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Why the future is human

24 April 2019

At SCU’s recent networking event in Brisbane, over 50 attendees were inspired by bestselling author and 2018 SCU Vice Chancellor’s Alumnus of the Year, Bella Zanesco as she guided them in becoming fully expressed leaders with her keynote The Future is Human.

Bella said there are three main areas to focus on in becoming a Fully Expressed leader, starting with changing your perspective on career goals.

“Truly happy, healthy and productive people don’t view work as a thing to be endured but a thing to be enjoyed. And this is what the top 5% do differently.”

Being driven to climb the corporate ladder with a goal to earn $1million a year, Bella says she needed to change her perspective in order to know what was really important. She explained her idea of trading in career goals for ‘eulogy virtues’ and how she wanted to shape her life so that she could make a positive impact to as many people as she could.

“I started to wonder what life might look like if I set myself an impact target much like the greats like Mother Teresa, Malala and Elon Musk do.”

This led her on an adventure to Nairobi to volunteer taking photographs and videos as a way of spreading the word to raise funds for those in poverty in the Kibera Slum.

“Three months later I was on a plane to Kibera Slum. The world's largest. A place where 2.5 million people live in an area the size of Central Park. A place where the majority of girls have suffered some kind of abuse and where a boy’s education is prioritised over a girl’s.”

She says this experience helped her shift her perspective to focus on creating a legacy and a life with more meaning.

“Eulogy virtues, foster meaning and are other person focussed. These are the virtues that lead to a life well lived—kindness, compassion, love, humility, wisdom, courage, and integrity to name a few.

“Although many studies have been done on meaning, it comes down to two things; doing good for others and even more directly nurturing high-quality relationships.”

For Bella, the next step to leading a Fully Expressed life was prioritising her health and following her gut instinct.

After suffering debilitating bouts of IBS, Bella said she needed to take control of her health.

“Out-of-balance gut biomes are responsible for everything from sad moods, hormonal havoc, decreased libido, slow metabolism, immune deficiencies, our perception (negative or positive) and the quality of our thoughts.

“And most importantly our decisions. Why? Because your gut is actually your second brain.

“Your gut produces your serotonin. When functioning well, it pumps out 95 per cent of the body’s serotonin — the happy, calm chemical that nurtures productive thinking.”

She says eating as many leafy greens as she could, reducing stress through exercise and making better health decisions ultimately made an impact on her being about to be an effective Fully Expressed leader.

Bella explained that the last piece of the puzzle is tapping into joy and getting into your flow-state for peak performance.

“According to Steven Kotler, author of The Rise of Superman and founder of the Flow Genome Project, ‘flow’ is defined as an ‘optimal state of consciousness where we feel and perform our best’. It’s the emotional midpoint between boredom, joy and anxiety, the place where we stretch ourselves, but not so much that we snap.

“On a physiological level, it’s when your body pumps out norepinephrine, dopamine, endorphins, serotonin, anandamide and oxytocin simultaneously.”

She said to get into flow-state you need to do something that lights you up and takes you a little bit out of your comfort zone.

“And it makes sense that ‘flow’ would make us more productive. Aside from raising the level of a number of feel-good neurotransmitters, the state of ‘flow’ also turns off the prefrontal cortex: the part of the brain that controls impulses and houses your inner critic and who doesn’t want to shut that up more often.”

The results speak for themselves. Bella said she followed these principles during her world championship sailing preparations and found the joy in competing, getting an edge against her competitors to become a 9th-time world champion sailor.

Interested in becoming a Fully Expressed Leader in life and work? Access the Fully Expressed Leadership quiz and 13-page personalised report with action steps here.

What they said

Attendee and SCU Online MBA Student, Robie Jayawardhana, said the event and Bella’s keynote speech gave him a fresh perspective on business and leadership.  

About SCU Online’s Networking Events

This event was the second in a series of networking events. SCU Online heard the need from their students that they wanted more opportunities to engage face-to-face with fellow students and academics, so SCU Online Networking Events was born, and the inaugural event kicked off in September 2018 with a keynote speech from Former Facebook MD Steven Scheeler. The event was hosted in Sydney and live-streamed to SCU Online students around the country.

Stay tuned for the next event.