In an ever changing world, it can sometimes feel hard to keep up with the constant movement. On an average day, this can be true but what happens on those days that we meet big life changing events such as relationship breakups, trauma of some sort or bereavement and so on? Stay with me, there are reasons to be hopeful.
Usually, we find something within us that enables us to go on through the darkest of times. Ok, it’s probably a horrible experience, uncomfortable, painful, terribly upsetting and stressful, but somehow, we get through each moment and live into the next moment. Have you ever wondered why that is?
I did and what I discovered was that I had within me, something that I had spent so many years hardly noticing because I had been too busy trying to get through the chaos of life. I found an innate and unmeasurable quality that I had had available to me all along. In fact, it is the abundance of this quality that made it invisible. A fish has no concept that it is swimming in water.
I discovered resilience. You have probably heard that term before and will have varying degrees of understanding of what it really means, but your understanding of what it really means cannot be quantified in words and definitions. It can only really be experienced in real time. Resilience can be noticed when you stop for a moment and wonder, with open curiosity and without providing yourself with an answer, just how you have survived so much. Resilience an be found during those moments of reflection when you notice that life is moving on regardless and that you are still in it. Maybe you’re not fully in it yet, you could just be treading water, that is ok. Don’t wonder about the treading water, instead, how wondrous is it that you can tread water?
So, what is that exactly, the abundant source of resilience that carries us forward on life regardless of our circumstances? It is the source that many scientists and spiritual teachers are researching? It is consciousness. Pure awareness. Awareness cannot be aware of itself, its is simply aware. Trying to be aware of awareness is like trying to look at the back of your head, or making attempts to look at your eyeball with your eyeball. It is an impossible task.
To be aware of awareness, we would need to be separate from awareness and although we have the illusion of separation, we don’t have the reality of it. We are so at one with awareness that it is impossible to stand back and really get a good view of it. The best we can do is to feel it, to feel our aliveness carrying us onwards, even in those moments we don’t feel we can go on.
Consciousness is just one of the principles that I point my fellow humans to when they’re at the point of despair, because realising that they are in fact consciousness rather than it being something that they can access, is a huge relief. People automatically stop trying to change their felt experience and instead are free to focus on facts, solving problems, creating and bringing new ideas into the world, loving others and really serving themselves and people around them. The tiniest glimpse of our true nature allows us space to calibrate back to peace of mind.
I would love to hear form you. What would you do if you realised that being you is easy?
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I promise, there are reasons to be hopeful. Your very presence is one of them <3
Naked Coaching, no one really wants it, but, if you have read my previous blog post (find it here), you might just get a glimpse of the benefits. This is in response to a question I was asked a few days ago – What is it like to be a Coach and to be Coached? What came into my mind is the nakedness of it, for both myself and my clients. The necessity of the shedding, the unfolding, the undressing and how, in order to be able to invite them to do that, I have to do that too. As a Coach, I know that I have to be a living demonstration of my work and that means showing my imperfections, my vulnerabilities, my heart.
Let’s be clear here, no one comes to me and actually gets naked. But, I do encourage my clients to strip off their armour until there is nothing left to protect them from shame, anger and humiliation. In fact, I insist on it. Not until then, do they discover what is innately theirs: love, acceptance and resilience. The truth is, some accept, some decline.
In the beginning, most don’t really understand the process, because, having spent their entire life putting on their armour, taking it off has never occurred to them. When it does occur to them, they may squirm, take their time, dawdle along, search for ways to avoid getting naked.
This is the tipping point, the moment they either back away from Coaching or else, they take a chance on their undressing. As a Coach, it’s always a most interesting moment. It’s a time that I myself get quiet and allow consciousness to do the work.
There is a dance in this moment, a balancing of tensions, of push and pull. I don’t involve myself in deciding what that is and what it looks like. Instead, I let intuition guide me. Imagine if you will, losing yourself in the music and dancing in full view of the world. Imagine the range of emotions that might arise, the insecurity, the love, the thrill, the letting go of insecurity, the fear of being judged, the letting go of the fear and instead the welcoming of judgement. I know fully that you are likely to be holding on to what you believe protects you, to your honour, to your reputation, to your good name and I also know that what you’re really holding onto, is an innocent misunderstanding.
