Here to being open

You can’t escape your destiny

You can’t escape your destiny. And you can’t ignore your calling…. Not for long anyway!

Long ago, I remember reading a book that (over) simplified life. It made sense, but as with many theories, they are often somewhat different from our lived experience.

The theory was essentially this.  Whatever happens in life we have two choices: open our heart and energy field or close them down. Open or close. Pretty simple hey?

Sounds easy. But we all know that life is rarely that black and white. It can be so difficult and challenging (when the kids are screaming or we’re confronted with ‘bad’ news, as I was yesterday!) that staying open is the last thing we instinctively do. So we naturally close down, some more than others.

That said, ultimately, over the long term, these are indeed the fundamental choices we have to make as to how we will live our lives. Are we going to continue opening up to ALL that life has to offer or become closed?

Think of the elderly people you know. Can you notice in them which type of person they have chosen to be and how this attitude and response to the external world shows in their face, their energy, body, thoughts and deeds?

For those who are open – to others, to life, to curiosity, staying open, loving themselves and others, to possibility and hope and humility – they discover a sense of calling. And that calling ultimately leads them to an astounding destiny.

But for those cynics, the doubters, the angry, the ones who need to be right, who hate and judge and are closed minded, their destiny is equally assured – at the opposite end of the spectrum.

When I asked Chris Hall for her take on God, she replied with “well I know that there are forces far greater than me in this Universe… and that somehow everything is connected… and well, I don’t necessarily know what to call it… but I know it calls me“.

When we are open and we stay open, we can hear the voice of love, of truth and possibility – the voice of God, the Universe, Great Spirit – call it what you will.  All cultures, religions and people have their own word for it. I’ve heard ‘it’ referred to as energy, vibration and spirit to name a few.  Either way, ‘it’ exists.

Even scientists agree. They might call ‘it’ the voice of reason, objective truth, evidence, quantum physics, String theory, the Multi-verse or even common sense, but they agree that there is order and truth and that there are answers to our complex world, which they continually search for.

That’s our destiny – to make sense in our own unique way of this complex and often deeply challenging world… and to help others do the same.

We can stay open to the fact that we will all close down at some point in life, but know that we don’t need to stay closed. We need to do the work.  At the highest level we must stay open to live fully.

As surely as flowers needs water, light and nutrients to grow, we too need to nourish our heart, mind and soul so that it can open, flourish and radiate beauty for all the world to see.

So here’s to being open!

Love, Tristan

Every silver lining

Every silver lining has a bloody great cloud

There’s so much to share since my last update… where to start?!

I had an outpouring of love and support from my last newsletter which triggered a couple of responses. First, a big thank you to all of you who got in touch with words of support.  It was actually quite overwhelming, but lovely to know that my blog on the Unexpected Gifts of Depression and update touched something in so many of you.

The other response was one of surprise and mild discomfort for the concern everyone had for me.  I had moved on and was in a great space when I sent the ‘Mega Update‘.  I often write what’s current or challenging for me, in a way that helps me process and move from where I am, to where I want to be.  Being vulnerable is a part of that process.

I used to hate being vulnerable (still do sometimes… oh there I am being vulnerable again!) but I realise that it’s not just me.  Humans are vulnerable. We all have our soft spots!

If you haven’t watched Brene Brown’s brilliant TedTalk on vulnerability I’d highly recommend you do sometime.  She shares a fabulous story about her own extreme dislike of vulnerability, followed by deep insight from her research; one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity.

A large part of being coached is engaging with our vulnerability.  Simply put, this is the truth of our human frailty, imperfection; our experience of pain and suffering.  Once we do this, we can quickly accept and move beyond our limitations and perceived challenges.  Change can happen in a heartbeat when we accept what is, rather than resist or deny it.

We are all vulnerable. We all need help and support from time to time. And we all have our dark night of the soul.  But many of us try and hide our vulnerability and imperfection.  I know I have.

This is why I was so taken with NLP when I first came across it.  It gave me space to feel both safe and vulnerable.  To be human.  It was clearly a powerful framework for creating deep change.  I recognised that it wasn’t just positive thinking or some tool, but a way of enquiry into the truth.  And the more of the truth I saw, the more beautiful and compelling it became.  As they say, the truth will set you free.

