The Godfather of Coaching

Several years ago I didn’t know coaching existed.

For many years, I was in a trance. I call it the trance of chasing conventional success.

Overworked, underpaid, anxious, lost, overwhelmed, disorganised, and unhappy living the life and leading the business I’d created. Oh, and blaming everyone and everything around me for 'the way things were'.

A professional victim.

My first coach encouraged me to open my eyes and see how I'd created everything. It was painful but it guided me to making progress.

Seeing I was the creator of everything I moaned and groaned about empowered me to create something different -- a life I love leading.

And now that's what I do with my clients as a professional coach.

Without discovering coaching my default future wouldn't have been great.

But, enough about me ... I have a real treat for you in store!

There are so many miscommunications about what coaching is and how it works I had a desire to help educate people about the 'truth' when it came to coaching.

As part of this project, I was fortunate enough to interview my coach, Steve Chandler, to help 'demystify coaching'.

Steve's a very lovely, warm, intelligent, wise and inspiring human being and has helped me no end in several areas of my life and business. He's guided many of the world's best coaches over the last few decades and is known as ‘The Godfather of Coaching’. Steve's also authored over 40 books that have been translated into over 25 languages (and he didn't write his first book until he was 49!).

His personal success coaching, public speaking and business consulting have been used by CEOs, top professionals, major universities, and over 30 Fortune 500 companies. He has twice won the national Audio of the Year award from King Features Syndicate. A popular guest on TV and radio talk shows, Steve Chandler has recently been called “the most powerful public speaker in America today.”

This video is only 45 minutes and is full of insight, experience, and wisdom.

If you have any interest at all in personal development, growth, transformation or coaching then take the time to watch this (and explore Steve's books, they are wonderful).

Amongst other things, Steve discusses:

  • The distinction between information vs. transformation
  • The lies we tell ourselves
  • How coaching allows people to move from a default future to something completely different
  • And much, much more!

You can watch the full interview by clicking here.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did co-creating it. You can find more about Steve by visiting www.stevechandler.com.

Love and wellness,

David.

Ps. I have a rare opening coming up for one person to work with me one-on-one. If you’d like to explore how we could partner up to create your version of a better future email me and we can start a conversation. If you're ready to talk ... I'm ready to listen.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago ... the second best time is today.”

Chinese proverb


The Fathering of Life

I felt inspired to write this for Father’s Day.

Maybe you idolised your dad and thought he was the most amazing person in the world.

Maybe you despised him.

Both are your own personal stories based on the judgements you made about your experience of being brought up. I have stories about my dad, too.

I missed him when I was growing up. He had his own business and even though he was around, he worked a lot.

Throughout my childhood, he’d tell me with remorse how he wished he’d spent more time with me and my siblings when we were growing up.

He provided tangibles like a home, food, holidays, clothes and much more.

He also provided the things I couldn’t see, the intangibles, through his way of 'being'.

I remember being inspired by him as I sat in on various meetings with employees, suppliers, and customers (he had a home office). Wanting to be just like him -- a businessman.

I ‘get’ the world of the entrepreneur. I’ve grown up around it and have had a few businesses myself.

The majority of my clients, who I love deeply, are entrepreneurs or high-level managers. They invest in my services to guide them towards closing the gap between where they are in life and where they want to be. A lot of them want more balance and less overwhelm.

I’m writing a book called ‘Where’s Dad?’ to help people create more balance in their life.

I wouldn't be coaching, or writing this book, without my experiences growing up in an entrepreneurial house and being an entrepreneur.

These are benefits that, at one time, I couldn’t see.

I remember being on holiday in Lanzarote at around the age of 10 having just finished a family meal in a restaurant called ‘Neptune’. We ate king prawns.

An African man approached us, his arms full of fake Rolex watches, sunglasses, jewellery, and other stuff he was trying to sell to tourists as he ambled along saying, "do you wanna buy a Rolex? Good price …"

As he got closer, the restaurant owner came out and tried to usher him away as we sat outside having a coffee. My dad stepped in and said, “it’s ok, Juan, he’s our guest.”

He invited the street seller to sit with us and asked him what he wanted to drink.

The man, who looked exhausted, was shocked. When he realised my dad was being genuine he humbly said, “Fanta, please.”

