Lockie Cooke Talks Check Ins, Connection and Culture

Lockie Cooke Talks Check Ins, Connection and Culture

iyarn Founder Lockie Cooke recently appeared on Shane Hatton‘s podcast Phone Calls With Clever People.

It’s a great episode and well worth the 30 or so minutes!

This special episode coincides with R U OK? Day in Australia.

R U OK? Day is a day that people are encouraged to meaningfully connect with people around them and support anyone struggling with life. 

I thought there couldn’t be a more appropriate time to have this conversation. My guest is Lockie Cooke, and he recently told me that checking in isn’t just about reaching out in tough times but about creating consistent two way conversations.

Lockie currently heads up iyarn, which is a new health and wellbeing software platform. iyarn facilitates safe spaces and creates a conversation canvas for people to come together to have meaningful conversations.

The show is also available on Apple Podcasts (or most major podcast apps).

A lightly edited transcript from the show that aired on 9 September 2020 is available below:

Welcome

Shane: 

Today on the podcast we’re having a special conversation about checking in. 

It’s special because it’s launching on R U OK? Day here in Australia, which is a day where people are encouraged to meaningfully connect with people around them and support anyone struggling with life. I thought there couldn’t be a more appropriate time to have this conversation. 

My guest is Lockie Cooke and he recently told me that checking in isn’t just about reaching out in tough times, but about creating consistent two-way conversations. I’ll give him a call to explore how we can have more meaningful conversations with one another. 

Shane: 

Hi everyone and welcome to Phone Calls with Clever People. My name’s Shane Hatton. I’m a speaker, author and mentor from Melbourne, Australia and I’m passionate about all things leadership and communication. 

I realized recently that I know some really clever people in my network and I thought it would be a fun idea to be able to take some of their cleverness and share it with the rest of the world. Now through the wonders of technology I’m broadcasting my phone calls with clever people just for you and really the premise is quite simple I just want to be able to ask great questions of talented people to help us all become more effective leaders. 

Joining me on the phone is Lockie Cooke and he currently heads up iyarn which is a new health and wellbeing software platform. It facilitates safe spaces for people to be able to come together and have meaningful conversations. He also works with businesses and community groups to build resilience and promote mentally friendly workplaces. 

In 2015 Lockie was awarded the EY Entrepreneur of the Year for the Western Region of Australia and he’s represented Australia at the UN, G20 and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. 

Shane: 

Lockie, so great to have you on the podcast.  

Lockie:

Great to be here right now. Thanks for having me, I’ve been looking forward to it. 

Shane: 

Hey if people have been listening to the podcast for a little while then they would know that the kickoff to the podcast I start with some fast facts, so I want to ask you three questions which help people get to know you a little bit better.

The first one was where were you born, the second one what was your first job and then the third one what are you doing with yourself now.

So, where were you born?

Lockie:

I was born in Perth, Western Australia. I’m a sand groper from the wild wild west. but now living in Sydney, based out of Bondi. 

Shane: 

Nice. So what was your first job? 

Lockie:

I was actually a checkout chick down at the local general store when I was 14 years old. 

Shane: 

Right, and then what do you do with yourself now? 

Lockie:

I’m leading the iyarn app, which is a software platform facilitating connections for people with their community. 

The Beginnings of Iyarn

Shane: 

Nice.

I’ve been looking forward to our conversation because I’ve been using the iyarn app with some of my coaching clients and it’s been just this incredible tool to help facilitate great conversations with people and when people are listening to the podcast, today will be R U OK? Day.

We want to have a conversation all about checking in with one another because it’s obviously such an important conversation to be having, but can you take us back a little bit in the journey to some of the the foundations or the starting points for iyarn.

Where did this kind of all come about? Where did this start for you?

Lockie:

iyarn started a bunch of different ways.

In my community, a few people had been exposed to mental health and things like that. It wasn’t too in my face until I was around 25 when I had mental health challenges myself. I was transitioning from something I was really passionate about as a young person leading a not-for-profit and then changing careers, and that work was a huge part of my identity. Going into something completely different I had my own challenges.

Also family and friends: I actually had lost family members to suicide and that’s where it really came really smack in my face with mental health and then learning about the importance of checking in on people. 

