Megumi Miki – Fitting in is overrated but standing out can be hard work

Megumi_Miki
Megumi Miki tells us why " Fitting in is overrated", why " There are no ‘bad’ emotions", and why you should " Get comfortable with solitude" and other lessons it took me 50 Years to Learn. Hosted by Jeffery Wang.

Subscribe with your favourite podcast app. 

About Megumi Miki

Megumi Miki is an author, speaker, coach and consultant in leadership, culture, diversity and inclusion, with a background in strategy, economics and finance. She helps organisations to challenge the status quo, exceed their goals and keep learning by unlocking the hidden potential in their culture, leadership and individuals.

Megumi brings together her 20+ years’ experience and practical knowledge of business strategy, finance, leadership, organisational development and culture change. She has worked within large organisations such as Accenture, ANZ Bank, National Australia Bank as well as consulted to a range of organisations in the Corporate, SMEs, NFP and Government sectors. She also draws on her life experience – moving countries multiple times as a child, being on the ‘outer’, her Japanese and Australian upbringing, her own successes and challenges.

She is the author of Start inspiring, stop driving: Unlock your team’s potential to outperform and grow and Quietly Powerful: How your quiet nature is your hidden leadership strength. The Quietly Powerful book received the Australian Career Book Award for 2020 from RSA Oceania and Best Leadership Book of 2020 from the Australian Business Book Awards.

In the uncertain, changing, global and inter-connected world, Megumi believes that the ‘alpha’ or ‘hero’ leadership style alone is outdated and inadequate. Quietly Powerful expands the definition of what good leadership looks, sounds and feels like and empowers quieter professionals and those outside majority groups to fulfil their leadership potential.

Megumi is passionate about empowering people and groups of people who feel disempowered and on the ‘outer’ to have a voice and lead. Her passion is underpinned by her belief that these quieter, marginalised and/or under-recognised voices are critical for organisations to innovate and evolve in a changing, volatile world and for solving the big challenges in the world today.

Megumi lives in Melbourne, Australia and keeps busy as a ‘dance mum’ to a teenage daughter who trains in ballet and has two fur babies, Prim and Ollie who are Siberian kittens.

Episode Notes

Lesson 1. Fitting in is overrated but standing out can be hard work 05:16
Lesson 2. Don’t try and be somebody else but also don’t get too attached to who you think you are 09:08
Lesson 3. Racism, sexism, other marginalising forces are real but you can choose not to be a victim to them 14:45
Lesson 4. There are no ‘bad’ emotions. Notice your emotions and use them as information. It helps you to work through discomfort – which we all need more. 24:01
Lesson 5. You don’t need to be confident you just need to be brave 28:57
Lesson 6. Learn from masters and find the master in you 31:24
Lesson 7. A ‘bigger than self’ purpose and meaning makes what appears impossible possible 33:53
Lesson 8. We are not even a speck of dust in the grand scheme of things… Keep humble keep curious keep learning, not take ourselves too seriously 37:27
Lesson 9. Get comfortable with solitude – 41:26
Lesson 10. Siberian cats are the best. 46:30

Megumi Miki – Fitting in is overrated but standing out can be hard work

[00:00:00]

[00:00:08] Jeffery Wang: Hello and welcome to the podcast. 10 lessons. It took me 50 years to learn where we talk to inspirational leaders from all over the world to dispense wisdom for career, business, and life in order to provide you our listeners shortcuts to excellence. My name is Jeffrey Wang, the founder of professional development forum and your host today.

This podcast is sponsored by the professional development forum, which helps diverse young professionals of any age. Find fulfillment in the modern workplace. Today we’re joined by Megumi Miki. McGee is an author, speaker and consultant in leadership, culture, diversity, and inclusion.

With over 20 years’ experience in strategy leadership, economics, and finance. She helps organizations unlock the hidden potential in their people, culture, and leadership. She has worked within large organizations, such as Accenture ANZ [00:01:00] Bank. National Australia Bank, as well as consulted to corporate, not for profits and government sectors.

She’s the author of Start Inspiring, Stop Driving, unlock your team’s potential to outperform and grow. And Quietly Powerful how your quiet nature is your hidden leadership strength, Quietly Powerful received the Australian career book award for 2020 and the best leadership book of 2020 from the Australian business book awards.

In the uncertain, changing global and interconnected world. Megumi believes that the alpha or hero leadership start alone is outdated and inadequate, Quietly Powerful expands the definition of what good leadership looks sounds and feels like. And in palace quieter professionals and those outside majority groups to fulfill their leadership potential.

 Megumi is passionate about empowering people who feel disempowered and on the outer to have a voice and lead. Drawing [00:02:00] on her own life experience with Japanese, Australian heritage, moving countries multiple times, and always feeling like an outsider.

Her passion is underpinned by her belief that these quieter marginalized and or under-recognized voices are critical for organizations to innovate and evolve, to solve the biggest problems in the volatile and uncertain world today. Megumi lives in Melbourne, Australia, a dedicated dance mom to her teenage daughter in ballet.

Welcome. Megumi

[00:02:30] Megumi Miki: Thank you Jeffery nice to be here.

[00:02:32] Jeffery Wang: Well, thanks for joining us today. Now. I know your teenage daughter is not quite there yet, but I’m just going to throw you a quick curve ball this morning., what advice would you give to your 30-year-old self?

[00:02:43] Megumi Miki: yeah, my 30-year-old self I had at my semi midlife crisis. At that time, I was working in a consulting firm, and I just really didn’t like where I was. Um, moved into finance. I still didn’t like where I was. And it was like, what is my life about? So, it [00:03:00] was quite a crisis moment, but luckily, I stumbled across some interesting work in cultural change and leadership and, and I just felt, wow, you know, it’s something I really would love to do.

And I think, the biggest thing that I did that I appreciate and learn from is that I, I just went. You know, rather than thinking, oh, but you know, I should be doing this sort of, professional, analytical type of work. And, you know, I, there was a bit of an unknown for me going into leadership and organizational culture work, but I thought not just do it.

And so, yeah, that will be, that will be my, lesson about 30 years old.

[00:03:34] Jeffery Wang: Wow. So literally back yourself, just do it

[00:03:37] Megumi Miki: Yeah.

absolutely

[00:03:38] Jeffery Wang: Wow. And how did you, how did you find that courage though? I mean, up to that point, I’d imagine, you know, being similar to myself, you know, being a, a good sort of, professional with an Asian Australian background, uh, you would have been told to follow the, the safe path rather than yeah.

Follow your passions. Yeah. So how did you, how’d you overcome that sort of programming

[00:03:59] Megumi Miki: Yeah, [00:04:00] I think there were multiple things. One was that I was miserable for one. So, I just thought, you know, I can’t keep going like this. This is just, um, you know, too difficult. But also, I was very fortunate that at the time I was sent to a workshop, which was very much about personal development and I, so I discovered a bit more about myself and I thought wow there’s a, an aspect of myself that I didn’t realize I had, and I just fell in love with that discovery process and a whole lot of things that we did. And I thought, oh, if I can help others to do that, that will be an incredible thing to do. So, yeah, it was just the push and the pull. If you like that got me over the line.

[00:04:39] Jeffery Wang: Which is a great story to tell it. And I love how you are sharing a lot of that with the community around you and like with or introverts and the quiet ones. I think Megumi absolutely undersells her herself in terms of her achievements in terms of what you’ve done. Um, but I’m absolutely inspired by what you’re able to share [00:05:00] with the community.

The mission that you’re pursuing in terms of redefining, what great leadership looks like. So well done on that. And, uh, and I’m sure as we explore your lessons, uh, there will be a lot of those values that will flow through.

[00:05:13] Megumi Miki: Absolutely. No, thank you appreciate that.

[00:05:16] Lesson 1: Fitting in is overrated but standing out can be hard work

[00:05:16] Jeffery Wang: All right. That’s just jumped straight into it. Then. Lesson. Number one is fitting in is so overrated, but standing out can be hard work. Can you tell us a bit more about this one?

[00:05:26] Megumi Miki: So, I spent a whole lot of my first half of my life trying to fit in because I always stood out. I was the only Asian kid in a Japanese school in Australia for a number of years. And then I’d go back to Japan, and I’d be the only Japanese kid who’s lived overseas. And so, I stood out so everywhere I went, I stood out.

So, I tried everything to try to fit in. So, for instance, um, I remember in Japan sometimes, that they’d as you would in any school, you do tests and things like that. And if I did really well, I’d never tell anybody [00:06:00] because I didn’t want to stand out and I didn’t want to stand up for positive reasons. And I didn’t understand that for negative reasons.

So, I just tried to blend in as a survival mechanism, but it’s so overrated because when you think about it, it’s exhausting to try and fit in. Cause you’re trying to adapt in every situation. And if you try and fit into one group, then you don’t fit into another group. So, if I tried to fit in, in the Japanese schools, then I’d really stand out in an Australian context if I try and fit into an Australian context.

I don’t fit in to Japanese context and you know, many other sort of groupings, if you like, so just adapting is just exhausting. So, it’s really overrated from that perspective. But also, if you think about, you know, now that are more in the business world, we often talk about differentiating and standing out and actually fitting in doesn’t serve you at all.

So, so that’s really something I’ve learned over time, but then, then on the flip side, standing out, it’s exhausting because you [00:07:00] attract attention and you can also attract criticism or judgment. Um, whenever you try and stand for something, you you’ve got to expect that, and that can be really exhausting too.

And, you know, I have heard my fair share of criticisms around quietly baffled to some people talking about why, why I’m talking about that. And it doesn’t make sense or whatever. So, yeah, so it can be, can be tiring. So, it’s finding that balance.

[00:07:23] Jeffery Wang: Oh, absolutely. And, and I, I agree with that. having personal experience, trying to fit in, you know, I like you, I, I spent all my life trying to. fade into the background so that I won’t get noticed, you know, I’ve had that experience being the first Asian kid in school or second, you know, the first one was mostly my older sister.

and I understand why we have this desire to fit in. You know, it’s just our tribal instincts, I suppose. because we, we, we want to protect ourselves from standing out. Um, however, He’s a whole other journey on its own because as you discover who you are, you realize you have no choice, but to stand out and, you know, when you truly believe in something different.

[00:08:00] My question to you though, is there an answer, is it finding the balance or is it just becoming comfortable being uncomfortable by standing out?

What, what is your advice there?

[00:08:10] Megumi Miki: Um, but there’s definitely getting comfortable with which standing out or we’re just comfortable with yourself enough to be okay with criticism and things like that. But why I say it’s about us is I think if you went too far, it can actually put people off. Yeah. So, so I think that’s where my balance comes in.

So, if I went off and said, Everyone should appreciate quieter people and, you know, forget louder people and things that he put people off who put people off, or they, you know, not so quiet and that’s not the intent. Right. So, I suppose that’s where the balance idea comes from.

[00:08:47] Jeffery Wang: Yeah. And also, without being hypocritical, right? I mean, the fact is you’re, what you’re trying to say is that there is value in quite leadership, but if you have to bash people on the head with it, if you have to become a, [00:09:00] an absolute extrovert and screaming on their megaphones to make that happen, then you’re not really being authentic to yourself.

[00:09:06] Megumi Miki: Yeah, that’s a fine balance there.

[00:09:08] Lesson 2:    Don’t try and be somebody else but also don’t get too attached to who you think you are

[00:09:08] Jeffery Wang: Beautiful and lesson number two, don’t try and be somebody else, but also don’t get too attached to who you think you are, or that’s a, that’s quite a, quite a few concepts that unpack there. Uh, can you take us through this?

[00:09:23] Megumi Miki: Sure. So don’t try to be somebody else, which I think often people talk about, you know, be authentic and find your, your, true self and, um, bring your whole self to work and take her home. Again, all of those phrases I think are, uh, very true and it’s been true for me, and it’s been true for my work around Quietly Powerful, but what I think is dangerous about that is if you just sat down and said, no, this is just me and take it or leave it.

