Welcome to this episode of The Freedom Fridays podcast. I have a returning guest. This chap spoke to us oh nearly two years ago, two months ago, two years ago, and was going through some particularly challenging self reflection. Here we are 18 months later. And I think there's been some breakthroughs, but let's hear about it. And so welcome again to the Freedom Fridays Podcast, Dave Sollars.
Oh, thank you Pete. It's great to be back. And, you know, here we are, again, I was amazed that it was two years ago, almost two years ago, or more than. That's amazing that it's gone by that quickly. For me, and it's great to be back. I mean, here you are hearing we're still alive. We're still okay.
We're still alive.
Yeah, we're still alive. We're still, we're still hungry. We're still looking at the world through different lenses and trying to get better at what we do and how we show up. So yeah, here we are.
Yeah. So, Dave, the context for last time, and I'm sure I'm not not sure how many listeners would have would remember the last one, like you said, it's the time has seemingly passed pretty quickly. Now, you weren't going through some particular self reflection challenges. Particularly about, you know, giving away your power, authority and choice. Right, and you were in the thick of it. I was when the listeners don't need to know, you know, the specific details. But let's imagine say anyone going through a particular challenging job scenario, or relationship scenario, or life transition, whatever it might be, imagine that you're in it. And that's what you were going through. And I know, we've spoken offline to say, you know, things have evolved. I'd love to hear, you know, because we could talk about it for ages, I guess the shortened version of where were you? And where are you now?
Yeah. Yeah, thank you. It's a great question I'll and I'll build on what you said about life transitions life transition, because I actually liked that word for the journey that I've been on and what a lot of people have been on. So for me, there was a place and it was a place of choice. And it was a place of difficulty. And it was a place of what I looked at and thought were almost insurmountable issues. Some of them were commercial about money and stuff. Some of them were about, you know, what I thought was my rights and my place and what I was owed, and all these kinds of things. But also, some of it was about ethics and values and intrinsic ways that I looked at the world. And that's what, that's what I was really struggling with. And so when we had a conversation, I was doing my best to keep my head above water, through articulating what's happening with me now. Because and even just asking myself what's happening with me now?, what needs to happen next?, over and over and over again, because I couldn't do it. I was just really struggling. So I was trying to articulate this for my own survival at that point. So I developed some really good habits in the face of insurmountable obstacles, and those good habits served me well then, and they serve me even better now. So if I take your word transition and build on that, what started ending was a certain kind of identity that I had. I belong here, I'm in this tribe, this is what I do. This is where I do it. This is how I do it. All of that started ending. And then my identity about what I do, how massive disruption, massive disorientation and then even to what William Bridges calls dis-identification happened. And so if you know people have gone through that, and of course, we've gone through it many, many ways. Many times. This one certainly got my attention. Because it all seemed to be tectonic at all at the same time. It was it even caught my attention. It's so so those things started ending but then I drifted or was catapulted into a you know, what Bridges would call the neutral zone. Or if you read old Japanese books, like the Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi, calls it the void. So this is the place right of, and there's been some other saints that say it's the possibility of everything, but the reality of nothing. It's just, it's, these words actually mean something to me now, before they were just they were cute to say, and people would smile and they would laugh. But I have now deep personal experiences in the void of deep personal discomforts, and challenges and obstacles and resistance, and then triumphs and lessons and builds and the things that I discovered there that I could not and have not discovered anywhere else. Despite the fact that every day I thought, I hate this. I can't stand being here. It's that deep questioning. It's that deep questioning with no answer. It's that place of being lost. When you feel just lost. Motivation, things that I fought for things that I was excited about the things that drove me. Gone. What drives me now, don't know. Hate that. I've always been driven, right? I went back in my life to see when's the last time that I was in this place of being okay with not knowing, being okay with not knowing what drives, what me motivates me. And looking for meaning in everything, because you're just trying to get out. And so everything you look for, from a book to a passage to a thing on television, to a pen that you write to, I started looking at what birds do, and I thought, well, maybe that's a sign. Because you're just desperate, you're just, you're desperate for meaning desperate for anything that sheds light that can give you insight to help you understand, so you can get out. And I realised that I'm always ending something, I'm always in the neutral zone in something and I'm always beginning something. So what I was trying to get out of, was actually a consistent state. So when I started, stopped resisting it, and allowed myself to be in it, and take some ownership and some power over it. That's when insights came. That's when I started noticing things. That's when I started getting what another author and I know I'm name dropping books, because I think I know you're a bibliophile. Yes. I read a lot of books, desperately searching for answers. I talked to a bunch of people, tragically, and desperately looking for insighte. Outside of myself, not inside of myself. And that was another key. But it did help me shape some ideas when I had nothing. When I was struggling with who I was and who I was becoming, because I didn't think I was anything yet. Yeah. This place is where I developed my own insight when I stopped resisting that this thing was happening, and started listening to me and started asking myself important questions instead of everybody else. What do I want? What's really important? Some existential things. Also, listening to my answers. And then going beyond that. What's I think I'm moving from a place of what's ending is I need to show you that I'm good. I need to show somebody that I know how I need to show someone that this is what motivates me, I need to show someone that this is important to me that I matter that this is what I value. And what started happening in the neutral zone as I started developing my own lens, my own point of view, changing, right changing, and then started looking for meaning. So when the desperation came down, what started coming up was, is that meaningful enough for me to work on? Is that meaningful enough for me to do? Is that meaningful enough for the impact that I want to have in the world, with the people that I care about, or want to meet? Do I want to meet these kinds of people? So meaning came out of it? It was not at first.