I though, know that at this point, that care is needed, service is called for and love is necessary. It is not my job to force you to let go, but instead, love and care for you enough that you just might take a chance on letting go. Many do, some don’t, at least not straight away. What are you gong to do? Many take that leap of faith when they get a glimpse of the mirror that I hold up, or even, like was the case for me, they get so tired of carrying the armour, that they take it off for a moment, to get some rest. In the confines of a Coaching relationship, they discover themselves held. They discover their safety net. But still, what are YOU going to do?
Of course, it might look like that is of my doing, but it is not. I have no ones safety net. If I did, I would be giving them out all over the god damn world. We all have our own safety net. It is part of our design and it inflates when it is necessary.
Now, this is the point where it’s so tempting as a client to back off. Do you recognise this? Is this happening in your relationships with others? You have discovered something deeper, a quieter place, a calmer space. You have discovered your innate capacity to swim in love and so you are done, you got what you came for! I love that, I really do. My heart meets your heart in this place, so why not swim a little longer?
You see, when I witness clients doing this, backing off, or remaining in the still waters, I know that the chances are that this is also happening in their other relationships. Take for instance, a relationship with a partner. You fall in love. At first its not safe and so you move with care. You enter this dance and over time, you discover that it’s a beautiful dance, even with the awkwardness and the stepping on the toes. The dance is comfortable, but only because its with the right partner, right?
The dance is not comfortable and beautiful because you are dancing!
The dance is comfortable and beautiful not because you are dancing, but because you ARE the dance!
Without you, there would be no dance, not for you anyway. You would be sitting at the edge the dance floor, waiting to be asked, wishing that you could ask. Oh the shame, the embarrassment, the frustration at not being asked, or at having asked and being refused. Yes, you can just wait to be asked and you can find that partner who allows you to feel safe enough to join in. But what then? What of the shame, the embarrassment, the frustration that you think you were saved from because your partner came along? Or actually, your Coach? What of that?
If you really want to discover the liberation in the dance, now is the time to strip off. Stay on the dance floor and notice that the dance is coming through you, regardless of what your partner, your colleague, your boss, your coach is doing. You are dancing your own dance.
Until my client notices that, I am going to continue to dance with them. Of course, many want to rest from the dance and that is natural. A rest is so healing. But to not dance again? Or to sit and wait to be asked again?
Occasionally, clients do this with their lives. They seek the confines of Coaching and then feel amazing and think they’re done. Most are, but a few, simply need to rest, take a pause. When they don’t get back up to rejoin the dance, start their new business, jump into that new relationship, write that book, leave their job or whatever it is they want to do, they assume its because the next song is not for them, or, their dance partner has left the dance floor, or, their Coach is no longer available. When a client is due to complete their package, this is what I am looking out for. A question I always ask myself and the client is:
Are you done because you now know that you are the dance, or are you done because you are waiting for the next dancer?
If you are wondering whether you are the dance or the dancer, consider this:
The dance itself needs only to be danced, regardless of what you are wearing. Whereas the dancer is likely to be waiting for the right music, the right partner, the right dance floor, the right clothes.
The best dancers are the ones that don’t even notice that I left the dance floor with their clothes <3
Many people are looking for a cure for their busy mind, for their Overthinking! What they are not realising is that they already have one!
The feelings we get when we have a busy mind are here FOR us and are not working against us. The feelings we get when we are Overthinking are a reminder, a nudge from mind that we are Overthinking. Feelings like tiredness, heaviness, anxiety, stress, anger, frustration and so on. But often it is the feelings that people are looking to cure, to release, to rid themselves of and not the busy mind itself.
What happens is one of two things:
People try to organise all of their ‘thoughts’ into categories of priority or importance in a bid to focus, or, they try to rid themselves of the negative thoughts.
These would be perfectly logical steps if controlling our thoughts was possible. Unfortunately, contrary to most psychological theories, it is in fact impossible. However, how unfortunate is that in reality? Lets look a little closer.
