Tag: Wisdom

What I learned from a master practitioner

Yoda master Feldenkrais practitioner
Yoda, a quintessential Master

Over a year ago I injured my Achilles badly. No specific event, I simply was walking a lot that summer and it became injured and wouldn’t heal.

Months later, frustrated and limping around London, a friend referred me to a practitioner of Feldenkrais, “an educational method focusing on learning and movement“. He made a powerful referral by firmly telling me to go to the practitioner and that if I did not find it way beyond expectations, he would pay for the session for me.

Armed with that recommendation, I went to my first session ten months ago and was blown away! I have then gone periodically since then at a frequency recommended by the practitioner.

Last week was my sixth session in these ten months and they have been absolutely transformational in ways far beyond healing my acute injury.

Today, I will share my learning from my most recent session in the context of what it means to be supported by a practitioner at this level of mastery.


Coaching Tip: How to avoid giving advice


Coaches do not give advice. What do I mean?

Coaching = Asking, NOT Telling

When a coach is actually in the role of a coach, when they are coaching, they do not give advice. Ever.

However, coaches are also often asked to fill four other roles at times, those of mentor, trainer, facilitator, consultant.

Consulting = Telling, NOT Asking.

When you do give a client your advice, you are not coaching, you are consulting (or somtimes mentoring).

So, if you are in the role of a coach and your client asks you “tell me what do to”, what, in fact, should you do?

Today I am happy to have found an old note from a coaching session I had with my mentor, the late Ed Percival. It represents a coaching tip from a true master I wish to share with you today.


You cannot eliminate your biases

Biases Word Cloud

You might say: “I’m not biased”. Don’t believe me? Try answering these three questions, known as the Cognitive Reflection Test.

(1) A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost? _ cents

(2) If it takes 5 machines 5 minutes to make 5 widgets, how long would it take 100 machines to make 100 widgets? _ minutes

(3) In a lake, there is a patch of lily pads. Every day, the patch doubles in size. If it takes 48 days for the patch to cover the entire lake, how long would it take for the patch to cover half of the lake? _ days

Give it a try before reading the answers (at the bottom of the article).

Sorry, you simply can’t eliminate your biases, but you can become more aware of them and so, from that awareness, look to reduce them in your decision making.

Today we will look at increasing our awareness


Being vulnerable is more than saying you are

better man vulnerable

Saying you are vulnerable is not the same as being vulnerable.

The four core qualities of #OpenLeadership are:

  • Be Hungry
  • Be Humble
  • Be Brave
  • Be Open

Linked to that is Chip Conley’s idea of being a “vulnerable visionary” a leader who expresses vulnerability allied with confidence, eg: “I have no idea how we will get there, but I know we will do it together.”

However, all too often, in expressing vulnerability, leaders seem to do so behind a superhero “mask” of invulnerability, so even when they express that they don’t know the answers, they are so hidden by their mask that they won’t and so don’t show what it feels like, as a human, to be in that place.

Staying behind that “mask” means a huge lost opportunity to truly connect.


Simplicity is harder work than complexity

elegant simplicity


Yesterday I had the privilege of watching an audience with the author Matt Haig at the Edinburgh Book Festival. His writing style is often simple and concise. When asked about this, he noted that many years ago he used to revel in complexity and even exhibited arrogance and snobbery around those who wrote simply. These days though, this quote I found from him illustrates his approach on what he strives for in his writing:

“Simplicity is harder work than complexity”


As I wrote in an earlier post: Less is More.

Now, the second half of that Matt Haig quote is:

“That’s why editors exist”

Either find someone to help you edit, or be your own editor.


If you have a message for your audience, distil to simplicity.

In “Simplicity on the other side of complexity“, I was inspired by a tweet from @nayyirahwaheed

“the longest writing. can be one line.”

In that post, I wrote about how leaders can get their message down to one word, their strategic plan down to one page with only one context and three themes.


I’d love to be your editor, book your diagnostic call on my site and let’s find simplicity in half an hour.

Fear is the mind-killer

dune Frank Herbert Fear is the mind-killer

In my mid-teens, I read Dune by Frank Herbert, to this day one of my favourite books. It is one of those books that is regarded as “unfilmable”, with the one attempt that has been made is, well, not worthy of the book. Perhaps the Wachowski’s could film it, the way they took the “unfilmable” Cloud Atlas and wondrously wove it into a movie form (and it is both one of my favourite movies and favourite books now).

To me Dune is all about what we believe and how we can transcend our beliefs, so if the Wachowskis focussed on that human behaviour element (as Christopher Nolan did with Interstellar, a movie that is, simply, about the power of love), then perhaps at some point Dune will reach a whole new audience.

The belief Dune teaches us to transcend is that most human limiter, fear.

In my work as a sounding board to leaders, fear is so often a driver that blocks decision-making, so learning to understand ourselves, to bring awareness, then to transcend fear is a key piece of work for leaders, for all of us. It is also lifelong and one I will come back to again and again on this daily blog.

