The Courage to Be


July 11, 2019

Welcome to the Courage to Be podcast 

Introduction - a conversation with Elizabeth Cairns

Introduction - a conversation with Elizabeth Cairns

July 19, 2019

Well here it is, launch day! In this episode I speak with the fabulous Elizabeth Cairns on the Courage to Be concept and what it means for me. 

I had originally planned on recording a solo episode, but in the true spirit of "The Courage to Be" I decided to show up script-free and single :) 

I have definitely had to embody the Courage to Be concept in launching this podcast  - a novice to the podcasting world I've had to lean and move through much resistance, self-doubt, discomfort and more - but already I know it has been worth it. 

I don't think that one introductory episode alone can really capture the essence of the "Courage to Be" but I think today's interviews from two high performing individuals will help us all see what's possible when we step beyond your comfort zone, lean into discomfort and fully embrace a life aligned with our values.

Please do subscribe on your favourite podcast app - and even better, leave a review, I would love to hear your feedback. 

Pat Lam - Director of Rugby at Bristol Bears

Pat Lam - Director of Rugby at Bristol Bears

July 19, 2019

My first guest on the Courage to Be podcast is Pat Lam - Director of Rugby for the Bristol Bears.

A Samoan international during his playing days, Pat won the 1997-98 Premiership with Newcastle Falcons and the 2000 Heineken Cup as captain of Northampton Saints. He spent five years as head coach of Auckland and four years as Head Coach of Blues Super Rugby. 

While Pat's background is in professional rugby, he offers up some valuable insights for leaders of all industries, as well individuals who are passionate about improving their performance and raising their game. 

It doesn't take long in Pat's company to see how much his previous calling as school teacher has influenced his current career and success within professional rugby - a natural contributor and leader. 

Some key take-aways from the interview:

  • Pat was brought up in New Zealand and sport has always been a big part of his life - "realising that self-esteem is built from when you're successful at things" Pat got a lot of his recognition and self-esteem through sport. 
  • Pat has grabbed hold of John Wooden's philosophy "success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable". 
    • Allowing others to determine our success is risky, instead we must establish our own yardstick for success - internal validation is key.
    • "I got away from outcome focus and really started to talk about process and what I can control and what I can do as a person, as a player and certainly as a coach and partner".
  • Pat asks himself these two questions in everything he does "what have I done well and what can I do better?"
  • Good times will never change your character. 
  • Life will keep throwing us similar challenges until we learn from them. 
  • Tough times can be painful but if we can see the opportunity for growth in every situation it enables us to accept or move through that pain more easily. 
  • Sport can conjure up the most unlikely of fairytales and Pat certainly has one to tell...
    • In 2012, after 4 years in Super Rugby, Pat was sacked as head coach of the Blues in his home town of Auckland. 
    • Getting sacked from Auckland was a major marker of growth for Pat  - he got to join some of the coaches he aspired to be because all of them have lost their jobs at some stage.
    • This was the year that Pat made the biggest growth as a coach and the year that gave him absolute clarity for moving forward driving his new philosophy based around clarity of vision, leadership and culture - three pillars which played a huge role in Pat success with Connaught Rugby when he joined the club in 2013 
    • Pat quickly rebuilt his reputation by taking charge of Ireland's traditional underdog battlers.
    • Connaught became Pro12 champions to secure their first major trophy for 112 years.
    • Whenever Pat is approached about a job, his first question is "what the vision is" as this is the foundation from which Pat operates.
  • Pat's equation that works in sport or business:
    • the vision drives the leadership - leadership drives the culture - culture drives the performance. 
  • Before signing players Pat looks not only at their rugby ability but their character, their coach-ability and their hunger to succeed based on a dream. It has to be more than a job and this outlook is relevant across all industries.  
  • The most difficult part of the job is moving people on and player selection, but all of these decisions are made easier when linked by to the vision - it is not personal - the focus is performance. 
  • Pat places a huge emphasis on relationships - genuine relationship building forms the foundation of any team - not just sports teams.
    • It underpins a players capacity to perform on the field under pressure as well as their willingness to engage in the decision making process and their capacity to solicit feedback. 
  • Pat talks to the strategies he uses to facilitate feedback and to help players have a voice - for example allowing the larger group to break away into smaller groups as people are more likely to share a "group opinion" than an individual opinion. 
  • Stepping in to "do the right thing" could have a big impact on someone lives.
  • A big turning point for Pat was "having that courage of accepting who I am, and knowing that I am someone who can make a positive difference".
  • Only 8% of what we worry about comes true.
  • Pat advice is "you are special - there is no one else out there like you".
  • Pat shares an interesting exercise on "focus"  - explaining that what we focus on has a profound effect on how we show up: 
    • When you focus on negative comments you can't achieve and you can't move forward
    •  Focus on the people that love and support - this is the energy that's needed to move us forward and drive performance. 
  • There's enough negativity out there  - you can't change that but you can change what you focus on. 

