Mid-Week Live Coaching: Aaron
This episode, it’s Aaron Quinn’s turn to get some coaching from Adam Quiney. Join in as Adam guides Aaron into getting some clarity on his goals and self-expectations while confronting Aaron’s fear of humiliation. They also tackle Aaron’s dilemma of choosing to do something because of wanting to do it, or simply because he should. Learn all about walking through the gate of fear in order to live the life that you want as Adam discusses the importance of living from your heart rather than your head. Adam expounds on why most people get stuck on making a decision as he explains what you need to do in order to find that clarity you crave.
Listen to the Episode Here:
Mid-Week Live Coaching: Aaron
Our coaching session is with a man you’ll find delightful, Aaron is his name. Part of what Aaron brings into the space is possibility, brilliance, heart, love, a lot of purity and truth, or you might even say divinity in the same way that babies, children, infants, bring a lot of divinity into the space because they’re pure. They’re untouched as of yet by the mess of humanity. Some people carry this quality with them, Aaron is one of those people.
One of the things you might do if you’re reading is you’re like, “What does it mean when Adam talks about these qualities of being?” My invitation would be to see if you can feel those from this person, see if you can notice them show up from time to time and you’re like, “I can sense that.” If you want to play along or practice, you can make a mental note of one of those words, “I’m going to learn for the truth that this man brings into every space that he’s a part of.” See if you can feel that or notice that or how it becomes apparent for you.
People often want to know, “How do I train this ability to see the being over there on the other side?” This is how. You practice. How do I ride a bike? You practice. You don’t need to read a lot of books. You need to be in the practice of it and get supported from time to time. It’s less about consuming voraciously a bunch of knowledge and more about being in the practice of something. It’s an interesting conversation for a few reasons. The first reason is that I’m in the process of qualifying for my MCC, the Master Certified Coach accreditation with the International Coaching Federation. I’m doing this not because I need accreditation for any real reason but because of what it calls forward in me. It demands that I create a breakthrough to create that.
Because I do a lot of work, training, mentoring, consulting and supporting coaches in their practice and their coaching, I see a tremendous amount of value for me to always walk my walk and as well as talk my talk. Rather than be someone that delivers feedback to other coaches, there’s tremendous value in the integrity that comes from also receiving it. It’s hard. Part of how that will show up is you’ll hear me, at some points in this conversation, reference that fact. I’m reliable to train at a proficient level, at the PCC, the Professional Certified Coach level of coaching. That’s the science of coaching.
Like every step in your life that is not an increase or an iteration of what’s already there but requires a breakthrough, the shift from a PCC level of coaching to an MCC demands a breakthrough. It transcends what’s already there. What that means is that there are times when the mentor I’m working with gives me feedback and I’m like, “What are you talking about?” All my training and everything I know says not to go towards a feeling. You can’t coach a feeling.
At one level of practice, that’s correct. At the level that I’m working to attain, it needs to encompass the feelings that are showing up. Why am I telling you all this? It’s because I’m holding energetically some of the feedback I’ve gotten and trying to implement that as I work with Aaron. There are times when I would love to tell him something. Instead, I’m practicing letting him hold the reins even more than is comfortable for me. You can learn from that lens. See if you notice anything different about me and how I’m showing up or what I speak to.
The other reason this is an interesting conversation is that a lot of it is in Aaron’s head. Early on, he gets pretty clear on what he wants to leave the conversation with. There’s a lot of time we spend in the swirl of his head. One of the distinctions you’ll hear me point out at the end and I’m going to point at the start for you as well is looking at this conversation people get into, which is like, “Am I making this decision because I want to? Am I making this decision because I should?” What happens is people try to resolve that question for themselves before doing anything, “If I can figure this out. I need to figure this out. What if I make the wrong choice and then I’m doing it because I think I should?” I’ll resolve this question first. It’s like standing at a fork in the road, trying to figure out which path to take. That whole thing that happens is a red herring. That’s the thing your survival mechanism or ego is using to keep you safe and stop you from living the life you truly want. By the way, the life you truly want requires walking through the gate of fear over and over again. It’s the nature of living from our heart rather than from our head.
What happens when people are at that decision point is they sit there and they try to resolve it. Staying in that question is safe rather than resolving it because as long as you are stuck in that question, you don’t then have to take the scary action and confront what your fear is afraid of. That question itself, because being stuck in the question allows us to stay safe, we have a vested interest in not resolving it. The way that works is that it becomes more complex. We add in nuances, complexities, and more thinking as we get closer to resolving it. What happens is you get spun up in this layer of complexity, this complexity tornado. Once people spend enough time in here frozen in this question, they’re mired in thinking, analysis and thoughts, which is the point where they then usually want clarity, “If I could get clarity then I can resolve this question and then I could do what I want.” It keeps us stuck in that same conversation.
What creates the clarity we crave is taking action, taking a step. As you take that step, then clarity will make itself available. You’ll start to notice, “I don’t want to do this. The more I do this, the more I feel like I’m doing it for the wrong reasons. Maybe there’s something to change about how I’m doing this while not changing my commitment underneath it.” If any of that resonates for you, this conversation might be an interesting one. That’s most of what we’re working on. At first, it might seem like, “They’re swirling around.” It’s the nature of it. I hope you enjoy this conversation. If you would like to be a guest on this show, I would love to have you. You can send an email to PR@AdamQuiney.com.
How’s it going?
I’m good. I want to be present for the fact that this is the first time I’ve gone live. My heart is beating quite profusely. I’m aware of that.
