Wednesday, May 27, 2009

IQ, EQ and SQ

IQ allows you to answer questions...EQ allows you to interact with people...SQ allows you to change the limits...

Working with boundaries, not within them

I blogged recently about SQ or spiritual intelligence..something that appealed to me instinctively, but something for which I could not find a does this work for you ?
Neither IQ or EQ, separately or in combinations, is enough to explain the full complexity of human intelligence nor the vast richness of the human soul and imaginations.
Computers have high IQ – they know what the rules are and can follow them without making mistakes. Animals often have high EQ – they have a sense of a situation they are in an know how to respond appropriately. But neither computer nor animals ask WHY we have these rules or this situation or whether either could be different or better.
They work within boundaries, playing a finite game. SQ allows human beings to be creative, to change the rules and to alter situations. It allows us to play with the boundaries, to pay an infinite game. SQ gives us our ability to discriminate.
It is in its transformative power that SQ differs mainly from S. As Daniel Goleman defines it, my emotional intelligence allows me to judge what situation I am in and then to behave appropriately within it. This is working within the boundaries of the situation, allowing the situation to guide me. But my spiritual intelligence allows me to ask if I want to be in this particular situation in the first place. Would I rather change the situation, creating a better one ? This is working with the boundaries of my situation, allowing me to guide the situation.
from Spiritual Intelligenvce. The Ultimate Intelligence by Danah Zohar

Friday, May 15, 2009

Practical Coaching - Creating Mind Space

I want you to think about how you spend your day or rather what you spend it thinking about. How often to you ‘get on it’ or to put it another way, how often are your buttons pushed and there you go, again. In those moments (which can fill a day) do you have choices or control ? Are you being who you want to be or who you always have been ?

Ja, ja I hear you say. All well and good, but that is the way it is! My buttons get pushed and off I go! That is who I am!
‘Really ?’
So, could you not ‘get on it’ ? Just could you ? Is there a future you that could be calm and ‘in control’ ?
For most people the answer is yes and if the answer is yes, then could you let go of this learned response next year ? This year ? Next week ? What about once today ? Just once ?

Don’t know how ? Well, what about when your button gets pushed and you get onto it you just breathe for 30 seconds ? That is all. What if for today all you did was acknowledge when you were on it and try and stay off it for 30 seconds. And then at the end of the day you score yourself, 1 to 100 as to how well you did on that. Give yourself a goal, you will stay off it for 30 seconds every time you get on it….for 50% of the day…or 80% or 30%.

And tomorrow ? Well what about staying off it for longer ? And the day after…stretch yourself a little further…. After a week…where could you be ? Who could you be if you had the time to choose how you were going to act rather than just reacting ?

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Evolution of Spirituality

I was introduced to something new the other day, SQ. We are all very familiar with IQ and even thanks to names like Daniel Goleman, EQ, but SQ is very, very new. It fascinates me because up until now there has been something missing in the way we see ourselves and the world around is.
Spirituality is something that is private and sensitive. It is associated with churches and religion and not really open to discussion. Yet could spirituality be something more ? Could it be independent of a brand ? Could it be the only way we truly evolve into our selves, into our most powerful selves ? I have long known that where you pray (or how) does not determine your location on the spiritual ladder. We all have met people who seem to have an inner peace and strength that is just different…. And they are not restricted to any one brand.

The founders of the concept are Danah Zohar and Ian Marshal and their books are not easy to get hold of. I am waiting eagerly for mine to see if there is a nugget in there that will fill the gaps left by IQ, EQ, meditation, Buddhism and Christianity. Perhaps it is time we started to talk openly about how we see our souls and spirits. Perhaps it is time we started to explore how we can become more Christlike or dare I say, enlightened.
What would it be like to live in a world where every day was one filled with inspiration, empowerment and exploration ? Where every individual knew that they could choose who they were in every moment of every day and chose to be love in everything they did, thought and said ? What would it be like if we could accept what is without having to judge it or make a story about it ? What would it be life if Nothing was ever wrong ? If we trusted ourselves firstly, God second and then money and meda ? What would it be like if we stood for our own greatness instead of waiting to be rescued ?
What would it take to create that revolution in consciousness ?

What does this have to do with coaching ?
Well, quite simply. I have spent almost a decade researching and reading and never found a way to get that knowledge into my daily habit of being...until I started to be coached. There I found how to turn everything I have read into a vision and from there...into daily experience...I found a way to create inspiration, empowerement and exploration in my own life. I thought what I was doing was changing my emotional I am thinking what I was really doing was changing my spiritual intelligence...

Friday, May 8, 2009

Are You Truly Empowered

It struck me that there are three words an individual can live his or her life by. Inspiration, Empowerment and Exploration. It then struck me that I was not 100% sure that I understood what those words really meant. Take empowerment. It has been around for a while. We talk about empowering others, workforces, the poor. Here is an incredibly powerful word that has just been abused. Can you really be given empowerment ? Surely it is something you have to give yourself ? The whole point behind empowerment is that individuals take charge of their own destiny and by that very definition empowerment is never something I can give you. Yes ?

I was thinking about this in the context of my diving. I got my world record because I stopped waiting around for someone to come along and make it all safe and give it to me. I made the conscious decision to take accountability for who I am and the decisions I was going to make. It scared the bejeebers out of me. Now, what if truly empowering someone means you give them the space to work it out for themselves. You let them stand on their own two feet. You don’t tell or give, you guide. You never, ever take away that persons responsibility or accountability. Is that not true empowerment ? As an individual you are now expected to choose for yourself. And yes, you may get it ‘wrong’ but is there really a wrong ? What if there were no good or bad outcomes and it is just our interpretation of those that makes them so ? What if with every choice there came a lesson and with every lesson you learnt more, about who you are, about where you want to go and how to get there ? What if true empowerment simply meant choosing, accepting the results and choosing again ?

How does this relate to coaching. Well within consciousness coaching there is the concept of ‘standing for someone’s greatness’. For me that is believing fundamentally that every person is unique and that it is part of everyone’s responsibility to find their own recipe for success. A coach does not give you the answers, we allow you to find your own. For a client this is one of the most frustrating parts of the coaching process. They want me to tell them the answers. They expect me to have them. But the power of coaching is that I get to teach you how to empower yourself. You get to find a recipe for success that takes into account your weaknesses and focuses on your strengths. That recipe takes into account exactly where you are at now and always includes where you have come from. When I empower you I trust that your answers are always right and that they will always take you where you want to go, even if some of the outcomes you experience on the way are unpleasant.

So, are you empowering yourself ? Or are you waiting…for someone to come along and give you your freedom ? What could you take responsibility for right now that could give you your power back ? Who could you be if you accepted your own power ?

When Did You Choose the Life You Are Living ?

written May 4 2009

One of the underlying themes in consciousness coaching is that you can choose the life you want to live. It is an extremely hard concept for most of us to understand as it is not something we were ever taught. Think about it. When did you choose the life you are living this moment ? When did you sit down and say I am going to be 40 years old, in debt to my eyeballs, stressed beyond belief, husband, two kids, boss from hell and a 30 year vision of more of the same ? When did you choose to become an accountant or lawyer, doctor or receptionist ? How did you choose ? Based on what you were good at ? What made you happy ? Or what would make you the most money ? Who chose your life for you ? The media and movies ? Your parents and family ? Your friends ? Or did you just take the first job you found and stayed with it ?
Now…what if it was not too late to change ? What if you could learn to choose what you want ? What if there was a way out ? What if you did not have to relive every day as the victim or martyr ? What if your live did not have to be Groundhog day ?

Where are the Spiritual Women ?

written April 23 2009

I was watching a rather interesting doco the other night ….it involved a Church of England priest looking for spiritual enlightenment, which is right up my alley. Enlightenment fascinates me. Where is it ? How do you find it ? Why is it only a Eastern concept ? Why does it not exist in Christianity ?
There this vicar was in the Shaolin monastery and it suddenly struck me. Where is the female Buddha ? Where is the female Dalai Lama ? Why are all the religious figures I know and admire MEN ? Why do men have exclusivity on leadership (thought and practical) ?