Shane: 

Yeah we often have these experiences where you know it can it can be easy to disassociate with a topic or an idea because it doesn’t really necessarily feel that real or it’s not so close to home and then all of a sudden something happens to someone who’s close to us and then it hits really close to home. All of a sudden the issue which was kind of out there, it becomes very real to us personally, doesn’t it? 

Lockie:

Oh, it totally does.

One statistic here in Australia, by the age of 25, 50% of Australians are directly impacted by suicide which is a pretty staggering statistic. It’s a leading cause of death for young men 18 to 45 years of age, so it’s quite a big thing in Australia. With COVID, they’re suggesting that that rate of suicide is potentially going to increase by 50%, which is pretty crazy.

As a result of all that, what we need to do in our community now is actually just check in each other more, and R U OK? Day would be part of that dialogue. 

Shane: 

A few years ago I wrote an article or my website called “Ways to say that you’re not okay” and it was from the perspective of a person who wasn’t doing very well and just giving them some really just easy things that they could do to tell someone that they’re not doing okay. Over the last few years I look at my website and the traffic for the website to that one blog article is about 500 percent more than anything else on my website.

I reckon I receive a message every one to two days on my website from people on that article who’ve said to me “Hey I’m not doing ok. How do I tell my family? Or, hey I’m not doing all right. How do I tell my boss? Or, I’m really embarrassed to tell people that I’m really struggling right now.” 

Every couple of days I’m directing people to some of these websites like R U OK? Day just to kind of ike just to manage some of the traffic. I don’t think I’ve ever had that much traffic around an article and people reaching out, so, this is a very real issue. This is something that’s affecting people in a really big way. 

Lockie:

You really hit it on the head. One of my personal experiences is that we left a funeral of one of our mates, you know, 25 years old, took his life, and we’re leaving the funeral and everyone’s like “Well, we’ve just got to check on each other more”. The challenge is you’ve gone through life in school without actually having done that, you don’t actually know how to and that’s why a lot of people go to your website for a bit of guidance. 

A lot of the platforms are full of guidance around checking in, but what I found and the reason why I created iyarn is that people need that support. Don’t wait to do a check in when you’re in dire straits. That’s a big jump, especially if you’ve never done a check in.

So that’s why we created iyarn. It helps facilitate that conversation because it creates a conversation canvas. It’s like an image, and so someone who may not be as emotionally open to talk about these things, you know, they can maybe put a number with where they’re at with their mental health. Three, or four, or five, or whatever it is out of ten, and then that could facilitate a conversation with anybody, because you don’t have to be a rocket science, you don’t have to read between the lines of the emotions. You actually see what you, your buddy or your peer has shared and then that creates a safe space for you to have that yarn. 

Shane: 

I love that. So for people who’ve never experienced the iyarn app before, I love the aesthetic of it, I love the purpose of it, I love everything about it, but give people a bit of a walk through the iyarn. What is it, what does it do, how does it work and then like how does it help him to facilitate these conversations? 

Lockie:

Yeah, when I was a little grom there was this mentor I met up with and he was like “Mate, I’d love to mentor you.” I was like “What’s a mentor?” and so every four weeks he’d literally meet up with me at the Dome Cafe and we’d get out on a piece of paper and he goes “I want to do the life wheel with you” and I was like “OK, what’s that?” and essentially explains it like imagine a bike wheel. You’ve got the spokes of the bike wheel but then every spoke of that bike is an area of life you want to check in on, and so he’d say “Well what are the areas of life that matter most to you? Let’s put them down and then each spoke a zero in the middle and then ten on the outside and you give yourself a score zero to ten.” Just put a dot on the spoke where that was and then you connected all the dots. 

Then you could see this kind of wonky looking wheel but then that would open up the conversation, because, you know, I was 18 at a time I didn’t really know to talk about myself in these different ways. But that helped me build my muscles to be able to talk about the areas of life that mattered to me

That’s been of service to me ever since. That was Peter Bowler, he was a fantastic mentor. When I then stepped into that role being a mentor with the youth foundation I ran, I did that with a lot of my young people. Then for mentoring and then for business coaching and counselling, it’s been amazing, and that’s essentially what the iyarn app is. 

