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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?

Are you looking Away From or At Fear?

During the summer, my wife and I took our 3 kids on our 1st family Via Ferrata in the French Alpes (a Via Ferrata is way to climb a cliff with a line to which you are attached all along for your safety, with some rungs into the wall in the difficult pathways, and it can be pretty impressive and physically challenging).  Our kids had a lot of fun … and also had to practice dealing with their fear, as did I (as much as I enjoy these activities, I still have some fear when hung into the void and only secured by a small carabiner…).

So, how do you deal with fear? You can look away from it or you can look at it.

Looking away from fear is what most of us do automatically. It is not wrong. When you are climbing a cliff, you are told to not look down. If you start feeling really scared, you’d better look up and focus on where you want to go as opposed to where you don’t want to fall. And that can definitely help you get out of it. However, it is often automatic (like when I was a kid and used to rush back from the dark scary basement after getting some food), therefore disabling your capacity to choose, and it leaves you with an unpleasant experience, which has you avoid it which will in turn reinforces the fear the next time you do it. It’s a vicious cycle. When that happens in areas of your life where you want to progress, you can see how this is getting in your way.

However, there is another way: you can look at Fear. You can look down in the via ferrata, take a deep breathe, and notice what you feel in your body, what sensations are there and just stay with it first, not doing anything but observe. What’s available with this is to see the fear dissolve and have you step into a state where fear is still there but you are not afraid anymore. This sounds counter intuitive but it only means that you still have body sensations but you are not afraid of staying there with them. You can then move forward with a sense of least resistance. Sometimes, you may even switch to enjoying it and feeling a sense of plenitude (that was my case when I practiced taking the time to look down before skydiving or bungee jumping instead of looking away from it). When you practice looking at fear, you learn to discover that you can be OK with this feeling (because in the end it’s no more than a feeling), it gives you a different experience that is less likely to turn you off, it builds your confidence and it encourages you to face more situation like this in life.

What’s challenging in this is that it requires to let go of control. But it’s deceptive. Our automatics are in a sense a way to keep us in control but it usually ends up not really being in control (ask my parents if I looked in control when as a kid, I was running all along the yard chased by wasps 😊). On the other end when, in the moment we decide to look at our fear, we let go of control, we actually get it back with a calmer and better decision-making ability.

Have you heard of the Fight or Flight reaction created by your amygdala in the primitive brain when facing a danger or when getting scared?  That’s great when you are attacked by a tiger or your life is in danger, less when you are just dealing with everyday life. Looking away from Fear will have you flight (run away as quick as you can) or fight (moving forward despite the fear but with a sense of push through and unpleasant effort that doesn’t want you to do this again).  When you are looking at Fear, you are offering yourself another option which I would call Flow in order to fit in the “F” theme. You are moving forward on a path of least resistance. Some mention the possibility to Freeze, when you just can’t do anything and stay still. This is actually be a great place to choose whether you want to Fight, Flight, or Flow.

Eventually, how does that apply to leadership and life?

When you are triggered in a conversation at work, when you are scared to speak in front of a board of directors, or in front of a new team when stepping into a new position, when Fear is preventing you from moving forward with your business (getting new, higher paying clients, creating fun projects, etc…), when you are nervous before a competition, see if you can notice the fear. Instead of looking away from it (reacting, shutting down, distracting yourself, finding reasons for which you can’t do what you want, etc…), see if you can embrace the fear. Notice what you feel in your body. You don’t have to fix anything, or push through, just feel what is there and observe. See if you can stay 1% more. Notice what’s available for you.

Looking away from fear is not wrong and can be useful sometimes. And, there is an opportunity to practice looking at fear, as a way to expand our range, notice what’s available, how this can help us be more at choice and move forward toward a more accomplished and fulfilled leadership and life, and in the end grow as a human being.

What’s scary for you at the moment? Can you stay 1% more with the feeling it brings and notice what’s available there?