You might have mentioned this to me before was that book, Radical Acceptance?
I've read that, so that's Tara Brach. So yes, and that was one of the books I read, but I I think the book that kind of put it together for me was William Bridges, Transitions. That's why I picked up Oh, Oh, gotcha. Okay, life transitions. And a heap. Again, you know, we're lucky. And you know this from your life, when actually we read something that hits us where we are, speak to us where we can hear it, and then gives us insight that we can then put into action that we can use in our own life. Yeah, I wasn't getting anywhere, because I was resisting everything, especially my own insights. It seems funny now.
You know, that that classic, you know, when we look back and laugh? And not, not literally, but literally. For those that are listening, Dave and I are both professional facilitators, one of the frames or frameworks that we use, sometimes to help groups navigate the challenges they're facing, is a change framework by William Bridges. And the essence of it is as you move through these life transitions, you know, you leave school, go to uni, you become single, you get married, you are married, get divorced, you are a couple then you have a child, you're a family, then you have another job. Whatever the transition you're going through, it's there's this idea that some things are ending, you pass through this neutral zone, and things then start to begin. Now, I've known that framework for, I don't know, 20 years. The way that you've just described the neutral zone Dave is the most jaw dropping, articulate, slap around the face description, because I always sensed, well, it's just just let things end, and then they'll begin. I hadn't read and hadn't experienced just how desperate and frantic and just how awful, the Neutral Zone could be. And so it's anything but neutral.
Yeah, yeah. It seemed like a little torture chamber for me.
Yeah, but when you read the kind of the text and you think about, well, this transition is going to end and then I'm going to do this. So the neutral zone term, almost like something you pass through, not something you're held in. Yeah, the language that you use, you know, just. I love the sight of the possibility of everything, but the reality of nothing. And we search for meaning in every little glimpse and morsel of life to kind of go, this is my route out. Oh, no, it's not. Oh, this is my route out. Oh, no, it's not. Yeah. And that is just, I'm wondering how many individuals, families, leaders go through this, but only all the time, without understanding that's what's happening.
Part of the exercises and one of the things that that I do that we've talked about, and you do, too, is when when they give an exercise in the book, I actually do it. And so it takes me so long to read a book, because I literally do every single thing. And, and I recorded, I was so messed up when this was happening for me when I was reading Bridges book that I started recording my answers on a walk on otter AI. Wow. I couldn't even write about it. I couldn't write about it. And as you know, I'm a writer. I write all the time. I was so disoriented, right, disoriented, disrupted. I just didn't I didn't my grandfather used to say, I guess that boy can't find his butt with both hands. And I was, and I was that boy. I was that boy. And so what happened is I started saying these things. I wanted to actually go through it and record it and codify what was it like to be here? And when I did that, there were times I was laughing. There were times that I said, I can't believe this is happening. There were times that I was angry. And there was times that I just started crying. I just started crying. And I just played it into a microphone on a phone for it to end. And what I mean, so for me being on the other side of this mostly right mostly. I've taken something maybe for the first time that I have consciousness around it, and I've taken a book and lived it. And so now when I talk about it, it's different, right? It's just it's different. I've, I've made it mine. I talk about it in my way from my experience and then say, well, that's mine. I don't know what it is for you. But when I speak to leaders about it. There's just this pause. And one of the questions that Bridges ask us, what's your habit of endings? How do you normally end? When did you, you know, what's your experience with ending relationships? What's your experience with ending, you know, home leases, car leases? What's your experience with ending jobs? What is your ending habit. And I had just moved on from one thing to the, to the other thing, and sometimes two things at once so that I could build a bridge to the next. And then the other one, just go. See-ya. I did all kinds of things. This was the only time that I stopped. And for whatever reason, I couldn't find a new beginning to save my life. And I was trying, I was trying, and everything I tried, didn't work. So I tried some of my old habits, and I thought to myself, I'll do my old habits until my new beginning shows up. They didn't work either. So I'm like, I kept looking up and going. So what's this about? I can't even do the old stuff. Are you kidding me? And the answer was, No, you cannot even do the old stuff. And what's that old saying? In for a penny in for a pound or something like that? It seems like I was in for a pound. But I thought it was going to be a penny. I really did.
Dave I'm reflecting on, I'm probably going to avoid saying, reflecting on my own situation. But I am with something I've got going on right now. But I'm reflecting on, just last night, I had dinner having a conversation with my wife, my son and we call him our nephew, G cause he stayed for longer than I think any of us expected. Every single one of us. All of them had something like this go on. Right now. They've got going on. Right? Yeah. And some of its light. Like kind of the I guess the ice cream version of the neutral zone? Sure. Some of its pretty challenging.
Yeah. You got a whole house of it?
Well, and so my my reflexes I wonder how many households have it? You know, you know, a larger scale? Is this what the planet is going through this? What countries are going through? Is this what organisations are going through? It feels a bit like it.