I watched them both, over the next few minutes, as my dad talked to this guy who was doing his best to create a better life for himself. He opened his heart and just spoke to him human-to-human, whilst the owner of the restaurant stood in the background with steam coming out of his ears like in one of those old ‘Tom n’ Jerry’ cartoons. He was in complete disbelief that my dad had invited this guy to sit down.

I’ll never forget that moment. Experiencing non-judgemental loving human kindness in motion. Intangible and Inspirational at the same time.

Small moments can make a big impact on a child.

I remember being three years old and being held by my dad, feeling his warm breath on my hair whilst he cuddled me with love.

So pure. So natural. Didn’t cost a penny, only time.

I’m not sure what stories you’re running about your dad.

Or, if you are a dad, what stories you’re running about yourself being a father.

What I do know is that, no matter what the stories are, there are always two sides.

If you see something as being ‘bad’, for example having a workaholic dad, remember that he’s human too and did what he believed was the best thing at that time.

He’s coming from a place of serving his own values and also providing for his family.

Although you may have some resentment, there are many latent benefits you may not be conscious of -- hidden away like 24-carat diamonds in the mine of your unconscious.

You can learn how to discover these gems by slowing down and asking the question, ‘what were the benefits of that situation?’. Meditation helps. And journaling. And being coached, for me, anyway.

Every father in the world is doing what they believe to be the best thing. The same way every human is operating, moment-to-moment, in their own self-interest — driven by their unique set of intrinsic values.

Every father in the world is a hero and a villain.

Every father in the world is a saint and a sinner.

Every father in the world shares the same 4,126 traits we all have as human beings (thanks, Dr John Demartini for teaching me this).

I know I am no angel.

At times, I am the best father in the world, and, at times, I want to be far, far away from my children because I’d rather focus on other things in my life. Both are stories sitting on my mental bookshelf, created by thought.

And, that’s ok. I’m a human living my own life by my own values in a perfectly imperfect way.

And, I’m sure, that no matter what I do my children will grow up with judgements about me as a dad, and that’s ok. They are allowed to create their own stories, we all do.

To transcend any judgements you may have and to see your father as a perfectly imperfect human being (just like you) is freeing for the soul.

The stories you’re selling yourself are the only things that make us different.

Deep down, we are all the same. Just like one of the world’s best coaches, Michael Neill, shares in his latest Ted Talk.

And, if you want some science to back how we are all connected you can watch this great Ted Talk by Tom Chi, one of the top guys at Google.

Slow down to take a moment … see if you can see the full picture of your upbringing … not just the frame. The masterpiece of your life, as you see it. It makes for much better art.

If you’re a dad, I know you’re doing your best. I know it can be challenging at times.

From my own experience, even if you’re not around your children as much as you’d like to be (or as much as other’s expect of you) consider making the moments you do have with your family as being really present. These moments will be the best gifts you can give.

A cuddle.

Connecting heart-to-heart with your child and listening intently to what they are saying.

A play fight or wrestle.

Singing along in the car to a song you all love.

Laughing. Lots of it.

Drawing together.

Taking them for a haircut followed by a bit of lunch.

Going to pick a new reading book together.

Going for a walk in nature.

Looking in their eyes and tell them you love them.

Not judging them for making small mistakes and telling them that you have done the same and not to worry, mistakes happen, it’s how we all learn.

Simple things make all the difference and create memories you’ll look back upon with warmth and fondness because there was pure love in those moments, not judgment. Just human-to-human connection with the only investment being your time and presence.

Ten minutes of pure presence trumps five hours of disconnected time because children want your presence, not just your presents.

And, the wonderful thing is, not only will your child love the experience, so will you.

Be vulnerable, be love.

Remember, just like you looked up and copied your father when you were young, your children are doing the same.

They pick up much more of your way of ‘being’ than what you ‘do’ for them.

Even if you have limited time, consider how you want to ‘be’ with them.

This is where the best stories come from. The ones that take pride of place on your mental bookshelf.

If your dad’s still around make contact to thank him for all that he did, tell him you love him. If he’s not, say it too.

He did his best in a perfectly imperfect way. Just like you are each day.

Just like Baz Luhrmann said in one of my favourite songs, ‘Sunscreen’, from the late ’90s:

“Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good.”

Happy Father’s Day.

Love and wellness,

David.

“Every father should remember one day his son will follow his example, not his advice.”
Charles Kettering

Ps. This song, Nizlopi’s JCB song, is one that always moves me to tears and takes me back to my childhood and this is the guy actually singing itwhich I love, too

Pps. I wrote in detail about Baz Luhrmann’s song and made comment on each verse in an earlier piece here.