What do you think people might be deciding about you at this moment?
I don’t even know if that’s the concern. It’s the center. It’s another form to give you a metaphor. It’s something that I avoid doing. I put my hand up to this. There’s no logical reason why I would avoid doing it. I also had the feeling of, “Should I cancel at the last minute? Maybe I could move it.” Even when I signed up, I thought, “I’ll sign up for four weeks ahead but it won’t be this Friday to allow myself to forget about it.” It arises.
That’s super relatable for me. I’ve been watching myself do that. I’m a part of a networking group and I’ve been connecting with people and we’re like, “We should talk.” People are like, “Great. What’s your time tomorrow?” I’m like, “This week is not good but what about a week later?” Tomorrow, it’s wide open. I’m scared. Sometimes I have to edge a little bit into my fear. I’m still going to make the declaration, “Get something on the calendar.” I’m reliable once I do that but I’m going to put it off a little bit. I’ve got a little bit of like, “I don’t have to confront that fear yet, but I know I’m going to do it eventually.” Thanks for being here. I appreciate you showing up in partnership with all of that stuff.
Thank you. The thorn resonates. I’ve read the book. It made me realize that I’m probably here on this show to take out a couple of thorns.
First, tell us where you are. Where are you in the world?
I am in Greece.
Do you speak Greek?
I am learning Greek. I committed to 30 minutes a day for three months. I’ve posted every week about my progress. I’ve got some basics. I’m starting some lessons here, but it’s not quite as fluent as I would like. We’ll get there.
That’s a fear-triggering thing for me. My innate being of connection I’ve attached a lot to talking. When I can’t talk, I get scared. How do I connect with this human being? How do I be with the awkwardness and all of that? I salute you because that would be edgy for me.
It’s the same thing. I’ve fallen into the English trap where I’ve learned expressions when I chat. As soon as it gets difficult, I want to be able to converse and I move straight to English. My practice is not to be in the discomfort of humiliation and not being able to communicate. That’s another one.
What are we going to tackle? What are we going to look at?
There is resistance in me in creating action and getting clarity in action on exactly what I’m doing. I’ve dropped away many things. I’ve come to Greece and I’ve got a vision in my head that’s vague but feels big. I know that to get there is going to require me to being a lot more of this and overcoming a fear of looking stupid, not knowing what I’m doing, not being professional, probably all descriptors that I would have given it. I fill my head with ideas of, “I want to write a book. I want to do this. I’m going to do nothing. I want to sit in the void because that’s the right place for me to be at the moment. I’m going to create a program.” I become busy in the mind that I don’t start coaching again. Somebody is coaching out there. They’ve got a client. I should be doing that. All of these things are creating a sense of, “I want to get present on what want to do right now. What would that look like? What will be the next action?”
There are broad brushstrokes in this notion of resisting action. You mentioned, “What do I want to do and getting into action?” Which of those two is the path for us to explore?
It’s getting into action and that may bring up whether or not it’s what I want to do.
Our focus is on getting you into action. If that’s our focus, what do you want to end with? What do you want to leave here with?
Clarity on what I’m going to do next, the clear next step. I’m feeling like I’m not saying, “I’m going to do that.” Knowing that I might be not going to do that but the feeling I’m going to do that.
Clarity on what you’ll do next and then it sounds like part of the marker for having achieved that is like this feeling like, “I’m going to take that on. That’s going to happen.” What’s important for you about having clarity on what you’re going to do next and feeling you’re going to take it on? Why is that important to you?
At the moment, I feel I can get caught in having lots of different thoughts of ideas which I’ll start a little bit and they’re a little bit here. There’s a sense that it’s creating more noise and more effort. It’s part of my practice because I’m conscious that I get pulled by these different things. There’s a sense of proving and worthiness. I’m trying to drop back from all of that. I’ve had a successful career. I’ve moved into the coaching space. I’ve worked with clients and leaders. I came to Greece with this idea, “Let’s drop everything.” I realized that everything I’ve done in the past unfolded for me. I’m not going to say it’s a lot of opportunities come up and I take the opportunities. Where I’m sitting is where it’s about me creating the opportunity. My natural temptation is to wait for the next opportunity to come and they do come. I don’t have any fear about not being able to do anything. I’m curious about me creating myself.
There’s this experience you’ve had in life where stuff comes to you or unfolds in front of you and you choose into it or maybe you don’t. You’re curious about being the cause, creating something that you’ve chosen.
What I’ve noticed is as opportunities come and unfold, it’s great. I’m doing that and I’m enjoying it. There comes a time when I’m feeling like I’m doing it because I should. I get confused in the want of what I want to do versus what looks good. Could I do nothing and become a bum for a year or something? What would that look like? There’s not even trust in that being available to me at some level.
The experience tends to become like, “I’m doing something because I should.” It’s unfolding in front of you and you’re choosing it but then it’s like, “I should do this. This is the thing to do.” That’s not necessarily what you want. What is the experience you want when you are doing something?
The experience I want and what I’m curious to work with people around is to be okay in that non-knowing. This space even in coaching where I can be able to be me. I’m not trying to prove anything. I’m curious, growing, choosing not to do something because I don’t want to do it, and not feeling this sense of ought to. If I imagine it, there’s a relief. Sitting here with you could be silent and nothing and to be okay. From there, it’s like, “What do I want to do now? What do I want to create?” There’s not this heavier energy that seems to come in sometimes. It’s letting go of all of that and being here. That’s freedom and expansion.