Being Light and Love

Written April 20 2009

I am always amazed at how interlinked events are in the universe. A couple of weeks back I reversed my rather large vehicle into a parked car, trashing their driver door in the process. I went into a flat spin, imagining an outraged that I would have to deal with. Turns out the owner was an extremely nice, considerate man who phoned me later when I was home to tell me not to stress or worry. Accidents happen. I was amazed.
Even more so when I found myself sitting at a petrol station at 6h15 watching in disbelief when I was told that they had just put 50 litres of petrol into my diesel engine. I was on my way to Botswana and had a border to make. My stress levels went through the roof. I was angry, upset…and completely forgot that a week earlier I had been the person who had made a mistake…and the kind gentleman who had not made it my fault, but rather allowed me to own it and move on. It was then that I realised my personal vision was not quite strong enough to survive those little events that derail us. It was also then that I realised that perhaps I was living my life the wrong way round. That the things I made into big events are actually quite, quite small….like having 50 litres of diesel put into my tank. What if what was really important about that event was acknowledging the people involved, giving them the space to be human and make mistakes ? What if I needed to live “nothing is wrong” ? What if I had to live being light and love ? GULP!
What I was doing was creating a new way to work my life. I already had Nothing is wrong as one of my key stands, but now I had two more. Own it and be light and love…. And the universe was about to test me to see if I was really serious.
The first test came when some gentlemen decided to ‘free’ my gps from my vehicle through the rather infamous smash and grab technique. That was 10 am, Wednesday 8th April (yes, just before Easter). I passed with flying colours. No stress, calm. At 2pm I got a phone call to say my boyfriend had had an accident. Turns out it was way more serious than I was led to believe. I spent Easter and the subsequent week in hospital panicked and new stands forgotten in a backwash of emotional distress. Turns out this was only the 4th worse week of my life (my Dad’s death claims the first, my Mom’s death the second and a hijacking the third). The last thing on my mind was being light and love. The last thing on my mind was making right rather than wrong.
I am now home! The boyf is getting better day by day and will be fine and I am left with the feeling that I missed an opportunity. I can see where I need to be, owning the places I find myself in (whether or not I created that situation), being light and love. I am just not quite able to execute all of that yet. I am angry with the person who asked my boyfriend to do him a favour and tow a vehicle quickly down to Nelspruit on a dodge trailer. An act of kindness that almost cost a life and has serious monetary side effects (boyf can not earn money for the next 3 months). Right now it is a struggle to let go of the need to be right, the need to have someone to blame and hold responsible. Right now it is hard to just let go, breathe and find that quite place…where light and love flow, where nothing is wrong, where I trust the universe, myself, life. So right now I am going to be kind to myself and let it be what it is. There is nothing wrong with where I am at!
Where are you right now ? What anger is preventing you from owning where you are at, and so changing it ? What could you do right now to be light and love ?

What is Coaching ? Knowledge vs Habit

It struck me the other day how easy it is these days to accumulate knowledge. Powerful and successful leaders have all written books outlining how they made it to the top. The shelves of bookshops are filled with books on leadership, team building and how to be a success. Which means that it is not due to a lack of knowledge that individuals are not getting it right.

Training programmes abound with the stated intent of teaching you how to become a better leader, a better individual, you name it there is a book to make you better. Yet in business today these skills (be it leadership, team work or just the ability to get things done) are still rare. So what is the missing ingredient ?
It takes more than a theoretical knowledge to make it in today’s world. You can read as many books as Echardt Tolle can put out and still not change who you are. You can read every book by Jack Walsh and still not get out of the typing pool. The missing ingredient is the ability to turn words and theory into practice … which is where coaching is so powerful.
As a coach my job is to take all the knowledge you have accumulated (be it through books or actual experience) and create a space that allows you to create and then practice new habits based on that theory. As a coach my goal is to give you the opportunity to connect with your courage and remember what it was like as a child to learn, to practice and to experiment until you found a way that worked for you. As a coach it is my job to let you create your own unique recipe that works to your strengths and allows you to fulfill your grandest vision of who you could be.
Sounds very salesy perhaps but here is the thing, it works. I am always amazed at how much knowledge people have. In fact often the hardest part of my job is listening as they debate with themselves, throwing this piece of knowledge against that in an effort to decide what it is they should do. At the end of these solo debates my clients have a habit of looking to me sadly and saying “I just don’t know what to do”. Which is when I have to find a way of repeating back all the ideas and suggestions they presented but just did not see.
My job as a coach is to listen and summarise and most importantly just allow every client the space they need to start to remember how to create. The realy scary part is that the power to create as an individual is no longer a process that many are comfortable with. Indeed, learning how to take your knowledge and create something new that works for you seems to be a skill that few of us have. Those that do have it are idolized. Yet, sooner (or later) every person I coach takes that first step and just tries. They take a stand to see what would happen if they did something new. They step away from the situation (and how they used to handle it) toward what they want and how they are going to get there using the knowledge they have. It is one of the most rewarding moments to witness.

So next time someone asks you what coaching is all about, remember this. Coaching allows you to take your knowledge and turn it into a practical skill and that is something that is priceless in today’s fast paced and competitive world.

Creating Choice - Disconnecting From Thoughts

written March 11 2009
If you read the blog for long enough you will find that I am fascinated with the concept of thoughts and emotions. In particular how trapped we are by them - they seem to run our lives and I don’t know about you, but I sure did not give permission to belong to a dictatorship. I want choices!
It is the norm to assume (without questioning) that who we are is our thoughts and emotions. If we have sad thoughts we are sad. If we have angry thoughts we are angry. We have no CHOICE and instead ride a roller coaster of emotion that has (well for me at least) a nasty habit of sabotaging life. I started my journey with just one thought, to escape these emotions or at least find a space where I could hide, re-group and then go back into the fight. The problem was I had no idea most of the time what I was feeling. I was emotionally blind. I could not name the emotion I was feeling at any one time (the amusing part was that the people around me could ).

There was another reason why I wanted relief. This journey really started with my Dad’s death…which was yet another drama. Think emotional father getting his second divorce and not coping with it. Insert alcohol (large amounts) and a persistent suicidal tendency. Now throw in a dicky heart and you have the summary of 4 months of my life as I struggled to hold onto my Dad. He died! Suddenly of a massive heart attack and in the wake of his death I found myself in a storm of intense, unforgiving grief that threatened to totally overwhelm me. It would not be the last time I found myself in a storm of emotion. Back then I had no way of coping never mind escaping. Just a persistent, stubborn desire to keep going until it passed.

That was when I started to cultivate the observer. What! I hear you say! Well, somewhere in my voracious reading I came across a book by Dr Wayne Dyer and in it he asked a simple question, when you say ‘I am feeling sad ‘, who is the I ? The very sentence implies that there is a you that is experiencing the emotion and another one who is watching it all…. Another one who is NOT the emotion. I was not really convinced that something as spacy sounding as meditation was the answer,so I did not go that route. Instead I found myself creating a screen in my mind across which I let my thoughts and emotions fly….i could watch them without becoming them. It was tough at first. The damn things just did not want to be watched. They wanted participation and energy. But slowly I was able to disconnect. I was not only my thoughts and feelings.

The thing is that as a coach I find that all my clients are battling with the effects that their thoughts and feelings have on their lives. Simply put, thoughts and feelings drive our decision making (often to the detriment of our goals). As my reading expanded I came across an article on yoga meditation and a section about colouring thoughts/ emotions that just appealed to me. As I highly visual person it just sounded so much easier to see my thoughts in a colour ?When you are meditating (because putting your thoughts on a screen and watching htem is a form of meditation) you do not connect to your thoughts. You do not judge them or have opinions about them. They just are. A cup is a cup whether or not you like the colour or form or size. It is what it is independent of your emotions about it. The thing is, when you start observing your thoughts and emotions they will come with judgements and opinions. You will find yourself categorizing a thought. Ohh, can not think that, that is bad! Oo, I like this thought. And in that process of giving each thoughta label we are dragged back. We are no longer unbiased observers. When I give each thought a colour and intensity I create a new way of observing that allows me to see how a thought affects me in my day to day life. A thought that is strong and affects me negatively gets Bright, angry red, a gentle thought a lighter violet. In this space I now have space to work on removing the attachments and judgments that come with these pesky thoughts and feelings. They become a part of me yet not all of me. They lose their control and I have the space to make my own choices. I have the space to create my own destiny.

So, how much colour and intensity do your emotions and thoughts have ? How much control to they have and how much you ? How much time do you spent cultivating that quiet, persistent observer ? How much time do you take to stand for your own greatness and power ? More importantly…what is stopping you from starting ?

Never Failing Is Possible!

Sat Feb 21 2009

It occurred to me that there is an art to never failing and it is wrapped up the context you create for yourself when you undertake a task. For most of us engaging in the world is not a conscious exercise. We get up. We go to work. We strive toward a vague idea of more money and that promotion. We are in fact just going with the flow just like all the people we know. Along the way obstacles are thrown our way and we find that we often hesitate to take risks or really, really try for the things we want. We even go so far as to keep our real desires hidden from ourselves, keeping them vague…so that when we fail (note, when not if) the sting is not so harsh. We had never really committed so we never really failed

As a coach one of my goals is to assist you in getting clarity on what it is you want which is often a challenge. I find that most every person has a hard time articulating their wants (it took me a while to get used to being so blunt and forward). There seems to be an inbuilt and unconscious habit that stops us from clearly defining what we want. As if that clarity will evoke negative attention from the universe. It is as if intense clarity is nothing more than setting ourselves up for failure.
But what if creating a clear vision of what you want actually releases yourself from ever failing ? Think about it - if you know where you want to go then is how you get there so important ? So long as you get there ? (I am talking about ‘how’ in terms of how long, how straight ? I am not referring to that infamous phrase, ‘the end justifies the means’).
You see I find that people are afraid to try because they might fail and then the moment they fail they stop. But what if you were not supposed to inherently know how ? What if the whole point is that you get to experience and learn for yourself ? What if you are not supposed to succeed first time around ?

