Noureddine Mhakkak (NM): Dominique Wolton says of human communication that “in communication, the most complicated is neither the message nor the technique, but the receiver”. What do you think of this idea first, since you are a very brilliant communicator? I just watched your channel on YouTube, and I was fascinated by the way you speak, explain, approach and analyse the topics covered.
Julie Guégan (JG): First of all, a big thank you for your compliment, which goes straight to my heart. Basically, as Wolton suggests, it is about communicating with the receiver, not imposing it as an advertisement that might be perceived as intrusive.
For this, three qualities are essential from my point of view: mutual respect, empathy and high standards. I would start with mutual respect. I try to develop the relationship by being in the subtlety. I’m here to tell a story and my goal is to get more and more people interested. This respect is reflected in the desire to offer a narrative, which I enrich with diversity. It would be too sad to interest only those who are already on my side. And I do not want to scare away either, although I think the receiver has to make an effort as well. Therefore, I qualify this respect as mutual.
Communication enriches me and the receiver, there is a benefit for both parties, this also calls for mutual commitment. For me, this translates into a desire not to expose the messages too much, but step by step. My goal is to move towards more co-creation. Who am I deep down? If not a piece of the puzzle. I understood very early on the meaning of emptiness, that is that we do not exist by ourselves. Everything is interdependent. I am just one part of the flow of life. And a constant for me is to fight the arrogance of power and of knowledge.
Empathy is then the second quality that I mobilise. Empathy is the ability to put ourselves in the shoes of those who read us, listen to us or watch us (not assimilating their feelings and emotions though, which would be a trap). From the moment we recognise each other, anything is possible. How to make the speech speak to him? How can she receive this message? So many questions that I ask myself regularly. I am very interested in psychology and philosophy, I read just about anything that comes to my mind, following a golden thread. For me, it is essential to seek to understand how people work, but also animals. For example, it’s pretty amazing how my dog and my cat understand me!
Finally, high standards, which ideally should not be seen, is the third essential quality of a good communicator. Do not be afraid to work a lot, to develop your knowledge, to experiment in order to offer better experiences and not to delegate the essential (another trap I observe quite a lot). Behind the requirement, there is a lot of discipline, failures and hard work. If the effort seems almost natural, it’s won. However, it is an ongoing quest, especially if there is a search for renewal and innovation. With me, no fear, my requirement will not turn into rigidity or perfection. I want everyone who receives my message to feel it as incomplete, so that they can put their flavour on it and co-create.
Obviously, not everyone likes this posture, but it is so rewarding for me and the participants in this communication. What I must continuously work on is defining the frame of my actions, if you want this is my integrity. Deep down, I think my goal in life is to help others become leaders in their lives. But I feel more and more that I should stop being a guinea pig. I, too, deserve to be me – still of service, obviously, but aligned with my core values, also more afraid of the wrath of “God” (which the wild girl in me forgot all about, and I think I am not the only one).
(NM): “To create is always to talk about childhood”, as the French writer Jean Genet put it. Could you tell us about your childhood? The little girl that you were? Since always, “wisdom sends us to childhood”, according to French philosopher Blaise Pascal.
(JG): It is very positive to appreciate our own ambivalence. I will therefore offer you a story about my childhood that puts it ahead. I was an obedient and curious little girl. I loved listening to stories, participating, and nothing frustrated me more than being sidelined or stuck in my place as a child. Very early on, I wanted to do great things. But I had to be a good girl. So I had to deal with my need not to offend, not to disturb and this urge to shake things up. I must say that it is impossible to really impose something on me. But kindness is a quality that I cultivate. While I am deeply attached to the idea of doing good, I no longer punish myself for doing wrong and I believe that we should all be encouraged to do so.
Nothing like kindness to ourselves, and especially when we sin! I was sometimes pipelette and full of envy, sometimes more introverted, immersed in books, the authors of which have become among my most faithful companions. I didn’t go so unnoticed with my brown hair and blue eyes. However, I would have liked to have been looked at less and especially judged less. I have often been ashamed of being so alive, so happy and ambitious. I wish I had been able to do more place to others. And I believe this story naturally led me to my passion for collaboration.
