What was the inspiration behind the new book?
Lots of people presume it was born out of the pandemic, but I actually landed on the idea in 2018. Even back then we had lots going on: Brexit, Trump, at every turn it seemed to me like uncertainty was becoming the new normal. But people seemed reluctant to acknowledge it, it was coming through in side conversations and hushed chats – it felt like when asked ‘how’s work?’ or ‘how’s business?’ people were putting on a brave face when really behind the scenes they were dealing with some major challenges.
As a coach I’m in a privileged position as these are the conversations that people bring to me. And I started to see a pattern where, in a world that’s obsessed with fast hacks, quick wins and Instagram perfection we find it hard to admit to – and embrace struggle. I wanted to lift the lid on that and explore the surprising truth, beauty and opportunity hidden in life’s sh*ttier moments.
How can we shift the way we approach challenges and struggle?
It starts with taking the stigma away from it and embracing it wholeheartedly. When we see struggle as a negative, as a sign we’re failing, we shut down. When we stop taking it personally and realise it’s not the end of the world, we can begin to contextualise it and move forward.
It frees up your headspace so you can go, ok this is really hard and is a struggle and I need my full brain working – not just my lizard brain. You start to recognise you’re in the struggle and rather than thinking 'how do I get out of this?' you can think 'ok this is what's happening, let's pay attention to what's going on'.
And that’s when the magic starts to happen. Embracing the struggle often takes us to unexpected places that we might not want to go to, but when we are there, we find those surprising turns, those remarkable innovations. Our brain likes the familiar path and it's not until that conventional path is shut that we look over there and we get those 'holy sh*t' moments that we wouldn't have got to staying safe.