…through my work I was hoping they became more conscious, more awake, more responsible and wiser leaders. And some of them did. Some of them went back to their teams and did things differently. Yet all of my efforts still felt like drops in an ocean and the impact of a few days’ course seemed always too quick to fade, as soon as people got back to their normal routine, to their (often not so conscious) bosses, to their teams…
These books made me think, challenged and helped expand my view of the world, opened up whole new universes of feeling and understanding and helped me grow as a human being. These are books that got me reflecting and the books that got me crying - sometimes both at the same time. There are several readings that I found transformational this past year, but three books in particular stood out, so I am sharing them with you, in no particular order. I hope that, if you haven’t read them yet, you might include them on your list for 2019 and that they bring you at least as much inspiration as they brought me.
Embracing our demons without fear might mean breaking that bond that kept us tied to them in the first place. Want it or not, you are inextricably tied to your enemy. Hatred, bitterness, resentment, fear are the ties. Embracing your enemy with love and forgiveness, particularly since we're talking about an inner enemy, means cutting that tie. It also means integrating the shadow part of you, that part you never liked and always denied, learning the valuable lesson it has to teach you and moving forward with your life. In modern coaching and psychology, this approach is now widely used, as we know that people’s undesirable habits usually have “secondary gains” - hidden benefits that, when they are understand an honoured, the person can finally let go of the negative behaviour and replace it with a healthier one.
I put a lot of myself into this article. It is inspired by my work with so many people who constantly feel that, whatever they do, whatever they achieve, it is never good enough. They are never good enough. It's the story of my own struggle with perfectionism and also a story of healing. I hope it inspires you in your own journeys towards a place of "I Am Enough".
Recently I had a conversation with my three year old daughter that shook me to the core and reminded me that our children do not want to feel responsible for our happiness as their parents. It also reminded me that many times we, grown-ups, unconsciously place this very burden on their shoulders. This blog post is a reflection on why we end up living through our children and why we might want to step back and find a meaning of our own.
It is my hope that more and more of us choose not to pass on this burden anymore and instead stop for a minute and ask ourselves:
“Who am I? What do I want my life to be about, independently of anybody else? What am I doing in the world and what do I want to build?”.
We have around 100 billion neurones in our brain - that’s roughly the number of stars in the Milky Way Galaxy. Each of these neurones creates connections, synapses, with around 7000 others, so the number of connections is our brain can reach a staggering 100 to 1000 trillion synapses - the resulting number is larger than the number of galaxies in the known universe. We are literally walking around carrying a universe on our shoulders, all the while mostly oblivious of its complexity and magnificence.
In a world that is continuously changing in ever faster, more disruptive ways, understanding that you, as an adult, still have a long way to go before really "growing up" might become paramount. Consciously taking time for introspection, looking for opportunities of personal, vertical development might soon become a necessity, as Artificial Intelligence is changing the landscape of work and our common humanity is subjected to challenges our species has likely never encountered before. This article is meant to bring the concept of "adult development" to the forefront of your mind, to invite you to be curious, to challenge your own assumptions and to ask yourselves, how can you become ever more conscious and aware as a leader, parent, partner, friend and, ultimately, human being?
As coaches, we receive something very precious: our clients' trust. They rely on us to be honest and non-judgemental partners on their way to their best selves - be that in a work or personal context. We owe it to them, and to ourselves, to take our profession seriously. A doctor prepares for years to practice their profession safely and, regardless of their experience, would never think of just inventing a new treatment and testing it out without a proper research/validation process and informed patient consent (or, in the cases when doctors have blatantly broken the ethical standards of their practice, this generated public outrage and legal consequences). However, what is unthinkable in medicine is still common practice in coaching.
Twenty years ago, the concept of mindfulness and practices like meditation or yoga were in the realm of hippies, eccentrics, of the quirkiest of us. As the effects of this very special state of mind have been more and more thoroughly documented, word has spread, countless applications have been developed and we've now come to a point, which seemed almost inconceivable two decades ago, where Mindfulness has become a hot topic, it's benefits discussed and its practice applied from boardrooms to hospitals and from the army to elementary schools.
So, what is Mindfulness and why all the sudden hype about it?
What we believe about ourselves directly affects whether we are resilient in the face of adversity, how much self-esteem or perseverance we have and how willing we are to keep on working towards building a more fulfilling life, versus being resigned to our unhappiness and dwelling in it incessantly.