We live in a world where learning as an adult is frowned upon. There is this unvoiced expectation that individuals always know what they are doing, even when they are doing something new. As if the mere fact that it has been done before means every one should automatically know how.

So what if you decided to reject this assumption of expertise ? What if, when you created this vision or context for yourself of what you wanted, you included a statement that created you as an explorer and made it an adventure ? Because explorers are allowed to ‘get it wrong’. In fact, the very essence of exploring is to try new things without an expectation or investment in success. As an explorer you are not expected to already have the answers because you are choosing to head into unknown territory and learning along the way is a part of the challenge and adventure.

So….there you are with your clear vision and an explorers mind set. You can now step into action because even when you do not achieve what you set out to achieve you are getting results and learning. Every time you take a step you are getting more information that improves your odds of completing the next step and getting to your goal. Every step you take, whether you get the expected/ desired outcome or not, takes you toward your goal, even if it is just to eliminate an option.

The first step is often the hardest as you may have a clear vision about where you want to end up, but no cooking clue what the first step really is. So you take a learning step. You try something and see what happens. Something you think will get you closer to your goal. It may, it may not but with every step the next step becomes clearer and your goal comes closer.

The world around you may be its normal critical observing self. Labeling your efforts as success or failure, but you do not care. Because every step is a success! The word failure no longer is part of your experience.

Here is my challenge to you – to become the explorer of your life! To give up labeling the outcome of your efforts and instead just focusing on keeping moving toward what it is you want! Try it! You may be surprised by the results.

Helping vs Coaching

Feb 18 2009

It always astonishes me what lessons there are to be learnt in coaching, this weeks is how entrenched the concept of being helped is in our society. Here is the thing, in coaching you are not given answers. You are not helped. If there is one fundamental philosophy in coaching it is that as a coach I stand for your greatness. What that means is that I give you the space to find your answers. When I give you an answer I am disabling and disempowering you. I am saying that I know better and how could that possibly be ? How could I know where you are at ? Where you have come from and what would work for you ? All I know is what worked for me and as a totally unique individual that may or may not connect with you.

What I am discovering is that as individuals we somehow get taught not to trust our own answers. We would rather have someone else’s answer – those are somehow more powerful. Your answer is somehow better than anything I can find for myself. We seem to inherently believe that we do not know enough, that we are less than the guru or mentor we look up to and aspire to be. So when someone comes along who gently refuses to give answers and help we do not know what to do! We resist, fight back! We demand help! Yet help is the one thing that will always, keep you disempowered and reliant on some-one else. When you rely totally on outside help to change your circumstances you create an even stronger sense of victimisation and resignation. You are always waiting! You are always relying on someone else! You are always out of control and subject to someone else's whims and abilities. Your success depends on theirs.
My stand remains the same - I stand for my own greatness and the greatness of the people around me! I believe that we were all meant to reconnect with our own power and that is a vision I can not let go of. So, why do you value other people’s answers over your own ? More importantly, what answers could you find for yourself ?

Practical Coaching - Setting Your Context

Feb 2 2009

Context is a term one learns early in consciousness coaching. Using it becomes part of your day, however explaining it is hard. Perhaps an example will make it easier. You have a meeting scheduled that you are dreading. Your boss is there and you know he is going to start taking you apart accusing you of not delivering. Based on your previous experience you have created a context for that meeting - one in which everything is wrong and you are being attacked. Even before a single word has been said, this context starts to drive how you respond, feel and behave in that meeting. What happens next becomes a sort of self fulfilling prophecy. You walk into the meeting defensive. Your boss opens his mouth and yes, he is out to get you. You respond as always. It is a disaster of a meeting (just like all the others).

Now, what if you could create a different context for the meeting ? Even if your boss is actually out to get you (sometimes paranoia is reality) the way you interact can fundamentally change how the meeting progresses. But as we all know, changing how we behave is not easy. It becomes automatic. The only way I know how to change this automatic behaviour is by setting your own context. How do I know this works ? Because not only do I use context successfully, I have watched my clients use it successfully. It all starts with one simple statement - what you want to get out of the meeting! Who do you want to be in that meeting ? What do you want to feel when you walk out of it ? Think about it! If you want to be confident, calm, non-aggressive and walk out of there with your self respect then immediately the way you behave when attacked or taken on will change. You simply will not be dragged into a slagging session and when you do not respond the way the meeting expects you to you, the people there have to change they way they behave. In that moment you have changed what happens next. In that moment you have created a space for a different outcome.

Creating a context is based on one very simple fact! If we do not define how we want to experience something it will be defined for us based on every other meeting or similar event. If you take the time to set your own context you override that ‘automatic’ programming and create an opportunity for change to occur. It sounds like simply stating a context would not be enough to change anything. When your life has been run by thoughts and feelings it sounds daft to think that it is at all possible that you can create a new context simply with words that overrides thoughts, feelings and the past. But it can! When you know what it is you want you have a direction. With that direction you can actively choose how you react so that you are fulfilling that intent and in that moment you change what is possible. Try it! After all, you have nothing to lose!

Why God Does not Help!

Sun Jan 18 2009

This may make no sense for people who have not done the Master series. For example, standing for some-one's greatness means not running to their rescue and the ladder of power is one of my favourite takes you from our seemingly default state of resigned victim hood in which we just wait to be rescued to a place of power, responsibility and creation. Enough said! There are two inspirations for this. One, the movie Constantine (which i have watched a number of times) and two my Habit of Being Me ( a protocol I designed that i use every day to give my day context and complete it so that I carry nothing over).

I started my journey with the vague goal of enlightenment or at least spiritual enrichment... failing that, just some form of happiness. A long, long way down that path things started to come together.
God said, ‘Ask and yee shall receive!” and I was given the ladder of power.
God said, “I am the word” and I was given speech acts, integrity and the power to create whatever I choose.
God said, “You are created in my image” and I realised that my state of powerless victimhood was nothing more than an illusion. My power had always been there, all I had to do was remember. All I had to do was to ask!
God said, “Choose!” And finally I did!

Was he always there ? Waiting patiently ?There I was waiting for some higher power to rescue me, take me from my misery when all I had to do was ask ? Was he always patiently standing for my greatness, while I wandered lost in the dark ?

I am filled with gratitude! Indeed, overwhelmed at how things all connect. I asked and got way more than I was ever expecting.Now I can take my place and stand for my own greatness, knowing that I am supported. Nowing that my power is mine!

A Different View of Meditation

Written Tue Jan 23 2009

Ten years ago meditation was not that mainstream, these days more and more people are discovering the benefits, yet to many it is still a mysterious practice. I started meditation almost ten years ago and am still hard pressed to ‘explain’ it. My journey started with Transcendental Meditation which is based on a mantra (in my case a word) that you repeat over and over for 20 minutes. The course is over a week (if memory serves), with meditation every evening so you get lots of practice…which is critical for a beginner in meditation.Why is meditation so hard to describe ? Because it does not fit into anything we normally do. When do you take 20 to 30 minutes to just sit and do nothing ? In our fast paced society we do not allow ourselves chill time. We have to be productive! We have to be busy. There is not time for 'day dreaming' which means taking time off just to watch your thoughts is not usual.
So... some basics of meditation. You can meditate for 5 minutes, 20 minutes, an hour…it all depends on you. Meditation is something that should fit into your day and we all have busy days. Even 5 minutes will make a difference.

The intention behind meditation is to relax and to create a space in which you can start to observe your thoughts and feelings. Why ? Because we are not our thoughts and our feelings and meditation is a particularly powerful way to give you the opportunity to discover that. When you inherently know that you are not your thoughts and feelings you can choose other ways of reacting and behaving and that is where you start to experience true power.

There are as many ways to practice meditation as there are flavours of ice cream (ok, so probably not in South Africa so much :) ). I started with a mantra (which I still use almost daily) but have moved onto breathing meditations. In this form you focus on your breathe - breathing in and then when you breathe out you just feel yourself releasing and expanding. I started off with closed eye meditation, these days I prefer a sitting, open eyed meditation where you focus on a spot about 1.5 meters in front of you, and start to breathe. My other favourite (especially when i do not have time) is to do 5 minutes just sitting in front of the mirror...that is one powerful 5 minutes let me tell you.

What confuses most beginners is that they are expecting something - a result! They are expecting to experience a specific thing (enlightenment, peace, harmony). But with meditation what you get is what you get! It is different every time you do it and the point is not to achieve anything, the point is to meditate. One of my favourite books (Shambhala, The Sacred Path of the Warrior) says it best. They work with a seated practice of meditation, eyes open.