You can really limit, yourself, Because oftentimes who we believe we are, is a version of us that includes a lot of [00:10:00] conditioning, the way we’ve been brought up and all sorts of internalized messages. And it’s not always who we could become. And so, I think if we had a bit more aspiration about who do we want to become and who, who will we becoming?

Then we really shouldn’t get so attached to who we think we are. So, if I thought about, you know, times when I have been very quiet and really fitting in and, you know, not making any sort of noise to upset people and things like that, I could just tell myself, you know, I’m a polite, very civil kind of person that doesn’t ruffle feathers and things like that.

I can tell myself that’s who I am. But then if I’m trying to convince people or something, a different idea, then you may need to ruffle some feathers as we were talking about before. And if I just held onto that identity of not ruffling feathers, then that can be quite limiting also. So that’s what I mean by, you know, don’t get too [00:11:00] attached.

[00:11:00] Jeffery Wang: So, there’s the irony. And I think it’s going to be quite funny because I think by the, by, by now, trying to hold these two concepts at the same time in your head is going to drive some of our listeners up the wall going, well, what exactly, what do we do? You know, are we trying to be somebody else or are we always trying not, what I’m reading between the lines is that you’re saying that’s a bit of a false dichotomy, you know? So, you’re what you’re saying is that, you know, don’t be so intent on copying somebody else, but at the same time, realize that your, you, as a concept are quite malleable.

I guess I’ll have to quote the great Bruce Lee be like water, right. Eh, when it’s in a cup, it becomes a cup. When it’s, you know, it’s in the stream, it becomes a stream and, and understanding that you, as a concept could be molded but at the same time, you know, your nature is water.

Right, for example, uh, and you’re never going to be anything else, but water and, and I think that that’s finding that balance. those are very wise words, I suppose. It’s very, very difficult to, uh, necessarily grasp without experiencing it for yourself. so [00:12:00] I’m going to toss you one more question on this particular one.

Um, how did you find out that you’re malleable? At what point do you

realize that you have potential for that growth outside of who you think you were?

[00:12:11] Megumi Miki: Um, I think one good

exercise you can do to remind yourself how malleable you are is, think about yourself 10, 20 years ago and see what’s different about you. And there’s just so many things that could be different about you. You know, um, 20 years ago, when I started facilitating groups that I was a nervous wreck.

I didn’t know how to really connect with the group. And I just felt really anxious. And I was worried about what words I was going to say, and now I feel so much more comfortable it’s chalk and cheese. I love connecting with people and really having a conversation rather than teaching or facilitating in quotation marks.

So, you know, it’s a very different sort of, um, and that’s based on skill that I developed and also just practice and experience. And so, if you think about something that you can see [00:13:00] that you’ve grown in your skill or ability, then you can absolutely say that you’re malleable. So, what actually I talk about in my programs, the two things that I teach is one is to appreciate yourself fully.

So, there’s some natural tendencies that we. That if you appreciate it, then you can really amplify who you are more than anything else. And that way you really value what you’ve got. But then you can add things on top. Yeah. So, they can always add things on top of their skills and behaviors. You can add on top and that’s different from feeling like you’re flawed, and you have to fix yourself.

And so, you’re changing yourself in order to fix yourself. To me, that’s very different. So that’s why I talk about, appreciate yourself fully. And then adapt to purposefully and adapt in a way that’s meaningful. Not because somebody else told you to

[00:13:52] Jeffery Wang: and the nuance is really the key. Isn’t it? It’s understanding. well, fundamentally who you are. and not [00:14:00] trying to make you something that’s fundamentally different, but at the same time, understanding what you can improve on yourself in order to fulfill your purpose.

[00:14:10] Megumi Miki: In a way it’s, it’s adding more than improving actually. Cause improves sounds like you still had to fix something. Um, but yeah, like even some of the quieter people who’ve come to my programs who would be very quiet in meetings and that’s okay. But if he could add a few skills where they could think of ideas, listen, really intently, think of ideas and speak up.

Then that’s an additional skill because they’re already listening, but you’re just adding the speaking part.

[00:14:35] Jeffery Wang: I love that. So, adding and enhancing, um, your yourself rather than fixing yourself.

So, lesson, number two, and we’re already into quite deep, uh, thinking concepts are loving it.

[00:14:45] Lesson 3:    Racism, sexism, other marginalising forces are real, but you can choose not to be a victim to them

[00:14:45] Jeffery Wang: So, number three in, and I’m sure you’ve, have taken a public position on these, these things, and lesson, number three, racism, sexism, and other marginalizing forces are real.

But you can choose not to be a victim to them. [00:15:00] I like, I liked that because this goes against, I suppose, conventional wisdom out there, where there’s a lot of voices out there complaining about all sorts of things that are the injustices that are being perpetrated out there. Um, so, take me through this. How did you come to this realization?

[00:15:17] Megumi Miki: so, I have to say it is real and I can, um, I don’t know if you saw my recent post, actually. I think he did, about, girls and women in, uh, international women’s day breakfast, where we did this standing, sitting exercise and the guts of it is that there are many women girls and children and, and probably men as well, who’ve been sexually abused or harassed or any sort of, unwanted harassment and, uh, very few reported and even fewer get justice.

So that, that was the guts of the, the session. And so, it exists, absolutely exists. But the thing is if we allow that situation and internalize that and go [00:16:00] well because I’m a woman. And particularly for me, I often used to think to myself because I’m an Asian woman. I won’t be listened to. I wear be taken seriously.

I’ll never be able to run a business because people won’t buy my services, et cetera, et cetera, then I would have never done it. So, the reason why this came up is it’s interesting. I was working with a colleague who was a white male. And he said to me, I notice you say this a lot. Like, I I’d say things like, oh, you know, they won’t listen to me or, you know, maybe this isn’t good enough to share or whatever.

Some of those sort of disempowering language. And he sort of probed me a little bit deeper and I said, oh, you know, you know, we were, we are in a white society or male-dominated generally in the business world and it’s more difficult for me. And, uh and he said, Yeah, true. But do you have to believe that and behave as if that’s true versus can you [00:17:00] behave as if it’s not true knowing that it is true?

If that makes sense. It’s really difficult to do, but if you could behave in a way that is, is not true in the sense that it doesn’t have to affect you, then you actually do things that you might not have.

[00:17:15] Jeffery Wang: and get the results that you don’t expect

[00:17:16] Megumi Miki: Yes sometimes. And actually, you can

be prepared as well. So that’s the other part, if you know that it’s real, but if you can act anyway, so it’s a little bit like, feel the fear and do it anyway. That’s a book by Susan Jeffers. so, you feel it, but you still do it anyway, then you’re actually yeah. Achieve things that you might not have or you’re well prepared for it.

So have a really good example of that. I had, um, a co-facilitation gig with a senior executive team with a white American guy. And, um, and w it was with a very male-dominated senior executive team in a large organization. So, you can imagine, you know, I think there was one woman in the group and [00:18:00] white as well.

Anyway, so we walked in and, the session began and the very first thing, the head of the team said to the group was, uh, he said straight to the, my colleague I’ll call him John. he said to John, John, you know, what you need to understand about this team is, and never looked at me at all. And so, I was going great, but I was well prepared for it.

So, if I wind back about a day before that, I said to John, you know, we’re going into the senior executive team. They’re pretty white male oriented. And, you know, in the past, what I have experienced is that sometimes they don’t listen to me, or they don’t actually talk to me, or they ignore me or whatever.

So just, you know, just keep an eye on that in case. And John said to me, oh, that doesn’t happen anymore. Does it? But I warned him. I just said, you know, just in case, just keep in mind. And so, when it happened within the first five minutes, he picked it up, he picked it up and. Swung over the [00:19:00] chair and said, what do you think Megumi? To really include me in that conversation.

And so, and so from there, so from there, it was absolutely fine. We just had a very normal conversation. Everybody was involved. I was involved. So, so knowing that it exists really helps you to prepare, but also act as if for you, if it’s not. So, you actually do things that you may not otherwise.

[00:19:24] Jeffery Wang: take two, two concepts out of that. Um, the first one being sort of pay attention to is what you see the most is kind of like, don’t think about a pink elephant and the more you think about it, the more you exist. yes, of course these, these forces are real, but to what extent does it affect you, depending on how much you pay attention to it.

And, you know, we do create our own realities. Um, and the more we do that, the more we see things in that frame, the more of a prison we build for ourselves. And so, to free ourselves from that is the key, But I also see, uh, the point that you made before that to have a strategy, even though you are aware of it, uh, to have a strategy around [00:20:00] it.

Now I used to, I used to have to go down to, um, the regional areas as part of my sales job. When, when I was a young salesperson. Coming up the ranks. and I had a colleague with me, um, who, you know, male and white and, and it was really interesting and similar sort of experience here. No idea.

When we marched into a meeting there, they just assumed he was the account manager, Um, and I was the technical guy. often, I, I exploit that to my advantage because, you know, if, if a techie says, yes, it must be, it must be trusted. Right. Um, there’s no ulterior motive involved. but in that particular instance, To assert my authority.

 and so, as a technique, I worked out humour was very important in the Australian culture. Uh, just walked in, cracked a joke. unfortunately, it’s a racist joke. I can’t repeat in here, uh, in this podcast, but what it did was it just sent two messages very quickly in parallel. One, one is that, you know, I own the room, I control the flow of that conversation.

Uh, and secondly, that I [00:21:00] had a sense of.

And I, I wasn’t all that different to you, even though you may not see as many Asian people in executive positions, uh, you know, down where we’re gone. And so very quickly that broke the ice. Um, and that was a strategy that I devised now. do you have any advice on how we can build such strategies?

If you are someone that has experienced all this, bias coming up the ranks?

[00:21:24] Megumi Miki: I think getting support around you is helpful. So as my story was very much about that, to let people know that there’s a possibility that some of these things can happen. So, build some allies. So that that can be very helpful. I love your humour one. also, I think if you can be, I love this phrase, expect the best and be prepared for the worst in going into any situation.

So, if you go in expecting everything’s going to be great. Then you’re not going to pay too much attention to little minor things, but if it does happen, if something does happen, be able to [00:22:00] either crack a joke or have something to say, or, for me, uh, if something happens, like, uh, I don’t know, a racist joke or something like that.

Really kind of just, um, just get curious to say, you know, did you really mean that kind of, that, that’s probably my approach actually, when things like that happen

[00:22:23] Jeffery Wang: okay. Is it a sake of just, it comes with experience in gray hair or, I mean, do you have to actively sort of, experiment and acquire those techniques?

[00:22:32] Megumi Miki: I think, um, yeah, it’s probably grey hair.

But I, I have to say I’ve not had as much of those experiences as I let go of the expectation that it could happen in a weird sort of way.

[00:22:46] Jeffery Wang: Okay.

[00:22:47] Megumi Miki: that’s really interesting. And maybe I’m not looking for evidence to see that it’s happening either. So, I just keep on

anyway

[00:22:56] Jeffery Wang: I like where you’re going with it

[00:22:58] Megumi Miki: isn’t that weird

[00:22:59] Jeffery Wang: it’s [00:23:00] yeah. So, the offense is, is there the more you pay attention to it? So really that mindset. So that’s just makes me, okay. So, I’m going to repeat. lesson again.

So, lesson number three is racism, sexism, and other marginalizing forces are real, but you can choose not to be a victim to them.

So that, that is ever more, um, insightful because what you’re basically saying is that the less you pay attention to them, the list power it has on you.

And the more control you actually have over the situation. So, I’d love that because it’s an incredibly empowering message

[00:23:31] Megumi Miki: it’s almost like an energetic shift for me actually. So having spoken that, that incident when I was speaking to my male colleague, um, not John, but the other one who said, you know, I noticed that you say these things a lot when I stopped saying those things to myself and to others. I think energetically, I shifted.

It’s almost like, well, you can think whatever you want, but I’m who I am. And this is who I am, so, too bad.

