Living in our visions without knowing how they will manifest.
We’re back from a great trip to the west coast of the states and we are feeling so grateful for allowing ourselves to open up to creating more of the life we are dreaming up. Not that long ago it would have seemed ‘impossible’ to imagine how we could integrate both our life in the UK with the life we have had in the US. This trip we realised that we feel deeply like we want to make this happen, and it dawned on us that without really ‘trying’ we will have spent two months in the US this year.
This doesn’t mean we know ‘how’ this is going to happen, financing this vision alone has it’s challenges. And our experience is that those things that we deeply want to create in life have ways of being created. Part of our learning in this is to be clear about what we want to create and then be open to ways that this can happen. This sounds relatively simple, but our minds tend to want to ‘know’ how this is going to happen. Living in this unknown is a bit of our experience of the creative dance of life.
So we know that we love bringing the best of the west coast and it’s possibility sensibility with the best of the UK and it’s sense of practicality and even humility. These qualities compliment each other and it is so fun for us to be able to bring these energies together in both places. God knows the US can use a bit more humility and the UK can use a bit more optimism.
28 April, 2014
The Value of Combining Work and Play
We are off for three weeks to the west coast of the states and getting to do some great work and spend time in places we used to live in the northern San Francisco bay area and then up to Portland. This means that blog posts may be a bit irregular until latter May.
Needless to say, being able to put together a trip that stirs together work, places and people we love is a real treat. The trick is being really good about boundaries so work doesn’t leak into down time. We did this by grouping all work up front and the last two weeks are mostly not. This applies day to day, especially for those who are free lance or work from home/office. Being able to effectively change channels and drop work when the time comes feels like an art that we are still learning and feels wonderful as we bit by bit get a bit better at it.
Loving the best of the US and the UK
So we are back from our three weeks of west coast visits and feeling invigorated by what we experienced. Having lived on both the west coast of the states and in the UK we have been appreciating what we experience as the richness of both places. With the west coast we were able to reconnect with the sensibility of the place that is so defined by the pioneer spirit…innovation, new possibilities and a sense of creative thinking about the future and sustainability. Now admittedly this is not the full spectrum of people or attitudes, but of the community we have cultivated in the ten plus years we have lived there. Coming back to the UK we can also appreciate the sense of history and realistic humility that comes from this history. The humour and more grounded sense of life.
We are also more aware of the shadows of both ways of being and that these two places neatly contrast and even balance their strengths and weaknesses. The west coast optimism and creative possibilities can fall into untethered idealism and the UK realism can turn into resignation and a myopic nostalgia.
All this reminds us that all these facets are in both of us and yet when we can tap the best of both places, we get to bring to our life and our clients a sort of creative possibilities that is grounded in the realities of life, and that humour and a sense of play is a lovely way to bring these sensibilities together into an enriching way of life.
The role of Kindness in our lives and legacies
I had an informative conversation with Kim Hare who is a fellow consultant and coach who has 30 plus years of experience working with organisations and people on development. She mentioned feeling like she was in the third act of her life and work and wanting to bring it all together in enriching ways.
This got me thinking about many of my clients who are at some stage of the middle of their lives and looking at what they want to be as they look forward to the rest of their lives.?
Which led to remembering a great interview I came across with the author George Saunders (whose most recent book of short stories called ‘The Tenth of December’ I highly recommend) who was talking about a commencement address he gave on kindness. Now this may not sound like the most scintillating topic, but his perspective included the notion of our legacy. And he asked the question of who we each most admire from our life. And what he found was that often it is people who have shown great kindness to us.