‘In meditation as you work with your breath, you regard any thoughts that arise as just your thinking process. You don’t hold on to any thought and you don’t have to punish your thoughts or praise them. The thoughts that occur during sitting practice are regarded as natural events, but at the same time, they don’t carry any credentials. The basic definition of mediation is “having a steady mind”. In meditation, when your thoughts go up, you don’t go up, and you don’t go down when your thoughts go down; you just watch as thoughts go up and thoughts go down. Whether your thoughts are good or bad, exciting or boring, blissful or miserable, you let them be. You don’t accept some and reject others. You have a sense of greater space that encompasses any thought that may arise.In meditation you can experience a sense of existence (or being) that includes your thoughts but is not conditioned by your thoughts or limited to your thinking process. You experience your thoughts, you label them “thinking: and you come back to your breath, going out, expanding, and dissolving into space. It is very simple but it is quite profound. You experience your world directly and you do not have to limit that experience. You can be completely open, with nothing to defend and nothing to fear. “

When last did you create a space in which you accepted yourself, all parts of yourself, unconditionally ? Just the thought of creating that kind of gentle lovingness toward oneself gives me goose bumps. How different would the world be if we started our adult lives with this kind of personal compassion already in place ? How different would my life have been ?
written Jan 7 2009
I have just completed one of two coaching sessions designed to complete 2008 and set a brilliant context for 2009. I am amazed at how one hour can change the way I perceive a year of my life and I am left with this thought:
" It is only when you have experienced the right place that you have the distinction that allows you to identify when you are in the wrong place. So if you have only ever been in the wrong place… how are you to know that there is something else, someplace else you should be ? How do you know that there is a better place, one where you will feel alive, excited, enthused ? If all you have known is duty, boredom and normality and that almost low grade misery that seeps into everything you do and think ? "
All I know is this...if you keep on doing the same things you will experience the same results!!!! The only way to find the right place is to stop doing the wrong things. Who was it that said, sometimes you have to take that step off the cliff and trust that you will learn how to fly, failing that, trust that you will find a place to stand.

What I 'Got' For Xmas

There is a phrase that stuck with me from my coaching courses, ‘Getting it’. Getting it is not the same as getting information. I can tell you something, but until you ‘get it’ it is useless to you. The process of ‘getting it’ can not be rushed….and you only get what your coach has gotten. Here are some things that popped for me while driving on a long, dusty (and bumpy) bush road…wondering where all the animals were.

- I really got just letting go and not being stressed, worried and having to judge everything and everyone. It all takes way too much energy. Now to answer the question ‘ why on earth do I end up there all the time ?’ Why not just let it go and be with what is! With that thought came a whole lot of relief…imagine not having to analyse everything and give it a rating all the time ? Imagine if I was always in ‘Nothing is wrong ‘ ?

- I really got the tiring nature of keeping up with the Jones’s. In the bush there is no need to consume…in fact, every night when we are burning rubbish I was really getting how much we waste. Everything is packaged, everything we eat and consume takes space and plastic and more wrapping. So this year I am going to practice keeping it simple and not consuming so much…will let you know how it goes.

- I really got the idea that we are all warriors and that everyone of us was borne worthy…. We are all inherently good, inherently respectable, inherently full of worth. Will post on this topic more as I get through the book I was reading this holidayMay 2009 be the year you ‘get’ it !

Letting Go

Have a pen handy ? Pick it up! Now....drop it! Easy right ? One of the hardest (and simplest) concepts to grasp with coaching is how easily we pick things up. We get on it! We hold our pain, our misery and our past tight, tight, tight. When really all we have to do is put it all down for a while... and focus on what we can do right now.Or put another way. I realised a while back that I had completely disconnected from feeling. I just pushed all the hard one's aside...away! The problem was, feelings need to be felt and the longer and harder you push them away..the harder and stronger they come back at you..wanting to be felt. So I learnt to pick them up, to feel them and discovered I was in a place where emotions were overwhelming things. I was continuously feeling...anger, sorrow, pain! It was only when I started coaching that I figured out that I had control. I could put them down whenever I needed. Not push them away or hide from them, just put them down for a while. I had the control. I could choose when to pick them up (and you do need to take time to pick them up).

As we fast approach xmas old family troubles and stories start to emerge. For some the holidays are emotionally traumatic... so what would happen if you just acknowledged the story and pain..and put it down ? What would happen if everytime you found yourself in the story, 'on it' you made the conscious decision to put it down and to put it down as many times as you find you have unconsciously picked it up ?

What would happen if you gave everyone else a clean slate, a fresh chance ?

May you all have a fantabulous christmas and a spectacular New Year!!!
written Dec 02 2008
The new year is upon us…and with champagne and presents come New Year’s Resolutions. Which, as we all age tend to get more ignored and laughed at as the years go by. This time of year I am reminded of how powerful the right New Year’s resolutions can be. You see, it is thanks in a large part to this little, much maligned promises that I have my world record.
The year 2000 had not gone well for me. As the New Year arrived I found myself reviewing what I had actually achieved over the last 365 days. Not much! I had been busy, I had been frustrated and nothing had changed. Another year and nothing had changed. I realised then that I needed more focus. I needed to get to the end of 2001 and have something to show for my life. So I made three New Years resolutions. The first only scared me a little and was designed to get me moving again. I commited to doing belly dancing with my 3 month old niece (and looking like a complete twit). The second was my medium challenge, starting to write again (and face my internal judge). The third was really why the other two existed… get deeper than 121 meters. That was the one I had been chasing for 2 years. That was the one that scared the bejeebers out of me. My goal was not to reach 140 meters that year, but rather a more manageable ‘get to the end of the year not having given up, having done whatever I needed no matter how hard for me’. The most amazing thing happened. I learnt how to belly dance (and loved it), I started to write (and found myself all over) and I faced my fears, got not only 140 meters but as a result, in November 2001 I got my first set of records. I made 186 meters and a new cave record for depth for women.

So, with another year fast ending and a clean slate fast arriving… why not see what you can make of it ? What did you achieve this year ? What hopes and dreams seemed to slip away ?

This time next year, where would you like to be ? In the same place or somewhere slightly different ? What would happen if you dared to be…just for 2009!
What could change if you made coaching a habit

Getting It vs Understanding

written Nov 27 2008
Who we are is not how we behave. How we behave is a habit, a habit of being and habits can be changed.

I remember a long while back sitting in my office in absolute despair. I just did not know what it was I was doing wrong…nor did my boss. We both knew I had to change something, that they way I was - the way I reacted and behaved - was not creating the results I wanted, but for the life of me I did not know how to be different. I did not need counseling or therapy. I needed a new way of being. I needed a new habit of being me.
I had heard Einstein’s saying that the height of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, but that was no help. I was stuck on how! How to behave differently when my entire life was about getting me to where I was at! I remember the frustration because it was not that I did not want to change - I just had no clue what the new me looked like or behaved like.
Understanding that they way we behave creates the results we experience is not a conscious understanding, especially if the way you behave has gotten you to a certain level of success. But sooner or later, we all reach a ceiling and if you want to carry on rising something has to change.

Which is where coaching comes in and especially consciousness coaching. With consciousness coaching the focus is on creating an awareness of how you behave now and the results you actually want. The phrase ‘what do you want’ sounds rather obvious but think about it ? When you talk do you talk about what you want to happen or what you do not want to happen ?

One of the least known rules of the universe is what you think about expands! So when you are thinking about what you don’t want, you get more of what you don’t want. The other thing about thinking about what you don’t want is that you create a vacumn. You are taking away something…. and immediately the universe starts to fill up that space. But it has nothing new to fill it up with, so you get more of the same.
When you are trying to change the habit you have of being, you need to focus on what it is you are trying to create. When you do that the old behaviour no longer has a place to exist because you are replacing it rather than evicting it…and life is much, much smoother.Which brings me back to a new habit of being! The way we behave is not set in stone, we can change it! If we know what we want, we know what behaviours we need to get there. So what is stopping you from getting it ?


written Nov 26 2008
Sometimes I just open a book and see where the page lands. It can be quite interesting. The book was Illusions by Richard Bach (stunning book.... a definite must in your library)

"Snap out of it. Wake up. It's all illusions."I was irked.
"Donald, there's just a few minutes more and then we can talk all you want. But let me watch the movie, OK ?"He whispered intensely, dramatically. "Richard, why are you here ?"
"Look, I'm here because you asked me to come in here! " I turned back and tried to watch the end.
"You didn't have to come, you could have said no thank you."
"I LIKE THE MOVIE..." A man in front turned to look at me for a second. "I like the move, Don; is there anything wrong with that ?"
"Nothing at all, " he said, and didn't say another word till it was over and we were walking again past the used-tractor lot and out into the dark toward the field and the airplanes. It would be raining, before long.
I thought about his odd behaviour in the theater. "You do everything for a reason, Don ?"
"Why the movie ? Why did you all of a sudden want to see Sundance?"
"You asked a question."
"Yes. Do you have an answer ?"
"That is my answer. We went to the movie because you asked a question. The movie was the answer to the question."
He was laughing at me, I knew it."What was my question?"
There was a long pained silence. "Your question, Richard, was that even in your brilliant times you have never been able to figure out why we are here."
I remembered, "and the movie was my answer"
"You don't understand" he said.
“That was a good movie," he said, "but the world's best movie is still an illusion, is it not ? The pictures aren't even moving; they only appear to move. Changing light that seems to move across a flat screen set up in the dark ?"
“Well, yes." I was beginning to understand.
“The other people, any people anywhere who go to any movie show, why are they there, when it is only an illusion ?”
“Well it is entertainment,” I said
“Fun. That’s right. One”
“Could be educational.”
“Good. It is always that. Learning. Two.”
“Fantasy, escape.”
“That’s fun, too. One.”
“Technical reasons. To see how a film is made.”
“Learning. Two”
“Escape from boredom”
“Escape. You said that.”
“Social. To be with friends, “ I said.
“Reason for going, but not for seeing the film. That’s fun anyway. One”

Whatever I came up with fit his two fingers people see films for fun or for learning or for both together.

