30,000 feet above Italy I entertained the thought that I’d been consuming too many podcasts and not creating enough. Clients, current and past coachees and you – my lovely reader – circulate in my head every day and I’m acutely aware I haven’t shared any musings via this mail medium for a very long time. Joshua Fields Millburn and Jay Nash in conversation on episode #194 of The Minimalist podcast are the catalyst for me being back in your box, and my friend Ben is the inspiration for the theme of this edition: what do you want to feel?
Have you ever asked yourself what you want to feel? Do you actively attempt to construct your life in such a way that you have the feelings you want to have? Well the question feels so fresh, novel and positively peculiar to me that I don’t think I’ve been thinking about it enough. Which is strange, because….
Intentionality and focus both come up a lot in the conversations I have with people – be that a coachee striving for her next career milestone; an executive sponsor tasked with delivering an Inclusion & Diversity strategy; my daughter; a friend in a funk or the internal chats I have with myself. But here’s the thing: those conversations about intentionality and focus are almost always about purposeful activity. DOING not FEELING. And the doing is usually about ACHIEVING. Achieving something desired and valued.
And that’s all good. But feelings matter. It’s feelings that make us leave a job, accept a proposal, lash out and love deeply. So let’s welcome feelings into the spotlight and nudge ‘doing’ off the stage for a minute.
I’d like to invite you to pause for 60 seconds and close your eyes and ask yourself out loud what do I want to feel? (This may cause worried looks among other passengers should you be commuting at this point but they’ll see by your calm posture and closed eyes that you are actually completely fine).[If you haven’t stopped reading and are feeling slightly dubious, let me give you a window on what I think might possibly happen if you were to ask yourself. I think an obvious thing would pop up quickly such as ‘happy’ and then you might go blank. Your thoughts might turn to different areas of your life, possibly starting with something that’s on your mind most frequently: a tricky relationship; a challenging aspect of your job; a health concern perhaps. You might hone in on that thing and begin to label how you’re currently feeling about it. You could write those feelings down and seeing them on screen or paper might be a catalyst for thinking about how you would like to feel instead. I really do think it’s worth having a go. Something positively surprising might happen.]
We’ve taken a minute.
I’ve done this exercise with paper and pen and it took me the cooling and drinking time of a mug of ‘Early Grey’ tea* to get beyond my first response (which, if you’re curious, was not ‘happy’ but ‘calm.’)
Part two, if you’re up for up it, is then to ask yourself: How can I create that?
And so we circle back to intentionality of ACTION: what is it I’m going to DO so that I can FEEL what I want to feel?
I’d love to encourage you to set aside the cooling and drinking time of your favourite hot beverage twice this week to ask and answer these questions:
- What do I want to feel?
- How can I create that?
I find it’s best to leave at least a couple of hours between answering this type of ‘what’ and ‘how’ question pair so your mind can ‘marinade.’ And the toilet probably beckons after the first question anyway.
In practice I left 24 hours between the questions and found that before I answered “How can I create that?” I wanted to refine my responses to “What do I want to feel?” So I did and I settled on four things.
I always think of September as a time to reset and give new routines a go and so I’ve welcomed the time here in Italy to consider how I’m going to operate and what I’m going to strive for between now and the end of the year. Using the lens of what I want to feel is a new way of doing this and I hope you give it a go and find it as beneficial as I have. (Being in Italy is not a prerequisite!)
As the ever curious and need-to-connect being that I am, I would LOVE you to tweet a photo of your answers to Q1 to @jesschivers using the hashtag #IWantToFeel. Or please FEEL ‘free’ to e-mail me a photo instead. If you share yours, I’ll share mine.
Until next time, be clear on what you want to feel and intentional in your activity to generate it.
Yours with focus, affection and a whole load of feels from Umbria,
*‘Waitrose own brand, fair trade decaffeinated Early Grey tea’ came the text reply from the friend I’m staying with in Italy when I asked what light, dry, small goodie she’d like bringing from the UK. I’ll forever think Earl Grey tea is for people who are prematurely follicularly challenged or who actively want to encourage their hair to go grey😊.
I do love listening. Here are five podcast episodes I’ve taken inspiration from recently and are still whirling round my head.
1. The Minimalists – #194 Craft 20/8/19
“An idea isn’t power; acting on an idea is power. Ideas aren’t really worth that much, it’s the action.” Joshua Fields Millburn in conversation with singer-song writer Jay Nash.
Worth a listen if you: want to consume less and create more/are an aspiring writer creatives if you want to talk less about your ideas and deliver on them instead.
2. How to Own the Room – Trinny Woodall on Trusting Yourself 7/6/19
Viv Groskop, author of the tremendously encouraging book of the same name, in conversation with entrepreneur Trinny Woodall AKA “Trinny & Susannah” on rising from the ashes. She recounts appearing on Oprah “A girl stood up and said ‘Oprah, I so want you to be my mentor,’ and Oprah said ‘I didn’t have a mentor, why should I be your mentor? You’ve got to find your mentor inside of you.’ That was tough but she was saying yes you can be inspired by women but don’t grab on, grab yourself and pull yourself up.”
Worth a listen if you: have a girl crush on Trinny; love posh voices; aspire to grow your small business; like listening to entrepreneurs; need to sort yourself out.
3. The Food Programme – Jamie Oliver: A Life Through Food 18/8/19 & 25/8/19
“Anything I’ve ever done in 20 years [Jamie pauses, takes a deep breath]: none of the ideas or concepts have come from an intelligence that’s beyond a primary school kid. There’s nothing that my son couldn’t have come up with.”
Worth a listen if you: need to get your mojo going; enjoy thinking about food when you’re not eating or making it; consider Jamie Oliver great Prime Minister material; love Radio 4.
4. Eat Sleep Work Repeat – #79 Building Culture the Barcelona Way 23/8/19
“Success leaves clues.” Professor Damien Hughes talking to Bruce Daisley about enhancing team performance.
Worth a listen if you: are a CEO/MD/team leader/aspiring leader; like listening to people who are sure of themselves; interested in applied psychology; are part of a team that needs energising. (Interest in football or sport is irrelevant).
5. ADHD Experts Podcast – #240 How to Communicate and Connect with a Defiant Explosive Child 22/8/19
“Trust and connection precede obedience.” My son has ADHD and is on the autistic spectrum. It causes many challenges and non-stop learning for me as I seek solutions to help family life feel better.
Worth a listen if you: are in a family with a child with ADHD; are in a family with a child who doesn’t want to talk to you; are a teacher; are curious about ADHD.
About Jessica Chivers
Jessica is a coaching psychologist, author, founder and CEO of The Talent Keeper Specialists. The Talent Keeper Specialists provide insights and solutions to maximise the professional potential of employees coming back to work after a break. Before her current role Jessica worked with Mind Gym and began sharing insights from the world of psychology to help women flourish at work and beyond at jessicachivers.com. The website remains but her fresh musings are shared mostly on LinkedIn and Twitter. Her latest project is www.comebackcommunity.co.uk – a digital platform bringing resources to employees preparing for and returning from any type of extended leave – and their line managers. Read more about keeping and fuelling talented and valued employees on The Talent Keeper Specialists’ LinkedIn page.
Jessica can be contacted via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.