Blog

High and Deep

Mountains are beautiful, magical giants.

Up there, you see the world differently, you see your life differently.

Up there, you get closer to Earth and Nature, day and night, at sunset, moonrise or sunrise.

Up there, you disconnect from the restlessness of the world, and reconnect to your essence, to what’s true and important to you.

Up there, you get quiet, you get humble, you get grateful, you get back to your individual humanity, and to our collective humanity.

Up there, you don’t DO, you just BE, and feel alive.

Up there, you get power and inspiration and take it back into your life, for more impact.

If mountains inspire you, and you are on a self-discovery journey to grow you impact in the world, join Michaël Delouis and myself for a High and Deep coaching experience in the mountains, Oct 6th to 9th.

We only have 2 spots left.

Note: these pictures were taken in the Alpes last week during my time off, our High and Deep experience will be in the Pyrénées with different but also beautiful and magical views.

The Sun goes down AND the buds are about to blossom

Photo by Evan Bernache – March 23rd

Usually, when something as disrupting as the Russian invasion of Ukraine, or before that covid, my automatic is to take a step back, to retreat in my (over)thinking, my feelings, my experience, not knowing what to do, what to say, just observing. Then, when I have processed, I come back to the surface.

This post is me coming back to the surface and my intention is to bring it through the lens of sharing my thought process, with the hope that it may resonate one way or another with some of you, not through the lens of this is what to do.

When Russia invaded Ukraine and started a war, my first reaction was to question everything I was doing in my work as a coach, which is primarily to invite myself and my clients in a world of possibilities, to create the life they truly desire, the leadership that would have a bigger impact, the relationship that would fulfill them, and anything more than the status-quo. But suddenly, this became meaningless : what’s the point when a country is being destroyed next door?

Many questions were going (and are still going) on my mind: should I continue to post as usual, as if nothing is happening ? How come we are more concerned now than with what’s been happening elsewhere in the world for years (on this one, I guess the proximity makes sense, we get more affected when close (geographically, culturally, etc…) people are impacted than when more distant people are impacted, and there is probably the fear of being more directly impacted if we are honest), should I speak up, should I support, what’s the right thing to say, what’s the right thing to do ?

I started to consider the idea of accommodating refugees but although I felt the desire to do so, I noticed some resistance to make the final leap. It’s not a bog deal to just have people at your home right?  But my automatics came into play, the fear of the unknown and of not being in control  (how is it going to go, for how long, in which state will these people be, etc…).

I brought that to my coach to explore, without trying to fix, just to be able to distinguish and choose.

I distinguished that all these thoughts were inside a right / wrong context (is it right to speak-up and wrong not to, is it right or wrong to continue one’s life/business as usual? ) and an either / or context (either it’s right, either it’s wrong).

I noticed my usual overthinking pattern that is showing up everywhere, trying to imagine how everything can go, trying to manage and control, wanting to know how everything will go before deciding, etc… Nothing wrong with this pattern, it had me become successful in my life so far… and it is also getting in my way to grow to the next level, to bring more possibilities to life.

Reflecting on that, I felt drawn to move forward with accommodating refugees, I saw in this a breakthrough in trust and in relationships, stepping into the unknown. So I chose, not from guilt but from empowering what I was feeling, to just take action, and see from there, rather than spend more time trying to imagine and predict. My wife was already ready, so we signed-up and welcomed a mum and her 3 daughters into our home. Not because it is right and you are wrong if you don’t do it, just because it felt like the next step for me/us in this place, in this moment.

In the 2 weeks they have been with us, I (re)learned to communicate with a mix of gestures, mimes, tone of voice and google translate, with the sometimes awkward, sometimes funny moments of not understanding each other (only the teenage girls speak a little English). I witnessed my 3 boys being so graceful in this experience, being surprisingly at ease with this despite the fact that 2 of them let their room and the 3 of them are packed on some mattresses in the same room, playing ping-pong, doing magic tricks and sharing Instagram contact info 😊. Different from the usual brothers fights/arguments that were running most of their days. And I witnessed this brave family just moving forward however they can with what they have, not knowing how the future will unfold for them.