“And a movie is like a lifetime, Don, is that right ?”
“Then why would anybody choose a bad lifetime, a horror movie ?”
“They not only come to the horror movie for fun, they know it is going to be a horror movie when they walk in,” he said
“But why?...”
“Do you like horror films ?”
“Do you ever see them ?”
“But some people spend a lot of money and time to see horror or soap-opera problems that to other people are dull and boring?...” He left the question for me to answer.
“You don’t have to see their films and they don’t have to see yours. That is called freedom"
“But why would anybody want to be horrified ? Or bored ?”
“Because they think they deserve it for horrifying somebody else, or they like the excitement of horrification, or that boring is the way they think films have to be. Can you believe that lots of people for reasons that are very sound to them enjoy believing that they are helpless in their own films ? No, you cant.”
"No, I can’t” I said
“Until you understand that, you will wonder why some people are unhappy . They are unhappy because they have chosen to be unhappy, and, Richard, that is all right”
“We are game-playing, fun-loving creatures, we are the otters of the universe. We cannot die, we cannot hurt ourselves any more than illusions on the screen can be hurt. But we can believe we’re hurt in whatever agonizing detail we want. We can believe we’re victims, killed and killing, shuddered around by good luck and bad luck”
“Many lifetimes ?”
”How many movies have you seen ?”
“Films are about living on this planet, about living on other planets; anything that’s got space and time is all movie and all illusion,” he said, “but for a while we can learn a huge amount and have a lot of fun with our illusions can we not ?”
“How far do you take this movie thing, Don ?”
“How far do you want ? You saw a film tonight partly because I wanted to see it. Lots of people choose lifetimes because they enjoy doing things together. The actors in the film tonight have played together in other films – before or after depends on which film you’ve seen first, or you can see them at the same time on different screens. We buy tickets to these films, paying admission by agreeing to believe in the reality of space and the reality of time…Neither one is true, but anyone who doesn’t want to pay that price cannot appear on this planet, or in any space time system at all.”
“Are there some people who don’t have any lifetimes at all in space time ?”
“Are there some people who never go to movies ?”
“I see. They get their learning in different ways?”
“Right you are,” he said, pleased with me. “Space time is a fairly primitive school. But a lot of people stay with the illusion even if it is boring, and they don’t want the lights turned on early”
“Who writes these movies, Don ?”
“Isn’t it strange how much we know if only we ask ourselves instead of somebody else ? Who writes these movies, Richard ?”
“We do, ” I said
“Who acts ?"
“Who’s the cameraman, the projectionist, the theater manager, the ticket taker, the distributor, and who watches them all happen ? Who is free to walk out in the middle, any time, change the plot whenever, who is free to see the same film ove rand over again ?”
“Let me guess,” I said. “Anybody who wants to”
“Is that enough freedom for you ?” he said “And that is why movies are so popular ? that we instinctively know they are a parallel of our own lifetimes? "
“Maybe so…maybe not. Doesn’t matter much, does it ? What’s the projector ?”
“Mind,” I said.
”No, Imagination. It’s our imagination, no matter what you say”
“What’s the film ?” he asked
“Got me”
“Whatever we give our consent to put into our imagination”
“Maybe so Don”
“You can hold a reel of film in your hands, ” he said. “And it’s all finished and complete – beginning, middle, end are all there that same second, the same millionths of a second. The film exists beyond the time that it records, and if you know what the movie is, you know generally what’s going to happen before you walk into the theater: there’s going to be battle sand excitement, winners and losers, romance, disaster; you know it is all going to be there. But in order to get caught up and swept away in it, in order to enjoy it to its most, you have to put it in a projector and let ig go through the lens, minute by minute…any illusion requires space and time to be experienced. So you pay your nickle and you get your ticket and you settle down and forget what’s going on outside the theater and the movie begins for you”
“And nobody’s really hurt ? that’s just tomato sauce blood ?”
“No, its blood all right,” he said. “But it might as well be tomato sauce for the effect I has on our real life”
“And reality”
“Reality is divinely indifferent Richard. A mother doesn’t care what part her child plays in his games ; one day bad-guy, next day good-guy. The Is doesn’t even know about our illusions and games. It only knows Itself and us in its likeness, perfect and finished”
“I’m not sure I want to be perfect and finished. Talk about boredom…”
“Look at the sky,” he said, and it was such a quick subject change that I looked at the sky. There was some broken cirrus, way up high, the first bit of moonlight silvering the edges.
“Pretty sky ", I said
“It is a perfect sky?”
“Well, it’s always a perfect sky, Don”
“Are you telling me even though it’s changing every second, the sky is always a perfect sky ? Gee, I’m smart. "
" Yes! And the sea is always a perfect sea, and it’s always changing, too”, he said. “If perfection is stagnation, then heaven is a swamp! And the Is ain’t hardly no swamp cookie”

Using Coaching to Manage Emotional Trauma

There are many ways coaching fits into a life. The least obvious is to help someone move forward through an intense emotional crisis. Firstly let me state that coaching is not therapy and that there are definitely instances where therapy is what is required. The difference between the two is that therapy focuses on the historical events, understanding them, talking about them. Coaching has a different context. It is about now and what you can do to shift where you are at, both exceptionally hard when you are stuck in a place of pain. Sometimes coaching is not the answer... but sometimes it is!

It was a coaching call that reminded me of all this. Listening to my friend on the phone I could feel her despair and agony and I was taken back to my own ‘bad’ days when waking up was more than I could handle. There were days when it felt like I was abandoned on a barren piece of rock in the middle of a stormy ocean. The wind and waves raged all around me, trying to sweep me off my feet. I was stubborn. I would not give up and let the world win. I had friends who were subtly there, holding onto me on those days when I could not hold onto myself. My friend had a coach! Me! I was secretly hoping I was good enough!

I sat there and made a space in which she could be exactly where she was. I let her be with that pain and despair, because I knew it so well and I knew it needed space to exist before it would let go. I stood for her greatness and would not give up even though she was on the verge of doing so!

As I listened to her story and despair, it was as if I was in two places at once…both here, holding onto her and in my story, my past! I was watching as the doctors tried to resuscitate my dad … again. The memory of his lifeless, clammy, pale skin, still vivid. He had never woken up. I had never had a chance to say goodbye or I love you or it is ok. I remember watching in the window as his body jerk violently behind the partially drawn curtains as they used the defib again and again until finally a worne doctor came and asked for permission to stop. There was nothing they could do!

I was at my Gran’s bedside watching her in a morphine sleep as she took her last breath, the entire family waiting and holding my Grandfather up. Her struggle with cancer had been lost.

And I was there one cold, winter morning when my mother, my pillar, my rock... died. I was holding her hand, watching the ventilator that was keeping her breathing (and that thanks to a nurse had also been the cause of massive brain damage that had left her brain dead). I watched the monitor as her heart rate slowed. faltered… picked up, faltered and finally just stopped! The only sound left the uncanny movement of the ventilator… no longer required but still doing its job.

As I listened on the phone I knew her pain even though our circumstances were so different. I knew her loss, her solitude and despair. I also knew there was a way out and it was my job to help her find it! I knew then that being good enough was not what it was all about, it was about being there, holding on and believing in her. And step by step…she started to move onto solid ground! Step by step she let go, started to take back her power, started to breath. It is what it is! There is no fighting it! There is just the knowing that you can cause massive changes in your life because you can change the context of your days. You can act independently of your thoughts and your feelings.

I put the phone down and just sat for a while… memories swirling. Coaching sessions are never just about the coachee. I always take something really powerful away with me. I have had my own breakdowns in coaching and experienced the power of a coach from her side but today was the first day I got to experience it as a coach. I had just witnessed the power of coaching and I was in awe. Until that moment I had never really got the power of creating silent space for your client to just be or the power of trusting in her greatness and ability to find her own answers. I knew that coaching could shift pain, now I knew that I could do that as a coach.

Today my bitter and painful past helped release the pain in someone else and I found a new title, pain wizard. My friend and I are both pain wizards, just in different places on our journeys. What is a pain wizard (asides from something I just made up ?) Someone who chose to be borne so that they could really understand pain and suffering for one reason and one reason only, so that they could live a life that showed others how to release theirs. I am still in awe… of coaching, my client and my life!

To quote my favourite author Richard Bach - there is a future out there that could not possibly exist without us having lived today.

The 'Me' Habit - What is Yours ?

Being yourself should not be that hard a thing to do. After all you have been doing it all your life… or have you ? I have a sneaky suspicion that we unlearn how to be ourselves as we grow up. We become what we think we should be or rather who we think we should be. We are not being us as much as we are playing a role.

