In the middle of October last year I went for my last bike ride of the season around Richmond Park and after that, I was inspired to write about Ikigai and Bacon rolls.
I’m going to simply repeat the core of that post below. Please scroll down and read that first, then come back to additional thoughts added today, as last weekend I went back for my first bacon roll there for seven months (I am a “fair weather” cyclist!).
So much has happened, so much changed in the last seven months, yet when I went back to Pen Ponds cafe, everything was the same as in my October post excerpted below.
In those seven months, I have continued my lifelong search for the best bacon roll in the world, so when I went to order one at Pen Ponds café, I noted to the cook that he still held the title of “best bacon roll ever” for me, as since being there last October I had not found a bacon roll better yet !
His eyes glinted, and he poured out a story that explained everything… (more…)
The summer I was 15, the weather in the Scottish Borders was beautiful (so my memory tells me !). That year I got the “bug” to play golf. Junior membership was almost free and I rode my bike to the club with an old “half set” of clubs and spent all day there most of the summer. All that time I had with me a very old copy of this book by Ben Hogan, first published back in 1957.
Ben Hogan was one of the greatest golfers of all time and was known to practice more than any of his contemporary golfers. He is said to have “invented practice”. Hogan himself said, “You hear stories about me beating my brains out practicing, but… I was enjoying myself. I couldn’t wait to get up in the morning so I could hit balls. When I’m hitting the ball where I want, hard and crisply, it’s a joy that very few people experience.”
Hogan believed anybody, through “deliberate practice”, could “break 80”, which in plain English means to become a good golfer. So what do we mean by deliberate practice? (more…)
Somehow I managed to get two tickets that were front and centre in the auditorium.
I invited a friend who loved the soundtrack, particularly the score. It turned out she had never watched the movie, and her review afterwards was “Epic”. She also sneaked shooting a short video of the opening of the movie, of the orchestra playing the stunnign short piece that is Strauss’ “Thus Spake Zarathustra”.
Turn it on, turn it up loud, feel the #goosebumps !
A number of years ago, the term “Bucket List” was popularised, including by a movie of that name. Basically it is about having a whole bunch of experiences before you die.
To me, in the moment of being in that experience of the movie, orchestra, choir, concert hall etc., I felt for a moment that I could die then and be happy.
Was it a bucket list moment though ? I thought about it, then realised that I hadn’t thought of the event that way, even though it was truly a once in a lifetime memory.
Instead, I reflected on what it means to focus on “what I want to do before I die”, as, worthy though that may be, it can have the effect of taking us away from experiencing what is happening in the present moment.
At that movie screening, I was totally present, my senses absolutely stimulated, a huge smile from ear to ear and goosebumps from head to foot.
When we are present to the moment, there can be magic in unexpected places.
is it too zen to consider “being present is reason enough for being” as my own Ikigai ? I am sensing that this is a distillation that gets close to mine.
I truly love being present to moments and being present to and for others. It is also in being truly and deeply present that the magic happens, where we see things for as they are.
Take that into business and leadership, when we step out of the busy-ness of our work lives and focus on being truly present, it is amazing how often magic happens. We see the wood for the trees, we see and support our team through them simply being seen through our presence and listening.
Be Present, find your own Ikigai. Choose those over a Bucket List, and you won’t feel the need to think of a bucket list of things you’ll do in the future before you die. Believe me, your present will be more than enough.
“I have often said “Leap and the net will appear”, though the net doesn’t always look like a net”
Maeve Gillies, brave, inspiring and creative Cultural Entrepreneur
I was inspired to write by this line from Maeve once before in : “How do you know if you could be an Entrepreneur ?“, but today I will focus on taking leaps to make a big career change, as inspired by a message from someone today feeling totally stuck where they are, yet my insight is that they simply need to follow Maeve’s advice and “leap and the net will appear”.
A story to make the point.
One of my very first coaching clients many years ago was the amazing Virginia Czarnocki, who literally walked into my office and said “help me quit my job”.
As a coach, I simply listened deeply to her, asked the right questions, and helped her see what was really true to her and what was the b*****t she was telling herself. In V’s own words from her Linked In recommendation.
Now, Virginia did quit her job as a top lawyer and embarked on a journey with no idea what the “net” would look like, yet now she is absolutely thriving.
Her brand “Moozlers” (see FB page) started out as an idea to create healthy food around the world, and has morphed and changed. Now “Coach V” is inspiring others in Cayman and around the world to be healthy and fit in so many ways, including nutrition, exercise and general wellness. She has multiple strands both on and off line through which she lives this, and here is an example video.