On reflection, my ‘Mega Update’ was, in a way, a mirror of a transformational coaching conversation.  You can go to my website to read a short blog I just wrote on The 7 Steps of A Transformational Coaching Conversation if you want.
When I sent out the Mega Update, I had already moved on in my thinking and emotions, but I wanted to share my process.  Why?  Because we all face challenges in life andI know that my pain and suffering can always serve to alleviate others.  So can yours.

It reminds me something Neil Gaiman said… “The moment that you feel, just possibly, you are walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind, and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself…That is the moment, you might just be starting to get it right.”

We all experience loss, grief, pain and suffering.  By sharing mine, my hope and invitation was to invite you into your internal world; your own vulnerability.  To accept that at some level there is a barrier to creating what you want in life.  As soon as we do that; as soon as we accept our own short-comings we can begin to move beyond them, rather than ignore or deny them.

These days, I don’t get stuck in my present state anywhere near as long as I used to. I still get stuck (in my thinking) but always find a way out.  How?  Well, these are just some of the strategies I have for profoundly changing my world:

  1. Lean in to my tribe
  2. Get coaching from my world class coach and mentor (thank you Gene!)
  3. Self Coach – we can all do this, anytime, rather than running on auto pilot or staying stuck
  4. Go for a run and ask myself (gratitude and transformational) questions
  5. Feldenkrais – this has been a life changing method for changing my physical experience and therefore mental and emotional state
  6. Meditation – watch this wonderful 2 minute video if you’ve struggled with meditation or want to do it more consistently
  7. Transformational Breathing – another game changer for me!  Check out Wim Hof who I trained with.  We have just begun talking about doing a retreat or workshop using NLP combined with the Wim Hof Method
  8. Re-organise my thinking through chunking and categorisation… and therefore re-organise my life.  Or re-organise my external environment and therefore my thinking and life :)
  9. Get into nature and soften – we are a part of nature and I come back to myself when I’m there
  10. Make an important decision and take action right away
  11. Visualise and feel deeply what my heart wants, until compelled to take action
  12. Stop trying, let go, chill out and wait for my energy and motivation to return

How do you change your state and life?  What are some of your favourite ‘go to’ processes for getting back into flow and creating change?

I’ve shared a truly amazing and inspiring TedTalk below which goes into very real and beautiful detail about the power of sharing our dream (desired state), what’s stopping us from achieving it (present state) and then how community can ALWAYS (and often in very unexpected ways) help us to manifest said dream.

Again, I’d highly recommend you check it out, but more importantly to do the work!  Where are you creating the space and time for YOU to:

  1. Share your dream
  2. Figure out what’s stopping you and then
  3. Get the support to bridge the gap?
My belief is that the Universe is designed to ensure this process, if only we will play our part.

Until next time!Love, Tristan

7 steps of a transformational coaching conversation

7 Steps of a Transformational Coaching Conversation

I was so taken with NLP when I first came across it because it was clearly a powerful framework for creating rapid change.

I recognised this wasn’t just positive thinking or some tool or process, but a way of enquiry into the truth.  The more of the truth I saw, the more beautiful and compelling it became.

The 7 Steps for a Transformational Coaching Conversation, in a way recognises and works with the vulnerability in all of us, to create lasting and powerful change:

1, We acknowledge there is learning or change to experience for us – to be all we can be.

2, We look at the barriers to achieving what we want (our present state).

3, We unpack that present state.  This is about going deeper into how we are creating our current situation (be that being stuck, depressed, confused, unmotivated, unsure, unhappy etc).

4, By unpacking the structure of our present state (beliefs, internal strategies etc) we can become aware of, and acknowledge that where we are is a) not where we want to be and b) not fixed c) a part of the natural journey of maturation and learning.  Like a child learning to walk, we all need to fall over to learn to do it properly.

5, If it’s not where we want to be or fixed, that begs the question, what do we want instead?

6, When someone answers this question, the frame of the conversation has shifted from ‘present state’ to ‘desired state’.  From what we don’t want – to what we do.

7, And this is where as a skilled coach we create the space for, and offer feedback to the person to shift state; where they know (this is a belief change!) they can do whatever they want and have the strategies to achieve it.