I do hope enjoy this conversation as much as I did. 

Please do subscribe, then rate and review on your favourite podcast app.

Xanthe Berkeley - Film & Photography

Xanthe Berkeley - Film & Photography

July 19, 2019

Today's guest is Xanthe Berkeley, a photographer, film maker, stop motion artist and visual story-teller.  

From her beginnings in lifestyle portrait photography for families and women, to guiding and inspiring others to start making their own films, through her workshops and online film courses. Xanthe has worked with many leading UK brands, such as Boden, Cath Kidston, The White Company, Twinings, Penguin Books, Warner Music, Etsy UK to name just a few – creating films, stop motions and photos to be shared across their social media channels. 

In today's conversation, we get straight to the crux of the Courage to Be and what that means to Xanthe. We hear how Xanthe, despite her success as a creative, still struggles with resistance and self-doubt but see these as merely part of the process and shares ways in which she moves through them. 

Some key take-aways: 

  • Being brave is a big part of being a creative. 
  • You can have talent or skill but you have to be brave enough to share it with people, to experiment, to play and to try things out.
  • With more experience comes more bravery.
  • You now have evidence to show you that last time you left your comfort zone the rewards followed. You can begin to see the link between courage and reward. 
  • One of her skills has been her capacity to move through resistance.
  • "Even when your head is telling you that you're not good enough" you've got to move through it.
  • The "who am I not to have a go" mindset has definitely worked for Xanthe. 
  • Xanthe draws on Ira Glass both in her own work and in her teachings to hundreds of students around the world: 
    • “Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this."
  • When you first start out you know that what you're doing is not as good as what you see out there (be that on on Pinterest, instagram etc) but that doesn't mean you stop, you have to use that as an incentive to get better and to keep practicing and keep trying.
  • You can’t expect to be brilliant straight away, it's about putting the work in....
    • “Keep going, keep creating, keep doing and keep practicing..."
  • For creatives who want to go from part-time creative work to full-time - it is simple - "keep doing the work".
  • Create don’t wait. Start doing the work you want to do today. Don’t wait for an email from that ideal client.
    • Xanthe shares a great story of this as it relates to her work with leading UK brand Boden.
  • Test and learn is key, let things grow organically through play and experiment.
  • She now trusts that things will work out - the evidence has shown her that she always finds a way. 
  • "I wish someone told me resistance and self doubt are never going to away!" 
  • However, self-doubt and resistance are just thoughts and you can push them aside. 
  • Try it ,give it a go, believe in yourself and know that the self doubt is there but don't let it stop you. 
  • We are always working towards getting better   - "when I look at some of the first films that I made I think oh my goodness they are a disaster but at the time they were good enough".
  • Xanthe talks to the natural ebb and flow of being a creative and shares her experience of launching an e-course that didn’t take off, explaining how awful it felt at the time but how it was really just another contributor of her growth today.
  • "Not everything works, you can't be a creative and be a human and everything you do is amazing. You need the little failures to make you human"

I do hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did, what a inspirational, colourful, humble human - thank you Xanthe x  

You’ll find Xanthe on or follow her on instragram for daily inspiration,  fun and colour

Please do subscribe on your favourite podcast app - and even better, leave a review, I would love to hear your feedback. 

