Blog

#LentVoices – Releasing

Featured

If someone asked you to describe your essence – how would you begin to reply?

What things about your personality are non-negotiable?

Jesus once said that those who would follow him would need to deny themselves and that those trying to save their lives might instead lose them… It’s a hard teaching, and one that many (understandably) struggle with.

But what if this losing – this releasing of things we think are important, vital – is actually freedom?

In the coaching world, we often help clients explore their self-limiting beliefs or behaviours – the things we think or do that stop us from being our truest self. 

These things are often rooted in our past – a decision we made or an action that we took, or even something that someone else did or said to us. They can come from a place of self-protection, perhaps trying to rationalise the unknowable, or someone else projecting their fears or own limitations on us.

They ultimately stop us growing, keeping us safely in a place where we think we know who we are – at the cost of finding out who we can be.

Maybe – just maybe – part of what Jesus is saying this: it is time for us to stop pretending we have it sussed, and instead be prepared to shed some of our old skin and start looking for the adventure that exploring potential can bring.

Phoenix rising

This post is part of a collaborative project called #LentVoices. For more details of both the project and contributors, see here.

#LentVoices Leaving (together)

Featured
Credit: Photo by Jeremy Liew on Unsplash

Over Lent this year (2021) a motley but dedicated collection of freelancers, all of whom have a Christian Faith, decided to collaborate on a project we called Lent Voices. Each week we decided on a theme, loosely connected to a bible passage/story.

Below I have linked the contributions for week one (which also included a bonus item written for Ash Wednesday) – the theme was Leaving and we used the story of Jesus’ 40 days in the desert, immediately following his baptism, as our launch. That story can be found in Mark 1:9-15.

Ash Wednesday – by Mark Berry

A year ago Nathan and I spent a long weekend in Rome. We arrived in Italy blown by a storm and were met in the airport by the first signs of what was to come. We stood in a line waiting to be filmed by a thermal camera, COVID 19 had arrived in Europe and the strangest year of most of our lifetimes had begun. Plans and hopes for the year ahead were quickly cast aside as the “new normal’ set in, for many this meant loss of employment, loss of community and even the loss of loved ones… (read more)

Leaving for the wildernessby Sally Nash

I never expected to leave for the wilderness, other people’s decisions, not mine. The wilderness is a stark place, beautiful in a way, but it can be a little scary too. The picture is from the Joshua Tree National Park and there were lots of signs about not going off the path and getting lost, with no phone signal you wondered when and if you would be found if you did get lost… (read more)

Leaving – by Mark Berry

We have stepped into the season of lent, planted a foot in another place.

A new time in the deepest desert begins.

Away from the pushing and shoving of life,

Away from the noise that clamours around us,

Away from the demands that compete for our attention… (read more)

Leaving and Wild Things – by Lucie Hutson

I wonder where your wild places are? Often biblically the wilderness is a place of wandering, the hard, barren places. For Hagar, within her wilderness escape the question was “where are you coming from and where are you going” (Genesis 16:7-11), the same may be imagined for the Israelites in their Exodus pilgrimage. The in-between spaces that were so important to the story… (read more)

Leaving – by Andy Campbell

The gospel stories say Jesus was ‘driven’ into the wilderness for those 40 days. There were wild animals there, but also angels.

I’m struck by the parallels of our collective existence, especially this past year. We’ve been forced out of our routines, comforts and assumptions and into a new territory that is confusing, frightening and holds significant dangers. Our wild beasts might come in the shape of a virus, loneliness or anxiety – and some of them have teeth and claws that will leave scars… (read more)

Theo-Drama: Leaving – by Hasna Khatun

Setting the scene for Theo-Drama. There’s drama, and then there’s theo-drama… What does theo-drama look like?

(Click here to see [and hear] Hasna’s reflection on YouTube)

Leaving’ a lentern exploration – by James Fox-Robinson

My heart detests, reviles, denounces, loathes your absence with a passion like a furnace

(Click here to see [and hear] James’ reflection – playing with words from Sonata by Gjertrud Schnackenberg – on YouTube).

