Longing for Belonging.

There is one element that we all desire in a world captivated by difference. Longing for Belonging. This is an extract from the book The Power of Belonging How to develop safety, inclusion and Belonging For Us, Others and our communities and our organisations By Sunita Sehmi

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I have found that it works continuously rather than looking outside and going within. Literally, observe yourself and use the following IRIS model to guide you. In Greek mythology, Iris was the goddess of the rainbow who rode the rainbow as a multi-coloured bridge from heaven to earth, the three petal segments representing trust, insight, and courage. IRIS is not rocket science by any means but a simple strategy to help us when we go with what’s unconscious.

IRIS stands for Intention, Respect, I statements, and Self-awareness.

The intention this is your objective. Your purpose and goal are not evident to the counterparty or ourselves. According to Gary Zukav, the intention is at the heart of creating authentic power. The intention is one with cause and effect, and you must be sure of your intent when you are communicating as this has and will directly impact the result.

 Once we are clear about our intent, we are clear about our message, our resolve our objective. Furthermore, every choice we make, each deed we take, is intuitively born out of an intention. That is how powerful intention is. When our intention is not aligned with our genuine goals, this causes confusion, misunderstandings and a communication breakdown.


Respect is unquestionable, and most people crave from their managers and colleagues. People learn by example so exhibit self-respect and respect to others. These are not mutually exclusive. This means being professional and direct, nevertheless respectful. Our world is becoming increasingly relational and not transactional, so real connection globally means we have to focus on the whole person, the whole person, the person who shows up and not who we believe they are.

“I” statements

Thomas Gordon developed the concept of an “I” statement in the 1960s. “I” statements are intended to create a protected space for clients to express themselves. Rogers accomplished this by using reflective listening, self-disclosure, and demonstrating empathy and unconditional positive regard for the client. We now know that these methods can be used together in personal and professional fields. Furthermore, using “I” statements can invoke the same emotive resonance in our professional relationships, leading to a richer connection and bond. Good communication is essential for building solid relationships, and without honest communication, relationships can turn bitter and lead to scepticism and errors. The “I” statements are an operational means of communicating since they conserve a humble attitude toward the receiver whilst enabling the speaker to say how they feel.

When used correctly, “I” statements can help foster positive communication in relationships. In addition, they may help them become more robust, as sharing feelings and thoughts honestly and openly can help both parties grow closer on an emotional level.


Self-awareness is the institution of personal growth and success. Daniel Goleman calls it the ‘keystone’ of emotional intelligence; indeed, building self-awareness is a life-long effort. Self-awareness is a “soft skill” that translates into hard results if you are not aware of an organisation’s leader. Daniel Goleman indeed reminds us “that self-awareness isn’t just navel-gazing. It’s the presence of mind to be flexible in how you respond. In addition, it allows you to be centred and know what your body is telling you.” He adds that self-awareness means the ability to monitor our inner world – our thoughts and feelings. Google has built a whole learning movement called Search inside Yourself using the tools of neuroscience, mindfulness, and emotional intelligence. SIY provides evidence-based practices for leaders to become more self-aware and better leaders. Self-awareness is central because we have a greater understanding of ourselves and consequently can experience ourselves as separate individuals. This enables us to build on our areas of strength and detect areas where we would like to make developments.

“The river that flows in you also flows in me.” – Kabir 1440 AD

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