Stories and knowledge from the community to help anybody out there who's starting a new venture or going through some radical changes in their existing business. We're here to take away the overwhelm of making critical and complicated decisions that will have a big impact not only on your business but also your life. We're here to create a safe space to find the answers for yourself. We'll open the door to new ideas and opportunities and show you what's inside. It's then up to you to take the step forward. If you want to make money, do good and be happy then I highly recommend listening along.
I love the following excerpt from this week's podcast. It fully captures our work with early stage entrepreneurs who are stumbling along trying to get their idea out into the world. Maybe they're slowed down by the feeling of imposter syndrome or perhaps it's their need to make sure their idea is perfect and a fear of failure? In the end though you just need to get clay on the wheel...
"You can’t make anything if you don’t put anything out. You need something to work with. So if you’re holding everything in and holding everything back and you're stopping yourself before you've even written a line on the page then nothing is ever going to happen. If you do want to make something, if you do want to make a shape and get a bit messy then you do have to get some clay on the wheel. And it’s just clay. It doesn’t have to be fully formed yet."
In this episode I talk to Sophie Develyn. She's worked for us for over 3 years and is now off on a new adventure. We talk about the time when she first joined us and about her journey with the Happy Startup School. This is a story of not knowing, confidence, alignment, feeling left out, feeling her way forward and trusting her gut. While she hadn't been sure why she should be working with us it also "felt like home".
It's been amazing to have Sophie support us for the past 3 years and her contribution particularly on our Alptitude retreats and our Summercamp has been awesome.
We wish her luck on her next adventure to Nepal and I have a feeling that we'll be staying connected.
In this episode I share the audio of a live webinar Laurence and I hosted where we discussed whether to change our name.
We've been running The Happy Startup School for over seven years and during that time we've evolved from delivering workshops on how to build a startup to hosting transformational retreats on the beaches of Goa. We run an online community where we support entrepreneurs at different stages of their journey and host an annual festival that attracts people from all walks of life.
It's been a fun filled journey and along the way we’ve made so many friends and learned so much. We have now gathered around us people who aren’t just startups but also seasoned business owners and experienced professionals. They come from diverse backgrounds but with a common need to find more meaning and purpose in the work they do. Our work has therefore evolved beyond supporting startups to also supporting individuals who want to grow personally.
And so we’re wondering whether our name is limiting us because there are people out there who’d benefit from coming to our events or being part of our community but don’t identify with the word startup.
So this is our effort to share our thoughts and get feedback from our members and followers. We’d love to know what you think and so if you identify with our situation or have thoughts about our name ping as an email on email@example.com.
We're not done with startups yet though and if you're London based why not come to our FREE event Lightbulb to Launch: From Idea to Action. In partnership with General Assembly we're hosting a one day workshop to help budding entrepreneurs launch their ideas - https://ahappy.link/lightbulbtolaunch
The Map of Meaning is a very simple map that can create powerful insights.
In this episode of the podcast I talk to Lani Morris, one of the co-creators of the map and we discuss what it takes to create more meaning in our lives. Along with her fellow co-creators they’ve discovered that there are four common elements to meaning: integrity with self; unity with others; actualising self potential and service to others. By consciously addressing each of these areas we’re able to fully express what it means to be human and find more meaning in our day to day lives.
Along our journey of building the Happy Startup School we’ve met many purpose driven entrepreneurs who are creating good in the world but are also burning out. They believe that they’ve defined their purpose but for some reason something is still missing.
What does it mean to do meaningful work? It’s easy to conflate the ideas of meaning and purpose but just because you work in a purposeful organisation does not immediately mean that your work feels meaningful. For Lani purpose is about inspiration and service to others and if we neglect the other areas of meaning then that’s when problems arise.
Being able to identify the missing pieces is the purpose of the Map of Meaning.
Each of these areas can be depicted as four quadrants on the axes of being and doing. When we look at our daily lives using the Map of Meaning we’re able to identify where we’re spending too much time and how we can reclaim some balance by addressing the areas we’ve neglected.
To find out more about the Map and Lani then follow these links:
TEDx talk on meaningful work
The Map of Meaning - A Guide to Sustaining our Humanity in the World of Work
Introductory workshop to the Map of Meaning
Online course - The Heart Beat of Business: Creating and Running Meaningful Start-ups and Small Businesses
Marianne is an entrepreneur, coach and author of Be a Free Range Human. I first met Marianne at our Summercamp in 2015 where she ran a workshop about escaping the 9 to 5 and creating a lifestyle that aligns with your business. In this episode we talk about her journey since then and discuss how leaving employment to create our own businesses can mean unintentionally swapping one cage for another. While building a successful business can bring you more autonomy we can also get trapped by that feeling of success and the fear of losing it. When we over identify with our businesses we lose sight of where our success ends and where we begin. We forget that we’re enough, no matter what. Marianne remembers being triggered by the question “If your business didn’t exist anymore, who would you be?” Losing touch with who we really are can trap us in a cycle of overwork as we strive to maintain our past levels of success. Marianne talks about rooting down as well as growing the business. Because without roots our feelings of success can be easily blown away. Rooting down is an inner journey of self discovery and defining your inner compass. You can see how her message resonates with what we’re about at the Happy Startup School. I hope you enjoy this episode.
