The Coach's Notes #56

rucksack revolution, adventures of the mind, the confusion of self-care,

My new motto is Be Legendary. And here’s the theme song that goes with it.

Hello good people,

Sunday soon rolls around real fast, doesn’t it?

And learning never stops. This morning, while drinking my coffee, I stumbled upon two people on the Internet who inspired me. Not only in a feel-good way but inspired to action - to do something.

I’m feeling the effects of that something right now in the form of tired legs from an inspired ruck march I did around my town with 35lbs stuffed in my rucksack. Have you heard of Go Ruck? It’s a company that makes rucksacks and more, founded by a former U.S. Army Special Forces soldier. His story inspired me. And he reminded me of my army days and how much you can do with a rucksack.

The other person who inspired me this morning is a fellow book-lover who runs a website called The Modern Mrs. Darcy and a podcast called What Should I Read Next? Both of which are about the tremendous joy of reading.

These two individuals are great examples of doing the thing you love and turning your passion into profit.

OK, let’s get into today’s Notes.

Oh, before you begin, grab a coffee or tea, and pop this playlist on. It’s from my new radio show, The Wisdom Experience.

What is reality? 

Don’t worry. I’m not getting ready to launch into some long philosophical discourse on the nature of reality. I don’t have the stamina for that.

What I will say is this: my reality is different from your reality. Your reality is going to be influenced by your past experiences, your teachers, your parents, your friends, the things you read, the things you watch, the things you listen to, the social media you consume, and well, the list could go on and on. But you get my point, your reality is going to be based on the programming you’ve received from the list above. Now here’s the kicker, and what I really wanted to say is this:

You can't rely on what you think your reality is because even your own brain is tricking you. You see, the reality you are experiencing right now is incomplete. It’s incomplete because your conscious mind can only process so much information at any one time. And so to cope, your brain filters out most of the reality around you thereby distorting what you think is real. 

Don’t believe me, take a look at this picture:

Some of you will see an old lady. Some of you will see a young lady. And some of you will see both. We’re all looking at the same picture but seeing completely different things.

OK Pause. 

If you had to note down the key features of your reality, what would you note down?

Alright, let’s take this to the streets.

Share your version of reality with a friend or colleague. How does your reality differ from theirs? 

I wish to live more deliberately

Thoreau likes to resurface in my life from time to time.

I remember as I kid, I used to dream about running away and living in the woods a lot. Not because I had a bad childhood, quite the contrary. It was because I could hear adventure whispering to me every time I passed by woods, or mountains, or stared out to sea. 

Adventure was something that happened away from the house - out there! Just over the horizon or around the bend.

I played in the woods a lot. I fantasied about running away to the Catskills Mountains like the boy from the book My Side of the Mountain.

My favorite comic, Savage Sword of Conan, was all about adventure slaying dragons and demons and evil sorcerers. Finding piles of gold and rubies in some trap-filled dungeon. I wanted in on that kind of life - the adventurous life. 

I was older when I discovered Thoreau. More thoughtful. His way of life spoke to my soul. Simplify, simplify, simplify. Shun material possessions least the things you own, begin to own you.

Thoreau’s Walden was a more grown-up version of My Side of the Mountain. And as I got older, I began to crave his kind of adventure - one of the mind, of solitude, of being one with nature. It is a state I attempt to recreate in my life as often as I can.

Is there a term for self-care that men can relate to?

I had to design a presentation this week on mental health. One of the sections was on self-care. I did an image search for self-care and found that 99% of the photos were of women doing yoga or at a spa or writing in their gratitude journals (see for yourself). It made me think that maybe self-care is a feminine thing and not meant for men. What do men do for self-care (not that they can’t go to spas or write in a gratitude journal, although the pictures would suggest otherwise)? 

Is there a term for self-care that men can relate to?

Turns out there isn’t and self-care is meant to apply to women and men, but men perhaps view the term as too girly and something they wouldn’t admit to doing. Self-care is not macho enough is my guess. In fact, even as I write that, I realise I never use the term in reference to myself. I never say to myself, I need to do some self-care. I have recommended to others to make sure they focus on their self-care, but generally, that has been as a blanket statement to sign-off my week with to leaders (who are my clients), you know something like: “make sure you take some time out this weekend for your own self-care (because I’m always harping on them to make sure their people are practicing self-care).

It never really occurred to me that men might not resonate with that term until I read Jeremy Anderberg’s blog post on the self-care routines of 5 American presidents.

He writes:

If, despite the penetration of self-care into the cultural zeitgeist, you still struggle with feeling like it’s sissified, indulgent, or simply not something for which you have time, it’s helpful to realize that men with arguably the most pressure-filled job on earth — serving as leader of the free world — made time for self-care.

He does point out that these presidents wouldn’t have called what they did self-care. It seems (and if I go by the category Jeremy puts this blog post in) men would have called what these presidents did - hobbies.

And maybe that’s the male term for self-care - hobbies. 

I have lots of hobbies from reading to mountain climbing, mountain biking, cycling, hiking, fishing, playing PUBG and other computer games and board games, drawing, slack-lining, and probably a dozen more. All of these “hobbies” contribute significantly to my mental health. I couldn’t imagine not doing them, and if I go too long without engaging in any one of my hobbies, the state of mind and well-being suffers.

I’ve asked some of my women friends if they have any hobbies and most of them say they don’t have time for hobbies. Most of their spare time is spent looking after their kids and their households in general, and when not doing that, they’re working.

I find that fascinating since these same women friends of mine make time for self-care - either yoga or meditation or scented baths. 

Maybe we need a new term. Self-care is an over-used buzzword and seems associated with women and the term hobby seems antiquated and associated with overindulgent time-wasting activities. The bottom line is we all need to take a timeout from work and worry and do something that makes us feel good and relieves any built-up stress.

I’m curious to know what has been your experience with this? Hit reply and let me know.

How are you about being wrong?

As Kathryn Schultz says, most of us will do anything to avoid being wrong. But what if we're wrong about that? In this video, Kathryn Schultz makes a compelling case for not just admitting but embracing our fallibility.

(Watch)

The Wisdom Experience Radio Show

I’ll make a plug for one of my creations. In the intro, I encouraged you to listen to the playlist version of my new radio show, The Wisdom Experience. Well here is the radio version. In this episode, we talk about using the body as a gateway to our spiritual self. We also talk about the great beginnings, middles, and ends in life.

(Listen)

That’s it for this week’s installment of the Coach’s Notes. Be sure to ‘like’ the Notes and feel free to share them with others in your network who might be interested in communing here with us. At some point, I’ll turn on the forum posts to broaden the conversation.

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Lastly

Let’s keep the conversation going between Notes. The best way to communicate with me online is Twitter. But if you’d rather chat off-line, hit me up on WhatsApp.

Peace and Love,

Clay

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