I got that feeling. It’s like a breath, some oxygen and some space. It’s interesting because to hear you describe the way it tends to go, you’re like, “I do the stuff that feels like it’s unfolding in front of me. I have not forced something into existence. I’ve been a yes to whatever showed up.” That’s not necessarily the words you used, but the energy I got. Help me get the distinction between what you’re describing and then that.
On one level, I’m feeling like a lucky person. There’s a sense of you always land on your feet. You meet the right people and you connect. There’s stuff that comes easy and then someone says, “Do you want to come and work with me on this? We’re doing a project.” I’m like, “I do.” It’s great and then that happens. As life unfolds, I surrender things. There’s a lot of surrenders and a lot of unfolding. I love that. I completely trust it. The synchronicities in all of this work perfectly for me in a sense. At some level, it feels like something is disempowering. There’s a feeling that there’s a part of me that has a lot to say in the world and to make some impact. To use your metaphor, a box around that part is working brilliantly to deliver a pretty effortless, easy, successful life. There’s a part that feels like it’s avoiding something that needs to step up and step over. I’m caught in this needing to because that then creates discomfort to get something. I don’t want it to be the only thing. I want to be in the spaciousness of it because I chose it to be.
What is the thing you’re avoiding in this way of showing up in life that you described?
For me, there’s been this practice around fear of humiliation and looking stupid. I don’t put myself out there. I’ll work out ways around that. I’ll hold back on putting something out into the world but I’ll work with people on creating stuff. There’s something about the Aaron speaking out and leaving something. There’s still resistance to it. Speaking out now feels good. I’m not someone that wants to work on his own. My friend in Greece here, we got a partnership. Another guy has been talking to us about working together. I need to collaborate with people but at the same time, I want to be able to express my voice as part of that.
How does collaboration go if it’s not like that?
Normally when I collaborate is somebody will lead something and then I’m good at helping to bounce off ideas and stuff. I can go and deliver programs. I can do all of these things but I tend to allow somebody else to be, in a sense, taking responsibility at some level for it. I can be here and then if it gets too much, I can disappear off and on to something else. That made me think, there might be a commitment piece as well.
Say more about that.
I’m not sure if I can make a commitment. Commitment in relationships, commitment in many things. Somehow, I find some freedom in being able to do stuff and be with different people doing different things fully in one thing. I’m not sure what I mean by commitment.
That sounds like the word showed up for you, but it’s not yet super clear why necessarily. It’s like, “There’s a flag that popped up that had the word commitment on it and maybe we keep an eye on that.” You’re reliable to collaborate with people, but the collaboration looks like they’re the ones leading the charge. You’re like the Riker to their Jean-Luc if you follow Star Trek: The Next Generation. You’re the second in command, reliable, does some great work, but never the captain of that ship.
I have been the captain in the corporate world of leading a team and doing that. What I realized is I need to feel connected to something bigger, like a vision of something. Otherwise, it’s almost like I’m doing it, I enjoy it, but it’s not something that drives me to say, “This is going to be the rest of my life.”
Are you reaching that conclusion because you were doing it in the corporate world but it wasn’t the satisfaction you’re looking for?
Yeah. What I started to find is when I left the corporate world and I got into this space, it’s fantastic because I was out working in the coaching and leadership development, the mindfulness, and a whole lot of my personal development in many countries across Asia. It then started to feel like a job. There was a business that was growing. Therefore, it required more effort to make sure you’re driving business and building it up. I like facilitating the stuff but I’m not sure if I want to grow this business. I didn’t know whether that was because there was more responsibility or it was because I wasn’t aligned to the bigger vision. I always had a sense of what I wanted to create and hence I arrived in Greece, which was an intuition. Am I waiting for something to happen? Am I going to meet people and talk about stuff and do a little bit here? Is there something I can own?
What I’m hearing you say is you want to own something in your life. We don’t even know if you know what it is. You’re like, “I want to own a thing as opposed to captain someone else’s team.” You’re still the captain but you’re not the admiral in that case because someone owns that company other than you. There are other times where you’re out on your own, but then someone else is leading the fray to some extent. You’re plug-in and do your magic, which to your credit is magical. It gets you results and success and all that. It sounds like there’s still something left on the table there. Is that a fair appraisal?
Yeah. I suppose the thing I’m caught in is my desire to want to create something because the ego still feels like I need to prove something. Is it because I want to create something that I would want to experience and I want to have fun doing? That’s the bit I’m trying to check in with. Otherwise, I feel I get caught back in the same trap again. To show people that I’m doing something, I don’t need to show that anymore.
How would you know the difference?
The difference is between doing it and being okay with it being wrong. Playing with it in that sense versus doing it and needing to be right and me avoiding some things in the process of doing that. There’s a space where I’m playing and creating. I almost want to share the journey with everybody out there mainly for my own sense of being able to without trying to be attached to what that looks like versus trying to create something that is going to look good. That feels more like I’ll find ways to manipulate the situation and to manufacture how it looks to create the perfect life that appears like the perfect life, whatever the perfect life is. This is the playground that I want other people to come and be able to be themselves to discover what it is to thrive in living with all the messiness, all the crap and all the shitty stuff as well.
Do you remember the question you’re answering?
The difference between the two feelings.
What were the two feelings you were contemplating between?
One is the feeling where it feels like I’m doing it to create without it being about proving to anybody else. The one around creation feels messier and more fun.
One side is doing it because you’re deciding to create something. What’s the other side?
Doing it because I want to be successful.
Do you remember the question I asked you about those two?