#LentVoices – Leaving

Featured

The gospel stories say Jesus was ‘driven’ into the wilderness for those 40 days. There were wild animals there, but also angels.

I’m struck by the parallels of our collective existence, especially this past year. We’ve been forced out of our routines, comforts and assumptions and into a new territory that is confusing, frightening and holds significant dangers. Our wild beasts might come in the shape of a virus, loneliness or anxiety – and some of them have teeth and claws that will leave scars.

But there are also angels. Individuals and communities that have helped those around them to stand, walk, function, even thrive where possible.

As a Coach, I often speak to people who are in a place of transition – perhaps paralysed by real or perceived dangers that surround them. I try my best to help them see where they have control or influence, what they need to stop fighting or put down, to practice self care, reflect on the resources they have, and consider who might help guide them to the next stage.

It can be really tempting to return to old ways of being and doing – even if we know they no longer work. But growth *always* means leaving something behind – a habit, a belief, a story we told ourselves… and having the bravery to take the next step and see what is over that next dune.

(c) Andy Campbell 2021

This post is part of a collaborative project called #LentVoices. For more details of both the project and contributors, see here.

1 in 15 interviews

Featured

I’ve conducted a series of short interviews (15 minutes each, give or take) asking guests from a wide variety of backgrounds what their ‘One Big Thing’ is – the thought dominating their personal or professional lives at the moment.

It’s been a fantastic thing to host.

My guests have included Stand Up Comics, Coaches, Youth Specialists, CEOs, Church Ministers, Therapists, Authors and more.

The topics we have mulled over have included change, trauma, noticing, flow, opportunity, radical creativity – all wrapped up in a mixture of challenge and hope.

Check out the youtube channel for more – the first interview went live on Friday 24th July, and there will be a new one going up each Monday, Wednesday and Friday until the series runs out.

If you would like to be a guest, and/or know someone else who would be interested, drop me a quick email.

Why on earth would *I* need a Coach?

Featured

We are all doing our best to get through life, to find what ‘success’ means to us, to feel that we have a purpose or contribution to make.

To spend time with a Coach is to be given the gift of time and space with yourself – a good coach will never tell you what you should do, but will work with you to help you understand what your reality is, and where you are limiting yourself or being unrealistic.

We have all had those moments when spending time with someone else – where we can see things they are somehow blind to, where they seem to be unconsciously limiting themselves, or trapped by fears about what the future might hold.

A Coach creates and moderates the space where you can be fully honest with yourself – about any hopes, fears or uncertainties you may have (sometimes hidden beneath the surface). We help you see where you are limiting yourself and where you are defined by stories that others have told you about yourself. We observe, question and offer feedback – always without judgement – and help you arrive at a new place where you have greater insight about yourself, others, and who or what you want to be.

The client is always the one who initiates any change, resolves any issues or sets any goals – the coaches may offer some insight as to how such progress can be made, point to any external tools that could be helpful, or co-form a specific challenge with the client.

People who commit to being coached commonly experience:

  • Improved performance or focus
  • Increased self-awareness
  • Improved ability to relate to and influence others
  • Increased levels of motivation and performance
Credit: SOULSANA

#LentVoices

Credit: Ahna Ziegler

We are a diverse group of Christian freelancers (see below) who have collaborated to curate daily reflections during Lent. Each week will have a theme, explored 6 different ways on 6 days (nothing on most Sundays).

The project will start on Ash Wednesday (Feb 17th) – and we will also post on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Search for #LentVoices on Facebook and LinkedIn, content may also be posted to other social media sites. 

Contributors

Mark Berry – Pioneer, Teacher, Speaker and Poet. Mark helps groups and individuals break boundaries, engage with culture and grow community.

Andy Campbell – Coach, Trainer, Artist, Poet and occasional square peg. Andy helps people work out who they are, and what their next step might be.

James Fox Robinson – Creative, 3rd Order Franciscan, Dreamer, Professional Nuisance. James is passionate about curating spaces for people to engage with God’s story, physically and digitally. (See also James’ youtube).

Lucie Hutson – teacher and learner, created and creator, speaker and pioneer. Lucie is passionate about helping people to wander and wonder in the world around us.

