Flushing out the Truth of Brexit – and most other things too.

time-reveals-truth

So the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has been found holding back, and people have foolishly assumed she has no cards of value in her hand.  Criticism from left and right has been piled on her for NOT giving away her intentions … and thankfully she has resisted the temptation, nay, the manipulative bullying, to do so.

Well done her, for she knows that ‘Time Discovers Truth’ as Seneca observed – and it is doing just that. How different are today’s commentaries than those of just six months ago! Even the BBC is subtly shifting its approach.

The bullying EU presidents are becoming more conciliatory as they get over their pride and have to face the power of democracy.  The mandarins are slowly changing their minds (and their jobs), relearning the meaning of the two words ‘Civil’ and ‘Servant’.  The economists are now making excuses for the (terrorising) forecasts they declared. And the europhile politicians are realising that the horse they were flogging is now beyond resuscitation. A sensible realisation in the light of the arrival of far more useful means of transport.

Except a few like Blair and Clegg who, for whatever reason, are finding change personally difficult. They are paying a high price in terms of lost credibility, though still raking in their millions I notice, Mr Socialist Blair.

Waiting takes the vanity out of things

It has been good for us to wait these last six months.  Yes, I personally longed for Article 50 to be invoked immediately in July, but I can now see the wisdom of not doing so.  I’m a naturally impatient person, but I know the very world we want to do business with post-Brexit is watching, and we need to be – and be seen as – trustworthy, law-abiding and thorough. The prize, I think, will be worth the wait.

Time discovers truth in my coaching practice too.

It may take years of discomfort for a potential client to finally accept that they cannot blank things out for ever, or fix things on their own.  The cracks get wider, the unhappiness can no longer be shouted down. Truth will out.

Time and again, that’s when the call comes – “Andrew, I think I need to come and see you” – and for my part, waiting for that moment makes working with that client so much more successful. The inner protests, the denials, the confusion, the medication, the disappointment are now revealed as what they are: cover-ups, painkillers.  The need to discover – or accept – the truth overtakes the embarrassment of having a need that cannot be satisfied by short-term, shallow fixes, or toughing it out. The painkillers are no longer working.

Thankfully there comes a time when the waiting is over, when the truth has become evident, when the cracks no longer respond to Polyfilla or being papered over.  We’re beginning to see that in the EU as outgoing president Martin Schulz said today that the EU is “hamstrung”.

If you feel like that here at the beginning of 2017 (or know someone close to you who is) it may be time to do something about it.  Here’s the number 0777 163 1945 or email me at andrew@powerchange.com.

And have a Happy New Year.

Andrew.

 

 

 

 

Inevitable Success – the reason I coach.

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“What is success?” the man leading the seminar asked brightly, wanting some audience participation. I put up my hand, and along with several other participants, gave my answer. “The inevitable result of being human.”  I knew it wouldn’t be regarded as a normal answer, but I want success now, a lot  –  and I want to use today’s successes as a springboard to more rewarding ones – and not just my own successes. My definition guarantees me success every day, and makes me aware of how natural success is for us all.

Success is inevitable.

You cannot help but achieve your deepest goals. Without knowing it, you succeed. Look close enough and you’ll find you’re a success.  Every day. Pretty much all the time!  

Here are some of my successes (though not in chronological order!)  Waking up.  Talking to my family. Cuddling my children and grandchildren. Breathing. Doing my emails. Writing this blog. Cooking breakfast. Laughing at a TV programme. Doing some reading. Having a bath. Walking. In fact I’ve succeeded so many times today it is so normal to succeed that I’m completely unaware of how much of a success I am.

However, your deepest goals may not be so obvious. You might be missing them. Even embarrassed by them.

Less obvious success…

Here are some successes that people have that they may not want to own up to:  

  • Backing off. Being successful at making sure they don’t need courage.
  • Avoiding potential pain by staying within safe, risk-free limits.
  • Never experiencing rejection (by not putting themselves in a relationship where that could happen, or by making sure they themselves do the rejecting first.) 
  • Staying an emotional child. (There are plenty of people out there looking to mother the emotionally needy.)

Perhaps you’ve successfully taken whatever decisions you need to make absolutely sure you never stand out in the crowd. Solution: keep your head down and your mouth shut.

It is easy to make sure you never fail an exam. Simply never take one. Success!  

You need never fear mockery.  Never ever come up with anything original.

You need never fear being made redundant or getting the sack. Simple: resign at the earliest opportunity, or don’t take the job in the first place! 