How would each of them feel differently?
How would you be able to tell the difference between those? You were asking yourself the question, “Is it X or is it Y?” First, I’ve got other questions. How would you even know? How would you be able to tell?
One feels heavier. It feels like the weight of it is on other people’s validation of it. The other one feels like an expression of how I’m living, which has been part of my journey and would be the process of my own work. I’m creating a space within that, which inspires and helps others to do the same. One feels like an open and honest journey of me that creates the space for others to come with me on this journey. The other one feels like me trying to make something to help change other people that don’t feel authentically coming from where I’m at. It feels like it’s trying to succeed at some level but without me being present to what’s going on.
That makes sense to me intellectually. I’m present to two things, which I will share. The first is it sounds like you either have the option of doing something purely for the act of creating something or doing something because you want it to be successful or you want to be successful. It’s either this or that without any option for both of them to exist. The second thing I’m curious about is to hear you speak about it, it occurs like, “How do I make the right choice first? How do I figure this out?” It’s heady. It’s like, “I got to figure this out first then I will be in this domain and it’ll be good. I’m doing it because it’s something I want to create.” Is there ever a chance that while you’re over here, suddenly, it’s like, “Now I’m doing this to be successful.” Is this something that’s fluid? Is this like, “If you could figure out the right choice here, then you wouldn’t have to worry about that ever again because you’re on the path of purely creating for the sake of creating.”
What feels like a lie for me is the trust. At some level, I trust myself. I feel that if I’m resisting doing it and not in order to be successful, I’m going to feel slightly sneaky. It’s like the Russian dolls came down. Intuitively, it feels like it will be successful. I suppose what I’m saying is I feel like I want to be in the space of mucking up to be successful. I feel that I keep avoiding that fear of whatever it is of looking stupid. It creates the heaviness that doesn’t allow me to go forth and do this project.
What is the project?
I would like to turn the island that I’m on into a retreat. Instead of building a retreat on an island, it would be a place for people to come to discover how to live a fulfilled life where you experience adventure and speak conversations on philosophy and you taste the food. It’s got this spiritual dimension as well. It’s like Zorba the Buddha. There’s hedonism mixed with it. I want to explore what does it mean to be truly alive and build a place where different people on this island connect the hype between storytelling. There’s a whole load of stuff on how I see it. The island is the backdrop of the brand. That doesn’t have to be here. Eventually, it goes beyond. It’s almost the beginning of that Cathedral building as if we have forgotten what it is to be a human being. It was an intuition several years ago. A lot of things are taking me to this place. To dive into this, I’d probably have to start expressing myself out to the world, which I’m avoiding doing.
It occurs like you’re trying to get into your heart through a lot of thinking. What do you hear when I say that?
I hear myself doubt. I hear my fears.
Can you elaborate a bit?
There are times when something feels and makes a lot of sense to me. There are times when I feel that I want to be present to it and it comes from a talking-thinking thing. There is discomfort or disconnect and I don’t know where that is or what that is. It feels like a blockage or fear or even self-worth.
Are we talking about this particular project or are we talking about something else?
I’m talking about the projects.
You’re feeling blocked on the project. I’m not asserting anything. I want to check if I’m hearing you right.
I’m feeling blocked in the sense that it feels big. Sometimes when I speak about something, there’s a little voice going, “Don’t be stupid. You’ll never do that.” That’s the fear into this, somehow. It’s like living in a fantasy headspace.
“This is a ludicrous idea. You could never achieve that,” that talk?
Yeah. It’s almost like, “If you try to talk about something, why don’t you do it and stop talking about it?”
What do you do in response to that voice?
There are two things. What I’ve been trying to do is to be with that voice at the moment because the temptation is to jump away or get a coaching client or collaborate on another thing to feel that I’m not having to sit in that feeling.
You’re trying to be with this voice that’s like, “This is a fantasy.” What does that look like in practice? What are you doing when you’re trying to be with this voice? If I was witnessing you from outside of your head, what would I notice in terms of, “Aaron is being with this voice.”
It’s more noticing what I get pulled or becoming aware of the sensations or the whole feelings and trying to be present to it so that it loosens a little bit.
What’s the ultimate place that you will land if you do this the right way?
I would land in an open space.
What’s present for you at this moment? What’s going on for you, Aaron, at this moment?
I feel a little bit of constriction here.
Yeah. Up to the throat, it’s more constricted. I feel some confusion. At the same time, I feel this grounding as well. It’s like an acceptance. It’s like an okayness even though there’s a bit of a physical constriction. It’s almost the brain and the mind has gone a little blank and it feels better. It’s becoming like this emptiness. It’s calm.
There’s confusion. There’s an experience of constriction. There’s also a sense of calm. I’m going to speak to everyone else for a moment. What’s going on internally for me and everyone reading is I have some hunches. I’m in the process of setting those aside so I can get curious about what’s going on with Aaron. What I noticed is we’re having a heady conversation. There’s a lot of us trying to figure stuff out. Part of the reason I asked Aaron how the conversation is going is that I’m curious. Is this the same experience he’s having in his own life when he’s trying to figure this stuff out? What happens in the coaching is there’s often a microcosm of what happens outside of the coaching. I’m curious about his experience. That’s where my curiosity is. The next question I have for you is, Aaron, is this the same experience you’re having when you’re practicing being with something?
Yeah. It seems like there are a few. On one level, there’s a sense of trust. On the other level, there’s a sense of not knowing. This physicality that I often feel, sometimes there’s a restriction in expression.