Shane: 

So you get to go in and pre-determine what those different spokes are in terms of the wheel, and you get to create those and then be able to share that with somebody else and they can rate themselves on a scale of one to ten on how they’re feeling. Then you get this beautifully looking segmented wheel and in a one-page snapshot being able to see where a person’s at in each of those areas of life, right?

Lockie:

Exactly. And I found like Tony Robbins and all the big coaches around the world, they have seven areas of flourishing lives, or 7 to 8 areas of well-being, or the life wheel, whatever it is, but what I found is that people want that empowerment to have a choice of segments. Some people actually want a segment on surfing, on ski paddling, on romance or sex, whatever it is and then you can fully customize that so it’s quite unique to you. 

You can also create one that’s reflective of a book that you read, like Tony Robbins, and you can have several wheels. That’s what I think is really empowering and unique about iyarn: you have the ability to choose whatever segments you want to check in on, rather than one tied into any one person’s thought leadership or anything like that. That’s how it’s been really effective and that how there’s been a lot of application of iyarn into the workplace, beyond just checking in on a personal, peer-to-peer level for mental health. 

Check in Conversations

Shane: 

One of the ways that I really like how you’ve described conversations or these check-in conversations is that they’re a bit like a muscle. When we’re not used to having these honest vulnerable conversations about where we’re at, it’s almost like we’ve got this muscle but it’s not developed yet, and it takes some time to develop that muscle. This is providing an environment for you to be able to have an ongoing conversation which strengthens that conversation muscle. Is that what I’m hearing?  

Lockie:

100%, it really is. The thing is you want to facilitate these check-ins over time, including when things are all good. Me and my peer group, I’m 30 now, and one of my best buddies what we used to do every month is we go to a sauna, have a sauna, have a swim and then go for dinner and have a bit of a check in. So, it was a good couple hours and check in on our life categories. 

I did have a folder and all that, but my downside was I lose a piece of paper, and the process of putting it into excel and then keeping and then tracking it over time was just too tough. I’m not very process driven, whereas I am quite creative. 

That’s why I wanted to create an app and just make it super simple: 30 seconds to do a check-in and then it tracks your data over time so you can see “Oh God, it’s interesting that this time of year, every year, maybe end of financial year or it could be Christmas time generally, anxiety or mental health goes up and then I get a bit anxious. Why am I anxious?” 

For example my Mum, why is she anxious at this time of year? Well she’s stressing out about the family coming together, food for christmas, meeting everyone, family obligations and all that. Actually, she can build better awareness in that moment because she knows that that tends to happen that time of the year. Because she’s more mindful and present to that, she can have better coping mechanisms so she can really enjoy the experience, rather than just being running around like a headless chook. 

Shane: 

See that’s not something people would often think about. Does how I’m feeling have some kind of trends throughout the year? We look at business and we would forecast: there’s potential here, this time of year people go on holidays so they spend more here, or this time it’s school holidays so accommodation goes up. I mean, we notice trends in business, but even just turning the camera inwards for a moment and looking at ourselves and going “OK. Do I have trends when it comes to my own mental health and well-being? Are there things throughout the year that I experience that I find a lot more challenging than other times? What can I start to do to put things in place to make sure that I’m  prepared for those times?”

Lockie: 

Exactly. That’s what business does: why don’t we do that in our own life? It’s just bizarre that we don’t and then we can be a better friend, lover, community member when we’re more aware. 

I’ve gone through this journey of a bunch of different social initiatives and community projects and community development over my professional career. I’ve jumped from a lot of work in the reconciliation and indigenous space. Initially I was around a youth organization for eight years promoting reconciliation, and then I did a lot around job creation because I understood if people don’t have roof overhead and money in their pocket to pay for dinner, really all this other community development things goes down the bottom of the picture. 

So, if you create jobs that’s really important, and then I had this insight that if you have a job but you’re actually not happy, your productivity goes out the window. In fact, absenteeism and productivity loss in the Australian society as a result of mental health and suicide has an 880 billion dollar cost to our economy. That just shows that mental health in the workplace and in our community has a significant economic impact, so you realize it’s actually an economic proposition having these conversations. The importance of checking in in the workplace and in your communities is just so important. 

