103 episodes

I believe we are each the sole owner of our lives. Are you a true “owner” or an “employee” of your life?



All too often it’s easy to play small and think there’s nothing better. This mindset encourages us to find creative ways to cope and tolerate our circumstances instead of actively looking for ways to find all that is possible, often beyond our wildest dreams.



I believe there’s a better way to live, one where you lead and act as the driver of your life instead of being its passenger. In that spirit, this show covers a variety of topics around the themes of personal ownership, effective personal leadership, productivity, co-active coaching, and being a better human.



Along the way I'll share the things I'm learning myself and through other people as guests.

The John Poelstra Show John Poelstra

    • Business
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I believe we are each the sole owner of our lives. Are you a true “owner” or an “employee” of your life?



All too often it’s easy to play small and think there’s nothing better. This mindset encourages us to find creative ways to cope and tolerate our circumstances instead of actively looking for ways to find all that is possible, often beyond our wildest dreams.



I believe there’s a better way to live, one where you lead and act as the driver of your life instead of being its passenger. In that spirit, this show covers a variety of topics around the themes of personal ownership, effective personal leadership, productivity, co-active coaching, and being a better human.



Along the way I'll share the things I'm learning myself and through other people as guests.

    Decomposition, Fire and Optimism with Issac Roth (103)

    Decomposition, Fire and Optimism with Issac Roth (103)

    Issac Roth and I cover a wide-range of topics linked to our personal lives, our work together at Red Hat and the technology world in general–all sparked by wildfires he almost lost his house to.

    Issac and I go back to the early days of OpenShift at Red Hat. This conversation is not about that though maybe some day we’ll do one. Today I’m sharing a reflective Saturday morning conversation we had in October 2020 about what Issac is seeing in technology and the world around him. It’s an exploration and reflection on what it was like to be five houses away from having his house destroyed by fire and the process he and his family went through to save as much as they could.

    Conversation Highlights



    * John and Issac reconnect after a long while

    * Wildfires in the California were stopped five houses away from Issac’s

    * The world is decomposing and it’s not necessarily a bad thing

    * The internet enables decomposition

    * Decomposition makes space for new things

    * The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More by Chris Anderson

    * The Long Tail is already happening



    * TikTok has millions and millions of videos instead of one movie

    *  Platforms like BandCamp and SoundCloud





    * Finding smaller ways to influence policy and the big divide

    * More choices leads to decomposition which makes way for new things

    * Fire as a good thing



    * Controlled burns

    * Tree species that require fire to germinate seeds





    * Purging old stuff often makes us feel better and creates space

    * Possibility as the opposite of scarcity

    * Empty space and lack of consumption makes room for creativity and possibility

    * Parallels between the startup world and a burned out forest

    * Consciously creating space in the day to have all the time that’s needed

    * Cross pollinating ideas between different communities

    * TikTok as a way to connect and experience people completely different than ourselves

    * New technologies that help us connect were made possible because of decomposition

    * The things that technology enables also comes with tradeoffs



    * Makes privilege gap wider

    * Exchange of personal privacy





    * The systematic process Issac and his partner went through to evacuate their house, save what was most important and say good bye

    * How the process of almost losing his home changed Issac and the parallels he sees to technology and the environment

    * The changing nature of story telling with TikTok and Instagram

    * John’s version of better story telling



    * The meaning and focus we give is a choice

    * Sometimes our thought patterns and beliefs need to be decomposed

    * Setting aside fear and living with uncertainty





    * The practice of creating space to deal with uncertainty

    * Celebrating uncertainty



    * The opposite of fearing what’s around the bend

    * “Showing up to serendipity with preparedness”





    * Is the future brighter than we think as a result of decomposition?

    * Possibility does not negate the things that are hard to be with



    Credits



    * Hallon by Christian Bjoerklund

    * Cold Funk by Kevin MacLeod

    * Original photo source



    All songs licensed under a href="https://creativecommons.

    • 1 hr 19 min
    Questioning Your Answers (102)

    Questioning Your Answers (102)

    I’m back in another conversation with Brad Solomon. Today’s episode is more for the newer coach as we get into the mechanics of effective coaching. If you have a casual interest in coaching or are curious about what makes it it work you may find this episode interesting. And as is usually the case, Brad and I meander into other areas too.

    This conversation is also on YouTube if you prefer to view it there. The visual will explain my reference to lots of books and the virtual background I was using. It was also a fun reference to a previous episode where I referred to reading less books.

     

     

    Conversation Highlights



    * You don’t have to answer every question you are asked



    * Especially when there’s a trap or assumption baked into the question

    * Answer the question you want to





    * Problems with the question, “How does that make you feel?”