If you would like to know more about these kinds of Transformational Coaching Conversations, or to have your own, send me an email here.

Love Tristan x

Forest Early Autumn Rocks Park Sky Trees Reflection Mountaun Mountauns Lake Cliffs Landscape Beautiful White Mountain Image

The problem of good


Barely a week goes by without opening my BBC News app and reading of another mass killing or terrorist attack. I suspect many others are the same in their despondency and sense of hopelessness with the darkness we are confronted with. Berlin, Nice, Syria… where will it end?  Or perhaps it won’t?

I know I’m not alone in questioning what is going on and how on earth we respond. I’ve considered many ways of responding.  Often my preference is to say nothing on social media, but this passage I read the other day by Richard Rohr struck me as a very tangible and unexpected solution.

“We are made for transcendence and endless horizons, but our small ego gets in the way until we become aware of its petty preoccupations and eventually seek a deeper truth.

We have spent centuries of philosophy trying to solve ‘the problem of evil’, yet I believe the much more confounding and astounding issue is ‘the problem of good’. How do we account for so much gratuitous and sheer goodness in this world?  Tackling this problem will achieve much better results.”

I don’t believe that we have really understood what goodness is. Where does it come from?  Like love, how can we account for it?

Evil is very apparent. But are we focusing in the wrong direction?

Perhaps the answers to the darkness in the world is to turn our attention to understanding goodness. As Richard Rohr suggests; if we all took responsibility for answering ‘the problem of good’ this would achieve much better results.

So as we look back on what has no doubt been a challenging, traumatic and sad year for the world in many ways, we’re also now being invited to come together in the spirit sharing, love and understanding this Christmas.

If evil exists (which in my experience it clearly does) how and where are we now being called to choose good?  And what happens when we, as a species, choose good because that is our essential nature?

Just as teenagers grow out of those destructive and selfish habits, humanity now has the opportunity – in fact the responsibility – to grow beyond our selfish ways and understand our place in the cosmos.

As Jack Jezreel, founder of JustFaith puts it “personal transformation and social transformation are one piece.”

How each of us individually resolves the problem of good has enormous ramifications for ourselves, our families, communities and even the world.


Untying the Knot

One thing I know for sure is that life is complex.  We are complex.  Of course the paradox is that amidst the complexity and confusion there is simplicity in life.  But just because it’s simple, doesn’t make it easy.

I sometimes liken it to untying a big knot.  At first it can seem overwhelming, hard work or even impossible.  As we persevere however, we find a way.  We can make make sense of, and unravel the complexities of life, which at first can seem daunting.  Ultimately the unravelling bring us great joy.

When you know what you’re doing, you can do what you want. Moshe Feldenkrais

We have strategies for everything we do.  When we understand these strategies, we come to know how we’re doing what we’re doing.  We can then do more of what we want.

One of the strategies I developed as a kid was having a sense of fearlessness in the face of aggression or violence. I unconsciously modelled that from my dad.  He was a violent man.

I learnt to have a fearless sense of adventure and willingness to take risks – some might say to my detriment.  I’ve nearly died on several occasions – while skiing, driving, riding motorbikes and even swimming.  I’ve set up and run numerous businesses, several of which ‘failed’.  I became a risk-taker, a real gift (and skill) I had learnt from my parents.  Thank you guys!

One of the many things that NLP coaching has given me is the capacity to understand and model out the strategies that create things like fear or fearlessness. That’s been life changing.

knot-5As I look back on my youth, more often than not my subjective truth (or experience) was informed by limiting beliefs and coping strategies set up in my childhood.  Along with fearlessness I learnt to be very fearful in certain contexts.  Context creates meaning.  However, from my very first NLP Practitioner course, through to my Master Trainer certification and beyond, what I’ve consistently done is to challenge and unravel those limiting, unconscious behaviours and beliefs. I’ve needed help along the way.

Untangling a big knot is very difficult, if not impossible to do instantaneously.  Over time however, if you pick a little here and a little there, it can become an easy process, even rewarding if we take it (and make it!) easy. This has been my NLP journey.