It's a great topic. I mean, I don't know about countries, I don't know about planets. But the people that, one, I went through it, then when I check in, and I let them know. I don't want to project onto you. But I might. So just be aware of that, I might. And then I check in on these areas. And so many of the leaders that I speak with now, something is ending some way of work some way of working some transformation processes underway. Something's ending, and as fast as they can they want to start something new without anything in between. So I say, Yeah, me too. Yes, of course, me too. But then I asked, how's it working with the new beginning? It's not. So what if we take a step back and say, What could we learn from not working? What could we learn from something ending? And then we get into what I think you and I've talked about in a lot of different scenarios, and it's been coined in a variety of different ways, which is mechanical change, versus human transition. Yeah. And once people feel that, and get their feelings and experiences validated, and I can do that now, because I can ask questions that get right into the nub of it, I can go straight in on it. Right. And I can hit the core of it with an honest compassion, like, wow, this may be you this may be not you, but do you feel lost and of just really don't feel motivated by a lot of the same things? And then I get this look, and I'm like, I'm going to take that as a yes. And, and...
I thought you were speaking to me, and I was answering yes.
And so yeah, well, who hasn't? Right? But is this important enough to talk about? And when they go no, and I and then I say well, so I'm just going to ask because it is my job to be curious about this. It feels like the level of resistance that you're giving me is enough for me to ask a follow up question about resistance on this topic. And they're like, oh, and I said, just guessing, but it is my job to guess and then ask, so I am. And so and, and most of the time, and I'm not saying that I'm, that I'm on this thing. But I'm going to ask, I'm going to ask, because in our world that's constantly changing, all three of these things are happening simultaneously. And some of them are not that important to pay attention to. And some of them really are.
But that's what's striking me, Dave, that, you know, the model as it's written about, and you know, my limited understanding and you know, full confession, I may have a tonne of books behind me, but I haven't lived them all, like you've just described. The model as it presents is almost like a linear. Some things will end then you'll go through a bit of impassivity, you'd be a bit lost for a couple of days, then you'll find your mo-jo back and it'll kick off again.
Right? No, that's not my experience.
That doesn't. But like you said, there may be some things that it's that simple. Yeah, exactly. I did the bus doesn't turn up one day, so I have to walk a different way to work, get a different coffee in a different coffee shop. I quite liked that one, I'm going to go to that one next day.
Change slacks, go to a different dry cleaner, you know, some of the things you're like, Okay. And then other things, you know, like the qualities that I end up in conversation, I imagine you as well, which is, we have this thing that needs to happen. We have this transformation project, we have this new challenge that we're working with. Yeah. And, and then also, we have a new business structure, like we've restructured. So now we're trying to learn how do we work with each other? On the problems that we've always had, by the way. I mean, if you're old enough, you're like, ah-huh, did anybody just not see that coming? Because every time you do this, this happens. Oh, it's new for you. Okay, fine.
So, then, looking into people's habits, because the habit of moving from, I'm not going to recognise what ended to moving to let's just begin something new works with machinery. We're going to move into new software. So now we've got, let's say, I'm one of the things I'm working on as a as a big real estate company. So they use this Intrata. So we switched over to Intrata today, and the leadership was like, we should be good, should be good. And then I'm like, well, let's just watch and keep your eyes and ears open and see if the software solves the problems. And I hope it does. But let's look for where it might not. And then, of course, it was just an absolute scramble and a mess. Because humans have to do this. Humans have to go from this to that. And that's where we had to look at, well, let's just actually slow down a minute. And look at what just ended. What do you think this property managers identity was like, prior to this, these things being automated? What what did they see their value contribution as? And now you're saying this piece of software that they just met, by the way, is taking over half of their identity? Yeah. How do you think that's going to be for them?
Yeah, and I wonder, Dave, I'm reflecting on my own experience, that the work I do with clients to what you've just described, this, what was the right word? I want to say clamour, but it's not a clamour. It's like, is this something. There's this need to try and accelerate, you know, speed through the neutral zone. And I wonder if that's because we assume you know, the business will fall apart, or we'll lose revenue, or everyone will collapse in a heap. I don't know is the answer. But I wonder if this kind of clamour our need to how did we get through that quickly? How do we get through that, you know, faster or better than anyone else? Assuming one that we can, and assuming two, that it's the right thing to do? Because, like you said, this is happening at multi levels, in multiple ways, with all of us all at the same time.
Yeah. I love your point. Because one, I think it's it's my lived experience, I would have done anything, I would have said anything. I would have worship to any god, I would have sacrificed a goat. I would have done anything. Right, anything. And yet, none of those things worked. And so the only thing that I have is the lived experience of what if I just did what all the wise people from Musashi all the way back in the late 1500s, to Bridges in the 70s, 1970s said, relax, take each day, be present, and start to understand what's in front of you, how you react to it, and then make the best decision that you can about what to do next. That's it. That's it.
Isn't it interesting how it's simple yet profound, those two questions that you brought to the conversation last time, you know, what's happening now? What should I do next? And the next is almost like, the next seven seconds, the next minute, the next 10 minutes. And just building I guess navigating walking through the neutral zone, as it feels incongruent. even call it the neutral zone, because it's there's nothing neutral about it.
That in my experience.
