Season 3 Episode 2 with Radim Malinic is now available. Listen now.
April 28, 2022

How to sharpen your intuition as a designer using tarot with Dr. Adeola Enigbokan

Designer, environmental psychologist and tarot practitioner, Dr. Adeola Enigbokan, takes us on a mystical tour of the world of tarot and shares her insights on how it can help designers sharpen their intuition to make better decisions and do more meaningful work.

#011 - It’s no secret that change is the only constant but the events of the past two years (or two months!) have certainly got our heads spinning. If you’re anxious about how all of this is going to affect your life and career, you’re not alone. So how do you make sense of your past and clarify your direction towards the future?

Sometimes, you need more than just intellect to make better decisions. You need intuition. This is where tarot can help. Tarot is basically a pack of playing cards that originated in 14-15th century Europe. Although you might have seen them used as a divination system to predict things, tarot utilises principles used in creative thinking and it can be a powerful design tool for designers to ask the right questions and find unexpected answers.

In this episode, I chat with with Dr. Adeola Enigbokan. Adeola is a designer, environmental psychologist and a practitioner of tarot for the past 20 years. We uncover the mysteries of tarot, and how the practice might increase our soft skill sets and add perspective on problem-solving in complex psycho-social dynamics. Adeola also demonstrates how she uses tarot to answer deep questions. You might be a tarot convert too after this episode.

In this episode:

  • Using tarot as a tool to build your intuition to make better decisions
  • Raising awareness of the emotional impact of your designs and the emotional needs of your users and colleagues
  • Defining true empathy using tarot
  • Starting with self-compassion
  • Creating a space for people’s feelings to exist at work
  • Reassessing your individual and corporate identities and realigning them
  • Energy exchange as the future of work for designers


Salvador Dalí tarot card deck

Ten of Cups

Six of Swords

Adeola’s website

Adeola on Instagram

Adeola on LinkedIn

Environmental psychology

Tonglen meditation

Tarot for the Working Women

Random association technique

Show credits

Illustrations by Isa Vicente

Music by Brad Porter

Episode edited by Niall Mackay


[00:00:00] Adeola Enigbokan: This idea of asking questions, asking other kinds of questions, asking unexpected questions. For me, that's a huge part of my tarot practice, asking questions that shift your narrative about what you think is really going on or what you hope or what you expect should be going on into what it could be, what it might be, what we could create, like it shifts you, it shifts your narrative into different subject positions just because you've asked the question, like, why couldn't it be this or it couldn't be that it really trains you to start asking, noticing the questions you ask habitually, and then thinking, how can I ask a better question?

[00:00:43] Nirish Shakya: That's Dr. Adeola Enigbokan. Adeola is a designer and an environmental psychologist who's been practicing tarot for the past 20 years. So tarot is basically a pack of playing cards that originated in around 15th century Europe. You might've seen them being used for divination and predictions. So you might be thinking 'tarot in a design podcast?'. I was the same until I learned from Adeola how tarot can be a useful design tool to have in my toolkit. You see, as designers, we make many decisions using our intellect. But what I learned was that sometimes adding a bit of intuition into the mix can help us see things differently. In this episode, Adeola shows us how using tarot can help us make better sense of ourselves, others, and the world around us so that we can become better designers and more compassionate humans. And keep listening to find out how Adeola intuitively answers some of my questions using her tarot cards.

[00:01:45] Shivaun: This is the Design Feeling Podcast with your host Nirish Shakya. 

[00:01:58] Nirish Shakya: Hi, my name is Nirish Shakya and I'm a designer educator, and the host of the Design Feeling podcast, a show about the human behind the human centred designer. On this podcast, my expert guests, and I go deeper than the craft of design and into things that make us better designers and problem solvers, things such as self-awareness creative confidence and meaning. Are you ready? Let's jump in. 

Adeola Enigbokan welcome to Design Feeling.

[00:02:32] Adeola Enigbokan: Hey. Hi Nirish. 

[00:02:34] Nirish Shakya: Adeola we met at your tarot for designers workshop, which I found super fascinating and mind blowing because I learned so much about myself just spending an hour and a half in that workshop, which I wasn't expecting to be honest. Um, I just thought, I'm just going to check it out. What's going to be like, but then yeah, I did learn so much from that. 

So, um, Adeola, I'm sure like a lot of people who are listening right now might not be aware of tarot. What is tarot and how did you get into it?

[00:03:07] Adeola Enigbokan: So the tarot is just a set of cards that originated from playing cards. It's associated, people it's associated with its origins in Europe. They're about 78 cards. I guess you can think about It comes from Europe, I guess from the 15 hundreds, 16 hundreds, particular cities, Milan, Marsay develop these kinds of deck decks Yeah, they started out as playing cards.

Eventually became a kind of divination system of some sort to predict things. 

I use it more in the way that I use it here, which is as a tool for imagination, a tool for thought the tool for surfacing things that and experiences feelings. What else, intuitions that might be otherwise difficult to catch just by sitting here thinking about it again.

So it's a way to stop thinking. I took it up actually, almost exactly, 20 years ago when I started my my first, first job in design the job was difficult. And I don't know, one day I was, walking home, downtown New York. I passed a place that sold taro cards, and I just walked in because in those days, Tara, wasn't that popular.

You, it wasn't like online. You could just order, you would just go into some weird, a cold store with crystals and stuff. And like some strange people working at the desk and who seemed, who, actual who were actual witches and by you, they might talk your ear off about it, about all the details of it.

And I just picked up a deck that I, that looked pretty and interesting to me. And I just start and end to end the book that beginning book that the person in the store recommended. And I just started teaching myself taro and doing it for myself. And I found it to be a really interesting counter balance to.

So my life in design, and then later on, when I started doing my PhD to my intellectual life, but I always kept it very separate. I wa I called these days and periodically my life, I pull a tarot card every day to find a life, see the tone for the day. What are the things to think about or look out for, or notice around me in the day.

And I started to find strange synchronicities that allowed me to I might be in like a weird sticky situation on the subway, and then just remembered this card I pulled for the day and go, oh my God, it's happening? This weird I'm feeling this thing, or this I'm looking at this scene, this happening. It helped me to drop into a different layer of experience of my life. So there's the work level and what I'm doing, but then there's also recognizing that there's this other level of imagination or things that are real and imagined. And that's a really rich, interesting space.

It's it feeds it's, it comes from like a rich inner life that feeds a lot of my intellectual work. I'm technically a scientist. That's what I am. So my PhD says, that's what I am. That's what I studied. But that said there is this layer when you're doing creative work and we all do creative work, artists, scientists, designers, many of us do when you're doing work that you experienced as CRE. There is this kind of layer, as I'm talking about between real and imagined into intuitive this rich, I don't know, stuff that you want to be able to tap into at key moments in your work process. And that's what the Tyro did for me, but it wasn't until I did it for almost 20 years just to myself, and I never felt comfortable talking about it.

Friends knew I did it. I did it in 


[00:06:59] Nirish Shakya: comfortable talking about it?

