Nuggets May 2020
Last time I wrote to you felt like 1989 (a number which, just like Douglas Adams’s 42, just popped into my mind btw). What I’m saying is that time feels distorted. I mean it’s always distorted when you think about it (when you’re bored, time seems to pass slowly – when we’re in flow, it gets dark before we know it), but it’s particularly distorted now.
In the UK, every Thursday evening the country claps for their healthcare workers, and it became a marker that another week’s gone by. I find myself immersed in work. An initial worry that I might be struggling to find paid work come May has turned in the polar opposite. All my consultation slots have been filled for the past three weeks and a huge project just landed in my lap, which will keep me more than busy for the next 6 months. I find myself returning to Tim Ferriss’s advice on how to say no to exciting new opportunities in a way that honours the request and sugarcoats the rejection (the good kind of sugar coating). I find myself meaningfully engaged and creatively fullfilled. And at the same time I find myself deeply affected by the uncertainty, the suffering, the loss and the collective trauma that is ravaging through the world.
A part of me is fascinated by how different people react to what’s been happening. Another is saddened by the loss and potential devastating effects on the future of the world. What I’ve found though is that I seem to be in a much better state since I cut down on the news and focus on what I can actually contribute. I’m accutely aware of my circle of concern vs. my circle of influence and I try to play to my strengths in order to appropriately contribute and respond to this crisis without losing the focus on my longer-term goals.
Crisis brings out the best and the worst in people. I’ve been extatically surprised at how much good I’ve been seeing compared to all the shit I’ve been expecting. I’m grateful for that.
So here you go, as always, 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’s more important than ever – A call for compassion
I’ve encountered the whole range of responses to COVID-19: from uplifted by the opportunity, shaken by the experience, beat down by loss, affected by death, tortured by the weight of the uncertainty, in denial that it is even real or just indifferent or nihilistic. What I want to appeal to in people is to be careful to make assumptions about what’s going on for others based on your own experience and worldview. Please make an effort to empathize and meet people’s reactions with compassion. Not everybody is in a position to process what’s happening as quickly as others. We might be in the same storm, but we’re not all in the same boat. It’s important to appreciate that while some welcome the opportunity to learn a new skill or finally get their side-hustle off the ground, others are busy keeping their shit together or literally surviving. So please take a moment to appreciate that shit before you respond to whatever’s around you. It’s more important now than ever.
What I want coaches to know about
Endings, death, idolation, meaninglessness, (lack of) freedom… Sound relevant these days? Well these are the 4 existential themes that existential thinkers describe as part of the human condition. If you’d like to explore these philosophically and in the context of coaching, why not join me every Monday evening (BST) in June or on the weekend of the 13th & 14th June for my online Introduction to Existential Coaching?
My Coaching Lab is a space in which I combine all the most popular bits from the training weekends (fishbowl demos and practicing in triads with plenty of room for feedback and discussion). This month I have a special guest: 6-figure business and high-performance coach, Founder of the Muslim Coachign Academy and one of my podcast residents, Siawash Zahmat. We’ve been talking about coaching a lot but I’ve never actually seen him in action. Come join us every first Tuesday of the month (5th May for this one). Tickets via MeetUp.
What puzzled and concerned my – The rise of conspiracy
I see a worrying rise in conspiracy theories these days. It started with David Icke’s message to the people that COVID-19 doesn’t exist followed by two and a half hours of wild theories, supported by evidence that seemed either flimsy, cherry-picked and outright false information and completely unchallenged by the interviewer (London Real’s Brian Rose). I’ve thought about this a lot and it seems that it hits a spot for people who are desperately trying to make sense of what’s going on and who may find it easier to believe that it’s a man-made conspiracy than a random event whose meaning may be un-graspable. There’s always some truth in these theories but it seemed to be that much of it is unfalsifiable, which drives the academic in me mad. So at first I was furious, then puzzled and then I got concerned, both for the wellbeing of some of my friends as well as the world in general. It feels to me that at this time during which we face a common and deadly enemy, it is dangerous not to stand united against it, but to have people sow doubt and separation. The romans knew about divide and conquer and while the virus is certainly not sentient, it only takes a small percentage of the population not to follow the rules for thousands to lose their lives. Yes, we don’t know enough about 5g to deem it 100% safe. Yes, we absolutely know enough to say that it definitely does not have anything to do with this virus. And my god, yes we know it exists and its sequence is in the public domain. But I recognize the pattern of my conversations with people and it’s hard to argue when institutions I trust on providing reliable data or knowledge are seen as part of the conspiracy. That said, it’s a REALLY tricky situation as I can understand why posts and channels are getting banned, but at the same time it’s a slippery slope into censorship and can get easily out of control. In my ideal world we’d all be able to think critically and weigh up the evidence, but the reality is that some people are burning down internet towers which stripped loads of people currently battleing with isolation from their only way to connect with their loved ones. Given my country’s history I’m worried about the effects of a lunatic idea without any grounds in evidence being taken seriously.