But of course, such dubious success is linked to other dubious successes – successfully avoiding responsibility for your life and future for example.  And that means other people will begin to take over what you could contribute, and you will become poorer, more isolated, more vulnerable and more depleted. Some successes can produce unwelcome results.

What do you WANT to want?

Time to dig deeper. (As you know, I don’t do shallow.)  

Do you REALLY want what you’re getting out of life at the moment? What do you WANT to want? What WELCOME outcomes?

What are you prepared to go for, to sacrifice for (everything in life has a price), in order to get an outcome you’ll be PROUD OF?  

What is the next step for you?

From the day I stepped out from behind my mummy’s skirts to do something on my own, fear and courage have fought for supremacy. As I stepped out, eventually courage won.

My job is to make sure all these years later that courage continues to win, not just for me, but for you too.  

YOU are the reason I choose to coach.    Here are some others. 

 

 

 

Feel Like You are on a Lead?

The only reason, it seems to me, that we tame an animal is for our benefit. To have it work for us, feed us, entertain us, rescue us, protect us, guide us – or for use as a pet, a cuddly toy, or a plaything, or to bet on its performance. Of course we look after it and care for it, but it has no real choice.

‘Tamed’ is for animals …

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Feel like you are on a lead? Trapped? Tamed? That isn’t what you were designed for. (c)www.dailymail.co.uk

… NOT people. How many men and women do you know who have been tamed – by their wife, partner, husband, children, parents, boss, school, college, or professional body?

Tamed: Brought into line. Forced to comply. Bullied into submission.  “So break their spirit. Trick them into being controlled. Without them realising until it is too late.”

And there is always a plausible excuse: Order. Safety. Control. The Money.  “It’s for the best.”

How have you been tamed?
Emasculated. Enslaved. Indentured. Dehumanised. Handcuffed to a job, a way of life, a habit, a culture, a partner, a pay cheque, a trauma, a professional body, a thought pattern. Brought under control. Subject to the will, whim or pleasure of another. Tamed by greater power, physical violence, pain, fear, psychotherapeutic drugs, a court, money. Think about it.

In people, tame is not good. You were designed to be free, able to choose at least something of your destiny, without others interfering, limiting, cracking the whip, or writing an unnecessary prescription. Designed to be free, not impoverished or imprisoned, or chemically coshed.

Weakness tames us, whether caused by any of the above, or by poverty, ignorance, violence, shame, or injustice.

Powerchange, on the other hand does the opposite. The Powerchange team is here to strengthen, liberate, and educate you. To free you. Our therapeutic coaching moves people out of the grip of shame, injustice and life-taming drugs (however well-intentioned the prescription) and, yes, clients ARE shocked when they realise how straightforward it was to ‘come free’, and how staying free is not a burden.

If this blog echoes with you, if you have found yourself on a lead, living a tamed life, surrendered, snared or struggling to resist (or snarling behind the bars) then please call me. Call me on my Direct Access number: 07771631945, or email andrew@powerchange.com.     Let me help you find your hidden power.

And if you are free but have a friend or colleague who you suspect is being or has been tamed, whisper the word ‘Powerchange’ into their ear. Whisper it slowly “P-o-w-e-r-ch-a-n-g-e”and link us up – you’ll know how best to do that.

Persistent happiness?

K3 Solutions available here icon
K3 – the ‘Big Three’ killers. Thankfully there are viable and fast solutions available today – and you don’t need a prescription.

As you know, I cannot bear the fact that so many people live with persistent UN-happiness, and part of my mission in life is to be a relief worker in the world of emotional pain.  But I’m also concerned about people, me included, being persistently happy. For me it would imply that my life is wishy-washy, unchallenging, boring.  Life is about experiencing the ups and downs of emotion.  During the tough times we develop emotional and spiritual muscles (and often physical ones) and that keeps us fit and healthy. Muscles that are rarely used soon atrophy, or become easily strained. Ask any athlete.

However there is a difference between experiencing unhappiness and being overwhelmed by it or never knowing relief. Both are traumatic. Both are damaging psychologically for different reasons.  We pick up the belief in these times that we are trapped and have lost any ability to control, and that is what does the damage. Trappedness is another evidence of not being in control. It is a killer. It leads to the K3, the Big Three Killer emotional dis-eases: Worthlessness, Helplessness, and Hopelessness. Experienced together for any length of time, they bring a desire to permanently escape the trap – ultimately through a conscious choice of suicide or behaving oddly, or sometimes by our bodies taking over and making an unconscious choice on our behalf to free us from the pain via terminal illness or the use of other sorts of emotional pain relief: alcohol, sex, food, legal and illegal drugs, obsessive endorphine production, distraction techniques, etc. When we stop them the pain returns, so we become addicted to them.

