Malaysian born, UK-based, Adele Lim describes herself as a “catalyst”. With a background in human resources, personal and organisational development, she works with people and corporations going through periods of massive change. Author of two books, Live Your Whole Capacity: How to tap into and grow unknown potential in your life” and “Love With Passion and Perspective: Pearls from a cross-border divorce and the Hague Convention” , and Founder and Lead Catalyst at Whole Capacity, Adele speaks to Creative Sparq about the process of change, her role as a change catalyst for individuals and organisations and her take on creativity as being "the process of creating spaces that inspire innovation, joyful growth and freedom."
What do you do currently and what were you doing previously? Why did you make the shift?
I work with people and organisations going through periods of massive change – new leaders, managers, executives, teams, or departments, new parents, expats, divorcees, entrepreneurs, or anyone at various stages and forms of a radical personal change journey. My expertise lies in the "people" aspects of reorganisation, restructuring, redundancies, mergers-acquisitions, emergence-convergence, and loving activism as it relates to the individual, organisational and social culture change.
I started my corporate life in Finance and very quickly learnt that I felt more alive and in resonance when I was working with people than with numbers, so it was a natural move to Human Resources. Through the various streams I was exposed to in both those fields, I discovered organisation development and then deepened my exploration on the Use of Self as an instrument of change. This culminated in my first book, Live Your Whole Capacity. The process of writing that book uncovered another dimension to my discoveries, and seeded Love with Passion and Perspective, which has just been released in September 2017.
As a “change catalyst”, please share how you help people navigate difficult situations involving change.
In simple terms, private clients come to me when they clock a deeper desire for change.
Corporate clients come to me when there is a need to look after the people side of the equation in an organisation - whether the work involves selecting or hiring a target candidate because of expansion, reorganisation, or right-sizing or bringing a desired group of people together on a path that is aligned towards greater effectiveness and performance.
The human stories could differ a great detail, whether in personal or organisational capacities, yet the core themes holding a particular reality for each person may well be rather similar if not familiar.
Specific examples of helping people go through periods of change, include working with clients who had lost sight of their dreams, clients dealing with marriage and motherhood issues, clients leading new teams through restructuring, clients leading organisation-wide behavioural shifts.
What do your books “Live Your Whole Capacity: How to tap into and grow unknown potential in your life” and “Love With Passion and Perspective: Pearls from a cross-border divorce and the Hague Convention” focus on?
Live Your Whole Capacity offers the perspective that by inquiring into the three elements or building blocks of Identity, Nature and Choiceful Creation, one can develop a signature practice that supports expanding one's capacity to live from a source of "whole-beingness".
Love with Passion and Perspective offers the view that experiences we have in life can feel different, depending on the narrative we hold and feed, and therefore result in a different outcome.
You also have an online community called Passion Sharefest. What is that about?
Passion ShareFest was created in response to requests to make our local Share, Showcase and Collaborate platform more accessible to a wider group internationally. The platform offers women a safe space to Share their journey to finding their passion and how they then turned it into products, services and offerings today, which is what they Showcase. The space is then opened up for people to mingle and develop collaborative relationships. Many fresh ideas, new working relationships, new product, services or offering, have developed in the process of getting to know each other and therefore how we can Collaborate to make it better for all.
What does creativity mean to you, especially in the context of your work?
Creativity for me feels a lot like giving birth, in that I feel it in the form of energy that is both pent up and flowing concurrently, that brings my ideas to form - like a spirit taking on the human form.
In the context of my work, it is the process of creating spaces that inspire innovation, joyful growth and freedom. It is to enable the client (You) to have another You, that can hold space for You, regardless whether you are in your doing or being mode.
Creative Problem Solving or Design Thinking or Divergent-Convergent Thinking are different frameworks for problem solving, developing or improving processes and products. Do you utilise these kinds or other similar frameworks in your day-to-day work for yourself or your clients?
I think frameworks are there to spark an inspiration and to offer a common language especially when the work involves large groups. It should not be treated as a methodology, sufficient in and of itself.
I adopt a process-orientation in working with clients, and I do not direct energy and focus on the problem, because problems change, and they will keep changing. I also do not direct energy and focus on identifying or eliminating root causes, because this direction often creates a sense of feeling stuck. If I were to name my processes, it would emergence-convergence, and the dialogic ways for change.
A few of the traits, people in the creative disciplines [art, music, photography etc.] use to describe themselves are – experimental, life-learners, constantly practicing their craft. Essentially, they seem to embrace the fact that change is constant and will help them grow as creatives. Do you think adopting this kind of “creative” mindset can help people go through periods of change, whether personally or professionally?
I like how you framed the question. What you described sounds to me like adopting a learning stance to life, knowing that I’m always a work in progress, a masterpiece in the making - that this masterpiece will never finish, and therein lies immense beauty in the opportunity.
Creativity for me isn’t so much a mindset, albeit it is indeed one of the biggest, most common doorway, as it is a state of allowing.
It arrives through two common forms - the subtler, quieter inspiration (usually sparked by inner silence or from being close to nature) or the quicker, buzzier inspiration (usually sparked through high energy conversations or from being close to the city).
Organisations, business models, technologies are going through change at a rapid pace and it is affecting leaders and employees in the workplace and families and individuals in their personal capacity. What kind of programmes and capabilities should organisations be building and what kind of mindsets should individuals and parents be adopting considering this change?
This is a big question with so many possible angles!
I believe that building programmes and capabilities that expand on the capacity of people in using their own emotional guide and to take personal responsibility for how they feel can completely change the way things unfold in a truly leading edge way.
With the pace of change, there is a fear of being left out, of being left behind, of being abandoned or rendered irrelevant and ultimately, the fear of death. I’m not sure if this is driven by mindset, so much as being conditioned to run in this manner.
What we can do is practice recognising how we are in different conditions and our preferences and hold them lightly as pure references of where we are on our own unique point of the journey. The more we can do that, the more we exercise free agency within the structural and personal limitations at that point of the journey and the more open we become to different possibilities.
Finally, what do you do to fuel your creativity?
I use essential oils and raw foods a lot. I also spend time with people who are passionate about what they do. I tune in to emotions and vision and follow intuitive awareness towards any call to action. Anytime I need a real boost, I simplify and take time out rejuvenating with essential oils and go raw for an extended period of time, including fasting.
About The Interviewer
A brand storyteller, Ayesha Kohli is the founder of communications consultancy, Sparq Communications and the Editor of Creative Sparq. She launched the site in 2017 to showcase different perspectives on creativity and creative thinking. Passionate about people, culture, education, leadership, technology and trends, she loves championing emerging talents and new businesses.