So, for today, I give you a key passage from Dune around transcending fear, then close with my favourite quote of all time, from Marianne Williamson.


You don’t need credit

Seth Godin Take No Credit

Here is a lesson we all need to learn a little more. Yes, definitely me.

Over a year ago I reworked this website, right now I’m doing it again. As with last year, I am again seeking professional outside perspective to bring forward what I want to say.

One key reason for this is that I have an internal struggle with the idea of taking credit, in my case simply saying I am expert at something is a struggle (and don’t get me started on people who self-title themselves as “gurus”!).

So, as a leader, don’t take the credit for results, focus on the change you are seeking to lead, then give credit to those who take the action arising.

Today’s post was actually inspired by yesterday’s email from the Daily Stoic, one of the small number of daily emails I am subscribed to (and Seth is another, naturally!), and stoicism is a practice and area of learning for me, as I wrote about recently in: “Be a generalist…and a stoic“.

Today, then, I reproduce that Daily Stoic email, with a powerful and ancient lesson, called, “You Don’t Need Credit”.


Why I am optimistic about democracy, despite “The Great Hack”


If you have not already watched “The Great Hack” on Netflix, I recommend you do so. Now.

Many of us are all too familiar with the scandal of how Cambridge Analytica used Facebook user data to influence (fix?) both the 2016 Brexit vote and then the US Presidential Election. The documentary, though, shows us the players almost in real-time as the scandal unfolds, making the story feel all the more powerful.

It puts to us the question as to whether or not we can ever have free and fair elections ever again?

Facebook, Google, Amazon etc are always watching and listening to everything we say and do and seem to be focussed far more on revenue and profits than any form of responsibility to society given their dominant positions. A clear example is Alexa, who listens to every word you say (not just when you ask her a question), with all of that going into the data storage at Facebook.

The fears expressed in The Great Hack are valid. However, given literally thousands of years of democracy in different forms, I am more optimistic than some about the future of not only free and fair elections but of the world evolving out of the current cycle of autocracy and inequality towards something more positive for people and planet. (more…)

Power gives you the responsibility to empower someone else.

toni morrison Empower Quote

Toni Morrison died yesterday aged 88.

“We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives,” 

Toni Morrison

Rest in peace, Queen, you have left such a measure of your life in your work.

As this is also a daily blog to inspired and empower leaders to be their highest and best selves, let me also anchor to:

“If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else”

Toni Morrison

The epitome of servant leadership. Beautiful.

Don’t send emails after 5:30 pm

it doesnt have to be crazy at work emails after 5:30 pm

“It doesn’t have to be crazy at work” is a book full of nuggets of wisdom that can change your life and that of those who work with you.

Seriously, every single suggestion they give not only makes sense to me, but I’ve also applied most of them over the years as a business leader and in recommending them to clients for their own businesses and organisations.

Take a look at the first few ideas I’ve recalled from memory from reading the first half of the book today.

If any or all of these resonate for you, apply them. Now.

If you would like to talk over ways to lead on these and ensure smooth implementation, talk to me, I love to support leaders on this type of simple yet transformative change!


Just, Simply, Especially?

especially semantics

Today is the fourth anniversary of the passing of Ed Percival, my greatest mentor in life.

Ed taught me so much. As a homage to him, the page on this site focussed on potential clients assessing what they are seeking in a coach and how I work with my clients is called #BeMoreYou.

#BeMoreYou, as a phrase, was the distillation of Ed’s many decades of experience and learning as a coach. I wrote more about this in “Being More“.

One key area of learning from Ed was the power of language.

It is never “just” what you say and how you say it. Sometimes it may be simply what you say, other times especially what you say.

So, today’s post is around that specific thought and those words, and also draws on the wisdom of another sage human, Seth Godin.


Ikigai and overlapping the circles

Ikigai overlapping circles

A few days ago in “Can you do what you love?“, I talked about how we can look to do more of the “what you love” and “what the world needs” circles, and then said, thinking of my own work:

“When I get all four circles overlapping, that is truly a great feeling.”

Well, in response to that post I received an email challenging me.


Leading from Purpose – your golden opportunity

purpose passion potential

“There is a natural pull for executives, even CEOs, to be managers rather than leaders. They can become so focused on profit that they cannot generate profit because they cannot release the human commitment that lies dormant in the organization. The workforce does not flourish or exceed expectations. 

This blindness is your opportunity. If you dedicate yourself to learning how to imbue an organization with purpose, your chances of succeeding at every level go up.  You will be able to do what many CEOs cannot do.”

~ Robert E. Quinn, from his post “A Golden Opportunity(more…)

Book a diagnostic meeting

Subscribe for Inspiration, Ideas, Tools

I offer you two newsletters seeking to offer inspiration to action, ideas and tools for leaders.

Open Leadership – Digest
Big Game Advisors – Ideas into Action