Take care,

COACHING IS BOTH AND

Photo by Matt Howard on Unsplash

COACHING IS ABOUT BOTH:

Awareness and Action

Process and Outcome

Mean and End

Journey and Destination

Movement and Stillness

Doing and Being

Future and Present

Bigger LIFE and daily life

Big Dreams and tiny steps

Achievement and the Experience while achieving

The thing and our relationship to the thing

Getting out of the way and Being on the way

Breakdowns and Breakthroughs

Heart and Edge

Detachment and Stand

What is and What could be

POSSIBILITY and CHOICE

With Love,

THE END and THE BEGINNING

Photo by Jordan Wozniak on Unsplash

The last month has been pretty intense with the preparation of our move, a 3300 miles RV Road Trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National parks, which by the way was amazing, and eventually, our move back to Europe, all this in the midst of Covid-19. I’m currently in transition in France before going for our new adventure in Prague during the summer.

All this has impacted my usual routines, including my writing routine and I won’t get back to a normal writing practice until mid or end of August. For now, I just want to share what I am present to as we just ended our chapter in the US.

 

THE BIG LEAP

5 years ago, I took a big leap when I decided to quit my job to follow my wife to live in Michigan. As I reflect on that move, I did what I usually don’t do: jump into the unknown without any clear plan (or some ideas that actually didn’t end up fitting), just trusting that the next step would come naturally if I was willing to create some space and time for it to come. There was a mix of fear and excitement, a sense of freedom, and overall a sense of POSSIBILITY. I discovered the concept behind that word later in my coaching journey, but that’s what is was: jumping into the field of possibilities without knowing what would come out of it. As we end this chapter, I’m so grateful for what came out of it. Being away from home helped me reinvent myself, as a coach. I am still in this process of discovering myself and excited by what is coming, which I feel will be beyond just coaching. I had the opportunity to meet amazing people in this journey and am looking forward to developing further these relationships.

On a personal and family level, we got to discover more in depth a different country, a similar culture with differences (or a different culture with similarities), different ways of doing or being, new perspectives. What did I take away? We are all part of Mankind.

I am grateful this was made easier by the safety of my wife’s income. And I’m not suggesting you to do the same. However, if you are at a point in your life with more questions than answers, I’m inviting you to trust that there is something different possible outside of what you know. The unknown is the field of Possibilities, outside of our comfort zone.

 

THE END

Creating something new in our life requires to make some space for it and to let go of other things: our comfort, our routines, some beautiful places and pleasant moments, some work opportunities and much more. And that’s hard. But it’s part of the game of life. And counter intuitively, putting an end to something give its more power. It gives it its wholeness. It’s like with a good book or TV show: you don’t want it to end, and yet it wouldn’t be so powerful if it never ended. Feeling the heartbreak of ending something makes us more present to the fact it was wonderful, which is easy to not see or take for granted when we are into it. Leaving the quality of life that we had and the friends we made during these 5 years is heartbreaking. And it also means and emphasizes that it was beautiful.

 

THANK YOU

Eventually, I want to thank each and every one I had the opportunity to meet in Michigan, friends, business owners, community people. Thank you for welcoming us in your world. If you happen to visit Europe someday, let me know, I’d be happy to help you prepare the trip and why not see you over here.  Anyway, I hope we can stay connected virtually.

Thank you also to those in France who stayed connected and followed our adventure, and even shared a bit of it with us for some of them. We are happy to come back closer to you.

 

THE BEGINNING

The next chapter is about to start, a new leap into the unknown. It feels less unknown as I will stay on my coaching journey but the less I try to imagine how it is going to be, the more I surrender to whatever is going to show up, the more exciting it is. I’ll continue to share and hopefully inspire some of you to create the life you really want. By then, I will be in this “In between” space, working AND enjoying my time in France, my move and my vacations.

Take care,

Once there lived a village of creatures

pikrepo.com

“Once there lived a village of creatures along the bottom of a great crystal river.

The current of the river swept silently over them all – young and old, rich and poor, good and evil, the current going its own way, knowing only its own crystal self.

Each creature in its own manner clung tightly to the twigs and rocks of the river bottom, for clinging was their way of life, and resisting the current what each had learned from birth.

But one creature said at last ‘I am tired of clinging. Though I cannot see it with my eyes, I trust that the current knows where it is going. I shall let go, and let it take me where it will. Clinging, I shall die of boredom.’

The other creatures laughed and said, ‘Fool! Let go, and that current you worship will throw you tumbled and smashed across the rocks, and you will die quicker than boredom!’

But the one heeded them not, and taking a breath, did let go, and at once was tumbled and smashed by the current across the rocks.

Yet in time, as the creature refused to cling again, the current lifted him free from the bottom, and he was bruised and hurt no more.