What I get from all this is to BE, BE WITH and BE IN ACTION.

BE in my essence, coming from compassion, curiosity and harmony, rather than fear, judgments, survival mechanism,  right/wrong, etc…

BE WITHBOTH AND” rather than “EITHER/OR”. BE WITH the sadness, anger, unfairness that come from that war AND the energy and momentum I am feeling in my life and business, the possibilities that still exist for me, my clients, and the world. Embracing the complexity of the world and its humanity, outside of Black or White. Like on the picture I took this week, the sun goes down leaving us at dark for a while AND in the meantime, the buds are about to blossom at the front.

BEING IN ACTION, aligned with who I am, who I want to be, not from judgment and guilt, but from possibilities and essence.

The Ukrainian family is likely to leave next week into a place they found to rent. How will I/we move forward from there, I don’t know. The same questions and thoughts will probably show-up again. And it’s OK.

SELF-AWARENESS and doing my own work is where I choose to start, trusting that with it the next step will unfold naturally, aligned with who I am and who I want to be in the world.

With Compassion and Faith,

CARE, COMMITMENT and CONTENTMENT

Photo taken during a hike in the French Alpes

3 important C’s toward success and fulfillment that I personally use:

–       CARE: how much do I care about that thing I want to achieve, that mountain I want to climb? Why am I doing it, what for? What am I looking for in achieving this? Can I connect to the bigger picture of it, to what it is bringing to me, to the impact it has on others and in the world. Who do I care for in the process? Taking a look at what and who I care about beyond the things themselves also helps me prioritize and refocus when I have too many things to deal with. The more I can connect to what I care about, the easier it gets to move forward.

–       COMMITMENT: Commitment is the fuel that moves us forward in the face of fear, adversity, discouragement, fatigue, doubts. It is the principle that no matter what, we will continue to climb up the mountain on the way to the summit, to create what is important to us, what we care for, and not take the easy way out. So I regularly  ask myself: Am I committed, really committed?  If not, what’s in the way of fully committing ?

–       CONTENTMENT: Contentment brings me back to the present moment, appreciating what I have, rather than focusing on what I don’t have or what I haven’t achieved yet. While Commitment brings more of a “push through” energy, of effort, Contentment brings more of a “flow” energy, of letting go, of non-attachment, and peace. It enables me to focus and enjoy the journey and not only the destination.

In a nutshell, Commitment and Contentment in service of what I Care about.

What do you see for yourself in this?

Take care,

JUMPING INTO 2022 WITH CHILDLIKE WONDER

My son Elio embodying freedom, enthusiasm, creativity, power and unlimited possibilities.

It’s easy to get caught up in the seriousness of things, of life, of projects, of goals, of achieving, etc… And it’s easy to take things for granted and be blasé/jaded.

So as we are heading in 2022, I wish you:

– Enthusiasm

– Energy

– Freedom

– Creativity

– Inspiration

– Magic

– Unlimited possibilities

– To not be so serious

– To let yourself be surprised (by your closed ones, your colleagues, your clients, by the unknown, by life …)

– To let yourself be filled with wonder

– To be grateful

– To live rather than just exist

Yes to goals and achieving,

And yes to life and wonder along the way !

I took this picture of one of my sons during the holidays and it so represents this feeling of freedom, enthusiasm, creativity, power and unlimited possibilities. What would coming from that place make available in your life?

“The world will never starve for want of wonders; but only for want of wonder.” (G.K. Chesterton)

I wish you a happy and healthy year 2022, filled with Childlike Wonder.

Take care,

INSPIRATION

My Why, my What for, my Word in the box, to which everything boils down, and that I commit to embody is INSPIRATION.

To me, Inspiration encompasses the following elements:

  • Generating a Spark out of possibilities (an awareness, an insight, an idea, an aspiration, a commitment, a dream, a life purpose, or just the next tiny step,…)
  • Inviting Action and giving Momentum to transform this spark into reality
  • Encouraging and Being a stand all along the way and in the face of fear and adversity

 I printed this word, and I added the 2 ways arrows because Inspiration is a two ways commitment: to inspire others, we first need to be inspired.

