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Anonymous-transactional living

Anonymous-transactional living

Loneliness and the feeling that life lacks meaning are things I often hear about in my 1:1 work. And, our modern ways of living have a huge role to play in this. Life today has become more anonymous-transactional than it has ever been. By this I mean that human...

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Lifestyle accretion

Lifestyle accretion

The more money you make, the more that you should be saving. A simple lifestyle offers many advantages, perhaps the most important of which is the opportunity to break free from economic slavery. The opportunity to break free from soul destroying work that you do to...

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Mindfulness is a way of life

Mindfulness is a way of life

What is truly mindful living? In popular culture today, mindfulness has become associated with a narrow set of activities, usually some kind of breathing or guided meditation (often using an app). Its true application however, is deep and far reaching – mindfulness is...

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Evolution, economics and your phone

Evolution, economics and your phone

You might think that you are fully in control of your everyday decisions. Fully conscious of the choices that you make in how you live. The reality is probably quite far from this. We are a complex species living in an increasingly complex world. As such, our...

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Lip service and denial : The ego’s game

Lip service and denial : The ego’s game

The human mind is both complex and fascinating. It has enabled our species to achieve so much in a way that no other animal has. Yet, this same mind is also the source of psychological pain and turmoil, which  no other animal seems to experience. You would be hard...

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To climb a ladder

To climb a ladder

Seeing this hard hitting painting titled, To Climb a Ladder (1987), by the visionary artist, Dorothea Tanning, stopped me in my tracks. It made me think of how so often, we bend ourselves out of shape in pursuit of status and achievement. How we twist and contort...

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The trickery of our beliefs

The trickery of our beliefs

We often talk about limiting beliefs in the world of personal growth, but what about their opposite — enabling beliefs? If limiting beliefs hold you back, enabling beliefs empower you. Enabling beliefs can however easily be missed, or even confused with limiting...

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Open-hearted boundaries

Open-hearted boundaries

Personal conflicts are never easy to deal with, particularly when family members or friends are involved. You can feel powerless and guilty for even being in a situation of conflict. But, conflicts are a fact of life and sometimes, we need open-hearted boundaries to...

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Cut through BS, have more impact

Cut through BS, have more impact

Wouldn’t it be great to have more impact in your professional life? To be more effective and get sh*t done with more ease. I am always amazed by how much time is wasted in the workplace, during meetings, conference calls and day-to-day business. Lots of talk, but not...

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Frame before reframing

Frame before reframing

Something struck me during an exhibition that was about spatial perspective. Nearly all the artwork relied on the viewer moving in relation to them, in order to produce an effect. It is movement that enabled the change of perspective — a reframing. Subtle shifts that...

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Sell-by date

Sell-by date

Child (at supermarket): Mum, this fruit has no sell-by date. Mother: You wouldn’t say that if you picked it from granny’s vegetable patch. Does it seem fresh? This little exchange made me think about how so often, we rely too much on external authority, instead of...

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Running from your shadow

Running from your shadow

I heard today about someone who left their busy ‘workaholic’ life in London to seek peace in the Swedish countryside. But, busy-ness still followed them like a shadow. Because, while their environment had changed, they had not. A workaholic is a workaholic whether...

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Point of zero

Point of zero

We seem to always be trying to get somewhere. Constantly looking ahead with our new year’s resolutions, 3 year plans and 5 year strategies. Constantly defining future based goals and new mountains to conquer. But, how often do you put yourself at a point of zero?...

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Identity crisis

Identity crisis

We often set goals for ourselves and get hung-up on not reaching them. But, how often do you consider changing your goals because they are no longer fit for purpose? Because things have moved on. Because you have moved on. Sometimes, change can feel like an identity...

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Judging or discerning?

Judging or discerning?

Judgements tend to be associated with something negative in common speech today. “You are so judgemental”. “Are you judging me?”. “I feel judged”. What we have to be careful about though, is conflating hurtful and opinionated assertions (judging?) with what we might...

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Let it brew

Let it brew

I was boiling a pot of ginger tea for my cold today and noticed how in my impatience I nearly turned the heat up to max. Some things, just can’t be rushed though. Where rushing has no value or even worse, negative value. This is true whether you are brewing tea,...

