January – The month of new year’s resolutions, good intentions, re-orientation, realizing that perhaps what you thought you wanted wasn’t important enough to put the work in and generally a high time for coaches. Here are a few nuggets, short bursts of what’s been on my mind this month and what I’ve been working on. If anything resonates, make it swing! My doors are (almost) always open and I’d love to hear from you! 🙂
What I’m experimenting with – The Slow Carb Diet
Getting “wedding-ready” has been a term that I’ve heard thrown around for a little while now by friends and family. Staying true to some of the German stereotypes, I’ve been planning to be very efficient about this and breaking the 10 week mark kicked things off for me. Tim Ferriss’s The 4 Hour Body provided an excellent backdrop to finally figure out a way to make dieting work for me. 3 weeks in I’m finding it reasonably easy to stick to. There are only 5 simple rules (most importantly: no white carbs!), spicy Brazilian peppers keep any food from being boring and I’ve got a cheat day once a week during which I was advised to go out of my way to eat everything I had been craving during the week. The result: 6kg of weight loss and 2 inches less around the belly using a manageable degree of self-discipline. This could work for me.
What I’ve been thinking about – Habits vs. Freedom
With the wedding coming closer each day, I’ve been establishing some new habits in my life and subsequently reading more about habits in recent times. I’ve mentioned this one last year and topped it up with this one recently. What struck me at some point is that the act of establishing a habit (e.g. as to automate your morning routine without having to make conscious decisions and hence circumventing the need for self-regulation and discipline) basically means that you are willingly sacrificing a degree of autonomy, reducing the space for agency so that you won’t need to think about the decisions you make. It seems like the opposite of mindfulness, but in a way that you stay in charge as the designer of the mindlessness. As someone who values agency, autonomy and freedom very highly I realized why I had been struggling with establishing habits in the past. Yet, it’s been such a helpful part of any coaching journey and indeed building any form of business or establishing behaviour change. Fun fact: it takes between 18 and 250 days to replace an old habit with a new one depending on how deeply it is ingrained.
Cool Intentions #1 – Sam Chillcott
It’s all started because I liked the ring of it, how it sounds. Cool Intentions. Possibly influenced by my youth and the similar sounding movie, but no relation. I love having meaningful conversations. And I like to get to know people at a deep level, find out what drives them, why they do the things they do, what they believe in where their passion lies. And I’m fascinated with how arts & culture – music, books, stories, paintings, exhibitions, etc. – influence our journeys and shape who we are and what we do. I found that you get to know a person when you talk about music or books or comics or comedy they like and that it’s a brilliant, enjoyable and inspiring way to get through to their core being without getting lost in their biography or life story. Through Cool Intentions I want to introduce “cool” people, and I mean that in the broadest sense of the word: authentic, unapologetically different and sticking out from the masses.
My first guest is Sam Chillcott, a fellow life coach, digital nomad, music lover, and former drifter who found a home and his life passion in Gran Canaria. As Sam takes us through an inspiring list of music, books and cultural movements that have made him the person he is today we’re exploring topics such as HipHop, sampling vs. stealing, pick up artists, happiness and how to find your path in life, marketing and being different, minimalism and how to focus your mind, Ikigai, how to use alcohol as a self-development tool and Sam’s take on how to be pro-active, CREATE and have the courage to live a life you love.
You’ll find a teaser, the full show, audio only version and the show notes here.
What I’ve written – 7 Reasons to Appreciate the Rain
For many years I’ve looked down on more mainstream blog posts with catchy titles promoting 10 ways to live your full potential or 100+ strategies for happier relationships. Over the time I did learn that these are fantastically popular and I guess it makes sense as they do what they say on the tin (provided that it’s written and researched well). So one day, as I was musing on positive existentialism and how I could raise more awareness among a broader audience, I realized that I would need to bury the hatchet and get over myself. That’s how ThisIsExistential.com was born. And that’s also how this latest article was released: 7 Reasons to Appreciate the Rain – both metaphorically and literally speaking.
What I’m teaching – February gigs & last chance to grab the 50% pre-launch discount
After two successful coach training weekends in January, this coming month you can catch me at a few spots in London and online.
I’ll be teaching a day on Positive Psychology for Coaching at the Association for Coaching on the 12th February. I’m giving a 2-hour presentation on behaviour change at The Weekend University on the 24th and on the 13th I’ve been invited to take part in a Coaching Round Table at Birkbeck (though I’m not sure whether this will be open to the public as I believe it’s part of their Coaching MSc provision). If you’ve got any events that you attend this month (online or in London), do let me know!
I’m also happy to report that my online course Positive Psychology for Coaching will be launching this month (last chance for the pre-launch sign up) and given that I had all the books with me for the on-site training two weeks ago I created a little video where I talk you through my favourite books on a variety of topics.
What I’m reading
I’ve finished Susan Cain’s “Quiet“, which was fantastic, not just for an introvert like me. And as I’m doing more and more work with clients in organisations I’m also re-reading “Reinventing Organisations” by Frederick Laloux and “Complex Adaptive Leadership” by Nick Obolensky, both of which highlight so many existential themes within organisations and outline the shifts in consciousness over the course of history and particularly in recent times. Great reminders that first and foremost we’re human and valuable insights into the intricate webs of complex human interactions that emerge from organizing ourselves in groups.
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. I’d also love to know which kind of nuggets you’re most interested in and which ones you’d like to have more of or less of. It always warms my heart to hear the stories of what this or that thought or article has triggered in your life.