Recently, I have experimented with being in a place of not knowing and what shows up in my life. The other night, walking back from work I felt the urge to write what was coming up for me. I stopped on a bench on Orchard road and here is what I wrote in the moment:
“Nothing starts until I surrender to not knowing.
When I am in a place of knowing:
I feel knowing limits me in so many ways...
I hesitate talking to people I do not know, beautiful girls, people with powerful energy
I get all shaken up when things I really want to happen do not...why?...I had planned it all in my head :)
I take ownership of decisions that are not mine
I make so many assumptions, what if...
When running my business, I try to forecast all the situations and prepare as much as I can...yet how much of that is restricting my vision?
When I interact with others; how much of me is really showing up, how much is fake and what I am hanging on too?
Decisions...all these decisions I make every day, why are they so hard to make? What do I really need to know to make them? Don't I have everything already available to me to make them?
When I am in the knowing I am not including others...I think I am, yet it is all based on my perspective...
Not knowing, to me, brings:
When I am in a place of not knowing, I focus, I listen, I am me, I show up, everything becomes possible :)
The possibility to love...people for what they are and how they are showing up...situations I am in now (they only happen once, so why not notice them) ...myself now (the only version of me that truly exists)
Balance...my mind is calm...aware and open
The time to slow down...I am an observer and actor in the moment, it is easy to do both at the same time
So many perspectives that I cannot count them...there is so much more out there
Beauty...I am surrounded by beautiful things, landscapes and people...they feed me with their energy and insights
Freedom...to exist and share magical moments, to fully embrace the time that I have to experiment with life
Not knowing awakens my curiosity
Not knowing enlightens me”
A couple of years ago, I moved to a different city and that forced me to stop doing something I was passionate about: sports coaching. I had been coach to elite athletes between the ages of 11 and 18. I like to think that I was a fairly decent coach and in fact, I had quite a bit of success. Now, many people may think success is a reflection of the number of wins or championships a coach has under his belt. I must admit to having my fair share of wins and championships. In fact when my kids found my secret box of medals they immediately thought they had found a pirate’s treasure chest. However, wins and championships are part of what makes a coach successful, but it’s far from being everything.
Early on in life, I realized that there was always someone behind the scenes that helped champions rise to the top of their game. Behind every Gretzky, every Brady, every Ronaldo there was an organization, a staff and a coach. Everyone strived to support these elite athletes to help them develop to their full potential. As a result, these champions are renowned around the world for their accomplishments.
Everyone remembers a champion: from Cristiano Ronaldo’s numerous goals or Wayne Gretzky’s NHL records to Tom Brady’s accomplishments on the field or Roger Federer’s endless success, we never forget their prowess. It’s another ball game when it comes to remembering Alex Ferguson’s famous second half EUFA strategy call, Scotty Bowman’s Stanley Cup winning third period lineup or Bill Belichik’s Super Bowl winning fourth quarter offensive plan. In fact, many people might not even know who any of these coaches are and especially how they were instrumental to their team’s success. Why is that?
There are many commonalities between these coaches. One of the most important traits they share is that they quickly understood their role in the organization. Coaches are not on the field, they are not on the ice nor are they on the courts, the players are. This may seem like a simplistic observation, but it is often forgotten in the sports domain. Organizations become dynasties by aligning their efforts towards the same objective; which is basically to deliver a winning team. Again, this seems really obvious in the world of sports but not so much in the corporate world. Why?
Winning sports organizations have long understood that strongly supporting players on the field is by far the best investment they can make. There seems to be a simple understanding within these organizations: management is responsible for setting purpose, values, culture and mindset.
The coaching staff supports the team and the players are responsible for bringing everything to fruition. It’s a fairly basic framework when you think about it. The people at the top support the teams below and so on. Sounds like a simple framework right? Well, yes and no.
The reality as seen by the corporate world is slightly different than that of a sports organization. I believe this to be a simple matter of perspectives. What does it take to put this framework in place and turn your organization into a long lasting dynasty?
In short, a simple change in culture and mindset starting at the executive level.