[00:07:00] Adeola Enigbokan: Because of this division, that I'm talking about because of this idea of a kind of masculine intellectual space. And then there's like this weird feminine feeling emotions, which he, on scientific space, there's these strong lines between science and not science, or facts. And that. And especially oftentimes being, and this is a real, this is just real. This is, I'm just being real with you nourish a lot of times in my work, I am the only, sometimes the only woman in the room. Sometimes I'm the only black person that I was. I was the only black woman in the room.

Many times in the course of the last 20 years, that has been the case, especially all the topics that I speak about or that I work on. And you don't want to be the only black lady in his face. And then you're like, look at my tarot cards. You know what I'm saying? What you learn is that you need, you need to lead with the PhD. You need to lead with the with the credentialing, to lead with the intellectual stuff. They know all of that stuff. There are moments though when a creative process is particularly stuck, when there's a difficult emotion that I'm seeing, that's not being surfaced when immediately It's clear to me that an intuitive practice or process like Tyro could just very one picture. And we could just, I could just say what in this picture and we could get this done and move on. Instead I'm supposed to I don't know, bring you a bunch of academic articles for that particular issue. No, so

[00:08:31] Nirish Shakya: It's basically like using these prompts to help your subconscious come up with the answers that it probably already knows, but you just can't surface, which surface it with just intellectual thinking. Is that what it is?

[00:08:44] Adeola Enigbokan: I think that there's one, that's one way to see it. I think it's a lot of things like with any kind of art, it's a lot of things, when you go in and you look at a painting, you're really like in a museum and you go back and you look at it and you look at it, you look at it one time.

It's like that. It's like surfacing this the hundredth time. It's like something else, so to me it doesn't really matter what it is. It matters that when you feel like doing it or when you feel like it might be helpful it's a technique or process that's available to you in a different way that it, it trains for me.

I look at it more as training, a particular kind of faculty or a particular kind of sensitivity or particular kind of intuitiveness. It's a good practice. I think if you want to. If you want to become more intuitive in a way about situations, you want to trust in your intuition a little bit more.

In 2019, when I went AWOL for awhile. It was actually in Australia. I have Australia to thank for this. I don't know. Maybe it was because I saw the koala. I don't know, but I said to myself, why am I separating this? And I talked with so many people over the years with so many women in particular, feminine people, reflecting on their careers, reflecting on places where they felt like they couldn't speak up about things they knew, or their own experiences of leadership.

And they couldn't assert their leadership styles. And many of the stories, people told corresponded to specific cards and terrible that I immediately thought I was like, oh, that's like that card. That's like the 10 of cups. That's like that. That's a moment when you did that. And they said to myself, Tyro for the working woman or tarot of the working woman, it's this is literally we're living every day.

Certain vignettes. Why not bring this into. So the work that I'm already doing sometimes. So sometimes I'm like, what, if you're interested, I could pull out a tarot deck and we could do that. And as a technique, I thought then later on after the pandemic, like this January, when you participated in, I later on, I thought, why not teach taro for the first time, but to designers as this intuitive skillset, to to help foster, encourage, push just this other way of thinking other intuitive, sad way of connecting with how you actually feel, just something fun to do while we're all sitting at home on zoom, 

[00:11:21] Nirish Shakya: and then it was a lot of fun and it, and in some aspects of it reminded me of some, a technique that I use in my idea, generation workshops in my design workshops, where if I sense or feel that, the attendees are getting stuck with not being able to generate lots of ideas or if they're, if they have the fear of generating.

Stupid crazy ideas. I use this technique called random association, which is basically you give, get people to think of a random object, for example, a banana, and think of random traits of that object. For example, a banana is yellow or a banana. You can peel it, you can eat it, you can put it in your purse.

And then you try to associate the traits of that random object with the idea that you're trying to create. What if you, your idea was yellow. What if you could eat your idea? What if you could peel it? What if you could put it in your purse and then you basically helping the brain come up with these random ideas that you otherwise never would have thought of just with your normal thinking.

[00:12:24] Adeola Enigbokan: Absolutely. Absolutely. And that's, and that's exactly that kind of creativity we're talking about is also why I like at Tyrell, because, as with your session, you can ask it any questions and you can invent you could invent layout and readings and that allow you to. Answer that question.

In any ways you would like, in any kind of variety or combinations that you would like. And so I love that. And I like that your process, this idea of asking questions, asking other kinds of questions, asking unexpected questions. For me, that's a huge part of my tarot practice, asking questions that shift your narrative about what you think is really going on or what you hope or what you expect should be going on into what it could be, what it might be, what we could create, like it shifts you, it shifts your narrative into different subject positions just because you've asked the question, like, why couldn't it be this or it couldn't be that it really trains you to start asking, noticing the questions you ask habitually, and then thinking, how can I ask a better question? About this Spain, what is an interesting question? 

Doesn't hurt.

Ask the 

[00:13:43] Nirish Shakya: and it's a great design skill to ask the right question at the right time, rather than always having the answers. 

[00:13:50] Adeola Enigbokan: Exactly. That's it? It's that? Thank you. That's it. If there's something to take, I think from design feeling, it's a real design skill. It's a great design skill to ask the right question, to know the right question to ask that and a large part of asking the right question or knowing that is intuitive. It is the kind of thing you feel your way through.

[00:14:14] Nirish Shakya: Yeah.

But that's not just, you know, what you do, you are an environmental psychologist. You also coach people on ethical design leadership on top the tarot workshops that you run. Tell us a bit about your journey so far.

How did you get to this point?

[00:14:28] Adeola Enigbokan: Oh gosh. I guess. I'm going into my 20th year of, working, post university. I went to university in New York at Columbia university and I went in originally as pre-med like I was going to be a doctor. My mom was convinced I was going to be a doctor. And then I wandered into an anthropology course as very strange anthropology course by an Australian led by an Australian anthropologist. And I wandered in and he was showing a film about ketones 

and it was about these people in Queensland, in the eighties, obsessed with. And she was presenting it and I checked the door again and I said, this is political anthropology. We're talking about king tills . And the migration of paying tilts. I said, forget organic chemistry, forget biology. I want to know more about these cane toads. So I wandered into anthropology and then I wandered across campus again into design. It was the nineties and there were really cool net artist, people doing alike early blogs, early net art. And it was amazing. And so I said, I've got to learn this as well. So I also took an art degree, so I did anthropology and arts and design and visual. 

So it was, so that kind of led me down this meandering path. I got interested in architecture. I got interested in the design of the city. And then eventually I ended up doing a PhD in psychology because I was really interested in how. People's visions and perceptions of their environment shaped their sense of belonging in it shaped their sense of what they felt was possible to do in those environments. I started to understand how much of the way we see the world was shaped increasingly through screens, through this kind of digital space and even the design. I became interested in the designs that shape the space directly. So I became interested in the kind of 3d modeling and rendering and visioning that architects were doing that were changing the sh the sort of skylines of cities around that time.

Eventually my PhD research led me to Moscow at a really interesting time when the city for the first time in gosh, almost 20 years, there was this uprising in the city in which people were really protesting. The government they're wanting change and really feeling that they could have this moment.

There was this kind of like intense electricity in the city. And a lot of that movement was. Fomented or motivated around issues of design around issues of accessibility in the city, around people wanting their perception of their cities, of the maps, of the metros, of the ways you could move or bike or move through the city.

