I got this blog from a chat in a bar during a United-Liverpool game!

In our ‘free’ time many of us use screens to watch sports, gawk at reality TV, or flick through 1000’s social media posts.

And when we do so, we often worry and/or get angry.

Worry that our favourite will get voted off the island. Worry our team will not make the Top 4. Worry about how the droughts in other countries we see on Twitter and Facebook will affect us here.

Anger when the ‘wrong’ person gets booted out. Anger at the referee, manager, and players for making the ‘wrong’ decisions. Anger about the feeling of helplessness we get from what we see on social media.

I was sitting in a bar on Monday night. Most people in the bar were fixated on the Manchester United v Liverpool game. I was one of the only ones not creaking my neck toward one of the many TV screens. It was hard though to ignore the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ and ‘ah for F%^k sake ref’ and ‘jaysis he’s useless’ shouts. There was worry, anger, excitement, trepidations, stress, and abusive language. It was very distracting. A few groups of tourists had one drink and left, no doubt seeking quieter environs.

‘Are you also not from here?’. The man, in his early 30’s, sitting to my right asked me suddenly. I noticed his meticulously groomed beard and his distinct eastern coast American accent. ‘Well, I’m from Brussels yet I’m living here a long time.’, I replied enthusiastically. I was hankering for a nice chat.

He said he asked the question as he observed I wasn’t watching the game. I explained I prefer to attend games and experience them rather than watch them on a screen and that I mostly don’t care who wins anyway. It’s all about the live experience. He thought about it for a second and said: ‘It’s a bit like food’. I probably frowned in a querying way, so he immediately added: ‘You can see it being made on a screen, you can taste it, or you can make it yourself and taste it. They are 3 different things. Like watching a game on a screen, watching a game live, or playing the game yourself.’

Wise words.

Think about it if you like. How much of your life is spent on screens? How much is spent observing others and trying to belong? And how much of it is spent experiencing things you truly love in the present moment?

Cooking that meal from scratch at home. Finding a passion and immersing yourself in it. Going for that walk on the beach even though it is raining. Going to the salsa dancing class just because you feel like it. Sitting on a bench in a park just for the sake of sitting there and letting the world go by. Even for just 15 minutes. Playing hopscotch with your children in the playground.

How would doing these fun activities as often as you can impact your quality of life?

How would knowing that you can do this at short notice affect how you react to stressful situations in life?

How do you feel about experiencing more in life? Living in the present more often? Having a life rather than always just making a living?

Being in the moment and having fun stimulates creativity. Creativity leads to mastery.

Spending time experiencing life creates energy and leads to higher productivity at work or in business.

Living your real life leads to more happy moments and has a positive effect on the quality of your relationships.

Do you feel like having more pleasant experiences in life? More fun? Increased creativity?

Higher productivity? Better relationships?

In the ‘Having A Life While Making A Living’ program I guide people through the 4 pillars and 8 areas of their life from finance, to work/business, to fun and family time, and so much more.

Together we team up to create a life in balance that will allow you to experience more and worry less.

For more info email patrick@theintentionalacademy.ie or WhatsApp (00 353) 083 3008963.

Still thinking about change? Here’s how to ask better questions.

“What do I love? What makes me come alive? What is beauty to me, and when do I take the time to fill up with it?” ― Glennon Doyle, Get Untamed: The Journal

Questions are the coaches’ power tools. They hit the nail on the head. They drill down to the core of what’s happening.

Well, good and powerful questions do.

I was at a retreat day recently where after deep heart-based breathing exercises we were asked 4 questions. 1 by 1. And given time to reflect on them, 1 by 1. For nearly 4 hours. Just 4 questions.

The questions were powerful. And the clarity I gained on certain aspects of my life was bright and refreshing. As a result of that clarity, I have taken action and am feeling totally focused yet relaxed at the same time.

Well then Patrick, I hear you ask, what are good questions and how do I know I’m doing it right? In coaching training, we use the GROW model.

G stands for Goal. The goal of the conversation will lead you to ask certain questions that are aimed toward that goal. ‘What would the benefits be if you achieved …?’

R stands for Reality. ‘What is happening for you now?’, ‘What steps have you taken so far?’, ‘What is really working for you?’

O stands for Options. We can often not see the wood from the trees. Ask questions that create a space for people to really discover they do have options. ‘How have you tacked this situation before?’, ‘What would you tell a friend to do?’, ‘If you knew you could not fail, what would be your first step?’