Oh and, we recommended and referenced the wonderful Steven Pressfield, check out his books



Michael Serwa - The UK’s Highest Paid Life Coach

Michael Serwa - The UK’s Highest Paid Life Coach

August 2, 2019

Michael is on a lifelong mission to bring personal coaching to the awareness of as many people as possible. Over the last eights years, he has worked with around 400 men and women on a one-to-one basis.

Michael has been interviewed on a number of TV channels, including the BBC and Sky News, and featured on Eamonn & Ruth: How The Other Half Lives and Made in Chelsea.  He's also been interviewed and written articles in magazines such as Forbes, GQ, The Observer, The Times, The Telegraph, Evening Standard, Metro, City Matters , H Edition, Square Mile, Mayfair Magazine , Spear’s , City A.M., Arabian Business Magazine, Portfolio Magazine, Luxury Lifestyle Magazine, and High Living.

Michael is in The Coaching Movie – the world’s first full-length coaching documentary featuring the likes of Jack Canfield, John Demartini and John Gray.

But why I really want to speak to Michael today is becuase I see in Michael someone who embodies the Courage to Be, someone who is dedicated to performing over conforming and someone who exudes moral courage

Michael was my first coach and he was was instrumental in giving me the moral courage I needed to act. I often look back at the period of time and surprise myself by my courage. To move into this next phase, to have the courage to act before I felt ready, to face the discomfort that came with my decision to become a coach, was so much easier with Michael Serwa as my coach. 

I am not the only one to be fascinated by the candor and the approach of Michael.

He is a standout character in his field.

Some key highlights 

  • "There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance and I know I very much operate on that line."
  • After a year and a half of coaching full-time Michael had an a-ha moment when he realised he was playing it too safe - no one criticised him.
  • From here, Michael became the No Bullshit Coach that he is known for today.
  • Michael didn’t become someone he wasn’t, rather he allowed his personality to come through in his coaching.
  • If you create a personal brand that is clever, but not who you are at the core, it will likely fail - the market is smart.
  • Michael always wanted to standout, be different and aim for greatness....“when you look at greatness in any line of work, in any industry in any field you don’t get there by being like everyone else”.
  • Michael shares a story about being a “failed jazz trumpet player”, when he discovered he could never be the best in the world he moved onto his next obsession.
  • Michael is obsessed with what he does and tends to only work with clients who are obsessed too "in life we don’t attract what we want we attract what we are".
  • He expects his clients to be motivated, it is not within his interest to turn lazy people into motivated people.
  • Michael talks to the Courage to Be: @19:00 and shares that matter how successful his clients are they still worry about what others are thinking about them. 
  • In fact, Michael still cares about what people think, but the difference is he doesn’t care enough to "edit" his behaviour.
  • I am no longer going to be someone I am not just to please other people - a turning point Michael had at the age of 32
  • "When I find myself being criticised I remind myself that both Jesus and Gandhi had critics... as nice as I think I am, I think we all agree that Jesus and Gandhi were nicer."
  • No matter what you do and who you are, there will be someone who has problem with you. 
  • Michael refers to it as "'liberating" when we let go of our need to be liked. 
  • When we live a life on our terms, in line with our own values, we connect with the right people, drawing on Kurt Cobain — 'I'd rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not.'
  • "Of course, I want people to like me, but I don’t NEED it". The problem is if you NEED it - if you need that external validation.
  • Michael tells his clients that if they feel so good about themselves they won't need that external validation.
  • I don’t think I am better than anyone, but I certainly don’t think anyone is better than me
  • I don’t give you the power to offend me
  • "I decide on my value, not you." 


 - this episode occasionally contains bad language. 

This interview was conducted online therefore there are a few quality issues. I do hope this doesn't take from your listening experience as Michael insights are everything I could hope to share with you on the Courage to Be theme. 

You can find Michael on

Please do subscribe on your favourite podcast app - and even better, leave a review, I would love to hear your feedback. 

The Courage to Unmask

The Courage to Unmask

August 2, 2019

Social stability comes at the prize of wearing a mask, of learning to distance ourselves from our unique nature, from our personal desires, needs and feelings, instead, we embrace a socially acceptable self. [Reinventing Organisations]

We all wear a mask, sometimes more than one. 

What is a mask?

Not showing up in our own skin, fitting in and conforming , afraid to speak up.  

How do you know if you're wearing a man?