Now I have to confess that this blog is inspired by my own impending coaching session. Last week I decided to implement a Habit of Being Me! Instead of unconsciously wandering through my day I thought I would commit to starting and ending my day with a plan. The goal was to consciously create my day and so who I am during the day, rather than leaving it all to my identity (I am getting a tad tired of the reality my identity creates) This was in part inspired by my journey and experiences to date and partly by the movie ‘what the bleep’ in which the concept of creating a context through words is brilliantly explained. The theory is that through words we can circumvent our thoughts, feelings and identities and so become more our true Selves. It is a journey I have been on for a while, so it seemed a good idea! It is also a concept that is harder to implement than one things..hence the creation of a habit that would remind me and keep me in my Self rather than my identity.It sounded so simple…take 5 to ten minutes in the morning and evening, reading through a list of commitments and reminders (similar to a coaching log page) with some meditation thrown in. Turns out my identity did not like this much AT ALL! It much prefers the rather haphazard implementation of control (where I forget I have it and it gets it).

It sounded so simple…take 5 to ten minutes in the morning and evening, reading through a list of commitments and reminders (similar to a coaching log page) with some meditation thrown in. Turns out my identity did not like this much AT ALL! It much prefers the rather haphazard implementation of control (where I forget I have it and it gets it).

So I have decided to simplify my habit with a simple statement. I commit to my own greatness! With that simple statement anything becomes possible and the rest becomes easy…well easier!Now…what would you need to put in place to create a habit of being you ? Who is it you want to be ? What would you need to do every day to be that person ?

Action vs Distraction

I have just finished a coaching session where in a fit of enthusiasm I elected to complete a list of actions that would get me to my goal. After 20 minutes of brainstorming I looked at my list and was less than impressed. There was a large amount of work on that list but very little action. Was I confusing distraction with action ? And what is the difference ?

I propose the following answer…distraction is something you do when you are setting up the right environment. Some obvious examples would be getting the perfect environment, getting all the right training, making sure you have the right clothes. But if your goal is increasing sales none of these things actually get you sales. The action you need to be in is talking to people, knocking on doors…nagging the world into wanting what it is you have to offer.

So, where are you confusing distraction with action ? And what could you do today to change that ?

When Nothing is Wrong, Anything is Possible

written Nov 6 2008
What if Nothing was Wrong ? Nothing! No matter where you are in your life, even if the proverbial appears to have hit the fan….what if nothing was actually wrong.

I can see you going, Huh ? So let me start again! It occurred to me that a large part of my life (if not the most part) is based on one single principle - that something is wrong and I have to fix it! Immediately ! With this insidious feeling comes pure dread and fear. Because when something is wrong I get into a space where it is because of me! I am not good enough, strong enough, well enough really! Something is wrong and it must be fixed.But, when I shift into ‘Nothing is Wrong’, everything changes! When nothing is wrong I have the freedom and power to change what is! I stop justifying and defending. I stop reacting and I start to act! After all, nothing is wrong! This is just what is. Sometimes I experience it as good, sometimes as bad.
Some examples ?? Ok, the stock market is crashing, is something wrong ? No, nothing is wrong ! This is just what is! Things change, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Or the project you are on is a nightmare and you are fighting fire after fire ? Is something wrong ? No, this is how projects go sometimes. Sometimes get unexpected consequences ! That is life! That is being human. Nothing is inherently wrong, it is just not going the way we want!

Here is the thing! Wishful thinking does not change what is! When something is wrong we get paralysed. When nothing is wrong you give yourself (and others) the freedom and power to be…and to act! That is the moment in which change is possible. This is a space that coaching focuses on getting you into (and keeping you in).Try it today! Just be in the space ‘Nothing is Wrong’ and see how it changes your world!

Living Your Life as a Legacy

I don't know about you, but until recently the entire goal of my life has been to just get through today! The years spin by and at the end of each one i am amazed that so little has happened, yet i was so busy! Part of my coaching journey has been to define my own legacy, vision and mission! To create something I want to wake up for in the morning! Something that creates an overall direction in my life (other than find that perfect job and by the perfect house in the right neighborhood). Now after I got my world record I was kinda stuck! What to do next ? The logical step was go deeper, but the thing with a diving world record is that there is a limit and you normally only find it when you die ! Death was not high on my agenda! Yet I was missing that experience of being alive, of solving impossible problems, of growing and living! Something was missing! I was missing a legacy, a vision!
Here is what I discovered really resonates with me! On my tombstone the following words should be“Her words inspired me to Dare to Be! She showed me how to dive into my power and into my light!”Now do not ask me exactly how I am going to live into such a huge vision! I just know I have to try! And that if I wake up each morning and am in action of that I will not but help live a truly great life! My life!

Keeping Goals Alive

written 0ct 28 2008
“Disinvest from the Outcome!” I remember reading this some years back and it has stuck! As a coach I have the privilege of being part of my client’s journeys toward their goals. I get to help them define the outcome they want to achieve. But just knowing what it is you want is not enough! You also need to be ‘in action’!
Now the phrase being in action seems to be one unique to cci and consciousness coaching! If any phrase encapsulates coaching, this is it. In order to succeed you need to be ‘in action’. Your goal is nothing more than a mechanism that you use to direct your actions and energy.
Think about it! You can never guarantee that a goal will become a reality! Oh you can commit 100% and spend all your energy obsessing about it, focusing on it, visualizing it, but that does not guarantee that it will become reality! I started off my journey to a world record using that sort of relentless willpower. I thought that if I wanted it enough, if I spent all my energy trying to control every step, I could make it happen. It was only when I let go and instead focused just on the next step, nothing more, that things started to happen.I am re-learning this lesson. After having spent a couple of months trying to force an outcome, I am putting down the control! I am stopping obsessing on tomorrow and instead just focusing on what I can do today that keeps myself in action, that keeps me moving steadily, irrevocably forward! I am learning that goals are fluid. As you keep moving what becomes possible changes…the trick is to keep moving!

So, what could you do TODAY that would put you in action of your goal ?

BHAG's (Big Hairy, Audacious Goals)

Written Oct 24 2008
Since I started my journey in consciousness coaching I have rekindle a desire to live a big life! This has led to the creation of a number of seriously large and scary goals….and I guess a rather natural reaction of me going itno hiding through sheer terror. So I started to ask myself, what is it about BHAG’s that makes them almost impossible to attain ? It is not like I have not made a seriously large BHAG (the woman’s world record) a reality already, so what is different this time ?
In my world record journey I can clearly remember two defining moments. The first was a rather grim New Year’s where I suddenly realized that 5 years had gone by and I was no nearer to getting any deeper (never mind the record). In a fit of disgust I realized I had to do something different! So I made the decision to do three things that scared me! A small thing (belly dancing with my new baby niece), a medium thing (writing funnily enough) and a large thing (going deeper). To be honest the first two were really just there to lull myself into a false sense of security and distract from the one thing I really, realy wanted…to get deeper! But, I changed my commitment! I made my goal not reaching a world record depth…but rather, I would deem myself successful if I did everything in my power, no matter what it took, no matter how scary….to get one meter deeper in that year (the year was 2001). I knew inside what it felt like to come up with excuses to not do something….all I had to do was what it took! Nothing more! I was not focusing on the end goal, just on the next step!
And it came to me! Have I fallen back into that old identity trap ? Where you created a spectacular and inspiring vision that is soo damn huge you have no idea how to make it a reality, creating a tsunami of fear and self doubt and at least for me, cave hibernation. Had I forgotten that BHAG’s are conquered one easy, do’able step at a time ? I started to question my focus on the end result ? Yes, I needed to keep tha tin mind, but no amount of visualization was going to magic it into existence… I had to be in action of my commitment! I had to start creating completion. It was as if I had forgotten that there are no brownie points for doing it the hard way because the easy way gets me to exactly the same place.So my question for the week (to myself) is this – what happens if I stop focusing on the end and start focusing on what I can do today ? What happens when I commit to completing one thing every day that keeps me moving toward my big goals ? What happens if I consciously choose to NOT take on a large step forward (that scares me silly), but instead focus on the things I can do that I enjoy and maybe only slightly terrify me ? What happens if I disinvest from the outcome and make the most of everyday ? What would happen in your life if you choose smaller steps and complete them every day ?