While I’ve had amazing and instantaneous breakthroughs and life changing experiences; while I’ve come away from courses and NLP coaching sessions with a profoundly different sense of what is possible and how I can make changes in my life – actually over time – many of the changes have happened at an unconscious level; easily, naturally, without having to even think about them or try.

That’s pretty amazing.  To think, that the human experience or evolutionary process has been designed to enable progress, learning and change.  In a way – less is more!  So the big knot has been untied over time with a lot of effort at certain points and much less so and more enjoyably at others.  As I look back and see how radically different my life is now, I can begin to understand and truly appreciate that the journey is significantly more important than any destination.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” Steve Jobs

I still have that capacity to slip back into depression or play the victim from time to time.  However, I recognise these patterns and address them much sooner than I used to.  I now know how I create these states, so I can do something different.

As Robert Dilts said – having multiple options is flexibility and having multiple perspectives is wisdom. This is accessible to all of us.

That’s our knot to untie – in a way to let go of the effort and our way of doing things and wake up to new possibilities, options and perspectives that free us to be fully ourselves; to be who we were born to be.

Most of us are not who we think we are. We are so much more that we could ever imagine. Yet who we think we are dictates our behaviour and how we show up in the world. Behaviour is an expression of identity.

The fullness of who we are stretches far into the past, the present, and our future. It ripples out into eternity without us ever really being able to fathom.

I’m still unravelling and accepting the mystery of who I am. Despite (and perhaps in part because of) the many challenges, it’s a pretty cool journey!

Will you join me on it?

If you’d like to, why not click the help button in the bottom right of your screen and we can have a chat…



Holy Shit!

In the book Necessary Endings, Henry Cloud shares a very simple and effective way to create success in any area of your life.

He says that there are three things we need to do in order to grow, flourish and be successful.

Our lives and businesses are just like the rose bush. We may have a lot of really good strategies, products, activities, relationships, or ideas that we’ve poured our resources into. But if we pruned some of the good stuff back, we would enable the best parts to get all that they need to thrive, making our businesses and relationships even more productive and happier.

holy-shitThe book is outstanding. Henry’s take on how we do this? You have to make decisions about what to prune by asking the following questions:

1) What is “good but not best?”
2) What is “sick and can’t get well?” and
3) What is “long since dead?”

I’ve got a slightly different take on it now. My grandparents used to have a rose garden.

Like a rose bush, in life, you first have to get rid of anything sick or dead. You have to get rid of anything that is not going to become the best. Then, you have to nourish the best.

When I explained Henry’s model to Sarah, who works with me, she said what about the manure… Surely that’s the most important thing for roses to flourish?

Seeing the truth in her question I immediately thought, what a great point! Where does putting shit on roses play a part in our lives?

I saw my grandparents do that religiously. It was clearly very important to creating a ‘perfect’ rose garden.

I responded by saying that she was absolutely correct; this completes the truth and metaphor for me. In order for us to become the best we can, we have to go through suffering and pain. Like roses, we need some shit to really thrive.

I instinctively said to Sarah that “it’s the suffering and shit we go through that informs our gift to the world.”

Perhaps after all, holy shit really does exist.

I’ve found myself reacting to the shit that life has thrown at me as a burden, something I wish I didn’t have to deal with. I’ve hated having to go through much of it! But it’s there. The Buddha said that suffering is a part of life. Go one further and as Gene, my mentor would say, suffering has a purpose.

We need to prune but we also need manure to nourish, grow and experience beauty and the true depth that life has to offer. To take Henry Cloud’s questions – which by the way are brilliant – to another level I’d ask…

roseWhat’s has been or is your most significant pain or suffering?

What painful lessons have you learnt or are learning that could help others along their path?

What has to be true for you to commit to sharing your learning with others in ways that profoundly open up and enriches your world and theirs?

What’s the next simple step you could take right now, to begin moving towards this vision and calling today?

For me, I’ve experienced excruciating emotional and physical pain – through having a broken home and a broken back.

That’s where I now get to use the ‘shit hand’ I was dealt in life – to embrace the ‘gift in disguise’ that it undoubtedly was – to grow, flourish and to use NLP Coaching help others to do the same.

This is done by helping others go through similar shit – until they realise that it’s the very fertiliser that they need (and probably don’t want) to make sense of their pain. It’s their gift from and to the world.