And the creatures downstream, to whom he was a stranger, cried ‘See, a miracle! A creature like ourselves, yet he flies! See the Messiah, come to save us all!’

And the one carried in the current said, ‘I am no more Messiah than you. The river delights to lift us free, if only we dare let go. Our true work is this voyage, this adventure.’

But they cried the more, ‘Saviour!’, all the while clinging to the rocks, and when they looked again he was gone, and they were left alone making legends of a Saviour.”

— From Illusions, by Richard Bach

What are you clinging to?

What if you dared let go?

Take care,

 

 

 

What’s getting in the way is … THE WAY

Photo by Matt Duncan on Unsplash

Photo by Matt Duncan on Unsplash

“What’s getting in the way?” is a common question that can help identify what is preventing us to bridge the gap between where we are in our life, career or in our business and where we would like to be. While this question is very useful to identify roadblocks, internal limiting beliefs, and move more efficiently toward our goals, it shouldn’t hide the fact that, primarily, what’s in the way is … THE WAY.

To get where we want, we have to travel on the way. We might be able to run, find ideas and support to go even faster but we still have to travel on the way, we can’t just teleport directly there.

I am not so much pointing to the motivation part of this, like “creating something takes time” or “don’t give up, you just have to continue moving forward”.

I am pointing to the transformation part of it.  No one else can take us there. We need the internal process and sometime struggle that go along the way to create the internal transformation that will allow us to see what we couldn’t see, to do what we couldn’t’ do, and to become who we need to be to eventually move closer to our end game.

Receiving the information from someone who has already been there is not enough. We have to experience our own journey, go through the ups and downs, be scared and still move forward, enjoy the landscape, fall into holes, go sidetrack, get back on the way, and FEEL every part of it.

THE WAY can be frustrating (“If only I had understood this before…”). It’s just human.

As tempting as it can be to want to jump straight to the destination (“Just tell me how to do!”), there is a minimum distance to travel and a minimum transformation to happen to get there.

Because, intrinsically, what’ in the way IS THE WAY.

Take care,

You don’t need a lot of confidence, You need a little act of courage

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Photo by Sammie Vasquez on Unsplash

In one of my recent coaching sessions with a client, the fact that he was lacking confidence showed up. My initial reflex was to think “how can we build up his confidence?”, but I knew this would not make a real difference, this was not impactful coaching.

And then I remembered a phrase I read last week. I had probably heard that quote or a similar one in the past, but either I had overlooked it (meaning I had understood it intellectually/conceptually but it hadn’t clicked deeply and I had moved on without doing anything about it), either I had had an insight but then it had gone back into my own blind spots again (the second tricky part of blind spots is that after they became visible, they can actually become invisible again…). Last week, for some reason, it clicked.

You don’t need a lot of confidence; you need a little act of courage.

In any situation where you feel you lack confidence, you can work on building your confidence, with some positive affirmations or by listing all your past successes and that might be helpful, but will probably be limited (by the way for this to be the most efficient, you need to really FEEL (not think) that confidence deep inside).

Or you can shift your entire perspective of the situation and realize that you actually don’t need more confidence to take action. Instead, you can just act, and this will require some courage. It will feel scary and uncomfortable in the moment, which is why aiming at a little act of courage can help. This will be way more effective than to try to convince yourself that you are ready and confident enough (because chances are that you will never be), and, as a result, guess what, this will build your confidence.

It’s usually quicker and more efficient to act your way into a new way of thinking than to think your way into a new way of acting, but for overthinking/overpreparing people like me, it’s not natural and more challenging. That’s why I get some support from my own coach and why I’m also good at helping people like me do the same.

Now you might read this without deeply clicking and that’s OK. Maybe one day, you will, maybe not. The bigger picture here is that it is possible to shift how we see the world and this allows us to move more effectively toward our dreams, one small act of courage at a time. In a sense, that’s what coaching is about.

I’ll leave you with the following questions:

  • Where is a lack of confidence holding you back at the moment? What if you didn’t need more confidence but instead a little act of courage? What would that act of courage be?
  • And to open up to more possibilities, where else do you get stuck? How could you reframe the situation to move on?

If, maybe counter-intuitively, you think that now is the time to invest in yourself to get unstuck or move more efficiently toward creating the life, business or career you really want, reach out. I have a couple of 1 on 1 spots available. Maybe that’s the little act of courage that would make a difference for you.

Take care,