They wanted their perception of it reflected the design, which were so topped out. So I just was very impressed by the way that design became this window into this moment for a broader political change, just because people wanted to see something differently or they wanted to see their real lives and their real beliefs reflected in the world around them as opposed to designed for them.

[00:18:18] Nirish Shakya: And that's something that I really find really fascinating about your work is that you, your work combines the tangible with the intangible, right? They've got physical spaces, tangible designs and then it's connection with human psychology and emotions. How did you start seeing the links between these two.

[00:18:37] Adeola Enigbokan: at first, starting when I was looking at the changing skylines post nine 11, how people's feeling of belonging and their city could be affected by a buildings disappearing in a day or on the other hand. Whether that was because, planes flew into some towers and this skyline that you look at every day that you take for granted is just gone.

It can really disorient you for years. I know that it did me and many people who experienced that, but at the same time, working, going working in Tel Aviv and watching and neighborhood from the 1930s that had, that, that had this particular shape look sense of, belonging and practices get completely changed by two towers going up. Just the way people were so disoriented were we'd angry, upset about the fact that their view to the beat. From their rooftops would be obstructed. The fact that buildings that they had walked past for years would be gone and in this place would be these towers. And they were seemingly these two examples, the towers going down at the towers, going up, seeing really different.

But in actuality, people can really feel displaced. It's not to make people leave a place, move away, say I can't do this anymore. Or actually live in a state of disconnection or shock for years at a time. And no one really thinks about that because you think, oh you know, it is what it is or this is legal and that wasn't legal, but actually in the sense of the way people experience design and experience space, There is an affective. There is an emotional level that translates into all kinds of major issues, political issues up to, and including belonging. I realized that was the issue at lot of that, a lot of the issues around gentrification are economic, obviously, but they are deeply emotional. Like something like having Uber come into a city like New York, Completely changes. How you're a new Yorker. If you can't go outside and do this and hail a cab, who are you? 

[00:21:07] Nirish Shakya: Yeah. That's like the, being a new Yorker is what's all this about all about

[00:21:10] Adeola Enigbokan: That's exactly. You walk out, that's your vision. You just walk out into the street and you go 

[00:21:15] Nirish Shakya: yeah, but then w as a designers, right? When, as designers, when you're working in there on a new piece of technology or a new product that could potentially disrupt some of the human emotional aspect or the emotional identities how can one become aware of that? Or is that even the responsibility of the designer?

[00:21:34] Adeola Enigbokan: Oh, absolutely. We've seen recent changes. Like some companies like Airbnb have realized They have to deal with policy now. They can't just, they can't just land in cities anymore. And roll out the app. They have to deal with different cities. Now they realize they have to deal with policies when they come across large cities that fight them like New York city did at state.

Did they realize, oh, we, we really, actually this probably would have made more sense if we had a kind of advanced game about this. If we actually could anticipate the way our design might actually disrupt people's sense of belonging and wellbeing in the city, along with per week. So we're thinking about the conveniences that we're providing, but we're not actually, recognizing where the pushback might come. That those are real life. Feelings are real, emotions are real. And what makes people bonds together in a place? What makes people new Yorkers are actually they're large things, but they're also very small daily things that are deeply aspects. There's an aspects of being in new Yorker.

There's an aspect to being a Londoner. There's, there has to be a kind of some kind of like touching of that, some kind of connection of that. Some kind of saying that I really see that at a deep, deeper level than the level that often times marketing or advertising my touch, that people will do things that seem contrary to their interests. We see it every election time. People will do things that seem contrary to their economic or political interests. If. They are moved in a particular way. If there's a strong enough emotional incentive or bond, they will do something that you don't expect them to do.

So it doesn't matter if your app works alone. If it's going to enter real space where real people live, relate work, then it's going to have to touch those bonds. And a lot of those bonds, a lot of the building blocks of those bonds, our emotions are our emotional habits as well. 

[00:23:55] Nirish Shakya: And if you're a designer working for a company or a design team, which does not really prioritize empathizing with those emotional aspects of the emotional impact of your work. What would you suggest they should do about it?

[00:24:11] Adeola Enigbokan: I think that's very situational. I think that there, that's also an issue of emotional intelligence. I think if you're working in that kind of situation, you may not be able to do anything about the outcome of the design. You may not be able to do anything to change the priorities of your employers or your clients, but there's always a way to make what you are doing better to make the experience of what you are doing better to engage people at the level of emotional intelligence, no matter what the goal or outcome is.

So maybe you can't get your client to think about the. Broader social psychology of what they're making or the broader emotional impact on the whole city of what they're making. But you can connect with your fellow designers or the people that you're working with on a day-to-day basis on a day to day basis, by bringing an element of emotional intelligence and awareness and social awareness into the actual practice of your work.

So you can notice your working conditions. You can notice how it is how the hours that you guys are spending and how that's affecting people who have young children that are on your team, and you can work out together, raise those issues, get them to talk about that and figure out how to work better together. Through that process, you can notice on your team, if there are issues of gender or race or class that are affecting people's ability to contribute ideas or to really speak up or be part of the team. And you can work to create that environment. And the reason I'm seeing that is that if people around you experience what it feels like to have, actually their needs recognize and address in emotionally intelligent ways, what will likely happen is that in the design process itself, as they're doing the creative work, they themselves might be inspired to raise questions.

So for example, if you're working, I don't know, on a ride share on a rideshare app and you're working with another, like a designer of color. From the same city or the same area or whatever. And you notice that there might be issues on the team with the ability of that person to contribute their ideas freely, or to feel comfortable and accepted within the team.

And you have found ways to surface those issues, have a generative conversation about it and create the space that's necessary to bring in and truly incorporate that person's voice. That person might be inspired to mention, Hey guys, I was thinking about the way that we set up the usage of this app And it doesn't account for the fact that people don't like to pick up black people at night. I know we're doing this writer up and it's supposed to be. Does it doesn't make sense if we show people's pictures, if we show icons of the people at nighttime, are there ways can we have a, a mode where we don't do, you know, that person might feel like you care about those kinds of issues?

So they might actually mentioned that, and that might actually become something that you consider within the design of the app, which then in turn has an effect on the final product that hits the streets that maybe does connect with some element of the real, psychological, emotional, social reality of living in that city.

[00:28:02] Nirish Shakya: Yeah. Yeah. From my experience, what I've experienced as both practitioner and as a design leader is that, we are focusing. In terms of design, education and experience is pretty much on the craft of, building things and making things. But personally I haven't experienced a lot of our work touching upon the emotional aspect of design and also that, for example, the impact you mentioned, right?

And I think one of the things that you work on is bringing more empathy into the world, into the work of the designer. And to me, I've heard of the word empathy so many times they're just become a buzz word. Everyone talks about empathy. What, what does true empathy look like to you?

[00:28:44] Adeola Enigbokan: Oh, you know what? I think this might be a good moment to ask the tarot cards. I brought my cards and I said to myself, I'm going to do one question. Like I said, nearish is going to ask me one good question. I'm not going to know off the top of my head. I'm not going to have a snappy pithy answer.