…..There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine….And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
“begin a post series about YOU Letting the Light Shine in for others. No apologies. Find the light and pass it on.”
They went on :
“I see you as the beachcomber, cherishing the unusual discovery – ‘interesting people’, future leaders, individuals of potential cultural significance… I want to read more about how you do this…and what will it become???!!!”
Phew.. amazing to receive such affirmation and acknowledgement, and also challenging.
Why challenging ? Ironically, while my passion and purpose is to support others to shine, to be unapologetic about their own unique genius and express it boldly and loudly to the world, somehow I cringe about doing this myself.
Still, I remind myself that my absolute favourite quote is from Marianne Williamson, and as I look at the excerpt above, I know writing about what I bring, what I do, how I do it, is in service of others, so I take a deep breath and write. (more…)
Thanks to my dear friend Carrie Bedingfield for sharing this “word of the day” with me recently. I believe in surrounding myself with people smarter than me, with different interests, but who are equally passionate about learning and sharing. Carrie is all of these things and I am grateful for her !
“Tne other day I found myself in the centre of a large park in London, sitting in a bench talking with someone. It was a truly transcendent moment, and in fact we both remarked on the fact that we felt time was “bent” in that space, it was moving more slowly. The children and dogs playing were also calm and relaxed, more so even than usual.”
This was written with a perspective of one of the author’s five pillars of Ikigai, “Releasing Yourself”.
Feels like if one word could capture the feeling at that moment, it would be Yūgen.
I ask you to start with that first blog, then come back to today’s. Oh, and if you simply search the term “Ikigai” in the search bar on this page you will see several articles, some of my favourites in there from my early days of writing on this site.
I’m coming back to this after several months as I find the concept of Ikigai coming up in conversation a lot, so today to recap the five pillars, as Ken Moji states them :
Harmony and sustainability
The joy of little things
Being in the here and now
In prior articles I wrote about the “joy of little things”, as well as quite a number about “being in the here and now” (or simply “Presence”), and also “Starting small”
Let me talk a little today about “releasing yourself”, which is very much related to “being in the here and now”.
When we are being in the here and now, we can start small, take joy in the small things, and then, ultimately, release ourselves from, as Moji, puts it, the burden of the self.
Tne other day I found myself in the centre of a large park in London, sitting in a bench talking with someone. It was a truly transcendent moment, and in fact we both remarked on the fact that we felt time was “bent” in that space, it was moving more slowly. The children and dogs playing were also calm and relaxed, more so even than usual.
Now, as we’d walked to that place, we’d been deeply appreciative of what Moji calls the “sensory pleasures”, of the blossom on the tree, of the crispness of the “end of winter” day, of the simple enjoyment of an engaged and lively conversation. Moji connects the “infinite universe of sensory pleasures” as deeply linked to “releasing yourself”.
How does this relate to the overarching theme of this site being Leadership, you may ask ? Well, great leaders are calm, centred, present, and also very often “in Flow”. I am fascinated by the #Flow state, and encourage you to read my post on this : “Flow – Michael Jordan and Jason Silva“, which includes a link to the legendary TED talk on flow by Mikhail Csikszentmihalyi.
Find your Ikigai, find #Flow. Enjoy the moments, stop to observe the coming of spring, as I did a few days ago in Edinburgh…..
So many people have talked to me over the years wondering whether or not they can / could / should / will make the leap to leaving their job to start their own business.
Being an entrepreneur and working with entrepreneurs, when I ask people why they started their business, the answer always contains something like :
“I couldn’t NOT do it”
A real entrepreneur has no choice.
Sure, entrepreneurs are often inspired by seeing a gap and taking that opening (which is also a rough translation of the french roots of the word). They often see a market gap where they can make money. Taking entrepreneurialism beyond ventures that are wholly or exclusively focussed on profit, one can see an opportunity to make an impact socially, politically and more.
Also entrepreneurs have a higher “risk profile”, a higher tolerance for risk than other people. As my inspiring friend Maeve Gillies told me “I have often said “Leap and the net will appear”, though the net doesn’t always look like a net”. Another way of putting that :
So, entrepreneurs see openings, they are comfortable with risk, but to know if you are entrepreneurial, go back to Gary Vaynerchuk’s quote at the top. What does your heart tell you ? What drives you ? Where do you have no choice, you simply HAVE to act !?