Over the past 7 years of building the Happy Startup School I’ve met entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes. Some are motivated by looking at the market and creating what’s wanted while others are motivated by an internal need to create what’s true to them. In my mind they’re at the opposite ends of the spectrum. At one end is the businessman and at the other end is the artist.
In this episode of the podcast I talk to Max St. John who’s spent time at the busines end and is now transitioning to the artist way of living. He talks about the locus of evaluation. This is the place where we look to find out whether we’re doing the right work.
For Max it’s less about understanding what moves the market but more about what feels true to him. While he accepts the need to make money he also believes that we can’t force work to come our way. Despite what marketers and sales people tell us we can’t control whether clients appear or not. What we can control is how we turn up in the world and where we place our energy, and where we place our energy is where things will grow.
We explore these ideas through the lens of Max’s journey of entrepreneurship. If you’re a creative entrepreneur trying to understand how to straddle the two worlds of artist and businessman then you’ll appreciate this conversation and identify with Max’s story.
Learning about Non-Violent Communication has been a game changer for me. As a child I’d always struggled to deal with difficult emotions and so would either lash out in anger or, what was more often the case, would cry with frustration. I learned that expressing emotions was weak and so I decided to suppress them. However, in doing so I limited the development of my own emotional vocabulary and the ability to practice empathy. This was ironic since I had a deep need for connection and community.
In a world that feels ever more divisive and disconnected the ability to practice deep empathy is fundamentally important.
In this conversation with Beccie D’Cuhna, Happy Startup community member and professional mediator, we talk about the importance of empathy when helping others navigate periods of conflict and change. We discuss the difference between empathy and sympathy and how when we judge and try to fix other people’s emotions we end up invalidating their experience. We then lose the opportunity for deep connection and make it harder for them to process what they’re feeling and move forward with clarity.
Sometimes we just need to sit in that turbulent space and feel what needs to be felt without judgement or resistance. This takes practice and requires us to learn more about why we feel what we feel.
Petra Smid is a consultant and facilitator who helps organisations and individuals navigate change. She believes that by living our values we’re able to overcome our fear of uncertainty and by trusting in ourselves we’re able to tackle all the challenges we’ll face.
Petra joined us for Alptitude 2019 because she was looking to create space for herself. In our business lives and our personal lives we can find ourselves giving time to everyone else but not giving enough time to ourselves. By creating space for ourselves we create an opportunity to check in with what’s important to us and to reassess the direction we’re going in.
Maybe you’re too busy climbing the corporate ladder or building your high growth startup but if you don’t take time to look up from the busy-ness how can you be sure that you’re doing the right thing. And if you believe you’re not doing the right thing where do you get the courage to change direction?
One thing that’s in common with all the attendees of our retreats and events or members of our community is the need to live a life that’s true to what they believe. Defining our core values and believing that the work we must align with these is what binds our community together.
During this episode Petra talks about her own journey to entrepreneurship. She shares how being clear about her core values has enabled her to make the jump and create work that aligns with who she really is. We discuss why she joined us at Alptitude and what she got out of being there.
Alan is a business coach and mentor on a mission to help and empower as many entrepreneurs as he can. His focus in on owner managed businesses that want to scale up and he’s been amazing support for myself an Laurence. On a previous episode Alan and I discussed the idea of building a minimum viable audience, essentially gathering people around you that love what you do. While many early stage entrepreneurs think of scaling up from the beginning the MVA approach is about first niching down and getting really focused on who you want to serve. One aspect of this is to think about demographics and targetting your audience based on traits like age, geography, education, gender and income. This helps you define who you want to appeal to. However, to understand what motivates and moves these people, you also need to think about psychographics and explore their needs, wants and behaviours. Understanding why people really want what you offer will help you communicate what you do in a much more effective and engaging way. By putting out the right messages you won’t want to have to go hunt for your customers they’ll be looking for you. Listen to find out more.
On this episode of the podcast I talk to Ebonie Allard about self knowledge and creating more alignment in your life.
“No matter where you go, you’ll be there too so it’s useful to know who you are.”
If you’ve ever got to a period in your life when you’ve looked around and asked yourself the question “is this it?” then you’ll be interested in Ebonie’s journey of going from misfit to maven. This story is for anyone who’s felt like they didn’t know where they fit and is searching for their unique place of contribution in the world, a place of authentic success. During the conversation we discuss the process of adulting and the idea of shifting your perspective from life happening to you to life happening for you. Enjoy the episode!
Ebonie will also be speaking at our Happy Startup Summercamp and if you haven’t signed up head over to the site (http://happystartupsummer.camp) to see if you can get one of the last few tickets.
I put together some sketch notes of my conversation too. Download them at http://ahappy.link/adulting
In this episode I have a very honest conversation with Ed Barton, cofounder of Curiscope, about what it’s like to build a venture backed startup. What starts off as a classic tech startup story and a window into the world of venture capital evolves beautifully into a raw story of what it's like to be a leader at a personal level.
We talk about the struggle and overwhelm that comes with investment and the need to grow. We also discuss how burnout can creep up on you and how difficult it is to recognise until you're on the cusp.
Ed offers some very sage advice for any founder, whether you’re running a non-profit or a rocketship, about how to make business life less hard and less effortful. Following on from the last episode on coping with struggle Ed's story is a real world case study of what it's like in and what you can do to make sure you thrive rather than just barely survive.