So I'm going to lift the tarot health me I'm actually using, this is one of my favorite dicks I'm using the deck created by Salvador Dali. I think it was sort of James Bond flick. It was originally designed for James Bond flicks, but they didn't end up using it. 

[00:29:20] Nirish Shakya: Oh, wow. If you're listening to this episode what IDL is doing right now is shuffling her deck of tarot 

[00:29:26] Adeola Enigbokan: Yes. I'm shuffling the tarot cards. as I talk. And I'm really thinking on the question. What does true empathy look like to me? It was at your question. Your 

[00:29:37] Nirish Shakya: Yes, That was my question.

[00:29:38] Adeola Enigbokan: Okay. Let's see. What does empathy look like? All right. Let's see. So I'm cutting the cards now.

Empathy. What does empathy look.


[00:29:51] Nirish Shakya: What'd you get

[00:29:53] Adeola Enigbokan: according to Tyro, this is what empathy looks like. 

Empathy looks like the 10 of cups. Can you see that car? Clearly? 

[00:30:00] Nirish Shakya: yes, I can see the 10 of cups.

[00:30:02] Adeola Enigbokan: It's the 10 of cups and there's Sally's little signature. There's a 10 of cups. And the 10 of cups shows a man and a woman laughing, having a great time, having fun. There's a kind of, they're surrounded or painted with this rainbow background.

It looks very euphoric in a sense. And above their heads, there's 10 cups, 10 golden chalices, just floating with some kinds of like good vibes, happy red, good vibes coming out of them. So this is an amazing card to get, because it's the culmination of that, the suit of cups. which is the suit of emotions. So you asked about empathy. We've been talking about 

[00:30:48] Nirish Shakya: before anyone questions you didn't intentionally pick this particular card, right? You just pulled out a card blindly.

[00:30:55] Adeola Enigbokan: No. I shuffle the cards. I caught them with my left hand. Three times I resect them and then I found them out and I just pull a card after I ask the question again, and it could have been any card which, technically could have been any card that has something to teach us about. Emotional intelligence or empathy, but I think true empathy. This is because that's what you asked about. I think this is a lovely answer. So the 10 of cups is a combination of the I'm not a magician by the way. I don't have any training in sleight of hand. I don't do card tricks for your audience who, I dunno, whatever.

Um, I have a PhD in psychology, not in magic, but so this is interesting because this is a combination. All of the emotions of the deck, to get to the 10 of cups, you have to go through the ACE, which is a spark of love or the spark of a good feeling. You have to go through the four, which is this moment of depression and on UAE and just not feeling anything like you, you're just, you just, you're not getting as good.

You're not getting any feeling. Basically. You're turned away from feeling you have to go through the five, you know, heartbreak and just a disappointment and feeling like all these feelings you had were not reciprocated or not recognized that you're not meeting with them with a kind of. You're not you're not getting the love that you're putting out into the world. You're just, people are just not connecting to you. You're not, you don't, you're not feeling empathy or empathized with, you have to go through the eight feeling, like you have to walk away from something that you put your heart into, because again, you just run out of your, you've just run out of your ability to like, put more into this thing.

Like you're just drained of that. And eventually all of these things good and bad, maybe at the nine, you get your desire, you get your heart's desire and you hope it's all what you've cracked up to be. By the time it get to the 10 it's all of this gamut of human emotions that kind of culminate in this moment where you are able to really understand and take a lot of joy and pleasure.

And have gratitude for the human experience that you've had and because you've experienced because you've you have experienced so much and do given yourself compassion for having experienced so much for having gone through the downs and the ups and the disappointments and the giving up and the feeling nothings and the depressions.

And because you've done all of those things and you've given years you've reflected on that and you've given yourself compassion and you've experienced some sort of healing at times through those things, you have this huge wide capacity at the 10 to connect with other people, things, animals, kids, trees, plants, whatever.

You just have it. You have an open. To connection and an ability to make that connection with others again, because you've had compassion for your own ups and downs that sort of has widened your capacity to why didn't your emotional capacity to understand accommodate and really wants to connect with others.

So for me, I guess this is a lovely way to answer what true empathy is to boil it down. I'd say true empathy is a real skill. It's not a magical gift. It feels like a gift when you're experiencing it, but your empathy is a real skill. It's a skill of emotional intelligence that is developed through practices of self-compassion and self-acceptance over extended periods of time. That leaves you with this great skill and capacity for connecting with others at various levels, even when they are experiencing difficult emotions and bringing compassion and understanding to those difficult moments, as well as positive moments, the result of which is the connection itself. 

[00:35:18] Nirish Shakya: Wow. I think that's probably the most comprehensive definition of true 

there you go. 

[00:35:24] Adeola Enigbokan: see what I love about the tarot is that it really helps me. It helps me, so these are things, of course they know these are things I know from being a psychologist. I know from someone who knows what emotional intelligence is, but the way you asked the question, I didn't want to give you like a textbook definition. It didn't require that it required something a little bit more imaginative and personal. 

[00:35:48] Nirish Shakya: Yeah. 

[00:35:49] Adeola Enigbokan: And 

the Tyro does for me. 

[00:35:50] Nirish Shakya: Yeah. The thing that I picked up from your definition was the importance of self-compassion that something that's I didn't really think about it. Doesn't come to my mind when I think of empathy, I always think of how do I try to empathize with the other person? And it seems like there is value in starting with yourself in terms of having first of all, empathizing with yourself and the ups and downs, like you said, that you've been through.

And then using that to make a connection with the person. And I think one key thing that another thing I picked up from there was just being able to empathize with different kinds of emotions, including the painful emotions that they might be feeling. And then one thing that you beautifully ended the definition with was. That's something that I see missing from a lot of farm empathy based work, where it's more about, tactical empathy, just for the sake of getting them to do something that we want them to do. Getting them to buy 

[00:36:44] Adeola Enigbokan: Oh, that's not 

[00:36:45] Nirish Shakya: that button. 

[00:36:47] Adeola Enigbokan: Oh, I don't think of that. As empathy at all. 

[00:36:50] Nirish Shakya: But that's something that I see a lot of companies using as a technique research technique, pretty much it's are you going just to empathize with the user so that we can build products for them that they would want to use?

[00:37:04] Adeola Enigbokan: Yeah. I don't think that's empathy. That sounds like strategy. But and so I wouldn't, I don't even want to consider that as empathy. I think that sometimes words stop meaning things. 

But in the world where words mean things, I do think that self-compassion is key. And we all have, emotions are difficult. They're not, and I said, difficult emotions not negative. So for example, for some people, anger is a really easy emotion. For example, for many men who are, raised to, to not to express a lot of emotions, anger. 

[00:37:36] Nirish Shakya: Yeah. 

[00:37:37] Adeola Enigbokan: And aggression are easy, 

[00:37:41] Nirish Shakya: Yeah. Personally, I find it a lot easier to be angry than to be sad.

[00:37:47] Adeola Enigbokan: exactly. That's what was my next point? Being sad, that's off limits, I'm crying, that's off limits for me. I find a joy, very difficult. I'm a naturally, I'm a naturally suspicious person that I have to work at Joy.

peace and stuff. I'm always like, I don't know. As soon as I feel happy about this or joyful about this, I'm look, there's a reason I'm a new Yorker. I think certain places attract certain types of temperaments or develop certain temperaments. I there's a something I don't know oh, I'm just a little bit too happy or that person just a little bit too happy, something suspicious is going on here or they're stupid.