[00:23:57] Jeffery Wang: Well, poke into that [00:24:00] one a little bit later down the track. I think.

[00:24:01] Lesson 4:    There are no ‘bad’ emotions

[00:24:01] Jeffery Wang: lesson number four, there are no bad emotions. Use them as information again, incredibly insightful.

[00:24:10] Megumi Miki: So, this one’s borrowed from Dr. Susan David’s work of emotional agility. Her book is called Emotional Agility and there are Ted talks and things that she’s done. And I think it’s incredible work that she’s done around, not making emotions wrong. How, how often we talk about negative emotions, is quite unhelpful.

And also, she talks about toxic positivity, how we can get overly positive when things are bad. And that’s not helpful either because you got to lie to yourself and suppressing all those feelings you might have. And I suppose why I thought of that is. I was definitely a, uh, a bottled upper if you want to call it that.

So, whenever I had difficult times, I’d just bottle it all up and it’s, [00:25:00] you know, I had some really challenging times in my growing up, you know, moving around countries and things as well, or being picked on or whatever. So I had very difficult times, but I’ve bottled it up and I’d just go to school and look brave and smile and, you know, keep going And I suppose in a way that was a survival mechanism too, because I didn’t want to be all grumpy and sad and crying and all of that in school because the risk of getting picked on even more would be there. But, um, as I grew up in, as I started doing some personal development work, what happened was all of these emotions came up in tears. It was just crazy. So, the number of years I went through personal development, sessions, I’d cry every single time about things. I’m sad about things. I’m angry about things I’m happy about things, anything. So, it was all bottled up. It just kind of burst out. And now I’ve, I think I’ve settled a little bit more where I can notice my emotions rather than [00:26:00] just everything comes up in tears. so that’s been very helpful because now I can listen to myself a bit more and understand what’s going on and do something about it rather than it all comes up in tears.

And there’s nothing I can do about it. About a control. Basically.

[00:26:15] Jeffery Wang: But, but, okay. So, so does that mean though that you’ve have you processes emotions? Have you let it go or is it just, you know, are you better at handling them? So, so I guess what I’m trying to get at is that I, in what, just becoming more resilient or does, does those emotions stop getting to you anymore?

[00:26:34] Megumi Miki: I think that, yeah, there’s a bit of both isn’t

there. So, I think the gray hair certainly helps in terms of handling

and not allowing those emotions to bother you as much. And I think there’s another lesson coming down the track, which really helps with that. Um, uh, which we’ll talk about later. but also, I’ve gotten better at recognizing and naming them as well.

And that’s helpful. So, I think that this lesson is very much about that. [00:27:00] Being able to, rather than try to squish it down and, uh, and pretend that it’s not there.

[00:27:05] Jeffery Wang: oh, and can I, can I, and as a salesperson, you probably understand where I’m coming from with this question, but does this apply to conversations to, you know, there are no bad conversations, you know, even some conversations you might think is going south and the conflicts, um, But I, I personally believe that those are the necessary conversations for you to work through, to get to a resolution and outcome.

And in fact, you know, the absence of those conversations means you’ll never get to an outcome.

[00:27:32] Megumi Miki: that’s true. Um, I think it sort of relates to this idea of not labelling things as good and bad, positive negative so much. Because that that really polarizes it and it makes things black and white, as opposed to actually some things that feel uncomfortable, like conversations that are difficult or feelings that are difficult to hold.

If you can, rather than label it negative or bad just say, well, it is what it is. And you know, it’s uncomfortable. Then you [00:28:00] have more resources to work with it. I think because as soon as you start to label them as bad or negative you kind of, In a way, shove it away and say, I don’t want to deal with that because it’s bad. And I think conversations are dangerous if you don’t deal with it too. Right? Especially difficult conversations. If you just shove it away, it’s actually unhelpful.

[00:28:19] Jeffery Wang: Yeah. You’re pushing her further down the track and eventually all explodes, but I guess it’s that ability to deal with the world, not being in black and white. And like I said before, you know, I’m sure it’s driving somebody that listens up the wall because I prefer to see the world in black and white, but I’m sensing that there’s a real sort of Yin and Yang, you know, there’s this whole duality view of the world that, you know, I, I suppose my, it might’ve been coming from your upbringing. Might’ve been from a lot of influences growing up that you, you you’re certainly seeing the world in a particular way that. Unfortunately, it just can’t be explained the way making things black and white. So that’s certainly very insightful.

[00:28:57] Lesson 5:    You don’t need to be confident you just need to be brave

[00:28:57] Jeffery Wang: So, lesson number five, [00:29:00] and again, I, I like the word you’re using here. You don’t need to be confident. You just need to be brave.

[00:29:06] Megumi Miki: so, um, this is countering all this advice that women often get, and quieter people often get to say, you need to be more confident.

Because it’s so unhelpful where, you know, I’ve been told that many times to say, you know, Megumi you need to be more confident and I sit there going, you telling me to be more confident it doesn’t help me one little bit, because I feel worse about myself. Cause I, you know, I’m obviously not coming across as confident. So, it’s actually unhelpful. And, what I think I realized over time is that confidence is just an outcome of doing things. You become more confident over time, as opposed to, you need to be confident first to do anything, because if you waited for yourself to be confident or a hundred percent ready, if you like, you’ll never do anything.

Hmm.

[00:29:58] Jeffery Wang: That’s right. I like [00:30:00] the, I like the subtle nuance between being confident and being brave. All right. The, um, confidence suggests that you feel, good.

[00:30:08] Megumi Miki: Hmm.

[00:30:09] Jeffery Wang: being brave doesn’t mean that you don’t have fear. It’s just you do it in spite of the fear. And I think you, you said before, you know, feel the fear and do it anyway.

It’s understanding that concept more than feeling like, you know, you’re, you’re on top of the world. and I, I suppose, you know, being brave is a prerequisite to being confident.

[00:30:27] Megumi Miki: Yeah, definitely. so again, Dr. Susan David’s work is really helpful here. She says that courage is fear walking. So actually it’s, uh, you know, when we talk about people who are courageous, it’s often people who are doing things, even with all the fear and anxiety that’s present, if they’re all confident and, you know, going ahead and doing things, that’s not courage.

Because they’re just doing things that they’re comfortable with. They’re staying in their comfort zone.

[00:30:57] Jeffery Wang: Oh, that is So true. But I [00:31:00] guess we have to ask the question, like, how do you, how do you, find courage?

[00:31:03] Megumi Miki: Hmm. Yeah. So, I think that comes back to some of the other lessons about, um, who do you want to become? And what’s your purpose of becoming who you want to become? So, if there’s something that’s a bit beyond you, you’re the little you, then that actually takes you out as well, which is, is another lesson down the track.

[00:31:24] Lesson 6:    Learn from masters and find the master in you

[00:31:24] Jeffery Wang: Sounds good. So, lesson number six, learn from masters and find the master in you.

[00:31:31] Megumi Miki: yeah. So, this is probably a more recent, lessons that I’ve learned which is I’ve done a lot of personal development, professional development. And I like, I’m a course, junkie, so I do lots of courses. and also, I love Star Wars as you do. So, Yoda was one of my teachers that I wrote down that, you know, there’s so many wise words that he says, and I used to look up to him and look up to my teachers.

I look up to the, all these amazing authors who write books. [00:32:00] Like I’ve talked about Susan David I’ve also. Uh, love work of Brené Brown and Adam Grant and all these people. So, I used to look up to them like, oh, that’s amazing. I really want to learn that and incorporate that in my life. but what I’ve realized is if you just passively absorbed the teachers’ knowledge and wisdom, you’re not making it yours, if you like.

And so, what I’ve started doing more and more is to listen to them and really understand them and try them out and things like that. But then ask myself a question. What do I think of it? And it just adds a little bit, and I might still say, I totally agree with it, but at least if you ask the question, then you make it yours I find.

[00:32:44] Jeffery Wang: So, when you say find the master in you. It’s not a, it’s not sort of your own mastery of the craft, but it’s more sort of your interpretation.

[00:32:54] Megumi Miki: Yeah, interpretation of it and how you make use of it. [00:33:00] So rather than just, you know, you sometimes go to a course and you, you just follow that. the process that they give you and it’s not always helpful. So, I just really thinking, okay, that’s a really useful process or that’s a useful lesson and go, well, what do I think of it?

And how can I make the most of that? So, so I find that more recent courses I’ve done, I’ve done that, and I found that it’s more meaningful to me that way to say, well, what does it mean for me? What, what do I think of that? And it also sparks creative ideas as well because I’ve learnt something new, but then I’m integrating it with my own experience and my own knowledge.

[00:33:36] Jeffery Wang: Yeah, because if you can’t, if you can’t make it your own, then knowledge is just information really. it’s making it into a useful insight so that you. grapple with it and apply it in your life. So, yeah, definitely that. I agree with that.

[00:33:53] Lesson 7:    A ‘bigger than self’ purpose and meaning makes what appears impossible possible

[00:33:53] Jeffery Wang: Lesson number seven, a bigger than self-purpose and meaning make the impossible possible.

[00:33:59] Megumi Miki: So that’s [00:34:00] the lesson I think, relates to the question you had before, you know, how do you become brave and how do you have the courage to do things you’re afraid of doing? I think. most people who’ve done amazing things have done things for a purpose that’s greater than themselves. And I’m sure you can think of lots of leaders to change makers who’ve done that. And I’m not saying I’m a huge change maker, but even just going into my own business, I just had to have something big, bigger than just me and making money or, you know, that sort of thing. Otherwise, I would have just played really small or not even done it actually. If I really thought about some of the work, I’m doing now about really challenging the notion of what good leadership looks like to me, I might not actually achieve that, but at least if I can chomp at the edges and create some change, then I feel that that’s worth doing.

And if it’s worth doing it’s worth me feeling uncomfortable and having a go at something, [00:35:00] does that make sense

[00:35:01] Jeffery Wang: So basically, what you need is it’s something other than yourself. And I think it speaks to something much, much deeper within every one of us that we’re deeply motivated, by, I guess our purpose comes from our contribution to others. and that allows us to do great things. You know, when we’re doing something for others, we tend to feel a greater sense of.

well, I suppose a greater sense of motivation, greater sense of courage, uh, in order to do so. I must admit that I did not understand this before I was 30. I didn’t understand in my younger age because everything was about me, me, me. But recently, I, actually observed this happen with my, my own son.

in fact, you know, there was a match where he, he got a bit hurt by, by his opponent in, in, in basketball. and I asked him why, well, why don’t you get angry and, you know, start to, you know, use that as motivation to have a great game, you know, like you did the other game. Oh, he said, well, that’s because the other game, it was my [00:36:00] teammates that I got hurt. that got me angry.

I don’t get angry for myself. I get angry for my teammates. And you ended up winning that game for his teammate. Uh, and I thought, wow, like even that at his age, um, he understands, that it was bigger than himself, you know, that, that gives them that courage and motivation.

So, I thought that was an interesting observation. Deeply embedded encoded into us as people. and, you know, once you realize that is, is actually incredibly powerful, you know, and I often joke, you know, you, you talk about, in Australia we talk about smashing the bamboo ceiling, you know, where the bamboo ceiling is as metaphor, like the glass ceiling, but it easiest for the Asian Australians in, the realms are leadership. And I said, well, well, step one, strap on the C4, because if you ain’t doing it, if you’re not doing it, who is, and I guess for that, I take my hat off to you Megumi in, in, you know, starting that process. I think a lot of what you do there is done with the intent.

Uh, and that’s why you’re so incredibly [00:37:00] effective in, in, in, in, in leading that change. So, Yeah, definitely. I take lesson number seven as proof that your, your, um, living your you’re, the living example of what you. preach.

[00:37:13] Megumi Miki: Same to you though. Jeff, if you think about your Professional Development Forum and things like that, you know, you’re doing it for the greater good and you know, you’ve done amazing things with that. So, I think you’re the same.

[00:37:25] Jeffery Wang: Thank you. I appreciate that.