So if I had a childhood that I call happy, I was hiding my pain of being very far from my beloved father. Sometimes I would have liked him to come and save me. Because my father and my loving grandfather escaped my family at the same time, so I had a childhood surrounded by women, and I admit that I often wanted to flee their stories and especially their dramas. Well, none of the men of my life did save me. Since then, I did a big work to forgive them, allowing me not to want to be saved by other men later on in life. I feel I made peace with that, because that was only causing resentment (and this makes us really ugly!)
I have since learnt to appreciate feminine characteristics and have more and more female friends. When I was little I was a flirtatious tomboy. My divorced parents started new families. It made me jealous at times, and although I love my half-siblings, I wished I had stayed at the centre of my parents’ attention much more. Life wanted it differently and instead, I now have a big family, which I love to find and of which I am proud.
(NM): “Love is space and time made sensitive to the heart”, from the point of view of French writer Marcel Proust. Where is love for you? And how can we experience it and feel it?
(JG): The hardest part of learning to quit, and I got to know it with my dad, is growing with a wooden leg. For a long time in my life, I believed that I needed a crutch, that I had to complete myself with a man who, moreover, would have the heavy task of saving me from myself. If I am convinced that we are social animals, and that our existence only has meaning when completed with the neurons of others, I think that love is internal to begin with. True love begins with oneself.
So I tried to love myself. And when I loved myself enough, then I was able to truly love others. Focus on their strengths rather than their weaknesses, and be satisfied with their shortcomings. Thanks to this work, I also grew up more independent, and this is an essential value that I can now pass on to my children.
I have come to believe that all is love and energy, so I take care of myself. Of course, that requires a constant effort of me. There are days, when I would still like to hide in a corner of this world, not to try to move it forward for the good of all.
You probably understood by now that I have this old dream, that we all have a right to speak and to have joy. You know, loving each other enough is what allows us to forget each other and dance the throbbing waltz of love. Every time I consciously lowered my arms to sail with the winds, I have had some nice surprises. Life is much less difficult than it seems when you let yourself go and add some fun! It’s about trusting, that love is always stronger. I feel love today everywhere, in nature, with my friends or at work. And I also pass on this belief to my children that life is easy, if only a few very simple rules are followed. Basically, there are really few and I sum them up to these three objectives: to do good for oneself, for others and for the planet. And to end the day rather positive, because we are only human.
(NM): Talking about love leads us to talking about friendship. Because “friendship sometimes ends in love, but love rarely ends in friendship. In the words of English writer Charles Caleb Colton. What do you think of friendship, and especially “total friendship, since the latter is universal. And only universal friendship can be total friendship. Any particular bond lacks depth unless it is open to universal friendship”, according to French philosopher Jean Guitton.
(JG): I like to be useful and to give. I also learnt to take and receive in the moment. Confidence is essential, and I gladly give it away by default. So I’m pretty much a good friend. But like everyone else, I have my limits, my yellow line, the one that cannot be exceeded. I am faithful up to this point. Life taught me that we should not keep in our circle, these people who did not know how to respect us, because as long as they have not made their way of the cross, they will remain a negative source. of energy. So friendship, yes, as much as possible while respecting one’s own limits.
In addition, I now know that it is necessary to be humble in friendship. I haven’t always been. Like everyone else, I had to learn to let go of my ego. So, I would have wanted to achieve great things with some friends, only not everyone is willing to meet all of our desires and understand our basic needs. For example, I don’t like being judged without asking permission first, because I’m very sensitive when in love. I accept not to do well, and I try to improve myself so I am taking feedback. But it is essential for me that this feedback is accompanied by benevolence and possibly solutions or avenues for reflection. I have a little “boss” side so you know if the feedback comes from someone who’s feeling bad about themselves, I don’t hesitate to skip it. But from those I love, it used to be really hard. Because I was afraid they would not need my love anymore. And for me this would lead to a similar feeling as “you may die, I no longer need you alive”. I had to work on that fear a lot. Once we are aware of what’s going on in our head, things get very easy: a negative emotion only stays 90 seconds deep in our body if we don’t hold it back.
