Nuggets May 2019
It seems surreal that it’s been more than 2 months since the wedding. We’ve only just got the photos and video back and yet so much has happened since. A lot of energy got released and much of it more gradually than I had expected. I most certainly felt the initial rush in the first weeks (and interestingly I’ve also heard that from a lot of our guests). But then it got even stronger, like a seed planted by an Ayahuasca ceremony, and many things started to align in what followed (and is still very much following). Big difference is now I’ve got a timeline and am recruiting teams around me to turn visions into realities. Big things to come. Stay tuned!
As always, here are a few bits and pieces that I’ve come across and that have been on my mind as well as a few fruits of that energy (at the bottom). If any of it resonates, make it swing! My doors are (almost) always open and I’d love to hear from you 🙂
What I’ve learned from an addict – Be authentic, do the uncomfortable work and surrender the outcome!
I’ve recently came across this brilliant TED talk by Michael Brody-Waite, a drug addict currently clean and CEO of a fortune500 company (both long-term form the sounds of it). This is not just a prime example of how to structure a good TED talk (intriguing title, strong personal story, surprising turn (unless you’ve heard of the guy or read my introduction (sorry!), a simple, memorable and repeatedly stated message illustrated by examples and grounded in successful application – I guess the cream would be to bring in some research but hey…), his 3 principles kept coming back to my conversations with friends, clients and strangers alike. None of them come easy to all, but especially surrendering the outcome seems what many are struggling with. In today’s ambition-driven society where hunger often equates to “success”, it’s easy to get too attached to the outcome of our actions. It releases a lot of energy, but is prone to eating us from the inside as we inevitably find ourselves ships on the face of life’s wild ocean. We can stir and row and build big engines, but we may not arrive where we set out to go or we may step off-board a changed (wo)man. On the other side though, when we’re not attached at all we simply don’t give a shit and there’s certainly no energy in that (well, okay, but different energy, let’s not go there). The Buddhists talk about non-attachment, and I’d translate that as caring deeply while surrendering the outcome, accepting that some things aren’t within your control. Together with the other two maxims I think that’s a fantastic way to go through life and career and judging from what those clients, friends and strangers have been telling me, it’s working a lot better than you may or may not expect. So next time you don’t know what to do or how to react, I invite you to consider it. Speak your truth, own it and allow others to judge you (just perhaps hold your tongue when they have guns). And yes, it takes heaps of courage and it’s not gonna be comfortable. That comes with the territory – being human and existing in a world full of others.
What Wim Hoff taught me about my arch enemy – Using your breath to fight the cold (and diseases)
In early May I came across a video of the Ice Man, Wim Hoff, which made some fantastic (is I think the best way to describe it given the currently accepted knowledge in Western medicine) claims with regards to controlling your own immune system by sheer will. Some interesting conversation ensued on my Facebook and I got curious. I had heard of Wim before (ironically it was in relation to the near-death of the wonderful Josh Waitzkin – don’t do this in a pool… obviously!) and certainly knew that amazing things can be achieved through breathing techniques but this sounded too good to be true. After this and this and this and this I’ve got a good feeling for the spectrum of the guy and his method. I had experimented with cold showers in the past with pure willpower (a good exercise in itself) but must say it does get a lot easier when you fill your body up with oxygen beforehand (which then also means you might actually keep it going and enjoy the benefits of exposure to cold). Also, being able to triple your breath-holding ability within a few minutes makes you wonder what else you could achieve with minimal changes to your behaviour… Have I fallen in love with my arch enemy – the cold shower? Certainly not! (in fact, fuck you, still!) But it’s opened up a lot of possibilities.
What’s worth a mention – The fantastic free resources from the Positive Psychology Program
I first met Seph (Pennock Fontaine – the founder of the Positive Psychology Program, now extended to PositivePsychology.com) when he reached out to me many years ago with pure curiosity about something that I had studied. We’ve had a fantastic conversations and he invited me to write something for his blog. Let’s just say that at the time writing and I weren’t the best of friends, so I declined but I’ve been following his blog ever since and over the years he’s amassed a wealth of rich, free and evidence-based resources available to anybody interested in personal development and positive psychology. The resource packs I recommended most to clients are on mindfulness, CBT and I’d recommend Seph’s brand new ebook on meaning, a topic I’ve discussed with him at length.
Is he selling products on the back of it? Yes sure (and they’re really good). Does he have a tight sales funnel? Absolutely! But there’s a genuine curiosity about the human condition and an authentic desire to help people apply positive psychology (and related fields) to their and others’ lives with no pressure to buy whatsoever. It’s an inspiring way to do business. Thank you Seph!