If in fact it were possible to control our thoughts, possibility would shrink. You just would not be able to think what you don’t already know. It just wouldn’t occur to you to have a thought that you did not know about. You would stick to the same old thoughts, day in, day out, believing that those are the thoughts available to you, or that those are the thoughts that serve you best and even those are the thoughts you are stuck with. Can you relate?
In fact, this is more common than we realise. It’s called ‘habitual thinking’. It’s thinking that sticks, forms neuro-pathways in our brain and these thoughts often become our default. It is the very fact that we believe we are in control that prevents us from noticing new fresh thinking, new ideas, new perspectives. If control of our thoughts was truly possible, Einstein would not have realised his theories, no new inventions would have been thought up and personal growth would not be a thing.
Furthermore, our mistaken belief that we get to control our thinking causes friction. Yes, we are actually trying to work against our own mind, our own universal mind. I did this for years. In my quest to feel better, to rid myself of depression and anxiety, I tried to have better thoughts, more positive thoughts. In essence, I simply took a shitty spoon to my mind and stirred it up, creating resistance. Resistance to mind energy feels unpleasant, feels difficult, stiff somehow, scary even. I really wanted to get rid of that feeling and so I stirred some more. I failed to understand that the feelings were trying to tell me something. There is wisdom in the feeling!
Whilst all of the thought was being stirred by me, I had very little chance to look into mind and catch a fresh new thought.
Fresh new thinking started to appear though, when I saw insightfully that I couldn’t change anything, that I aren’t that powerful. I gradually put down the shitty spoon and stopped stirring more often and I noticed other options, other thoughts that hadn’t occurred to me before. New fresh thinking emerges naturally, floats to the surface more readily when we allow mind to settle. In essence, what happened was this: I surrendered!
I surrendered to not having control. I surrendered to not being able to change how I feel. I realised that although I felt bad, I couldn’t die from a feeling, but, perhaps I could die from trying to do something about a feeling – think drugs, food, suicide. Yes, suicide was a constant thought for me and I even surrendered to the okayness of that. I accepted that I felt suicidal because I realised that if I was capable of changing that thought and feeling, after 8 years, I would surely have done so.
Like magic, I began to feel lighter, relieved of a burden that I had been carrying around for most of my life. I began to slip out of the habitual thinking that I had had to rely on previously because my mind had been too busy and messy form me to notice anything other. Thoughts such as ‘I have to feel better’, ‘I have to try harder’, ‘I am not enough’ suddenly started to look less solid and real. New thoughts like ‘it isn’t true that you’re not good enough’ accompanied with a lightness and deep knowing arose and I started to see that my innate state is peace and calm. Furthermore, I saw that my innate state is more readily available when I am not trying to achieve it. It was the ‘trying to achieve it’ that was causing the ‘felt disturbance’. I was swimming against the tide of my mind!
This is the human condition, the condition of you too. The illusion is real and in a world where we are taught to control more and more often, we rarely get chance to give up the resistance. On those occasions where we are calm, we believe it is because we have done something right; loved enough, been loved enough, worked hard enough for today, made enough money. But non of that is true.
Feeling calmer, more loving, more at peace is ALWAYS because we have allowed it to emerge. We have given up the fight in our mind and accepted this moment for what it is.
Miracles emerge from this place, from this space in our mind that is accepted and allowed. Fresh new thinking, a better feeling, can all be along at any moment when we let go of control. Even more wonderful, energy starts to resume, bodies and Minds can heal and restore and our whole world can change without hardly anything changing at all <3
I invite you to surrender, to let go and to accept that you aren’t in control. I know that you wouldn’t be self harming with your own thoughts if you fully knew that is what you were doing! Who would?! 7.6 billion humans wondering the earth trying to make themselves feel better so that they can live a fulfilled and happy life. THAT, is a whole lot of Overthinking.
Imagine the whole raft of possibility if we start to let go!
Imagine the leaders who would relax enough to love and lead a little more!
Imagine the relationships that would be deepened!
Imagine the amount of compassion that would arise for ourselves and others with the simple realisation that we are already enough in this moment!