Why would you be happy? Are you dumb? You can't be happy and smart and know what's going on. Can you see, you know what I'm saying? So the point I'm trying to say is that understanding of that, about myself to go on time and having compassion for myself because I experienced fear and joking about it, but I have fear around experiencing joy.

And that's something that does require understanding and compassion that maybe I can't just reach out all the time in a joyful manner. Even when I feel joy, I might actually pull back in that little. I might pull back in a moment. That's supposed to be happy for me because I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I'm really actually also fearful in that moment. So having recognized that about myself, nurturing myself through that moment, knowing that it's Okay.

to feel that way, getting myself to the point where I feel comfortable enough to express that to whomever it might concern in that moment or, that might've been affected by my, in Congress reaction. All of that requires a lot of self-compassion because I have to pass through feeling weird, pass through feeling somewhat defective, pass through feeling, you know, all these other things so that I can accept that's actually, that's just valid. That's the. Just because something seems happy doesn't necessarily mean I experienced it that way, or just because, someone is angry doesn't mean that they're not also sad, but can't, you know, so because I have that for myself, it increases, and the techniques that I have to do to understand that about myself, the real practices that I have to do every day, like a real discipline to learn that is the same skill set I can bring to someone else when I'm in a meeting with them. And they're struggling to understand, I don't know why we need diversity in this company or whatever, or they're struggling to understand why we have to care about emotions. And I'm seeing, I'm understanding that struggle. And I'm also understanding the intellectual level they're presenting it, but I'm also understanding it and reading it from the point of view of empathy. For having compassion for why that person seems to be having such an actual, emotionally difficult time comprehending this problem. Like they're seeing something intellectual, but I'm also looking because I have compassion for myself. I know that I have in Congress feelings as well. I can see that they're struggling with something. And I may not in the moment, know how to get at that. But as a designer, as someone on a design team that is trying to get this work to happen, I understand that what I'm going to need to do is create a space. Now within this process, maybe you want to have a space I hadn't anticipated, but I'm going to identify that feeling. And I'm going to say, Okay. there needs to be a space here to surface this in a way that can be reconciled within the design. 

[00:41:29] Nirish Shakya: Yeah. 

[00:41:30] Adeola Enigbokan: So just to say something about compassion techniques, this is not, I know that for many people in this space, emotions are often put to the side over thinking. And from the perspective of social psychology and social sciences, We study that. And the reason often that, design thinking might be put above designed feeling is well it's. It has to do with the history of Western thought that genders, emotions and thoughts, it genders thinking as masculine. I think therefore I am. And it genders, feeling body as unthinking, unintelligent, feminine not not fruitful, not active, not using. And that's something that I don't really believe. I think that's been a fault as strong fault at the core of Western thought. So I really love that you're doing this podcast and I suppose, specify Western thought because there are so many other traditions of philosophical and practical and bodily traditions that do not recognize these divisions and understand the intelligence within the body and the intelligence within emotions and actively cultivate that intelligence and work with that.

So one such practice that I do has to do with it. It's a practice derived from Tibet and Buddhist meditation practice. I studied that a bit and I take refreshers from time to time. And one, one specific compassion practice among many that is done in that tradition is Tonglen meditation. Are you familiar with Tomblin? Yeah.

[00:43:15] Nirish Shakya: because I've been practicing the past meditation, which is a different 

practice, but I'm not familiar much with Tibetan Buddhist meditation 

[00:43:24] Adeola Enigbokan: So Tom Glenn is just a practice.

I'm gonna really I'm not equipped to teach that, but, or to say, but I just boil it down to how I understand it. It's a practice of breathing in, starting with yourself, starting with compassion for yourself, breathing in pain that you experienced maybe then picking someone else in your inner circle who may be experiencing pain, breathing in therapy. And then breathing in then realizing that maybe the experience that they're having other people might be having, you have someone close to you, who's dealing with, I don't know, losing a child or something. So you breathe in whatever that they're, you, you picture them breathe in their pain and then you realize, oh, so many people are dealing with that as well.

And you taken, imagine taking in the pain of everyone in the world who has lost a child. And what you're doing is creating space within yourself in this practice. It's not an easy practice. It steps, you may only be able to do it for yourself at first or barely that it steps. And then you are expanding space for all of that within you.

You're like, I can hold this pain for a second without dying, without collapsing. And then you breathe out. Compassion for that, you breathe out like a cool color or you breathe out something that kind of soothing for yourself and for the others. So you start getting into this flow of, you become like a little paying factory where you're taking it in processing it, and you're like pushing out Hey, and eventually you say, oh, wow.

Okay. I can deal with difficult situations or I can deal with difficult emotions. I can deal with things that are painful. They are not aberrations. If I'm experiencing this pain, probably half the world is right now crying over the exact same thing. Once you practice that, it for me, it's a practice of self-compassion and other compassion.

It's an imaginative practice. Of course, it's an embodied bodily practice because you're breathing. But I find that it makes it easier to have, for example, it increases my ability to have difficult conversations when I'm in the room with a client or a team, you know, I'm not like scared that other people are like uncomfortable because I can take it in, not take it too personally realize, oh, okay.

If I'm uncomfortable, probably someone else might feel uncomfortable too. We'll deal with it. We'll cool. It out. We'll keep it we'll Yeah. we'll get it moving. That's what I mean. So there's practices 

[00:46:04] Nirish Shakya: I like the collective cyclical nature of that practice, where your saying that it's not just you who's feeling that, but many other people might be feeling the same thing, but also what I got from, just holding it in terms of breathing in and holding it in is that you're letting it have its own space as well, letting, giving it some space to exist. And then turning that into compassion. It seems like everything with you turns into compassion.

[00:46:32] Adeola Enigbokan: well, on the question of empathy, not everything. I have a lot of limitations, like no Buddha around here, I don't see it for a lot of people. I walk away from a lot of things. I say, I can't do that, but it'd be just, it's just too. It's just to emphasize that this idea, that feeling is just like it's like it's for baby. It's really these it's not really a thing and it doesn't get good design done. I think that's a very old way of thinking. That's an outdated way of thinking and it doesn't really, it's not catching up with ways of thinking and knowing that have been existing and developing since the beginning of time.

[00:47:14] Nirish Shakya: And that actually let us understand that in reality, people feel things and people make decisions based on those things that they feel, even if they are designers or even if they are clients or even if they are something. So it's really just selling yourself short, going into a space to do creative work and not being skilled or prepared to deal with. Feeling, and to actually harness that and to be able to breed the best side of people from through that avenue, it's you're leaving. It's it's like a, it's like in Vegas, you don't want to leave money on the table. And I think that's a really powerful way to look at it in terms of how you can use this. Like you said, to empathize with other people and ultimately have more compassion towards. So funny, you mentioned meditation there because I was actually meditating when I actually thought of this name design feeling, because I was actually feeling all these sensations in my body. And I was like, we don't do a lot of feeling when we're designed thinking maybe that we should do more of that. And I was like that could be a name for a podcast.

