Kai Sawyer’s gift to the GLC community


Held on December 4, 2015: “GLC Presents: Kai Sawyer on Nonviolent Communication” was a great learning experience and it has led to the development of some wonderful new connections. So far, feedback on the event has been overwhelmingly positive.

Nonviolent Communication (NVC)

Kai led us through a series of exercises which helped us understand the foundations of NVC. Along the way, we came to a deeper understanding of what ‘drives” us and we learned ways we can communicate more effectively with others. We explored four basic NVC concepts:

Observations – Our experience of the world and the actions of others, as distinct from our evaluations of those experiences. Kai led an exercise in observation that highlighted just how often and habitually we include evaluations when we recount our own experiences or reflect others’.

Feelings – Emotions seem to arise in response to our experiences, but NVC encourages us to avoid the trap of thinking and communicating in a way that assumes that the actions of others cause our emotions and that others are therefore responsible for how we feel.

Needs – Kai described needs as “the energy of life” – the deep drives that move us. These needs are universal and include things such as creativity, community and compassion, among many others.As NVC explains, we are affected emotionally when our needs are met and when they are not met. Through an “empathy circle” exercise, Kai helped us identify the needs that underlay recent emotionally-charged experiences. Several participants commented that this exercise was a very powerful way of gaining self-awareness.

Requests – When we come to better understand our needs, we can begin to be clearer about what we would like to ask of others, and that clarity can enrich relationships. Kai helped us recognize how often our requests are too vague, abstract or ambiguous to be useful.



As is typical for GLC events, there was plenty of diversity! Among the 36 participants, almost half were non-Japanese and more than a dozen nationalities were represented. There was a wide range of communities represented as well, including students, artists, healthcare workers, coaches/trainers and businesspeople. Also, some participants came with a lot of experience with NVC, while others were being introduced to NVC for the first time. Kai’s approach allowed everyone to learn at their level.

New connections

Almost half of the participants were attending a GLC event for the first time. Some were members of Japan’s NVC community, or of Kai’s or 3X3 Labo’s network. Some great connections were made and we look forward to hearing these new voices at upcoming GLC events.

Among the new connections, a special shout-out to Yurie Makihara, who volunteered outstanding graphic facilitation during the workshop and has joined our leadership community. Scroll down for photos of her amazing work. Thank you, Yurie! Please contact Yurie at info@sustainabilitydialogue.com to find out about her Graphic Facilitation Basics workshop on Jan. 11.

Gift economy

Kai shared with us his practice of the gift economy. One element was a potluck lunch during the workshop, in which participants were invited to experience community through the sharing of food. Another was the invitation to give back to support Kai’s work, through a pay-forward donation collection at the end of the event. Read more about Kai’s approach to gift economy here: http://livingpermaculture.blogspot.jp/p/gift.html

3X3 Labo

What a great space! Welcoming, bright and versatile, we loved the facility. We also found strong alignment with the values of the organizations supporting the space and the projects based there. We want to thank 3X3 Labo for welcoming us, and we look forward to doing more to support their mission. Learn more about 3X3 Labo here: http://www.ecozzeria.jp/nipponbldg33

Looking ahead

This was a new initiative for us in the GLC. It was the first time we worked with a presenter to create an event based on their offering. As we’ve had a chance to collaborate with Kai for our Future of Leadership Forums, we knew it would be worth doing, but in the end it far exceeded our expectations. It led to so many positive outcomes – learning for all, new connections, great ideas for our own events (look forward to more integration of gift economy!), and the joy of helping a fantastic presenter/facilitator live their purpose.

We’d love to hear your thoughts. Who else could we support in a win-win-win (participants, the presenter, and our community) by providing a similar platform for their work?






GLC Presents: Kai Sawyer on Non-Violent Communication (Workshop)


An introduction to the world of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) and an exploration into radical social/organizational change. The goal of the workshop is for each of us to look deeply into what “moves” us, what “moves” others, and how we can connect deeply to that energy of life.

How do we communicate in our full authenticity while holding others with loving care? How do we shift from a power-over paradigm to a power-with paradigm, where all life matters equally? We will explore these questions through powerful interactive practices.

Please note that the language of this event is English only.

Register here!

Freedom to Fail – Some quotes on failure

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.

— Neil Gaiman


Here are a few other quotes on failure. Please contribute your thoughts and favorite quotes in the comment box below.

The most important thing to teach your kids is how to pick themselves up and dust themselves off after they fall down.

— Bjorn, father of four boys


Remember that failure is an event, not a person.

— Zig Ziglar


If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.

— Woody Allen


It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.

— J. K. Rowling


A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.

— John Burroughs

Freedom to Fail – kids vs. adults

The GLC Organizing Committee held the first small-group conversation on “Freedom to Fail” on January 8. It was a rich, fascinating discussion, and several interesting themes emerged. One was how children and adults approach creative projects very differently: kids are more likely to jump into action and take a trial-and-error approach, while adults tend to put more effort and investment into the planning and organizing stages. (An interesting theme to emerge in a planning and organizing meeting!) We discussed how this may be partly because adults are more afraid of the “error” part of “trial-and-error”. What do you think?

As Tom Wujec points out in this thought-provoking TED talk, sometimes trial-and-error leads to better overall results, as we uncover hidden assumptions early that might otherwise cause major failures later on.

[ted id=837]



Feminine leadership mind map

On October 25th, five members of the GLC organizer group came together to share our own views on feminine leadership ahead of the November 29th World Café event. Through our conversation, we developed the following mind map. What do you think? What would you add to this?

Feminine leadership mind map-verColorj2