As an Executive Psychologist I work with CEOs, successful entrepreneurs, business founders and non-executive directors. They are bosses and leaders of businesses. Busy people with important jobs.
So why do they choose to leave their plush offices and travel to my coaching room in Monkstown, County Dublin?
And why is it so important that they do?
It’s because – like most of us – what they need more than anything is headspace. They need time for quality thinking. For perspective. To get real clarity.
The reality is that if you are in the same type of environment, you’ll get the same type of thinking. Like the saying goes – if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.
And that’s not to knock a certain type of thinking. Having meetings. Making decisions. Managing the day-to-day of running a business or businesses. Looking at new opportunities. It’s important. It’s part of the role of the CEO or the boss.
But all of us need to be able to change gear. And the higher up you are in an organisation, the more important it is that you can stand back, think clearly and make the right decisions. Not only about what to do, but in the world we live in now, it’s increasingly important to be clear on what NOT to do.
And if you’re also thinking – as all of the people I work with do – not just about work but also about your life and how you want to live it, how you can feel fulfilled, feel a sense of purpose or make a difference, or create more balance in your life – this kind of thinking doesn’t generally happen – or at least is much harder – in a typical office environment. No matter how spacious the office. No matter how great the view.
Different environment, different thinking
A different kind of thinking requires a different kind of environment. One that is conducive to creativity, fresh thinking, new ways of looking at things. One that allows you to stand back and see things with clarity, fresh eyes or a different perspective.
And the reaction people have when they come to my coaching room for the first time is almost always the same – “It’s so quiet here – so peaceful”. That’s exactly why I do it here.
And if people arrive with their heads full, their minds racing I always notice how their pace begins to change, they start to slow down, they visibly relax, their shoulders drop a little as they settle onto the comfy sofa and take in the view of trees and nature. They start to feel a sense of calm and space. This is a place for them to slow down, to think. To really think. Clearly. Creatively.
And this is how you get those aha moments. Those bursts of clarity. Or BFOs – Blinding Flashes of the Obvious. BFOs are things that were inside you already and feel so obvious when they come out that they are usually met with a “Why didn’t I see this before?” type of response. But the thing is, even though these answers and insights are often there, they need the right space or conditions to emerge. And a lot of the time we are simply too busy to access them.
Creating time to think
And it doesn’t just have to be in my coaching room. I encourage the people I work with to go to the places – physical or mental – that allow them access to this kind of thinking as often as they can. This can be going for walks, going to their favourite coffee shop, exercising, journaling (aka writing about stuff!), meditating – whatever works for them to quieten their mind and allow them to think clearly and creatively.
This is about creating time and space to think. And in the email pinging, text message beeping, 24/7, switched on, fast-paced, mobile phone distracting world we live in, it’s becoming harder and harder to access the pure, clear thinking that comes from a quiet mind.
This is why my clients who are Dublin based and even many who aren’t, travel to me. They put the effort in to get here because they get so much more out of it. As with many things, what you put in you get out.
Beyond the surface
The people I work with also use the travel time here as part of the process – as valuable reflection time before and after our time together. So often we dash between meetings, between events without getting time to do much thinking or planning beforehand or to process, digest and reflect afterwards. Some of my clients even choose to go to one of the lovely coffee shops in Monkstown to reflect on things before or after our session so that that they get maximum value from the time we spend together rather than rushing on to the next ‘thing’.
My work involves coaching successful people who’ve already achieved significant outer success and I help them with ‘what next’ – what more or what else they want in their lives. This is highly personalised and powerful whole-person coaching and to get the kind of results these clients want requires listening to more than just your head. It means also connecting with your heart, your soul, your values, your drivers and your real desires about how to live the best life you can. And this means going beyond the surface, the obvious. It means digging deeper.
And this requires investment. Investment of time and focus. It requires commitment.
And that is why my clients get in their cars and travel here. Not for me, but for them.
For their life. For their “one wild and precious life”.