What motivates us? – New insights into why I’m not taking action
I’m still mulling over some thoughts triggered by Steven Kotler’s “The Rise of Superman“, which goes into great detail on what motivates action and extreme sports athletes to dedicate (and not rarely losing) their lives to what they love doing. For some time I had been wondering why I no longer engaged (as much as I used to) in activities I used to crave so much – DJing, longboarding, capoeira, even going out to clubs and parties. Did I get old? Is that knee injury really a good enough excuse not to exercise? Have I lost my passion for [ ] or value it any less? I haven’t actually and I don’t. But what I have noticed through questioning my motives and what I’m getting out of these “leisure activities” are – among some other important elements that arguably contribute to motivation – 1) a sense of identity and getting to express it, 2) fun and other positive emotions and 3) very regular flow states (times during which I’m completely getting lost in what I’m doing). And I’ve realized that what had crept in to “steal my motivation away from what I used to do” is hitting right into the heart of these three: Coaching conversations! And I’ve been chasing these experiences ever since, like an adrenaline junkie of sorts, just without the death risk (and hence arguably less intense – which I’m very much okay with), but with the possibility to tap into it literally whenever I’m in conversation, no matter the weather or environment! No need to chase big waves or gnarly mountains. Just a person who agrees to have “that kind of conversation” and I’m in the zone. Dear diary: Jackpot!!! :
[This is really getting way over the “Nugget limit” and into steak territory but I just saw that I had made a note about an example to illustrate it so here it goes:
It’s 8am Monday morning on the 29th May 2019. Just 6 hours earlier episode 3 of Game of Thrones’ 8th season, arguably one of the most intense and gripping episodes in TV history (no spoilers ahead!), had been released and I had developed a bit of a ritual in getting up earlier than usual (I tend to work 10-10 these days) to watch it before starting the week. What I HADN’T kept in mind is that this episode was 30 minutes longer than usual, which meant, and you’ve seen this coming, a MASSIVE CLIFFHANGER!!! Fuck me sideways, sorry Marc, I something has come up and… ah fuck he’s already traveled to meet me, emerge… well it isn’t really. I do value commitment… GODDAMNIT! … okay. Headphones in, listening to the above and last month’s mentioned The Rise of Superman on my way to a coffee place in the neighbourhood. [Shit I can’t remember his name now] is on a breathtaking first ascent up a deadly mountain when in the middle of a particularly gnarly steep ice wall he hears the sound of rocks falling from the above. Instinctively he’s crouching together as close to the wall as possible, but there’s not really anywhere to hide or take cover. The rocks are getting bigger and closer to him and … it’s 9:30am and I see Marc with a friendly smile in front of E5 Bakery waving at me. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!? A double cliffhanger? Really???
Fast forward literally 3 minutes and In had completely forgotten about it! I was part of the conversation, interesting questions, great connection, curiosity, interest, a passion for growth and learning, two minds resonating in a meaningful space, doing what I love.
I left the place with a smile and 2 seconds later my double cliffhanger hit me like a tonne of bricks. The climber went through hell but made it home alright I found out on my way home. GoT had to wait til that evening and continued to forget and remember throughout the day.
I genuinely want to add: if you’re craving more flow and engagement in your life, #GetaCoach! Ideally one who’s familiar with the science behind it. Happy to connect you, they come at any price range.]
What I’ve published this month
My guest lecture at Birkbeck University of London on Positive Existential Coaching
Coaching for Happiness – An Introduction to Positive Psychology and how it could be applied in both your life and the coaching room (Salisbury International Coaching Week)
How to juggle multiple passions – a conversation with fellow generalist, portfolio career, multipotentialite, hummingbird Vikki Coombes on climbing one tree to the top (“Master”) vs. studying the foundations of the forest (“Jack”)
And for those of you asking about episodes 2 of my podcasts (Talking about Coaching, ThisIsExistential and Cool Intentions), I’ve got a few filmed but struggle to find time to edit and am hesitant to pay loads of money for it as they’re really a labor of love rather than client converters. Any advice or connections to an overseas video editor you learned to trust? (I’m bit scarred to be honest and hesitant to keep looking)
Catch me live
An Introduction to Positive Psychology and Coaching for Happiness – Animas Centre for Coaching (and on Facebook live), 25 June (leading into a follow-up in-person training weekend in August)
Coaching and the Quest for Meaning – IMEC International Meaning Conference, London, 12-14 July.
An Introduction to Existential Coaching – Training, London, 27/28 July.
Advanced Existential Coaching – as part of the MA Existential Coaching, New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling, London, 15-19 July.
And I’m also opening my coaching supervision groups from end of June, so if you’re a coach or coach-therapy integrationist and not currently in supervision, what are you waiting for?! Groups are a low cost way to fulfill your baseline professional obligations and also a great space to connect to other coaches or integrative practitioners. If you’re keen (and you know you should be) click here.
And of course you could come join my Positive Psychology online course, where I run monthly live sessions every 1st Thursday or hop onto the incredible Positive Psychology Practitioner Certificate and meet me weekly as well as Barbara Fredrickson, Matthieu Ricard, Susy Green, Ryan Niemic and many other big names in the field during their monthly live sessions. I’m honoured to be hosting Barabara for the first time tomorrow which I’m really looking forward to!
Right, that’s it. If you’re (still) reading this, could you do me a favour, hit reply and send me anything (a smiley face will do). I’d love to get a sense for whether these “Nuggets”, now firmly in the steak zone (well let’s say juicy vegan burgers with extra guacamole), are still fulfilling their purpose (being read). I must say I quite enjoy writing them longer but I know even the best newsletters I lost interest in when they got too long. So I’m contemplating going back to roots and delivering short nuggets but offering a separate, more in-depth mailing list for those with longer attention spans or simply less time on their hands (hey, no hard feelings if you’re here because you’ve skim read or skipped most of the above). Let me know what you think or just send me a sign so I know where I’m at (it’s a bit tricky to make eye contact or gauge your body language from where I am). Any other thoughts or feedback as always obviously more than welcome 🙂