I have just come back from the EMCC Coaching conference in Edinburgh and reflecting on what I learnt in the process. Karyn Prentice and Elaine Patterson’s workshop on ”Falling back in love with reflection” stimulated my brain, but also my heart. I made a commitment there and then, that I would make time for more reflection through doing something outside my comfort zone! And that is to start a reflective blog on “What I have learnt today”, on a regular basis (not committing to weekly yet!). Recognizing that the start is the most important step and building from there…

Dr Paul Brown’s presentation reminded me of the 8 basic emotions that drive our behaviours and ultimately shape our lives. Dr Brown’s books include “Neuropsychology for Coaches” and “The Fear-Free organisation”, both a great read. According to the latest neuroscience, the brain is the master controller of the body’s energy and the organ of relationships. Dr Brown’s theory is that the brain receives the key information for relationships from 8 basic emotions:
• Five survival emotions – FADSS – Fear, Anger, Disgust, Shame and Sadness. They are what got us here evolutionary speaking and they are the drivers that produce flight, fight or fright.
• One potentiator emotion that involves Surprise or Startle and that has the capacity to tip us into any of the other seven emotions.
• Two attachment emotions – Excitement/Joy and Love/Trust. They have no survival value, but have huge human, social and cultural value. They are what most people struggle for most of their lives. It’s what distinguishes a great organisation from a weak / mediocre one.

We make decisions based on emotions and feelings, despite the widespread misconception that we make decisions based on logic and external objectives. And if the emotion on which we make the decision is excitement and trust, the result is extraordinary. However, most people default to Fear which is the easiest emotion to trigger and the result is not so great.

I have made a passion from understanding how the brain works and the positive psychology behind it. I have seen the extraordinary results of applying its basic principles in the day to day life. I have first-hand experience of how the brain can recover from a terrible trauma by learning and working with simple things that bring joy and love in everyday life.

Totally exhausted from the conference in Edinburgh and flying back to London on a Friday afternoon, I went straight to my son’s final school performance of Hairspray. The energy emanating from a spectacular performance by the children was so exhilarating that I could feel the attachment emotions of excitement, joy and trust everywhere in the room. It was electrifying! The head teacher’s speech at the end summed it all up “The quality of the performance was so high, that it exceeded any West End performance we had all seen”. Everybody in the audience agreed! But the best synopsis came from the head of the drama department. The play took many hours of sweat and rehearsal from all the parties involved in the last 3 months and it was “Made with Love”! These were his words.

No wonder the energy in the room was so electrifying and the performance was so spectacular. It was built on the best emotion of all! And the best thing…my son was part of the performance and he got to experience the electrifying energy and the joy and excitement that came with it. He stuck with it, when a lot of his friends gave up when the tough got tougher… He almost gave in himself, as it interfered with his routine and his love of walking his dog every day! But we knew better and what he learnt was the huge power of perseverance and not giving up and that anything worth doing is never easy! And most importantly, that anything made with love will create unparalleled results!

As an Executive Coach, I help people increase their Emotional Intelligence. Or rather it’s them learning about the intelligent use of emotions! My son has ASD and he is my best testimony of someone who learnt to become a master of regulating his own emotions. Emotional Intelligence is the great ability to make a choice of which emotion to use. When we replace Fear with Love, anything is possible.

ADA, March 2017