W stands for Way forward. Asking questions that invoke action and motivation to act. ‘What would happen if you did nothing as a result of this conversation?’, ‘How will you know that you are on track?’, ‘When are you taking the first step?’, ‘What is the first step?’

Think of a situation in your life that you would like to see a change. Now use the GROW model to ask yourself some questions. And take some action based on your answers.

And let me know how you get on.

patrick@theintentionalacademy.ie or WhatsApp 083-3008963

The mermaid, the unicorn, and the silent marathoner.

When was the last time you saw a mermaid sheltering in the bay of a windswept harbour? Or a unicorn darting across a lush field of swinging daisies? Or a marathon runner who didn’t tell everyone he met he just finished a marathon, and it was epic and hard?

‘These things don’t exist Patrick’, I hear you say.

Possibly.

‘What do you mean possibly’, I hear you squeal, ‘’They DO NOT EXIST’.

And yet I have seen all three of them. For real.

The mermaid was a woman in costume at a parade in a seaside town when a strong wind blew a heavy shower of rain across the town. To protect the costume, she had to run for shelter.

The unicorn was a horse dressed up for a re-enactment of a medieval battle by a live role-playing group. After the scenes were finished, the horse was let to run in one of the fenced-off fields of the farm where the event took place.

And Yes, I do know a couple of marathoners who never share pictures or blogs about their races. All they are dressed up in is Lycra. And then normal clothes as they get in their cars and quietly drive home for dinner.

So, if I tell you that ‘just being’ is enough to live a fulfilling life, will you at least be curious enough to try and understand what it looks like when it is all dressed up for purpose?

Allow me to ask you if this sounds familiar:

I need to study hard so I can …

I should really sell more so we will be able to …

I have to put in all these hours if I want to …

Yep, I said those too. Doing in order to Be.

What if we learned how to reverse that sentence? Being leading to Doing.

‘Just Being’ is the basis, the foundation. The home from where everything emanates. The warm, cosy, feel-good, safe, comfortable place from where all adventure starts. From being comes doing.

How does that sound? A bit like the mermaid, or the unicorn, or the silent marathoner?

Having gone through the reversal I have great news for all of you curious people. It is possible and it has been put to the test.

All I had to do is discover my strengths, values, likes, and beliefs. Become aware of them. Find out which ones I really liked and use them to design a life for me that was based on ‘Just Being’ me.

No absolute goals, or targets. Yet clear intentions, based on my individual likes and strengths, and values. For every aspect of my life.

Being every day by taking actions in the direction of your crystal-clear intentions. Focused on how you can contribute to this world by simply being you.

Whether you are in a community organisation, corporate, business, public service, or household. You being you doing what is truly you.

Having A Life While Making A Living. Yes, you read that right. You can make a living while doing this. And you’ll be relatively stress-free. And have the knowledge you are being true to yourself. And go on a holiday. And spend tie with those that matter most.

Releasing your inner mermaid, unicorn, or marathoner.

To find out more contact me at patrick@theintentionalacademy.ie or WhatsApp 083-3008963

How it all started (Part three).

May 13th, 2007.

A date etched in my memory. The last few months had really passed by in a blur.

Only it wasn’t a blur. I distinctly remember the dissertation, the book reviews, the countless pro bono client sessions, the PCG groups, the new modules of learning, and the weekends studying together.

It wasn’t a blur, but it felt as if it was. I would later in life figure out this is what’s called FLOW.

Flow is an optimal psychological state that people experience when engaged in an activity that is appropriately challenging to one’s skill level, often resulting in immersion and concentrated focus on a task. This can result in deep learning and high levels of personal and work satisfaction. (Mihály Csíkszentmihályi).

Flow can be experienced in any task in any field of activity, from music to writing to painting to sports. It forms one of the key ingredients of where I get my clients to guide themselves towards. In Flow, you perform and achieve effortlessly.

So, the blur passed, and on May 13th, 2007, I got my official Diploma in Personal & Business Coaching from the Irish Lifecoach Institute (www.ili.ie). I continued pro bono coaching for a few months and then set up my practice under the name Forward 2 Success. The business story is for another day.

In the 15 years since I have added certifications as a Trainer and a Master NLP Practitioner. I have niched in 1-to-1 Life Coaching & Career coaching. I have become a public speaker. I have a weekly radio show on Limerick City Community Radio (www.lccr.ie) for over 5 years. I have run 124 Marathons. I have met 1000’s of interesting people.