[00:37:27] Lesson 8:    We are not even a speck of dust in the grand scheme of things

[00:37:27] Jeffery Wang: and moving on to lesson number eight, oh, this is getting very now Lesson number eight. We are not even a speck of dust in the grand scheme of things.

[00:37:37] Megumi Miki: Hmm. Have you ever seen dice videos where it zooms out from, you know, you and then your street and then your city and then your town and then you country, then it comes out to the earth and then all the way out to the universe? It, I just remind myself of that all the time, because. Especially when I’m upset about something or [00:38:00] something’s really difficult or something to just go, you know, it was just such a speck of dust.

It’s not that, that important. and it just helps me. And I think that comes back to some of the questions we talked about earlier about resilience or, you know, not taking yourself too seriously, really helps to, um, overcome some of those times when things are difficult. and, you know, it’s perspective.

So even now, okay. We can complain about the petrol prices going up, but we are not dying in war. So, you know, taking a different perspective, even lockdowns, I found myself telling myself, you know, okay, we are in lockdown at, as you know, I’m in Melbourne. So, we had the longest lockdown in the world. So, um, yes, it, it was challenging, but also, I often used to say, no, it’s not, we’re not in a war.

We can still go to the supermarket and get food. And I think about my mum who was born in 1945. So, you know, she was starving. She was malnourished for [00:39:00] the first 10 years. So, you know, think about that, and go, well, you know, I think we’re fine. So just, um, that helps, I think, you know, not again, not to reject that things are difficult, but it’s just helps me and my state.

[00:39:13] Jeffery Wang: Yeah, definitely. And it just keeps us much more, I suppose, grounded, it keeps us keep things in perspective knowing that yeah, as, as bad as things get, and then often tell myself in the same way, you know, the, the reality is if you zoom out and see yourself, we realize how fortunate we are. you know, being, being born into where we are.

And of course, there are injustices and of course the world could still be better. but at the same time, if you look backwards, you realize like, you know, we’re incredibly fortunate. Sometimes I wonder. and I look at people who are incredibly privileged. and I think you’re, you’re, you know what I mean?

There are certain people where, who complain about the sort of issues that we call first-world problems, and the lack of perspective is what causes your suffering.

Yeah. And, and, but, okay, so, so let’s turn this around then. So how do you [00:40:00] get that perspective? How do you if you find yourself. In that, situation where you feel sorry for yourself, you know, you feel wronged by your circumstance. How do you, how do you get that sense of perspective?

[00:40:12] Megumi Miki: So, this is where I think again, it’s not a black and white, so I’m sure I go to frustrate some of your listeners, because most of the things we’ve talked about today is not, I’m trying to get away from black and white. I think when you are suffering, you do need to acknowledge that you are suffering and, you know, notice the feelings and all that, which I talked about earlier.

but at the same time, if you can just watch one of those videos where you zoom out and go into the universe. And you’re this little speck of dust that you can’t even see on the screen just to realize. because I know I’ve read of astronauts, who’ve gone out into space and looked back at earth and how, you know, they see the blue dot.

How transformed they are in that moment. So, imagine being an astronaut and just, you know, use your imagination to, to change that [00:41:00] perspective. So, I think that fluidity in being able to think and take different perspectives is very helpful in terms of your resilience and, how you handle things. Having said that you also don’t want to do that and squash the emotion and say that it doesn’t exist either.

So again, it’s a bit of both, but, um, yeah, hopefully, that is helpful.

[00:41:23] Jeffery Wang: Absolutely. And finding that balance is the wisdom. Isn’t it?

[00:41:26] Lesson 9:    Get comfortable with solitude

[00:41:26] Jeffery Wang: So, lesson number nine now, uh, I don’t know if I completely agree with this, but, uh, you said that we need to get comfortable with solitude. Now I can certainly understand solitude’s important, as an introvert, but what if your, what if you’re someone that loves being around people?

[00:41:43] Megumi Miki: no, I, I, it’s not saying you should be in solitude forever. That’s not the message. It’s the idea of getting comfortable with solitude. So, if you’re somebody who loves being around people.

To take moments where you do have [00:42:00] some solitude and it’s, you know, it doesn’t have to be long. but if you can get more comfortable with solitude, I do think that that gives you, that stillness and centeredness, if you like, and that, that gives you that comfort in self, which actually allows you to connect with people more authentically.

I find because if you’re not comfortable with yourself, It’s hard to be comfortable with others because you’re always having to either adapt or, or behave in certain ways that that works with other people. So, it comes back to being comfortable with self, and I do think that being in solitude helps you to do that.

[00:42:37] Jeffery Wang: And I think for some extroverts, it’s almost a curse because their sense of identity of self comes from the, I suppose a reflection of how they seem by others. So

[00:42:50] Megumi Miki: Yeah.

[00:42:50] Jeffery Wang: so, it’s like, you know, if they don’t have the respect admiration of others, um, they, they almost lose that sense of self.

So, I can [00:43:00] see your point about getting comfortable with solitude. So, it’s having that center, whether or not other people recognize it. you know, it’s, it’s like being a genius, you know, a hundred years ahead of time and people not recognizing your genius, you know, it can be quite lonely, but a genius is still a genius, even if nobody recognizes the genius.

And so, you know, that, that is, I suppose that’s easier said than done because we’re all, tribal creatures, you know, we, we need, you know, we, we need, our tribe. We need our, uh, our people to agree with us. but yeah, I can send the, understand that

[00:43:33] Megumi Miki: yeah, so I think I’m some extroverts aren’t, always like that, the way that you described it too. And I think it’s partially because they’ve learned to get comfortable with it with themselves. And I do think it’s things like meditation and stillness and, and really being with yourself that helps people to do that.

So, say, if I’m meditating, if I’m being in myself with insiders, [00:44:00] then I don’t actually have to be anything, do anything, or I’d have to adapt to anything I’m just being, just being. And, uh, and if you can let go of some of the worry about the anxieties and not adapting to anybody else worrying about what other people think, all of those things, even if it’s for a moment of, I don’t know, a minute. still worthwhile Because you’ve kind of like, come, come back to yourself if you like.

[00:44:26] Jeffery Wang: So, it’s almost like practicing that mindfulness I think a lot of it is, is actually, how much control over your mind that you have?

[00:44:34] Megumi Miki: And again, not easy, but it’s worthwhile the practice because then you can really be much more yourself.

[00:44:40] Jeffery Wang: Cool. Now I can see a funny lesson coming up, but before I jump into that, though, I’ll throw you another curve ball is a lesson that you have unlearned. So, these are, these are sort of things that you held to be ironclad truths. When you started out your career, you know, when you’re in your twenties, um, that later you found out that just wasn’t the case, I’m guessing there’ll be [00:45:00] quite a few of these things.

[00:45:01] Megumi Miki: I’m sure there will be lots and lots of things. So, the, the lesson that I talked about earlier about, uh, you’re not who you think you are is probably the one that comes to mind where I might have thought that I’m, a, you know, a quiet, shy person that, um, don’t disagree with anybody and don’t ruffle feathers and things like that.

But I’ve unlearned a bit of that because I realized I can be a little bit stubborn about things I can be quite independent as well. So, I’ve covered some things that, uh, I didn’t realize I could amplify. So yeah, just unlearning some of what I thought was about me. And I think that’s been quite helpful as well.

And actually, if you look back all the way back to some of my younger years, some of the signs of my stubbornness and independence are definitely there.

So, it’s definitely been part of me. It’s just that I covered it up out of survival. So, unlearning that survival [00:46:00] mechanism has been very helpful.

[00:46:02] Jeffery Wang: so, I could relate it to another lesson that we’ve had in the past, which is, um, removing the mask. I think, you know, masking and, you know, as we grow up, as, as we learn sort of our place in the world, we, we put on this mask, like you said, protection, survival, whatever it is. But I think as you get older, the removal of that mask actually allows you to live a much more happier and authentic life. Um, and I think that’s incredibly important.

[00:46:30] Lesson 10:  Siberian cats are the best

[00:46:30] Jeffery Wang: Okay. Now, um, I liked the last one and uh, I’m, I’m, I’m assuming this is just a bit of fun. but, uh, lesson number 10, Siberian cats are the best.

[00:46:40] Megumi Miki: it is for fun. I, just thought, you know, all the others were quite deeply meaningful and philosophical. So, I thought I’d just jump back.

So, I’ve had my Siberian cats for just over a year. And, um, so I love the beautiful, beautiful cats because, um, they are [00:47:00] sometimes like dogs and sometimes like cats, And sometimes like lions and sometimes like humans, they’re just amazing.

And, um, uh, for those of you who don’t know, Siberian cats have a very low, um, it’s a hypoallergenic cat as well. So, it means if people visit and they’re allergic to cats, they don’t have to worry. I can sometimes have a bit of hay fever, so, um, I was a little bit worried and, you know, I’ve had no problems at all.

Um, but, uh, you know, one of them is called Olly. He plays, he plays fetch just like a dog and you don’t expect that of cats.

I throw this little call up the stairs and he’ll go and get it and bring it back and drop it in front of me and things like that. Uh, it’s just, um, yeah, just giving me a lot of joy and fun and some babies to look after now that my daughter’s a teenager and she doesn’t want to see me that much.

[00:47:56] Jeffery Wang: well, you’ve got to appreciate the simple pleasures in life.

[00:47:59] Megumi Miki: That’s [00:48:00] That’s it.

[00:48:01] Jeffery Wang: Yeah. Yeah. And so, thank you for those lessons. And as I expected your, you know, your lessons are nuanced, they’re deep they’re philosophical uh, then they’re certainly not black and white. Uh, I’ve really enjoyed this conversation and, uh, appreciate, you for the work that you do, but also to share this wisdom with our audience. So, thank you very much Megumi.

[00:48:22] Megumi Miki: Thank you so much. Jeffery it’s been great to talk with you. Um, given you, you sort of explored these together with me, so that’s been great thank you.

[00:48:30] Jeffery Wang: Thank you. And we’ll finish on that note. You’ve been listening to the podcast 10 lessons it took me 50 years to learn where we dispense wisdom for career, business, and life. Our guest today has been Megumi Miki sharing, the 10 lessons it took her 50 years to learn. This episode is produced by Robert Hossary sponsored by the professional development forum, which offers webinars, insights, community discussions, podcasts, events, and the best part. It’s all free. You can find them online at [00:49:00] www.Professionaldevelopmentforum.org. Don’t forget to leave us a review or comments. You can even email us at podcast@10lessonslearned.com. Podcasts at number one, zero lessons learned.com. Go ahead and hit that subscribe button so that you don’t miss an episode of the on the podcast that makes the world a little wiser lesson by lesson.

Thanks for listening and stay safe, everyone.

 This episode is produced by Robert Hossary. Sponsored as always by Professional Development Forum, which office insights, community or discussions, podcasts, parties, anything you want here, but they’re unique and it’s all free online. You can find the www.professionaldevelopmentforum.org you’ve heard from us we’d like to hear from you. Email us it’s podcast@10lessonslearned.com that’s podcast, 10 number one zero, lessons learned.com. Remember, this is the podcast the only podcast. That’s makes the world wiser lesson by lesson.

 
Megumi_Miki

Megumi Miki – Fitting in is overrated but standing out can be hard work

Megumi Miki tells us why " Fitting in is overrated", why " There are no ‘bad’ emotions", and why you should " Get comfortable with solitude" and other lessons it took me 50 Years to Learn. Hosted by Jeffery Wang.

About Megumi Miki

Megumi Miki is an author, speaker, coach and consultant in leadership, culture, diversity and inclusion, with a background in strategy, economics and finance. She helps organisations to challenge the status quo, exceed their goals and keep learning by unlocking the hidden potential in their culture, leadership and individuals.