    * It feels like therapy

    * It has the implicit assumption that something has the power to make us feel a certain way (instead of having a choice)





    * Thoughts drive feelings, drive actions

    * Trying to listen and formulate a question at the same time just doesn’t work well



    * Listening with your body instead





    * When you are listening deeply it’s often possible to turn the last thing the person said into the next question

    * Over time and through experience you learn to trust your intuition and that in the moment the next thing to say will appear



    * Sometimes the next thing to say is, “I have no idea what to ask you next” and that is completely okay





    * Handling situations where the person you are coaching doesn’t know what to say or how to answer

    * Seeing your intuition like a dashboard light in your car



    * Awareness that the light is on vs. knowing exactly what it means





    * Keep your questions simple and ask one

    * “I’m not here to answer your questions. I’m here to question your answers.”

    * Experiencing the difference between mentoring and coaching

    * Navigating coaching moments that don’t seem to be going well

    * The job of the coach is to help people move forward–different than solving their problem

    * The power of asking permission to speak a “truth”



    Credits



    * Hallon by Christian Bjoerklund

    * Cold Funk by Kevin MacLeod

    * Original photo source



    All songs licensed under Creative Commons

    • 53 min
    What Do You Really Want? (101)

    What Do You Really Want? (101)

    Brad Solomon and I continue our reflections and riffs about what’s present to us. This time it’s about being present, journaling, and the power (and difficulty) of getting clear about what you want.

     

     

    Conversation Highlights



    * My longest answer ever to “how are you doing?”

    * Showing up as the best version of whatever is present

    * My break from the news through Future Self Journaling



    * Learned about it from Carolyn Andrews

    * Weekly newsletter and podcast called The Sunday Soother

    * How talk therapy stopped working for her





    * Brad’s reflection that therapy focuses on the past and coaching focuses on the future–what modality do we have that focuses on the present?

    * Neither of us is missing our break from Twitter and the way it brings us down

    * Learning from animals–how clean their requests are and how easily they let things go

    * “What do you desire?”



    * Often a more powerful self-inquiry than “What do you want?” or “What do you need?”





    * “Reported on world” vs. a “created world”

    * The obligations we find ourselves under often come from our past–woulds, coulds, shoulds, need to, etc.

    * When you are doing something you love you don’t have to push yourself forward

    * What story are you telling yourself?

    * What story do you want to be in?

    * Humans seem to be the only animal that puts barriers in the way of what they want

    * Daily writing exercise about what you want

    * What’s really going on “inside here” instead of “what’s going on outside there?”

    * You can’t figure out what you want if you aren’t completely honest with yourself

    * Write down what you want



    * For extra power and clarity read it out loud







    More Episodes Exploring What You Want



    * What Do You Want? (21)

    * Figuring Out What You Want with Tina Robinson (56)



    Credits



    * Hallon by Christian Bjoerklund

    * Cold Funk by Kevin MacLeod

    * Original photo source



    All songs licensed under Creative Commons

    • 1 hr 6 min
    Your Four-Year-Old Self (100)

    Your Four-Year-Old Self (100)

    Brad Solomon and I set off on another unplanned exploration into what’s present to us in the moment, including sharing childhood pictures of ourselves.

    This is a rebroadcast of a conversation I had with Brad Solomon, Founder and CEO of the CTG Group in the UK on his podcast called The Lockdown Sessions.

    The Lockdown Sessions is a weekly podcast, hosted by Brad that explores reflections on a broad range of topics including self awareness, self management, learning and development issues and personal growth.

    For this conversation there is also a video on Youtube.  If that’s your jam and if you want to see what I looked like when I was four years-old (and many years later in present times) you can see it there.

    We keep coming back to The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz, but this episode is definitely lighter on the book references the our previous conversation.

    Conversation Highlights



    * Coaching from an un-nuanced and unfiltered place

    * Our word creates–what are you creating with it?

    * Is being late to meetings your “brand?”

    * Being impeccable with our word or cleaning it up

    * We cannot bring meaning to a situation for another person (only they can)



    * Even though we think we can

    * Even though we try





    * Do you re-play and re-create conversations in your head? How does it benefit you?

    * Changing situations by how you are being and who you bring to the conversation versus saying the perfect thing you figured out from a past interaction

    * Brad likes to ask



    * What did I want to happen?



    * Can I envision it?

    * Do I have clarity of the purpose?





    * How did I get in the way?



    * Owning my role in the conversation









    * How we get in our own way

    * Embracing our inner 4-year-old

    * Seeing the 4-year-old in others as a way of connection and compassion

    * Ways of asking permission to say hard things and designing agreements

    * Listening to our intuition



    * Saying it out loud even if we aren’t sure

    * Unattached to interpreting it correctly

    * Cleaning up what doesn’t work





    * John wonders when the “lock down sessions” will end and the “freedom sessions” will begin



    Credits



    * Hallon by Christian Bjoerklund

    * Cold Funk by Kevin MacLeod



    All songs licensed under Creative Commons

    • 50 min
    Exploring The Coaching Habit with Ken Dreyer (99)

    Exploring The Coaching Habit with Ken Dreyer (99)

    Ken Dreyer and I discuss The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever by Michael Bungay Stanier. Our conversation evaluates the book and examines Ken’s experiences putting it to work. Ken is not a coach. My hope is that this conversation shows how simple coaching techniques can help you be a better leader no matter what your role is.

