Last week was a week of late requests and speedy okays. We did not have to move mountains, we did not have to conjure magic out of nowhere and we did have the gaps in our calendars. We also have a principle that says Accept and say Yes! All of which lead us to unexpectedly and serendipitously speak to a wide range of very different audiences.
Given the nature of what we do with clients, supporting them to build emotional fitness, our phones are normally on silent. Few people phone us, and we are happy to avoid being interrupted by spam calls. Those delightful ring and drop wonders that waste the very time it takes to mistakenly answer them. So it was purely by accident that Chantal saw the call from someone she knew, someone in the same industry, someone she had not spoken to for many months.
“I know it is very late,” said the soft voice on the other end, “But could you do a talk tomorrow for a client of mine?”
The gap was there in the calendar. The talk was one that we could do in our sleep, and probably have. Gap filled. And how did it go? If the feedback from the client is anything to go by, our emotional fitness taster talk (more in this below) really hit the mark:
It was so great having you. You have indeed touched our employees’ lives.
Chantal presenting emotional fitness to a major media company
Make America Healthy & Vuka Online Radio
Flush from talking to a screen full of bobbing circles with initials in them, (don’t you just love Teams?) on Tuesday afternoon an email:
Tomorrow's show is about neuroplasticity and we have a spot available. This is a live show at 5 pm EST. [P]lease let me know asap if you are available and I will send the details. Thanks
That’s Wednesday, 23h00 SAST, the calendar was definitely empty. We would normally be asleep but the show was Make America Healthy, with an audience of over 25,000 engaged listeners, so we were not going to miss this opportunity. The baton was handed over to Matthew to represent us this time.
While Matthew was brushing up on neuroplasticity and how our work supports it (it very munich does) on Wednesday afternoon, a Whatsapp to Chantal:
Would you like to be a guest on my radio show Healthcare Hour with Colleen Qvist? On Vuka Online Radio.
Sure! A gap in the calendar the next day was filled with another opportunity.
Shape of Emotion boosts neuroplasticity and brain retraining
It happens in threes
Weird how that happens. Three offers, three last minute appeals, three opportunities to Accept and say Yes to telling a new set of audiences about our work, about building emotional fitness, about choosing mental and emotional health and wellbeing over keeping quiet, staying low, and avoiding feeling.
None of this will make any difference unless we can convert people to take back their agency, come back to their bodies and make some small but sustainable changes to becoming healthier and emotionally fitter.
Not everyone wants to. Actually most don’t. There may be a vague thought of I really should. But the idea of changing anything, even if it is for the better, can be overwhelming.
Then there is the possibility of failure. You know, that idea that I will start off well, go for a few days and then something will happen to make me lose my way and I will do the equivalent of eating that cream cake, indulging in that double thick and missing another gym session. Well, that’s it! It’s all over, might as well give up now.
Our gamified world
It isn’t all over, though, is it? It is just a blip. Tomorrow is another day to come back to the better habits and start again. The problem is that we are driven to rack up the points, get the stars, the shields, the trophies, our names higher up the rank, in this gamified world that we have come to live in.
Even the mindfulness app that we have done work on misses the point. Each time you use the timer, or listen to a guided practice or music you get the equivalent of a “you did good sticker”. Plus you are reminded of the number of consecutive days you have sat. 225 consecutive days you have meditated for. “Well done!” they are saying. “Feel good about your commitment and discipline”, is implied. Stroke, stroke, stroke.
Miss one day and bang! it is back to the beginning - 1 consecutive day. It’s like all that good has been wiped out. Damn!
It’s all ego really. Wanting to do well. Wanting to build a bigger and bigger number of consecutive days to get that real star. Yes, you get stars for how much you have meditated. It is supposed to be encouraging but it becomes a bit competitive, the antithesis of what mindfulness is all about.
Shape of Emotion boosts neuroplasticity and brain retraining
It’s about coming back
The thing is, meditation practices are all about coming back, when the mind wanders, to the breath or the candle or whatever it is that is being focused on. Coming back again and again and again is the point. Users of this app should be validated for returning after a missed day or week or month. The reward should be for coming back. Yes, I may be starting at Day 1 but I came back!
Talking of coming back, a particular highlight of the week was Matthew meeting up with a friend he has had since he was 14 years old. He went to her wedding 30 years ago! They have been in touch over the years through social media but this time it was face to face over breakfast. Yes, there was plenty of catching up to do but the same warmth and connection was there as if they had never parted. It did not matter that they had been away from each other for so long, what did matter was that they had come back to rekindle their connection.
A lovely reminder that when the intention is sincere and the connection heartfelt, the coming back will feel like home. What can you come back to this week?
About the author
5th Place offers specialised psychological services in the form of coaching and therapy for immediate relief from stress, anxiety, & other mental health challenges. It works fast, deep and quick. For individuals and groups, children, teens and adults.