For this next question, I want you to answer authentically as opposed to what would please me or maybe the people reading. Do you feel we’re moving towards what you want in this conversation?
We’re moving towards it.
That was my sense, too.
What I noticed is that as the noise, the thinking and talking, calms down, I have this sense of, “I know what need to do next,” even if I don’t even know what to do next. That is my little trap.
I’m curious when I hear someone describe, “I’m trying to be with a thing.” Let’s use a lawyer as an example. You’ve got a new lawyer and part of what they have to do is build their business. They got to go to a networking event. They got to talk to people. They got to express what they do. With a little bit of coaching under their belt, they’re like, “Part of what for me to do is to not react to something but to be with it. I’m scared to go and talk to people at these networking events because it’s awkward and uncomfortable. I don’t like it.” They’re in their practice and they’re like, “I’m going to practice being with my fear.” Being with their fear is like, “I’m going to let my fear exists, but I’m not taking the action to move my thing forward. I’m being with it.” As opposed to like, “I’m being with it whilst in action.” I noticed that there’s a circularity or, simultaneously, calming down but also a constriction. It’s like, “We’re slowing down. We’re not running around in a circle as quickly but are we moving anywhere?” I’m curious for you if what I said resonates and what you hear in that.
It’s spot on. For me, it resonated. It made me realize exactly what’s going on.
Your energy felt like it shifted there. Tell me about that shift. What showed up for you at that moment?
The realization that it’s becoming more comfortable with the discomfort, but it’s not becoming comfortable with the real discomfort, the action-oriented discomfort. As I realize this, it feels like a combination of things. It’s not bad. On one level, it feels quite grounded and pleasant. It’s almost like one is dealing with something and resolving it. There’s a sense of, “This is a bit uncomfortable, but this is great. I’m progressing.” It makes sense. I feel it.
Where do you feel it?
I feel it as an opening. My body feels looser.
Anywhere in particular in your body?
It’s the top of the chest, above the belly.
What’s showing up for you?
It’s making me smile. I can physically feel it. Part of being on this call is part of that inaction previously. There was a little bit of me that was acknowledging myself. There’s a little part of me there that’s noticing when the action can happen. To be able to see when action can happen. Also, being aware that’s what’s been going on.
It’s like, “I have this thorn. I’ve been building devices that allow me to go out into the world so that I don’t get the thorn brushed against me. Instead of doing that, I’m going to sit here and be okay with a thorn being in my arm. I’m not going anywhere into the world.” You feel calmer. You’re not worried about brushes touching the thorn but you’re still constricted because you’re not living the life that’s there for you to live. You’ve learned a new reciprocal way to be with your thorn. What would there be for you to take on or to do from here?
For me, it feels about starting to share my vision and to speak it out to the world. The project that I want to work on, I started to see the aspects of it where I want to start exploring it but exploring it in public. That’s what feels a lie to me at the moment. For the first time, it feels scary but it feels doable. It feels easier in my body at the moment.
Which is part of what you were going for, feeling like you’re able to take action and you’re getting into action.
I’m tuning into the sensation because it feels possible.
I heard some general things to take on like share my vision and explore it in public. If you were to turn this into actual action so you could hold yourself accountable for, what would there be to take on?
For me, the first thing is to talk out the story of how I got to where I am in the sense of how I’ve arrived at this place and share my ambition and then my commitments in the future and to then share that out to the world. I’ll build this plan in the different aspects that I want people I want to talk to and interview here, photograph, bring to life a partner-developer platform that’s going to, in a sense, allow me to connect all the people I want to connect to and to start to express the stories I want to express. I’ll start moving forward. Stating out into the world is what I’m doing and then these other aspects of it.
I heard four things. One is to share what you’re doing. Two is to talk out the story of how you’ve arrived at where you’re at. Three is sharing your commitment over the next nine months. Four is building a plan for all of it. Is that right?
Which of those should we look at first?
The first one is stating where I am and what my intentions are, what my vision is, but not as it sits for me at the moment, which soon might change. It’s what I’m present to now.
What will that look like when you’ve done it and by when will you have achieved it?
I’m going to do it next week.
By when next week?
Would that feel complete once you’ve done that?
My project plan, sometimes, is a separate piece. This is the bit when I was reflecting on the difference between me doing a project and me starting the process, which is almost becoming real in the world by me speaking it out into the world. As a result, that’s the bit I’ve been avoiding. I could write things and do this and the other. Once it’s expressed out, it starts to become a reality. Also, it’s my personal journey because the act of speaking out from doing that is part of where I want to be. It has a sense of freedom in the ability to do that despite what people may think.
There’s sharing your vision. What is your commitment as far as this is concerned?
I want to make this in the next nine months. In the first part of my project, the way I see it, there’s a foundational piece. The vision of where I see things going is probably about two years or maybe longer. To do that, what I’m wanting to explore and to put out is how I’m going to live in this place and how can I bring that to life for the people outside to shape the narrative and the story and the creation that I want to create. It won’t be perfect and it will be messy but that’s how I want to live. This process is part of that piece. It almost feels like it doesn’t need to be clear. I have a sense of what it is but it might be different. I like the fact that it’s bigger than me. It’s not something I can do. It relies on many other variables that may or may not happen but the journey on this is what I’m interested in.