(Thank you, Trix, for allowing me to experience being a dad. You, Rocco & Enzo are the three best gifts of all x).


Who Stole My Bananas?

I woke up in a bad mood.

Not like me. Normally I’m pretty balanced. But today, there was a flea in my ear. I was in an odd mood, felt low.

I went downstairs and did my usual morning routine. Warm lemon water, meditated for 20 mins, made my leaf tea and sat down to read a book to broaden my mind.

Then the kids came down, early, and my routine was interrupted.

Even though I am a big advocate of present parenting I still like my own space. I was looking forward to learning more about Question Based Selling (a great book, by Tom Freese recommended to me by my coach, Steve Chandler). But parenthood had other ideas.

I saw my sons and my heart opened. I cuddled them both and told them I loved them. Got them a drink and started to get their breakfast ready.

Then one of my dogs, who is not long for this life, peed on the floor for the second time in the space of 30 minutes. I got the mop out and cleaned it up.

Then the bickering started. My eldest was teasing my youngest. I sent a couple of gentle warnings to them to stop but they continued.

I felt my mood lowering like a setting sun amidst a brewing storm.

I continued making breakfast. One wanted pancakes with Nutella, one wanted bread with Nutella. I added two bowls of fruit to offset the chocolate spread.

The bickering started again so I raised my voice and shouted at them to stop. Something I don’t do too often. They stopped.

My wife came down and asked what was going on.

“Nothing”, I replied, with a frown on my face. “Just a bit tired today and the boys are playing up”.

I carried on and felt my mood worsening. Clouds started brewing and dark thoughts crept in, things like:

“I need some space.”

“The kids are a nightmare today.”

“Why is our dog p***ing everywhere, does he have no idea how frustrating it is!”

“They’re watching TV, they should be outside playing in the garden, I don’t want them to be couch potatoes.”

“What’s up with my wife, doesn’t she know it's ok for me to be in a low mood now and again, she just doesn’t understand me.”

“I have so many things to do to the house and garden, and need to get back on track after our holiday.”

“I’m bored with life and need a new challenge.”

“Is this what life is all about? Being up early and interrupted again by my sons when I want to read and learn.”

“I’m fed up with being a dad and husband, I have so much more I want to explore with my life.”

“I need to create ... when I don’t create I get a buildup of energy inside that makes me angst.”

Blah, blah, blah … my mind was chattering away like a deranged chimp who’d lost his favourite bunch of bananas.

“You look like you’re in a bad mood today, everything ok?” My wife asked, clearly falling for the bait of my sulky teenager face.

“It’s ok for me to be in a bad mood now and again, you of all people should understand.” I snapped back.

“Tell you what we need to do, we need to get outside with the boys, go for a walk, or go to the beach. I know we’ve just got back from holiday but the weekend weather is lovely and we should make the most of it before it stops.”

I was clutching at straws and looking outside myself for a solution to my low mood.

We had some back and forth before I came out of my thoughts, slowed down and said to my wife, “I’d like to talk and tell you what’s going on in my head at the moment, so you understand, I have loads of thoughts I want to share with you. And, it’s ok, they’re not real, just wanted to let you know.”

She could see by the look on my face that whatever she said I was determined to release the energy that had built up in myself and share my monkey mind chattering away.

She patiently looked at me and said, “ok, do you think now’s the right time?”

“Yes, 100%.” I replied.

Now ... this wasn't the 'perfect' way to start a conversation but it was progress. And, progress beats perfection every time.

I listed off 15-20 thoughts that were going through my head, like the ones above, and she listened, biting her tongue with expert poise.

After I finished, I said, “thing is, I know they’re all thoughts, nothing else. But I wanted to tell you so you have a window into my inner world.”

I continued, “And, I’m looking for things outside of myself to try and ‘fix’ what’s going on inside of me. I’m looking at the kids and judging them for watching morning TV, I’m judging you for not understanding me, I’m judging myself and my life thinking I need to do more to make me feel better … and … it’s all bullshit.”

She looked at me again and said, “I understand.”

I continued.

“Nothing of what I’m saying is true, at all. As I was talking to you I realised that, once again, thought creates everything and they can sometimes be so powerful that I believe them. I woke up in a low mood today, no idea why, but I know it will pass as low moods often do. It’s part of being human to experience a fluctuating mindset and I’m judging the hell out of myself and everyone and everything around me to try and compensate for why I feel like I do this morning.”

