FEBI and Puppetry Training: Finding and Sharing Energy Using FEBI

Posted by Anthony Attan

Jul 22, 2012 10:25:00 AM

Article by Dr. Mark Seton, a consultant in Higher Education Performing and Media Arts and a Certified FEBI facilitator, Sydney, AUSTRALIA.

In July this year I was privileged to be invited to give a keynote paper entitled Resilient Vulnerability at the 4th National Puppetry and Animatronics Summit in Melbourne, Australia.  Over the past few years I have been using training practices associated with FEBI to enable performing arts practitioners to identify their own energetic preferences so that they can have a more sustainable working practice.

What was interesting as I prepared to speak to the puppeteers was to learn that they have a very real recognition of the primacy of energy in their practice.  In Penny Francis’ Reader in Puppetry Theatre Practice (2012), she observes that “the perceived investment of the inanimate with anima or spirit is effected through the convincing transference of a performer’s energy - endowing the puppet/object with motion (normally), voice (sometimes) and presence (always).”  I drew upon this insight as a foundation for engaging puppeteers with the consideration that they need to have a more ecological approach to how they draw upon and channel appropriate energies to be both fully present in the performance space and give their energy to animate the puppets or objects they manipulate.  In particular, I encouraged them to think about approaching the creation of ‘character’ as energetic shape or form, rather than via psychological motivation.  This would not only allow them to consider how to manage their use of energy like a marathon runner, but it would also allow them a means by which to alter their embodied engagement in character in a way that they could debrief and ‘shake off’ aspects of the performance afterwards.

FEBI Patterns logoThis work on resilient vulnerability has emerged from my years of research into actor training in which actors are valued for their vulnerability – their capacity to affect and be affected by an ‘other’, whether it is a text, a person, or a situation.  Performance training is often very effective at enabling artists to be vulnerable.  But there is little training in how to manage that vulnerability so that it is resilient and sustainable for a career that is full of ups and downs, rejections and uncertainties.  I make use of FEBI as a foundational awareness tool when helping actors build up their resilience.  I encourage actors to identify their own energetic preferences and tendencies, and then physically ‘play with’ how they might use their preferences to build up the other qualities of energy they might require for a particular character or performance task.

Often I discover that actors have been traumatised by past vulnerabilities that were not appropriately negotiated through an embodied process.  Dr Peter Levine, a pioneer in somatic (embodied) treatment of trauma, has noted, firstly, that the perception and manifestation of trauma and stress are particular to each individual.  Secondly, the resilience of a person, in the face of inevitable vulnerability to stress and/or trauma, is a consequence of both personal history and a supportive network of relationships.  And, thirdly, and most crucially, that any trauma triggered is “‘locked’ in the body, and it’s through the body that it must be accessed and processed (Levine 1997). By using FEBI, alongside another somatic creative and improvisational practice known as InterPlay (which shares the same lineage with FEBI with regard to the work of Betsy Wetzig), I find that I am helping performers, including actors and puppeteers, find their own unique embodied pathways to wellbeing and becoming empowered to be resiliently vulnerable in their creative practice.

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Topics: FEBI, Focus Energy Balance Indicator, Coaching Tool, FEBI Certified Coach, energy patterns, energy, actor training, puppetry

Interview with FEBI Coach, Dr. Nika Quirk

Posted by Anthony Attan

May 18, 2012 8:26:00 AM

I recently caught up with FEBI Certified Coach, Nika Quirk, to talk about her recent academic work and what's next now that she is Dr. Quirk. 

Tell me about your doctoral research?


My curiosity about what supports collaboration to emerge in a group of people lies at the heart of my doctoral inquiry.  For the last 25 years, I've worked as a corporate director, a program and project manager, and as a coach for entrepreneurs, while simultaneously integrating the improvisational methodology of InterPlay into my daily life and work.  As you know, InterPlay and the FEBI have some common roots in looking at life performance from a body-based perspective. This juxtaposition of experience made me intrigued by how ease-filled the connection and collaboration typically was in improvisational contexts and what a struggle it was to create and maintain really successful partnerships and teams in the workplace.  I brought these questions into my transdisciplinary work at California Institute of Integral Studies.  My research explored my theory that the emergence of collaboration is sparked by creating a social space for ongoing leadership team development that provides the time for increasing bonds of mutuality (the formation of "We").  In this space, the group inquires into their own collaborative group performance as well as their organizational progress towards the vision and current objectives through an ongoing cycle of action, reflection, and group dialog utilizing extended ways of knowing such as storytelling, movement and visual art making.  This builds the capacity to imagine and think together, and optimally over time to build and benefit from synergy.