The App Name and Philosophy

Shane: 

Yeah. There’s a really fascinating story that sits behind the name of iyarn. Do you want to unpack a bit of the background to the name? 

Lockie: 

Over the journey of the ICEA foundation (which stands for Indigenous Communities Education Awareness), I was going into this community a lot called Adiyooloon or One Arm Point community, in the Western Kimberley Region, about four hours down a dirt road from broome. 

I went there first when I was 16 years old and I just had this amazing, eye-opening experience and, long story short, made some good friends up there. I thought rather than giving at our school fundraiser to the Red Cross or Salvation Army, maybe we can have a real grassroots impact and actually open up the library and create and provide sporting equipment for these communities, which they didn’t have in 2005. 

So, I did that and that organization ran for a number of years, and over that journey the community said “Lockie it’s time that we give you a skin name because you’re coming into our community a lot. It’s appropriate, it’s important for us to give you that name that you’re part of our community, our family”. So the Ejai family passed on the name Binjali to me.

Binjali was a community leader and that meant that I was part of that community and I needed to practice Bardi culture and customs. One of the key areas of Bardi culture is knowing about this word called liyarn. Liyarn is your body, your emotion, your mind, your spirit, your everything. So, if someone in to that community says “Binjali goorna liyarn Lockie” or “how is your Liyarn”, it’s it’s crucial that you’re truly honest with that person, because when they say that word, that is a safe space that they’re there to see your whole everything. For me, when my mum Donna Ejai told me about liyarn, I realized how powerful this is to create a safe space for someone to truly say “No, this is your time to be really honest with me.” 

In our western world, it’s the hustle bustle like “Oh, how you going? Yeah, good” and the pleasantries. I don’t want to burden you, because everyone’s busy but, you know, there’s people who’ll do anything to have their mates back and so we need a word, a code word, that says “Hey, let’s have a yarn”. 

That’s where the idea of iyarn comes from. It’s similar but it’s not ripping off the culture. It’s iyarn. Let’s have a yarn, but similar to what I’d have in the community. 

Shane: 

That’s such a beautiful picture of being able to have an honest conversation with people and, you’re right, we touched on it in that conversation there about how we tend to hustle and bustle past each other. We have conversations that go to the surface level, and to take a conversation from the shallow end to the deep end where we can actually have a real meaningful conversation isn’t something that we do all the time.

You mentioned it starts a bit of a muscle that we’ve got to flex. It’s something we’ve got to do more frequently. What do you think it is about having a yarn together that is so normal in one culture, but so foreign in our culture? Where do you think the disconnect is between the two? 

Lockie: 

One of the beautiful things about the word yarn, it comes from yarning wool to make a jumper. So, it’s like weaving of stories together makes the yarn. So, it’s around story telling. 

I think it’s just the modern way in society is everyone’s just so busy with their own stuff they don’t want to burden other people with it. I was just very privileged: it’s a very tight-knit community, Bardi mob, and having a yarn, and having a liyarn yarn is something that’s framed up in a way that’s saying “This is part of who we are.” 

I don’t think we have enough of that hyper-community side. You know, we’ll be at the footy club together, or with the rugby, swimming, canoe club and we’ll do this exercise together then we’ll have a few beers after our game or whatever, talking about the footy results. Everyone loves each other in that community, there’s a lot of people in the community, but how do we make it the norm to have proper meaningful yarns which can save lives in your local community group?

Too many times there’s community groups that have been devastated by the local legend, the larrikin, who’s just a big part of the community but then he’s taken his life over the weekend. That’s happened too much and often because there’s not a culture of checking in. 

That’s the beauty of the R U OK? conversations and facilitating those conversations. But, it needs to be framed with the intent, because you can’t go directly from no check-in and not knowing what a meaningful check-in is, to meaningful check-ins. You need a bit of a hand-holding experience, and that’s where the workplace wellness sessions or the community R U OK? workshops play such a big role in making that first step in facilitating a check-in culture

Safe Spaces

Shane: 

Yeah, you’re right. There’s pockets of these communities where it’s really open and honest and they facilitate really great conversations and they’ve got safe spaces set up, but it’s just not the norm, yet, and it can be.