Megumi brings together her 20+ years’ experience and practical knowledge of business strategy, finance, leadership, organisational development and culture change. She has worked within large organisations such as Accenture, ANZ Bank, National Australia Bank as well as consulted to a range of organisations in the Corporate, SMEs, NFP and Government sectors. She also draws on her life experience – moving countries multiple times as a child, being on the ‘outer’, her Japanese and Australian upbringing, her own successes and challenges.

She is the author of Start inspiring, stop driving: Unlock your team’s potential to outperform and grow and Quietly Powerful: How your quiet nature is your hidden leadership strength. The Quietly Powerful book received the Australian Career Book Award for 2020 from RSA Oceania and Best Leadership Book of 2020 from the Australian Business Book Awards.

In the uncertain, changing, global and inter-connected world, Megumi believes that the ‘alpha’ or ‘hero’ leadership style alone is outdated and inadequate. Quietly Powerful expands the definition of what good leadership looks, sounds and feels like and empowers quieter professionals and those outside majority groups to fulfil their leadership potential.

Megumi is passionate about empowering people and groups of people who feel disempowered and on the ‘outer’ to have a voice and lead. Her passion is underpinned by her belief that these quieter, marginalised and/or under-recognised voices are critical for organisations to innovate and evolve in a changing, volatile world and for solving the big challenges in the world today.

Megumi lives in Melbourne, Australia and keeps busy as a ‘dance mum’ to a teenage daughter who trains in ballet and has two fur babies, Prim and Ollie who are Siberian kittens.

Episode Notes

Lesson 1. Fitting in is overrated but standing out can be hard work 05:16
Lesson 2. Don’t try and be somebody else but also don’t get too attached to who you think you are 09:08
Lesson 3. Racism, sexism, other marginalising forces are real but you can choose not to be a victim to them 14:45
Lesson 4. There are no ‘bad’ emotions. Notice your emotions and use them as information. It helps you to work through discomfort – which we all need more. 24:01
Lesson 5. You don’t need to be confident you just need to be brave 28:57
Lesson 6. Learn from masters and find the master in you 31:24
Lesson 7. A ‘bigger than self’ purpose and meaning makes what appears impossible possible 33:53
Lesson 8. We are not even a speck of dust in the grand scheme of things… Keep humble keep curious keep learning, not take ourselves too seriously 37:27
Lesson 9. Get comfortable with solitude – 41:26
Lesson 10. Siberian cats are the best. 46:30

Megumi Miki – Fitting in is overrated but standing out can be hard work

[00:00:00]

[00:00:08] Jeffery Wang: Hello and welcome to the podcast. 10 lessons. It took me 50 years to learn where we talk to inspirational leaders from all over the world to dispense wisdom for career, business, and life in order to provide you our listeners shortcuts to excellence. My name is Jeffrey Wang, the founder of professional development forum and your host today.

This podcast is sponsored by the professional development forum, which helps diverse young professionals of any age. Find fulfillment in the modern workplace. Today we’re joined by Megumi Miki. McGee is an author, speaker and consultant in leadership, culture, diversity, and inclusion.

With over 20 years’ experience in strategy leadership, economics, and finance. She helps organizations unlock the hidden potential in their people, culture, and leadership. She has worked within large organizations, such as Accenture ANZ [00:01:00] Bank. National Australia Bank, as well as consulted to corporate, not for profits and government sectors.

She’s the author of Start Inspiring, Stop Driving, unlock your team’s potential to outperform and grow. And Quietly Powerful how your quiet nature is your hidden leadership strength, Quietly Powerful received the Australian career book award for 2020 and the best leadership book of 2020 from the Australian business book awards.

In the uncertain, changing global and interconnected world. Megumi believes that the alpha or hero leadership start alone is outdated and inadequate, Quietly Powerful expands the definition of what good leadership looks sounds and feels like. And in palace quieter professionals and those outside majority groups to fulfill their leadership potential.

 Megumi is passionate about empowering people who feel disempowered and on the outer to have a voice and lead. Drawing [00:02:00] on her own life experience with Japanese, Australian heritage, moving countries multiple times, and always feeling like an outsider.

Her passion is underpinned by her belief that these quieter marginalized and or under-recognized voices are critical for organizations to innovate and evolve, to solve the biggest problems in the volatile and uncertain world today. Megumi lives in Melbourne, Australia, a dedicated dance mom to her teenage daughter in ballet.

Welcome. Megumi

[00:02:30] Megumi Miki: Thank you Jeffery nice to be here.

[00:02:32] Jeffery Wang: Well, thanks for joining us today. Now. I know your teenage daughter is not quite there yet, but I’m just going to throw you a quick curve ball this morning., what advice would you give to your 30-year-old self?

[00:02:43] Megumi Miki: yeah, my 30-year-old self I had at my semi midlife crisis. At that time, I was working in a consulting firm, and I just really didn’t like where I was. Um, moved into finance. I still didn’t like where I was. And it was like, what is my life about? So, it [00:03:00] was quite a crisis moment, but luckily, I stumbled across some interesting work in cultural change and leadership and, and I just felt, wow, you know, it’s something I really would love to do.

And I think, the biggest thing that I did that I appreciate and learn from is that I, I just went. You know, rather than thinking, oh, but you know, I should be doing this sort of, professional, analytical type of work. And, you know, I, there was a bit of an unknown for me going into leadership and organizational culture work, but I thought not just do it.

And so, yeah, that will be, that will be my, lesson about 30 years old.

[00:03:34] Jeffery Wang: Wow. So literally back yourself, just do it

[00:03:37] Megumi Miki: Yeah.

absolutely

[00:03:38] Jeffery Wang: Wow. And how did you, how did you find that courage though? I mean, up to that point, I’d imagine, you know, being similar to myself, you know, being a, a good sort of, professional with an Asian Australian background, uh, you would have been told to follow the, the safe path rather than yeah.

Follow your passions. Yeah. So how did you, how’d you overcome that sort of programming

[00:03:59] Megumi Miki: Yeah, [00:04:00] I think there were multiple things. One was that I was miserable for one. So, I just thought, you know, I can’t keep going like this. This is just, um, you know, too difficult. But also, I was very fortunate that at the time I was sent to a workshop, which was very much about personal development and I, so I discovered a bit more about myself and I thought wow there’s a, an aspect of myself that I didn’t realize I had, and I just fell in love with that discovery process and a whole lot of things that we did. And I thought, oh, if I can help others to do that, that will be an incredible thing to do. So, yeah, it was just the push and the pull. If you like that got me over the line.

[00:04:39] Jeffery Wang: Which is a great story to tell it. And I love how you are sharing a lot of that with the community around you and like with or introverts and the quiet ones. I think Megumi absolutely undersells her herself in terms of her achievements in terms of what you’ve done. Um, but I’m absolutely inspired by what you’re able to share [00:05:00] with the community.

The mission that you’re pursuing in terms of redefining, what great leadership looks like. So well done on that. And, uh, and I’m sure as we explore your lessons, uh, there will be a lot of those values that will flow through.

[00:05:13] Megumi Miki: Absolutely. No, thank you appreciate that.

[00:05:16] Lesson 1: Fitting in is overrated but standing out can be hard work

[00:05:16] Jeffery Wang: All right. That’s just jumped straight into it. Then. Lesson. Number one is fitting in is so overrated, but standing out can be hard work. Can you tell us a bit more about this one?

[00:05:26] Megumi Miki: So, I spent a whole lot of my first half of my life trying to fit in because I always stood out. I was the only Asian kid in a Japanese school in Australia for a number of years. And then I’d go back to Japan, and I’d be the only Japanese kid who’s lived overseas. And so, I stood out so everywhere I went, I stood out.

So, I tried everything to try to fit in. So, for instance, um, I remember in Japan sometimes, that they’d as you would in any school, you do tests and things like that. And if I did really well, I’d never tell anybody [00:06:00] because I didn’t want to stand out and I didn’t want to stand up for positive reasons. And I didn’t understand that for negative reasons.

So, I just tried to blend in as a survival mechanism, but it’s so overrated because when you think about it, it’s exhausting to try and fit in. Cause you’re trying to adapt in every situation. And if you try and fit into one group, then you don’t fit into another group. So, if I tried to fit in, in the Japanese schools, then I’d really stand out in an Australian context if I try and fit into an Australian context.

I don’t fit in to Japanese context and you know, many other sort of groupings, if you like, so just adapting is just exhausting. So, it’s really overrated from that perspective. But also, if you think about, you know, now that are more in the business world, we often talk about differentiating and standing out and actually fitting in doesn’t serve you at all.

So, so that’s really something I’ve learned over time, but then, then on the flip side, standing out, it’s exhausting because you [00:07:00] attract attention and you can also attract criticism or judgment. Um, whenever you try and stand for something, you you’ve got to expect that, and that can be really exhausting too.

And, you know, I have heard my fair share of criticisms around quietly baffled to some people talking about why, why I’m talking about that. And it doesn’t make sense or whatever. So, yeah, so it can be, can be tiring. So, it’s finding that balance.

[00:07:23] Jeffery Wang: Oh, absolutely. And, and I, I agree with that. having personal experience, trying to fit in, you know, I like you, I, I spent all my life trying to. fade into the background so that I won’t get noticed, you know, I’ve had that experience being the first Asian kid in school or second, you know, the first one was mostly my older sister.

and I understand why we have this desire to fit in. You know, it’s just our tribal instincts, I suppose. because we, we, we want to protect ourselves from standing out. Um, however, He’s a whole other journey on its own because as you discover who you are, you realize you have no choice, but to stand out and, you know, when you truly believe in something different.

[00:08:00] My question to you though, is there an answer, is it finding the balance or is it just becoming comfortable being uncomfortable by standing out?

What, what is your advice there?

[00:08:10] Megumi Miki: Um, but there’s definitely getting comfortable with which standing out or we’re just comfortable with yourself enough to be okay with criticism and things like that. But why I say it’s about us is I think if you went too far, it can actually put people off. Yeah. So, so I think that’s where my balance comes in.

So, if I went off and said, Everyone should appreciate quieter people and, you know, forget louder people and things that he put people off who put people off, or they, you know, not so quiet and that’s not the intent. Right. So, I suppose that’s where the balance idea comes from.

[00:08:47] Jeffery Wang: Yeah. And also, without being hypocritical, right? I mean, the fact is you’re, what you’re trying to say is that there is value in quite leadership, but if you have to bash people on the head with it, if you have to become a, [00:09:00] an absolute extrovert and screaming on their megaphones to make that happen, then you’re not really being authentic to yourself.

[00:09:06] Megumi Miki: Yeah, that’s a fine balance there.

[00:09:08] Lesson 2:    Don’t try and be somebody else but also don’t get too attached to who you think you are

[00:09:08] Jeffery Wang: Beautiful and lesson number two, don’t try and be somebody else, but also don’t get too attached to who you think you are, or that’s a, that’s quite a, quite a few concepts that unpack there. Uh, can you take us through this?

[00:09:23] Megumi Miki: Sure. So don’t try to be somebody else, which I think often people talk about, you know, be authentic and find your, your, true self and, um, bring your whole self to work and take her home. Again, all of those phrases I think are, uh, very true and it’s been true for me, and it’s been true for my work around Quietly Powerful, but what I think is dangerous about that is if you just sat down and said, no, this is just me and take it or leave it.

You can really limit, yourself, Because oftentimes who we believe we are, is a version of us that includes a lot of [00:10:00] conditioning, the way we’ve been brought up and all sorts of internalized messages. And it’s not always who we could become. And so, I think if we had a bit more aspiration about who do we want to become and who, who will we becoming?

Then we really shouldn’t get so attached to who we think we are. So, if I thought about, you know, times when I have been very quiet and really fitting in and, you know, not making any sort of noise to upset people and things like that, I could just tell myself, you know, I’m a polite, very civil kind of person that doesn’t ruffle feathers and things like that.

I can tell myself that’s who I am. But then if I’m trying to convince people or something, a different idea, then you may need to ruffle some feathers as we were talking about before. And if I just held onto that identity of not ruffling feathers, then that can be quite limiting also. So that’s what I mean by, you know, don’t get too [00:11:00] attached.