Hasna Khatun – Ordained Pioneer Minister in the C of E. Teacher and Professional Actor/Presenter/Voiceover. Hasna lives to eat and laugh sparingly… She’d like to write an alternative script for Barbie, Ken and Cindy and adores the people who don’t fit in.

Sally Nash – Author, Researcher, Educator, Priest, Mentor, Spiritual Accompanier. Sally is passionate about helping people fulfil their potential and make a bigger difference in their world.

The two sides of your Wellbeing Coin

Did you know that you have a Wellbeing coin?

Like every proverbial coin, there are two sides to it: one which is proactive, and the other which is reactive.

The ‘proactive’ side we can call Mental Fitness.

This is the side that we can (and should try to) work on and invest in whenever we are able to. Mental Fitness looks and feels different for each of us – it might include meditation, physical exercise, creative engagement, journalling, a healthy diet and sleep patterns (and an almost infinite list of others).

It is worth our while to develop skills in this area – exploring what works for us as we go – as this increase our capacity to grow and flourish in better times and to manage and cope in tricker ones (this increases an internal resource often called Resilience, which I have spoken about previously).

  • Remember: improving our Mental Fitness does more than help us deal with seasons of struggle – it also means we are more likely to recognise and begin to engage with our real potential.

The ‘reactive’ side of the coin we can call Mental Health Care.

This is the side that we need to pay particular attention to during those times of difficulty. Like Mental Fitness, Mental Health Care will look and feel different to each of us – it might include interventions such as medical or therapeutic care, some form of First Aid For Mental Health (again I have mentioned this elsewhere), and/or recognising the need to stop an activity or change how we are approaching it.

To be fully healthy, it is worth investing in both sides of your coin – perhaps take a moment today to (re)think how you are doing in terms of your Mental Fitness and Health Care.

Those of us who have some position of care and responsibility for others (colleagues, family, friends, employees…) would also do well to reflect on how we can best support others to create and sustain healthy relationships with each side of their wellbeing coin. This is why I offer both individuals and organisations advice and training on both side – whether through coaching, wellbeing practices and/or via the accredited First Aid for Mental Health courses I run.

If you want to know more about any of the above, please get in touch!

Why coaching will not work for you…

It seems a little self-indulgent, no?

You have enough things to juggle at the moment, and you don’t have the time, money or energy to spend on something so ethereal.

And anyway, what would you even need a coach for?

  • you know everything about yourself
  • you never have any doubts or fears
  • you always fully embrace change
  • there is nothing in your life you want to change
  • you are absolutely certain about where you are going
  • your physical and mental fitness is everything you want it to be
  • you never procrastinate
  • you have no areas in your life you want to grow
  • you never self sabotage
  • the stories you tell yourself are 100% accurate
  • you always feel like you are good enough
  • you have no self-destructive habits, at all
  • your time management is amazing, always
  • you don’t need feedback
  • all of your habits are positive
  • you set clear, realistic goals and unrelentingly achieve them
  • there is no stress in your life
  • you don’t wrestle with Imposter Syndrome
  • you are never cynical and never give up
  • you have never had any type of trauma

And, of course, you can do everything on your own and have never benefitted from the input of others.

Of course I’m bring a little cheeky here. Please don’t read the above as a not-so-subtle way of arguing that coaching can solve all your problems (after neatly breaking each one down into attractive and bite-sized portions…

But

If you are honest with yourself, you know that while you are dealing with many personal or professional situations really well – there are one or two that have tripped you up, confused you or sent you into a spin of fight, flight or denial.

Maybe we could have a chat about how coaching might be a way of getting past those?
Get in touch for a free, no obligation chat: book a free 30 minute conversation here.

You have 15 minutes to discuss the ‘One Big Thing’​ dominating your thinking…

credit: Pierre Bamin

…what would you be talking about?

For the couple of months, it’s genuinely been my amazing privilege to host and participate in a series of 15 minute* conversations with amazing people talking about the ‘one big thing’ dominating their thinking.

Each and every one of those conversations has left me energisedhopeful and with some further personal and professional reflection to do.

