Nuggets February 2020
Being back. Feeling forward.
There’s something special about coming home. It’s a place you know. A place of relative certainty. Somewhere we (are supposed to) feel safe.
Right now I have mixed feelings about being back, back from our honeymoon in Japan. It’s 5:30am and I feel wide awake. I spent the return flight reflecting on and celebrating the wealth of experiences we’ve met across our travels but right now I’m powerfully aware of all the chores that await me as part of settling back into “normal life”. It’s as exciting as it is scary – as life should be, in my humble opinion.
I had meant to write my January nuggets before I left, then decided in the middle of all the mayhem of getting ready for a three week trip to the other side of the world to write them on the plane, then made a decision that what truly matters is to let go of everything work-related and take this time to switch off completely and just experience this special trip in the way I feel it’s meant to experienced: just the two of us, no distractions, no work. It was interesting during this period to observe my thoughts and desire to plan, strategize, worry, get ideas out there or to keep recruiting for the events I’ve got coming up following my return, but apart of a few updates to share some pictures and experiences with friends, family and the occasional post on Facebook, I’ve stayed away from the outside world and immersed myself in a completely different culture. What a trip!
Now that I’m back I do want to share a few thoughts with you, so as always, here are a few Nuggets of what’s been going on for me this month, 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 struck me about Japan
I’ve heard this story about a friend asking for directions in Japan and the guy then walked them 10 minutes out of his way to bring them there as it was difficult to explain. Now this kind of attitude really seems to run through the culture. Such kindness and hospitality. In Kyoto we couldn’t find our restaurant as all the names were in Japanese. We then walked into what we thought would be the place and asked. One of the staff, in an attempt to help us out, walked us three times around the block, called the restaurant for us, asked passers by for information and only after we’ve found it about 10 minutes later mentioned that he really needs to go back to his job!
In Tokyo we’ve walked passed what seemed to be some sort of library or book store. As we admired a small porcelain cat in the window, we received a friendly wave and smile from the man on the inside. We decided to walk in and ask if the cat was for sale. The man barely spoke a word of English but we managed to communicate that we love his cat and ask whether it was for sale. He smiled warmly and gave it to us as a gift. We took a picture together and named the cat after him.
What happened as a result was not surprising to me but an important experiential reminder: I’ve been passing it forward. Kindness is contagious. It feels fantastic to give and to receive. We even have a pretty solid evidence base for this now. Do something kind for a stranger today! You may not be around to see what they do with it, but you can choose to trust that it’ll resonate the way it did for me.
What I’m excited about – The launch of “Yannick’s Coaching Lab”
On March 3rd Clara Monroy and I will be launching a monthly series of Coaching Labs. These are opportunities to witness a full-length live coaching session and then discuss and debrief afterwards as t gain an insight into the inner workings of coach and client as they’re engaged in coaching. This is followed by some discussion amongst the group and an opportunity to practice coaching in triads afterwards, to experiment, discuss, observe and grow your coaching skills. And you get to hang out with other coaches (and/or get some free coaching). Tickets are available at only £20 launch offer via our MeetUp page. Please share this with anybody you may know in London. We’ll be taking it online but for now it’s exclusive to London-based coaches. Hope to see many of you there!
What got me thinking about habits again – Michael Pollan and Jason Silva
These two sparked some new thoughts on habits: Are they responsible for hiding from our human experience by promoting mindless engagement (listen to this section of their podcast) or are they useful automation technique and the foundation of who we are (as depicted in Charles Duhigg’s “The Power of Habit”)?
What we often don’t see but need to remind ourselves of often – of seeds and trees
Often we ask ourselves whether what we’re doing is worth the effort, whether we’re having the kind of impact we’re striving for. Oftentimes we can only have faith that our work will bear fruit. Often we don’t see the results of our labour. This can be daunting as we naturally prefer certainty to acting in good faith.
A good friend told me a story of how someone he didn’t know walked up to him during a local event and told him how he had saved his life – literally. His content on social media had inspired him not to take his own life and instead to keep going. This came at a time where this very friend was questioning the impact he had with his content as engagement was not what he’d been hoping for. Sometimes we don’t know.
It reminded me of one of my own stories, someone I didn’t even know I was connected to telling me that one of my tweets changed her perspective on life in a way that it’ll stay with her forever. At the time my engagement on twitter was generally non-existent and I had been contemplating to just stop.
The topic comes up regularly with my supervisee coaches that fail to see immediate impact from the work they do with their clients. Someone in one of my supervision groups offered the metaphor of sowing the seeds but often not being granted the privilege to stick around long enough to see the tree grow. Having to trust that our work matters even when we don’t know for certain – that’s a special kind of faith. Not a religious one but one that bridges uncertainty and allows us to keep going, to keep doing good work int he face of not-knowing.
What I’ve published
- I wrote an article a while ago about integrating Positive Psychology, Existentialism and Coaching in the context of meaning-making interventions, which was now published in the INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF EXISTENTIAL POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY.
- Talking about Coaching – the next two episodes of the podcast are:
Episode 09 – Is it better to coach clients in person than online or on the phone? and
Episode 10 – My client talks like a waterfall. How can I coach them?
We’v had some hickups in the team re communication so we’re still catching up on getting the video versions released properly. Sign up for the mailing list and we’ll let you know when it’s ready.
Catch me live
- 29th Feb/1st March: An Introduction to Existential Coaching – London
As I’ve been away and have been lax about promotion this is going to be an intimate setting that promises a special learning opportunity.
- 4th March: Beyond Healing – Coaching & Psychedelics Online Symposium 2020
- 10th//11th March: 14th Health and Wellbeing @Work Conference in Birmingham – I’ll be talking about conflict resolution and coaching skills.
- Special Online Training opportunity in Existential Coaching – I’m taking my introduction to existential coaching online in April and May and will announce dates soon. There’s still time for you to express interest and influence when I’ll be running these.
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 🙂