I get that. We can get in a car and drive and be like, “Let’s drive wherever we want to go and see where we end up.” We could be like, “I’m going to drive to Jerusalem. I don’t know how I’m going to get there but that’s where I’m going to get to.” I know it’s going to take me on some journey. It’s going to focus my direction. We can be like, “I’m going to get to Jerusalem and I’m going to take a left turn at Douglas Street and a right turn at Blanchard until I get there.” I’ve heard you say that you’ve lived your life more than that first one. You’re like, “I’m getting in my car and drive.” From the absence of you making a clear declaration for yourself, you’re often left feeling like, “I’m doing stuff because I feel like I should. There’s something missing.” It sounds a little bit like we’re getting back there. I’m curious what is it that you will commit to in service of yourself? Maybe it’s like, “I’m going to share a vision,” which is fine. I’m curious, do you have a commitment, “This is what I’m going to create by this point.”
In the future, I would have created a platform that explores what it means to live the good life in the modern-day as it is. The backdrop of that will be the island where I’m living. I will bring forth different ideas and concepts. I will bring forth the people on the island as a way of expressing that I will make connections across the island. This platform will be fully alive, it will be my way of expressing myself in the world. I’m collaborating with my friends on this project as well to form the backdrop of what then can be created once we’re out of COVID and the craziness and all the rest of the stuff. It’s a way to kickstart humanity and use the island as a backdrop to explore what it is to be alive again and what are things that we get pleasure, joy, fulfillment, living. It’s going to be a bit messy. It’s going to be irreverent. It’s going to make you smile. It’s going to be expressive of what life is. It’s going to be sad sometimes. It’s going to be what it’s going to be. That’s my commitment.
How will I know that you’ve created a platform? Will it be that you’ve got a domain? Will it be that there’s a website that I can click on certain things on? What’s our measure of success for this?
It’s going to be like a digital magazine that is being continuously updated with videos, blogs, news, and photography. I don’t know what number will be but maybe a certain number of followers.
I want to say 10,000 followers around the world.
What are we going to see there?
There’s going to be 10,000.
Was there another thought? I love that you’re like, “I’m making a declaration.” I’m curious about the thought behind it.
At that point, there’ll be more people collaborating and contributing to it as well. It won’t be like, “This is mine.” It’ll be something that is evolving and has a certain direction. The 10,000, it feels like a person made the number up but that feels good.
All of this is made up. It can be a cliche that I uttered. I’m hearing there’s a little bit of like,
“What’s the right thing for me to do?” In the face of that question, “I’ll do whatever shows up in front of me.” Your choices are doing the right thing or the thing given to me externally by someone else that I’m collaborating with or do whatever shows up and neither of those sounds particularly fulfilling for you. What I’m holding your feet to the fire on here is you making a declaration. There’s no evidence that 10,000 is the right number. There’s no even proof that’s possible. I assert it is, especially knowing you as I do. How does it feel for you as I hold you to make these declarations?
It feels good.
I feel some excitement.
Anything else? Any discomfort?
There’s no discomfort. I’m conscious. For example, because I said it in a way that it was almost 10,000, I don’t take it seriously. I like the 10,000. As I’m presenter now, it could be 20,000. It may never get to 10,000, but I feel that it’s going to be big.
You’re talking about the number. I’m asking you a different question. I’m holding your feet to the fire in this moment to declare a number or any number, whatever it is. You can tell me, one person. Fuck right on. In nine months, we’re doing a digital platform, one person. What I’m asking you about is what’s the experience for you of being held that way? It’s not how do you feel about 10,000 or is that the right number? What’s the experience in this moment? I imagine it might be outside of what your survival mechanism wants to happen. I don’t have to be right about that.
There’s some uncomfortableness.
It sounds like there’s some doubt, some fear or some second-guessing coming up with a number.
In the sense of, “Maybe I’ll change that later,” or something like that. I’m noticing whether that’s something that happens.
At this moment, I’m in the process of qualifying for the Master Coach Certification level, which is a different way of coaching. It’s awkward and uncomfortable as I learned it. Part of that practice is not giving you any practices. I’m letting you be the one holding the reins all the way through instead of me giving you a thing. It’s uncomfortable because of a bunch of stuff. I want to be like, “Aaron, this is what I can see and this is how it looks.” At the same time, that’s me getting in the way a little bit of your process. You might very much enjoy that.
What I’m present over there with you is there’s a resistance to a clear declaration. It’s like, “This is what I’m going to have at this point.” I imagine that resistance might be because then you can’t just sit and be with a thorn. You’re like, “Fuck, now I have to go and do that thing. That means that I might brush against the thorn. What if I sit and be with this and be with it out of existence?” I assert that the work is in going and walking in those brushes. Every time the brush hurts us and touches our thorn be like, “There it is.” We can start to locate the thorn and start to be like, “There it is. That’s the thing right there that keeps getting brushed.” I’m going to give you this assertion on my part and then I’m going to check in to see if there are any other practices you want to declare that you’ll take on and then we’ll wind down that.
The question, “Am I doing this because it’s what I truly want to create, or am I doing this because I want to be successful or seen a certain way?” My assertion is that’s a complete red herring. If this is worthy of you and your breakthroughs, it’s going to be something you want to create. You’re going to go and start to create it and you’re immediately going to shift over to the other side because that’s the feeling of having your thorn brushed. You’re going to be like, “I want to do this. I’m fixated on doing this so it’s successful and I don’t encourage the disappointment.” That’s your thorn getting poked. If it didn’t happen, if you answered the question, “I want to do this because I want to create,” and then you never had to confront it, we’re not even in the realm of your thorn being brushed. There’s no game there. There’s no breakthrough. I would invite you out of that question. What might be a more powerful question you could be in for yourself?