I’ve had high points, low points, successes, learnings, elation, sadness, and every other emotion imaginable.

I have learned to just be me. And I have learned that to just be you is good enough for everyone. How to be you is for another Blog Post coming soon.

Now, after 15 years, the decision has been made to share a message.

You can ‘Have A Life While Making A Living’. You can do so as you ‘R.A.I.S.E.’ yourself UP.

(R.A.I.S.E. = Resilient, Adaptable, Imaginative, Sustainable, Effective).

In September, to celebrate 15 years as a coach, I will be launching 4 products and 2 services that are an amalgamation of what I have learned from my clients. The stuff that worked for them, consistently and in Flow.

I’m looking forward to meeting with 1000’s of people each year on a mission to create a space in this world where people can be truly themselves while contributing and sharing. And making a living doing so.

I also look forward to your company on the journey and here on this Blog!

You can read Part 1 of this trilogy here: https://theintentionalacademy.ie/2022/06/23/how-it-all-started-part-1/

You can read Part 2 of this trilogy here: https://theintentionalacademy.ie/2022/06/29/how-it-all-started-part-deux-of-3/

For more info: WhatsApp 083-3008963 or email patrick@theintentionalacademy.ie

How It All Started – Part Deux! (of 3)

I was ready to become a Coach. Just finish the course, get the accredited Diploma, and off you go setting up your own practice. Simple.

Two months later.

I will never be good enough to do this. I will probably not even get the Diploma. Why am I doing this?

Also.

I am critical of everything I have done with my life. I question my beliefs and my thinking patterns. I am restless and unsure about the future.

This was no longer just a course or a career path, this was my first real foray into personal development. And there were so many layers from past experiences clouding me, that I could not hear or find the answers to the 100’s of questions I asked myself.

I was afraid, anxious, worried, and felt down. All the while still working in a full-time job as a retail manager of a store that was open 364 days a year.

I handed in my notice to fully concentrate on becoming a Coach. I promised them to stay until after Christmas.

A new anxiety rose its loud, obnoxious head. I will have no income from January. The course was finishing end of May. What will I do?

The Irish Lifecoach Institute (ILI) is a top-of-the-range training provider. They knew this was not just happening to me. Lots of students in our course and the years previous had gone through this. They also know, as every properly trained coach does, that we all have the answers to any of our questions, fears, and anxieties within us. With that in mind, they provide platforms within the course to create a space for exploring this.

We were introduced to PCGs (Peer Coaching Groups), where as students we met in groups outside the course, as well as in the course facilitated by a tutor. Then we started coaching each other to get used to the techniques and also to assist the development of one another.

We journaled. We read books from a list on the curriculum that allowed us to learn and explore at the same time. We grew together. I felt privileged to be part of the ILI.

Some of the anxieties and fears dissipated. Some remained. Yet I felt I was discovering a new lifestyle. One that would not lead me to burnout and severe stress attacks like my previous jobs had.

Filled with renewed hope and energy, I relaunched myself into the course, trying to make the best of it one day at a time.

(To Be Continued)

How it all started – Part 1!

Standing behind the counter of the retail unit I managed, I had just served another happy customer.

I particularly liked interacting with the customers and the staff and was pretty good at sales too. I loved the products, and the location was central to the city I lived in.

What I didn’t like was the obsessive focus on all kinds of KPIs and the lack of people management from HQ. Every time we beat a target, the next target would be higher. And the odd time we didn’t reach the target, the Spanish Inquisition would start to find the reason. Well, I say the reason, I meant the culprit(s). Blame had to be apportioned.

Suddenly, I got blurred vision. Black dots in front of my eyes. I also got stabbed in the chest. Repeatedly. At least, that’s what it felt like. I felt dizzy.

I excused myself to the staff member on duty and walked out. I don’t know why, but I did and started walking. I ended up walking the short 7 minutes it takes to get to my GP’s office. The room was cleared and I was taken in immediately.

30 minutes later I was diagnosed with a severe stress attack and was ordered to stay at home for a week. To ensure I complied I was asked for the phone number of HQ. They were informed of the GP’s decision.

The day after I got the call from the head of training of the company. He was checking in with me. I told him what happened and opened up about the likes and dislikes I had in my job as a Store Manager.