The guests have been a disparate bunch – at least on an initial observation. Comics to Coaches; Members of Parliament to members of the clergy; youth work specialists, writers and CEOs

And the topics might likewise appear disconnected – but there have been surprising and encouraging overlaps, and what links them all is a sense of hope, possibility and potential. What has struck me (having been part of every conversation) is the commonality within the series – people wrestling with change that has been forced upon them to an extent, driven and shaped by a pandemic that no theoretical framework could have truly mitigated for, who are nonetheless determined to turn the manure generated into a compost for something beautiful.

See the full list of guests and topics covered here or pop over to youtube and have an explore…

Why Qawah?

Qawah is a Hebrew word, which means “to wait, look for or hope with eager expectation.”

This waiting is far from passive – but balances the things we are in control of with those things that are outside of our immediate influence. We can wrestle (with our contexts, our resources and even ourselves) as we wait – and, in doing so, we begin to see clarity forming where once there was only confusion. So we neither naively expect everything to improve immediately, nor sit back and hope for change to happen without us having to do any work.

Hope is not dependent on personal circumstances, history or attitude – but stretches beyond our present reality, into a future where things have changed for the better. And we draw on an range of internal and external resources as we engage with this hope – including understanding that the realisation of that hope takes time, and positive change only comes through intentional action. This action may be to stop a behaviour or relationship, to start something new, and/or to alter how we think about and do things.

Waiting is not instinctively an easy thing for most of us. We live in a world where increasingly everything happens quickly, and we all-too-readily lose sight of the opportunity to stop, notice and reflect. When you work with a coach, you are giving yourself explicit permission to invest in areas of self-limitation, fear or false-narrative.

And so, at Qawah, we work with you to create space where you can have an honest conversation with yourself about who you really are, and who you want to be – personally and/or professionally – to begin a journey of improvement, with eager expectation that the journey will be exciting, engaging and profitable.

Get in touch to find out how we can help you help yourself

Training, Public Speaking and Resource Creation

At Qawah, we recognise the importance of learning and development. We have years of expertise in a range of formal and informal education settings, and can off your business, organisation or group a high-quality bespoke product that responds to your needs.

Andy has spent much of his career in training, education and charity work. He has designed and taught lessons, courses, and group-learning exercises for all ages – including time as a tutor on two Youth Work and Culture degrees, as a Chaplain in a secondary setting, and Director of a local youth work charity.

Although we have split our approaches into three different categories below, the reality is that often these delivery styles blend to suit the context. We remain convinced that learning and development is best experienced collaboratively and that individuals and communities learn best when they journey together towards a common goal.

Training:

We specialise in creative approaches to problem solving, and are experts at capturing complex topics and themes and communicating them clearly in a way that encourages proactive and positive responses. Some things we have provided training for include:

  • Charities seeking to re-connect with the purpose
  • Faith communities looking to re-examine their sense of calling and identity
  • Youth, school and community groups who want to explore ways they can positively impact their communities or grow together
  • Businesses wishing to deepen their sense of identity, build internal relationships or re-discover their core strategies

Andy is also a qualified trainer of FAA-accredited courses in:

  • Awareness of First Aid for Mental Health (RQF level 1/SCQF level 4)
  • First Aid for Mental Health (RQF level 2/SCQF Level 5) – this is the course where you can qualify as a First Aider for Mental Health
  • Supervising First Aid for Mental Health (RQF level 3/SCQF level 6)

Public Speaking:

Andy is an accomplished public speaker, confident and capable in front of crowds of all sizes. He has spoken on a range of topics, including (but not limited to):

  • Wellness and mindfulness
  • Ethics
  • Spirituality
  • Culture
  • Environmental issues and action
  • Creativity
  • Mental Fitness

Andy has also designed and led retreats.

Resource Creation:

We have years of experience of designing and creating resources for individuals or groups to use, covering a range of topics (including those listed above).

  • Lesson plans, assemblies and staff-training/CPD resources for schools
  • One-off sessions or longer courses for youth or community groups
  • Study materials for church or community groups
  • Wellness journal ideas for individuals or groups
  • Urban Retreats for individuals and groups who want to reflect on spirituality in a city