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Naming is knowing

Naming is knowing

We make sense of the world by giving things labels and names. Be it people, objects, experiences or ideas. That’s what allows us to distinguish this from that, in from out, us from them. What’s in a name or label you might ask? Well, sort of everything. Because, in a...

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The grey area

The grey area

The grey area is often the place where the most interesting things happen. That space between black and white where possibilities open up. But, it is also where we can feel most uncomfortable. Certainty The certainty of knowing is something we seem to crave as 21st...

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The vegan shark

The vegan shark

Someone recently asked me how to be just, in an unjust world. They were referring to the cut-throat and ultra-competitive behaviour that is so often found in the commercial world. Where mere participation seems like having to enter a shark tank. A funny image came to...

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Another year of deferred happiness?

Another year of deferred happiness?

“If only I could get that promotion next year, I'd be happier,” she says.  “If I could just lose a couple of kilos, I know I'll feel a lot more confident,” he says “Perhaps, if I become the top performer at work next year, I will be a real success”, they say....

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Office Christmas tree

Office Christmas tree

A Christmas tree in the lobby of an office building caught my eye yesterday. It was big, fully decorated and seemingly brand new. Yet, it felt sterile, put together quickly and uncaringly. Two sides to the coin This office Christmas tree made me think of how we might...

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Christmas reading

Christmas reading

It’s that time of year again when I share my Christmas reading list. Those books that have inspired me the most during the year gone by. Skin in the Game (2018) — Nassim Taleb This has truly been the year of Taleb for me. His latest book, Skin in the Game, was a real...

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It’s not personal

It’s not personal

Have you had a recent encounter with someone that has been “difficult”? That made you think, what is going on here? Is it me? What am I doing wrong? Whilst there may certainly be a problem specific to your interaction or relationship. It is also entirely...

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Remembering to remember

Remembering to remember

There often exists a gap between insight and action. Seeing the remedy does not automatically translate into implementing it. Particularly, in the realm of personal change. Sometimes, that’s because the status quo is comfortable, a place of habit....

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What does it take to be a coach?

What does it take to be a coach?

I was recently asked to say something on the matter of setting-up oneself as a coach and it really got me thinking: What does it take to be a coach?As coaches, we are immersed in the vast world of human dynamics. Where every day is an encounter with...

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On the origin of feedback

On the origin of feedback

I learnt last night that when Darwin's On the Origin of Species was first published in 1859, one of the first persons the book was sent to for review was the Bishop of Oxford, Samuel Wilberforce. Unsurprisingly, it received truly scathing feedback. And,...

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Adding value, or stroking your ego?

Adding value, or stroking your ego?

Every one of us wants to feel like we are adding value, both in the workplace and beyond. When we make comments, suggestions and criticisms. But, what if sometimes you are not adding value at all, but rather doing the opposite?Feeling appreciatedI am sure...

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What are you running from?

What are you running from?

We’ve all got an escape. Whether it’s binge watching Netflix, getting lost in instagram, alcohol, smoking, partying-like-an-animal, going on holiday or just jogging, these can all be forms of escapism. But, not necessarily. Is it escapism? Escapism is...

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Signalling your worth

Signalling your worth

We spend a lot of time and energy trying to signal our worth to others. In the way that we dress and act. In what we say and buy. All that it shows is how much we doubt our own self worth.Social fearYes, we are social animals with an evolutionary habit....

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A meditation on leadership

A meditation on leadership

“What is true leadership?” is a question I have struggled with for many years. And, the more that I reflected on it, the more difficult it seemed to put my finger on what it actually is.I have always known what true leadership is not. How fake ideas of...

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Deciding what to decide

Deciding what to decide

What if all the little decisions you make on a daily basis are stopping you from really considering the ones that matter? From consciously deciding the deepest most fundamental aspects of your life? Decision making in a complex world is part of modern...

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To be, or not to be (a cat)?

To be, or not to be (a cat)?