We are all in coaching agreements, we just don't know it

Written 23 Oct 2008 What if, you are already in a coaching agreement…just not with a trained coach ? As a coach I have to also ‘be’ coached. This ensures that I experience coaching from both sides (not to mention it keeps me on track on my own journey). It suddenly clicked for me why I experience coaching as being so familiar… I have always been in coaching relationships… I just did not know it!
Think about it…… you receive an annoying mail from a work colleague who obviously thinks he knows more than you do and is now requesting a meeting to ‘fix’ problems which do not exist ( a fact that he would know if was not an interfering busy body) What do you do ? Phone a trusted friend and talk it through. Or you have a decision to make - should you change jobs, should you leave a relationship… should you buy that beach house… and you phone a trusted friend to talk it out!
Now sometimes these trusted friends are useful and you find yourself realizing why you are stuck, (why you are pissed off with your work colleague) and from those realizations you are able to make the ensuing meeting really productive and totally empowering.. to you! Sometimes! Most times you end up in a circular conversation. Your trusted friend can empathise and support you righteous anger, but invariably they are in exactly the same place as you are and are just as lost and confused! What you get out of these exchanges seems to never change anything. So you have more conversations (with the same ‘wrong’ people) and nothing changes. You put the phone down and feel like something is missing and your still frustrated and lost!Like me you may have one or two people you can really talk things through with, people who instinctively do not buy into your stories and limitations. People who ask questions that make you think. You suddenly realize that you are annoyed with your work colleague because you feel he has just said that you are an incompetent nit.You realize you can let that go instead choose to walk into the meeting curious rather than defensive. You try that and the meeting is a roaring success. Or in the case of the decision to change jobs, you realize that there are a whole lot of fears stopping you and you make the time to get them down on paper and work on completing each one to create freedom in your mind to make the choice you really want. Or even better, in both instances you change our position from reacting to the circumstances to really getting clarity on what it is YOU WANT for a change…rather than focusing on what you do not want.! If you have friends like these, hold onto them! They are pure gold because these people are doing the job of a coach, instinctively!
My question though is this. Surely the direction of your life is too important to leave to the random chance that you happen to have in your life a friend who is a natural coach ? Natural coaching is effective, but it is also a bit hit and miss! All of us have our own unconscious agenda’s. So there you are, talking to your trusted advisor about leaving your relationship and the person you are talking to is totally threatened because if you become single your friendship changes and they do not want that! Do you think their contribution to the conversation is going to be neutral and focused on you gaining clarity on what you want ? Probably not!Now take that same situation to a coach. Coaches train to keep their agenda’s out of the sessions. We train to create a safe, non-judgmental environment - a place where you have absolute freedom to say and think ANYTHING!! To truly explore what you fear, what you think and of course, what you feel! How many of us have that space in our lives ?
As a coach I am trained to be curious. I practice cultivating a natural curiosity to explore where you are at. My objective is to empower you, to find out what you are not saying! My goal is to help you ‘get’ where you are at and even more importantly, ‘get’ how to be in action and moving toward what you want! I am there to help you get clarity on what is stopping you and what you can do to start moving again!
I can’t help wondering if getting my world record have been easier if I had know about coaching ? I seem to have spent that entire journey fighting the world, trying to get support and solve almost impossible problems on my own. Did it really have to be that hard ? What would have opened up for me with a coach ? What opens up for you if you had that one person dedicated to your goals… that safe place where you can explore who you are and what you want ?

What is Coaching

This is not as easy to answer as you may think. Coaching is something that has been around now for a good couple of years, but is only really starting to get traction in the corporate world.A definition is not so easy to find. The Wikipedia definition is ‘a structured process-driven relationship between a trained professional coach and an individual or team which includes: assessment, examining values and motivation, setting measurable goals, defining focused action plans and using validated behavioral change tools and techniques to assist them to develop competencies and remove blocks to achieve valuable and sustainable changes in their professional and personal life.”’ Which sounds a little Icelandic to me. A better definition is ‘to help individuals develop internal and external structures that help them achieve success and to increase their potential by expanding their sense of what is possible”I really like Marc Steinberg’s definition,” is an interactive conversation between the coach and the client to generate shifts in the consciousness of the client leaving the client complete as well as empowered and inspired to make positive life changes.”In a nutshell, coaching is a mechanism you can use to:- Improve your emotional intelligence- Improve your ability to be successful, at work, at home, in a sport, wherever actually- Increases your self confidence- Define clear goals, define how you want your life to look- Take control of your destiny- Improve your relationshipsThe statistics behind coaching are impressive, with executive coaching showing a stunning 526% increase in efficiency. That has a serious impact in the workplace (never mind on the individual).A normal coaching cycle lasts for 12 sessions. Held weekly, each session is between 30 min to 60 minutes and each session focuses on getting results - then and there. Sessions can be done in person but are as effective through skype/ the phone (sometimes even more so).There is no regulation in place (yet) for coaching and a number of different ‘schools’ exist. The industry has however created its own set of standards through the ICF (International Coaching Federation). Members of this institution are committed to a set of standards and ethics that ensure that you as a client get a quality service. My choice when selecting a coaching methodology was based firstly on ICF accreditation and then on a more personal criterion, I wanted something that was more holistic and not soo clinical. I found both in Consciousness Coaching ( coaching is a little different to other styles of coaching in that it also focuses on improving your own awareness of where you are in your life or what ‘is’. This creates an incredibly powerful context from which you are able to really get stuck into creating the reality you want to live.What do I mean by what ‘is’ ? Most of us (and I was in that category) tend to live in a reality of what we would like things to be, and so totally ignore what is. I learnt the trick of ‘getting real’ with diving and found it enormously useful (you can not break a world record if you do not have a very good understanding of where you are at, otherwise how do you know what your next step really is ?) When we exist in this wishful reality we find it incredibly difficult to move toward what we really want, hence the focus on becoming aware of what is. It simply is what it is and once we know what that is, we can move on.Consciousness coaching also focuses on creating clear goals and then helping you work your way towards them. The fundamental principle behind consciousness coaching is the belief that you as an individual already know the answers and that my job a coach is to help you ‘remember’ them. It is this process that helps you uncover patterns that inhibit you and stop you from moving forward. It is also this process that helps you let go of these and move forward. The tools you learn (and practice) during a coaching cycle become part of who you are, and so you become fully empowered to create success without your coach.Coaching is an incredibly powerful way of changing where you are and where you could be, so, when are you going to give it a try ? When are you going to see what happens if you start to live the life you really want ?

Fearless or Couragous

Written Oct 20 2008

One of the most prevalent themes I come across as a coach is that of fear! Fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of being visible, fear of being invisible. Fear is a common thread in all our lives. Sometimes it is so strong it paralysis one. Sometimes it is hardly notice’able but it is always there! Lurking! Waiting for an opportunity to pounce! I find my client’s (and myself) in an almost perpetual battle with fear! A battle that takes all our energy and effectively stops us from getting to where we want to be. The fear becomes almost physical - an entity that lives and breathes! We fight it! We hate it! We wish it were no longer there! We wish that we were fearless!!! And as a result we devote enormous amounts of energy into finding the root cause of our fear so that we can eradicate it forever.

Here is what I learnt diving in caves, far, far away from help! Fear can never be eradicated! It can however be overcome ...and that is courage. I learnt this lesson on my 186 meter dive where I spent the 6 months before the dive almost paralysed by a fear that would not lessen. But I wanted that dive more than I wanted to be scared! So I took my fear with me, ignored it, and did the dive! I only realized when I came back that what I had gained was courage!

Somehow I always thought courage was something more miraculous, more elusive! Instead I learnt that courage is not the absence of fear! It is the knowing that there is something more important than the fear. Courage is ‘doing’ in spite of the terror! We all have this capacity! We are all borne with courage!So my question to you is: Do you want to be fearless or courageous ? Because courage is easy, you just have to take the first step and start doing!

Connecting to Inner Power

Written Oct 8th 2008
My power comes when I let go of 'shoulds' and let the world be what it is
My power comes when I let go of 'being' right and rather make right
My power comes when i know who I have committed to be, and so have a solid 'me' to stand on
My power comes when i trust my word implicitly and no longer have to rely on conscious willpower and effort to succeed
My power comes when i relax into my soul and 'become' authentic
My power comes
Written during CCI's Master 3 course

