A World Apart – The Journey to… by Anne Welsh (guest)

First published December 16th and 17th, 2017 on LinkedIn

First published December 16th and 17th, 2017 on LinkedIn

An invitation to make a journey

I’m fastening my bootlaces and preparing to travel.  I want to provide a bit of perspective to this journey in such a way that my words will resonate for others – to find the courage to live ‘A World Apart’.

Currently, I live a lot of my life in the corporate world of business, before this I lived a huge part of my life in the academic world and before that in the creative world of parenting, yet wherever I have lived a part of me was - and is - in ‘A World Apart’.

This is a world apart that we do not allow others to see. 

Sometimes we put on masks and find ways and behaviours to conceal our vulnerable experiences, creating camouflage and a façade and it can be within this smokescreen that we lose touch with our authentic selves.

Assagioli’s work, in relation to the journey towards synthesis and wholeness, offers a vital component to enhance the journey I am inviting you to make.  In order to live a wholehearted life, we need to include all of who we are. We need to come in to relationship with the areas of shame, vulnerability, fear and doubt – areas of ourselves that are so often concealed - and bring these into a synthesis with

  • our inner courage,

  • compassion,

  • love,

  • empathy, and

  • joy.

We need to stop listening and looking for validation externally and begin the journey of self-validation and own our deep worthiness – the internal and introspective journey.  We need to begin to know that we are enough.

To accomplish this, we need to find courage to embark on a transformational journey and we need to prepare.  We have an idea that maybe we are going to climb a mountain, so, metaphorically, we are going to need strong walking boots with our laces firmly fastened in order to commence.

Within the corporate world there is an ongoing search for people to be innovative, to perform, to accomplish and to trust. Firstly, we need to trust ourselves at the level of our being.

Maybe this is not going to be an easy climb, especially if we have only learned to trust our doing! By only focussing on our ‘doing’ we have selected a journey to possible burnout and the loss of purposeful and a meaningful existence. However, when company executives find the courage to recognise and trust their own ‘being’, performance can be enhanced.  There will be a prospect for a fully engaged, innovative and motivated workforce. People will be aligned with their personal and professional values and this will enable them to fully live and love their lives.

So ….. first step, find the boots, buy the laces and learn how you want to tie them.

The bootlaces are tied and the boots are polished.

Facilitating a 3-day training for GlaxoSmithKline in the ‘Skill and the Art of Coaching’.
November 20th, 2017.  Off on another journey this time to Manila in the Philippines.

The beginning of any training in coaching is always very important to me.

I know there is often a reason beyond the rationale as to why the participants are choosing to embark on the journey to become a Job-Plus coach.

At the beginning of the training I always ask each of the participants to introduce themselves and I include the question: ‘Why are you here’?  This question opens up bigger existential questions including: ‘Why are we all here’?

At the initial training stage, this subject matter does not need further investigative depth, but usually by the end of the 3-day training, the participants understand more clearly why they have begun this journey into becoming a Job-Plus coach.  What was unconscious to them may now have become more conscious.

Why they are here

It could be that they are there in service of GSK who are their sponsors.  The participants are there to learn skills to support other employees across the GSK global network using an in-house coaching approach to become the ‘Best they can be’.  The training also establishes a way for people to re-connect to purpose within their lives.

Connecting to this purpose may be beyond the norms and is often a very powerful connecting force which enables participants to relate to their values more fully and attach to what is meaningful for them.  It is through these associations that participants find the will to be more motivated, engaged and focused in their roles at work and also within their lives.

What is often a surprising concept is recognising: “before I can help others, I have to help myself”.  The individuals firstly need to develop self-awareness and identify what they need personally is to become the ‘Best they can be’ for themselves.

A part of this journey will entail having the courage to enter ‘A World Apart’.

‘A World Apart’ from their normal corporate lives, even a world apart from their family lives.

This particular journey does not involve going to another part of the world ……… it involves a far deeper, often more profound travelling for it is really the only journey ……. the journey back to themselves.

Journeying back to self

What do I mean by this statement…?

I am referring to the journey back to ourselves…..in the language of psychosynthesis this is the journey back to Self.

Connecting to Self is not a self-centred naval gazing stance.  It is an important part of the journey to self-actualisation.  The other important aspect to this exploration is relational.  As we connect to Self at a personal level, so too do we connect to the Universal Self - to realise the inter-connectedness of everything and everyone. Recognition of the Universal Self is what enables us to link and have empathy for all humanity.

You may ask yourself – “Why in the world of business, would I take this journey?”

For some individuals, they do not experience any other choice than to make the journey.  They just know that there is something they are seeking.  Sometimes, there can be a sense of something missing, a lack of purpose and meaning may enter.  Their lives, although ‘successful’, may begin to feel arid. At first, they may put off the journey. They may look for (and locate) a new job; a new partner; a new car; a new location.  Any of these distractions may work for a while, however, when there is a call to “wake up and move” then the uncomfortable barren feeling’s inevitably return. These difficult feelings are not always easy for the individual to manage or understand – nor too for those people involved with them. Such feelings of emptiness and purposeless direction can lead to a crisis of identity and meaning.