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of K3, do something about it now before the dis-ease ends up as serious illness. There is plenty of evidence now associating emotional trauma with serious physical illnesses. The good news is the downward spiral CAN usually be halted and then reversed by a skilled specialist. There are all sorts of ways of doing this, but it is rare for people to be able to coach themselves through them because we do not see our lives so clearly from the inside, and of course if we had known the answer we would have done it ages ago.

‘The sooner the better’ is the important thing to remember here. Time IS of the essence, because as the self-destruct process bites there is a stage beyond which (or in places of the body where) the physical damage may be so extensive that recovery is not so straightforward.

If you suspect that Powerchange can be part of the answer, just get in touch. We’re here to help.

Shrapnel. Unexploded bombs. What’s your story?

Working with a company this week or so I have spent seven days coaching just twenty two people. They came from ten different nationalities. Thankfully the company has a very enlightened approach to performance coaching, accepting that lives are not compartmentalised and that what happens on the inside profoundly affect the outside. We’re working on both of course because performance matters in these straitened times, but inside comes first.

Time revealed truth, as it eventually seems to do. Just three of them, maybe four, had a reasonably secure happy past. Most were doing their very best to live well despite the past, yet had jumped to unhelpful conclusions about life in general and their lives in particular – conclusions that were affecting and reflected in their day to day perceptions of the world, their company, their performance and their relationships. All of them were sincere thoughtful genuine people.

Most were experiencing significant emotional pain with bits (sometimes seriously debilitating chunks) of life’s shrapnel still lodged in hard-to-get-at places in their thoughts. Some were tiptoeing round ‘unexploded bombs’ in their lives. With each, and with the tenderest of touches, together we collaborated in that ‘access and removal’ process. With the shrapnel now dealt with and the bombs defused – and the associated emotional infection being treated – those amazing, hard-working and committed people will be able to achieve a better version of ‘best’ for themselves and the company, and build their entire futures differently, on a much safer and more trustworthy foundation.

The glad-or-sad thing about this is that for most (some will definitely need more time) it took just a two hour or so session to achieve this.  Glad we could do it so efficiently, with little pain and only a few tears. Sad that we weren’t together to do it ten years ago. At least their futures now look less trapped by the past and will require less determination and inner fight. From this week they will be able to live more kind to themselves and each other.

There is already a different atmosphere emerging, with more open (and lighter) faces. What a difference that will make to the fortunes of this passionate and award-winning company full of such treasure-able and highly intelligent people!

And then there’s your story. I’m waiting to find out what the next chapter holds.

Two of my top mentors

It’s a con. You don’t need confidence to do things.  You need unstoppable determination. I’ve learned that again this week from two of my top mentors.

Katie and Joseph's temporary laboratory. Mine too.

I’ve spent the last week or so watching them learning to do new things. In the last year these two obsessed little toddlers have gone from only being able to suckle and cry to walking, learning a new language, mimicking adults, collaborating with complete strangers, performing stand-up comedy, learning building techniques and mastering their own version of ‘sales skills’.

There’s no stopping them. From early morning till early evening, with a hour’s break or two in the middle, they’ve  been obsessed with experimenting to find out what works in life and what doesn’t, and how to get people to help them. They don’t know it but if they stop learning new things they’ll start to die.

Fearlessly they’ve climbed stairs (one step at a time), learned to get past anything in their way (one obstacle at a time), eaten unfamiliar foods (one spoonful at a time), and generally sucked life dry (one second at a time).

Not overly concerned about what people think, yet looking out for the admiration of anyone who happens to be in the vicinity, they’ve explored, exercised, and engaged, until they’ve collapsed in a weary heap and keeled over to sleep, after a final experimental session in the bath and a slow luxurious bedtime drink tucked in somewhere comfortable.

Self-confidence? It never occurs to them that they might need such a thing (if it ever existed.) They wake up each morning at 5.30 dying to get going and have a boredom threshold of 20 seconds. Probably less. They never know whether they can do something or not when they start, are completely unfazed to find they CAN’T when they start, and keep going regardless till they can. They then practice for a while and move on to the next challenge. From time to time they go back to what they know they can do, practice again, then move on.

I’ve learn a lot this Christmas. From Katie and Joseph.