He listened and asked several excellent questions that made me feel understood and listened to. As I had worked in Corporate Management before, I asked where he learned those skills. He said he got them from having studied Coaching. I had no idea what he meant. This was early 2006 and I had only heard of coaching in a sports context. He said he would send me a book if that was OK with me.

At the end of my enforced week off, I had finished it. ‘The Seven Habits OF Highly Effective People’ by Stephen Covey.

Some things in it made sense to me, some of them I dismissed mockingly, and some I felt curious about. So I Googled Coaching. I did some research and started asking questions of my ex-colleagues in the corporate world. I was directed to the Irish Lifecoach Institute.

I applied to do their full Diploma course in Personal & Business Coaching. I got interviewed and accepted. 1 Full Academic Year. It promised to be busy with weekend classes, book assignments, dissertations, journaling, peer-to-peer coaching, Peer Coaching Groups, pro bono clients, assessments, etc…

The course started in October 2006 on a wet Saturday in the beautiful 4* Castletroy Park Hotel just outside Limerick City. By 5 pm that day. I knew. This was so for me. I felt it everywhere. I cried when I got home. I was ready to become a Coach.

(To be Continued)

To find out more about my coaching programs email patrick@theintentionalacademy.ie or WhatsApp 083-3008963

Steps to powerful intentions that work!

Setting clear intentions is one of the most powerful things you can do. Even more so when what you do on daily basis is designed to move you in the direction of those intentions.

I intend to cut the grass today.

I intend to spend more time off-screen this week.

I intend to eat more fruit this month.

We have all done it. Written or spoken intentions like those above. And then we ‘forget’ to cut the grass. And we were sent a brilliant podcast and were recommended a new series on Netflix. And fruit just got so expensive.

So what are powerful intentions then, I hear you ask?

Powerful intentions are set while in a state of awareness; based on your likes, values, strengths, and passions.

Powerful intentions are detached from strict outcomes, lack, or needs.

Powerful intentions are short and clear.

Let me share one of mine from my ‘Lifestyle’ category:

‘I travel joyfully, eat good food, enjoy the finer things in life, and spend time outdoors daily.’

This is clear, detached from strict outcomes, and easy to implement daily. It is also based on my love for travel, my love for food, and the fact I’m an outdoors person.

I did write ‘Lifestyle’ category. It is 1 of 8 categories I set intentions for. They are Business, Finance, Lifestyle, Social & Hobbies, Personal Development, Family & Relationships, Spirituality, and Fitness.

These categories are not rigid. Some clients have changed Fitness to Health. Or Business to Career.

Setting clear intentions is one of the most powerful things you can do. What are yours?

To find out more about setting intentions for yourself WhatsApp Patrick on 083-3008963 or email patrick@theintentionalacademy.ie

The power of intentions in work and business.

After the last blog post about the 1 sentence that drove me to play more, I got some great questions from readers. Apart from questioning my sanity, and wondering if I lived in the real world, I was asked how you could implement this in life, work, and business.

So let’s start with the same question I asked last time.

What if life is something to play at? Not to be taken seriously, just to be played at. And that this play, in itself, is all there needs to be.

What if life is not reaching towards some goal, instead life itself is the goal?

Which would mean that life is without real purpose other than us expressing that life. And it is meant to be without purpose. It is not evolving towards some ultimate destination or raison d’être; in this very moment, here and now, life is always ultimate.

As Alan Watts proclaimed: ‘The point of the dance is not to arrive at one particular spot on the floor. The point of the dance is the dance itself’. ‘The point of the composition is not the final note. The point of the composition is the composition itself’.

The person who masters the playful nature of this lack of purpose can make valid plans knowing these plans are entirely fluid and transient. They understand the importance of emotionally detaching themselves from any desires, targets, goals, or outcomes.

That they have within all there needs to be for them to play at life, work, and business. Presently.

By understanding the fluid nature of everything, they become resilient, adaptable, imaginative, sustainable, and efficient.

In the here, and now, they make plans that are resilient, adaptable, imaginative, sustainable, and efficient!

They become masters at setting really clear intentions for themselves, unattached to the way to get there or where it will get them.

Intentions like ‘I am spending each moment I work in my business on making the world a better, more intentional place for others to experience’.

Or ‘I respect my love for learning enough to make learning a daily habit’.