The relevance and timeliness of my doctoral research is grounded in our "new normal", the increasing complexity and uncertainty of our lives on this planet.  With others, I believe that the 21st Century is an era of Great Change for humanity and we are called to retool the unsustainable aspects of modern civilization, and personally evolve as well.  To be the highly adaptable and resilient people who can co-create a life-sustaining society and ride the waves of change, we need to re-engage with our intuitive, relational and artful intelligence, becoming whole-brain, embodied thinkers and actors.  These themes are surfacing in diverse domains such as brain science, theories of developing sustainability, and new perspectives on leadership that is more shared, relational and learning-oriented.

What is next for you?

Well, Anthony, my life is overlapping endings and beginnings right now.  My degree is being formally conferred and my dissertation published in the next two months.  ("Open Yet Unbroken" will be an open access publication downloadable through Google Scholar).  Simultaneously, I've begun co-designing and managing a new research project for Women's Initiative for Self-Employment here in the San Francisco Bay Area with funding provided by the Fetzer Institute.  Essentially, we're inquiring into what happens when people in a workplace engage with experiences of love and forgiveness, their own and others.  What is the ripple effect in their leadership, their work, and in the organization's culture?  It's a very rich opportunity.

I'm networking and interviewing to find academic opportunities as a mentor and/or faculty, preferably in a Green MBA program or a leadership program focused on transformative and sustainable development.  Continuing my doctoral research is very important to me and I have a few ideas about projects for 2013 that will extend the inquiry into different populations and contexts.

And I'm expanding my coaching practice beyond the individual entrepreneurs I've mainly been working with to focus on developing business collectives, partnerships and organizational teams in business or non-profit sectors.

What benefit do you bring to collectives, partnerships and teams?  Who are your clients?

Think of any popular band, orchestra or dance troupe that you think are amazing performers.  This type of ensemble performance is what I aim to bring to people working and leading together in groups.  From the audience view, it looks so easy, seamless, flowing, harmonic.  That fluid ensemble performance hangs on a solid framework of trust, play, practice and intimate knowledge of each other's competencies and capacities that takes an investment of time, energy and talent to construct.  For these groups, perfection of ensemble expression is the goal.  When we hold the same kind of prioriSharedreflectionty in other workplaces and are willing to make that kind of investment, we can achieve the efficiency, elegance, creativity and sustainability in performance.

In working with business partnerships, entrepreneur problem-solving groups, and the non-profit team I did my doctoral research with, I find there are several aspects of this work.  I believe in the leadership potential in everyone. Like individuals, I believe duos and groups are unique entities who are enhanced by facilitation of their own self-organizing process.  I assist their discovery and development through using the FEBI individual and team profiles, and inquiry and dialog activities.  Ideally, these group inquiry sessions are occurring several times a week. Remember, the goal is to learn to imagine, think and act together.  We gather data about key questions, such as those below, and reflect on the results of actions that arise from these questions.  

  • What is our shared imagined vision and our ideal outcomes?

  • What brings us together and what separates us?

  • For the group - Who are We?  Who do We need to become?

  • For the individual - What are my multiple possibilities for contribution in this group? What are my learning edges?

  • What are the current and next priorities for action?  How do We best deploy our resources to succeed?

I also help them to design the kind of social space they require to maintain a culture of collaboration for their group.  This is often a challenge in larger organizations.  Eventually, the partnership or group has put a collaborative practice into place that works for them, and they consult with me as needed.

Recent business coaching clients include partners in a permaculture landscape architecture firm and a video production company.  Now that my academic work is completed, I'm looking for a few collectives or teams who want to take their collaborative performance to the next level.


To contact Dr. Quirk or other FEBI Certified Coaches, visit the FEBI Certified Coach Directory.