Do you mean instead of those two questions or those two choices, what would be the question to live into in this?
When are you going to start asking that question of yourself? Let’s work our way there. When will you predictably start to be like, “Am I doing this to create?” When is that going to show up?
It will show up as soon as I have to post something that could be seen to be ridiculous.
What would be a more powerful question you could ask yourself at that moment?
I’m not sure how to phrase the question. I can’t think of the word into the question. My sense is this feeling almost diving into the river. If I stay on the side of the river and don’t dive in, I know where life is going to go and it’s not where I want to be. As a reminder every time that this storm comes up, I want to jump in.
What would be an inquiry that you could be in that might serve that desire to jump in?
How much closer are you to your vision if you jump in now? Conversely, the opposite would be, how much more of feeling afraid or avoiding do you want to feel if you’re not going to jump in now?
Got it. It sounds like the desire is like, “I want to jump in.” Is that correct?
You’re asking yourself a little bit of a binary question. How much closer do you want to be? One million more closer. At this moment, what would move me towards jumping in with that have you deepen, with that have you moved closer towards jumping in?
What often comes up for me is part of the pull that wants me to jump in is part of the reason why I walked out of corporate. The idea of getting to the end of life and not having jumped in fills me with more dread and yet I don’t jump in.
This is all in your head right now. I understand what you’re saying, but I noticed all of that is more like, “I want to but I can’t.” We get back in that binary question and now you’re no closer. Where I’m inviting you to do is to create a question you could get into that this question is a distraction. You can sit at that point of inquiry for the rest of your life, “Is this the thing? Is it me trying to be successful without ever taking any action, without ever moving yourself towards?” I’m inviting you to create a question that you could post yourself when that shows up that would be different and might deepen your journey. It might give you more of what you’re after or at least have you been an inquiry about it as opposed to stuck on the fence trying to figure out the answer to something that’s made up in the first place.
What could be possible for you if you’re willing to jump in?
If you notice yourself in that question, do you think that would serve you to go to that one?
Yeah. That feels empowering.
Would it serve you to write that down?
I’m writing it down.
Anything else you’d like to declare you’re going to take on, Aaron, before we wind down?
Did you write down my list of things?
I’ve got the first two on my head.
I’ll say four of them so you’ve got it towards the end. You said, “Share your vision, explore this idea in public, talk out the story of how you’ve arrived at this, your commitment over nine months, and then building a plan to support all of that.” Anything left to wind down to have this conversation feel complete?
It feels complete. Thank you.
Aaron, I acknowledge you for the possibility you are for this planet. I acknowledge you for the shadow of that too, this fear of being a disappointment. What could be more terrifying to the quality of being, the energy of possibility than being a letdown and a disappointment? It’s like, “Everything is possible.” It would the worst thing ever. The quality of being stupid and dumb is the worst thing that could possibly be there for brilliance. The fear and the light are all the being, it’s all the magnificence. I acknowledge you for embodying all of it and for having the struggle that you do.
I acknowledge you for the vision. I also acknowledge your brilliance. I’m present to all the figuring out, not from like, “You, stupid dummy. You’re trying to figure this out.” It’s like, “That’s worked well.” As a man who figures stuff out a lot himself, I get it. Not only does it work, but it’s rewarded by society constantly. You figure out the answer. You create that thing around the thorn so that you can then go on TV and do the testimonial. The people that build the best device to protect the thorn, even though they’ve imprisoned themselves to the life of the thorn, they get rewarded by society. Society is the human condition. The society around us is about, “I don’t want to feel the pain of this thorn. Help me not feel the pain of this thorn.” The evidence of that is everywhere. We don’t have to look far to see it. All of this is like, “I don’t want to feel the pain.”
I acknowledge you for your brilliance and the possibility that you are. I want you to know that over here when you share these things, I don’t have to be in your head. I get to be on the outside and I’m like, “Of course, he could do this in nine months. It’s the easiest thing in the world for this man.” I get that it’ll require some breakthroughs and probably be edgy and all of that, but I want to acknowledge you for the person you are on this planet without any effort, without any attempts. It’s this project, it’s such a beautiful expression of who you are. Thanks for being up for it. Thanks for the struggle to have your feet nailed down a little bit to the ground. Thanks for showing up so profoundly and beautifully.
Thank you. Much appreciated.
You’re welcome. Anything that’s present for you where you’re like, “I didn’t think we’re going to go there.” Anything along those lines?
I’m present to the fact that I’ve made some commitments, which I’m feeling excited about. Part of the breakthrough for me is also having to be present and being on this call because there was a little bit of me talking nonsense. To me, that feels powerful at the moment in a sense that is opening up the space. I’ve already, in a sense, feel that I’ve experienced it and I’m in the water and it’s okay. The possibilities are opening up. I’m grateful for that in that sense. I didn’t pull my hand back down again.
Me too. What I want to reflect to you is that you are practicing commitment ongoingly. The fact that you’re in The Forage, that requires a commitment. No one gets in there half-heartedly. Everyone in that group, as you’ve probably already experienced, have made a scary step. They’ve leaned over the edge and jumped off the diving board. Even showing up on this conversation, if we said, “Sure, let’s do it some time.” We wouldn’t have had this conversation, but you were willing to make the commitment. There’s some opportunity to see like, “You’re pretty reliable when there’s another person in that commitment with you as well.” That might be a place to look, especially since you’ve said, “Collaborating, I’ll show up.” I’m the same way. I’m not going to cancel this call when I’ve made a commitment to you to be here. Believe me, I want to. When there’s no one here, I’m much more likely to be like, “Maybe I’ll bail it.” It’s beautiful work.