I have several of these really clear intentions. These intentions then get translated into ‘real’ things like marketing plans, client meetings, networking, etc…

All the while knowing these things are fluid and I am resilient, adaptable, imaginative, sustainable, and efficient. And that means I can have a life while making a living.

While playing at it.

Patrick

25/05/22

To find out more about how to R.A.I.S.E. your profile, WhatsApp me on 083-3008963 or email patrick@theintentionalacademy.ie

1 short sentence and then…

I just sat there. I could not move. My mind had just been blanked out. I had just read 1 sentence that had struck me so deep it perplexed me into non-movement and non-thought.

It happened sometime last year.

The sentence?

‘You are Life realising itself’.

I just had to sit with that. It resonated. What made it so valid for me? What made this one simple sentence ruffle my feathers that much? I was stunned into deep reflection.

Questions. All kinds of questions popped into my being!

Eventually, I came around to isolating one. It just appeared to me as I sat in silence.

What if life is just something to play at? Not to be taken seriously, just to be played at. And that this play is all there needs to be.

What if life is not reaching towards some goal, instead life itself is the goal. And so, life is without real purpose other than to play at it. And it is meant to be without purpose. It is not evolving towards some ultimate destination or raison d’être; in this very moment, here and now, life is always ultimate.  

And only the person who masters the playful nature of this lack of purpose can make valid plans for the future knowing these plans are entirely fluid and adaptable.

As I sat there contemplating all this, I saw a sign appear. No, not a spiritual one this time. The sign appeared from memory. The one I saw a few years ago on a trip to LA in the Universal Studio theme park.

‘We don’t stop playing because we get old. We get old because we stop playing.’

I decided to try and start playing at most things. Instead of goals, I created clear intentions of how I wanted to play at life, work, business, relationships, family, and exercise. Everything.

And I discovered that you could ‘Have A Life While Making A Living’ this way. That you can remove a lot of worries, stresses, and anxieties by simply not taking life so seriously but instead having fun doing what you intend to.

Looks like life, work, business, and relationships; like music and dance and sport; are best done in a flowing movement of fun and passion. Who knew?

Do you feel like playing more often? Do you want more fun and intention in your life? Do you want to ‘Have A Life While Making A Living’?

#JustAsk on WhatsApp 083-3008963 or email patrick@theintentionalacademy.ie and we’ll set up a chat to get you playing!

“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring.

Patrick xxx

What do the acorn, the jay, and the squirrel have in common with your business/career!

When an acorn falls from an oak tree, it will most likely end up as a food source for one of the many animals that partly rely on it for their diet.

Wildlife that consumes acorns include birds, such as jays, pigeons, ducks, and woodpeckers. Small mammals that feed on acorns include mice, squirrels, and multiple other rodents.

Acorn

You see, acorns are too heavy to be moved along and dispersed by wind. And they cannot grow near the mother tree. They need at least 20 to 30 meters distance to get enough water, sunlight, and soil nutrients to be able to blossom into a beautiful, strong oak tree.

So they need transport. That’s where squirrels and jays come in to play their part in this story. Both jays and squirrels hoard caches of acorns for future use.

Even though both these animals have remarkable mental maps of the locations and return to consume them, the odd acorn may be lost, or a jay or squirrel may die before consuming all of its goodies. A small number of acorns manage to germinate and survive, producing the next generation of oaks.

This has been happening for centuries. Almost perfectly. Each component plays its part. The tree knows when to produce its fruit. The fruit knows when to fall. The animals know when to eat it. The squirrels and jays know where to hide them. The forgotten acorn knows how to germinate.

There is no way of knowing which acorn from which tree will be hidden by which squirrel in which location. And yet oak trees keep growing.

Nice story Patrick but how does that relate to my business/career. Allow me to ask you some questions? Give yourself a few minutes to find the answers.

What role(s) in life can you play effortlessly?

How much trust do you have in your ability to know what to do and when?

What transport (support) do you require to continue your growth process?

How open are you to not knowing which actions will lead to the biggest yield and yet keep going anyway?

A big part of running a business or managing a career is based on being resilient, adaptable, imaginative, sustainable, and effective.

Knowing the answers to questions like the ones in this post will help guide you to vastly enhance your chances of becoming the next strong, beautiful, fruitful oak tree!

Oak Tree

For more information on how to R.A.I.S.E. your profile towards Having A Life While Making A Living, contact patrick@theintentionalacademy.ie or WhatsApp 083-3008963