You know, define navigate that left, right up, down that can trecle, the mud. Yeah, it's, it's so profound. And yet, there's something really instructive for me in all this. In that intellectually I get that, oh, yeah, yeah, I should relax, you know, just just calm the farm Pete, just relax your nervous system, and focus on this conversation you're having with Dave now, and you'll be fine. And I think most of our conditioning, you know, our lived experience in families, in organisations, in relationships is, yeah, but what if? What if this happens, and what if that happens? Oh and I want to avoid that. And if I can get there quicker, I can I can, I can get out of the pain I can get out of the trauma, I can get out of the funk. Because I don't like being lost.
Yeah, me too. I really like what you're saying and and what sparks in my attention is something that I want to just say I hadn't thought about it, but I am now. I'm finally incredibly grateful for what stimulated this transition for me, because what's happened is that it's, and I've said this, I went from saying things that I knew were good and reasonable to now desperately clinging to the same sentences and looking for help. And understanding where that was not enough a sentence from a book a saying from Einstein, who, who knows if he said all those things, but that it wasn't enough. And I've used it so many times as if all you need to do is remember what Einstein said, you know, the thing that created this thing, you need to create it this is not the and people were looking at me like, What is wrong with you? And I didn't get it bounced right off for me. I just didn't bounce right off. I'm like, Yeah, well, now. Now I design things differently. I create different dialogues differently. I have an acknowledgement differently. Because I think differently, my discovery process is different. The way that I ask questions is different. My very lens that I look at the world is different. And it's not good or bad. It's just it's another version of me. I bring all those things. I still remember all the Einstein quotes all the Rumi quotes that I love all the I didn't lose anything. But what I gained was a lived experience of what it's like to be in this much trouble and have the things that you always counted on, not being able to be counted on. Wow, that that is the place of learning if you can hang in there. And what that gave me finally, because you can resist and resist and resist and man, it just seems like it's bigger and badder than you. Yeah. And so the last door that I tried was acceptance. Maybe I'll just accept, going back to Tara Brach, right, I'll just accept. And I'm like, I hate this. I hate this. And I thought there's a little resistance hating, hating might be resistance. Yeah. And I thought, Well, I'm going to with resistance open this door. Let's see how that works. Yeah. And it was better, and then it was better. And then what started happening and still continues now. Is that I realised I'm being supported through the neutral zone, I'm being supported. I'm being cared for. I'm being loved. Commercial things, worked out financial things worked out enough, things, people, places where I could practice enough where I could be authentic enough, but not overly do it like, like you and I know I was doing before I hit it hard. Yeah. And things just didn't come together in a neutral zone. It just, they just don't work. They just stopped working. And that is just panic, until it's not until you accept. It's not working. And there must be something here. And then I read another thing that took meaning. I wonder what's waiting for me in the wings. And I thought, I wonder what's waiting for me in the wings. So I'm paying attention to the bright lights, the people, the audience, the stuff. But I wonder what's waiting for me just off to my left and just off to my right. Wow. And then I started looking for that. I said, Well, I got nothing else to do. I'm screwing up everything. I'm like, paddling my feet, and I seem to be going nowhere. So why don't I just look to my left and look to my right, as a habit? Why don't I start asking myself about wonderment? Why don't I why don't I start asking myself about what could I see if I see beyond this? And I started doing that. In my thoughts, my meditations, I started writing, I took walks, this is another place if you know, like if you wonder if you're in the neutral zone, you decide you're going to take walks outside all the time. And it's not enough. And you're starting to talk to yourself in the woods. You might be in the neutral zone.
Oh, Dave, we're kind of laughing. I think, relatively authentic way. And yet I know I can only imagine. I'm reflecting my own experience of what that's like that. One of the things you said last time, because I made a note because I felt this at the time. And I really felt for you and with you. And I really wanted to reach out and give you the the biggest hug I could. You said a couple of questions around how the question you were pondering at that time was how does it feel to get what you want? Not the getting of what it was, but how would it feel? And there was a deservingness question.
Oh, right. Yeah, Right.
I'm wondering if you can. Did you get what you wanted? How did it feel?
All right. Okay. Good start. How does that? Yeah. So wherever you can move with that. Did you get some of what you wanted? How does it feel? And where's your sense of deservingness now?
Yeah, two great questions and what a wonderful reminder. One, I didn't I didn't get what I want because what I was asking for and I was writing down was a very logical, rational answer that I thought I deserved and I want. Now that may happen. Actually, there's a deal on the table now where that could actually happen. And more than what I wanted, which is saying a lot, because I want a lot. So that actually, it says a lot. Yeah. So that's now possible. But it wasn't possible not that long ago. And so what happened is I got more than I want, because what I never asked for and couldn't in those moments, because I didn't know it was about that was my freedom. I didn't ask for that. But that's what I got. Now, once I got my freedom, then I could ask for bunches of things, then I could experience things. And then I could say to myself, Wow, I really wanted that. I don't think I need that now.
Isn't that interesting?
Yeah. So I got, I did not get what I wanted when you and I met because what I was asking for was just at this level of stuff, which is fine, right? Nothing wrong with stuff. That turned out not to happen in the neutral zone. stuff was not happening. There's no stuff happening. What was happening was enough stuff was happening so that I could be supported enough stuff was happening so that we were okay. Which is a concern if you work for yourself, you know this. Yeah. Not very well. And then once I started accepting this, what I got was two things. One is freedom from the parts of me that I didn't want to see or feel or understand. And I got that through compassion, I finally gave myself compassion. And I was able to give others compassion. Even people who are threatening me, I was able to give them genuine love and compassion, genuine. Like I meant it, I meant it. And when I meant it and gave it to him, that's when I got free. And that's when I realised, I think I'm onto something.
That's one of the things we've talked about offline, Dave, which I'd love to explore with you is, is I sense that you have had the very challenging and you know, I'm going to make it simple here, a difficult conversation with yourself. You've been able to hold space for yourself.
Yeah. Yeah. About two years of this difficult conversatino.
While I remember, again, you you said last time you this is not what you'd recommend. But I get it. And I don't know if we force ourselves into find ourselves into it. But I'm interested in you now you're at this state, whatever state this is. How do we How could we? How could you and I, how could others. And I don't just mean in a corporate context. But you know, mothers and sons and friends and colleagues, navigate and facilitate difficult, almost polar conversations with people. And this idea of, because while certainly in my circles, I hear it a lot. But I've not been able to read a lot about it other than my felt experience of it is how do we hold space, in all of the pace that's going on? I'd love your view on this idea of holding space. Why what what is holding space mean? Who should we do that for? When should we not do it?
Do you have a view on that, Dave?
Well, as as I'm kind of sitting with it now, given what we've just talked about, I mean, the the link that I would make is one, it's a it's a link of gratitude. I'm a lot better at that than I used to be. And I contributed that to the kind of gravitas that I have to be present. Like, if I can be present with myself and all that stuff. Then I can finally get over. And as I have said, before, I lift my head above the parapet of self. And I'm not sure I did a lot of that. I tried, right, I have a positive intent. Most of us do, right? We have a positive intent. We want to do it. So it's not about that. It's just about well, what's that look like for you now? And so now with this experience, I realised Oh, it's I was a little more self serving than I would have said, I could have passed a polygraph right? Because they would have said, listen, are you there for the client, I would have, yes, I am. Pass pass. But what I've discovered is not a lie, but a truth of how I can actually be truer to myself and true or to the people that are asking me to for help and support truer, more powerful, more present. That's the truth. And so for me, it's changed my whole outlook on how I do things. Again, my lens is different. That's, that's the new beginning. That's the beautiful new beginning if you talk to people and I have since right because first I thought this was happening. So I was sense checking people that I knew and talking with, just to see, how crazy am I? Was my question. Not am I crazy? How crazy am I? Because I thought you're crazy. How crazy? Am I functional? Or should I just checked myself in somewhere? And I thought, no, something's, here, something's going on. So at the end of this, my lens and how I look at things, knowing the journey that I've been on. I know enough now. I think I do anyway, on a good day on my best days to really start to have questions of what's called genuine interest. Instead of questions of genuine self interest, which I know how to do, right? Because I would ask them questions and I want an answer to so I would show up great and I knew what to do. And that's still important. I mean I still want to show up great and I still want to know what to do as much as I can. But I can be there for them and ask what I don't know. And I can show up and not know exactly what to do and be okay. And those are two huge steps, huge steps because that means I'm with them. And I'm not inside a mental construct of them in my own brain. I'm just with them. That's different, as you know. Yeah. That's different. So I think it's beautiful. And you know, to ask you to answer a little bit of that question. You will recognise all of these, but so when I do initial conversations, my questions are different. Like I was speaking with somebody the other day, and I have my questions that I've always asked that I know work really well. But now my questions, I still need those, because some of those are like reasonable questions to ask. Yeah, but I very quickly, I very quickly move into things where I want to understand where they would become subject to, or pulled into or attached to, strongly and where do they then what do they do with that? Can they detach? Do they detach? Like, I'm out of here? A pilot, right? They're planes on fire, they punch out? I'm going to punch out. Yeah. Or can they find this place? And this is this is an old symbol, right? It's an old symbol. Can I be the vessel of this moment? Can I hold it? And can it move through me? And can our conversation, can I hold this conversation and have it moved through me? Not by me, but just move through me? And that's the difference. I never did that before. I never. I never thought about it that way before. I never tried to do that before. I didn't know it was a thing. I'm still not sure it's a thing. But it's my thing now. Yeah. And so I asked somebody the other day, they were telling me about this thing that they've been into for a couple years, some trouble that has happened. And I just said, so I'm really interested in what you have to say and what I heard, is it two years ago, you really knew that something wasn't right. They're like, yes. And I said, what really stopped you two years ago from taking action on what you knew needed to happen. I do it, I care. I'm compassionate, but it's very direct. And it's from a place that just says, Yeah, me too. Yeah, me too. You didn't act, me too. You are paralysed, yeah, me too. You didn't know what to do. Yeah, me too. So what's your version of that? I know my version of that, what's your version of that? And then we can work on whatever needs to happen next. And that's different for me Pete. It's just different. And my preparation is different. I used to and you know, this from doing work with me when I was leading it, right. I'm an old stage manager from the theatre, very meticulous preparation. Now, don't ever lose that. Because that's kind of awesome, right? Like, why would you lose that that's a really nice habit. But what I've added to that is a place that I don't have to know everything. And I can leave space for things to happen. That I don't know, I can leave space for them to fill. And then for me to check in with them and understand what's happening so that they make meaning. And this is the biggest now. So this is my purpose. Right? This is actually my new mission. My new purpose. I've read it, I've read it. And I've said it. I've said it with all conviction. But now I mean it like from my bone marrow. Yeah, wow. Can I help them understand how they make meaning to create a new lens that they look at the situation through that they can then their best selves start to solve? Can we do that? Instead of I give them answers, and I show them things and I look super smart. I like looking super smart, so I can fall into that. I like it. I love people to say wow, that's amazing. Yeah, of course. Thank you. I love it. And now I'm holding the tension of that and saying, How can I really help them see themselves? How can this moment create the beginning of a new lens? How can we put on a little little disruption, a little disorientation a little neutral zone so that their best things don't work? So now they look for what else they have not for what I have what they have already inside of them. And that's different for me, Pete I always want Let them to be disrupted. So I could give them an answer. And they'd love it. And of course, they would write, because they'd be desperate, like I was. But that keeps them and in neutral zone and in neutral zone, what I'm holding them back from is the coolest part of this, which is a new beginning. That's of you.
That's the coolest part.
Wow, that's resonates. I was only doing it yesterday.
We all do it right. And it's not that I do. I'm not, I don't want to stand here and go, Listen, I'm the I'm the guy. I'm just trying to find my butt with both hands. I'm just trying to figure it out. And I have a new standard of what good looks like, what good feels like. A new standard for a mission and a purpose. I have a new standard. That's it. Now that's true, actually.
And it sounds like Dave, I'm taking this as one of my insights from this for anyone listening. There is no prescribed way. There is no, read this book. go and read that book, have that experience, read this book, have this experience, read that book, and then you'll be in the same place Dave is.
Well, I wish that were true. I would have read. I mean, I read a bunch of books looking for that.
Yeah, but my experience is that just doesn't happen in the same way with the next person.
Yeah, my version of this will be different than somebody else's. Thank goodness. And also, I read a bunch of books. So guess what, now I can put those into action. Yay! I read a bunch of books, I created some meaning. It wasn't the brass ring that I was looking for. Get me out of here. It wasn't that. But it turned out to be part of the new beginning. Yeah, turns out to be part of oh, I can now talk about transitions, because I've felt it and lived it. I can talk about the neutral zone in a way because I really know what that feels like. So oh, oh, I can talk about what's real. And what's true in a way that is not just cognitive. It's from vault of experience and this experience that I've you know, there's a part of me that's still doing this. I haven't got it all figured out. I don't want to come across like that. You know me well enough to know that. But I will tell you
That ain't happening right now.
That ain't happening.
But there's been so much that has happened that I'm grateful for. Yeah, and so many good things that are now starting to change. But in ways I had not predicted. I hadn't predicted, I hadn't thought about. So many. Another book that I read in desperation was a book called Godwink. Because I thought, wow, we should bring God into this. I shoudl just do it. When all else fails, and what was funny is I read this book. And and this is the guy that created Schoolhouse Rock in America. So anybody that grew up in the 60s and 70s, like I did, we all can sing two or three of the songs that we listened to, after, you know, I'm just a noun, just, you know, we all need the songs. So this guy, I had this tremendous success, and then transition ending. And then neutral zone, painful, painful neutral zone. And then new beginning, he didn't write it like that. But in his neutral zone, he discovered his thing to look for, which is called a godwink, which is these moments we couldn't anticipate or plan. But when they happen, you're like, whoa, that's a great fit. And I didn't expect it to come from there. Yeah. So those kinds of things are happening. And by the way, a funny, funny thing that I look for these kinds of synchronous moments. I read this book, and I and it was a book book, which I typically don't buy. I do a lot of my stuff on Kindle, because I travel like you, right? I can't take 50 books, but I can take a Kindle. So I do some reading this book book, because again, I'm just so freaking desperate. I found it in my basement. I was giving my grandchild some books. And I found it in a stack. And I was like, Ah, I didn't know I had this. What's this? Because I was going to give it to him. And then I thought, well, let me turn to a page, see if it resonates. That's the old allusions book from the 60s. he'd like to pick that up then. And I said, if it resonates already, and if not, I'll give it to my grandson. I read it. And I was like, oh, I should read this. I read. And it was amazing. I read it all the way through the book. And I thought, that's incredible. I wonder where I got this book. And I wonder where it was printed. So I look in the front of the book. And I'm paraphrasing, and it says, it sounds like you've been through your version of this. I just wanted to buy this book, in case this helps you understand a little bit more of what you've gone through. Love you, mother. Ah, my mother gave me this book 10 years ago. It just sat there, you know, I'm sure pushed around on my downstairs bookshelves, you must have a downstairs bookshelf.
But it's not literally downstairs, but it's there. Yeah.
And here's how I find another piece of the puzzle. Another place where I can take this sort of idea that he has, which is fine, and link it to sort of my intentionality work. I started Buddhist practices, I started Taoist awareness. I can fit it in, right. I can make it like, Oh, that's a teeth. That's a tooth in the cog. Okay, great.
Yeah, that's a great analogy. I think those as we've heard, you know, God winks, just give us a glimpse of hope and possibility. And remember, an old story. True story, actually, a friend of mine, 20 years ago, got divorced. And in chatting about afterwards, referenced, I can't remember the name of the book, but referenced, and it doesn't have to be books. You know, we're both book geeks. And it could be anything. But you know, you've referenced a book that you said, you had I read this at the time, it would have saved my marriage. And I said, so, you know, wow, well, why did you buy now? He said, I didn't I bought it 20 years ago.
Oh, my. Yeah. All right.
I'm reflecting on my own experience, probably. In fact, probably definitely, maybe the answer, or a glimpse of hope for some of the challenges that I'm facing, is sitting right behind me.
Whoa, it's your quote, but maybe something you say. But I think one of the things that I discovered because I had to go through my first initial reaction to this stuff, and I realised we're talking about a bunch of things, but it helped me understand myself to for me to check with other people. I don't know if they've, yeah, when this actually happened, do you? Do you not want? Do you want to accelerate through this? Otherwise, you'll sit with your guilt. Yes. your self judgement. Yes. Your identity of listen, this shouldn't happen to me, I'm an achiever, I'm a successful person, I've always been XYZ, how could I be anything else. So if you don't move to the next thing, you would have to accept this at some point, or deflect it or deny it or, but but when I tell you what, I did all of that, but when that just keeps pushing it in your face, there's a day where you got to, you got to look at that mirror, and you don't as Rumi says, You don't need to look at how the mirror is made, you need to look into the image. And that's those are tough days. God, those are tough days. But the're the liberating days if you can hold the tension of that. And so now I know one of my other tasks. And I've said it, but now I really felt it. Holding the tension. Holding the tensions of the moment is how you can stay present. And I have a whole new understanding of that. And I have a whole new conviction, by the way, and I just said it to somebody today that I was coaching, who runs a country for a company, a big country, a big, profitable country, lots of risk, lots to gain. And with all the conviction, I could, I just said, your job is to hold the tension that you're talking about, have a good discussion, make a good decision and check and see what the outcomes are. And let's see how you did and reflect on it. Do it again. And I said your job. Hold that tension. That's your job. Anyway, I said, How's that land? I said, I said it to you straight? How's it sitting with you? And he's like, I think I need to be able to hold tension and I said, Okay, then let's get busy doing that. Let's find out how you can be present in the moment with whatever exists and then that's your job. And I never said it with that conviction. I could say it but now, I say it and like something happens.
Yeah, it will land congruent or be an authenticity there'll be a realness to it. People will go, oh shit. Dave's been real Dave's telling me the truth Dave's seen something, you know, whatever it is. Well I just sense it will land differently.
Yeah, well, they get it. There's my truth. And I check into them to see if it's their truth doesn't have to be. But I am going to take a risk, I am going to take a chance. I am going to throw this out as a possibility. Yeah. And see how it sits with them, how it resonates with them or not. And if it doesn't we move on. Okay, fine. Just checking.
I think that's a really instructive thing for me, Dave, and maybe anyone listening, this idea of sharing and being willing to share your truth within a frame, within our context. And simply, although it's not simple, checking in with the other person to see if it's their truth. If it is, let's explore if it's not, let's move on.
Well said, and for me how I got to that, to that level that you said in a framework, because before that I wasn't good at it. I would talk to anybody that was listening about how much trouble I was in and how awful I was feeling. There's like two or three people that I can have that conversation with, they will wilted like a flower inside 130 degrees celsius sun. Like they just, because I was coming at them with such intensity. It just destroyed them. So they wouldn't talk to me for weeks. Because I couldn't do it inside a functional framework. I blasted them, like with a blast furnace, and they just melted. And I didn't know that it was happening. And then afterwards, I'm like, wow, where am my friends? I don't have any friends left. One. Thank you this neutral sound socks because you lose all your friends, too. And I thought, well, you don't have to, but I, I melted. My friends just tried them. And I thought okay, I became subject to something and didn't know it. I was so deeply entrapped I couldn't tell in a conversation. Wow. Wow. Oh, oh. Argh.
And so I had to figure that one out, too. I had to work on that. So one of the things that you asked about how do you hold that space? And I just want to make sure that I get back to that is that when one you decide which space you're going to hold? So that's the discovery, what is the space? Like if you're a problem solver, and you're looking for problems. Is that actually what's happening? How do you find out what's actually happening to the people? So my questions are different. My way of looking at things. I'm probing in a few different places, with the belief that I have no idea what's going on. Instead of the smart guy says, I know what's going on. I know supply chain. I know how to do this. I know how to do pharmaceutical launches, I know how to. Yeah, I know. And then I would look where I would expect to find a problem. Or I'd expect to find a rub. And now I sit back and go, alright. I don't actually know what's going on. So what would I find out? And I don't know how they feel about it. I don't know what they're invested in what they're not invested in? I don't know. So how would I find out? And I asked very different questions, very different questions. And then when I found out what I think is going on, I always bounce it off a couple of key stakeholders like you and I have always done, just sounding board. This is what I see it is what it means to me. This is what I think and this is what I would recommend. How's sit with you?Tweak it off we go. In the moment before this happens, I have to now and I do this a better job. It's not an academic exercise. It's a felt imperative for the mission that I'm on. If I really am committed to having them discover the lens, their own lens and not just appreciate me from my lens. Big distinction, right big distinction. Yeah. Then I have to hold their space. That was the first distinction that I made where I started thinking about, and I would say the word we it's like, no, there's no we, it's you. Or if I'm at the south, I'd say y'all. It's you, you all and then there's me helping to facilitate this. There's not a we here, there's no we. And I realised in my language, I was saying that, and I thought, what? Am I saying that I'm like them? I didn't need to be careful about that. Because I am not you. And I'm not going to be you. Wow. Why was I doing that? And I thought, because I want to bond with them, I want to create common ground, I want to let them know that we're all in the pool, but we are not, we are not the same. And my job is not to be you. Not to be liked, not to have you appreciate me. Although, of course, I hope all that happens, because, of course I do. But my job is to hold this space. So that I know and I've done the pre-work, what inside this space do I have problems with? What is my relationship to X, Y, and Z? Where would I be pulled in and not be able to see like I did by burning all my friends? Where would that happen in this conversation? What is my relationship to strong emotions? And then do that? And then think about that. And then heal that, and then be grounded for that. And then walk in?
