#8—Captain's Log: September 2021

A lot has happened since I sent Edition 7 of letters in April. Most importantly, I’m excited to share about my new climate-focused coaching company, Blue Dot. If you want to learn more, you can read the announcement post here and I’ll leave it at that. But for today’s edition of Letters, I wanted to share a bit about the poem I put above the photos.

To start, quoting poetry is a new thing to me, and I’m a bit self-conscious of how it’s one of those defining behaviors of coaches. It’s like the day you become a coach, suddenly poetry becomes a part of your life, and that’s always rubbed me the wrong way. But David Whyte is an author I’ve read a lot of this year, and it turns out he’s a poet and his words have brought me to tears a few times.

Now on to the point. It’s no surprise that David wrote this poem in 2020 when so many of us were feeling so very alone. I know I was. And a big part of that journey for me was seeing how I’d surrounded myself with some things and some people that did not “bring me alive.” Coaching—the career I switched into as a result—does bring me alive, and part of what I love is helping clients find the things that bring them alive and bring more of that aliveness to the world.

So I guess my message for today is that you deserve to feel big, and I hope one bright part of the mess of the last year can be some perspective that gives you the courage to find the things and people that are the right size (or even big enough to be scary).

Short Updates

  • We live in Denver now! Our movers came on April 29th and were supposed to show up in Denver on June 2nd. They showed up on June 22nd. That was a nice lesson in patience. This is the first time living in my own whole house. We live within walking distance to Rino in Denver, but we have enough peace and quiet to have a fun little backyard. Needless to say, I’ve been enjoying transforming into a childless semi-suburban Dad. If you know anyone rad in Denver I should meet, please let me know!
  • Between: Right after I left Holloway, I declared I was going to start a podcast about relationships between co-founders and leaders. A friend of mine created the artwork for it, I built the website, and I even had guests who were ready to come on the show. But something just didn’t feel right about it. And that lack of rightness has led me to decide to pull the plug on Between. In retrospect, I think I rushed my decisions after Holloway out of a need to be “doing something creative” as I sat with the discomfort of being in the middle of a career transition. So, I’m sorry to folks who were looking forward to it, but I learned a valuable lesson about not rushing into announcements about things and how valuable it is to listen to my gut.
  • Shenpa: Shenpa is an ineffable (i.e. something that can’t easily be put into words) Tibetan concept I discovered in May. If you struggle with anger, imposter syndrome, a noisy inner critic, or any kind of general stress or anxiety, this is genuinely the single most helpful tool I’ve found for working with that stuff personally AND with my clients. You can read about the idea here, and listen to Tibetan nun Pema Chödrön talk about it here and here.
  • Climate Change: Okay climate change clearly is not awesome, but learning about it is. One year ago today, San Francisco’s entire sky was the same color orange as Blade Runner 2040, and that kicked off a personal awakening and research phase. Climate is an area that can easily devolve into an unhelpful “purity vs. impurity” debate full of shaming and silly crap. A friend put it simply to me last week: “addressing climate change is about how we make the world a safer place for people.” If you’re interested in learning more about what to do about climate change, check out the following: Susan Su’s Want to Work on Climate? Start Here. and Ryan Orbuch’s Negative Emissions Reading List.
  • The Wheel of Time: In 2019, I read all 14 books in Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series. It was a huge investment in time, and it was worth every minute. I feel like I learned valuable lessons about the internal struggle of leadership (and felt very very seen) by the character development in the series. So what? Well, Amazon is plowing a pile of money into a TV series adaptation, and the trailer just dropped last week here. I am beyond excited for this to begin!
  • Attack on Titan: I’ve never really gotten into Anime. To be honest, I held a silly immature view for a long time that it was for “those kids.” And then I met Kate, who is more into anime than anyone I’ve ever met. So, we’ve been watching a lot of it. And I’ve been loving it. But Attack on Titan (S1 on Netflix, the rest on Hulu) was absolutely awesome. I mean it was so good. Like, I’m not even going to tell you what it’s about or anything else. Just watch it. And know that it’s weird, but it’s so original and I was completely hooked.
  • How my Coaching Works: I’ve been meaning to post an FAQ of sorts explaining how my coaching works for a long time, and I finally got around to it this week. If you’re curious, you can read about it here.

How You Can Help

  • Help spread the word about Blue Dot! You can write your own tweet and link to the announcement here or retweet/quote tweet my tweet here. If you're in a private Slack group with founders or climate folks, I'd also appreciate it if you'd be up for sharing the post there.
  • How was this email? What did you like? What should I keep doing? What should I stop doing?

Looking forward to what’s next,
Andy.