any tips about people that are listening, and they want to make a change, some kind of change in what they’re doing, what would you tell them? Because you pivoted from working for somebody else doing those things, to starting your own company – and you’ve done that multiple times. And every time you’re in a room with people, you’re asking them to pivot. So what would you suggest, if somebody who is – like you thinking, I don’t know if I can do this anymore, I want to do something else – what would you say?
Dan Levy 37:10
I would be sort – I don’t want to be responsible for people making some dramatic change, but I – if you’re in an environment, where you want to make change, for example, in an organization – I feel like you have to listen to understand a propensity for an organization willing to change, whether that would be one person, whether that would be a team – and start to figure out who the people are, that you can, that are champions and gatekeepers. Also, laddering back, why? Why is there a need to change? What is your why? What are the factors behind you making that change? And once you start to understand your why, you’ll know whether it’s kind of more of an environmental thing, more of a lifestyle thing or a whole chain, because – don’t be too rash; often people seek a solution that’s very binary, for example: “this isn’t working, therefore I need to do that”. There might be a third option or a compromise or, or an intermediary step that allows them to get an understanding of what they want. Because often people are so tied to a solution, they forget about the values all the while, the drivers and the signals that are pushing them to need to feel like they need to make the change. So I think, really figure out your why, and then start to play from there.
Patti Dobrowolski 38:39
Yeah, I think too this, the other thing you’re saying in here, that you aren’t directly speaking to is that – or maybe I’m just hearing this in between space, which is – there is a part of us that feels like when things aren’t working, it’s better to go there than to stay here and work it out. Because sometimes in the working out, you work it through, and so then you don’t have to go and repeat the pattern in whatever you end up doing after this because: you will repeat the pattern. And so if you can figure that out, and then you can leave gracefully and know that that was the right thing to do and that it’s the right time – I think that is so essential. So I love that you’re talking about finding stakeholders that are also willing to change and who are the gatekeepers, so you can win them over – so that you can create the kinds of changes that you want to see in your environment. I love that. I love you, Dan, you’re so incredible. I loved having this conversation with you. I’m going to bring you back so we can talk more about what’s happening with you. And I’m sure that the camping trip is going to be amazing, because you will be COVID-free. We’re setting that intent. And so is there any-
Dan Levy 39:59
Ah, I’m safe now. I’ve got one more day and I’m safe- (laughs)
Patti Dobrowolski 40:00
That’s right. (laughs) That’s right, may we all stay COVID-free, people – let’s just put that out there that we spread that out, so we can get back to – not get back to, but get forward to the life that we dream about, right? We dream about. Well, I dream about being in the same place in the universe with you Dan, so that we can do some kind of work together, so I look forward to that opportunity. And thank you so much for coming here and spending time with me in your morning – my evening, so we could get to know you a little better.
Dan Levy 40:22
Thank you for having me, Patti – it’s amazing. It’s just so amazing to just be part of your orbit and be part of the multiverse that you connect to. So – you got another friend in Australia.
Patti Dobrowolski 40:49
Yeah. Thank you. Thank you so much. All right. So now, everybody, you know the drill – if you liked what you heard, please share it with your friends. And also, please follow Dan Levy with More Space for Light. You can find him on LinkedIn, you can find More Space for Light on the internet, and also in the show notes – we’ll find other ways that you can connect with him, because he’s incredible. And if your company is looking for an amazing facilitated experience, he’s your man – I’m just saying. Okay, all right, everybody. Until next time, Up Your Creative Genius. Take good care, woo!
Patti Dobrowolski 41:28
Thanks so much for listening today. Be sure to DM me on Instagram your feedback or takeaways from today’s episode on Up Your Creative Genius – then join me next week for more rocket fuel! Remember, you are the superstar of your universe and the world needs what you have to bring – so get busy! Get out, and Up Your Creative Genius! And no matter where you are in the universe, here’s some big love from yours truly,
and the Up Your Creative Genius Podcast. That’s a wrap!