I think one of the things you’re touching on here is that the challenge is not just checking in with someone when you recognize that they’re not doing so well or you might see something and it kind of seems they seem a little bit off and we go okay well I need to check in with that person… the thing that you’re touching on here is that checking in is not just when you’re feeling down, checking in is this consistent conversation that we’re having. 

Lockie:

Yeah, you’ve really hit it on the head there Shane. When you’re catching up over a coffee with a mate or these days, over zoom or on a phone call, how do you encourage people to create that safe space where it’s okay to just share, rather than doing a check-in like “oh what are you up to on the weekend, what did you get up to on the weekend, what have you got going this week?”, which is very transactional. 

Instead, how are you creating a space for you and your loved ones to then say “Are you on track to living the life you want to live?” It’s a different conversation that can help you go from an associate friend or an associate lover, community member, family member to actually being a really meaningful person in that person’s life. It’s it’s such a small shift, a one degree shift that you can do in changing your questions, to say that” I love you and I want to be here for you to be the best version of you, so what is the best version of you?” The best version of you is checking in on the areas of life that matter most to you, so you know that you are on track to living the life you want to live. 

Having five categories of life or eight categories of life that you check in on, be that family, friends, your pets, nutrition, health, mental health, whatever it is, in a consistent manner when things are good and also not that great, it can help you be a better friend and you’re supporting your buddy to be the best version of themselves. That act also helps you be the best version of yourself! That’s what builds deeper connection. 

Shane:  

Yeah, because there’s also the reality that we actually don’t know what’s going on below the surface for a person. So when we’re having these conversations and we’re checking in it’s not just about going “OK, I’m seeing something that potentially could be an issue here, it’s worth me checking in.” Now, it’s going “There’s some things we may never know and unless we’re asking the questions, we’re never going to get to that level where we can really engage.” 

Lockie:

But also, it’s not actually just asking questions. This is a big thing that I learned in the facilitation I’ve done. Dr Brene Brown talks about this in relation to vulnerability. Vulnerability builds connection. If you’re the person always asking questions and using language like “I want to help you”, it’s quite patronizing, suggesting you’re coming from a higher place like a woke place. 

But, as a friend, I’m supporting you, and in supporting you I’m going to be vulnerable with you. So, it’s not like asking that person to share your iyarn score and then comparing and being judgmental about your average score, like “You’re a four and mine’s an eight, so I’m  better.” That’s not the intention of it at all. That’s judgmental and that’s not empowering. 

The idea of doing a meaningful check-in is actually your willingness to step up and be vulnerable and say “Mate, you know that time when I got made redundant, or that time when I had a kid, and all of a sudden I felt like I was depressed because of this this and this. Or that time when I got that injury and I couldn’t exercise for a month I felt like this.”

Being vulnerable with that buddy creates a space for the other person to be vulnerable with you, because sometimes it’s very difficult to ask someone “How are you going?” and expect them to say “Right, I actually felt like I want to top myself over the weekend”, unless you create that space.

If you haven’t been that down and out before, that’s okay, but your version of being vulnerable to that person helps create that safe space for them to open up to you. If you don’t have that vulnerability, you’re not both expecting to come up together. 

Shane: 

It’s the safe spaces that is the key that we’re talking about here. The check-in is built on this foundation of a safe space, and the safe space is where you and I can go, beyond the surface level conversation. We can have real meaningful conversation. It’s where I can show you me and you can show me you, and we can connect through that shared vulnerability. I said to someone recently “Until I can fully show me, you don’t really get to know me.” 

That’s the challenge here: unless I can show you who I am and show you every aspect of me, you’re never going to know me to the extent that you need to. I really can put up walls to show people parts of me and really what we’re trying to do is how do we keep bringing down those walls so that we can have more honest conversations. 

Lockie:

Exactly. One of the most powerful things is for me and my partner. It’s been awesome for us over this COVID journey to do these check-ins together. We’re going real intimate talk about sex and relationships and all this stuff, because it just opens the conversation. 