Yeah, for anyone listening. There is repeated health warning. I can stay any advice or comments given during this conversation. This is not recommended work. This is not a recommended path to take.
Yeah. Wow. Yeah. Boy, is it for me, freeing. Yeah.
I mean, I feel like I'm getting to the person that I was I, I remembered an eight or 10 year old boy who is incredibly creative, a three year old who started writing poetry. Wow, a 12 year old that wrote a play. The stories the the a 16 year old who they said we don't have any money for the church. And I created an event that raised enough money to help the church. And then somebody else that said, at high school, we don't have enough money to create a club to do X, Y and Z. So I put on a musical. And we raised twice the money we needed. And then that thing is still going today. And I forgot that boy, I forgot that person who knew how to do things. I forgot that person who had this. And my adult life said, Well, things aren't like that anymore. Okay, what are they like? So does that mean we can't use that level of creativity? Does that mean we can't use that level of tempered optimism tempered creativity? We can temper it with an adult life. I'm not 10. I'm not 16. So I can take the optimism and say, Well, how could we move through this? Knowing that there must be a way and let's find the way. There must be and if there isn't, we'll just create a new way was the people. I lost all that. So when I was in the neutral zone, I found all that again. I found it rediscovered me. I didn't again, it's not Chinese takeout. I didn't go somewhere. Yeah, I didn't go somewhere. I didn't buy something. I discovered parts of me that I had forgotten or somebody had said, Don't be like that. Or somebody said you should never be like that if you. And I'm like, well, as long as I'm questioning everything, why don't I question everything?
Dave as I don't even know if I was expecting it. I don't even know if I was hoping for but just being willing to you know, the conversations you and I've had offline, having this conversation online that's recorded. I feel really touched, humbled. grateful for what you've shared. And perhaps now, definitely, I'm trying to hold some emotion in here. More than you know, it's been very instructive. Well, I'm trying to hold this tension between, oh my god, I could never do that. Dave is better than... Hold the tension between Okay, all right. There's, there's there's some things in there for anyone who's willing to look and you know, one of the things I would sometimes say in front of a group I'm going to show you where to look, but I can't tell you what to find.
Yeah, no, thank you, Pete. I mean, you're somebody who I deeply respect. But we've ridden some trail together. And, and all I can say is that the confidence that I have now from a lived experience is from a lived experience, there were days that I got up, and my only goal was to survive the next hour. Like the next please give me strength, hope, confidence to survive the next hour. There was nothing other than survival. I wasn't achieving anything. I wasn't hopeful for anything. It was just, can I actually be in somewhat intact as a human? And so I know what that's like. Yeah. And you have your own version of that. And, but, but the strength that comes from that kind of transition, for using his word that you used in the very beginning, is a powerful thing, if it's rooted in the self, if it stays an external reaction to change. Because I tried it. I tried it many times, you'd need an abacus to count the amount of times that I wanted the answer to be something outside of me, despite anything that I thought because I never thought I could do this myself. It would have to be somebody else. Something else something. I never thought I could do it. But of course, the truth that I have now is I need to be part of that myself. And then there's always this little dance, isn't there. External change, internal transition, External change drives internal transition, Sometimes internal transition drives external change. Now it's a dance. Yeah. It wasn't a dance before. I was always the victim of.
Yeah, it felt like a fight.
Yeah, of course, it was a fight. Good word. Fight resistance. There's a winner, there's a loser. There's a good there's a bad, all those binary things that have actually no place in a complex conversation.
Yeah. Dave, I'm really conscious of time, I'm probably going to pause the recording because maybe we should continue offline. But I would normally in these, again, Freedom Fridays, or Fridays freedom. Yeah, ask some simple, maybe glib, lighter questions. I don't feel that's appropriate. And so I'm just going to pause, hold the tension of what's to come and what might have been and just say a very huge thank you for bearing us all for sharing the journey that you have been on. That in, it doesn't replicate mine doesn't replicate anyone listening. But might just point to a possibility for them. So I'm really grateful for that. I'm grateful for anyone listening who pick something from that. And it helps them survive the next hour.
Yeah, thank you Pete. You're a beautiful soul and a beautiful man. So thank you. It's a pleasure knowing you.