Sitting down with a cuppa to gear myself up for our weekly Time to Connect webinar. Our Big Leadership Adventure cohort has been getting together to connect, reflect and learn during this time. Last week, we focussed on ‘Reinvention and Power of the Mind’. This one appeared to be something quite different. 

Three groundbreaking realisations to help reach your full human potential

Martin Palethorpe speaks to the Big Leadership Adventure cohort about “Reinvention and the Power of the Mind”

Liz Parry Senior Project Officer

29th May 2020

Sitting down with a cuppa to gear myself up for our weekly Time to Connect webinar. Our Big Leadership Adventure cohort has been getting together to connect, reflect and learn during this time. Last week, we focused on ‘Reinvention and Power of the Mind’. This one appeared to be something quite different.  First I was asked the question, “How has your quality of mind been this week?” 

When was the last time I thought about my mind?  How on earth do you quantify your quality of mind and give it a rating from 1 to 10? 

Delving a little deeper,  the first word that came to me was ‘overwhelmed’. My brain feels fully occupied, bursting at the seams with the abundance of information flowing in and out. Often leaving it feeling ravaged. Like a small town after a hurricane has passed through. 

I know I’m not the only one. During these times of Covid it’s easy to obsess with the happenings  of the outside world. I worry about those who are sick, those  isolating on their own, those without access to basic needs and the idea that everything will return to normal and important lessons will be forgotten. I’ve stopped worrying about climate change, reusable plastic, animal rights and Brexit. And when I think about that, I feel guilty for not worrying. What is it like when we are in a low quality of mind? What does this feel like in contrast with a good quality of mind? 

So back to the question, my quality of mind. Things really aren’t so bad for me.  I click 8/10 and press enter.

Reinvention and The Power of the Mind.

We were lucky enough to be joined by Martin Palethorpe, a leading Executive Coach and specialist teacher of the human mind. An opportunity for Big Leadership Adventure participants to learn how to think about the mind to access our full human potential.  We were reminded that this is not a new topic but one which has come from both ancient wisdom and teaching, and also the latest neuroscience.

I stepped outside, adjusted my cushion and closed my eyes, creating the space to physically ‘be’ and just focus on my mind. 

I was asked the question, “When are you in flow?” This part was easy, I’m in flow when surrounded by other people and the need to perform and take centre stage. In front of a classroom of children. Hosting a dinner party. Working with a team of people to get things done!

“What does it feel like?” Fully energising. when I’m most confident in myself and my ability to do something well. My whole world disappears and I’m in the backseat as my impulses drive.

Others mentioned this state made them feel;  automatic, happy, focused, aware,  fulfilling, uplifting,  a sense of timeless energy and as if you are invincible!

“What if I was to tell you being in flow is natural for humans?”

In the same way birds know how to migrate and in which direction to fly, flow is natural for humans. Well I guess we are animals too after all. The ability to become self expressed, to have great ideas, access our wisdom and remain confident and calm is all part of our inbuilt design! The feeling of being ‘in the zone’’ is actually a natural part of how we function. Wouldn’t it be great to feel like this all the time? 

So the real question is how can we maintain a good quality of mind and be ‘in flow’ more often? How does the mind actually work?

What if our thoughts are ruining our flow?

If human beings are naturally in a state of flow it is not a case of finding ways to get us there, the important part is not getting into flow. It’s trying not to be knocked out of it!

I assumed there would be multiple factors which prevented a person from feeling in flow; their surroundings, distractions, stress, lack of preparation, personal confidence,self belief, the list goes on.

I was wrong.

The inside of my head is like a bubble machine, producing an average of around 700,000 thoughts a day. You’re the same, now stop and think about that for a second.

Every thought that comes along has the potential to pull me out of this state. Thought is literally causing my mind to go crazy! Thought is the only factor preventing me from being in flow.

Our thoughts really do create our experience, and therefore our reality

As I pondered my relationship to thought. I was reminded of one of my favourite films ‘About Time’  where the father of a son who realises that he (like his father) can travel back in time, is given the sound advice to live each day twice, the second time noticing all the wonderful small things in life. These are things that his thoughts may have prevented him from seeing the first time around. This reinforced the idea that your mind really does have the power to create your experiences and the ability to create anything. 

Thought comes along moment by moment and it begins to create our experience. 

Thought then builds up, reinforcing our experiences and it becomes our belief system.

This creates our reality. Whatever our mind does, is then what we experience.

Delving deeper… I started to think, What are the realities I am creating for myself  that are not true?” “What realities are we creating about the current situation?” Am I already anticipating that nothing will change and I’ll be left feeling helpless and frustrated.

What is my relationship to ‘bad’ emotions?  Emotions such as stress, blame, guilt. And what can I do about them? 

In a position of observing and noticing these thoughts. I may look to find solutions to prevent me from thinking and to relax. I may listen to music, make another cuppa or practice some yoga. I don’t need to label these thoughts (good or bad), but instead recognise that they create my reality and are made up. I am a witness to my thoughts. Sometimes I can’t stop them but I can be sure they will pass. Martin likened this to the weather, 

“You don’t get up into the clouds and try to move the rain. We accept the rain and know it will pass,”.

By the end of this session I felt greater peace, clarity and confidence. As though I had found the key to accessing my full human potential. I was taking away the knowledge that I can witness my thoughts without letting myself be immersed by them. I could pick the right moments to accomplish things. I can take time in the day for contemplation, to really notice my human experience and what I am caught up in. 

I hold the insight that my mind has the ability to create ideas, and is at the heart of being able to reinvent. Looking at my beliefs from this different perspective can release some of the weight on my shoulders, offering up space to reimagine and reinvent. 

This breakthrough thinking for ourselves personally, for our schools and for the entire education system is much needed. With the additional demands of Covid-19, leaders have been forced to rethink how their schools operate overnight and prepare for returning in June. Navigating these challenges requires creativity and lateral thinking – both are key competencies that we focus on during the Big Leadership Adventure. Our participants are currently using the tools and learning from the programme to respond to these challenges and support each other. Applications are open so please get in touch at [email protected], More info can be found here. Deadlines are flexible given the constraints schools and organisations are under.

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