[00:11:00] Jeffery Wang: So, there’s the irony. And I think it’s going to be quite funny because I think by the, by, by now, trying to hold these two concepts at the same time in your head is going to drive some of our listeners up the wall going, well, what exactly, what do we do? You know, are we trying to be somebody else or are we always trying not, what I’m reading between the lines is that you’re saying that’s a bit of a false dichotomy, you know? So, you’re what you’re saying is that, you know, don’t be so intent on copying somebody else, but at the same time, realize that your, you, as a concept are quite malleable.

I guess I’ll have to quote the great Bruce Lee be like water, right. Eh, when it’s in a cup, it becomes a cup. When it’s, you know, it’s in the stream, it becomes a stream and, and understanding that you, as a concept could be molded but at the same time, you know, your nature is water.

Right, for example, uh, and you’re never going to be anything else, but water and, and I think that that’s finding that balance. those are very wise words, I suppose. It’s very, very difficult to, uh, necessarily grasp without experiencing it for yourself. so [00:12:00] I’m going to toss you one more question on this particular one.

Um, how did you find out that you’re malleable? At what point do you

realize that you have potential for that growth outside of who you think you were?

[00:12:11] Megumi Miki: Um, I think one good

exercise you can do to remind yourself how malleable you are is, think about yourself 10, 20 years ago and see what’s different about you. And there’s just so many things that could be different about you. You know, um, 20 years ago, when I started facilitating groups that I was a nervous wreck.

I didn’t know how to really connect with the group. And I just felt really anxious. And I was worried about what words I was going to say, and now I feel so much more comfortable it’s chalk and cheese. I love connecting with people and really having a conversation rather than teaching or facilitating in quotation marks.

So, you know, it’s a very different sort of, um, and that’s based on skill that I developed and also just practice and experience. And so, if you think about something that you can see [00:13:00] that you’ve grown in your skill or ability, then you can absolutely say that you’re malleable. So, what actually I talk about in my programs, the two things that I teach is one is to appreciate yourself fully.

So, there’s some natural tendencies that we. That if you appreciate it, then you can really amplify who you are more than anything else. And that way you really value what you’ve got. But then you can add things on top. Yeah. So, they can always add things on top of their skills and behaviors. You can add on top and that’s different from feeling like you’re flawed, and you have to fix yourself.

And so, you’re changing yourself in order to fix yourself. To me, that’s very different. So that’s why I talk about, appreciate yourself fully. And then adapt to purposefully and adapt in a way that’s meaningful. Not because somebody else told you to

[00:13:52] Jeffery Wang: and the nuance is really the key. Isn’t it? It’s understanding. well, fundamentally who you are. and not [00:14:00] trying to make you something that’s fundamentally different, but at the same time, understanding what you can improve on yourself in order to fulfill your purpose.

[00:14:10] Megumi Miki: In a way it’s, it’s adding more than improving actually. Cause improves sounds like you still had to fix something. Um, but yeah, like even some of the quieter people who’ve come to my programs who would be very quiet in meetings and that’s okay. But if he could add a few skills where they could think of ideas, listen, really intently, think of ideas and speak up.

Then that’s an additional skill because they’re already listening, but you’re just adding the speaking part.

[00:14:35] Jeffery Wang: I love that. So, adding and enhancing, um, your yourself rather than fixing yourself.

So, lesson, number two, and we’re already into quite deep, uh, thinking concepts are loving it.

[00:14:45] Lesson 3:    Racism, sexism, other marginalising forces are real, but you can choose not to be a victim to them

[00:14:45] Jeffery Wang: So, number three in, and I’m sure you’ve, have taken a public position on these, these things, and lesson, number three, racism, sexism, and other marginalizing forces are real.

But you can choose not to be a victim to them. [00:15:00] I like, I liked that because this goes against, I suppose, conventional wisdom out there, where there’s a lot of voices out there complaining about all sorts of things that are the injustices that are being perpetrated out there. Um, so, take me through this. How did you come to this realization?

[00:15:17] Megumi Miki: so, I have to say it is real and I can, um, I don’t know if you saw my recent post, actually. I think he did, about, girls and women in, uh, international women’s day breakfast, where we did this standing, sitting exercise and the guts of it is that there are many women girls and children and, and probably men as well, who’ve been sexually abused or harassed or any sort of, unwanted harassment and, uh, very few reported and even fewer get justice.

So that, that was the guts of the, the session. And so, it exists, absolutely exists. But the thing is if we allow that situation and internalize that and go [00:16:00] well because I’m a woman. And particularly for me, I often used to think to myself because I’m an Asian woman. I won’t be listened to. I wear be taken seriously.

I’ll never be able to run a business because people won’t buy my services, et cetera, et cetera, then I would have never done it. So, the reason why this came up is it’s interesting. I was working with a colleague who was a white male. And he said to me, I notice you say this a lot. Like, I I’d say things like, oh, you know, they won’t listen to me or, you know, maybe this isn’t good enough to share or whatever.

Some of those sort of disempowering language. And he sort of probed me a little bit deeper and I said, oh, you know, you know, we were, we are in a white society or male-dominated generally in the business world and it’s more difficult for me. And, uh and he said, Yeah, true. But do you have to believe that and behave as if that’s true versus can you [00:17:00] behave as if it’s not true knowing that it is true?

If that makes sense. It’s really difficult to do, but if you could behave in a way that is, is not true in the sense that it doesn’t have to affect you, then you actually do things that you might not have.

[00:17:15] Jeffery Wang: and get the results that you don’t expect

[00:17:16] Megumi Miki: Yes sometimes. And actually, you can

be prepared as well. So that’s the other part, if you know that it’s real, but if you can act anyway, so it’s a little bit like, feel the fear and do it anyway. That’s a book by Susan Jeffers. so, you feel it, but you still do it anyway, then you’re actually yeah. Achieve things that you might not have or you’re well prepared for it.

So have a really good example of that. I had, um, a co-facilitation gig with a senior executive team with a white American guy. And, um, and w it was with a very male-dominated senior executive team in a large organization. So, you can imagine, you know, I think there was one woman in the group and [00:18:00] white as well.

Anyway, so we walked in and, the session began and the very first thing, the head of the team said to the group was, uh, he said straight to the, my colleague I’ll call him John. he said to John, John, you know, what you need to understand about this team is, and never looked at me at all. And so, I was going great, but I was well prepared for it.

So, if I wind back about a day before that, I said to John, you know, we’re going into the senior executive team. They’re pretty white male oriented. And, you know, in the past, what I have experienced is that sometimes they don’t listen to me, or they don’t actually talk to me, or they ignore me or whatever.

So just, you know, just keep an eye on that in case. And John said to me, oh, that doesn’t happen anymore. Does it? But I warned him. I just said, you know, just in case, just keep in mind. And so, when it happened within the first five minutes, he picked it up, he picked it up and. Swung over the [00:19:00] chair and said, what do you think Megumi? To really include me in that conversation.

And so, and so from there, so from there, it was absolutely fine. We just had a very normal conversation. Everybody was involved. I was involved. So, so knowing that it exists really helps you to prepare, but also act as if for you, if it’s not. So, you actually do things that you may not otherwise.

[00:19:24] Jeffery Wang: take two, two concepts out of that. Um, the first one being sort of pay attention to is what you see the most is kind of like, don’t think about a pink elephant and the more you think about it, the more you exist. yes, of course these, these forces are real, but to what extent does it affect you, depending on how much you pay attention to it.

And, you know, we do create our own realities. Um, and the more we do that, the more we see things in that frame, the more of a prison we build for ourselves. And so, to free ourselves from that is the key, But I also see, uh, the point that you made before that to have a strategy, even though you are aware of it, uh, to have a strategy around [00:20:00] it.

Now I used to, I used to have to go down to, um, the regional areas as part of my sales job. When, when I was a young salesperson. Coming up the ranks. and I had a colleague with me, um, who, you know, male and white and, and it was really interesting and similar sort of experience here. No idea.

When we marched into a meeting there, they just assumed he was the account manager, Um, and I was the technical guy. often, I, I exploit that to my advantage because, you know, if, if a techie says, yes, it must be, it must be trusted. Right. Um, there’s no ulterior motive involved. but in that particular instance, To assert my authority.

 and so, as a technique, I worked out humour was very important in the Australian culture. Uh, just walked in, cracked a joke. unfortunately, it’s a racist joke. I can’t repeat in here, uh, in this podcast, but what it did was it just sent two messages very quickly in parallel. One, one is that, you know, I own the room, I control the flow of that conversation.

Uh, and secondly, that I [00:21:00] had a sense of.

And I, I wasn’t all that different to you, even though you may not see as many Asian people in executive positions, uh, you know, down where we’re gone. And so very quickly that broke the ice. Um, and that was a strategy that I devised now. do you have any advice on how we can build such strategies?

If you are someone that has experienced all this, bias coming up the ranks?

[00:21:24] Megumi Miki: I think getting support around you is helpful. So as my story was very much about that, to let people know that there’s a possibility that some of these things can happen. So, build some allies. So that that can be very helpful. I love your humour one. also, I think if you can be, I love this phrase, expect the best and be prepared for the worst in going into any situation.

So, if you go in expecting everything’s going to be great. Then you’re not going to pay too much attention to little minor things, but if it does happen, if something does happen, be able to [00:22:00] either crack a joke or have something to say, or, for me, uh, if something happens, like, uh, I don’t know, a racist joke or something like that.

Really kind of just, um, just get curious to say, you know, did you really mean that kind of, that, that’s probably my approach actually, when things like that happen

[00:22:23] Jeffery Wang: okay. Is it a sake of just, it comes with experience in gray hair or, I mean, do you have to actively sort of, experiment and acquire those techniques?

[00:22:32] Megumi Miki: I think, um, yeah, it’s probably grey hair.

But I, I have to say I’ve not had as much of those experiences as I let go of the expectation that it could happen in a weird sort of way.

[00:22:46] Jeffery Wang: Okay.

[00:22:47] Megumi Miki: that’s really interesting. And maybe I’m not looking for evidence to see that it’s happening either. So, I just keep on

anyway

[00:22:56] Jeffery Wang: I like where you’re going with it

[00:22:58] Megumi Miki: isn’t that weird

[00:22:59] Jeffery Wang: it’s [00:23:00] yeah. So, the offense is, is there the more you pay attention to it? So really that mindset. So that’s just makes me, okay. So, I’m going to repeat. lesson again.

So, lesson number three is racism, sexism, and other marginalizing forces are real, but you can choose not to be a victim to them.

So that, that is ever more, um, insightful because what you’re basically saying is that the less you pay attention to them, the list power it has on you.

And the more control you actually have over the situation. So, I’d love that because it’s an incredibly empowering message

[00:23:31] Megumi Miki: it’s almost like an energetic shift for me actually. So having spoken that, that incident when I was speaking to my male colleague, um, not John, but the other one who said, you know, I noticed that you say these things a lot when I stopped saying those things to myself and to others. I think energetically, I shifted.

It’s almost like, well, you can think whatever you want, but I’m who I am. And this is who I am, so, too bad.

[00:23:57] Jeffery Wang: Well, poke into that [00:24:00] one a little bit later down the track. I think.

[00:24:01] Lesson 4:    There are no ‘bad’ emotions

[00:24:01] Jeffery Wang: lesson number four, there are no bad emotions. Use them as information again, incredibly insightful.

[00:24:10] Megumi Miki: So, this one’s borrowed from Dr. Susan David’s work of emotional agility. Her book is called Emotional Agility and there are Ted talks and things that she’s done. And I think it’s incredible work that she’s done around, not making emotions wrong. How, how often we talk about negative emotions, is quite unhelpful.

And also, she talks about toxic positivity, how we can get overly positive when things are bad. And that’s not helpful either because you got to lie to yourself and suppressing all those feelings you might have. And I suppose why I thought of that is. I was definitely a, uh, a bottled upper if you want to call it that.