And although inspiration can come on its own, being inspired is also a choice. I have become more present lately to the fact that I could choose to be inspired despite the circumstances and despite my mood.

Here are some ways to not be inspired

  • Being at the effect of circumstances
  • Not empowering decisions
  • Thinking that what we do is “the right way” (aka better than others)
  • Envying those who have more success
  • Listening to agree or disagree rather than listening for an insight
  • Being skeptical (I’m not sure)
  • Being cynical (this is bullshit)
  • Being too attached
  • Falling into resignation
  • Not taking care of ourselves and our well-being
  • Being overwhelmed
  • Not loving ourselves
  • Not believing in ourselves
  • Not trusting ourselves

Here are some ways to not inspire others

  • Not being inspired ourselves (see above)
  • Being out of integrity (thoughts, words and actions not aligned)
  • Not being vulnerable
  • Pretending we have it all figured out
  • Not being responsible for our impact
  • Denying our humanity
  • Not being a stand for them
  • Not challenging them
  • Not caring for them
  • Not believing in them
  • Not trusting them

If you choose to be inspired by this post, what insight will you get for yourself?

What would shift if you committed to inspiration, both ways, on a daily basis?

Take care,
 

Evan

LEADERSHIP IS

Here are some various, different and sometimes contradictory quotes I have read about leadership over time:

  • Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality
  • Leadership is to exercise initiative and influence
  • Leadership is to create more leaders, not more followers.
  • Leadership is not measurable, followership is à evaluate leadership through the measure of followership
  • Leadership is to go first.
  • Leadership is to put the best ahead and go last to make sure no one is left behind
  • Leadership is about unlearning management and re-learning being Human
  • leadership is a choice, not a position
  • Leadership is everybody’s business
  • Leadership is communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they come to see it in themselves.
  • Leadership is the enabling art
  • Servant leadership is to set up the conditions of empowerment and then to get out of people’s way, clear their path and become a source of help as requested.

What if, as my friend Adam Quiney put it recently, Leadership was not a way to be, but the possibility of all ways of being?

What would that make available in your own role and your own life?

Take care,

Start with yourself

Photo by Jeremy Vessey on Unsplash

Last week, I attended a webinar during which the results of a survey were presented: 73% of leaders think they are engaging and motivating their people, and … 82% of their people disagree.

I connect this result to 2 things:

–         Blind spots: we all have blind spots, things we can’t see about ourselves and that can be revealed only by someone or something external (a survey, some feedback, a coach, …). According to this survey, most leaders clearly have a blind spot when it comes to their capacity to engage and motivate their people.

–         Intention vs Impact: I have no doubt that most of these leaders have a good intention, but their impact doesn’t align with their intention. And this statistic illustrates perfectly that we judge ourselves based on our intention, but others judge us based on our impact.

As leaders, it is critical to work on ourselves, to be aware of our blindspots and of our impact, before wanting to inspire and impact others. Our ego doesn’t like it but working on ourselves is what will inspire others to take a look at themselves.

And that is true in any area in life, at work, at home, in sport, in relationships.

How are you working on yourself?

How do you want to CREATE 2021?

How do you want to CREATE 2021?

It might sound awkward to some to create 2021, especially in these particular times where it’s easy to find ourselves at the effect of everything that is going on.

However, there is true power in CREATING, which is to give birth to something that was previously nonexistent. That is true for tangible products, projects but also for intangible things like the experience we want to have while producing these results or the experience of life we want to have.

When people are looking for, trying to find something, I like to ask them “what if instead you were creating it?” Words matter and the shift from finding to creating brings more empowerment and ability to be at cause as opposed to be at the effect of what we can or cannot find.

CREATING gets rid of the circumstances, of the past or history, of any preconception on how things should or should not be. There are infinite possibilities in creating.