There’s lots more to say and I want to go a bit deeper into the psychology of what’s at play here, so we’ve decided to take it to our virtual pub and dedicate a Pub Psychology session to the topic: The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories. We’ve got a few promising guests and our usual panel, which should make for an excellent discussion on the topic. Come join us – have a pint ready if you can safely lay your hands on one.
Who I want to introduce you to
In the past few months a lot has happened on the backend of my operation and by now you will have noticed that I’ve had some help recently. It’s long overdue to give these wonderful people some credit and thank them for being part of my team.
Marcie Boyer is a fellow existential coach, author, entrepreneur and all-around existential human being. I’ve met Marcie at one of my early trainings and ever since we’ve connected. Since December Marcie has taken on the role/challenge of business developer, creative container and generally-trying-to-keep-Yannick-focused-on-one(well,okay)a-few-tings-at-at-a-time-person. We’ve been cleaning up the backend and we’re in the middle of re-branding www.RocketSupervision.com, which is a most exciting journey. I’m grateful to count Marcie as a friend, colleague and business partner. I’d recommend you to read some of her stuff at www.marcieboyer.com or consider her as coach. I’ve sat down with Marcie last year for my podcast This is Existential. You can watch it here.
Melanie Dijkstra was one my students at the MSc Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology and at some point reached out to invite me on her podcast to tell the story of my journey into the wonderful world of Positive Psychology. I immediately loved her curiosity and reflective presence. WHen she reached out a few months later to ask whether there’s anything she could do for me in exchange for the opportunity to have more conversations and an insight into how I run my business, I threw in weekly coaching sessions and we agreed on the terms of an interneship. Melanie’s eye for design will be immediately obvious to you looking at this month’s content. She’s a gifted photographer and developed an amazing approach to integrate her positive psychology coaching skills to capture the best possible self of people on camera. Check our her work or book a coaching session with her.
Quote I loved
(I found this on my fellow coach Arvin’s website)
How can coaches navigate the COVID-19 pandemic? After a considerable hiatus, here’s our 90min Corona Special in 3 parts (video – audio). We’re talking about coaching people through crisis and how to navigate our coaching businesses in a time of economical uncertainty.
I’m talking to Denise Mortimer on how to build one of those illusive (for many) 6-figure coaching practices in less than a year. This has been sitting on my shelf for a little while and I can’t thank my intern Melanie enough for all the editing work she’s doing!
My guest lecture at Birkbeck University of London’s Post-graduate Coaching Coaching programme.
My talk at last year’s IMEC International Meaning Conference. The video isn’t great but I loved the talk and think it should be out there.
Marcie and I bring existential themes to live through everyday lived experience. Her story is powerful and we get through a LOT of stuff during this conversation.
- 6th-7th June – Accredited Certificate in Positive Psychology – Animas Centre for Coaching
- 21st May – The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories – Pub Psychology
- 14th May – Positive Existential Perspectives on Supervision – International Centre for Coaching Supervision
- 7th May – I’ve been invited to the Barefoot Coaching Podcast with Kim Morgan
- 6th May – I’ll be guesting the Shifty Perspectives Podcast with the shifty Ash Cladworthy. That should be a fun one 🙂
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 🙂