“We have a great life, our sons are not couch potatoes, we understand each other, business is going well and I’m working with some great people, my book is almost finished, I’m enjoying writing and creating, we’re fit and healthy — that’s my reality.”

We carried on chatting and talking about the importance of life balance, purpose, parenting, and communication and something amazing happened.

My mood lifted. Not immediately, but over the course of 5-10 minutes of talking, in the midst of being interrupted by our youngest son who was trying to convince us that he couldn’t at any more blueberries because it would make him late for the opticians -- he’s five. Beats the dog eating homework ... I admire his creativity.

My wife and I hugged each other.

It reminded me that communication can solve anything, pretty much.

What actually happened here was two forms of communication that helped me.

Being vulnerable enough to share my thoughts authentically with my wife, to release them into the wild. She listened without judgement and I instantly felt better. What I used to do is bottle them up inside and they would fester and rot inside me, occasionally spurting out in a passive-aggressive comment with venom. This sometimes happens, even now, but far more infrequently since I started working on myself, my mindset, meditating and slowing down inside to observe my thoughts and not attach myself to them. This is a skill that gets built up with practice, much like playing an instrument or learning a new sport.

Secondly, I communicated with myself, and played ‘watcher’ to my thoughts as I was expressing them, and challenged them by asking “is that true?”.

The events this morning inspired me to write this. It’s not overly comfortable sharing my mindset from this morning but it is authentic.

Sometimes, being a coach, people can assume that I have everything ‘sorted’ and that everything is ‘perfect’ … truth is I am human. I know that may be a surprise to you but I am.

I have high moods, low moods, healthy mindset, unhealthy mindset — all the traits and behaviours of other humans. Of which, as I understand it, there are 4,126 that we share. And, I practice to develop myself, all the time.

I thought it may help you to read this and slow down when you’re having a low mood moment, or challenging time, and play observer to your thoughts as I did.

If you do, and you want to challenge those thoughts then you can do a couple of things that may help.

Firstly, sit down, and write out the thoughts you’re having that are rushing through your mind and then, once finished, next to each one, ask this question:

Is that true?

Then ask:

Are you absolutely sure that thought is true?

Then ask, if you answer yes again:

How do you know?

Doing this a few times should have the effect of settling down your mind and allowing you to transcend the mental chatter and play watcher to interrogate the thoughts.

This is a ‘light’ version of ‘The Work’ that Byron Katie created. I highly recommend looking her up on YouTube and also her books on Amazon. Particularly ‘Loving What Is’.

What you may find, as I did, that the majority of thoughts you are having are not true, they are just thoughts. Chances are you’re in a low mood that will soon pass, like a storm.

Talking to someone who cares for you about your mindset and thoughts, as I did, may also help. It could be your partner, friend, or coach. Someone who isn't going to judge you. Someone you feel comfortable in opening up to about your inner chimp chatter.

Actually expressing yourself about how you feel releases the energy driving the thoughts (which are actually light waves, if you get down to Quantum Physics, but that’s a different subject altogether!), and allows you to rebalance. Something magical happens when you hear yourself talking to another person about your inner chatter. You get to observe in real time, when your external hearing sense kicks in, what your thoughts sound like when you’re in a low mood and there’s something very enlightening and freeing happens when you do this. You get to play ‘watcher’. Something that meditating and mindfulness can help develop.

Now, as with all things, don’t take my word for it. Practice. Do some experiments. It’s very vulnerable to show up to another person and let them into your inner world for a moment. If you’re not sure how to approach this the first time you could always start by saying something like:

“There’s something I’d like to share with you that may sound a bit odd but it would really help me if you’d be open to listening to me without judgement. I’m imagining a few things at the moment and sharing my thoughts with may be really helpful. Would you be okay with that?”

Or a version that works for you.

Remember … thoughts come and go like the wind blowing leaves off the trees in autumn … you are not your thoughts … and, it’s ok to have a low mindset now and again, it’s very human, so don’t judge yourself. Show the same level of care and love to yourself as you would to your best friend, child, or partner if they came to you with some concerns. Self-care, love, and understanding of oneself is the starting place for most development.

So, that’s a window into my world. My aim when writing is to create something I feel would have helped me at some stage in my life ... with the purpose of it now being able to help you.