So, whenever I had difficult times, I’d just bottle it all up and it’s, [00:25:00] you know, I had some really challenging times in my growing up, you know, moving around countries and things as well, or being picked on or whatever. So I had very difficult times, but I’ve bottled it up and I’d just go to school and look brave and smile and, you know, keep going And I suppose in a way that was a survival mechanism too, because I didn’t want to be all grumpy and sad and crying and all of that in school because the risk of getting picked on even more would be there. But, um, as I grew up in, as I started doing some personal development work, what happened was all of these emotions came up in tears. It was just crazy. So, the number of years I went through personal development, sessions, I’d cry every single time about things. I’m sad about things. I’m angry about things I’m happy about things, anything. So, it was all bottled up. It just kind of burst out. And now I’ve, I think I’ve settled a little bit more where I can notice my emotions rather than [00:26:00] just everything comes up in tears. so that’s been very helpful because now I can listen to myself a bit more and understand what’s going on and do something about it rather than it all comes up in tears.

And there’s nothing I can do about it. About a control. Basically.

[00:26:15] Jeffery Wang: But, but, okay. So, so does that mean though that you’ve have you processes emotions? Have you let it go or is it just, you know, are you better at handling them? So, so I guess what I’m trying to get at is that I, in what, just becoming more resilient or does, does those emotions stop getting to you anymore?

[00:26:34] Megumi Miki: I think that, yeah, there’s a bit of both isn’t

there. So, I think the gray hair certainly helps in terms of handling

and not allowing those emotions to bother you as much. And I think there’s another lesson coming down the track, which really helps with that. Um, uh, which we’ll talk about later. but also, I’ve gotten better at recognizing and naming them as well.

And that’s helpful. So, I think that this lesson is very much about that. [00:27:00] Being able to, rather than try to squish it down and, uh, and pretend that it’s not there.

[00:27:05] Jeffery Wang: oh, and can I, can I, and as a salesperson, you probably understand where I’m coming from with this question, but does this apply to conversations to, you know, there are no bad conversations, you know, even some conversations you might think is going south and the conflicts, um, But I, I personally believe that those are the necessary conversations for you to work through, to get to a resolution and outcome.

And in fact, you know, the absence of those conversations means you’ll never get to an outcome.

[00:27:32] Megumi Miki: that’s true. Um, I think it sort of relates to this idea of not labelling things as good and bad, positive negative so much. Because that that really polarizes it and it makes things black and white, as opposed to actually some things that feel uncomfortable, like conversations that are difficult or feelings that are difficult to hold.

If you can, rather than label it negative or bad just say, well, it is what it is. And you know, it’s uncomfortable. Then you [00:28:00] have more resources to work with it. I think because as soon as you start to label them as bad or negative you kind of, In a way, shove it away and say, I don’t want to deal with that because it’s bad. And I think conversations are dangerous if you don’t deal with it too. Right? Especially difficult conversations. If you just shove it away, it’s actually unhelpful.

[00:28:19] Jeffery Wang: Yeah. You’re pushing her further down the track and eventually all explodes, but I guess it’s that ability to deal with the world, not being in black and white. And like I said before, you know, I’m sure it’s driving somebody that listens up the wall because I prefer to see the world in black and white, but I’m sensing that there’s a real sort of Yin and Yang, you know, there’s this whole duality view of the world that, you know, I, I suppose my, it might’ve been coming from your upbringing. Might’ve been from a lot of influences growing up that you, you you’re certainly seeing the world in a particular way that. Unfortunately, it just can’t be explained the way making things black and white. So that’s certainly very insightful.

[00:28:57] Lesson 5:    You don’t need to be confident you just need to be brave

[00:28:57] Jeffery Wang: So, lesson number five, [00:29:00] and again, I, I like the word you’re using here. You don’t need to be confident. You just need to be brave.

[00:29:06] Megumi Miki: so, um, this is countering all this advice that women often get, and quieter people often get to say, you need to be more confident.

Because it’s so unhelpful where, you know, I’ve been told that many times to say, you know, Megumi you need to be more confident and I sit there going, you telling me to be more confident it doesn’t help me one little bit, because I feel worse about myself. Cause I, you know, I’m obviously not coming across as confident. So, it’s actually unhelpful. And, what I think I realized over time is that confidence is just an outcome of doing things. You become more confident over time, as opposed to, you need to be confident first to do anything, because if you waited for yourself to be confident or a hundred percent ready, if you like, you’ll never do anything.

Hmm.

[00:29:58] Jeffery Wang: That’s right. I like [00:30:00] the, I like the subtle nuance between being confident and being brave. All right. The, um, confidence suggests that you feel, good.

[00:30:08] Megumi Miki: Hmm.

[00:30:09] Jeffery Wang: being brave doesn’t mean that you don’t have fear. It’s just you do it in spite of the fear. And I think you, you said before, you know, feel the fear and do it anyway.

It’s understanding that concept more than feeling like, you know, you’re, you’re on top of the world. and I, I suppose, you know, being brave is a prerequisite to being confident.

[00:30:27] Megumi Miki: Yeah, definitely. so again, Dr. Susan David’s work is really helpful here. She says that courage is fear walking. So actually it’s, uh, you know, when we talk about people who are courageous, it’s often people who are doing things, even with all the fear and anxiety that’s present, if they’re all confident and, you know, going ahead and doing things, that’s not courage.

Because they’re just doing things that they’re comfortable with. They’re staying in their comfort zone.

[00:30:57] Jeffery Wang: Oh, that is So true. But I [00:31:00] guess we have to ask the question, like, how do you, how do you, find courage?

[00:31:03] Megumi Miki: Hmm. Yeah. So, I think that comes back to some of the other lessons about, um, who do you want to become? And what’s your purpose of becoming who you want to become? So, if there’s something that’s a bit beyond you, you’re the little you, then that actually takes you out as well, which is, is another lesson down the track.

[00:31:24] Lesson 6:    Learn from masters and find the master in you

[00:31:24] Jeffery Wang: Sounds good. So, lesson number six, learn from masters and find the master in you.

[00:31:31] Megumi Miki: yeah. So, this is probably a more recent, lessons that I’ve learned which is I’ve done a lot of personal development, professional development. And I like, I’m a course, junkie, so I do lots of courses. and also, I love Star Wars as you do. So, Yoda was one of my teachers that I wrote down that, you know, there’s so many wise words that he says, and I used to look up to him and look up to my teachers.

I look up to the, all these amazing authors who write books. [00:32:00] Like I’ve talked about Susan David I’ve also. Uh, love work of Brené Brown and Adam Grant and all these people. So, I used to look up to them like, oh, that’s amazing. I really want to learn that and incorporate that in my life. but what I’ve realized is if you just passively absorbed the teachers’ knowledge and wisdom, you’re not making it yours, if you like.

And so, what I’ve started doing more and more is to listen to them and really understand them and try them out and things like that. But then ask myself a question. What do I think of it? And it just adds a little bit, and I might still say, I totally agree with it, but at least if you ask the question, then you make it yours I find.

[00:32:44] Jeffery Wang: So, when you say find the master in you. It’s not a, it’s not sort of your own mastery of the craft, but it’s more sort of your interpretation.

[00:32:54] Megumi Miki: Yeah, interpretation of it and how you make use of it. [00:33:00] So rather than just, you know, you sometimes go to a course and you, you just follow that. the process that they give you and it’s not always helpful. So, I just really thinking, okay, that’s a really useful process or that’s a useful lesson and go, well, what do I think of it?

And how can I make the most of that? So, so I find that more recent courses I’ve done, I’ve done that, and I found that it’s more meaningful to me that way to say, well, what does it mean for me? What, what do I think of that? And it also sparks creative ideas as well because I’ve learnt something new, but then I’m integrating it with my own experience and my own knowledge.

[00:33:36] Jeffery Wang: Yeah, because if you can’t, if you can’t make it your own, then knowledge is just information really. it’s making it into a useful insight so that you. grapple with it and apply it in your life. So, yeah, definitely that. I agree with that.

[00:33:53] Lesson 7:    A ‘bigger than self’ purpose and meaning makes what appears impossible possible

[00:33:53] Jeffery Wang: Lesson number seven, a bigger than self-purpose and meaning make the impossible possible.

[00:33:59] Megumi Miki: So that’s [00:34:00] the lesson I think, relates to the question you had before, you know, how do you become brave and how do you have the courage to do things you’re afraid of doing? I think. most people who’ve done amazing things have done things for a purpose that’s greater than themselves. And I’m sure you can think of lots of leaders to change makers who’ve done that. And I’m not saying I’m a huge change maker, but even just going into my own business, I just had to have something big, bigger than just me and making money or, you know, that sort of thing. Otherwise, I would have just played really small or not even done it actually. If I really thought about some of the work, I’m doing now about really challenging the notion of what good leadership looks like to me, I might not actually achieve that, but at least if I can chomp at the edges and create some change, then I feel that that’s worth doing.

And if it’s worth doing it’s worth me feeling uncomfortable and having a go at something, [00:35:00] does that make sense

[00:35:01] Jeffery Wang: So basically, what you need is it’s something other than yourself. And I think it speaks to something much, much deeper within every one of us that we’re deeply motivated, by, I guess our purpose comes from our contribution to others. and that allows us to do great things. You know, when we’re doing something for others, we tend to feel a greater sense of.

well, I suppose a greater sense of motivation, greater sense of courage, uh, in order to do so. I must admit that I did not understand this before I was 30. I didn’t understand in my younger age because everything was about me, me, me. But recently, I, actually observed this happen with my, my own son.

in fact, you know, there was a match where he, he got a bit hurt by, by his opponent in, in, in basketball. and I asked him why, well, why don’t you get angry and, you know, start to, you know, use that as motivation to have a great game, you know, like you did the other game. Oh, he said, well, that’s because the other game, it was my [00:36:00] teammates that I got hurt. that got me angry.

I don’t get angry for myself. I get angry for my teammates. And you ended up winning that game for his teammate. Uh, and I thought, wow, like even that at his age, um, he understands, that it was bigger than himself, you know, that, that gives them that courage and motivation.

So, I thought that was an interesting observation. Deeply embedded encoded into us as people. and, you know, once you realize that is, is actually incredibly powerful, you know, and I often joke, you know, you, you talk about, in Australia we talk about smashing the bamboo ceiling, you know, where the bamboo ceiling is as metaphor, like the glass ceiling, but it easiest for the Asian Australians in, the realms are leadership. And I said, well, well, step one, strap on the C4, because if you ain’t doing it, if you’re not doing it, who is, and I guess for that, I take my hat off to you Megumi in, in, you know, starting that process. I think a lot of what you do there is done with the intent.

Uh, and that’s why you’re so incredibly [00:37:00] effective in, in, in, in, in leading that change. So, Yeah, definitely. I take lesson number seven as proof that your, your, um, living your you’re, the living example of what you. preach.

[00:37:13] Megumi Miki: Same to you though. Jeff, if you think about your Professional Development Forum and things like that, you know, you’re doing it for the greater good and you know, you’ve done amazing things with that. So, I think you’re the same.

[00:37:25] Jeffery Wang: Thank you. I appreciate that.

[00:37:27] Lesson 8:    We are not even a speck of dust in the grand scheme of things

[00:37:27] Jeffery Wang: and moving on to lesson number eight, oh, this is getting very now Lesson number eight. We are not even a speck of dust in the grand scheme of things.

[00:37:37] Megumi Miki: Hmm. Have you ever seen dice videos where it zooms out from, you know, you and then your street and then your city and then your town and then you country, then it comes out to the earth and then all the way out to the universe? It, I just remind myself of that all the time, because. Especially when I’m upset about something or [00:38:00] something’s really difficult or something to just go, you know, it was just such a speck of dust.

It’s not that, that important. and it just helps me. And I think that comes back to some of the questions we talked about earlier about resilience or, you know, not taking yourself too seriously, really helps to, um, overcome some of those times when things are difficult. and, you know, it’s perspective.