(NM): “Life is an art”, according to a German proverb, and the art of living requires a vision of the world. How can we live life in full happiness and how can we seek this desired and desired happiness?
(JG): What if happiness was no longer a quest, but a gift of life that we all have by default at birth? I develop this belief in abundance, not to feel lost anymore, and to stay the course. I have a graduated pipette inside me. When I fall below the average that I set for myself for my happiness, then I act to go up. I know the threshold that I must not cross. One day I thought I had suffered too much and could not come to the surface again. My vision was blocked, I could no longer see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Separation with the father of my children, the sudden death of my professional partner, the obligation to put an end to a great a passion with a man, the loss of our baby at three months of pregnancy, and then the relentless life of an independent consultant, the purchase of my first apartment, all the responsibilities that accumulate in addition to financial difficulties and doubts, my father in pretty bad health, the COVID, the guilt towards my kids… All at the same time…
How did I come to the surface? Thanks to the belief that if Nelson Mandela, after 27 years in captivity, in excruciating conditions, had come through as a better man, then so could I. I picked up my graduated pipette, and began to pump myself up with happiness. On my journey, I encountered guardian angels and I held onto them, as much as they allowed me. I would like to one day be that anchor that they were for me. I’m working on it with the hard work it takes to get there. I do yoga, I meditate and I do whatever training I can imagine. My priority today is of course that of mother. But my children are growing up well, they are 10 and 12 years old, and their foundations seem solid. So little by little, I will let them fly away while accompanying them with love and protection. As for me, I will look for other fights, the ones that make me happy.
(NM): “Happiness is inside of us, not outside. It does not depend on what we have but what we are. “According to American writer Henry Van Dyke. What do you think the true meaning of happiness is?
(JG): So I follow up on this notion of happiness, and I agree with the first part of this quote. Indeed, if I refer to my story above, I think that sometimes the unhappiness we have can encroach on our internal happiness. We all have a point of vulnerability linked to our history. It’s a bit of an Achilles heel broken through life experience that we ideally should have avoided at all costs. I am not a masochist at all. But life is full of surprises, and I understood that if we are to contribute to that beam of light that we need, then we have to be willing to take a detour to the dark side.
Nature is so well done. Everything is balance. It’s just a matter of not getting sucked in and persisting in the search for light. “Suns exist”, according to Rumi. Looking back, I realised that if we can get through this, then it’s wonderful that we actually get stronger. Much stronger. Being able to hold on when my children are far away, and being able to live without this man who gave me the love that I thought I lacked and that I was looking for everywhere until now, gave me a confidence that nothing could really bring me down. I am equipped for happiness, if I let go of the fear that goes with it.
I know I will have to go through other trials and maybe even worse. But what I have learnt and this belief that I now share that “happiness depends on who we are” will not go away. I will no longer hesitate to ask for help if I see that the vital fluid in my graduated pipette is sinking dangerously. There is something magical about making sincere and good requests to the universe. Try it, you will see!
(NM): “If you have a job where there are no complications, you don’t have a job” in the words of Malcolm Forbes. What do you think of the world of work, and how can we make a successful living from it?
(JG): Your question is interesting, because I have a complicated relationship with success. I think it’s very subjective. What I see as success will not necessarily be seen as such by others. I find myself more in the quest for adventure, and this is how I experience the work. So, I build my role. I am fortunate to have found the means to do so. I play chess, I always try in my job as a consultant to be one step ahead of the opponent, if at all there is (not the game, but the opponent). I am in perpetual motion. What matters is what I aspire to, and I want to do great things, especially for the most vulnerable among us. I believe for instance in restorative justice.
I think our reality is in perpetual construction. If I see work as toil then I will be very bored and that’s not what I want. I give myself the means to achieve my goals. I am a generally disciplined person, I go out little, I have structured days, I try to be smart in the way I work, for example. And I always have the future in mind. What I do today will allow me to do better tomorrow.
For the article in French and in a shorter version, visit Al Bayane