All Posts in courage

September 3, 2021 - 4,099 comments

Slowing down to speed up

When was the last time you had nothing on your mind? 

I never used to. I always had something on my mind. Until recently, on a coaching retreat, when I intentionally created space both physically and mentally. I totally emptied my cup. 

When you are a high performer, it can feel uncomfortable to have nothing on your mind. It’s a busy life. There are things to do, figure out, build, oversee, plan for. 

If you are like me, chasing some of your impossible dreams, you’ve probably had moments where your cup felt so overflowing with things “to do” that you didn’t know what “to do”. And when you’ve got no space or time to think straight, everything becomes important… which means nothing is. 

When your cup is overflowing, you need to empty it and start again.  Or bring a much larger empty bowl and learn new tools, new practices and new perspectives in order to fill it.  Expand into a larger cup.  Otherwise, you remain stuck and overwhelmed with your little overflowing cup and never fill the space beyond it.

I learned that feeling overwhelmed is a high-quality problem. It means you are being invited to raise your awareness to a broader perspective and see your life from a higher viewpoint.   It means that soon enough this larger empty bowl could be filling up with new ways of being and operating.  It means that you are being invited to experience a new level of ease, grace and vitality you never could have attained from your little cup. It’s called growing and expanding.

I can do “speeding up”. At 14, I was a 100m finalist in the National Championships of Athletics. Metaphorically speaking, I’ve been sprinting my entire life. So, yes. I can really relate to people who like to move quickly. 

And yet here I was, in a moment of having nothing on my mind. The space created in a week of emptiness and stillness has been extraordinary. The type of experience I only read in books.

Science has proven that slowing down is essential to the process of “acceleration”.  Slowing down to speed up has been an elusive concept for a sprinter like me. 

Think of a Formula 1 racing car. Winning the race is dependent on slowing down from 240 mph to a complete stop in order to change tires.  Otherwise, the tires will inevitably wear out, shred or burst into flames. And as much as it doesn’t make sense to slow down, doing so is what makes the winning difference.  

So, those who think high performance in business is a constant state of “go” might need to watch more Formula 1 races to catch up on reality. Being a TRUE high performer means that you understand what it means to sustain your own vehicle instead of shredding your treads, burning out or losing your grip on the racetrack. 

And the more you’re a high performer, the more you need to hold your renewal zone - as sacred.  When we remember to go into our own renewal zone and give ourselves time and space to breathe, that is when we feel regenerated and can springboard back creatively, solving problems and having more energy for what’s next. 

This is why we co-created our own coaching retreat in Transylvania for our community of audacious leaders. To accelerate our work, our life and our mission by slowing down, renewing and regenerating.  To empty our cups and access our mind, heart and gut and come back ready to create the next level of success in our lives and careers. 

Understanding the true nature of acceleration is what has you win this life race... and we want you to win. 

ADA, August 2021

July 15, 2020 - 6,285 comments

Audacity – Dare to care and not care

During July 2020, here at Adaptaa, we have been exploring what it means to feel Confident. And what it means to feel Audacious, which is one step beyond confidence. It means taking risks, it means Dare TO Care, and knowing when to Dare AND Care and when to Dare and NOT care.  

Caring is a fundamental human skill, but if you don’t care enough about yourself, you cannot care about others. That’s the paradox of life. 

Confidence is NOT “They will like me.” Confidence is “I’ll be fine if they don’t.”

Humans are wired for social approval. We all like approval from others.  It’s OK to want approval, it’s called being human.  What’s NOT OK is NEEDING approval.  When you care so much about what other people think of you, what you're really saying is that “what you think of me, is more important than what I think of me”.

When you tell yourself that because others don't like you, it means there's something wrong with you, you give that person a lot more power than they deserve.  You need to learn that another person's opinion is just that - their opinion and that's all it is.  You must never give anybody that kind of power and control over you, because they will always have it. This is what I try to teach my kids, which is not an easy task, in the era of social approval and social acceptance measured by the number of likes on social media. 

There's a big difference between wanting approval and needing approval. When you need approval, it means you become powerless and ineffective when you don't get it.  You make other people's opinions more important thank yours.

As a coach to high achieving leaders, what I have noticed is that people who get the most approval in life are the ones who care the least about it.  They care most about staying congruent with their own values. And the ones who get the least external approval, are the ones who are always going after it. 

So if you want approval, you need to understand the paradox of life – when you stop needing the approval of others,  when you stop concerning yourself with what others think of you and start living in accordance with your own values and advance confidently in the direction of your own dreams,  you will meet success.

And what that means is that success is not something that you can get in life. Success is an inner process. Success is something that you bring to everything you do in your life. It isn't something you get out of what you do or what others think of you. And when you get that, and you learn how to make sense of your inner signals, then success will begin to chase you.  Simple and not easy. 

One of my favourite quotes is: “Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.”

Some call synchronicity.  When you are aligned with your deepest values and have the audacity to live your life in full accordance with those values, some unexplainable coincidences happen and success will come into your life in amounts that you never dreamt of before. 

I am finishing off with the title of one my favourite Brene Brown’s books – live “Daring greatly! Have the courage to be vulnerable and transform the way you live, love, parent and lead.”

ADA, 14 July 2020