Lesson 1.  Learning is the most natural, exciting – and essential – process in the world.

Lesson 2. If you reward them with smiles and people can see you’re making every effort, those people will help you.

Lesson 3. EVERYTHING you learn can help you get a better life, even the painful things. Especially the painful things.

Lesson 4. Or you can give up, lie whimpering in your cot and have someone change your nappy. So sad.

Whatever you get to play with this year, stay curious and learn all you can.

Happy New Year.

Thinking Hurts

Here in Powerchange HQ we are currently doing some deep thinking. Like many other people, we want to make the world a rewarding and happy place to live in, with you and me able to enjoy the freedoms that are the privilege of responsible people.  We want our deep thinking to pay off, to be worth it, to be useful – to WORK for us all!

It always does, given time. In a world of instant messaging, fast food and 20 Tweets a day, (and that’s without the call of work, family, travelling, and sleep) most of us do not take the time to think, not least because thinking hurts. It hurts in several ways, but hurt it does.  If you want to go deeper, mine a richer seam of thought-gold, or lead others to a stronger place in their thoughts, be prepared. Thinking hurts because of…

Conflict. People who want to think beyond the confines of everyday life will meet unresolved conflict within themselves. No one I have met has a fully resolved life. No one understands everything. There is always a vast scope of opposites that, at least initially, appear at war with each other, and thinkers have the courage to allow them into their lives and give those opposites time to become friends. Conflict is part of our human experience and, like human beings themselves, it is available in all sorts of shapes and sizes. I’ve found that a willingness to engage with these opposites has a maturing effect on my life, bringing depth and strength.

Creativity. In the same way as human thinkers arrive in this world through the pain of childbirth (though the initial creativity itself is generally a most pleasant experience!) so each new idea, each new concept is born out of old ideas that are stretched beyond comfortable limits. It hurts to give birth to new ideas, not least via the reception they initially receive. A new baby, however welcome, disturbs for ever the home into which it arrives. It demands to be paid attention to, it calls out in the middle of the night. It gets its parent up in the early hours so that it may be fed and ‘changed’. (Interesting parallel that, and the feeding and changing seems to be never-ending!)

And thinking hurts because it involves cremation. In the same way that, in many countries, forest fires are now understood to be essential for the regeneration of the very trees they burn up, thinking cremates old ideas so new ones can develop.  Often those new ideas cannot arrive until AFTER the burning. It is not that we have the new thoughts and the old ones then die away. The old ones, even though they are living and active, must die to provide a seedbed for the new.  For a time we are at a loss, but eventually new thought drives its way into the visible world like shoots that are forced up by the life within them into the space left by the razed forest. Without that cremation there will be no new growth.

Thinking hurts because it is compelling. In my experience, just like that human baby, it has a life of its own. New thoughts WILL be born, and we WILL be affected.  Our normal everyday lives WILL be upset.  People WILL think I am slightly odd, or worse! And just like a human child, the mature thought may bear only a very little resemblance to the original idea.

However, I want to encourage you:

Firstly, it’s worth it because of the deep joy and satisfaction in the birth, the cultivation and harbouring of new thinking. There is so much reward in the experiencing and overcoming of that inner conflict, becoming a proud parent  in the mutual creation of a new idea (new ideas come through engaging with something beyond yourself), coming through the fire and feeling the compulsion.

Secondly, it’s worth it as the results of your thinking change the world for the better. Like every worthwhile skill, thinking takes practice.  Our brains get better at it and the plough is able to cut a deeper furrow. Better quality thinking results in deeper insights, greater clarity and more useful practical solutions to the challenges of the world.

Three thousand years ago a poet wrote, “Sorrow endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Or as an old African elder once said, “As surely as the Lord paints the sunsets, the dawn will come.” When it comes to thinking deeply, we can be quietly reassured that thinking may hurt and hurt a lot, but just like the dawn, the answers DO come and if we will endure they are well worth any discomfort.

An Imperfect Leader? Perfect.

Follow a leader who walks with a limp, the man said.

Really?

Yes, a leader who walks with a limp has a respect for the trail and has to pace himself. He won’t rush on ahead of you. He has also discovered his own limitations and so will understand yours.  However he has recovered sufficiently to overcome them, and will help you do so too.

Good leaders are not those who have immaculate suits and a PR team.  They are those who know what it is like to have sleepless nights, financial pressure, physical pain, and rejection, and have emerged from these trials “better, not bitter.”