Imagine the ideas that would be given space to be actioned!
Again, I invite you to surrender, to give up the internal battle, to put down your shitty spoon and discover what emerges for you <3
Do you have a project or task that you just cannot seem to get around to? It seems that the hardest job in the world sometimes, is just starting. Just start, you may think and then, you don’t! Is it down to a lack of commitment? Perhaps! But what is the act of committing or the lack of committing down to?
Commitment looks like something that cannot be stopped or changed, altered or slowed down. The act of ‘committing’ seems a serious business and often, commitment requires either a guarantee that something will work out the way we hope or believe, or else, being prepared for it not to.
Yes, commitment can look like a big deal!
What if commitment doesn’t have to viewed as a long term contract? What if the only thing we can really commit to is this very moment? The present moment, the moment we have right now. This is actually the only sensible option and will allow for change, growth and transformation.
Realising that commitment is not a serious business, well, it takes the seriousness out of committing. You can commit, fully knowing that at a later time, what is important has changed shape, moved up or down a place and your new world view allows for fresh thinking, a renewed or even different commitment!
This is in fact how creativity works. Everything in life is creative, created and is part of creation. Everything is a construct of the principle of thought taking form in the moment and can only be created and perceived from there, from our inner world.
Thought isn’t static or stuck or a certain way. Thought changes shape, changes form and changes the way we see life, including the project we are creating, how we are creating and even whether we are creating it at all. But it doesn’t always seem that way. Life seems solid and robust and when we have made a decision, a commitment, we have to continue with that commitment don’t we?
When we begin to understand the changeable nature of life, of thought. Commitment takes on a new meaning. The act of committing is temporary, a promise in the moment. Knowing this, you become responsive rather than reactive. You can alter paths, change course, respond to what is right now and solve problems that arise without having to think in advance of every possible scenario that might arise, trying to solve it beforehand. In other words, you will have less on your mind. This gives a whole new meaning to ‘managing risk’. Managing risk is guess work. Instead, you can respond to risk if and when it arises.
Let me give you an example:
During a call last week, my client noted how many different things that I appear to do, whereas, right now, she is doing the same thing that she began when we first started to work together. Actually though, she is not. Her project is amazing and is really worthwhile. It has grown and changed shape. She has given it more substance than when she first began and she actually runs it differently, but, she has continued with the same project. She also charges more, uses more technology and leads it differently, although yes, it still heads under the same name.
When my client first committed to the project 18 months ago, it looked quite different. Did she commit to the project remaining the same? Maybe at the time it looked to her that way. What she actually committed to though, was creating the project and to it’s continual development and creation. Of course, like all of us, she has moments of overthinking, moments where her plan doesn’t seem to be in alignment with her original plan and she forgets how much she has grown. During those moments, it doesn’t look like growth at all, it looks like she hasn’t set out to do what she originally set out to do. That is true. She has done so much more!
I know that she will continue to grow and change and alter her commitments accordingly, because she has experienced for herself that she has an innate capacity to deal with any circumstance, problem, pothole, change in scenery that arises, but, only in this moment!
In other words, she commits, makes plans, imagines what might and could happen and actually creates because she has an awareness of her innate capacity to create every single new moment. She is connected to her inner resilience, her ability to respond from a place of wellbeing. This gives her what some think is a ‘superpower’; the ability to innovate
It’s the same for you too. If like many, you find yourself committing and then not following through, or you realise that you are reluctant to commit and so have great ideas that you don’t start, you’re probably misunderstanding the true essence of commitment! The commitment is actually to yourself! it’s your promise to do something, to undertake a task, a project, a job that over time, is likely to look different, be different, feel different. By not committing to allowing THAT, to allowing growth and change and transformation, you are withholding part of your self from the world and we are all missing out!
You have the ability, the capacity to innovate. It is your birthright. You have within you the power to respond rather than react and to create without worrying about risk! Furthermore, you can realise that you have dealt with risk many times in your life and regardless of how it felt at the time, or feels right now, you not only survived, you thrived. You are a born risk taker, a born innovator, commit to that!
