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Sylvia Fernandes

Sylvia Fernandes is a qualified Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) Trainer who has trained with the co-founders of NLP. She started her Behavior Change business in Sydney in 2002 specializing in organizational applications. Sylvia has extensive experience working with executives at all levels to...

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Business & Finance

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09/25/2014 01:40am
Ecology Is Not Just About Biology

The ecology aspect is often overlooked in the pursuit of goals or achievements. Unless people have a heightened state of awareness they are generally oblivious to questions such as what happens after they achieve their goal; how does it affect them, their family, financial situation, health and overall future. They fail to ask if the desired change is in line with their values or even the most basic question of all – “Is this what I really want?”
Sometimes once the goal is achieved, people realise that it is not really what they wanted. The most common is the one where a person wants to be rich thinking it will solve all their problems. And when the goal is achieved they are no happier plus they are still confronted with the same old problems.
Ecology is about creating a win-win situation for the person making the change. The question to be asked by the coach before a change is made is “will this enrich your life when you make this change?” Taken to another level the question is “will it be safe for me, you and the planet at large?”
The Oxford Dictionary defines ecology as “The branch of biology that deals with the relations of organisms to one another and to their physical surroundings.” It is no different to NLP if you look at the individual as the “organism” and their life and people as the “physical surroundings” or environment.
In my observation ecology has a far wider scope than setting a goal during a coaching session. It permeates everything we say and do. Intimately wrapped with ecology are the concepts of integrity and congruence.
Time and again I have seen that there is no ecology present if either integrity or congruence is missing. A person or organisation that says something and does something else is not practising ecology. An interview I attended quite a while ago comes to mind.
A large multinational prided itself on its work-life balance policy. I attended an interview after office hours; not a good sign! Then the interviewer, a senior division head, kept me waiting for half an hour; another bad omen. When he finally arrived there was no apology and he launched straight into the job scope. The final clinch came when he openly declared that he did not subscribe to the company’s work-life balance policy!
There was no congruence between the company’s philosophy and its employee. Imagine the impact this person had on the lives of those working in his division, their careers, families and wellbeing.
Another episode is a yoga and meditation instructor who preached consciousness, awareness and stillness to align the mind, body and spirit. But she turned out to be one of the most scattered individuals I have come across.
In my experience the depth of ecology also tends to change during the different phases of an individual’s life. A teenager with no financial commitments or family responsibilities will have an easier time deciding on, for example, what to study at university, compared to a married adult with children thinking about a career change.
Similarly, a dating couple, who decide to break-up, would create less consequences in comparison to a married couple with children. This is akin to causing a ripple in a pond; the pond being the environment. A child or teenager’s circle of influence or environment is generally smaller than that of an adult. In the same vein an elderly person’s environment may not be as extended as it used to be when they were younger.
I have come across people who view adhering to ecology as a burden and others as a compass to guide them when making choices. As an entrepreneur I fall into both categories depending on the situation. Especially in earlier days of running my own business, there were times when it would have been so easy to do the convenient thing rather than the right thing. My father’s words would ring in my ears “honesty is the best policy.”
Ecology serves as a compass for me today to achieve sustainable results where clients value and trust my ability to align their human capital.
It is all too easy for an ambitious person to sideline their values and other people in the pursuit of their goals. This is the common scenario in most societies. For instance, leaders in organisations who look after themselves with minimal care for their people are severely lacking ecology too.
At the end of the day, if we give it some thought, it appears that ecology requires some conscious effort to practice. As with all things worthwhile, practice over time will reap its own rewards in terms of a clear conscience, satisfaction and benefiting yourself and those around you.
Ecology is definitely at the core of creating effective people with sustainable results. It is the fundamental building block that makes for great teamwork. It is also imperative for an organization going through culture change to foster their people with a strong sense of ecology. Doing the right thing by yourself and others will lead to achieving results that are superior to the competition.
Sylvia Fernandes is the Founder & CEO of VIA Frontiers established in Sydney in 2002. She is a corporate NLP trainer and consults in creating effective people in the Asia Pacific Region.
She is also the author of Bye Bye Black Cat – Turn Your Luck Around to Realise Opportunities – to be launched on the 23rd October 2014. Go to
www.viafrontiers.com or email blog@viafrontiers.com for more information.


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