    Conversation Highlights



    * You don’t have to be an official coach to benefit from the concepts in this book

    * Ken would re-title the book “How to ask good questions”

    * When you give advice over and over again you become the team oracle

    * The book lists seven good questions to ask and examines how each one helps



    * They aren’t meant to be a formula

    * You must build rapport–you can’t just ask the questions and be effective





    * How many times do you just provide the answer?

    * The power and effectiveness of silence

    * Taking notes on interactions at meetings



    * Increases engagement

    * Evaluate what’s going on for yourself

    * Privately vent if it’s not going well

    * Ask yourself questions privately that might change the situation or unlock how you can help





    * The valuable dimensions of asking one question (and closing your mouth)

    * Understanding and avoiding the Karpman Drama Triangle



    * Hero

    * Villain

    * Victim





    * Jim Dethmer elaborates on the Karpman Drama Triangle in this podcast https://fs.blog/jim-dethmer/

    * Where the questions from The Coaching Habit fit (and where they don’t) and how you might decide

    * Thinking like an Intreprenuer

    * Where it makes sense to give advice

    * Joint participation in solving the problem vs. taking the whole thing on

    * How to help someone who is in a constant state of “I don’t know”



    * A great article by Rick Tamlyn on “I don’t know” (not mentioned and found after we recorded)





    * Steve Chandler: Agreements vs. Expectations (a game changer in any relationship)

    * If you are in a mentor role, consider how coaching (not giving advice) might create a more powerful outcome



    Credits



    * Hallon by Christian Bjoerklund

    * Cold Funk by Kevin MacLeod



    All songs licensed under Creative Commons

    • 47 min
    Full Catastrophe Living and a Shelf Full of Books (98)

    Full Catastrophe Living and a Shelf Full of Books (98)

    Brad Solomon and I talk about all the books we’ve started and not finished, what the full catastrophe of life is and how implementing what you know is more powerful than continuing to acquire more knowledge.

    This is a rebroadcast of a conversation I had with Brad Solomon, Founder and CEO of the CTG Group in the UK on his podcast called The Lockdown Sessions. The Lockdown Sessions is a weekly podcast, hosted by Brad that explores reflections on a broad range of topics including self awareness, self management, learning and development issues and personal growth.

    Conversation Highlights



    * Full Catastrophe Living

    * How many books do you have on your shelf that you have not finished?

    * Are you reading a book simply to complete it?

    * What if you worked from a very small list of books and implemented everything in those books?

    * Brad likes getabstract.com for short summaries of important books

    * The Four Agreements



    * Being impeccable with our word

    * Not taking things personally

    * Brad believes this is THE best personal development book ever written and the one he recommends the most





    * Creating with our Word

    * Our experience “pulling cards” and the uncanny truth we’ve found in them

    * Trusting our own inner-knowing (what we already know) and how coaching turns the volume up on that



    * Creating the space to help people truly find and determine their own path





    * Brad pushes me on how I really know when to pick up a book or not

    * Asking the moment what it needs and often waiting for the next one

    * What if the solution to your next problem came from sitting in a room by yourself uninterrupted for 30 minutes with a piece of paper and a pen?

    * Does everyone need a coach?

    * Brad believes everyone could do with a little therapy

    * Brad’s observations in his current work as a therapist with children and teens

    * The first things to come out of our mouth are usually not the most important which makes “What else?” such a powerful question

    * Reading books and collecting ideas from everywhere except inside ourselves stops us from having our own thinking and innovation



    Books Mentioned

    Yes, the irony is not lost on me that I’ve included quite a list of books from our conversation and I advocate reading less (and implementing more).



    * Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness by Jon Kabat-Zinn

    * Straight-Line Leadership: Tools for Living with Velocity and Power in Turbulent Times by Dusan Djukich

    * Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell by Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg, and Alan Eagle



    * Podcast interview with Eric Schmidt by Tim Ferriss about the book





    * Reboot: Leadership and the Art of Growing Up by Jerry Colonna



    * Podcast discussion: Jerry Colonna  and Tim Ferriss

    * Podcast discussion: a href="https://onbeing.

    • 45 min

Customer Reviews

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Ryan L Hamilton ,

Thanks Jon! Great, actionable material.

Really enjoy the podcast. Like the combo of interviews and other thoughts. Keep it up!

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