In this episode of the podcast I’m joined by John Parkin author of the international best seller Fuck It: The Ultimate Spiritual Way. He’s also written other books in the Fuck It series as well as hosting retreats in Italy with his wife Gaia. John will be joining us at Summercamp this year to give a talk and I so I wanted to get to know him more as well as introduce him to our community. During our conversation we discuss the topic of struggling in business. While John is an optimist, he’s also aware that there will be times when things get tough. According to him, how we cope through struggle determines how quickly we bounce back and also how we develop our resilience. John shares some of the challenges he’s faced and what he does to cope with struggle.
The three things that John does to help him when he's struggling are (listen from 55m 6s on the podcast):
1. Look after himself by going for walks, eating well and doing stuff he enjoys
2. Breaking down big jobs into small more manageable tasks and focussing on the task at hand
3. Share the problem by talking to someone about it
John will be talking at our Summercamp in September. I hope you can join us. You can find out more about the event at - http://happystartupsummer.camp
Phoebe is one of those true multipotentialite with a finger in many pies. She’s involved in many projects including being a member of the social change freelancer network Enspiral. She’s on a mission to understand what it means to be human in this technological age and sees life as an experiment with no 'wrong' answer. She believes that we could be offering a far richer, more holistic and innovative education to our young people and that we need to re-think business and work, and personal development.
I found this to be a rich and at some points technical conversation but if you want to build a company but not use the outmoded hierarchical templates of the past then I recommend you have a listen. You’ll get some interesting insights and questions to ask yourself about the horizontal organisation you want to build.
Seven questions to ask yourself if you’re interested in building a horizontal organisation (from Going Horizontal):
Autonomy- how are you going to give people in your organisation autonomy?
Purpose- what is the purpose of the company and how do you make it explicit in every interaction within the organisation?
Meetings- how do you host, organise and manage meetings so that the right people are involved and everyone knows and accepts their role?
Transparency- how will you create a culture of openess and fairness so that everyone has access to the necessary information so that they don’t feel manipulated? How will you encourage this?
Decision Making- have you consciously chosen the models of decision making that are applicable to the decision at hand? Does everyone understand how this model works?
Learning and Development- how do you empower people to take responsibility for their own learning and personal development? How do you make people feel accountable for their choices of what form that learning takes?
Conflict and Relationships- which approaches and rituals will you put in place to help deal with conflict and foster deeper relationships?
This is a touching and illuminating conversation with Jerome Ribot, founder of Coglode. Coglode is a startup with a mission to help people make better decisions by making sense of behavioural research. Laurence and I have known Jerome and his brother Anthony for many years.
They actually ran a workshop at our Happy Startup Summercamp nearly 5 years ago, which is coming up again this September and we still have a few places left. At that time we were still all running digital agencies and to be honest Laurence and I looked up to the Ribot brothers and what they had achieved with their agency.
During this episode we talk about Jerome’s journey to launching and growing Coglode and what it meant to his relationship with his old agency, his brother and his now cofounder (and long time friend) Roxy. If you’ve ever shut down or left a company you’ve helped create, or cofounded a business with a close friends or family I think that you’ll definitely get something out of this episode.
Some extracts from this episode:
- Some of the biggest challenges we face are the greatest acts of kindness for our personal development.
- It’s liberating to understand that while you’re not in control of the adverse situations we face we are in control of how respond to them.
- How to sit with discomfort and use that as an opportunity for learning.
- Coglode started off as a website that was built over just a couple of days. It was a marketing tool for the agency.
- I grew an agency with my brother for 10 years and the name of the agency was our surname.
- As a design agency you eventually become a digital surrogate mother constantly pumping out these children (products) that come back to you a little bit damaged.
- I wanted to feel the discomfort of creating a product that we were responsible for.
- As a creative director who’s responsible for creating ideas being detached from your creations is only something you can do for so long.
- And so agency life can only satisfy your needs to a certain level.
- With discomfort comes growth, and so if you have a need to grow as a person you need to seek discomfort It takes a strong mind to distinguish between walking away from your own company from walking a way from your own family.
- When running a startup with a friend your friendship will be put under strain and so you have to protect as much as you can your friendship.
- If you’re very good friends there’s a danger of bringing too much of your personal life to work.
- You need to be honest about why you’re both doing it.
- Knowing that you may, in the short term, lose some aspect of your friendship by tying it to your financial survival.
- You implicitly trust each other You get a closeness that you would’t have otherwise.
- You get to play, explore and be curious together.
- You would never make a decision that would do undue harm to the other.
- Be aware if you start seeing your cofounder friend just as a work colleague.
- Be aware of any creeping resentment to your cofounder. Notice any drops in motivation.
- Are you not being honest about your true feelings?
- Sort out any conflicts about ambiguity of roles as soon as possible.
- Make sure you have time away together away from the business.
Find out more about Coglode here - http://coglode.com
For much of my life I’ve been a worrier. I’ve worried about whether I was making the right decision or whether people thought I was doing the right thing. My mind fills with thoughts and judgements that can turn into a cacophony. This stops me from being able to listen to my body and therefore be able to follow my intuition. As Max St. John, founder of Being Wild Things, tells me in this episode the body will whisper to us what we should do, and then nudge us and then at some point shout. Recently I’ve been crippled by back pain which I guess is my body shouting. I guess I haven’t been listening well enough. I haven’t been creating enough space to be still. I hope you enjoy this podcast as I hear about how we can lead more autonomous lives by listening more to our bodies.
