Nuggets July 2018:
When inspiration hits, do you keep it to yourself, or do you share it with your people? I believe in putting your thoughts, questions and experiences out there. You never know what these ripples may turn into or who you might connect with as a result. Here’s what was on my mind this month. If any of it resonates, make it swing! My doors are (almost) always open and I’d love to hear from you.
What inspired me
In early August I followed the call of my colleague and fellow Positive Existentialist Dr. Paul Wong to speak at the International Meaning Conference in Vancouver. In addition to a 3hr session on Positive Existential Coaching I also took part in a panel discussion together with a number of prominent names in the field, which themed around “meaning interventions” and included 10min presentations from each panel member followed by a conversation. The session was live-streamed to the public so I was able to record it: https://youtu.be/dY30HPrsiBg
However, the real conference took place during the breaks and over food and drinks and it was the best experience to meet so many new and old friends over the course of the week. Thank you Paul!
What I’d love your input on
My first proper book, a beefed-up version of “An Introduction to Existential Coaching” will be published by Routledge soon and my deadline for the manuscript is nauseatingly close. I’m currently adding as many useful resources on existentialism as I can and wondered if you had anything to add that you found helpful when trying to grasp or illustrate existential themes. I’m including movies, novels, YouTube videos, blogs, music and any other form of media that grounds the complexities of existential philosophy in the real world of human experiences.
What I’m reading
Since January I got through 16 books thanks to Audible. This month one them was Leaders Eat Last by one of my heroes – Simon Sinek. While at first I was on the “sure mate, that all sounds morally right and generally amazing but you’re quite the idealist, aren’t you?!”-side of things, the advantages of thinking of organisations as families and encouraging leaders to be the sort of guys who care deeply about the people they lead, has a surprising amount of hard evidence behind it, grounded in the very real world of business. And he’s a top notch story teller too (check out some of his talks on YouTube). An excellent response outlining what we’re up against can be found in Jeffrey Pfeffer’s Leadership BS.
What I’m enjoying
I only just found out that Sasha Baron-Cohen’s new show Who Is America has been airing on Showtime and currently got 7 episodes out already. In the official snippet (from episode 1) he got the head of the NRA to produce a series of adverts promoting arming pre-schoolers with automatic weapons and even grenade launchers!!! In another episode he gets Dick Cheney to sign his “water board”! It’s as hilarious as it is scary. Have a look!
What I’m thinking about
As I’ll be stepping out of my 4 day/week job at the University in October to focus more on coaching, supervision, small-group/1on1 training and generally spreading the good word about developing an existential attitude towards organisational and personal leadership, I’m thinking a lot about how to best get the word out – marketing if you will. I have a lot to say but was still in two minds about whether to produce long-form content (and through what media) or more bite-sized information. Shout out to all of you who shared their experience and advice on Facebook, LinkedIn and in conversations. Looks like a combination of long-form audio and video with snippets across different media. Do you agree or have anything to add?
What I’m coaching
I noticed that regularly I get to a crossroads with my clients at some point in the journey: Now that we’ve uncovered what’s the real issue holding you back from engaging with the world in the way that you’d like to, do you 1) want to tackle that issue from the ground up, processing and working through some of the painful stuff that it is connected to at the root, untangling a web of interrelations and digging deep into your memory and history that made you the person you are today (possibly in therapy), or 2) are you going to move forward despite the challenging emotional responses that you are experiencing as a result of who you are and how you grew up and allow your brain to build new connections as you are doing so and hence gradually becoming the person you want to be by choosing to do the things that that person would do? There is obviously middle ground here but it’s useful to have a look at the extremes of the spectrum. Life isn’t easy and none of these two routes will be smooth sailing. That’s just a reality of living, particularly for those who grew up in difficult circumstances. What’s important to me as an existential coach is that my clients are aware what they’re in for and I’m not promising them magic solutions. I know with hard work, investing time and resources, a range of useful tools and somebody in your corner for support, we can transcend who we are and change profoundly but short cuts don’t exist when it comes to sustainable change.
As always, I’d love to hear what inspired you this month, what you’re reading and what you’d like to see me share in the future. And I’d also love to know which kind of nuggets you’re most interested in, which ones you’d like to have more of or less of, etc.