Neal Donald Wash said that the deepest secret is that life is not a process of discovery, but a process of creation. That stuck with me. In my coaching journey I realized that I had been mainly in a process of discovering (then acting upon these discoveries or sharing them with others), with the assumption that there is one truth, one right way. I often went into positions with a mindset of “tell me how to do it and I’ll do it”. Even in the process of building my coaching skills and business, I initially went with the idea of learning and applying what was supposed to be. This was still in the frame of discovering. Shifting to really CREATING made so many more possibilities available, including creating my own art based on all the learning I took, the practice I did and the experience I had, and creating my own work (like a coaching and juggling workshop I am currently developing), from my creative power as opposed to replicating what others had done.

There is value in discovering anything and in discovering things about ourselves, our inner essence, values, things we care for, things we are sensible to, but the perspective of creating gives more range to tap into and therefore many more possibilities (actually infinite possibilities).

What if instead of trying to find out who you are, who you are supposed to be, you created YOU, in alignment with your values. What would that look like? What would that give you access to?

What I shared is also true in leadership. We usually tend to model the leadership we experience from our current and previous leaders or from books and it is hard just to think that we can actually take full ownership and create our own leadership. If that is of any interest to you, my Partner Jeff and I are launching our 2nd cohort of the LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE, an 8 weeks transformational experience like no other one that has proved very successful in its first edition in the fall, and you are kindly invited to take a look HERE or reach out to me to know more. It starts on February the 4th and seats are limited.

I wish you a wonderful, healthy, fulfilled and CREATED year 2021.

Take care,

POSSIBILITY Vs EQUATIONS

During our move back to Europe this summer, while putting things into order, I came across the report of the Master of Science in Fluid Mechanics I did at the end of my engineering school. It is hard to think that at one point I understood these equations.

Since then I have taken a path with no equations, except maybe Insight + Action = Results (that would be the high-level foundational equation of coaching).

Living with questions that have no right answers has however probably been the most challenging thing for me transitioning into coaching (both as a coach and as a coachee) and that I see in my clients, whether they are coaches or not. The tendency to constantly look for the right way to do things, to ask for and to offer solutions, the “should”, the strategies, the 7 steps plans or the declarations about how “we help X do Y so as to Z’” all illustrate in different ways this living in a world of equations.

These equations, whether describing our physical world or metaphorically describing the way we live, are useful, they have enabled a great deal of scientific progress and enable us to move forward in structured and often efficient way… until a certain point. Because they are also what keeps us stuck into a determinist way of thinking (the basis of an equation is to have a predetermined solution) with predictable outcomes. They prevent us from REALLY thinking outside the box, and seeing all the possibilities that exist outside of them.

That’s why so many people keep working at jobs that don’t fulfill them, stop dreaming and give up so many things and resign into a “that’s the way it is” mindset.

That’s the reason of the “Yes, but”, “You don’t understand”, “I don’t have time”, “I can’t afford it”, “I’m too young”, “I’m too old”, “I’m not good enough” and all other automatic responses that kill all possibilities right away.

And that is why I used to (and sometimes still do if I am honest) look for a reproducible way to coach (one of the main characteristics of an equation is that it describes a reproduceable reality and that is safe and controllable) whereas the biggest power of coaching resides in a deep presence in the moment, from where the next step will emerge in an unreproducible way, from one person to another and even from one session to another with the same person. Coaching, in a sense, requires to play outside of the equations that run our world.

Outside of the equations are Possibility, Creativity and Empowerment.

However, what it takes to access these is breaking the rules of our own thinking and that is confronting, triggering and bringing up resistance. Stepping into the unknown with no equation, no predictable outcome and no certainty to grasp on requires being vulnerable, letting go of control, leaning into Trust, having doubts but still moving forward, without being sure of what is going to come out of it, trusting that from there a new possibility will arise that you can’ t yet see. It requires risking to be said that what you are up to doesn’t make sense or is not reasonable and risking to fail. That can feel scary, is uncomfortable, and requires commitment, courage and support, but from there you can create so much more, and that is really empowering.  

What would be possible if you were starting to play outside of your known equations? Are you willing to take a tiny step to explore?