Extracts from this episode:
When you’re really listening to the body you’re just responding to intuition and instinctive self.
One of the myths of meditation is that you should be able to clear your mind.
But the mind will just do what it’s going to do.
Don’t push the thoughts down with judgment.
Young children live in the moment and aren’t conscious of what they should or shouldn’t do.
The conscious conditioned self is the self that worries about the future, past and present.
The subconscious is the awareness of being alive in the body. It’s always there but drowned out by the conscious self.
Worry, stress and anxiety is the tension between what your conscious self is telling you and what your subconscious self knows what you need.
The conscious self needs conceptuallise and put stuff in boxes.
The fears of the future and the shackles of the past are stopping us from working well in the present.
The moment we try too hard to listen to the body so that it can tell us what to do next is the moment that we lose the point.
We need to let go of the expectation that listening will get us some where - “Abandon all hope of progress” Charles Davies
By feeling into our bodies we can stop ourselves from jumping onto the train of bad thoughts and remain on the platform of presence.
The judging, planning, plotting and scheming mind are just a reflection of tension in the body. If we focus on them we just reinforce the tension.
If you experience tension, don’t focus on it, just focus on the possibility of letting go.
The things you give attention to will grow.
Rather than chase each urge to respond to everything that comes your way just, let go and then trust that you can deal with whatever comes up in the way you need to.
You can’t control how other people behave, the only thing that you can control is how you respond.
We should strive to live a autonomous life and stop listening to the chatter and doing what people say you should do.
Get in touch with Max via email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Max will be talking at Summercamp and he’ll be leading a morning neigong session to help get us more in our bodies.
Find out more about Summercamp at http://happystartupsummer.camp.
Laurence has been reading the book Nature Fix recently and it inspired him to write a post on our Medium publication entitled Hiking The Therapy Trail Where Life and Work Meet. If you’d like to have read go to http://ahappy.link/read.
He says that it backs up what we intrinsically know. That when we lose ourselves in nature time stands still and we learn to behave more generously to ourselves and one another. We use our senses fully and become much more present to our surroundings. This helps us to open up, let our guard down and connect with each other on a deeper level.
At our latest Alptitude retreat this story played out once again. According to one of our alumni “we’re pioneers in the art of igniting collective inspiration, support and trust, magically between strangers”. This doesn’t happen by accident. It takes careful design, curation, hosting and collaboration to create the conditions for nature to weave its magic.
Just over two weeks since we came back from the Alps I reflect with Laurence about how it went and why we need these times in nature. Things we cover are:
Listen to your body for the early warning signals
People don’t value enough the idea of stopping
It’s almost more important to take time out when you can’t or when you don’t feel like you can’t because usually the time you need it the most
It’s counter-cultural to step off the treadmill
Most people believe that working hard is the best way to solve a problem
When our bodies aren’t working properly and our minds aren’t clear enough we’re going to be less effective
To make the shift happen we need to stop
Changing your environment and spending time in nature can change your perspective on the way you work
When you’re not close to something you can view it with fresh eyes and propose different approaches
Put fun at the heart of what you do, or why do it?
It’s important to have a constant reminder of the values the core of what you do
Focus on what you need and connect with others with similar needs
It’s so important to integrate the whole of yourself in what you do
Leading a simple life is about focussing on our intrinsic motivations and core needs
What are the positive things to simplify our lives and so benefit the planet?
From Friday 13th to Sunday 15th of September we’re hosting our Happy Startup Summercamp. While we know that strictly isn’t summer the event also isn’t just for startups.
At its core Summercamp about learning, play and friendship.
We want to promote personal growth in business.
We advocate holding our work lightly so that we can be more creative.
And we know that we can’t create impact on our own. We need to work with others that give us energy and support.
As well as inspirational talks we’ve got activities and experiences such as Blingo Bingo, Botannical Brewmaking, Yoga, Mindful raving, saunas, hot tubs, lake swimming, japanese swordfighting, chi-gung breathing and dancing (lots of dancing).
To find out more about Summercamp go to http://happystartupsummer.camp
Business doesn’t have to be boring. And it definitely shouldn’t be lonely. I hope you can join us in September.
It’s over a week now since we got back from Alptitude, our retreat for leaders and professionals. Alptitude is for people who want to make space for themselves so that they can get clear on their next steps. It’s a time to get away from the noise of the everyday in order to hear that inner voice called our intuition. In this episode of the podcast I talk to Meghan French Dunbar, founder of Conscious Company Media. One of the things that we discuss towards the end of the episode is the need for leaders and team members to turn up as their best selves. This requires self knowledge and being more conscious about who we are. This is the work. And this kind of work requires time, space and safety. In the episode we also talk about what a conscious business is and discuss the extra challenges that come up when running one.