[00:48:28] Adeola Enigbokan: I love it. Exactly. I love it. And I actually, I love the name. It's amazing because design thinking design feeling, and everybody's into all of these youngian archetypes, these Myers-Briggs, are about these things, these Myers-Briggs personality types, 

[00:48:43] Nirish Shakya: Yep. I've done that as well. 

[00:48:45] Adeola Enigbokan: And they're sinking, opposed to feeling. I love that because I think it it lets us understand that, Hey, if there is design thinking as like a big sort of design archetype that has, that just seems like it's here to stay, even though it's being challenged a lot, why wouldn't there be designed feeling? So I love that. I love because what you're actually doing is, and I hope you're doing this boldly with great confidence and because I think you're very, you're really Yeah. walking it's uncharted territory, you're actually trying to start a map or mapping process of the whole field that really deserves to be. Brought out to be surfaced, to be talked about, to really be, to have methods applied to it, or, yeah. To have a whole sense of learning behind it of real practice and training And growing through that. So just as equal, I've done with design thinking. 

[00:49:54] Nirish Shakya: yeah. And that's something that actually picked up from your Terell workshop where I think one of the cards that I pulled out was something to do with the death and the way I interpreted that was around the constant, cycle of death and birth which I then connected with the death and birth of experiments that I'm currently doing, for example, with the podcast or with other areas of my life, the constant experimentation and the learning from that.

Uh, and one of the things that I've read from your website is that you want to transform the way people see themselves and the potential to make positive change through ethical leadership. How do you think people see themselves at the moment.

[00:50:34] Adeola Enigbokan: Well, I guess it depends on person to person, but in general, people that I come across in my practice white, for example, in, let's say, leadership coaching, let me go. I come that I come across usually have one sense of who they think they are or have to be as a leader. And there's a sense usually by the time they come to me of being locked into that or locked into that sense of who they have to be as a leader or as a designer that really has them feeling quite trapped and stifled. At a moment when they might be in the, having the most power or in the highest position that they've ever been in, and it's that moment where they're feeling, oh my God, this role or this idea of who I have to be in this role has me just yeah. Stuck trapped. I don't know.

I don't feel as creative as I was. I don't like, I know how to do what I do and I do it well, that's why I'm here, but it doesn't have that same element of joy. I don't have that element of ownership. I've in this role, as opposed to performing this role, like a, like a top performer, I'm just, I'm actually in, just in this role.

usually in my, in my leadership process, I don't use Tyrone. But we go through, usually we go by the time we go through six sessions, which is usually a, how long I work with people on a particular task or objective, we try to end up in a place where that narrative is shifted into something where there's more sense of freedom in their performing choice, in the performing creativity, in the performing of whatever role.

That is a kind of expansion of the rule at distributed sense of self that comes into the role, a larger sense of self, a way in which the role can accommodate this larger sense of self, our growth beyond that role completely. Yeah, I think that's what I mean by transforming. What people think they are, or that they have to do.

And when I work with more with teams, I work with leadership teams, let's say on strategic plans, they also feel for example, that maybe they have to uphold a particular, tradition or mission of, a company. Like we believe in excellence and maybe in the process of those sections, but we're working on is saying what has excellence meant for you guys for the last 30 years and has this idea of excellence that you're trying to uphold actually stifled you in the way that you see your strategic, you see your future strategically or in the way that you see the kind of people who could work here or how you see other people who can be part of leadership, and maybe what we get to is an expanded sense of excellence or refresh sense of what excellence.

Way in which you can reach excellence. That actually feels not like this heavy weight of this tradition, but feels like something that you in your leadership are creating as part of your legacy. You're putting your, you're adding your idea of excellence to this history and tradition that you are a part of or that you care about. 

Right. So it's small shifts like that. 

[00:54:02] Nirish Shakya: Yeah. So basically help them unlearn some of their internal belief systems and unpack that and maybe pack it in a different way. That's more beneficial to them.

[00:54:12] Adeola Enigbokan: I don't know if sometimes it stays unpacked. 

[00:54:14] Nirish Shakya: Yeah.

[00:54:16] Adeola Enigbokan: Sometimes we just unpack it and okay, good luck. But

no, it's more I would say if something. I would describe it. I think the metaphor I would use, because I think metaphors are important because of the terror. The picture is important. I would say that what it is I meet people and they're looking over there and I just say, that's great, but what if you took one step back and you looked over the slightly that way, maybe you're closer to what you think that you could be maybe, or closer to what you could be than what, where you think you are. 

[00:55:03] Nirish Shakya: Yeah. 

[00:55:05] Adeola Enigbokan: Just because you're not turning your head. You might just turn your head about, look, I only work with people in six sessions, so I'm not trying to do big. Unpackings. What I'm trying to do is say, okay, you're here. I would just going to shift your slightly, this way. And how did that, how does this feel? So think of me more, a little bit, like those magic, like massage therapists, you go through two and you're like, I have a script in my neck and I just go, oh my God, 

[00:55:34] Nirish Shakya: It feels completely different.

[00:55:37] Adeola Enigbokan: that was like $1 million. Thank you. 

[00:55:41] Nirish Shakya: And I think that 

[00:55:42] Adeola Enigbokan: here, take all my money. So amazing. 

[00:55:44] Nirish Shakya: and that kind of reframing of the perspective can be really difficult for a lot of people. Personally for me, it's been really difficult because I've been fed this idea of what a successful career should look like. And I've throughout my life. I've constantly spent my time and energy trying to pursue that.

And it's only more recently I've started to understand what my real needs are and trying to fulfill those needs rather than trying to pursue something like another definition of success that I thought I should be chasing.

[00:56:10] Adeola Enigbokan: Absolutely. I love that. I love that. And that's where I meet so many people. It, in mid-career, many people like myself and people who are in making me career are hitting that moment. Especially people in their thirties, people in their forties, people who should be design directors or entering design directorship in many, across many fields or companies across the world are actually in this weird moment where they're saying, Hey, you know exactly what you were saying.

I've been fed this one way of doing things. Maybe I'll just shift a little bit over here. I don't know if this is going on in the UK, but over here or over in the United States, there's all this there's something that they're calling the great resignation. Have you heard about them? 

[00:57:01] Nirish Shakya: It's happening here as well. 

[00:57:03] Adeola Enigbokan: Okay, great. 

[00:57:04] Nirish Shakya: I'm part of it.

[00:57:05] Adeola Enigbokan: right saying, I was a little bit before it, but same, I wrote a resignation letter and everything, and I said, Hey, I don't know. I think I talked to a friend who is also designed director leaving, everyone who is in this sort of age group who is hitting this. I don't know where they're going with your Reactic millennials.

Some of us, I don't know what they're saying, but everyone who's hitting this age group she's she gave me this insight. She said, I think it's this like small revolution. We thought the revolution was going to be something big. But for us in this age group, maybe it's just this small shift to say, Hey, I'm just not, I just don't feel like doing this anymore.