If it’s just one person who brings something up, it’s like “Oh you’re having a go at me for that.” It’s actually “No, this is our norm that we do once a month check in over a wine.” We’re just having that chat.

For me, my partner’s on my case with cleaning up the house. It’s always an issue and I’m getting better but creating such space to talk about all the things that maybe are pissing us off about each other is important. We’re building together, rather than getting into arguments, because we know that this time in this month we’re checking in, and this is what we do to bring things up and we can track how things have gone. It just makes us more of a supportive couple. 

Checking In Through Highs and Lows

Shane: 

Yeah one of the key themes that I keep hearing through this conversation is, when it comes to checking in, checking in is being able to take a conversation from the surface level conversation that we have on a day-to-day basis to a real meaningful place where we get to share honestly about where we both are. Not just where you are, but where we both are together. When we can have that honest conversation we can connect in a way that we wouldn’t have connected just by having those surface level conversations. 

For us to be able to do that we’ve got to have a culture and a space that feels safe for us to have those conversations, and I think one of the big things that I’m taking away from this conversation is that those conversations aren’t just for difficult times. Those conversations are for every time. That’s also when things are going really good and I reckon there’s just as much value as sitting down with a person and going “How you doing?” and the person being able to honestly and authentically say “You know what, I’m just kicking goals and I’m doing so well” and for you to be able to share and experience that together, that’s just as valuable as a person saying “You know what I’m really struggling right now.”

Lockie:

That is the beauty of it, because it’s it’s okay to be epic and feeling like you’re on cloud nine, and it’s okay to be down and out. The reality is in growth you really gotta feel the feels of being down and out, because the other side of that down, that is huge growth. 

That’s the inevitability of growth as a person. We go through these rights of passage, and these challenging times help define us as people.

If we numb ourselves and not acknowledge the downs and outs, the challenging times of fundraising or building a business, or you know, going through COVID and all of a sudden your backlog of work has just been cancelled, that’s going to build up your character to be a better version of you. If you don’t acknowledge that, you’re not going to grow. 

Checking In and Community

Shane: 

You said something to me before we were having the conversation about having these moments where we go through challenging times, and it’s that sense of community that we get from checking in with one another that helps us to navigate some of those challenging times. 

Lockie:

Yeah, so the idea behind checking in it builds up a sense of belonging. Social connection addresses loneliness, and loneliness has a huge effect on our anxiety and our performance as a person or for our mental health. So it’s all related. That sense of belonging builds up that confidence and that confidence to take risks, because you belong to a community and the ability to take risks is enhanced when you belong.

The proof that you are belonging to a community is doing meaningful check ins where you don’t have a guard, you’re not worrying about what person thinks of you or saying a certain thing. It’s actually because they see you as a good friend, as a lover, as a family member, whatever it is. 

Shane: 

If you were a person listening to this and you were reflecting and you’re going “I feel like I’m  lacking that sense of belonging right now” something to reflect on could be “OK, where are some of the spaces in my life right now where I can feel I can have honest conversations about where I’m at?” 

Lockie:

Yeah, would that be something practical a person could kind of reflect on. 

I’ve been really thinking about this a lot, and one of the really challenging things, particularly for the generation of young people coming through, is: what is a real friend? There’s a lot of “Oh, you’re a friend if you like my photo or comment in my picture” which is just bizarre for a lot of the older generation. But that’s how shallow some friendships can be. 

Knowing what a real friend is important, and you can’t go out looking for and wanting everyone to be a real friend for you. It’s around what you can do for your friends and then what will come back is meaningful relationships. So you don’t go out to a friend saying “What can I get off you? I need your support” but ask yourself how can you be a good contributing member to your community? 

A contributing member to your community is being a good mate and checking in on your mates, and then that builds social connection, that builds amazing genuine friendships. It’s simple, but it’s just being there for and it’s support and checking in and being a good bloke, good sister, good buddy, whatever that might be.

Shane: 

Yeah that’s that’s such a nice perspective on it for people who feel like they don’t have any real friends right now. The question is “How could I go and be a friend to somebody?” or if someone’s saying “I feel like I really need to check in with someone”, how could you check in with someone else and actually see how they’re going. 