I wouldn’t want to follow a leader who is fearless, either. I want to follow people who are courageous. A person who is fearless cares nothing for  danger. A courageous leader knows how important it is to recognise danger, accept it and determinedly move beyond it.

No, give me an imperfect leader any day, one who has been humbled by the acceptance of his or her own limitations, and has set about dealing with them; a leader who has matured beyond the buccaneering, devil-may-care, immature attitudes evident in those who have not yet sufficiently hurt.

In January this year I had a motorbike accident that could have cost me my life, or at least a long spell in an orthopaedic hospital. The accident wasn’t my fault (the ‘other side’ admitted full responsibility) but I hurt a lot for many weeks, and still do. In a split second it matured my motorbiking experience, making me more aware of others’ limitations, not least of see me coming! So what have I

Crossing the Lysbotn Pass in Norway.
Crossing the Lysbotn Pass in Norway.

done in response to that accident? I’ve fitted daytime riding lights to give others a better chance of seeing me; I now ride maybe 5 mph slower to give them that bit of extra time and distance to adjust; and I generally avoid riding in twilight on unfamiliar roads. Yes, the excruciating pain I initially experienced and the subsequent permanent injuries have changed me. Sometimes, when my ankle is really sore, I even walk with a limp.

So when it comes to biking that might just be, well, …

… perfect?

Terror at Two (and a half) and a Miracle at Fifty-Something.

I worked with a client recently (we’ll call her Janny) who, at the age of two and a half was rushed into hospital with peritonitis. Her life was saved (obviously) but the trauma she experienced at that tender age has powerfully formed her whole life:

A little child in hospital in the 50s.
A little child in hospital in the 50s.
  • She has lived with a ‘gut-level’ fear, pretty much every day since then – that’s five decades.
  • She has felt a way-out-of-perspective sense of responsibility for other people’s well-being since then
  • She has felt the need to control her world since then

So WHAT is all that about?

A little girl (particularly a bright one as she is) has learned a lot about life by two and a half. However she has not learned about the life-threatening potential of peritonitis or how to handle being separated from a secure home.  She was literally taken from her parents, put in an ambulance and rushed to hospital, where a houseman took one look at her and pulled a ‘shocked’ face – which at her young age she interpreted as fear. (It probably was!) Little children are brilliant at picking up the cues from adults and taking them on board. She certainly did. Janny has been very frightened for 50 years.

In the bed next to hers she could see another little girl “hanging from the ceiling” was how she described it to me, but of course we rationalised it as ‘on traction’ as we talked.  Janny at 30 months, didn’t know what traction was, or that hospitals are there to help, or that the little girl like her in the next bed WOULD soon go home. All she figured out was her limbs were ‘hanging from the ceiling’ and she was hurting. Janny was overwhelmingly worried about her, and powerless to help.  (Empathy at her age?  You bet.) From then on Janny has found it incredibly difficult to live with the thought of anyone being in pain, and spent her life trying to relieve it in others – at huge personal cost.

She didn't know.
She didn't know.

And no one explained to her that that her mummy and daddy would eventually be allowed in to see her and she would eventually go home, nor that the little girl in the next bed would too. Five weeks separated in the stark clinical environment of a 1950s hospital with starched white nurses and clinical procedures is ‘for ever’ for a little girl.  You can imagine what that kind of separation must feel like. Or perhaps you can’t unless you’ve experienced it.   I haven’t.

When she was better and allowed to leave hospital, she was physically recovered and emotionally scarred, potentially for life.  Until this week, when we sat together in a restaurant and in an hour or so added in the essential ingredients that turned that experience from poison to profit.

Just for the record, I used various Powerchange personal coaching tools that you can pick up and use for ever from our GOLD Coach Training programme once you’ve been trained. They work seamlessly with clients, but you need to learn how they work and how to use them:

  • Personal Revaluation Process to increase her self-worth so she felt strong when working with me
  • Psychological Anaesthetic so she would be able to recall the incident freely and without it hurting again
  • Memory Reformatting to convert the experience from a debilitating trauma into a hugely powerful asset that will empower her way into the future so that she could get her life back on course again.

I didn’t use the Pre-Retroflection tool as I didn’t have time, but you could always ask me about it!

The great thing is you can work what used to be called a miracle with Auto Response Psychology. These days I believe in miracles more that I ever have. We see them so often on our Powerchange training courses and in our coaching, but tend to call them ‘interventions’ or a ‘rewire’ or something else.

Frankly, I suspect Janny will be perfectly happy to call it a ‘miracle’ when she wakes up each morning.