How do we stay true to what we believe and the vision we want to create but also still make it sustainable and work within the current business paradigm
The number one thing that founders of mission driven businesses have said that they wished they had done at the beginning was have a substantiated business model that would drive enough revenue to keep going
There are many types of conscious business but fundamentally it is a business that has a higher purpose beyond profit and takes all stakeholders into account, not just shareholders
Social impact investors that invest because of the purpose do exists but they’re hard to find and when push comes to shove they’re still strongly influenced by ROI and metrics
When you’re a conscious business you’re not only trying to hit your financial metrics but also your impact metrics, which adds to the complexity
Impact investors have wonderful intentions but they also put double the pressure on the entrepreneur because of the extra metrics they need to hit
When it comes to impact there are some things that just can’t be measured
When you have a gut feeling about an investor: listen, listen, listen. They need to walk the talk
When you’re reactive in business it can feel like a pinball machine and you’re the pinball
Be aware of your emotional state
Are you above the line or below the line - receptive or closed down?
As leaders we need to show up as the best versions of ourselves: being able to consciously respond rather than just react
The one of the most common things that business leaders say is that you should listen to your intuition and your gut
Give space for that inner voice to speak
Meditate and journal regularly and look for patterns
As a leader you get the organisation you deserve and your organisation can only grow as much as you do
Leaders should model the behaviour that you expect in your organisation
If your behaviour and actions don’t align with the values you espouse you break the trust with your employees and partners
Top three bits of advice from business leaders: take care of yourself, take care of yourself, take care of yourself.
Identify the things make you a thriving human and do them
Your energy is your own responsibility
The only thing that I would gift my younger entrepreneur self is to not hold it so heavily and bring levity, joy and fun to what you’re doing
If it’s not going to matter in 5 years don’t spend more than 5 minutes worrying about it
Casper ter Kuile is one of the authors of the How We Gather report which is an exploration into how Millennials are finding and building communities of meaning and belonging. He’s also the co-host of the podcast Harry Potter and the Sacred Text which itself has grown into a community and business in its own right. During our conversation we discuss what community means to Casper and how our need for belonging in the modern age is being met by different secular organisations.
Some excerpts from this episode:
in a time of social isolation and mental health crises how do we live lives of deep connection
community is a group of people where you are deeply known and deeply loved
there’s an overuse of the word community because there’s such a need for it
community is not fun all of the time: it can be stifling and people know your business
community is wonderful but is also terrible
the pendulum as swung to the other side where people are too free but it comes with this sense of disconnection
relationships are held by structures
there’s been a shift that people would rather affiliate with thought leaders, influencers and people rather than institutions and companies
it’s incredibly powerful to see ourselves in another’s story
in fitness communities people come for the body but stay for the breakthrough
people gather around a common activity (the third thing)
you can only lead others as far as you’ve gone yourself
fill up yourself before you can help others
leaders need a place where their needs are met as well (which isn’t necessarily their own communities/organisations)
in our culture having a hot body is something we will pay for
it’s easier to build communities around fitness groups because culturally it’s more acceptable to pay for that
donations are a simple way to generate financial sustainability for communities
have something of value that people recognise and then have community as the second layer of value that people get as a benefit
there’s a hesitation about money and community but we shouldn’t be afraid to bring money into community and articulating its value
community is a powerful healthcare strategy
could we see tax breaks for communities
in order to pay for community people need to not only justify to themselves but also to their peers
can we design our organisations based on the principles of community
if a community is only for itself only, it will die.
communities need a purpose bigger than itself
more and more of us our finding our closest friendships at work
maybe there’s something beyond the triple bottom line which is about our relational connection in organisations
a covenant is about how we’re going to be in this work that we’re doing together and can help with managing conflict
it’s not just about scaling wide but also scaling deep
To find out more about Casper’s work check out:
For over a year and a half I’ve been coaching various members of our community on a one to one basis. I get great joy from working with people one to one and helping them get clarity about the what’s ahead of them and what’s getting in their way. I want to help people create businesses and do work that gives them joy, energy and an income. I want to be the best I can be at that and so having the opportunity to talk to Pete Mosley about coaching and mentoring was an amazing privilege. A speaker at our 2017 Summercamp, Pete leads a portfolio existence. He’s a keen writer contributor to Psychologies Magazine and the Quiet Revolution website. He’s a coach for people who aren’t comfortable with self promotion. And he delivers training and group coaching. He trained as a coach with Barefoot Coaching. In this episode we talk about what coaching means to him, the difference between coaching and mentoring and the hidden hurdles that get in our way.
Excerpts from this episode:
* When building a business not only do you need to consider your value proposition and the problem/solution fit but also the venture/entrepreneur fit.
* People are happy to pay for advice but not so much to get help get clarity about what they should be doing
* The difference with between mentoring and coaching is the direction of flow of creativity and energy. For mentoring the flow is from mentor to mentee while for coaching the flow is from coachee to coach, where the coach is using probing questions.
* Coaching is about championing somebody and helping them engage with what they’re about to do enthusiastically.
* You should only be setting goals for yourself that have meaning, that make sense, play to your strengths and that give you pleasure. Otherwise the chance of you attaining them are pretty low.
* Taking ownership is about being the best informed and best resourced person to make the decision.
* If there’s a mismatch between your values and your goals then you can run aground.
* People adopt structured approaches to coaches because it benefits the business model.