I can recall very few conversations where I’ve honestly checked in with someone else and the conversation hasn’t flipped in some way, and they’ve asked the same of me and it’s facilitated some really meaningful conversations. 

So some of these things that we can reflect on is think about it like a muscle, like this R U OK? muscle is when we every time we’re asking those conversations, we’re flexing it in some way, but every time we answer honestly and we take the conversation to a real truth-telling space, it’s building and enhancing that muscle.

Place and Routine

Lockie:

Exactly. 

And one of the key things with this is you’ve also got to be really mindful of the environment of when you ask “Are you okay?”. Maybe rather than say “Are you okay?” directly, talk about yourself and then create a space. 

One of the big things that inhibits a lot of people to have these meaningful conversations is the environment. You can’t be on the train on the way to work when you ask that question. If you feel maybe something’s up with a buddy, it’s probably not the best time to ask when you have a social event with thousands of people, unless that you know you’re going to be there for a while. Well, maybe it is the thousands of people at the footy or something: you’re there sitting down for a couple hours, where you can really unpack some things. But maybe its better to say “Hey, let’s go for a walk in the park after work” or something like that on the weekend where you’re not bound by time, because you don’t know what’s going to come up. I think being bound by time can really impact things. That 30 minute check in you thought it was going to be could end up as a couple hours, and that’s you being a good buddy. 

I’ve got a lot of amazing mentors who do the check-in. They can wake up at 5am in the morning and that’s what they do every week. These are amazing business leaders and that’s what they do once a week: go out friday and walk, and they just use it for business, for life and everything, which is a consistent thing they do all the time. There are people that go for a hike on the weekend or something like that. I think it’s really important to make sure that the environment you’re in is appropriate for these conversations, because if you ask these charged conversations in the corridors at work, it can actually actually aggravate things and potentially go the opposite way, so it’s important that you truly create that safe space.

Shane: 

Yeah mate, thanks so much for the conversation and obviously on a really important day like R U OK? Day, this is a conversation that just needs to keep happening. It’s a conversation where we keep checking in with one another and, you know, we’re in this kind of world of remote working and our teams are kind of dispersed a lot right now. I heard someone recently describe the difference between checking in and checking up and you know checking up on someone is going “What are you doing?” and checking in is asking “How are you going?” 

Conclusion

Shane: 

I love the way you framed this conversation. This is actually not just always about going “Are you okay, how are you going?” checking in, but actually being able to share honestly from where I’m at, going “Hey, this is where I’m at and you know where are you at”, and how do we take this conversation from a surface level conversation to a really truth-telling and safe space conversation. 

Lockie:

100% Shane and it’s been awesome to be able to share it with you and let everyone know that we’ve created this tool that can be a conversation canvas. That’s what we like it to be, because you know, muscles are still getting strengthened if you haven’t spent heaps of time you know unpacking this, your buddy can put, or you can put a score zero to 10 with where you’re at with that area of life and then that picture, that life wheel is a conversation canvas that can help you go deeper about all these areas of life. 

Shane: 

Yeah, I’d absolutely recommend people to jump onto iyarn.com and just explore how the tool can facilitate some of these conversations, because at the end of the day it’s a tool and it’s designed to help facilitate these conversations. I’m currently using it for coaching clients and it’s just a really nice way to know when I need to pick up the phone with someone and go “Hey, I’ve just noticed this, is there something we need to talk about? Or, it’s just a really nice way to be able to track progress over time even for a person who’s doing okay, or someone that just wants to work out how they can do better in some areas and so someone’s already good in an area and they go “You know what? I just want to make improvement” and so we measure it and we go “Let’s let’s check in in six months time and see whether or not you feel like you’ve made progress there”. 

So, absolutely encourage everyone to reach out and really just learn as much as they can about the tool but really appreciate the conversation. Thanks so much, Lockie. 

Lockie:

Thanks a lot Shane, great to be here. Catch you! 

Shane: 

That’s it for another week of Phone Calls with Clever People! Thank you so much for taking the time to invest in you by checking out the podcast. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss out on any of the episodes as they’re released and of course I’d love to hear how this has added value for you in the reviews. Have a fantastic week!

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