Topics: FEBI, FEBI Certified Coach, energy patterns, energy, collaboration

Energy Patterns Helping To Form New Habits

Posted by Anthony Attan

Feb 9, 2012 9:18:00 AM

We are now five weeks into the New Year and for many this means resolutions are beginning to fade in lieu of old habits.  What is the best intention on January 1st often becomes just another a failed resolution by now.  By March, many of us have for forgotten them all together.  So, what will make this year different?

I should first point out that I am not against resolutions.  In fact, quite the contrary, I think it is really important to take the time when the calendar changes to reflect on the past year and verbalize goals for the future.  Take the time to stop and reflect on all that you have accomplished in the past year, what your greatest challenges were and your greatest victories.  I find myself getting so caught up in the daily grind that I lose sight of all that has occurred over the past year.  So I encourage everyone to take the time to reflect, celebrate those victories and learn from those struggles.  

Next, think of what you want to accomplish this year.  What needs to happen so that on January 1st, 2013, you will look back on your year and say, “2012 was a great year!”  The energy patterns can help with this effort.  Enter the Visionary pattern to help you broaden your thinking to be more future oriented and picture what would have to happen to make 2012 a successful year.  Stay in this pattern and envision what the emotion is and really feel into what a great 2012 would feel like.  You don’t have to do this alone, in fact, you shouldn’t do this alone.  Enter Collaborator and share your thoughts and this feeling with others, building on the collective energy of those around you.  Next, enter the Organizer pattern and capture what needs to happen to make it a great year.  Think of the steps that must occur for those things to happen and write those down too.

So, how do we prevent this year from being just another year of broken resolutions?  For this we will summon our inner warrior, which we call the Driver energy pattern.  The key is to turn good intentions into habits that define us.  The Driver energy can help as the best way to form a new habit is to start today.  It’s really that simple: every day enter Driver and get it done!  If ‘it’ is working out, the best way to form an exercise habit is to workout TODAY!  Not tomorrow, not next week, but today.  And tomorrow will turn into your new today so guess what, it's again time to summon the Driver and workout today.  Eventually, this will become a habit, as the activity will occur with minimum thought and more psychological distress will arise when not doing the activity - even when the activity is hard.  Until then, let your Driver be your inner warrior, fighting for today.

As we see in leadership, the patterns can support your efforts in making 2012 a great year.  Just as whole leadership has shown to be best practice in business, so can all the patterns support you in forming new habits, reaching goals and creating an amazing year.  This year, let your whole self, with all the potential within you and all the support around you, make it the best one yet!

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Topics: FEBI, Focus Energy Balance Indicator, energy patterns, leadership, leadership development, whole leadership development, energy, whole leadership, managing energy, managing stress

Interview with FEBI Coach Rhonda Morton

Posted by Anthony Attan

Feb 1, 2012 3:51:00 PM

Recently FEBI Certified Coach Rhonda Morton was interviewed by the Center for Building a Culture of Empathy.  In addition to sharing her expertise on the power of empathy, Rhonda discussed how the FEBI has helped her clients reach their full potential. 

“…when working with individuals and groups I have this tool called FEBI [Focus Energy Balance Indicator].  It was developed by a women named Ginny Whitelaw.  She took energy patterns in our bodies that exist, like the way that our muscles work, the way that our neurons fire and the way that our nervous system works and based on that came up with four types; Driver, Organizer, Collaborator and Visionary.  To make a long story short, it’s a shorthand or a lens to look at how we behave ourselves and how we interact with other people.  And what I love about it is that it is so simple, it’s four types and they are words we understand and we get it.  When I start explaining it, people are like ‘oh yea, I’m a Driver/Organizer’ or they say ‘oh, that’s why I can never go shopping with my daughter, she’s a Visionary and I’m a Driver, I just want to get it done and she wants to touch everything’…”  

Rhonda went on to say, “We are by no stretch of the imagination the same, we don’t think the same or feel the same.  So once you can have that awareness and you can start looking at life through that kind of lens, it’s like there is an easiness that comes from it, just knowing that drops the frustration, drops some of the resisting what is…I find that when I introduce these four ways to approach the world, that it tunes up through your whole body…when people get that and they have this language to talk about it, it’s like grease, it just makes things go smoother.”