I hope you found this useful. I’m now off to find my favourite bunch of bananas.

Love and wellness,

David.

“If you trade your authenticity for safety, you may experience the following: anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction, rage, blame, resentment, and inexplicable grief.” Brene Brown.


Midnight Mind Music

One of the downsides to keeping myself really hydrated during the day is I often wake up needing the loo.

Last night I was up at midnight and, as I stumbled towards the toilet, I heard music playing clear as day. It was the Calvin Harris tune called Outside, the one with Ellie Goulding singing.

I felt myself getting into the beat and mouthing the words wondering where the music was coming from. Who would be so inconsiderate as to play that music this late on a school night?

Then I realised the music was playing in my mind.

Ever had that experience when you get a song in your head and you can’t get it out?

No matter what you do, you find yourself singing along, whistling, mouthing the words and it’s with you for ages. Even if you only heard a few notes from a ringtone, advert, or radio in your car.

In between the lyrics, I had a moment of being present and it occurred to me to create this blog.

When Calvin and Ellie were accompanying me to the toilet, I had an insight how I could illustrate how absorbent the mind is, how very few people realise this and go about their day believing the music playing in their mind is actually real.

They’re not. They’re thoughts. Or music on repeat.

Your inner DJ doesn’t want to change the tracks because he likes them, they're his favourites. They've kept him in work for decades so he’s not about to stop now.

He keeps the same old broken records spinning round and round … like one of those crap wedding DJs with an old playlist … over and over and over again.

Unless someone has the courage to ask him to change his tune.

This is similar to how our mind works.

We play old thought patterns over and over and over again until they become crystallised like huge stalagmites hanging down from the roof of an ancient underground cave. Unmoving, unwavering — there for eternity — unless disturbed by an intrepid explorer.

These stalagmites are otherwise known as beliefs that run the show ... driving our actions and creating our external world.

Your external world is a pure reflection of your internal world, as you perceive it.

The way you believe the world to 'be' creates your own unique personal reality.

As I understand it, between the ages of 0-7 years old the majority of the way in which we believe the world is (our reality) is set. And, that structure, or our personality, will run the show forever in a day unless we challenge it.

Often, if things aren’t working out as you hoped they would, it’s due to your inner DJ not being willing to accept a different playlist.

He’s happy in his comfort zone spinning the same old dance floor fillers that were popular all those years ago (when you were three years old).

Some of his personal favourites are:

  1. 'All I want is approval' by the People Pleasers.
  2. 'I’ll do anything for love' by Slimy Steve.
  3. 'Give me some attention' by the Deficit Disorders.
  4. 'Money don’t matter to me' by the Pawn Brokers.
  5. 'More, more, more' by Greed and The Gang.

It doesn’t have to be that way. You can choose to retrain your mind to behave differently if you become curious about the thoughts you’re having ALL THE TIME.

Because thoughts are an endless current, energy, flowing through us 24/7 — you can’t stop them.

You can’t fight them. Well, you can try, but it’s a bit like shadow boxing and wondering why your opponent just won’t go down.

Accepting that the mind is constantly running thoughts is a start.

Then, being willing to look and review those thoughts with loving self-care would be wise.

The ones you have when you start to feel anxious, tense, stressed, or want to avoid things, or people, or places. Getting curious and wondering where they come from? And, if they are actually true?

Were you born with those thoughts? Or, did you learn them?

Were there certain records your parents used to play at home that caused certain music to never leave your mind, old favourites like:

  1. 'Money doesn’t grow on trees you know' by the Green Gardeners.
  2. 'Life is hard' by the Dark Clouds.
  3. 'Look at what you’ve done' by The Shamers.
  4. 'Just play on your computer' by Digital Babysitters.
  5. 'Do as I say not as I do' by the Hypocrites.

Slow down and take a look at the music running your life and see what comes up for you.

Be kind with what you find because it could be the key to open the DJs booth and change the records, the broken ones, for new ones that really illustrate who you want to 'be' in the world.

You are not your thoughts, you are much more than that.

You are not what you believe, you are much more than that.

You are the master of your own destiny (I realise how cheesy that reads but I’m ok with throwing some ‘fromage’ into my writing now and again).

You can choose to transcend your inner DJ and change the tunes that are running your life, and have run your life, since you were a little being.

You can choose who you want to ‘be’ in the world and go ‘all in’.