I see you, in plain view, hiding on Social Media
I see you with your gorgeous smile that doesn’t even reach you
I see you, leading and being and pretending that you can’t
I see you, wearing a filter and wishing that you were that
I see you, rushing and tidying up life and missing your purpose
I see you and your million and one things, faces and places, ignoring the one place where your real face is
I see you, pretending to taste but swallowing it whole
I see you, missing your magic and jumping down the hole
I see you, wanting to rest but not daring do
I see you, because, me too
I see you, looking at the lense and waiting for the flash
I see you, with aching cheeks, tired eyes, wishing you had a pass
I see you, behaving like everything is normal
I see you, waiting for your obituary to become formal
I see you, waiting to breathe out and not seeing this is the moment
I see you, believing your life is dormant
I see you now, waking up and wondering
I see you now, reading these words and the insight that’s forming
I see you, noticing the space and realising that its yours
I see you, yearning to embrace, to cherish and adore
I see you and your true nature and the game you’ve been playing
I see you, your innocence and you’re simple not knowing
I see you, the realisation arising that now is your time
I see you, your frown lines dissolving, bullshit melting
I see you, your magnificence, your ordinary life
I see you, just being here with me now, not caring that this doesn’t rhyme
I see you, realising that maybe you are a creator
I see you, mulling over the messiness and forgetting later
I see you, accepting all that you are
I see you, taking off the mask that you think kept you safe so far
I see you, taking a chance that I might be right
I see you, turning your gaze to your light
I see you, noticing that real life is just beginning
I see you, loving and honouring and winning!
I see you, coming undone
I see you, now go and be you and have fun!
This is for all of you who are ready to take off the mask and realise your innate power. It’s for all of you humans who haven’t yet played full out with your potential. It’s for all of you humans who are playing at leading and are ready for more. You are already it! There is less to do than you think
The qualities of a great leader, I am discovering are pretty similar worldwide. Or rather, when I googled this question, most content listed the same or similar traits as significant.
No doubt you may have your own ideas of what a leader looks like or what they might do and the qualities they possess to make them so. These idea’s or concepts are what you use to decide whether you yourself are a good leader. It’s your inner Leadership Template! If you fit the template, that is great news and it’s likely that you identify with those qualities, they are prevalent in your working life and you have little doubt as to how to lead or whether your leadership is effective. But, if you don’t fit that template, whether you are in a position of leadership or would like to be, you’re likely to be struggling and wondering how you can mould yourself into the Leadership Template!
Either way, the fact is, any idea that humans have of a ‘Leadership Template’ made of qualities, concepts and ideas, is likely to be way off what an actual great leader would define themselves as. Fitting ourselves into a ‘template’ is not actually the best way for us to even grow or develop into a great leader. Certainly, the qualities that most conceive as desirable in a leader, are not the stuff that leaders are made of and are not available to them 100% of the time. Leadership it seems, like everything else in life, is a moment to moment experience.
So, what are these qualities anyway you may be wondering. The most common are things like: confidence, authenticity, integrity, generosity, insightfulness, decisiveness, positivity. They all sound plausible don’t they? In fact, they really sound like the qualities that I myself would love but sometimes, these qualities seem to evade me. When I delved further though, I found some surprising qualities on the list like: restlessness, even wonkiness. Im not even sure what wonkiness means? Although, I can guess, because, sometimes I have wonky days too.
That got me thinking! These qualities, they sound like traits that every human I have ever met has within them. There is nothing that I came across that I could rule out as not being available to me or you. Obviously, there is something missing from the equation that we aren’t noticing.
It was the last session with one of my wonderful clients yesterday. She is the CEO of a global organisation and when we started to work together she had questions that she wanted answers to. She was unsure of whether to move on to something new. Her organisation had gone through a huge change over the last few years and it was taking it’s toll on. She felt anything but the amazing leader that she is! She was making decisions for everyone and rather than growing in the direction that she had hoped, the question she needed to ask herself was whether to continue and risk her health, relationships and sanity, or whether to bail out, find something new and start again.