This is less about you and more about that general place we can get to where we’re like, “Is it the right thing or is the wrong thing? Am I choosing from the right place? Am I choosing from the wrong place?” I see a lot of people get here. What happens is that being in that question is what keeps us safe because then we don’t have to make the choice and then be confronted by what we don’t want. Because that thing keeps us safe, we have a vested interest in keeping us in that question and not resolving it. What happens is we get more and more spun up in the question. It can’t stay simple. It becomes more and more complex. Once people are spun up in the tornado of complexity, they get to the place where they’re like, “I need clarity.” The way we get clarity is we make the choice and clarity will reveal itself. It’s scary because then we’re letting go of the safety of being locked into an inquiry that might someday resolve and have us choose the right path.
One example of this in my own life was when I said yes to the coach training I later on led for about five years and it completely changed my life, I said yes to it purely from my ego. That’s not probably fair but there was a lot of my ego in it. I got into coaching to fix other people so they could be more like me because I thought that I had it figured out. I learned how backward all of that was. Once I learned it, I lived it and start to be it. If I had been in the inquiry of like, “Am I choosing this from my heart or from my head?” I probably would never have gotten to be in any of this. I wouldn’t get to be in any of this conversation. It is okay for us to choose the wrong way because if we’re supported, which you are, we’ll work through the stuff as we go forward. It gets us into action, which is then when the work can happen. It’s beautiful work.
I’m going to read a few things that people said. Heather was sharing, especially at the start, she was like, “I can see how much of this is in the head. I’d love to see Aaron connecting more from his heart. I relate to the head stuff. It’s way safer.” As time went on, Heather said, “I can see the shift, it’s lighter, smiling in a sense of release on your part.” She also shared that she’d be a follower of that digital magazine, the platform you talked about. Amy Copsey says, “It’s brave Aaron showing up. Thanks for the share.” Ranganayaki says, “From the sounds of it, you’re in a brave space already, Aaron. You’re doing great. Nice work.” Anna said that she’s blown away by this conversation. Thank you both. Mia was expressing delight, add the smiling Aaron face, another one of your gifts in the space. As I was sharing how the possibility and brilliant you are and how easy it is for me to hold the possibility of you creating this project, Kate Greenslade said, “I agree with Adam.” In our head, it’s not always that story but out here it’s like, “Of course, Aaron could create that. There’s no problem at all.” Where can people find more about you or follow along with this journey as you are on it now?
Like me on Facebook and I will start creating. We’re going to be building a platform and more will come.
Facebook is the place to follow.
That’s the best place at the moment.
Are you coaching people right now? Is that something you’re doing?
I only have a couple of clients at the moment.
This is pretty exclusive.
If people wanted to have a conversation with you, is Facebook the best place to reach out that way?
Absolutely. By all means, send me a message. I’m happy to have a conversation.
I want to plug Aaron and The Forge. I want to plug Creating Clients. Aaron is a member of The Forge. Watch Aaron and the work he’s doing because he’s in a ton of support, that’s what the whole Forge is about. This is a man in a transformational process. If you’re like, “I wonder what that looks.” Follow these people. You’re going to see shifts that are going to be palpable. If that’s something you’re interested in, send me a message or drop a comment.
The other thing is the Creating Clients course. It’s a ten-week course, low commitment. It’s $1,000. If you’re in a service or an entrepreneurial business, most people have this experience where there’s this thing they love doing and then there’s the thing they have to do in order to do what they love doing, which is sales. We either try to offload this, hire someone to delegate it to, or work in-house somewhere so that they give us clients. We figure out this way of empowering the thing we don’t like. We’re like, “I don’t like this but I’ll get good at it, and at least then I can do this thing. I’m willing to do this because I get to do this so my life’s pretty great.” We’re shattering that entirely.
What we’re doing is creating the ability for you to see how this thing that you relate to possibly is not that fun. The possibility is that it’s every bit as much a natural expression of yourself as this thing you love doing. From there, conversations like, “How do I get more work-life balance become meaningless?” It’s not that the people are dumb for having them. It’s that where we end up is like, “There is no balance. There’s me expressed as myself in the world, bringing my gifts.” To me, that’s heaven on earth. That’s what we’re creating over those ten weeks. I guarantee that it will create some transformation for you. It’s super fun, lively, and you get to be with a ton of people doing awesome work.
I got some books here, these are getting mailed out. If you’ve been sent one of these books and you’ve been reading it, please let me have your feedback. I would appreciate that. I’m in the process of finalizing the final addition, which will be quite a bit larger. Now’s the time where feedback is most helpful. If anyone has anything, where you’re like, “I would love it if you’d included more of this, Adam. I noticed I’m stopping reading at about Page 37 and I haven’t gone back.” That’s valuable feedback. I need all of that because that tells me your experience reading the book. If you’re one of those people, I would love to get some of that juicy feedback. You can’t give me wrong feedback. Don’t worry about that. With that, we’re going to wind down. Anything you want to say to these people is far as the goodbyes concerned, Aaron?
I love you all. Thank you for being part of my journey. I appreciate it.
Thank you to everyone who showed up and played with us. I love you as well. I love you, Aaron. It’s a delight to get to spend this time together. Have a great weekend, everyone. We’ll catch you soon.
About Aaron Quinn
Works at The Asian Leadership Institute
Worked at TeamUp