* The most valuable aspect of coaching is the quality of the relationship between coach and coachee, something more subtle than just a business transaction
* Sometimes the rushing towards solutions can be the most damaging thing you can do as it’s the worst possible thing for free thinking
* Human beings aren’t supposed to be time bound or expectations bound
* There’s something very fertile in the chaos * Your definition of success doesn’t have to be like anybody else’s.
* Hiring people that think differently and with diversity of attention
* Authenticity isn’t something that you can claim, it’s something that is bestowed on you by others.
* The thing that most people fear isn’t the situation but the unpleasant sensations and the discomfort they feel.
* These unpleasant feelings and sensations are there to inform us and guide us. We can learn to work with these unpleasant feelings.
You can find Pete on Twitter - @petemosley
He regularly writes articles on LinkedIn and for Psychologies Magazine and he’s the author of the book The Art of Shouting Quietly.
In the episode with Jon Barnes we explore his ideas on education and work. He shares his thoughts on the way we've been schooled and how it has impacted on the way we work. We're all brought up told exactly how things are: what to wear, where to sit and when to speak. Schooling is something done to us rather than for us. We're not given autonomy, and so we don't learn accountability and so lose our sense of agency. This has repercussions on our sense of freedom and our ability to act independently or entrepreneurially as adults. He tells the story of the changes he saw in his son, Ivor, when they took a family adventure to Costa Rica and enrolled him in Casa Sula, a school that promotes independent learning. Talking about Ivor's shift from needing to told what to do to becoming more self driven and motivated starts our conversation about Jon's own work and why he considers himself an activist trying to change the restrictive systems that exist in the workplace.
In this episode of the podcast I’m joined by Nigel Berman founder of School of the Wild. Nigel has joined us at Summercamp for the past few years. His gift to camp is an immersive experience that leaves attendees with a sense of awe and fuels their creativity.
During our conversation he shares his entrepreneurial adventure in accountancy, magazine publishing, speed dating events, online ecostores and now experiences in nature. He currently works with leaders and organisations to help them with innovation and problem solving by getting them into the wild.
Nigel’s entrepreneurial journey has been based on following his passion.
If you’re looking for an alternative path to being an entrepreneur that doesn’t involve getting an MBA and selling yourself to venture capitalists then I recommend you listen on. For Nigel this path is about deciding what you really love and what you can give.
This is why we love having Nigel contribute each year, he aligns so closely to our mission. Our Happy Startup Summercamp is the antidote to the always on culture that many of us find ourselves in. This is your chance to slow down, connect with others, and connect with yourself. You’ll leave camp looking at the world very differently, more optimistic, full of possibility and overloaded with creativity.
On this episode of the podcast I talk to Christine Chopyak, a visual strategist and idea builder from Denver, Colorado.
We met last year at our Alptitude retreat on Mount Hood in Oregon. She's the author of Picture your Business Strategy, a book that helps you master the principles of "strategic illustration", a proven system for visualising ideas.
Christine discovered the power of visual strategy nearly 20 years ago and it’s changed her life and how she relates to people. For her it’s a way to make ideas come alive.
Christine will be joining us at this year’s Summercamp and will be running a workshop for people who want to learn how to use drawing to help them get more clarity for their business.
Here are some nuggets from our conversation:
Too many thinkers like to hear themselves talk.
Designing your week to help you manage your energy
When you’re too attached to an idea you can forget what you’re actually trying to do
Visual strategy helps you see where you’re going and see where you’ve been in one breath
The brain processes images 60 times faster than text
In order for your brain to understand an image it only needs to be 30% accurate
80% of the population learn visually
From the ages of 0 to 3 we make sense of the world through shape and colour and so we all have the capacity to visualise ideas
Prototyping and storyboarding your service or product is the best way to understand your customer. It’s both fun and revealing.
The more complicated your business the more important it is to try and visualise it
We don’t get to see the diversity of solutions unless we try and visualise them
Engaging with your customers and clients using a visual approach can help you uncover what they really need
Once we get our ideas on a page we see patterns that we can’t see when we’re in our own heads
When you give people a picture they’re not so quick to start editing while they’re much more keen to edit your text
Drawing together helps you start building together
Doodling helps you listen and retain information better
Use word anchors if you feel like you’re not great at drawing
Join us at Summercamp to get hands on experience of being a visual strategist
Find out more about Christine on her website - www.arlosoul.com
And you can email her on email@example.com.
Her book is available on Amazon and is called Picture Your Business Strategy: Transform Decisions with the Power of Visuals
At Summercamp we devote much of the middle Saturday afternoon to hosting an Open Space session. This is a chance for all the attendees to have the conversations and curate the discussions that they want to have. We've found it a powerful way to connect people and to surface the real needs of our attendees. It's a bit scary for people not used to it but if you open yourself up to possibility and ride the uncertainty you WILL find the person and have the conversation that is most important for you.
Last year the session was hosted and held by Line Morkbak alongside Marcus Pibworth and Nick Stevens. In this episode I talk to Line about her work and also about what Open Space is and how it works. We also touch on the topics of serendipity, the future of work, leadership and collaboration.
As well as being a master facilitator and creator of collaborative environments Line's on a mission to discover powerful workplace innovations across the globe. Her project Leap Laboratory (https://www.gleapconsult.com/the-leap-lab) is a series of interviews with changemakers who are experimenting with inspiring ways to rethink workplace structures and collaboration.
