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April 2015




Can You Make the Constructive Shift?

"Coaching is more concerned with blindness than with ignorance”

… Julio Olalla, Master Coach

Visit The HubYou may find this rather strange coming from a coach, but in the past I have struggled to articulate in simple fashion just what I do. When she was young, my daughter developed the quaint notion that my work was to chat with people in coffee shops. I suppose I do a lot of that (he says with a grin!) but over time I came to the conclusion that at the heart of my work lies helping people create a "constructive shift". Let me explain.

You may have heard of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). One of their meta-programs is the idea "moving away and moving towards" which speaks people seeking to avoid pain (moving away) and gain pleasure (moving towards). This concept is also well known in the field of neuro-science and coaching and can also be seen in various profiles that distinguish between a defensive and a constructive stance in life.

My experience is that a much larger proportion of people take more of a moving away than moving towards stance in life. In many ways this observation is unsurprising. We have all had experiences in life we do not want to repeat and those memories often trigger a defensive response. As a result, people can easily tell you what they don't want in life. They have experienced it or observed someone else experiencing it. However, it can be a much greater challenge for them to tell you what they do want. Often this is because they cannot clearly imagine something they have not experienced or they may just be too focused on what they seek to avoid for any constructive view to surface.

This transition from moving away to moving towards is a "constructive shift". It is the process of constructing a desirable outcome rather than just seeking to avoid something. I am not only speaking about practical outcomes in life such as avoiding being retrenched. I am also speaking about who we want to be in life and how we want to relate to others.

This difference may seem to be just a matter of semantics but it is far more than that. Here is just one example of the impact. If I take a moving away stance to a situation, in many ways it doesn't matter which direction I take to avoid that situation as long as it is to move away. My energy is focused on getting away and once away that energy will dissipate. However, when we create a moving towards stance our energy is focused in a desired direction and is likely to strengthen as we get closer to achieving what we desire. It is likely to lead to a more fulfilling experience of life.

The role of a coach is to work with people to make that constructive shift and seek to create a more desirable future. In many ways, it is as simple as asking the question, "What do you want?" However, there is obviously more to it than that as we start to explore what barriers exist to create that shift and how to overcome them.

At least, I can now explain to my daughter just what I do!

We invite you to explore more in the articles section of our web site.


Mind Health Matters

Some thoughts from Jacqui Chaplin

"Here is the tragedy: when you are the victim of depression, not only do you feel utterly helpless and abandoned by the world, you also know that very few people can understand, or even begin to believe, that life can be this painful.”

... Elizabeth Wurtzel (b. 1967) American writer


How often have you watched in horror as the life drains out of that fun-loving person you know? How often have you watched in shock as a once vibrant person fades into a shadow of their former selves? How often have you heard the relentless, not-so-private sobbing behind the bedroom door? How often have you stood, scratching your befuddled head as a tsunami of distress crashes about your ears? How often have you seen someone’s mood turn on a dime?

What have you done when you have observed theses shifts and changes?

Warp speed shifts in behaviour and emotions can be a sign that things have gone off the mind health rails. Unrelenting hopelessness tag teaming with lethargy and tears can be signs that the black dog of depression has taken up residence. The thing I find really scary is that it only takes one person to launch an avalanche of public stigma. One person’s behaviour negatively reported in the media stops people living with mental illness from sharing their story. Living with the likes of depression brings enough challenges. Being called ‘soft’, or any other sledges you care to think of, has a particularly damaging impact on men living with mental illness. One unthinking, ill-informed person lacking in awareness sledging a fellow sportsperson who has talked about their mental health challenges publicly is all it takes. Only the slightest echoing of that sledge sends the message that it’s not ok to have a mental illness and it sure as hell is not ok to talk about it openly.

When this kind of public stigma runs unchecked, people who might have been thinking about going and getting help go to ground. They remain one of the 65% of people with a mental illness who remain untreated. They can become one of the 1,500 people a day in Australia who think about suicide. They can become one of the seven people who die by suicide every day in Australia. Would you like to be known for contributing, however minimally, to those statistics? I know I wouldn’t. A lack of understanding of depression as an illness not an emotion, has a lot to answer for. It’s often said, and I say it as well, it can be hard to understand depression if you’ve never experienced it.

