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Dear Friends,

What a week it has been. Nothing terrible happened, just the usual ups and downs of being human — an exciting work lead that fizzled and a backed-up sewer drain on the one hand, and on the other hand, nice walks with my kids and I got my hands on 10 kg of flour thanks to two good friends. The sourdough starter can eat!

I hope your week has had more highs and fewer lows than mine and that you're keeping well. I'd love to hear from you – hit reply, if you like, and let me know the best and worst of the week for you. Or just say hi! (I really miss people.)

The space between things

When you're making music, it's important to make the right sounds at the right pitch for the right amount of time, but it's also really important to be quiet. The spaces between the notes — rests — are as important as the notes themselves; without them, music would be ceaseless, senseless cacophany. Rests provide context, structure, respite, contrast, drama. (I guess you could write a piece of music deliberately to not have any rests, but I feel like that would be exhausting to listen to. Plus at some point the piece would end, and the end would serve as the drama and contrast — my argument stands.)

Spaces are also valuable in coaching. A big, open silence gives a person time to go beyond the first, most obvious thought. Or to come up with something when the first thought is "I dunno". Or to explore feelings that might otherwise be brushed aside or avoided. I don't want to brag (wait, sure I do, this is my newsletter) but quiet is one of my gifts as a coach — I can serve endless attentive silence.

Space comes in other forms than silence. There's buffer time, the space between activities in your day. I'm a huge proponent of buffer time, because I have to be: I don't understand how people schedule things back to back. When do you make tea? When do you go to the bathroom? When do you reflect on your last meeting and prepare for your next? When do you gather your stuff to go out, or put stuff away when you get home? Buffer time is great for all those things, but it's also a good time to catch your breath, stretch your legs, hang out with your dog, look out the window.

Negative space, in visual art, is the shape of the stuff that isn't the subject of the picture. It functions like rests in music, providing definition and context, and also being interesting in its own right.

For me, negative space is created in life by setting aside times to do things. For example, I write this newsletter every other Thursday, and that means that the thirteen days before and after newsletter day are not-newsletter days, so I don't have to write the newsletter. For another example, I make dinner at 5:00. That means that not only do I not spend the other 23 hours of the day making dinner, I don't even think about dinner, and yet I know dinner will be ready every day at around 6:00. Having a fixed time to do something makes the rest of the time a kind of negative space, defined by not being time for that thing.

I find it reassuring to have times and not-times for the tasks I need to do. It frees my mind — it's quite restful.

What's New

I am trying a new thing on LinkedIn I'm calling "Monday Asks", where I post on Monday and literally just ask for stuff. The first couple have received some views but little engagement. People don't want to play my reindeer games. That's okay — I'll try a couple more and see how it goes.

I've been thinking a lot in the last couple of weeks, about how to connect with my audience (tech startups and creative entrepreneurs) and how to clearly and efficiently communicate the value of coaching to them. I am also trying to go where they are, which I think means Twitter, Reddit, and local (online) startup communities and online networking events.

Finally, I'm only ten hours away from being able to apply for ACC, the International Coach Federation's entry-level coach certification. It will be nice to have that validation of the work I've done so far.

Fun and Interesting

  • The brain becomes overwhelmed by unfamiliar excess stimuli while being hyper-focused on searching for non-verbal cues that it can’t find. There has been a lot of talk over the last few years about how remote work and working from home would become the norm. But now that we're all working from home, it turns out it's harder than it seems for most of us. ‘Zoom fatigue’ is taxing the brain. Here's why that happens. []
  • There's usually more than one way to build something you love into a highly successful career. I once told Kelly Diels that I want to be "the Steve Aoki of coaching". What that means is outside the scope of this bullet point, but I thought it was pretty cool to then come across this Inc. article about him. How Focus on a Single Passion Helped Steve Aoki Become a Global Phenomenon []
  • Now that I have 10 kg of flour (and yeast!) I can finally make these cinnamon buns from Bon Appétit. I always enjoyed that filling-y stuff you get in some cinnamon buns, and I'm curious about whether this date goo is the stuff. Sohla makes cinnamon-date sticky buns [YouTube]

Thank you for reading this far!

If you like what you read, hit reply and let me know, or forward it and let someone else know. If you have questions or comments, hit reply and let me know. If you have seen something interesting out there, hit reply and let me know. Are you seeing a trend here? If so... hit reply and let me know! I look forward to hearing from you. ❤️

Amy Rhoda Brown Coaching
Copyright © 2020 Amy Rhoda Brown Coaching, All rights reserved.

I live and work on land which for thousands of years has been part of the traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Haudenosaunee, the Anishinaabe and the Huron-Wendat. Today, this meeting place is still home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island, and I am glad to be able to live and work here.

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