Click HERE to watch the full interview.  Under that video is also a video of Rhonda giving a TED talk on being an ‘Empathy Ambassador’.  If you would like to learn more about Rhonda and the great work she is doing, visit her website at http://www.possibilityapplied.com/




Topics: FEBI, Focus Energy Balance Indicator, Coaching Tool, FEBI Certified Coach, leadership coaching, leadership development, whole leadership development, energy, whole leadership

Leadership Coaching with Physical Activities and the Energy Patterns

Posted by Anthony Attan

Jan 18, 2012 5:50:00 PM

Blog rewind: We went back to our archives to bring you our most popular posts from the old blog.  Here is a Q & A written by Ginny Whitelaw, titled "Coaching Clients on Physical Activities for the Patterns."  Enjoy!

Q: How, in an actual coaching session, do you recommend physical activities for developing a pattern, beyond just looking over a list of them?

A: It’s a great question, and one that I invite other coaches to share their experience on as well. For in landing on the right practices by which our clients can cultivate this or that pattern, we make the patterns deeply personal for our clients, and HOW we do that is deeply personal for us as coaches. This is how I do it: start with exactly where the client is starting:

What are you interested in?

What do you love to do?

What renews you?

What did you used to make time for that you no longer do?

These are the sorts of questions I might ask. And then I listen deeply for whether they know what’s good for them or are they lost? In particular, is there something they name that could be done in the energy of the pattern they want to cultivate? And can we identify some strengths that will help them strengthen a weak pattern?

For example, one client, I’ll call her Margie, was a strong Driver and wanted to develop more Visionary. Other things I knew about Margie was she had a strong sense of responsibility (i.e., especially not letting others down), her health was starting to fail, and she was Driver-determined to “make war” (her words) on getting her life back. When I asked her about practices already in her life, she said she used to go to the gym and weightlift, but didn’t have time for it anymore – classic Driver! – but she knew she needed to get back to it. She also loved cooking, gardening, just being out in nature, but didn’t have time for those things either.

Already she had given me plenty of clues. We talked about converting her “make war” determination into committed time for a renewing practice. Using her Driver strength and sense of responsibility, I suggested keeping score (“Give yourself a point each day that you stick to your commitment, and set a target for, say, 70 points this quarter. Make a bet with a friend. If you don’t hit 70 points by end of the quarter, you owe her something you’ve agreed on.”)

Now that we had a wedge of time, how could Margie best fill it? She wanted to get back to weightlifting a couple times a week, and I told her that was great, but don’t expect that to develop the Visionary. It would be important renewal time for her, however, and would keep refreshing her “make war” determination, so I didn’t try to talk her out of it. “In addition,” I asked, and this is where the pattern activity lists come in, “Would you consider Tai Chi once a week? Done with a friend (whom she wouldn’t want to let down, of course!). In general, this is where in a coaching conversation I might bring out the lists. Do any of these speak to you? Which of these are you already doing? Which are you curious about?

As for Tai Chi and Margie, she said she would think about it, but in a way that made me think she’d do nothing more than think about it. But the seed was planted, I let it go. In the meantime, gardening was already a passion (and on the Visionary list); could she commit to an hour a week being one with her garden? And doing it in a sort of Visionary way – creating, making spaces, feeling into the nature of what wants to happen in a semi-shaded part of her yard? She was quite charged about this possibility, and I could hear it would have enough energy to get started. She also wanted to add a Visionary walk at lunch through a park near where she worked – a midday refresher that would also spark ideas for her own garden. Twenty minutes for her walks, an hour a week for her gardening, weightlifting twice a week, and a bet with a friend wrapped around all of it – a perfect starting practice for this Driver!

So there is a place for the lists – i.e., those development activities listed in the end of chapters in Move to Greatness, or in the Development Recommendations of a FEBI report – but I suggest not starting with them, but rather starting with where our client starts, listening for how we can build on strengths and current passions, and making connections to what we hear will resonate for him or her.



Topics: FEBI, Focus Energy Balance Indicator, Coaching Tool, FEBI Certified Coach, leadership coaching, leadership, leadership development, change management, energy, managing energy

Welcome to the FEBI Learning Lounge

The official FEBI blog

The FEBI Learning Lounge is the official blog of FEBI Assessment.  In this blog we discuss all things related to the energy patterns of FEBI, digging more into each of the patterns of personality and discussing various applications that can benefit from a pattern perspective.

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