Catch my next piece for a follow-up to this article: Building Your Way Down Towards Agile Organisations
I am in the process of reflecting on the year that is finishing and one of most important thing for me this year was finding places where I am truly curious. When I project myself there, I can have a lot more perspectives available and I am totally open to the world that surrounds me. These places I am talking about are in me, and at the same time they are places I have been physically, my body knows them. These are somatic experiences.
One of them is triggered by the energy that I feel when I am free-riding on my snowboard.
To me, snowboarding is something I really love to do and that I had access to it since a very young age. On my board, I am really relaxed, my senses are hyper sensitive and I have a huge amount of energy and empathy for what is around me. I fully embrace my environment and all the people in it. All this, whilst doing an activity that is fast, potentially dangerous, complex and tiring. My take on what is happening is that when I am on my snowboard I have a somatic resonance to who I really am. It is allowing my true energy to emerge.
Early this year, my coach helped me reveal such places and energy. We explored what was possible from there and how I can really show up with the people around me. Luckily I do not need snow to be in such perspective. As I am living in Singapore it would be very difficult for me to jump on a snowboard whenever I want.
With the help of my coach, I have developed a way to connect to that energy and, with practice I am now able to access it whenever I want. When I do so my thoughts settle, I gain clarity and the ability to choose how I receive information, how I react, what to do with the emotions that come up.
Over the year I have been integrating this energy in everything. It has not been easy. I cannot recall all the times I had to remind myself to stay curious and question what is really going on in the moment. Nevertheless, over the course of the last year, I can really see the changes. The way it has transformed me as a coach, how differently I show up and how I connect with people and teams. Areas of life where I felt stuck or in conflict have disappeared. I sense a lot more fluidity in everything I do. I feel much more connected.
I now invite you to come and find your own place of utmost curiosity. It is always an honor for me to be present when these places show up for you and to witness the transformations that follow.
Take a look at our specially designed programs Connected Leaders and Connected Agile and start your journey on the path to curiosity..
This morning, very early, I met a friend for a fun activity, she invited me to experience whispering to trees. To start she guided me through a mindfulness session in order to get in tune with my senses and slowly move to my heart. When I connected with my heart I felt a lot of peace and freedom; such a nice feeling. My friend then asked me to set my intension from that place and I chose to keep the connection with my heart. Once I opened my eyes everything felt so much sharper and a lot more details were visible to me. My friend then invited me to walk around and have a conversation with the nature around us (we were in a botanical garden so there was a lot of choices).
I slowly wondered around, and connected with plants and trees. It was fantastic to get in touch with some of them and explore what they had to say. The next thing I know I am walking through a bamboo forest and whilst I am exchanging with them I start to feel something in my feet. I noticed that I was walking on small rocks and that the pressure from them was like a massage through my shoes. As I felt so at peace I decided to take off my shoes (my protection) and continue walking. As I continue along the path I pondered what I was experiencing. What I noticed is that even if the path was very bumpy, as I was in such a peaceful place and walking slowly, I could still really enjoy the walk. The massage feeling was actually very nice. I also noticed that I had the choice on how bumpy the path could be as the rocks were organized in such a way that the left side of the path was with bigger rounder rocks and the right side had smaller sharper rocks. Stepping on the left allowed me to continue the walk on a bumpy and more comfortable path. The interesting thing is that I was attracted to be on the right side :)
Along the way I met an old lady that was also enjoying the rocky path, when we got close to each other we both stopped and our eyes connected. We did not exchange words and the smile we had on our faces said it all. I still have her smile in my mind as I am writing.
At the end of the path I put my shoes back on and walked on a much smoother path. What was fun is to still feel the massage of the smaller rocks. I still carry the happiness of having walked through that path and feel like I really loved that bumpy road. I noticed that I am walking much faster and much less attuned to what my feet are feeling. I learnt that in bumpy situations if I want to make the ride more enjoyable I better slow down…like a plane flying through turbulences.
I also learnt that with my heart at peace I can go through anything, enjoy it and see so much more.
The last takeaway of this experience is that I discovered a fantastic reflexology path in a park I often go and for some reason, until today, I had never seen. I feel blessed my friend offered me her time and space. She took me to a wonderful place and it allowed me to really feel the connection to my heart at peace. What a great way to start the weekend!
I wish you all a tremendous weekend.