More about Summercamp
Website - www.happystartupsummer.camp
Gallery - https://www.facebook.com/pg/TheHappyStartupSchool/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1912693348767824
Trailer video - https://vimeo.com/298048389
This is the second in my series of podcasts about Summercamp and the people who'll be there. In this episode I'm joined by Christina Kisley where we talk about her work to help people grow. She says “I love helping people grow.” She's an expert in organisational effectiveness and an entrepreneur coach.
We met on our Alptitude retreat in 2018 and her wealth of knowledge and humble way means you can’t help feel both inspired and at ease in her company. During our conversation we talk about two types of growth: maturing growth and restorative growth. The latter is about addressing the pain in our past so as to live more fully in the present. And by living more fully we have better relationships and become better business owners, entrepreneurs and leaders.
The lower your ability to lead, the lower the lid on your potential and the potential impact of your organization. Christina says “when you’re in a startup or a small team your stuff can get in the way real fast”. She calls this the Law of the Lid, and you’re the lid. We also talk about how growth happens in community and that “we are so much more invested in each other when we heal and grow together.”
Our Happy Startup Community exists to create spaces for people to find their role in the world before it’s too late. Part of finding that role is personal growth and a space where this growth can happen is our Happy Startup Summercamp. I hope you’ll join us there.
More about Summercamp
Website - www.happystartupsummer.camp
Gallery - https://www.facebook.com/pg/TheHappyStartupSchool/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1912693348767824
Trailer video - https://vimeo.com/298048389
This podcast is the first in a series of episodes where I'll be focussing on our annual event here in the south of England called the Happy Startup Summercamp. We first held this event in 2013 and we're now into our 7th year. Summercamp is the business event that Laurence and I were looking for when we were running our digital agency. It's a heady mix of inspirational talks, practical workshops, fun activities, deep conversations and serendipitous connections. We have veteran campers who come back every year and we have new attendees who have no idea what they're in for. They come together as strangers and leave as friends.
Over the next 5 episodes I'll be talking to some of our Summercamp contributors so you can get to know them and what they bring to camp. My hope is you'll have a better understanding of what it's like to be at the event.
I'm kicking off the series with the MC of Summercamp and the glue that sticks everything together. Sanderson Jones is one of the founders of Sunday Assembly and also the creator of Lifefulness. In Sandeson's words Lifefulness is to congregation what mindfulness is to meditation. During the discussion we talk about peak experiences, the importance of gathering with others and what it's like to be on startup love island. If you're passionate about building community and hosting events that create real impact then listen on.
More about Summercamp
Website - www.happystartupsummer.camp
Gallery - https://www.facebook.com/pg/TheHappyStartupSchool/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1912693348767824
Trailer video - https://vimeo.com/298048389
This episode is another intimate conversation and exploration with one of our Happy Startup members, Mart Gordon, a long time member of our community and veteran of our Happy Startup Summercamp. It’s a great bridge between the last two episodes with Charlie and Max where we talked about clarity, conflict and needs to the next four episodes where I’ll be focussing on telling the story of our Happy Startup Summercamp and talking to some of the great contributors who’ll be joining there this September.
For those of you who don’t know our Happy Startup Summercamp is our in-person off-grid gathering in the Sussex countryside where 150 purpose-driven entrepreneurs and changemakers come together to share ideas, break bread and get inspired.
Mart attended his first camp four years ago and during this episode he tells me how Summercamp helped set him on his path to creating Mundo Novus, a creative and innovation consultancy.We talk about his serendipitous journey, the power of play and how we can all be creative.
While I didn’t stick to my intention of keeping the episode to 20 minutes long I did make it effortless to create. You can tell me if it’s effortless to consume.
If you’re just starting on your own journey of finding work that feels meaningful or you’re stuck in a rut and trying to work your way out of it on your own then I do recommend having a listen. If any thoughts or questions come up for you while you’re listening then please hit me up on Twitter (@kungfucarlos) or ping me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
If we're going to work together better we need to be able to manage conflict in a healthy way. There are some big, seemingly intractable problems that need to be solved in the world (as well as some smaller ones) that will need a collaborative and collective approach to deal with them.
With any groups there will be friction and being able to work through our differences will be key to working effectively.In this episode I talk to Max St John, founder of Being Wild Things and author of the Fighting Well course. He's a trainer/coach/consultant/facilitator whose work focuses on helping people manage conflict.
We talk about his small holding in Cornwall and working with nature as well as his work in helping people fight well.Some choice excerpts are:
- Who am I, who are you and how can we work together better?
- The high frequencies that we vibrate at that are not in tune with the slower frequencies of nature.
- You can't do a Facebook campaign to accelerates your pea growth!
- Unhealthy conflict = unconsciously reacting and creating distance.
- Healthy conflict = awareness of my reactions and how I can choose to react in a way that best serves the situation.
- Meaningful work is a creative expression of ourselves and so negative feedback can really hurt and trigger us to react unhealthily.
Find out more about what he does by going to his website or just listen to the podcast on iTunes or online on Anchor.fm.
I'm not sure if I'll ever truly understand how blockchain works and I've got a PhD. However, on this episode talking to Evan Yap I got to understand how it could be used to create social good. It isn't just for creating alternative currencies but it can be applied in so many ways whether that's identity verification, tracking your medical history or switching universities. Listen to find out more.
