The Team & The Individual

Monday 15 October, 2018

The best thing you can do for your team is to work on yourself. If everyone does that, and people support each other in their respective development, the team will grow and mature. So, too, will the individual. PRACTICE and DISCIPLINE are the foundations of the work. They are qualities you will need to return to again and again as you seek to change certain habits. It can be difficult at first, but if you pay close attention you will be able to SEE YOUR PROGRESS, no matter how small. And it’s important that you see the small steps, because if you wait for the big leaps you will easily become downhearted.

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A Very Early Transcript

Tuesday 17 July, 2018

I was looking through my old journals recently, and I found a transcript from a very early group session in which I was asked by Karaj to read from the pages of my journal. At that point I had only been writing for 4½ months. I read two passages, and what follows is the feedback I received. I include this on my blog because it reinforces the power of writing, and because the brief comments from Karaj are hugely reminiscent of how he was in his work. He doesn’t say much in these exchanges but when I read his words I can picture the scene as clearly as if it were happening now, rather than 18 years ago. His comments will also be familiar to the people who attended our recent retreat, because my way of doing things is heavily influenced by what I learnt from Karaj.

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Use Life To Make Life Easier

Monday 13 February, 2017

Who wouldn’t want to make their life easier? Whenever I see a list of the things we apparently need to be doing in order to improve our lives, the same six instructions keep appearing: Eat well, sleep, exercise, meditate, reflect, and be grateful. That’s it. If we do those six things every day, we’ll live a better life. And it’s true. It works. Furthermore, everything on that list is simple to understand and easy to do.

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And So It Continues…

Monday 8 August, 2016

How you choose to see life makes a difference to your perception of yourself, the world, and your place in it. Your outlook and attitude define the qualities you attribute to the whole of existence. They affect how you think and feel, and, therefore, every experience you have. For example, if you choose to believe in coincidences, life takes on a more random quality as different events simply collide without reason or purpose. In those instances the assumption is that if there is any control over what happens, it is beyond us; aspects of our fate are decided elsewhere.

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TS 13 – Feedback Everywhere

Thursday 7 July, 2016

What if the entire world were your very own feedback mechanism? What if every thought and feeling you have, gave you information about where you are right now. What if every conversation, every person in your life, and every experience you have, told you something about who you are and where you’re heading. Would you listen?

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Leading From Within

Friday 20 June, 2014

This post takes its title from a workshop I was invited to give this week to a global leadership academy. Leadership begins with the self and I wanted people to gain insight into the many thoughts and feelings we have every day, and to share their respective experiences. When we harness the information our mind and body continually make available to us, we become incredibly effective. Observation, reflection and feedback are the mainstays of this work but, ultimately, it’s about connecting with the self first, in order to be able to connect with others.

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Write Your Own Feedback

Sunday 27 April, 2014

It was the third day of his visit and the end of another productive day of silences, conversations, reading, writing and reflection. I had given the TA presentation in Amsterdam that evening and, as part of the process, I had asked the participants for their written feedback. I explained to them that although it obviously helps me, it is more important for them to take a couple of minutes to reflect for themselves. The exercise will bring more clarity to their experience and reinforce their learning. At home afterwards, as I knelt by the open, floor-level window of my apartment and Karaj sat in the armchair, we reflected on how well it had all gone. Outside, the country was celebrating. It was the first King’s Night here in the Netherlands for 122 years.

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Make Your Own Tools

Saturday 26 April, 2014

I gave a talk at Amsterdam University’s Business School yesterday. Near the beginning I spoke of the importance of writing things down and the necessity of seeking feedback from others on our behaviour and blind spots. It was at this point that one of the participants asked if there are any tools I could give him to help him with his personal development. I was privileged to have my mentor, Karaj, with me who easily became involved in the two-hour interaction with the students and alumni. He talked of people’s obsession with having tools and that the shelves of bookshops are full of books which offer tools. What is actually needed is the experience of the journey and knowing that patience, discipline, awareness, feedback, observation and (written) reflection are the elements you will have to come back to time and time again.

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It All Comes Down To This

Monday 14 October, 2013

When we forget the simplicity of it all, or we’re convinced there must be another way; when we are stuck, or frustrated by the lack of novelty, this is the post to read. It’s a reminder of the value of repetition and practise. Every day, every minute, every breath. In the end, it all comes down to this:

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Complete The Picture

Thursday 5 September, 2013

I attended a wedding last weekend. It was a wonderful occasion, as weddings so often are, and for two days afterwards I met and reflected on the whole event with some of the protagonists. We reminisced and replayed our favourite scenes, sharing our highlights and filling in missing pieces of the matrimonial jigsaw. The bride and groom even delayed their honeymoon so they could indulge in more of it, reliving the experience again and again, extending and adding to their memories by gathering their guests’ stories and recounting their own.

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It Begins With Awareness

Thursday 29 August, 2013

Awareness is the beginning. It is the foundation upon which personal development is built. Significant self-improvement is only possible with self-awareness. This post has been written before, but I was moved to write it again by a line from a journal entry I read recently. And besides, awareness is so fundamental to development of any kind that it is always worth repeating.

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Progress Means Never Getting There

Tuesday 22 January, 2013

A disheartening title perhaps, but the point I’m making is that whenever we reach a goal in our development, it’s time to decide where to go next. If we don’t, we stagnate. Top athletes across all sports can be heard saying of their achievements: “There will be plenty of time to enjoy my successes (after I retire). Right now I have to train for my next match.” It’s important to reflect on our progress as we go, but it is equally important to keep going.

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Make Yourself (Happy)

Tuesday 3 July, 2012

There is nothing unexpected about feeling negative when reflecting on who we are. It’s normal. It’s understandable. None of us are perfect, yet we live in a world which so easily offers the ideal of perfection; even going as far as to suggest we should strive for it because, ‘Look, others have it.’

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What is Coaching?

Monday 30 January, 2012

Coaching means supporting someone in reaching their goals. The coach may or may not help define those goals but once they are set, it is the coach’s job to support, empower, encourage and challenge their client to fulfill those goals and to be the best they can possibly be.

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