I nearly fell down the stairs as I walked under this billboard into the Seoul underground. What made Kang Daniel become a cat? Was it to sell more concert tickets and song downloads? Was it the craziness of the K-Pop industry? Was it pressure from his...

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Don’t become an android

Don’t become an android

Recently, someone invited me to a social thing that I didn’t want to go to. Luckily, I was coaching that afternoon, so I replied that I was “working”. However, I hesitated momentarily mid-sentence, which made my genuine excuse seem like a falsehood. But, what really...

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Seeking the truth

Seeking the truth

Seeking the truth, if there is such a thing as the truth, is: Not about being right Not about proving your point Not about avoiding complexity Not about greed Not about winning or losing Not about virtue signalling Not about advancing your social status...

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Like Chinese water torture

Like Chinese water torture

Recently, I have started to notice more and more the dangers of emotional shutdown at work. How the environment of 9-to-5 (or 9-to-11 for some) can cause serious emotional disconnection from life itself. Numbness I left the intense world of private equity...

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Digital messiah

Digital messiah

Technology is a beautiful thing and tremendously useful. But, a bit like a knife, it can hurt us if we are not extremely careful. I had dinner with an old friend last night who also happens to be a machine learning and AI expert. And, what I heard made me...

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So simple, yet so difficult

So simple, yet so difficult

I was having a chat with the barista at my favourite local coffee spot in East London today. And, we got talking about life, as you do. Baristas and bartenders often fulfil the dual role of beverage provider and therapist. As we talked, he went on to say...

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The point of strategy

The point of strategy

Having a vision, a strategy, is so important. Whether the realm in question is business or life, it is very useful to have an orientation. To know what inspires you and what you are aiming for. However, we have to also be mindful that we don’t get...

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Negative space

Negative space

I recently became fascinated with an artwork that was all about negative space — that is the space surrounding and in between the central figure. Initially the viewer’s attention is captured by the presenting figure, the so called positive space. However, by slightly...

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ROI in Coaching: A bogus concept

ROI in Coaching: A bogus concept

The executive coaching world is full of articles about coaching ROI (return on investment), touting the benefits of coaching in boosting your company's performance in this and that way, with return on investment of such and such %. ROI is then the latest buzz word in...

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The avoidance game

The avoidance game

Life is full of problems of different types. And, solving problems, at least the more technical ones, is one of humankind’s greatest skills. Sometimes, though, you might jump too quickly to look for solutions. And, this can become part of a self-created avoidance...

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Change is a path

Change is a path

We focus so much on end results sometimes that we can often forget about the means we employ. You might forget to find joy and fulfilment in how you go about engaging in the process. And, when this happens, the means themselves can become the very thing that stands in...

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Substitution or tansformation?

Substitution or tansformation?

When people think about career change there is often a tendency to start with too narrow a focus. To limit themselves too quickly to labels and titles in a familiar industry, because after all, it is only natural to gravitate to the familiar. I suppose where you look...

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Playing it safe

Playing it safe

Playing it safe is what most of us do much of the time. Don’t take risks, don’t stir things up, just play it safe. This is the message of caution that so many of us are conditioned with throughout our lives. Programmed Such caution probably helped our ancestors...

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Holiday Reading

Holiday Reading

My holiday reading list is back this year with new titles that I have personally found to be tremendously insightful. Sapiens - A brief history of humankind (2014) by Yuval Harari Sapiens takes the top spot. Harari discusses the development of human societies since...

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The voice of vanity

The voice of vanity

A recent coaching session really made me think about how societal pressure to “achieve” might derail us. How widespread status seeking in our culture might embolden the voice of vanity within us. It made me think about how this voice can easily lead us down a...

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Stuckness: How we disconnect

Stuckness: How we disconnect

Music is a big passion of mine and I sing a bit. What I realised recently is how difficult it is to make the voice really soar if I don’t truly connect to it. It almost feels like singing itself is not possible if it doesn’t originate from a place of meaning and...

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In her shoes as “her”

In her shoes as “her”

One of my coaching clients described beautifully today what he had realised to be the error we often make when putting ourselves in the shoes of others. He pointed out the difference between a superficial kind of standing-in-her-shoes and a deeper investigation. Are...

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