Several years ago Laurence and I were sat in a room with Charles Davies talking about the Happy Startup School. We were there to get clear about what the school was about. What were we doing this for?
During this process we came up with the phrase "Creating spaces for people to discover their role in the world before it's tool late". It's a simple sentence that took me a while to understand and own, but now underpins everything we do.
When you have a clear idea you're tapping into your intuition and the work you do becomes more effortless. The work nourishes you and you have an appetite to do it. To find out more about Charlie's work go to his website https://www.howtobeclear.com/
But why not start by listening to me and him talk about what it means to be clear.
This episode starts off a bit chaotically as it was recorded just before our first Ideas Café event in London. We were at the 42 Acres event space in Shoreditch which was lovely but also a little challenging with people coming in and out of the space...
We've been running retreats and business festivals for the past 6 years. A couple of weeks before the recording of this podcast Laurence, Sophie and I took some time to plot out what it took to put together an event like Alptitude.
When we finished it looked like the world had run out of Post-it notes. If we'd been aware beforehand of what it would take to run a retreat we would have had second thoughts about making it happen. But we didn't, and the motivation to make it happen wasn't borne of taking advantage of an opportunity or creating a new revenue stream. Alptitude happens because it excites us and we need it ourselves.
The question then was: if we need it who else needs it? Apparently at least 180 people (we've done 9 retreats so far), and we're finding many more.
Listen on if you'd like to learn what it takes to put Alptitude together and what it's like to be there.
Find out more about the retreat here - http://alptitu.de
One of my intentions with my podcast is to share the stories of real startups on real journeys - the ups, the downs and the sideways moments. I'm hoping by sharing the story of Toby Moore, founder of Content Club, you'll connect with his journey of building his business and identify with the struggles and opportunities that he came across. The business building thing isn't a linear path and the destination is not always clear but as we continue along the path the way forward eventually becomes more apparent. I hope you enjoy this intimate conversation with Toby and please reach out to him and if you're a member of the community please reach out to him and say hello.
In this episode I talk to Ines Gaston who recently joined the community. She’s a trained psychologist in the early stage of her building her coaching business. When I first talked to Ines she was struggling to understand how to reach new customers.
She has a need to share her gifts and experience which she knows that can help many people. But given she’s not able to clearly define a target audience she’s finding it overwhelming trying to decide what her next step should be.
There are so many ways to reach people and they all have their own different contexts. She feels pulled in so many different directions by different types of advice and she just wishes there was someone who could just show her the way.
If you find yourself in a similar position then I recommend you have a listen.
I also recommend listening to two earlier podcasts with Ben Johnson and Alan Wick on pricing and How much should people pay me for what I do? respectively.
If you've got something of immense value, not only monetarily but also in how it could positively change someones life, then it's your responsibility to get it to as many people as possible.
Knowing how to price well is essential not only for the sustainability of your business but also in making sure the right people buy what you offer.
Don't expect your customers to be able to intuitively know whether to work with you or not. If they don't understand your pricing then they're missing out on the value you provide and that would make their lives better.
Please listen if you've created a product or service that you know will make people's lives better but have struggled to put a price on it that feels right and makes sense.
In this episode I talk to Gail Bainbridge about launching her first online course. And while we break down her approach by thinking of tactics and strategies it's clear that while all the theory is useful once the rubber hits the road it's a totally different experience.
Learning about startup is one thing. Doing it is another. Our intention with the Happy Startup School is to share with you all the tools you need to get clear about how to approach this sometimes scary journey. But more importantly we exist to support you while you try things out and not only learn new skills but also learn about yourself along the way. This is a journey of adventure where the objective isn't just a sustainable and viable business but also a greater understanding of our place in the world and what we can contribute to it.
During this episode we tackle some of the fundamentals with launching a new product. What is my real intention for finding "early adopters" to improve the product or to validate the price?
When you're launching a new product or business you're going to want to focus down on who you really want to help because if you talk to everyone you talk to no one. In this episode I discuss with Alan Wick the idea of the minimum viable audience. Rather than trying to go broad and sell to everyone you should pick the people who'll love what you do and find out what their dreams, wishes, hopes and fears are. All too often entrepreneurs start with an idea and then try to push it onto anyone in earshot.
Instead be clear about who you want to help and what you want to help them with. You can then develop the right product and position it in the right way so your audience understands what you offer and the value it provides. This will make selling more effortless. You may only need 1,000 or even 100 customers to make a successful business. But unless you can define your MVA the you'll never know.
A big challenge of turning your passion into profits is taking that first step. Procrastination can kill your idea quicker than any customer feedback. Where does procrastination come from and how do we overcome it? In this episode I talk to community member and Tiny Habits coach Mike Coulter about how creating Tiny Habits can get from dreaming to doing. He has a little pop at Simon Sinek and share why he thinks that sometimes starting with why can stop you from starting. Listen to find out more...
If anybody wants to get started with Tiny Habits you can read about the free 5 day email based version here.
Also, during this episode Mike mentions the book by Scott Adams called How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life, which you can check out here.
It’s START season at the Happy Startup School and we believe one of the most important things when starting a new business or project is how you communicate what it’s about to others and how you motivate them to join you or help you. The way to do this most effectively is storytelling and so listen along to find out why.