You can choose a new set to tracks to do your daily dance to, such as:

  1. 'Being present' by Moment by Moment.
  2. 'Love and be patient' by Practising Parent.
  3. 'I create my world' by Leader.
  4. 'Lead by example' by Baby Steps.
  5. 'Be the change' by Transformation.

Anything is possible if you’re willing to slow down and take a look at who you are, why you do what you do, and what you want to create that's different to the way things are for you now — inside and outside.

Anyway, that’s what came to me as I was listening to Ellie Goulding mid-wee this morning. Thanks, Calvin!

Love and wellness,

David.

Ps. If you have children, manage a team of people, or are in any kind of relationship, consider what you want to exemplify to them through your language, actions, behaviours and love … it could make all the difference. What kind of DJ do you want to 'be'?

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”
Buddha.


Turn Your Nightmares Into Fairytales

I remember when my first son, Rocco, was born back in 2011. Life-changing doesn't do it justice.

My wife and I tried for many years to have a baby and went through the heartbreak of multiple miscarriages.

Nobody ever prepares you for that.

Fast-forward a few years and, thankfully, my wife and I now have two sons.

Nobody ever prepares you for the realities of parenthood, either.

When you’re expecting a child, you get a few comments from people who’ve already had children like, ‘you’re having a baby, great, good luck with the sleep!’, and, ‘oh, great, congratulations … it’s a lot of work you know … but well done …’.

Looking back I always wondered why they had a certain look on their face akin to, ‘you have no idea what's around the corner buddy … no idea at all.’

I remember starting my first ‘official’ business in 2005. My former business partner and I worked at the same company and had tried several times to present various ideas to ‘the board’ about how we could expand and grow the business with creative ideas. They fell on deaf ears. We couldn’t get backing due to ‘other priorities’.

So we decided to put our houses on the line with the bank and do it ourselves.

Nobody prepares you for the realities of running a business.

There are a few comments from entrepreneurs like, ‘good luck, it’s hard work, but well done …’, and, ‘a business ... great! Staff are a nightmare, but congratulations …’.

Looking back I always wondered why they had a certain look on their face akin to, ‘you have no idea what's around the corner buddy … no idea at all.’

Parenthood and business have numerous cross overs.

Being a Dad I now see it more than ever.

The ‘fantasies’ of what life will be like when you finally have a baby, or finally start a business, can be just that -- fantasies.

Fantasies often turn into nightmares.

Why? Because of the expectations we put on what life will be like when a healthy baby arrives ... or startup business is born ...

When baby comes along, we expect it will be all laughter, love, fun, and a feeling of wholeness inside. There are moments like that … but there are also several challenges … like lack of sleep, for one ...

We expect that running a business will be a breeze and that, when we exit for millions of pounds, we can finally feel happy. There are moments of joy … but there are also several challenges … like making the transition from having a job to being responsible for paying several salaries each month ...

The realities of both parenthood and business are very different from the stories we tell ourselves about how life will be when both come along.

This can cause resentment, low moods, and a feeling of not being in control.

In some cases leading to postnatal, or post-startup, depression.

A lot of people project their low moods onto, and into, the children and the people in the business.

Blaming the child, or the staff, for being the reason all their problems exist.

You hear comments like:

‘They’re a nightmare, they never sleep, always wanting my attention’, and, ‘my staff are such a pain in the arse, they never do it the way I want them to, they just don’t seem to care. Why is it I just can’t find good people?’

I’ve played this out in my own life, several times, as a parent and business owner. I am by no means perfect.

And, it still arises from time-to-time now. My judging and unresponsible self.

This is otherwise known as a strain of the deadly virus, ‘victimitis’.

I had it for years.

Common symptoms are an outward blaming of other people for things not going as you ‘fantasised’ in your life. Anger, resentment, hatred, low energy, mood swings, self-distraction, substance abuse, self-medication, escapism.

I have experienced all of these, many times. And, sometimes still do.

As Rag n’ Bone man says so beautifully, ‘I’m only human, after all …’

All because I perceived the fantasies I'd created in my mind had actually turned into nightmares.

Until, one day, I worked with a coach, Josef. He said something very profound when I was bemoaning to him about how it was so hard with me being a parent, running a business, having a family, blah, blah, blah.

He slowed me down and said something similar to:

“What if you were to surrender to the opportunities to grow that life has presented you with?”

I actually didn’t know what he meant at the time, so my defences went up. “Yeah, yeah, sounds like a good idea. Anyway, about me and this client, I’d like some help with …”.