So even now, okay. We can complain about the petrol prices going up, but we are not dying in war. So, you know, taking a different perspective, even lockdowns, I found myself telling myself, you know, okay, we are in lockdown at, as you know, I’m in Melbourne. So, we had the longest lockdown in the world. So, um, yes, it, it was challenging, but also, I often used to say, no, it’s not, we’re not in a war.

We can still go to the supermarket and get food. And I think about my mum who was born in 1945. So, you know, she was starving. She was malnourished for [00:39:00] the first 10 years. So, you know, think about that, and go, well, you know, I think we’re fine. So just, um, that helps, I think, you know, not again, not to reject that things are difficult, but it’s just helps me and my state.

[00:39:13] Jeffery Wang: Yeah, definitely. And it just keeps us much more, I suppose, grounded, it keeps us keep things in perspective knowing that yeah, as, as bad as things get, and then often tell myself in the same way, you know, the, the reality is if you zoom out and see yourself, we realize how fortunate we are. you know, being, being born into where we are.

And of course, there are injustices and of course the world could still be better. but at the same time, if you look backwards, you realize like, you know, we’re incredibly fortunate. Sometimes I wonder. and I look at people who are incredibly privileged. and I think you’re, you’re, you know what I mean?

There are certain people where, who complain about the sort of issues that we call first-world problems, and the lack of perspective is what causes your suffering.

Yeah. And, and, but, okay, so, so let’s turn this around then. So how do you [00:40:00] get that perspective? How do you if you find yourself. In that, situation where you feel sorry for yourself, you know, you feel wronged by your circumstance. How do you, how do you get that sense of perspective?

[00:40:12] Megumi Miki: So, this is where I think again, it’s not a black and white, so I’m sure I go to frustrate some of your listeners, because most of the things we’ve talked about today is not, I’m trying to get away from black and white. I think when you are suffering, you do need to acknowledge that you are suffering and, you know, notice the feelings and all that, which I talked about earlier.

but at the same time, if you can just watch one of those videos where you zoom out and go into the universe. And you’re this little speck of dust that you can’t even see on the screen just to realize. because I know I’ve read of astronauts, who’ve gone out into space and looked back at earth and how, you know, they see the blue dot.

How transformed they are in that moment. So, imagine being an astronaut and just, you know, use your imagination to, to change that [00:41:00] perspective. So, I think that fluidity in being able to think and take different perspectives is very helpful in terms of your resilience and, how you handle things. Having said that you also don’t want to do that and squash the emotion and say that it doesn’t exist either.

So again, it’s a bit of both, but, um, yeah, hopefully, that is helpful.

[00:41:23] Jeffery Wang: Absolutely. And finding that balance is the wisdom. Isn’t it?

[00:41:26] Lesson 9:    Get comfortable with solitude

[00:41:26] Jeffery Wang: So, lesson number nine now, uh, I don’t know if I completely agree with this, but, uh, you said that we need to get comfortable with solitude. Now I can certainly understand solitude’s important, as an introvert, but what if your, what if you’re someone that loves being around people?

[00:41:43] Megumi Miki: no, I, I, it’s not saying you should be in solitude forever. That’s not the message. It’s the idea of getting comfortable with solitude. So, if you’re somebody who loves being around people.

To take moments where you do have [00:42:00] some solitude and it’s, you know, it doesn’t have to be long. but if you can get more comfortable with solitude, I do think that that gives you, that stillness and centeredness, if you like, and that, that gives you that comfort in self, which actually allows you to connect with people more authentically.

I find because if you’re not comfortable with yourself, It’s hard to be comfortable with others because you’re always having to either adapt or, or behave in certain ways that that works with other people. So, it comes back to being comfortable with self, and I do think that being in solitude helps you to do that.

[00:42:37] Jeffery Wang: And I think for some extroverts, it’s almost a curse because their sense of identity of self comes from the, I suppose a reflection of how they seem by others. So

[00:42:50] Megumi Miki: Yeah.

[00:42:50] Jeffery Wang: so, it’s like, you know, if they don’t have the respect admiration of others, um, they, they almost lose that sense of self.

So, I can [00:43:00] see your point about getting comfortable with solitude. So, it’s having that center, whether or not other people recognize it. you know, it’s, it’s like being a genius, you know, a hundred years ahead of time and people not recognizing your genius, you know, it can be quite lonely, but a genius is still a genius, even if nobody recognizes the genius.

And so, you know, that, that is, I suppose that’s easier said than done because we’re all, tribal creatures, you know, we, we need, you know, we, we need, our tribe. We need our, uh, our people to agree with us. but yeah, I can send the, understand that

[00:43:33] Megumi Miki: yeah, so I think I’m some extroverts aren’t, always like that, the way that you described it too. And I think it’s partially because they’ve learned to get comfortable with it with themselves. And I do think it’s things like meditation and stillness and, and really being with yourself that helps people to do that.

So, say, if I’m meditating, if I’m being in myself with insiders, [00:44:00] then I don’t actually have to be anything, do anything, or I’d have to adapt to anything I’m just being, just being. And, uh, and if you can let go of some of the worry about the anxieties and not adapting to anybody else worrying about what other people think, all of those things, even if it’s for a moment of, I don’t know, a minute. still worthwhile Because you’ve kind of like, come, come back to yourself if you like.

[00:44:26] Jeffery Wang: So, it’s almost like practicing that mindfulness I think a lot of it is, is actually, how much control over your mind that you have?

[00:44:34] Megumi Miki: And again, not easy, but it’s worthwhile the practice because then you can really be much more yourself.

[00:44:40] Jeffery Wang: Cool. Now I can see a funny lesson coming up, but before I jump into that, though, I’ll throw you another curve ball is a lesson that you have unlearned. So, these are, these are sort of things that you held to be ironclad truths. When you started out your career, you know, when you’re in your twenties, um, that later you found out that just wasn’t the case, I’m guessing there’ll be [00:45:00] quite a few of these things.

[00:45:01] Megumi Miki: I’m sure there will be lots and lots of things. So, the, the lesson that I talked about earlier about, uh, you’re not who you think you are is probably the one that comes to mind where I might have thought that I’m, a, you know, a quiet, shy person that, um, don’t disagree with anybody and don’t ruffle feathers and things like that.

But I’ve unlearned a bit of that because I realized I can be a little bit stubborn about things I can be quite independent as well. So, I’ve covered some things that, uh, I didn’t realize I could amplify. So yeah, just unlearning some of what I thought was about me. And I think that’s been quite helpful as well.

And actually, if you look back all the way back to some of my younger years, some of the signs of my stubbornness and independence are definitely there.

So, it’s definitely been part of me. It’s just that I covered it up out of survival. So, unlearning that survival [00:46:00] mechanism has been very helpful.

[00:46:02] Jeffery Wang: so, I could relate it to another lesson that we’ve had in the past, which is, um, removing the mask. I think, you know, masking and, you know, as we grow up, as, as we learn sort of our place in the world, we, we put on this mask, like you said, protection, survival, whatever it is. But I think as you get older, the removal of that mask actually allows you to live a much more happier and authentic life. Um, and I think that’s incredibly important.

[00:46:30] Lesson 10:  Siberian cats are the best

[00:46:30] Jeffery Wang: Okay. Now, um, I liked the last one and uh, I’m, I’m, I’m assuming this is just a bit of fun. but, uh, lesson number 10, Siberian cats are the best.

[00:46:40] Megumi Miki: it is for fun. I, just thought, you know, all the others were quite deeply meaningful and philosophical. So, I thought I’d just jump back.

So, I’ve had my Siberian cats for just over a year. And, um, so I love the beautiful, beautiful cats because, um, they are [00:47:00] sometimes like dogs and sometimes like cats, And sometimes like lions and sometimes like humans, they’re just amazing.

And, um, uh, for those of you who don’t know, Siberian cats have a very low, um, it’s a hypoallergenic cat as well. So, it means if people visit and they’re allergic to cats, they don’t have to worry. I can sometimes have a bit of hay fever, so, um, I was a little bit worried and, you know, I’ve had no problems at all.

Um, but, uh, you know, one of them is called Olly. He plays, he plays fetch just like a dog and you don’t expect that of cats.

I throw this little call up the stairs and he’ll go and get it and bring it back and drop it in front of me and things like that. Uh, it’s just, um, yeah, just giving me a lot of joy and fun and some babies to look after now that my daughter’s a teenager and she doesn’t want to see me that much.

[00:47:56] Jeffery Wang: well, you’ve got to appreciate the simple pleasures in life.

[00:47:59] Megumi Miki: That’s [00:48:00] That’s it.

[00:48:01] Jeffery Wang: Yeah. Yeah. And so, thank you for those lessons. And as I expected your, you know, your lessons are nuanced, they’re deep they’re philosophical uh, then they’re certainly not black and white. Uh, I’ve really enjoyed this conversation and, uh, appreciate, you for the work that you do, but also to share this wisdom with our audience. So, thank you very much Megumi.

[00:48:22] Megumi Miki: Thank you so much. Jeffery it’s been great to talk with you. Um, given you, you sort of explored these together with me, so that’s been great thank you.

[00:48:30] Jeffery Wang: Thank you. And we’ll finish on that note. You’ve been listening to the podcast 10 lessons it took me 50 years to learn where we dispense wisdom for career, business, and life. Our guest today has been Megumi Miki sharing, the 10 lessons it took her 50 years to learn. This episode is produced by Robert Hossary sponsored by the professional development forum, which offers webinars, insights, community discussions, podcasts, events, and the best part. It’s all free. You can find them online at [00:49:00] www.Professionaldevelopmentforum.org. Don’t forget to leave us a review or comments. You can even email us at podcast@10lessonslearned.com. Podcasts at number one, zero lessons learned.com. Go ahead and hit that subscribe button so that you don’t miss an episode of the on the podcast that makes the world a little wiser lesson by lesson.

Thanks for listening and stay safe, everyone.

 This episode is produced by Robert Hossary. Sponsored as always by Professional Development Forum, which office insights, community or discussions, podcasts, parties, anything you want here, but they’re unique and it’s all free online. You can find the www.professionaldevelopmentforum.org you’ve heard from us we’d like to hear from you. Email us it’s podcast@10lessonslearned.com that’s podcast, 10 number one zero, lessons learned.com. Remember, this is the podcast the only podcast. That’s makes the world wiser lesson by lesson.

 

Share:

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

Related Posts

Link Duarte

Link Duarte – Don’t let your mistakes ruin what you could be.

November 30, 2022

Link Duarte discusses why we should "Strive for excellence, not perfection " That we need to "Live your bliss "...

Read More
William Sarni

William Sarni – The Power of Unreasonable People

November 16, 2022

William Sarni discusses why we should "Do good things" That we need to "Learn to say No or Hell Yeah"...

Read More
Keith Rowe

Keith Rowe – Don’t just talk. Question, Listen, and Watch!

November 2, 2022

Keith Rowe explains how "EQ Trumps IQ Every Time", that "There Is A Difference Between Leadership Versus Management" and tells...

Read More
Link Duarte

Link Duarte – Don’t let your mistakes ruin what you could be.

November 30, 2022

Link Duarte discusses why we should "Strive for excellence, not perfection " That we need to "Live your bliss "...

Read More
William Sarni

William Sarni – The Power of Unreasonable People

November 16, 2022

William Sarni discusses why we should "Do good things" That we need to "Learn to say No or Hell Yeah"...

Read More
Keith Rowe

Keith Rowe – Don’t just talk. Question, Listen, and Watch!

November 2, 2022

Keith Rowe explains how "EQ Trumps IQ Every Time", that "There Is A Difference Between Leadership Versus Management" and tells...

Read More
Ron Higgs

Ron Higgs – Don’t call yourself an expert unless your peers describe you that way

October 19, 2022

Ron Higgs tells us that "You can learn from anyone", that you should "Solve more problems than you create" and...

Read More