Like I literally like my body, I just can't. Do this anymore. And of course it's accelerated by the pandemic and everything, but also this sense, I think generationally that we come up in between generations, this is a very in between generation where we have a kind of let's say we were raised in a kind of one way of working one hierarchical way of working and one, one career trajectory life we're talking about, but then meanwhile, there's been there's this other, there are other possibilities brewing and we're getting towards mid-life or mid career.

And so it's just Hey, this is like the stopping point. So just turn our heads a little bit that way, or this way, a little just, and just walk in a slightly different direction and see what happens. And we're lucky enough. It's P it's not. I'm not saying it's easy, but we're lucky enough that it is an option for us in this moment, in this generation, in this time.

And so that's part of why I came out with Tyro for designers, because I'm like, I wanna support that generational shift in any way possible. I'll throw it, all, throw everything in the kitchen seat, cottage everything in my toolbox. And it's exactly that. And they said in the old way, I had to keep this side of my toolbox.

Okay. That's what I do when I get home. And then when I'm at work, I do this other thing and I never talk about no one knows I do Tyro when I'm at home, but now I'm like, no, in this new way, This, these are all parts of my knowing. I'm not going to be like, oh, I'm a thinker at work, but I'm a feeler at home.

[00:59:26] Nirish Shakya: you're the

[00:59:26] Adeola Enigbokan: No, if you get me in the office, I'm the you're going to get the whole me. you're never going to get me into an office again. But if you magically did, it would be all of me. It'd be the whole, me not like the me at home. And then me who's like climbing the corporate ladder or something. No way, no more. 

[00:59:44] Nirish Shakya: And one topic we looked at in the Terrell workshop was around that, the future of work. What is the future of work look like for designers in your opinion?

[00:59:53] Adeola Enigbokan: It depends on where in the future you're going to be, because I also work with students, with master's students at the design academy and nine dolphin, for example. So I work with people who are in their twenties. Then you know, of course working with leaders, who are. 20 years older and stuff.

It's when you're 30 years old or sometimes the future is very different. If either what the future of work is going to look like it's different. If you're 25 now, as opposed to I dunno 45 now. But all of that considered, I guess I would say the most relevant, there are many relevant changes, but the most relevant change for us is, again, this sense that people want to experience more of themselves.

So I'm talking about the future of work from the perspective of designers of workers. People expect more from work than just a check. Just a little bit of security in exchange for 80 hours of my life every week. People don't want to get 80 hours of their life every week to 

anybody or any companies. The exchange for time for my time for money is not, it's not the future, that industrial era stuff that is not, I think what designers want to put up with or have to put up with anymore. The exchange here is not time for money. 

There has to be a real energy exchange. I have to be getting something that, from this experience of working for you or working with you has to be an experience. And I need to be getting something from this that really feeds my life force, boosts my energy. It can't be this one-way exchange where you're taking my entire life force and all my energy.

And all I'm getting is a direct deposit in my bank account for this, which I can't even really spend properly in a way that's going to, with the adequate time or in a way that's actually going to replenish me. So I think, people would rather take less or a drop out than, put up with the working conditions that we put up with for swimming. And I think that from that perspective, that is one future of work perspective that I'm not seeing talked about a lot because, we talk a lot from the perspective of the companies, asynchronous and synchronous versus synchronous working co-located or distributed working. 

How was all of that, logistical discussions.

How teams are going to be organized.

Are they going to be, hierarchical or flat? All of that is fine and good. I'm sure all of that is, is coming down the pipeline. But from the perspective of designers, I think the future of work is seeing yourself as a holistic being. Really wanting to be able to bring a lot more of yourself to the job, whether it's your emotional support pet that you feel is like that really helps you in this and wanting to create that space for that, or whether it's your unique perspectives, but some kind of sense that this is that I'm doing work.

That's meaningful and it's feeding my life force, not sapping it. And I'm not waiting until I like 65 or 75. And for some generations, if you're 20, never retiring. So forget about that, to then try to find with my last few remaining years, to find my life force again, nobody wants that deal anymore. 

[01:03:32] Nirish Shakya: So Adela for designers listening right now, how do you think they can better prepare themselves for the kind of future that you're describing?

[01:03:42] Adeola Enigbokan: I'm going to ask the tarot. 

[01:03:44] Nirish Shakya: Great.

[01:03:46] Adeola Enigbokan: was only going to do one, but you asked that you 

[01:03:49] Nirish Shakya: A bonus one. Let's do a bonus 

[01:03:51] Adeola Enigbokan: that's a bonus one. Okay. I'm going to I'm shuffling again. How can designers prepare themselves for this future? And the future we're specifically talking about is not the dystopian one. We're talking about a future in which you can really bring a lot more of yourself to your work.

You can really experience a true satisfying energy exchange, successful energy exchanges, where you really feel supported through the work that you do as opposed to drainage or yeah. How can designers. For that kind of future of work future. Alright. 

[01:04:39] Nirish Shakya: okay. I, Deanna has just finished shuffling the cards and 

she'd put 

the tech

[01:04:43] Adeola Enigbokan: suffering. Yes. I'm spreading out the cards now and I'm going to choose a card. How can designers best prepare for the future of work? I love it. All right. 

[01:05:06] Nirish Shakya: What kind of did you get

[01:05:08] Adeola Enigbokan: I got the six of swords. 

[01:05:11] Nirish Shakya: the six episodes? Could you describe the card to.

[01:05:14] Adeola Enigbokan: All right. So this, there are variations of it, but this is a pretty, somewhat traditional picture of the, car. It's a boat on the on a sort of. Slightly, not stale, slightly stormy sea, or, you know, a little bit active water. But it's just, it's a boat there's an orange person or as men in the boat and they're also a few occupants of the boat and some stuff let's see. Yeah. And a few butterflies floating around the boat. So basically it's this sense of moving away from escaping from something. I always think of this card as the card of the refugee of people who, had to put everything on the boat. At the last minute on a small boat and face the big ocean I get to the other side.

So it's not necessarily a trip that anyone is planning for us. It's not a cruise. You know what I'm saying? It's not a pleasure cruise. It's not a yacht trip. It's actually something else is this sense of needing to leave a place. But within this, there's also a coziness. There's a sense that you, your mate, you've made the decision to leave behind a failing or failed situation where there's nothing more you can do.

And you're going, you're taking the risk to go towards a future that may be uncertain, but there's a strong sense that you have everything you need in this book. You have everything you need in this boat and you're taking it to this other shore to start again. So what I love about this card when I get it is this sense of it's got everything in it.

It's got all the most important things that you learned from the past place, from the place you're leaving. It's got all those elements of that culture. You can't fit everything on the boat. So you have to imagine that people are taking the most meaningful things on the little boat.

You can't take, your whole house and everything, but you're taking maybe your grandmother's picture photo in the frame, or you're taking a seed or a small plant that you're, from your hometown or Homeland that you're going to plan to the next place. So you always have that tree over, you have that fruit from your old place there.

[01:07:43] Nirish Shakya: the boat could be a metaphor for a container limited container with some constraints around it. So it can, it forces you to prioritize what you want to take into the future. Things that actually matter to you.

[01:07:56] Adeola Enigbokan: Absolutely. So how can you prepare for the future? Imagine yourself in imagine that you can only take, you're leaving behind this old working culture. You don't want this working culture that we're talking about. You don't want this working culture that sapping your life in exchange for a direct deposit.

