The real story of 2020 isn’t the Pandemic.
The real story of 2020 isn’t the Pandemic.
Climate Coaching is for people who want to make positive, sustainable changes in their day-to-day lives.
It’s for anyone with the nagging feeling that they should be doing more and find themselves often feeling lost, ineffective, overwhelmed, burnt out, anxious, angry, hopeless and ambivalent about the state of things.
A coach creates a safe space to express our assumptions, hopes & fears in order to build self awareness, a positive vision for the future and resilience. The aim is to feel more at peace, present and fulfilled in your working life.
We do this 1:1 or as part of a group workshop for individuals, businesses or organisations.
When the pandemic hit the entire world pivoted. We know that a global gear shift is possible…
What is the work that is ours to do?
Conversations around the climate crisis tend to gear towards persuading, judging, pressuring, cheerleading, informing, educating, scolding, shaming or a ‘sales pitch’.
I want to have a conversation that is genuinely curious and open. I want to know your story, where you’re anger, anxiety and ambivalence is directed, your ongoing challenges and how you’re overcoming them.
We process the world around us via social interaction.
We’re built to come together.
When we feel connected we become smarter, more creative, resilient, we learn better and are more likely to ACT.
If you’re curious about my journey so far and why I’m offering Climate Coaching, click below:
The moment I started to feel real shifts in my mindset around climate action was when I read Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler.
It’s a dystopian novel that brings the realities of environmental and social collapse home (and was accurate enough that she predicted the rise of a demagogue wanting to ‘Make America Great Again’ in the 70s).
What moved me most was the father figure. He had built a strong and stable community that was just about surviving amidst the chaos. In truth, I recognised my own father – who would always say, playfully, ‘come the day of the apocalypse…’ as he was teaching me camping skills, gathering wood for the log burner or repairing his boat. We played along for the fun of it but deep down we knew it was a doomed attempt at security because if the apocalypse really was around the corner then none of that would be enough.
And that’s what happens to the father’s community in Parable of the Sower. There is no escaping the consequences…it starts at the fringes, creeps in through the gates and blows the house down.
I felt afraid of this future. But like the main character, I also felt a level of responsibility settle over me. I won’t be able to control the outcome, but I could be ready for it.
The message I received from Octavia Butler rang clear:
Prepare for Change
Around this time I also watched David Attenbourgh’s newest nature documentary Seven Worlds One Planet – of how hard we’ve hit the natural world and how dependent we are on it. This time he also showed the alternatives of how quickly things returned when left alone by human hands.
Another message received:
Recovery could be swift
Riding that wave of optimism (and in the words of James Baldwin, “I must be an optimist, because I’m alive”), I started to educate myself on the solutions I could support. I listened to podcasts like Sustainababble and read books like Utopia for Realists by Rutger Bregman and The Future We Choose by Christian Figureres, watched documentary films like Tomorrow by Mélanie Laurent and Cyril Dion, joined local and online groups and I realised:
Solutions are already in motion
I desperately wanted to see where I fitted in.
Where did I need to be to make the biggest impact I could make?
At the time I was spending a large chunk of my day commuting to and from work or sitting at my office desk making money for stakeholders. It was necessary work, I had a mortgage & a life to live,
But I wasn’t feeling great about it. I never had. But now there was an extra dimension of urgency…
In all my research into climate there was a consistent message: the tipping point of no return is here, today.
The time to act is now.
I finally feel responsible for my choices – and powerless at the same time. Anything I did felt like a drop in the ocean in the face of global, systemic issues.
So I tried collaborating
I looked for jobs in green industries. Like any job search, it was time consuming. I volunteered my free time to Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Extinction Rebellion, Political Campaigns…
It was, frankly, emotionally draining. None of it showed off my full potential, I wasn’t doing enough…
Around this time I had a sobbing-inconsolably-loudly-on-my-kitchen-floor mental breakdown.
On a cold, rainy December I’d joined the local campaign group knocking door to door to ensure everyone voted for yet another impromptu election.
When I got home before the election results were even out I broke down because I knew that it wasn’t enough. ‘Playing my part’ was a farce. I certainly wasn’t doing enough, and even if I had given the whole election my all –
What if nothing any of us do will ever be enough?
Another thing that struck me then, as I cried and cried, was the sheer power of my industry.
Brand experts. Writers and Journalists. Designers. Storytellers and Communicators.
A week before election day I was sitting in the house of commons watching Boris debate Coryn, and what struck me was just how simple and clear and consistent his message was.
I knew, logically, that they’d put in the money and the research – and out came this highly effective gong to rally the votes they needed to win.
The main newspapers the day after the debate told a very different story to the one I saw with my very own eyes.
Creatives were shaping our reality.
Influencing our votes and buying decisions.
I was part of that industry…I had that particular type of knowledge, skill and power within me…so why wasn’t I doing anything useful with it?
I was wasting my potential and I didn’t know what to do about it.
Even now, writing this, I’m aware this article won’t go very far in terms of impact. I don’t have the platform nor the audience to make much of a difference. I haven’t taken the time to build that influence. It was never a priority for me.
So I asked myself;
What is a priority for me?
What is the priority for me?
I turned to within,
Did some self reflection, made exhaustive lists, got down my ideas, drew charts, wrote stream of consciousness journal entries and meditations and personality tests, getting to know my weaknesses & strengths, my values, my story…I followed gurus who would ask things like:
“What does success mean for you and why? How will that make you feel when you get it? What would your future self thank you for?”
I got a better sense of where I was, how I got there and where I wanted to be.
Knowing what you want is one thing.
Knowing how to get it is another.
So I got a coach.
For a while, saving the planet became less of a destination and more of a lifestyle choice.
I was busy learning how to be true to my values.
I gave myself permission to focus on my own projects – my first film won runners up for Sundance Collab competition and I finished the first draft of my novel. I became self-employed helped people to launch their own creative projects.
For the first time in my entire life, I feel joy, freedom and discovery in every working day. I am more myself and feel more productive and grateful than I’ve ever been.
As I reconnect with myself I’ve started taking bolder steps in my climate action.
I was already comfortable with changes I’d made before:
I’ve just starting new challenges:
And I’m working up to this one:
Have climate conversations at scale.
When feeling threatened we’re programmed for fight, flight or freeze – so bringing up the climate crisis is often met with mockery, belittling, dismissal, anger or denial. How do I bring up the conversations in professional contexts without getting excluded from further discussions?
Making people feel depressed, anxious, piling on the guilt on top of the shame they already feel, making them feel responsible and in the same moment bringing up feelings of disempowerment. I don’t want to bring those feelings up for people. It’s bad enough I get them myself!
“You drive”, my family would laugh. “You enjoyed that curry goat last night didn’t you?”
Yes, yes I do love the convenience of driving and my favourite family dinners include Jamaican food from my childhood. It’s really hard to be ethical in the system we’re in. It makes me feel like a fraud. I can’t even flush a toilet without feeling guilty about the water waste.
We’re already busy trying to get by, with hardly any time for ourselves…how can I ask them to make it a bit harder?
Sitting high in my bubble of plants and veganism having polite conversations over zoom, asking people why they find it hard to give up the good things in life after my lifetime of enjoying flights and toys and new clothes feels like a farce. Who do I think I am?
I’ve barely entered the trenches and even now, I’m talking about conversations instead of action. People are suffering. What’s the point?
As a coach, it’s my job to provide a safe space for us to feel this resistance.
When we connect with ourselves we make better choices,
and at the end of the day, what matters is what’s on the other side: