Nuggets September 2020
Oh boy did I need a break!
I learned a few times in my life that I can stretch myself quite considerably, especially when working on projects that excite me (more on that below), but I do notice the subtle signs of “you need a fucking break, mate! You can’t do this much longer” and I’ve learned to listen to that.
Now I certainly take my fare share of down time. As an introvert it’s important that I ringfence appropriate me-time and that I find ways to be, to be mindful, relax, or just create time to think about whatever I want or just let my mind wander. And yes, I’ve also since made time to watch Kobra Kai (loved all the references to my late-80s childhood) as well as Dark (which, time travel wise, didn’t blow me away but it really depicted rural German life and mannerisms quite authentically).
But back in August I really just needed a break and so I decided to take it. I decided it was okay to write July’s Nuggets late and essentially skip August. I don’t like getting too many emails anyway so I figured that I am the one making the rules. And anyway, if you’re desperate to know what’s on my mind, you can always dip your mind into my facebook, “catch me live” (as per previous Nuggets) or drop me a line if you miss me 😉
In other news, blood on the streets over the US election anybody? The most compassionate human being I know recently told me that the ain lesson from Covid-19 is that people are fucking selfish and we’re all doomed (I’m paraphrasing) and all over the Western world, democracy seems to be falling apart fuelled by modern technology and its potential to act as powerful propaganda machines. The second wave of the virus is flaring up all over the place and from how people have been dealing with it so far, I can’t really see how this isn’t gonna be much worse than what we’ve experienced already. Early vaccine trials have been promising but the likelihood of this sucker mutating in the process combined with statistics on half of entire populations likely refusing to take it, doesn’t leave me as optimistic as I usually am.
So here I am trying to walk the talk, embracing the inevitable and trying to do my part in helping out/ I’m immensely grateful for being able to work from home and for generally being quite happy on my own. Though I probably wouldn’t be half as okay without having the love of my life living with me and euqally grateful she is also able to work from home. But I did need that break. And here I am back after 6 weeks and back into my monthly flow with, as always, a few Nuggets of what’s been going on for me these past 6 weeks, bits and pieces that I’ve come across or thoughts that have been on my mind, as well as a few fruits of that energy.
If any of it resonates, make it swing! I’d love to hear from you 🙂
What helped me put things in perspective
Perspective is a double edged (s)word. As I found myself affected by spending a lot of time in the vicinity of many of the true greats in my profession and inevitably catching my mind comparing myself to them, it was important to recognize that they tend to have a few more decades in their back, different backgrounds, inherited networks or connections, a different set of values, different personality, etc. It’s important to put things in perspective. It feels grounding, allows us to breath knowing that we’re merely a tiny part of a greater whole. Though sometimes it can also feel a bit unsettling, scary even perhaps. Especially when it’s the humbling sort of perspective that follows what I’m about to share with you. I think such reminders both allow us to relax and not to take ourselves too seriously in the face the vastness of the universe, as well as really fuck with our natural hunger for significance and meaning.
Every time I open a post from Wait But Why I just want to keep reading. It’s so engaging, and clever, and funny, and interesting. This is the latest one, which goes into a lot more details and metaphors to illustrate the vastness of the universe. It reminds me about that time I told you about listening to Brian Cox on Joe Rogan and, perhaps for the first time, grasp how incredibly miniscule even our solar system is compared to what’s out there. Enjoy (!?)
….is what I thought when I made the below (very unofficial) graphic in an attempt to celebrate the milestone of having all of our teachers confirmed for our new and incredibly exciting coaching certificate (ok all but one technically but I’m positive we can sort it out).
Now I know I tried to diversify the faculty! I’ve been turned down by (or didn’t get through to) more than half a dozen BAME coaches who I thought would fit what we’re looking for (international profile, excellent teacher, ideally written a few books on the topic), but I gotta admit it wasn’t easy to find them in the first place, let alone find someone who can take a day out of their busy schedule to film content for a small school in Colorado. Looking at who publishes the books, who’s been around in the early days of coaching, who’s got an international profile and does powerful work in organisations… the trend in coaching is that those coaches are, as in most other industries, largely white, and still disproportionately male!