Ultimately it’s the difference that makes a difference we were put here to make. How cool. And paradoxical.

Like a rose, we were all born to be beautiful, but we need to prune what isn’t working or isn’t the best. And we get to grow from the shit put upon us by life.


Who do you want to be influenced by?

Here’s a little story. I was sat in the pub many years ago sharing the trials and tribulations of life, and especially thatInflucence of my relationship. My friend, well call him Oli, says “why don’t you do this…? You should do that… Oh you’ll be alright… don’t worry mate. You shouldn’t be so hard on yourself… It’ll work out…” etc. etc.

I love my mates and I love their honesty, truth and how I can be totally relaxed with them. Truth be told – their advice, support and ‘coaching’ back then didn’t really help. Their love of me did.

Fast forward a few years and imagine this. I discovered that as an NLP coach I needed an NLP coach. Not only did I need a coach, I wanted one. Because NLP coaching is life changing. We are in the miracle business and my coach consistently creates miracles in my life and thinking, just as I do for my clients.

So now, instead of sitting in the pub and chatting to my mates to get advice and support I bring a challenge, question or relationship issue to my coach and I say ” I can’t… How can I…But if only…?”

And he shifts level; by responding with something like “you’re not who you think you are Tristan. You’re the purpose for which you were created.” Or… “the real question is… who does Tristan want to become?” or…. “what would it meant to you having already moved beyond this?’

The stories he shares, the frames he sets and the questions he asks can be challenging, revealing and liberating.

The truth is that we become who we surround ourselves with. We can’t not influence and we can’t not be influenced by the world around us.

I love being influenced by my coach now. He is consistently raising the bar, expanding my vision and sense of what’s possible in my life.

Who are you being influenced by? Who you being coached by? Who are you coaching?

Are you getting your advice input from magazines, TV, Facebook or your mates? Or are you going to the best and transforming from the inside-out, at the deepest level?

It’s your choice. And it makes all the difference. You make a difference!


What do you think?

The content of our thoughts is as different as night and day. We have different thoughts, fears and dreams. But the structure, or the way of organising our thinking, is the same.

One of the presuppositions of NLP is that ‘we have within us all the resources we need’.  What this eludes to is that we can organise our five primary senses in an infinite number of ways.  We have within us an infinite number of ways to organise our thinking and therefore our internal experience.

As you’re reading this, you’ll probably be talking these words though in your internal experience. Are you? That’s an internal auditory way of thinking.

Each word will create some sort of picture or movie in your mind’s eye, though often at an unconscious level. The way we see things, in our mind, or our internal visual experience is another way of thinking.

Then there are your feelings. Or yourkinaesthetic sense, which is another way of thinking or processing experience.
These are the three primary ways we as humans think or process our experience; visual, auditory and kinaesthetic. And of course we can also process through smells and tastes.

You can then chuck into the mix all the other structural components of thought that make up the cake of thinking. These range from values, memories, attitudes and beliefs, to our perception of time and space. There are thousands of these kinds of distinctions that give form to our thinking.

But the essence, or structure is visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, taste and smell. These are our senses; how we think, process and make sense of our experiences. And they make a monumental difference to how we structure and experience our lives.

“What we see and hear is what we think about. What we think about is what we feel. What we feel influences our reactions. Reactions become habits and it is our habits that determine our destiny.”  Bob Gass

Using questions as a way to thinking through our perceived barriers

Here are some questions for you to ponder to change your thinking around whatever you have perceived as a barrier in your life.

I’d encourage you to take a few moments out in peace and quiet and write some concise answers to these questions.

Once you have answered a question, move onto the next question. You might want to try limiting the response to just 8 words, you’ll be more aware of your thinking and the power of keeping things simple.  You’ll also be aware of the visual, auditory and visual components of the words you choose.

So feel the response after you answer each question. Notice what you say to yourself and what you see as you answer. This is thinking. And your thinking is what changes your life.

  • What would it mean to you having already moved beyond this barrier?
  • So this change is in order to do what?
  • And for what larger purpose?
  • Looking back from the future having already made this change, what were you doing to accomplish this?
  • In order to…?
  • And what’s the next step?
  • Starting when?

I’d love to hear your feedback and experience so feel free to share.

Love, Tristan