I didn’t really take it in, not until I listened to the recording of the call a few days later and it hit me like a bolt of lightning ... commonly known in coaching terms as ‘an insight’.

I realised I’d been resisting parenthood and entrepreneurship.

So, right there and then, I chose to change the way I related to being a Dad.

Rather than resist it and blame everyone and the baby for ‘taking so much time … life will never be the same again … my freedom has gone’, which was the inner dialogue I had running in my mind I chose to go ‘ALL IN’ with being a present parent.

Guess what … everything changed.

I stopped comparing my idealistic view of how being a ‘Dad’ should be (built on fantasies and stories I’d created in my mind) and realised that it was going to present me with an opportunity to learn and grow like never before.

To give myself to the fellow human I’d co-created with my wife, and love as I’d never loved before.

It felt hard. To love unconditionally in the midst of sleep deprivation and the stress I’d created in my business.

But it was ultimately the most rewarding investment of my time I ever made, and continue to make.

Being a parent is an honour that not everyone gets to experience. It's also a responsibility. The biggest one of all.

My role model for parenthood was very different. My Dad was an inspiration in many ways with his loving nature and drive for success, but he wasn’t around much. So, my ‘model’ of what a Dad should be was the one that didn’t do ‘home stuff’ … he grafted and created money so we could have a home, food and holidays.

No judgement here, at all, I’m very grateful for my childhood.

But, I didn’t have to follow his example … I could choose a different path.

I did. And, it was one of the best things I’ve ever created.

Not without challenge. There are times when being a Dad can feel so hard, draining, frustrating, and tiring. The same for Mums, too.

But, that’s the way life is. Nothing worth having is without challenge.

Creating a thriving business, or bringing up a rounded and healthy child, takes commitment, energy, time, and the choice to stop playing victim to outside circumstance and own the fact that you chose both -- parenthood and entrepreneurship.

Once you surrender to that fact and break the fantasy you had in your mind of how you ‘thought’ things should be you are free to create something far more empowering.

And you stop judging the child, or the business, for changing your life ...

By choosing to see parenthood and entrepreneurship as a choice you made to grow and develop yourself in ways you never knew possible … to lead as you’ve never lead before … to inspire yourself and others … you start to see challenges as ‘on the way’ not ‘in the way’.

You bring power back to yourself vs. giving it away to some external force that has suddenly, without warning, delivered you a baby and a business.

If there’s an area of your life you feel low and disappointed in right now it’s probably due to you having created a fantasy of how it ‘should be’ vs. the realities of how ‘it is’.

I encourage you to slow down and consider a different approach.

Own your choices, take back your power, and choose to come from a different place of ‘being’ inside yourself.

Choose to lead your life vs. letting it lead you.

Choose to own your choices and see what you can create moving forward.

Choose to go 'ALL IN'.

It won’t be all plane sailing, but, it will be much more fun and empowering.

Rocco along with his brother Enzo, have been my biggest teachers.

Those boys, along with starting my first business, presented me with some of the most challenging, and fun, times of my life.

And, for that, I am so grateful.

Your nightmares can turn into fairytales if you choose to lead.

Love and wellness,

David.

“A father carries pictures where his money used to be.”
Anonymous


The Compound Interest of Coaching

I remember my first coaching session. It was with a guy called Bobby. I was nervous, excited and curious about how on earth some guy in the USA was going to ‘fix me’ through a phone call.

Part of me couldn’t get my head around how it was going to work. I had an expectation that the coaching program I’d signed up for would change everything and help me learn the skills I needed to make sure I didn’t fail again in life. He was going to give me loads of systems to run my business and everything would be rosy ... that's what I signed up for ... wasn't it?

On our first call, we had a bit of back and forth building rapport and then he started asking questions.

After a few minutes of him patiently listening to all my stories about why things hadn’t worked out for me (I was a professional victim who blamed everyone apart from myself when things didn't work out as I planned), he went silent for a few seconds and then said:

“Sometimes, people often feel they have to meet expectations of their Father when chasing success … it can be quite common.”

I started to break out into a cold sweat and stammered:

“Oh ...not me, that’s nothing like my situation.”

Meanwhile, my inner chimp was chattering saying:

“Who the hell is this guy and how dare he make such assumptions about me and my life? He doesn’t even know me! He’s hit the nail on the head! How did he know? I didn’t even know …”

And, that’s how my love affair with coaching began.

