My beloved mother died just a few months ago. Mum was my first great mentor, and I make no apologies for being so authentic, raw and transparent in sharing her recent death with you. You see, Mum worked jolly hard her whole life (you may have now guessed I am of British origin). It was a work ethic that was drilled into her from a very early age, and one that she struggled to shake off. From the ‘get go’, I remember her having multiple jobs when my brother and I were small, and while Dad was himself busy working. This pattern continued for the rest of her days, despite not needing to work, and our teary-eyed pleas for her to strike a better ‘balance’. At the tender age of 66, at the very time she planned to start to ‘cash in the chips’ and enjoy her retirement, she well and truly… burnt out. No retirement chips. No cashing in. And no more Susan Shorrock.
In the same year Mum was turning 60, I was approached by Ben, a ‘successful’ entrepreneur by most people’s standards. He approached me asking for deep-mindset coaching. Ben’s problem: he couldn’t close business deals with billionaires (he was absolutely fine closing deals with millionaires… no sweat!). But when it came to business people whose net worth happened to have a few more zeros on the end, he became a nervous, stuttering, jelly-like wreck! Over the years, it was steadily ebbing away at his self-confidence and sense of well-being, and he had started to drink more alcohol and sleep far less. To cut a long story short, what underpinned Ben’s chronic stress were unresolved familial conflicts. He was completely unaware that he was projecting his critical father onto these unsuspecting business folk. Ben was trying his whole life to win his father’s conditional love through his business encounters, and it was only in his 50s that he could now finally break the spell and begin to explore his deeper purpose in life.
Over the past few decades I have trained and qualified in several kindred professions: from counsellor, to a psychotherapist, to a chartered psychologist, to a leadership and mindset coach. I have seen distinct trends and patterns emerge in my time, and have witnessed firsthand how certain groups of people are particularly predisposed to stress, overwhelm and burnout. Typical groups include: leaders, healers, carers (like Mum), and entrepreneurs (like Ben).
As it happens, I ‘turned out’ to become all of the above: a leader, healer, carer and a serial entrepreneur. Needless to say, I know the signs, pitfalls and dangers of burnout intimately, both personally and professionally. For the past decade I have become highly specialised in coaching already ‘successful’ entrepreneurs recover and / or prevent toxic stress, anxiety and burnout, and realign with (or even discover!) their deeper purpose… their ’true north’.
I believe everybody is unique. Period. Everybody’s True North is different. To give you a flavour of what I mean by True North, and to help you deepen your understanding of yours, I warmly invite you undertake the following two challenges.
Before you continue please be aware that both exercises are often very evocative. Memories may bubble to the surface, and insights flash to the fore of your mind. If you give them the quality time and attention they deserve, (i.e. you deserve!) both challenges will certainly help hone you in what is most important to you, and elicit your core values and deeper purpose. As you have been warned, becoming enlightened and attuned to your values and purpose can also be an incredibly powerful emotional process, therefore take care to be gentle with yourself afterwards, and give yourself some time to reflect, recover and reconsolidate.
- I would recommend that you undertake both challenges, and in the following order. Engaging in the second challenge serves to consolidate the insights you will have made in the first challenge, but also capture anything that you may have missed.
- Allow time for both exercises. Ideally 30 – 45 minutes each. Ring-fence that time. Make sure that you are not disturbed. Close down your phone or any distracting apps/tabs / or notifications on your device.
- Expect that writing will feel strange at first and that it may take a few minutes to get into. Allow a stream of consciousness to flow. Let the pen do the talking, so to speak. If you are struggling, write so… e.g., “As I write my mind is blank / I feel numb/emotional”. Stay with the moment, moment by moment. Stay with what is. Own your truth.
Challenge #1: An Encounter with your Future Self
Imagine your 90 year old self has just walked into the room. You’re pleasantly surprised how physically and mentally agile they are! They sit down beside you. The love, recognition and understanding pours from their eyes into yours, like the warmest of hugs. They see deeply into you, and you into them. They are so very proud of the life that you have lived. They thank you for all that you have given them, the decisions you have made and yet to make, the paths you have chosen and yet to tread. They tell you of the successes they have enjoyed, however big or small; but also of the most testing of times, where even during terrific trials and tribulations, you still lived with a sense of vitality and your integrity remained intact. They are utterly contented… at peace. As they thank you for a life richly lived, they summarise the values that guided their decisions, that underpinned their chosen goals.
Which values were most precious to them, most instrumental in living a vital life?
Challenge #2: Your Encounters with Others
The day has come. You have lived your life to the fullest. The dearest people in your life have gathered to pay their respects at your funeral, and celebrate the life you have lived, and the person you were. You have impacted these people in lots of different ways, brought light into their life, enriched their experience of being in the world, sometimes lightly, and sometimes deeply and profoundly. A small group of people step forward, to speak their truth, and share their account of having known you. Maybe this special collective of speakers is a mix of close relatives, a child, a partner, best friend, a mentee, or a mentor. One thing really uniting this group is that they experienced your authenticity, and you impacted them for the better… and permanently. They really knew you.
What are the values that they saw you embodying, that impacted them the most?
Dr. Matt Shorrock is an authentic leadership and success mindset coach.
Over the past 25 years he has also trained and qualified as a psychotherapist and then as a chartered psychologist, which has equipped him with deep skill sets in coaching mastery.
Moving homes and countries several times throughout his life, and now based in Austria, Europe, Dr. Matt has also cultivated the art of entrepreneurialism, and has successfully built businesses and institutes internationally, specialised in developing personal and professional excellence.
In recent years, Dr. Matt has specialised in ‘deep mentoring’ ethically minded, values-driven business leaders and entrepreneurs to substantially grow their businesses and services aligned with their True North, so that they can create significantly more impact, freedom and opportunity for themselves and their clients.