Pt 9 – Courageous solitude

As I work through this inaugural book writing project, it is increasingly curious to me and an interesting paradox.

It is a process of solitude, on the one hand, a personal journey and exploration yet at the same time this book is very much a celebration of solidarity, a collective journey of sharing, learning, and growing.

Latest Value through Vulnerability podcast with Roz Savage

Roz holds four Guinness world records including rowing solo across the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans so knows a thing or two about courage, solitude, and change.

Roz has recently released a short book called ‘The Gifts of Solitude’ to help those that are for the first time experiencing such confinement and how to make the most of it.

During Ep 111 of the podcast, Roz shared this nugget of wisdom:

“The biggest gift I have had from solitude is getting to know myself”

I am experiencing this same gift, however, it can also be very scary, scary to sit with, and acknowledge the shadow side of our selves. Our fears, our worries, the things we have been avoiding by running at hyper-speed in recent months and years.

If you read last weeks newsletter, I had exactly one of these experiences!

Have you found that slowing down during the recent challenges a gift or otherwise? Do hit reply and let me know if you feel moved.

However, one of Roz’s other comments which resonated very deeply with me personally is as follows:

It has taken me many years to realise that much of our human experience, accidentally and innocently, has been looking in the wrong direction.

Seeking assurance, job titles, houses, possessions, holidays etc anything that we think ‘success’ looks like with the belief than when we have it, we will somehow be whole.

Does this seem familiar? Could this be linked to our thinking around the shadow side of our experience? There is no judgment at all intended, just curious if this resonates at all with you?

In my book, Change Is An Inside Job, I explore my personal journey with the chasing of things ‘outside of me’ without doing the inner work, without chatting with my shadow self and the fears that I was regularly running away from, mostly linked to emotional suppression and the overthinking that accompanied that.

Margaret Ochieng, business psychologist and Director at The Inclusive Village, shared this wonderful nugget of wisdom during our recent primary research interview:

“Effective change is when you take the relic (fears) home, explore it, ask it questions, maybe cry a few tears because of the answers that it gives you. In that process comes an understanding, a healing, an attempt not to erase your scars but to embrace them as a reminder that your past is real”

Solitude can be and was scary for me, however, I find it much more interesting and optimistic these days when approaching it from the mindset of curiosity, however that does not mean that I do not have my choppy waters on the ocean of life! That is the natural ebb and flow of life.

Reviewing primary research interviews

One of the enjoyable aspects of conducting these research interviews is the learning and insight that is generously shared by all of the contributors.

Listening back to my recent interview with Crocetta Brucato, a wonderful human being and Sales Manager at one of my work organisation suppliers, she shared the following:

“One has to be courageous to let get go of the old and embrace the new coming in, therefore one has to be open for the change”

At a time when beliefs have been shattered, what can you look to let go of that does not serve you anymore and what new ways of being or beliefs would you like to let in?

When reviewing my interview with a good friend and job-crafter Rich Cooper, he shared that:

“If we take the current situation (COVID-19), most companies won’t have planned for the crisis we are having at the moment, but actually a lot of companies have been pretty good at that crisis point in terms of change”

How does this reflection sit with you?

I have to say, as I have tracked the hashtag #recognizethegood on LinkedIn, it has been wonderful to see more examples of solidarity and humanity than the opposite and my goodness, companies will know who looked after people post-crisis as they talk with their feet. I truly sense that will happen.

I also loved this reflection from friend and innate brilliance coach Helen Amery as we explored her thoughts around change as an inside job:

“Feelings of resistance can tell us that we are putting a psychological barrier in the way, inadvertently, innocently.  We are believing something about the change which isn’t true and so the resistance is actually information to tell us that”

This is a stunning reflection that reminds me of an article I wrote on LinkedIn a while back around emotions being an ‘in the moment’ data point to our experience. I wonder if Helen’s above reflection or the article resonates with you at all? Hit reply and let me know whatever comes up for you, I would love to hear from you.

Friends doing great work

I am very grateful to be connected to and engage with some awesome, inspiring human beings and felt compelled to make you aware of some of their great work in case you were interested to learn with and from them, as much as I have:

Nilofer Merchant – I was grateful that Nilofer helped hold the mirror up to my personal clarity around my Onlyness being that of an Interpersonal Catalyst late in 2019, so I share so that a) you can also benefit from this amazing experience with her if interested and b) make you aware that she has started writing on this substack platform with her column atwork.

Helen Amery – Helen has recently started offering a group coaching programme called ‘What’s Really Going On’ – I had the pleasure of experiencing the full programme over a 4-week period and my goodness it is a) an insightful experience but b) really good value for what you will take away from it.

Here you can find a short testimonial as to one of the major takeaways that still serve me today.

Mike Vacanti – Founder of the #HumansFirst movement, Mike has answered the call of the community and beyond and created HumansFirst Forward, a global collective of change-makers who are coming together to self-organise around tailored client projects.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to, follow, and connect with any of the above. our world will be better for having them in your social feeds and beyond.

New website

With the support and skill of my brother Tony Coleman, my new website is now live.

The website offers an overview as to my background story and lived experience which I will share more deeply in the book, a link to all 140+ Value through Vulnerability podcasts, links to the FREE Have Courage e-book and supporting podcasts, and my core service offering and testimonials that accompany each, covering mindset coachpeople-centered organisational designinnovation & strategy sessionssales, leadership & collaboration workshops and guest speaking, all which can be delivered virtually and/or in-person.

I continue to deliver value to my work organisation with regards to the job that they require me to do, however, I can no longer play as the small version of myself, fearing to show up fully in case somebody feels threatened or doesn’t like the fact that I wish to be and contribute ore than the narrow job description that we can be boxed within.

I felt this way before my testicular cancer diagnosis, but for sure that has accelerated my “what are you waiting for” thinking?

Does this resonate with you? How much of the true, unadulterated you do you show up with? This is still emerging for me and to help me step forward I have invested in a personal coach.

To that end, and I hope that my work organisation calls on me to do more of this work with them and us internally, but without me showing up fully inside and outside of my work organisation, I cannot understand what may be possible. This, for me, is an expression of courage motivated by that which Roz exudes.

I would welcome any feedback, thoughts, or exploratory conversations should any of the above offers pique your interest, personally or organisationally, or indeed if you feel that it may serve someone else in your network.

Thank you for continuing on this book journey with me and I wish you an enjoyable rest of this week.

It really is your life, live it, knowing our biggest impact can come from living as a whole person and not as disparate parts.