Throughout our time together, she has recognised her decisiveness, her confidence, her integrity, her authenticity, generosity and positivity but what she also noticed was these qualities weren’t as available to her in every moment and she wanted them back! What she was actually experiencing was her wonkiness and restlessness. Now, according to sources, restlessness and wonkiness are desirable, but to my client, they were anything but!
The real source of good Leadership
Fast forward 6 months and she has stripped her organisation back, stripped her ‘self’ back. She has uncovered glitches that were clogging up the system. She had unearthed what needed to be unearthed and she has rejigged and reshaped a structure that she had been trying with all her might to contain and keep in place. She is in Service!
As we reflected last night on her journey over the last 6 months, she recognised how scary this had been. How she had moments where it looked like everything she had worked so hard for was simply crumbling and that she had failed. It had seemed to her that it was her job to keep it all together and during the last few years. she had worked harder, longer and faster to try to do so! Working that way was not enabling her to be and remain in Service. Being in Service requires your best ‘self’ to show up whenever its available but it also requires you to know that even when it doesn’t show up, it’s still there!
Being in Service is exactly how any and every Great Leader continues their mission and is able to bring forward their decisiveness, confidence, integrity, generosity and authenticity, even when these qualities seem to have deserted them!
Finally my client said the difference that really made the difference was understanding her true nature and noticing, in real time, the ebb and flow of her felt experience, of life!
Really seeing for herself that a Leader will have a range of feelings, including not feeling like a Leader and when this seems true, it has the potential to affect her ability to lead. In fact, this is what happened over the last twelve months, until it gradually dawned on her that during each and every session, we were able to discover those qualities and let them shine.
What my client now has is a refreshed global organisation that she is excited about leading and furthermore, she knows that she is fully equipped for the job! She works less, gets more done and has a better quality of balance in all areas of life, including her relationships and health. All of the qualities listed above are prevalent and available to her in any given moment, but for her insecurity. The desirable qualities in fact, are symptoms rather than causes! They’re symptoms of our moment to moment experience. When she remains in Service to her ‘self’, she naturally calibrates and readjusts and her best ideas, her genius, her fresh thinking has emerged from that place. Being in ‘Service’ to her ‘self’ has benefitted her whole organisation, her personal relationships and her zest fro life!
When we start to understand that our moment to moment experience of life is transient, changeable and not fixed at all, we start to understand why those qualities, or any other qualities, come and go. Life isn’t made of fixed, permanent unchangeable moods or feelings. It is made of fleeting, changeable and variable feelings, moment to moment to moment. Knowing this has enabled her to see just how much she was doing to try and change a feeling and whilst she was doing that, she wasn’t able to access her best ideas, her natural ability to connect and her resilience. She was in fact fighting invisible fires.
Surprisingly for her, but actually not so for me, my client has discovered her inner and innate resilience! She is now conscious, aware and awake to life more of the time and she understands that she gets to listen to her wisdom! Her inner sat nav is her feelings in any given moment. The knowing that the feeling is a reminder of how close or how far away she is walking from her true nature, her inner leader and it is beckoning her to return to her centre has been pivotal.
An insecure feeling is never a warning or sign that we are actually insecure, useless and need to work harder and faster. Neither is it an indication of failure or wrong doing. Our insecurity, whether it is in the form of fear, anxiety or a gentle for-boding, is in fact calling out to us that we are forgetting that we are enough in this moment. The more we ignore this inner sat nav, the louder it will beep! It is trying to keep us on course.
It was so good to see my client fully aware of her centre, of her resilience, health and wellbeing and the joy shining through her smile was a reminder to me why I do this work!
When your inner leader deserts you, remember that it’s simply buried beneath the chaos of an insecure feeling and there is nothing that you need to do to beckon it to return! What you could do instead is remember that the real signs of a good leader is your inner knowing and connectedness to your innate wisdom and resilience and the awareness that in this very moment, you are enough. That is the difference that makes the difference. That is why some Leaders naturally lead and some Leaders never lead at all. It’s because those that never become Leaders, aren’t aware that it is innate and that they can!
Go on, unleash your inner Leader!