Getting Comfortable with Discomfort

Written Octobre 01 2008 ‘With enlightenment comes release from suffering’! Now I am not sure I have the quote right, but somehow from my readings I managed to get the idea that to become enlightened means an end to suffering… as in no more suffering (which is logically an end is it not ?). Here I am, 8 years down my road to enlightenment (and who knows how many lifetimes away from finding it) and suffering is still very, very much present. OK, it is not there all the time like it used to be, but I was not looking for less suffering. I was looking for no suffering. A complete absence there-of, nothing….ever!I guess that if those lucky buggers who have attained enlightenment were to read this they would nod their heads sagely and look perplexed at my obvious confusion! In fact I have a suspicious feeling that I totally misinterpreted the saying and that they have grasped what I am only just starting to see the edges of! It is not about never having to suffer again, it is about never being suffering again! Suffering always will exist! Suffering is part of life. What changes is not the suffering, but how I relate to it. Now you either saw a light bulb go off or as confused as I was/ am!Let me start again … from a different direction!When I think about my life what I see is not the happy or the good, or even the successes. What I see is a cloud of pain and misery. Or put another way, pure suffering. Somewhere in that cloud I decided I wanted out! I decided that I simply could not live one more day, one more breathe in this agony! I did not want to die (that sounded like giving up and I was danged if I was going to give ‘them’ the satisfaction), so I had to change the way I lived! I had to do whatever was required to never feel suffering again. So started my long exploration of texts by Dr Wayne Dyer (stunning books, helped a lot actually), the Dalai Lama, regular sessions with Oprah… you get the idea! It did all help! Slowly I managed to claw my way up from the bottom… but suffering was still always around me! It never disappeared! So I searched harder and harder! I knew that the only hope for my salvation was to not be sad! My only hope was to not be all those danged bad emotions - angry, depressed, jealous… you know. I knew that I was supposed to be calm, joyful and forgiving! So I went on a drive to eradicate the bad side of me! I wanted to get rid of these annoying thoughts and emotions so I could be free, happy…enlightened! I was never going to be uncomfortable again, after all I would be enlightened.And I succeeded. To a point! Well, actually all I succeeded in doing was create a really good underground resistance movement of all the emotions I had labeled bad. A resistance movement that would regularly and with annoying persistence emerge and sabotage my life! Where was this danged enlightenment ? Did it really exist ?It was during my Consciousness Coaching training that something finally shifted for me. We were asked to do a minute video presentation and as I watched it replay I came face to face with a part of me I can only call Olga, the Russian prison wardress (incidentally she is the leader of that resistance movement I was talking about earlier). I went home in a state! I did not like what I saw! To say I was uncomfortable is an understatement! I could no longer ignore a lifetime of feelings that I refused to feel because I had labeled them bad! Yet here they were.. .still… and irrevocably a part of me! I did not run away! I wanted to! I did not distract myself! I wanted to! I just sat! Sat with tears in my eyes and felt! Felt truly for the first time …without judgment!It dawned on me then, that enlightenment is not a destination! It is a lifetime of experience. That the truly enlightened do not hide any emotions! They feel! Everything! The difference is that they do not hold onto their feelings. They do not become their emotions. Their emotions are a part of them - there but not them. They just let them be… whatever they must be! And they exist, alongside.In that moment I realized that I had spent a lifetime avoiding being uncomfortable, as if, should I ever allow myself to be uncomfortable, everything would stop…. end…abruptly. I had been looking for an enlightenment that would end my suffering and here it was! The end to suffering is not the cessation of suffering, rather ending the attachment to it.I am now curious to see what happens if I rather accept that there are times when I am going to feel uncomfortable and there are times that I will feel comfortable… I can not predict either, I can not change either…they are both part of the natural ebb and flow of life.So here is my challenge to you. What opens up for you when you allow yourself to experience all of your life, the stuff you label as bad as well as the stuff you label good ? What opens up for you if you stop resisting ? What becomes possible ?

The Power of Clarity and New Realities

written Sept 15 2008 - There are many aspects to coaching and my journey to becoming a credited coach is turning out to be both exciting and exhilarating. I am experiencing life from both sides of the fence (as a coach as well as a coache (being coached J )) which means I truly understand the process.A bit of background perhaps ? Coaching is the culmination of a journey that started back in 2000, when (after leaving a 6 year relationship that really did not work then entering an intense relationship that ended suddenly with the infamous words, I love you but do not want to spend the rest of my life with you), I found myself staring at 30 and what felt like a lifetime of having achieved nothing but misery.I knew something had to change, so I started to read and read …and read. Somehow (almost painfully slowly) I started to feel a shift… things were indeed changing. This shift was most noticeable in my diving where I finally made 221 meters and the elusive woman’s world record. But, the success I managed to obtain there never seemed to spill over into the rest of my life. Indeed, that success had come at a high cost. I had to sacrifice both friendships and family to get it. I was still reading and hoping to find an answer somewhere in the pages that documented the wisdom of those who had gone before me and I was still finding wisdom elusive. Well, not really wisdom, but rather the ‘know how’ to know how to implement the wisdom I was obtaining. This is the problem with books… you are not ‘doing’, you are observing. Which is where coaching comes in, because here the focus is on doing!For the longest time I had felt stuck. I had all this knowledge in my head, but had not found a way to unleash it and make it a reality. Learning how to coach (or should I say becoming a coach) feels like an appropriate ending to 8 years of learning. Not that the learning will ever end, so perhaps it is more a new beginning. I now have the privilege of watching the people I coach do the same thing I did (learn who they are and who they can be, learn how great they can be) which is a privilege as well as an experience because with consciousness coaching it all seems to go much faster and without so much of the ‘lost pain’ I seem to have gone through. Two things have really jumped out at me. The first is how non-intrusive and easy coaching is and the second how important clarity is if you are serious about actually changing and creating a new reality.For most of us the starting point of any plan to action is to tediously work our way through our ‘issues’. We tend to take a very western approach of using therapy type behavior to fix ourselves so that we can become better and so receive more good stuff. This tendency toward therapy as the only answer is perhaps why so many of us feel stuck. Most of us live in ‘normality’ (we are not psychopaths or technically insane) and with that definition of normality comes emotional baggage that in my case, just did not seem to be serious enough to warrant therapy (my parents got divorced… hardly earth shattering and unusual). But in my life things were just not working! Nor did I feel inclined to wander back into my childhood and discover what went wrong. That seemed far too painful and way too much like work.This resistance to facing baggage is not an unusual thing. Most of us spend our lives avoiding being uncomfortable. The truly remarkable thing though is that with consciousness coaching I didn’t first have to go back in order to go forward. It was not about reliving my past. Yes, the past does come up, but rather as an, ‘Oh, so that is where that resistance is coming from’, kind of moment. Instead the focus in coaching is on becoming conscious and aware of what is my present and then choosing to live in that present! As a coachee, this new awareness highlights the invisible stories we all tell ourselves (and that then unconsciously create our realities). This awareness also reveals how unconscious you really are and (as your vision returns) provides you with tools to change your reality. You move from reaction (unconscious engagement with the world) to creation, where you get to consciously choose your reality. And the process is remarkably elegant and way easier than I certainly imagined it would be.Which brings me to my second ‘aha’ moment - the importance of clarity. Finding Clarity is the first step! Simply put, you have to know what it is you want to create before you can work out how to create it. Now you would have thought that after 8 years of personal growth I would be clear about who I am and where I was going ? Not! I had no clue! Why was I waking up every morning ? What was it I really wanted to do with my life ? What was my vision ? What did I want out of work ? I just seemed to be going through the motions, living the same life as all the people around me. And I was miserable doing it.I am not talking about a huge, hairy and audacious vision for the future here. Yes, that might be what you are going for, but mostly what we want is closer to home… something more immediate. We want to do better at work, we want to feel understood when we communicate, we want to buy our own home or do better in a favourite sport. Whether it is big or small, the first step is always clarity… knowing what it is you want and once you have that, my job as a coach is to take it that step further - to help you get clarity as to how you can do that.My job is to create a space that is safe enough for you to explore your needs and desires and to create a space in which you feel comfortable enough to answer your own questions and desires. My job as a coach is to help you engage with what is stopping you and how you feel you can support yourself and move forward. I am not there to help (which is a common mistake people have when it comes to coaching). As a coach, I can not tell you what to do. I have not lived your life so I do not know what answers are yours. Indeed, I can never know you as well as you know yourself. You are unique and so your answers will be unique. And the truly amazing thing is that I do not need to know your answers. All I have to do is ask the right questions and slowly (sometimes reluctantly) every client starts to give themselves the answers. It is as if there is an awareness deep inside all of us that is all powerful and all loving. A part that we have always had but never been taught how to connect with. Coaching connects you with this part of yourself. Coaching allows it a voice so that it becomes a daily player in your life and with that connection comes the power to create your dreams (the good one’s naturally J).Clarity comes at many levels. There is the clarity of what it is we really want for ourselves in the next weeks, months and years. There is the clarity on how we are going to achieve that. Then there is clarity on a daily level, which is probably one of the most powerful forms of clarity. After all, the past is gone and the future is but a dream. To get to it (the future) we have to live through today, so it stands to reason that how we live today will create our tomorrow.Introducing a daily practice of clarity into your life creates an opportunity to create some remarkable results. It creates the ability to create a today that is different to yesterday. It is also not hard to do (indeed, it does not even require a coach). All you need is 5 minutes in the morning to define your day and consciously create it.What do I mean ? These days I wake up every morning and create my day in my mind! Today I am going to add value at work. Today I commit to connecting the people I meet to their own power and love! Today I am going to be patient and tolerant. Today I am going to have fun! And here is the surprising thing, the part of me that I used to think of as myself ( my identity), is still there trying to call the shots and sabotage me. It is still trying to create the same today as yesterday. But when I take the time to consciously choose my day I give power to another part of me… the part I like to think of as my soul. With these daily commitments and intentions my soul gets the power to create my day and I am rarely disappointed in the results.Clarity and action, these are the gifts of coaching. This is why I can not wake up in the morning and meet a new client, because I get to be a part of their transformation. I get to watch them become all powerful.

Welcome to the Blog

Who we are is every changing, liquid if you will. How we live our lives is a reflection of the choices we make, of the words we utter, of the committments we keep. The Exploration Academy is about inspiring, empowering and exploring to create lasting change. Our goal is to create a space within which we can breathe and become aware of who we are, what we are thinking and saying and what options we really have.