However, if this crisis can be reframed as an important opportunity, then a new approach may be contemplated and can be understood as ‘A call to awaken’. To awaken to what is important now.

Other individuals follow a different path and may have a need to look at themselves in greater depth through a desire to make a difference in the world or to become a good leader.

To lead others in today’s world or to train to be a coach takes a level of courage in order to look at what is stopping us ‘being the best we can be’.  To be an effective leader or to work with others as a coach demands a certain level of self-awareness.  Leading and/or coaching requires a reflective and introspective approach, examining our beliefs, mind sets and identifications that we live from.  These belief systems may get in the way of how we see ourselves, others and the world.

Sometimes mind sets and beliefs can become outdated.  They may be getting in the way of an individual reaching their full potential and self-actualisation.  When we work on challenging these beliefs and mind sets it often generates the question: ‘Who Am I’? Once this question is asked then often we extend our thoughts and our questions can become more demanding. This can mean that a transformational journey is beginning and these questions are asked – ‘Who am I?’  ‘Why am I here?’  ‘What is my life about?’ These are the questions call to make an inner journey. Externally, everything may appear to continue and present in a regular way. However, the inner journey evokes a new and often different sort of landscape.  This journey is the voyage to ‘A World Apart’.

On this journey, there may be metaphorical meadows to rest in and to enjoy.  There are also likely to be encounters with deep valleys and ravines, often filled with daunting and formidable challenges.  Often, our belief systems and mind sets have helped us to avoid these darker places that have been maintained in the shadows of our world.

There will also be prospective high peaks calling us.  At times, these elevations may feel too steep to ascend and often beyond our reach.  It is during these phases where enthusiasm, preparation and planning, and a crucial connection to will are vital. So, you need to be willing to, once again, clean your boots and fasten your laces in preparation for the ascent of the mountains.

The ‘mountain peak’ offers bounty and rich inner treasures, especially as the summit is reached.  But even after we have reached the top we must continue with the internal work to bring further insights, deeper learnings to broaden our experiences and enrich the meadow areas of our lives.

During our journey, we are often touched by the higher qualities of our vision, becoming enthusiastic about a desire to bring spirit into matter and translating this essence from spirit to form.  The inner journey encourages a focus to find an appropriate form for and within our lives.

We have different ways to self-actualisation. Some choose to self-actualise through work and if work is our context the it is important that we are engaged in meaningful work.

Meaningful work can take on different forms and be different for everyone:

  • It could be meaningful to find food and shelter for our families

  • It could be meaningful to work for a company which shares our personal values

  • It could be meaningful to be able to appreciate our role within the bigger picture of life itself

  • It could be meaningful to feel we can make a difference by continually attempting to self-develop

  • It could be meaningful to hold a vision and recognise that ‘Everyone Matters’ and has something to offer life

So where and how do we begin this journey? Maybe we first need to find courage. Then begin to address and explore ‘Who I am not’ ………..

You could start by considering which of your many identities with all the beliefs and mind sets attached to them have supported you well but are now becoming outdated.

The conscious journey into a ‘World Apart’ can be the most rewarding thing you will ever do in your life.

So once again, I invite you to join me on a journey.


To connect with Anne Welsh via Linkedin


Anne Welsh MA, is the founding director of Synthesis in the City and brings a wealth of life experience to her leadership work. Anne is an APECS accredited executive coach and coach supervisor; a trainer; supervisor; mentor and group facilitator. Anne is also a UKCP accredited psychotherapist with over twenty-five years of experience working with adults individually and in groups.

 Anne works globally with a diverse range of organisations in her capacity as a consultant, facilitator and leadership coach, including Glaxo Smith Kline and Investec.


Further Reading and References

To add further context, Roberto Assagioli is the founder of the psychological movement of Psychosynthesis.  Brené Brown is an American research professor based in Houston, who has become a part of our mainstream culture as an educator, writer and business leader, her research has focused on authentic leadership and wholeheartedness. However, what she speaks about in this talk is shame and vulnerability, feelings of unworthiness and inadequacy. Such feelings and experiences are often pushed away to a ‘World Apart’.

Roberto Assagioli, an Interview - https://youtu.be/e9rVWAxE2hQ

Brené Brown, The Power of Vulnerability - https://youtu.be/iCvmsMzlF7o

Brené Brown, Website - https://brenebrown.com/

Institute of Psychosynthesis, Website - https://www.psychosynthesis.org/

GlaxoSmithKline, Website - http://www.gsk.com/

A Sense of Wonder’ by Deirdrik Von Rossum who is the founder and director of the Dutch Institute of Psychosynthesis. Dutch Psychosynthesis site - http://www.psychosynthese.nl/