In that one moment, I had a realisation how one sentence can move someone in such a way they find a part of themselves they’d buried that, once discovered, could be the catalyst for transformation.

In that one moment, I saw my actions and drivers from a different perspective. It opened me up to realise that I didn’t have to be that guy trying to gain approval from others in order to feel worthy.

That one sentence gave me an insight that had the potential to change my life, forever.

That was the insight but it was what I did with that insight that made a difference.

My coach didn’t take any action, I chose to polish that mined piece of coal into a shiny diamond.

That’s what you do with insights, you take them and get into motion. Otherwise, they stay like lumps of coal. Pieces of coal have a certain value but are worthless compared to a bright, shiny diamond.

That one insight inspired me to discover where else in my life I was seeking the approval of others and it was EVERYWHERE.

Like an all-encompassing octopus with tentacles threaded throughout my life.

It took a while to release the grip of those tentacles and it was scary and painful to remove them (or so I ‘thought’).

At times, I still find a few clinging on for dear life but now I know what to do with them. I see how they’re keeping me stuck from being my authentic self -- the person I want to be in the world.

That one insight, when applied through action, changed everything.

That’s what can happen when you have a powerful insight. If you slow down and see how it applies to you as a person, on the inside.

Now it happens when I coach people and it feels great to make a difference in someone’s life.

The 'Yes Man'

I once worked with a client who used to say ‘yes’ to everything. He was the ‘go to’ guy for all his friends, family and customers. Whenever they needed something he would say ‘yes’.

Always helping, people-pleasing, and putting himself last to his own detriment.

Often, he would let people take advantage of him. Costing him time, money, energy, and spirit.

He would come into our coaching calls bemoaning about the latest drama in his life. I would ask him why he thought the latest bit of ‘bad luck’ he’d had happened.

He would reply; “that’s just me and my life, I’m one of those guys, good things never happen to me.”

I’d ask; “would you be open to an idea?”

“Yes, I’ll try anything, but it won’t work, I attract s*** in my life, it’s the way it’s always been. That’s just me.” He’d say, convinced that was ‘the way he was’.

“I can see you believe that. However, what if you did an experiment, just for a week or so, where you said ‘no’ whenever someone asked you to do something you didn’t really want to do. Could you give that a try?”

“No way, people rely on me. I always help others.”

“What’s the worst thing that could happen?”

“It would be hard, really hard, especially with my wife. You have no idea what she’s like. And, my main customer is always asking for more, more, more. I can’t say no.”

“Okay, maybe a week is a bit much, I can see that, how about tomorrow. Just for a day. Would you be willing to put on the white lab coat and give it a try?”

“Maybe …”

Fast forward ... after the trial of saying 'no' for a day, my client had an insight.

Nothing ‘bad’ happened when he said no.

With each 'no' he retained energy to give a bigger 'YES' to things that served him.

His life improved in all areas.

More time and space to get his physical health back on track ... more time to spend with people he cared about ... more time to cultivate relationships with clients that he loved to work with who respected and appreciated him (vs. customers who would take advantage of his aversion to the word no).

He grew into reclaiming his power and started to empower all areas of his life.

All from one single insight he had after doing an experiment for one day of saying ‘no’ to things he didn’t want to do.

That’s the compound interest coaching can have if you back up insights with action. It can permeate throughout your whole life if you let it in.

There’s only one person directing the movie of your life and if you wake up to the reality of those insights, backed up by consistent action and practice, it can be priceless.

That insight I had on my coaching call came when I was in my early 30’s, almost a decade ago. Let’s say I live until my 80’s … that’s 50 YEARS of difference that insight would have made to my life and the lives of those around me.

Think about that for a moment. One insight can have a 50+ year impact on your life if you really let it into your soul and take action by leaning into any perceived fears you have of changing.

That one insight helped me change my way of ‘being’. The way in which I saw myself and showed up in the world. It helped me grow as a leader, businessman, coach, husband, father, son, brother, friend -- as a human.

That’s the compound interest of coaching. Priceless.

This is what I refer to as ‘inside-out’ transformation.

From the outside looking in it can appear that nothing has changed but, from the inside looking out, the whole world looks and feels like a different place. Like someone has suddenly turned the lights on.

What’s an insight you have recently had that, if you really took it in and got into motion, could change everything in your life?

Love and wellness,

David.

“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”
― Sir Edmund Hillary