The animal instinct to get out of our heads

Written by Stuart Haden on August 8, 2018

Over the past few years psycho-pharmacologists (the study of the use of medications in treating mental disorders) have noted the consciousness altering techniques of animals. Kotler and Wheal document, “Dogs lick toads for the buzz, horses go crazy for locoweed, goats gobble magic mushrooms, birds chew marijuana seeds.” Even elephants have been known to raid breweries instead of getting drunk on fermented fruit.

This intoxication plays an important role in ‘de-patterning’. It can help promote lateral thinking, problem solving, intuition and

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Gravity games – take the weight off your feet

Written by Stuart Haden on July 25, 2018

Action and adventure sports offer an on ramp to flow states. They embrace gravity as their secret weapon. Look up and look down. A game changer, a state shifter.

“Weightlessness, weightedness and rotation are the nectar of gravity games,” explains professional climber and filmmaker Jimmy Chin. “They provide easy access to flow, and that’s what keeps us coming back for more.”

No mountains on the doorstep? Run down hill, freewheel and fly. Join the kids on the trampoline, play in the playground.

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Cultivating exceptional performance

Written by Stuart Haden on July 11, 2018

Martin Seligman has been an avid promoter within the scientific community for the field of positive psychology. He is quick to remind us that psychology needn’t only focus on the negative – trauma, damage and weakness. It can also embrace strength, authenticity and virtue. Treatment can centre on what is broken as well as nurturing the very best version of ourselves. 

Perhaps ‘post traumatic growth’ straddles both approaches. But evidence suggests that experiencing a flow state can help to mend what’s

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Flow states and nation states

Written by Stuart Haden on June 27, 2018

Peak experiences often creep up on us, when we discover them were are lost. How did we get here? Where have we been? How can I locate this position in the future? The road ahead isn’t clear and this can lead to discomfort. We can respond with embrace or rejection.

When we are out of our heads, being out isn’t always pleasant. We loose our usual reference points, destabilised and wonky. We’ve experienced happy and sad endings in equal measure. Sometimes

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What’s the point of performing optimally?

Written by Stuart Haden on June 13, 2018

The question behind this question can be one of two things – it can represent a genuine need to establish an end game for being at one’s very best. Or it’s the root of resistance and a get out clause for not entering ‘the zone’.

In a recent study (University of Sydney) subjects were given the classic test of creativity and problem solving – the nine dot problem. Under normal circumstances fewer than 5% of the population can crack it. In

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Debunking group think for group synch

Written by Stuart Haden on May 30, 2018

Performing optimally as a team requires one thing, “To synch up collectively.” (Kotler & Wheal). A degree of familiarity and purpose that brings people together. The clichés are well known – on the same page, singing from the same hymn sheet or marching to the same drum beat.

Kotler and Wheal continue to describe that ecstasis (flow, contemplative/mystical and psychedelic states) cannot be found in any field manual. “It’s a blank spot on their maps, beyond the pen of most cartographers,

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It’s Not About The Coach – Change

Written by Stuart Haden on May 16, 2018

With my book published I know how important the written word is for people when it comes to learning. However, we must all recognise the importance of video content as an emerging trend in media and society as a whole.

When I first built my online programmes I relied solely on the written text. It wasn’t long until I put in a great deal of extra work to make sure each of my online modules also included a video. But, that

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Culture change requires a map and compass

Written by Stuart Haden on May 2, 2018

I recently presented at the CIPD’s Learning and Development Show on my well trodden path of Creating a Coaching Culture. Speaking of paths I introduced the concept of needing a framework and direction. But to bring this alive I likened this approach to using a map and compass.

Culture change requires a framework and just like any ‘map’ we should all be able to pick it up and make some sense of our location. Never a linear journey, always dynamic. The ‘compass’

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There is no wall

Written by Stuart Haden on April 18, 2018

The London marathon takes place this Sunday and it always reminds me of a lesson I learnt a few years back. I was training for my first ultra marathon race and it was time to take my training to a new level. I had a couple of days free to run back to back marathons. 18 miles in and I reached my first option for an overnight camp, but I felt like my day had only just began. 8 miles

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It’s Not About The Coach – challenge

Written by Stuart Haden on April 4, 2018

The art of challenge is a curious thing. We need stretch, but not too much. Scientifically we need to push for about 4%. One great way to quantify this is to divide 24 hours of a given day by 4%. A quick calculation will tell you this adds up to just shy of 1 hour.

In the context of coaching an effective coachee will outline the appropriate level and pace of challenge required throughout the coaching engagement. Or if we break it

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