Lots of different signals, some examples are: low energy, worrying, excessive questioning of yourself, dis-engaged, physical stress/pain, unfulfilled. 

Think about a particular area of your life where you might be wearing a mask (at work, at home, a particular relationship....

What is the tiniest form of action you could take today to start to dissolve this mask?

The goal of unmasking is not to seek validation from others, the reward is in the practice itself.

There are so many benefits to being who it is we are, being authentic, living a life on our terms, on our values.  We connect with the the right people, the right work. We develop a natural sense of self-esteem and confidence because we recognise that we respect ourselves enough to be who it is we are. 

The quote at the beginning of the podcast was taken from a book called Reinventing Organisations


Please do subscribe on your favourite podcast app - and even better, leave a review, I would love to hear your feedback. 














Seeking Approval

Seeking Approval

August 7, 2019

We all seek the approval from others to some extent. It is human nature, we all want to be liked, to be accepted, to be approved. 

However, when our need to seek approval, to be liked, to be validated by others is greater than our need to live a life according to our own personal values and desire, it can really take from our lives. 



The Courage to Act

The Courage to Act

August 14, 2019

"If you don’t act on what you know, you will not get all that is potentially yours. Life rewards action it’s just the way it works." (John Maxwell) 


John recommends that you ask yourself this question if contemplating a particular action: 

"Am I not taking action because it's not good for the situation or am I not taking action because it's not comfortable?"


Have there been opportunities you have missed because you haven’t acted on time? 


The Law of Diminishing Intent, a concept originated by Jim Rohn, says

“The longer you wait to do something you should do now, the greater the odds that you will never actually do it.”


Seldom do we act too quickly - generally speaking we are looking to increase or bias for action. 


There can be a misconception that you will "feel ready" to act however you won't always feel ready. Very often, the feeling follows the action. 


Steven Pressfields captured this nicely when he said  "start before you're ready". 


The power of action is something that I have experienced firsthand and I have had the pleasure of seeing it benefit my clients. I share with you a personal example of "starting before I felt ready". 


Timing and Intuition are key when it comes to knowing when to act. Great leaders master these two things. 


Is there something that you are contemplating, is there an action you've been pushing into the future? Are you waiting to feel ready? Are you over-preparing, over-thinking? What is the tiniest for of action you can take today to get started and begin to play with the power of action in your life? 


Links: Maxwell. 


If you enjoyed this episode, please do subscribe on your favourite podcast app - and even better, leave a review, I would love to hear your feedback.


As always, thanks for listening.  


Rebecca Morley - Executive Coach & Leadership Development Specialist

Rebecca Morley - Executive Coach & Leadership Development Specialist

August 16, 2019

In today's interview I speak with fellow coach, ex-colleague and friend Rebecca Morley, an award winning executive coach and mentor, working with senior leaders and business owners.

After 12 years in corporate Rebecca decided to leave her very successful and safe career to pursue her own venture. 

Rebecca shares with us some of the more challenging aspects of her transition from corporate to coaching, in a way that speaks to the heart of Rebecca's way of being, straight-talking, humorous and humble. 

Despite having achieved incredible success within the corporate world, Rebecca came up against a whole new set of challenges in launching her own business. 

A naturally competitive individual, she wanted to succeed quickly and found herself dealing with imposter syndrome and a lack of confidence. 

This is a story of courage, to leave a very safe and successful career, to step back and take time redefine what success would mean to Rebecca in this new phase of her life. 


If you enjoyed this episode, please do subscribe on your favourite podcast app - and even better, leave a review, I would love to hear your feedback.


As always, thanks for listening.  


A Spotlight on Judgement

A Spotlight on Judgement

August 21, 2019

In today's episode I am discussing Judgement, a particular kind of judgement. Judgement towards people out there who are doing very meaningful work, making a positive difference in the lives of many people. 


Let's get selective about what we engage with, the content we consume, the conversations we have - it all impacts how we show up in the world. If we are swimming in a sea of judgement then perhaps taking action, being vulnerable, trying new things will be more challenging. 

If you enjoyed this episode, please do subscribe on your favourite podcast app - and even better, leave a review, I would love to hear your feedback.


As always, thanks for listening.  






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