Now when I presented this issue initially, Itai (the school’s director) clearly stated that our first priority is to get the best teacher for the students. Everything else comes secondary. However, I don’t think in this day and age you can release a coaching course with an all-white ensemble. It sends the wrong message, doesn’t provide the much-needed diverse role models to inspire the next generation of coaches and it misses out on an opportunity to at least somewhat course-correct. And frankly I’d be a bit embarrassed knowing that most people wouldn’t know I fucking tried.
So I figured the least I could do is give it one more push. Itai (being the amazing person he is) gave me some additional budget to create another module on diversity – beyond colour, race and gender, and to include culture, individual differences, values, beliefs, political ideology, personality, etc.. A module that would discuss the importance of “otherness” in the context of the coaching relationship and to illuminate all of the elements of diversity that influence our relationships profoundly, not just in a coaching setting. I’ve reached out to a few more coaches but would much appreciate if you knew anyone, to drop me a line and tell me why you’d recommend them to teach alongside the above teachers.
And can I just say once more how excited I am to be in touch with so many of the people whom I’d grown up with as a coach (in the photo I’m sitting on Erik de Haan’s terrace having a chat – who would’ve thought!? 😀 ). An incredible privilege and such an honour. If you’d like to stay up to date with the course’s development, the school has a mailing list, or, you will have guessed it, watch this space!
What does it mean to be a collector?
As I’m in the process of cataloguing my record collection (see below) I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a collector. It seems that for a very long time I’ve been collecting various things: from stamps (something that was passed down from my grandfather), matchbox Ferraris, foreign money, matches, stones from the beach, drinking cans (at the height of this around age 15 I had around 700 cans circling my room in rows of three and about 50% of shelf space was dedicated to the collection) to my active two collections of 1) vinyl records and now, since lockdown, 2) succulents! It got me thinking what motivates this sort of behaviour. It’s not that I’m particularly OCD about it. I don’t need to have the complete collection and I treat a lot of my vinyl quite badly. While I am quite attached to some of the collections, others I had no issue giving away or bringing to the ground (yes, I did make a giant fort out of the matches, obviously). I asked Nelly about the psychoanalytic perspective and there’s something about ownership that seems significant. I also think there’s an element of taking care of something. And I guess it is something we can control, perhaps at a time when other areas of our life aren’t particularly well-defined. Plus it is something that we choose to be meaningful and that we can dedicate some of our time to. And of course, some collections have status or a level of show-offness attached to it, or as a means to connect with others. But I don’t think that mattered too much to me. I wasn’t the kind of person who’d invite you to “come over so I can show you my collection” 😉 and you won’t find me on succulent or vinyl forums.
I didn’t quite come to a conclusion that would open up some doors into my inner psyche. And I’m still waiting to find out what Lacan and Freud had to say about it. Perhaps you’ve got a perspective on this? I’d love to hear it!
How to increase prices in a way that’s fair and equitable
Raising prices has always been a weak point of mine. My mum instilled a strong sense of fairness in me and in combination with living on relatively little money throughout my 20s and knowing what it’s like to want to attend exciting events but unable to afford it, I developed a bit of resistance.
As I’ve found myself spending more and more time on organising and running my Coaching Labs every 1st Tuesday (and the free socials every 3rd), I realized it’s not tenable long-term, so I’ve made a change in my ticket structure. They are now sold in 3 tiers (£20, £30 & £50) so that I can raise the revenue overall while still making sure that Labsters on a budget or in-training (or both) can get a cheap ticket early (as well as to introduce a bit of an incentive to book early or consider membership). I hope you’ll find this solution fair. I’m open to feedback!
The Coaching Lab is meant to be a place for coaches across the range to observe an inspiring session and discuss it after with plenty of time to let the work unfold properly and to ask any questions you like.
I offer a 20% discount on annual membership, which grants you access to all the available recordings from past events. Or you can pay monthly, secure the lowest price and still get access to all recorded coaching sessions and discussions.