I extend a standing invitation to anyone to call me if don't understand and want to know more about what it’s like to experience depression. If you want to know more but don’t know anyone who talks openly and comfortably about mind health and mood disorders the please call me. I am on a mission! One willing person at a time!

If you’d like me to speak about mind health matters and resilience at your conference or to your organisation please contact me at jacqui@jacquichaplin.com or +61 (0)412 741 531

Play Create Elevate offers your organisation the opportunity to hear first-hand, from a lived experience perspective about the signs and symptoms of mood disorders, how to give and get help and how to build and sustain resilience. PwC have released a report that says for every dollar spent in creating mentally healthy workplaces that an ROI of at least $2.30 is possible… What are you waiting for?  It’s time to speak openly and comfortably about mind health matters!

We invite you to read Jacqui's blog here

More on Mind Health Matters next month!


Want to Learn More About Ontology?

Our mission at Talking About is to share the ontological work with as many people as we can with the aim of making the world a better place. To that end, we have initiated a self-directed learning experience we call "Ontological Foundations".

In the coming months, we will be building on this initiative and adding more self-directed learning material covering topics such as learning, conversations and moods and emotions. All of this material will be free to anyone who wants to explore the ontological approach.

Ontological Foundations

So what are we offering?

Ontological Foundations is designed to give you an opportunity to gain some familiarity with the basic principles of the ontological approach. It is also designed to give you a chance for self-reflection and self-observation. We do this by offering you a detailed paper on the foundations of the ontological approach and an assignment that we will review and return to you with comments if you wish to send it to us when you have completed it.

How you want to approach this is up to you. You can simply request the Ontological Foundations paper, or get the paper and the assignment and work through them on your own or you can complete it and send it to us for some further thoughts. Ultimately, it is up to you. If you are interested in finding our more, please click on the Ontological Foundations image above or write to us at info@talkingabout.com.au.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Hey, did you know?

"But I Feel Good" Radio Show

Radio Show

Did you know that since November 2013, Jacqui has been hosting a weekly radio show called ‘But I Feel Good’ …talking about pink elephants and black dogs.

The show is dedicated to speaking openly and comfortably about the ‘black dog’ of mood disorders from a lived experience perspective and the ‘pink elephant’ strategies and practices that build emotional resilience and inner fortitude.

It covers a range of topics related to mind health and plays a great mix of music in between interviews with subject matter experts and related content.

The show goes live to air, streaming on www.MAINfm.net so it can be heard AROUND THE WORLD every Monday from 1-3pm AET. Its official broadcast base is 94.9 MAIN FM which extends across the Mt Alexander Shire in Victoria on the wireless.

You can listen to abridged on demand episodes at www.jacquichaplin.com/bifgondemand.

The Monthly Diversion

For those of us who work long hours!

Paddy McCoy, an elderly Irish farmer, received a letter from the Department for Work & Pensions stating that they suspected he was not paying his employees the statutory minimum wage and they would send an inspector to interview them.

On the appointed day, the inspector turned up. 

"Tell me about your staff," he asked Paddy.

"Well," said Paddy, "there's the farm hand, I pay him £240 a week, and he has a free cottage. Then there's the housekeeper. She gets £190 a week, along with free board and lodging. There's also the half-wit. He works a 16 hour day, does 90% of the work, earns about £25 a week along with a bottle of whisky and, as a special treat, occasionally gets to sleep with my wife."

"That's disgraceful" said the inspector, "I need to interview the half-wit."
"That'll be me then," said Paddy.

"The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively."

… Bob Marley, (1945 - 1981) Jamaican Singer and Songwriter

Join Us Online

LinkedInDo you want to explore some of these ideas in more depth? Then, we invite you to join our LinkedIn Group and share any insights you may have. As others have done, we also invite to offer your own thoughts and conversations if they relate to the ontological approach. You can find us on LinkedIn by clicking here.

Want to Read More?

Since the formation of Talking About in 2005, we have published our e-zine every month. Before that, Chris wrote regular newsletters and e-zines with Gaia Consulting dating back to 1995. If you would like to explore more of Chris' ideas then you can access our e-zine archive and view any newsletter written since 2005 by clicking here or to look at all the articles Chris has written over the years simply click here.

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