As I reflected on who in my life had been really kind, my list was surprisingly small. As I found myself distinguishing between kindness, and helpful, or a good friend, or even generous. Now these all feel like lovely qualities, but there was something about genuine kindness that felt rare and a quality that we all could use a bit more of. I’ve spent the past week spending a bit of time each day sitting with my thoughts and practicing being kind toward whatever thoughts have come up. This may sound simple, but it’s been fascinating to notice the ways I want to react less than kind towards different things that come up. And bringing a bit more kindness to my variety of inner experiences has been fascinating to practice and I notice I am even beginning to look forward to my kindness session each day. How this is showing up in my life is a bit too early to say, but my wife will know doubt let me know, one way or the other…
Musing: Who in your life would you say has been genuinely kind? How would you rate your own kindness on scale of 1-10? What is one thing you could do to move yourself up one notch on your kindness score?
Another creative view of life
From Allen Watts, an oh so human and very insightful writer, and his ‘The Book’:
‘… Once you have seen this you can return to the world of practical affairs with a new spirit. You have seen that the universe is at root a magical illusion and a fabulous game, and that there is no separate “you” to get something out of it, as if life were a bank to be robbed. The only real “you” is the one that comes and goes, manifests and withdraws itself eternally in and as every conscious being. For “you” is the universe looking at itself from billions of points of view, points that come and go so that the vision is forever new.
You do not ask what is the value, or what is the use, of this feeling. Of what use is the universe? What is the practical application of a million galaxies?’
The longer I live and work with clients about discovering what really matters to us, the more life feels like a game and story we each are making up as we go. And there is amazing freedom in the creating and the knowing we are good regardless.
How do we describe our inner stance on life?
As I’ve shifted the focus of my work from project development to more one on one development work, I have been struck by my own inner experience and evolution of creating this work.
I would say that initially I viewed building my business as kind of traditional business development. Thinking about who my ideal clients would be and how I could work with them. I then got to run into old mindsets around scarcity of clients and all the other coaches and consultants in the world.
Then there was a whole riff on my USP, or unique selling point. And then what would my elevator speech be, how to describe the value of my work in 10 seconds. It makes me exhausted just thinking about all this.
The good news is Anna and I have been in a coaching lab where we have been exploring all this with ten other coach/consultants for the past five months. Here is what I am slowly learning:
• Just serve people. Easier said than done. This has meant me painstakingly learning to put down my toolbox chock full of ideas and strategies and processes and instead living out of ongoing curiosity of how I can best be supporting my client in the moment
• Don’t hold back anything and everything I know. This has been one of the biggies. I had what now feels like a false assumption that I should hold back some of my best stuff from prospective clients until we decided to work together and I had a check from them. Now I don’t hold anything back with the realization that wisdom and insight and creation is infinite and a massive value in any sort of coaching/mentoring/consulting role is the partnering together to create over time.
• Last but not least is what I’ll call my own faith or beliefs about life and the value of coaching. I used to think it was about helping people find the right answers for themselves about how they want to live their life. While I think this is really valuable, I now feel like my role is more like jazz, helping people find their own inner song/innate wisdom and then exploring what they’d most love to create/improvise from this inner mojo.
I was recently moved by a friend who has had a lot on and wanted to invite him to set down together and
Reconnecting with our inner compass
I was talking to a client the other day about the notion of our highlight reel. I also found myself having a bit of a flat day today and the highlight reel feels like a way to get back in touch with our own wisdom and innate well being.
Today I spent time with some great teachers who were presenting some really insightful perspectives around how we tend to live from the outside in and yet we actually experience our lives from the inside out. And somewhat paradoxically, I was listening to this and noticing that as I was starting to feel my own uneasiness. That these teachers had wisdom that I didn’t and I found myself feeling less in touch with my own wisdom.
And I remembered that some of the core of my work with clients is getting them more attuned to their own inner wisdom, the inner compass and insight that is always our best guide and teacher. So I will use some of this blog space to share some of the highlights from my work with clients. And hopefully shed some light on both my own and clients journeys of bringing more of their true selves to life.
In real time, what I notice as I write is this very awareness is my highlight today, that as I write this I feel more at ease and I feel more grounded in my own innate okay-ness.