You, you want some you're going towards that, that, that has drained you're done with that. You don't want to be a designer in that way anymore, for example, you, you have to get somewhere else. So yes, you're going to need a boat. You're and you're and I think a boat is good because the way to the other place is not like a straight highway.

It's not really a car from one city to another city. There's an elements with the water of what is unknown. You know, People who get in little boats and from the beginning of time, heading in one direction, usually end up not where they think they were going to end up. They say, oh, I'm heading to this.

And look, I live in the Americas. Why is it called the America's somebody got in a little boat and said, oh, I'm heading to Asia. And 500 years later, here we are right here. I am because somebody did that. So in any case, when you're getting in the little book. And you're going on the sea. There is this sense that you're going into the unknown.

So you want to travel as light as possible. You don't want your boat to sink. So what you're going to take with you are the most meaningful things from where you're coming from. It's not all trash where you're coming from. Maybe there are certain techniques that you've learned. Maybe there are certain relationships that you've made.

Maybe there's something super meaningful that you feel like you'd like to plant against in fertile soil, in the place where you're arriving in that future place. But so to answer your question, according to this card, the way I would interpret what you need to do to be ready, because you're already on the boat, you're already going.

This boat is leaving soon. Get ready, what you need to be doing to prepare. And I feel the future is like this next few years, five years. Is be gathering all the best things from around you, the best relationships, the best experiences, the best skills the things that you really value, the things you really wants to grow in the future.

And, but do it in your way, in this different way, in this fresh way, in this new space that we don't know what it is, hence the future. We don't really know what it is. So it's not about predicting the future. It's about looking around you now and saying, if I had to run out of this burning corporate office or this burning office, what would I definitely grab?

Would it be the person who works across the desk for me across the table from me, would it be all the free stuff in the supplies closet? Hey, hello. Would it be. I don't know, what would it be? Would it be, would it be, would I record this last conversation with my boss? Giving me some advice or would this older person who's retiring next year, giving me some advice?

What would I want with me if this was burning and I had to run out and catch a boat in the next few hours, and that's the mentality, that's what you're doing at your work in your work. Now, if you're not where you want to be, you're looking around and you're gathering those things, knowing that your boat is due to take off, you're going to catch the last boat.

You're not going to know where you're going. It might be a Rocky sea. You can't take too much because you don't want to sink the boat. But when you get there, you don't want to be that person on lost on the last island who, who didn't pack anything. When you get there, you want to be that person who has like a Swiss army knife. Uh, Way to plant something good to eat, you know, before the winter and something to get going. So you want to think about your past life. You want to think like a refugee from the past. And I say refugees specifically refugee, migrant, but I say refugee because of this sense of people who really have no choice in leaving and people who are really brave and have to make take these uncharted journeys. It's a really, it's a really brave mindset. It's a really inventive mindset. And in my experience, because I'm a new Yorker, it's a city of refugees where wherever refugees landed in New York, even in Seattle, where I was. In Seattle, we, in the 1970s, we took in a lot of people who were refugees of the Vietnam war.

They were called boat people. Many people joined those cities and have just changed the landscape of Seattle of what that city is and whatever I, it makes me on time. Cause whatever people, those people put into their little boat, what a gift to all of us, what a gift I'm so happy. I grew up in a Seattle with children of refugees. 

[01:13:04] Nirish Shakya: Yeah.

And I'm just amazed at how so much can come out or just one card and your interpretation of that card. And therein lies the power of, asking the right questions using these prompts that you so beautiful. You just done there. 

[01:13:19] Adeola Enigbokan: I wouldn't have thought it's a good answer, but I wouldn't have thought about it if I wasn't looking at 

that image and kind of riffing on that. And I love this ending. I did not expect to say that, but I really emotion. I still re I feel this emotion is really takes me back to my childhood. This takes me back to my childhood.

This takes me back to south Seattle. So Vietnamese, Seattle to Filipino Seattle. It takes me back and I just cannot emphasize enough what a gifted. To be this person arriving in this boat with these little things. Like you think they're little, but there are gifts that can change an entire landscape, and that's the person you want to be. 

[01:13:57] Nirish Shakya: And these are like a little seeds you're carrying that can grow into amazing plants.

Adeola, it's been amazing talking to you about all the things that you do. We, you, we spoke about how you think about belonging and bringing that into your design work, especially around in there, the whole spatial design, the work that you do.

Also we talked about connection especially around the context of empathy and also starting with yourself in terms of empathizing with yourself and with the pain or in any sensation that you might be feeling, it could be positive or negative. And then leading that into compassion for yourself and compassion for others and the compassion technique that you mentioned around in a breathing in the pain giving it space to exist and then breathing out the compassion for beings and using that as a designer, in terms of maybe being able to empathize with the stakeholders and the emotions that they might be feeling.

And we talked about the tarot experience as well, in terms of how it helps you counterbalance your intellectual life with the more intuitive life or feelings that you might be experiencing and how it's a powerful way to ask yourself questions that you might not be aware of.

Okay. To get to the answers that maybe you are already aware of subconsciously, but you can't get access to just with your intellectual thinking. And I think one of the things that you beautifully wrapped up there, where it was with, how do you bring in more of your holistic self into you into your work?

And again, we use the tarot card to be able to answer that in terms of how we can see ourselves as refugees, where we were just packing the most bare essentials into our next trip. And what have you pack in there could be of huge benefit for the communities and the people that he might be serving in the future.

So it doesn't matter if it's tiny seed or a picture of your grandmother could still be something of value. So bring things that are meaningful to you on this boat. And I think that's a really powerful metaphor for us to end this chat on. 

So, Adeola where can people find you?

[01:15:58] Adeola Enigbokan: Well, you can find me through my website, which is whyadeolabecause, so it's why my name then my name Adeola and then or you can find me on LinkedIn Adeola Enigbokan or you can I guess find me on Instagram at adeola goes like G O E S daily goes, 

um, goes on a boat.

A daily is always going somewhere on a boat.

Seriously, this is my part of life. I'm one of these people. I'm team refugee.

[01:16:32] Nirish Shakya: Awesome. Thank you so much for that. Like I've learned so much from that conversation and I'm sure like, everyone is listening here has it's helped them reframe or just turn slightly around to look at a, something different that was not in the field of vision before. And this is definitely something that's been my experience as well.

Every time I speak with you, I turned slightly a few degrees around and I see something totally different. So thank you so much for that experience. And thank you so much for your time and energy today, and we hope to see you again soon.

[01:17:00] Adeola Enigbokan: Thank you so much for having me. This was lovely. Loved every minute of it. Thanking the nourish. Have a Great rest of your evening or day. Bye. 

[01:17:09] Nirish Shakya: Thank you so much for listening to my chat with that Adeola. If you're enjoying listening to the Design Feeling Podcast, please do consider leaving an honest review on Apple Podcasts. It'll help people decide whether they'd want to press the play button or not. And if you have any suggestions, ideas, or guests that you'd like to have on the show, please email me at and like always please share the podcast with a Design Thinking friend who needs a bit of Design Feeling in their lives. See you next time.