Part of me is tempted to go all “Rich Litvin” on this, plan the events a year ahead and charge thousands of pounds per head (which, to be fair, is probably worth it), but I’m not willing and ready to go there yet. Maybe in 2022…
What I’m listening to
It started when my brother’s godfather offered me to adopt his record collection ahead of a move to Portugal. 300 records, all bought between 1973-1974 and across lots of different genres. Given that he just gave them to me and from a fellow music lover to another, I thought it’d be a decent thing to catalogue his collection and send him a complete list via the excellent platform Discogs, which allows you to find the exact pressing you own and add it to your collection. After I was done with his I decided to start with my own collection. And what a trip down memory lane it’s been! It’s not just finding out you own a couple of incredibly valuable gems. The ones worth 50p often meant the most to me. Almost every record triggers a memory in me. Places, experiences, people, parties, ideas, feelings – you name it. In the process of adding each of the estimated 3000 that sit on my shelves one-by-one I’ve been revisiting quite a few that I hadn’t listened to in years and I’ve been adding others that I never quite managed to get my hands on to my “want list” (my wife will never run out of presents now!). The internet is a blessing and I applaud the dedicated team behind such platforms (which really can’t turn much of a profit). I’m far from finished but for those of you who’d say: “Show me your record collection and I’ll tell you who you are”, here’s a glimpse of who I am: https://www.discogs.com/user/Jazzmen/collection?sort=artist&sort_order=asc
(note: most releases are linked to a YouTube video or playlist )
What a wonderful way to describe these conversations. It can be daring to really explore our relationships with big themes, to get so close to meeting who you are without ever being able to quite capture it, to dig into the dark sides of our mind and turn some of the rocks in our story, to face the possibility of revealing both juicy spiders and juicy marshmallow. Fires are warming but they can also burn you. They bring people together and they can scar them forever. Sitting around the fire is one thing, dancing makes it a celebration and involves play and somatic expression. I just loved the way they phrased that. If you’re reading this (which I know you might), thank you! I didn’t really get to acknowledge this in the moment, but it left a mark and I will probably adopt it from hereon forward.
- My contribution to the Holistic Change Summit on “Existentialism & Living an Authentic Life” had me presenting alongside an impressive line-up of speakers. Humbling to be aligned and lovely to be in conversation with the Weekend University’s founder Niall McKeever. Pure curiosity and what a great listener!
- The season finale of Essi Auguste Virtanen’s podcast Moving Dialogues is available on Podbean, Spotify and Apple Podcasts and we discuss how we might embrace the inevitable. Here’s a teaser.
- Serenity Radio’s Positive People with Positive Minds is up on YouTube and wil be aired on 25th October: https://www.serenityradio.co.uk/whats-on/
- 1 in 15 is “a series of short interviews, wrestling with One Big Thing that is impacting people personally or professionally.” What do you think I talked about? 🙂
- And lastly, WTF is going on?! is Gwyneth Jones’s new event series and we talked about how to deal with existential uncertainty in this VUCA world.
And my own podcast, Talking about Coaching, made a comeback after a bit of a hiatus:
How to make best use of accountability in coaching?
Is it problematic to give too much value during a coaching consultation?
- 30th September – Coaching & Psychedelics Drop-in Sessions: If you’re a coach and interested in this topic, why not join the one of our bi-weekly conversations? Drop me a line and I’ll send you a calendar invite.
- 6th October – Coaching Lab #7 with Clive Leach: Coaching with Positive Psychology
- 7th October – “From Grandmaster Flash to Paul Wong – What music can teach us about integration and transcending traditional boundaries: An evening with Yannick Jacob”
That’s it. If you’re reading this, I appreciate that you’re still with me and I hope you enjoyed reading my Nuggets. If you can’t get enough, I sporadically upload past editions to my website’s blog. As always, if any of it resonates, make it swing! I’d love to hear from you 🙂
And PS: I’ve somewhat secretly launched my new website for coaches: www.RocketSupervision.com. It’s still missing a central piece of the landing page, a 2-minute animation explaining the concept, which I care deeply about, but the site is live and if you’re reading this and you’re a coach, I’d LOVE your feedback. Cheers.