The “Drifting” vs. “Making-shit-happen” spectrum

I wrote this one as an introduction to the buffet of these Nuggets I send out monthly(-or-so) as a summary for those who, like me, unsubscribe to any newsletter that comes in weekly or daily, regardless of how good it is. After I finished, I figured it makes for a good standalone Nugget too, so here you go!

My introductions to these monthly emails tend to be a bit more personal, so if you feel like you’re missing out, feel free to sign up to that list (too). So without further ado, here are some reflection triggered by my (not-so-recent) birthday:


Shit, I’m 40!

I don’t feel 40. But when I look at the circumstances of my life… yeah that definitely checks out.

Weird, that. But I’m sure a lot of you will resonate with that experience (regardless of the number). So I guess that makes it not-that-weird-really.

So here I am, a bit too “busy” for my own liking, but with heaps of meaning on my path.

I did that! And also: I did that to myself (depending on how I look at it, which depends on what day it is).

Round birthdays, just like any reminders of time-passing, are a wonderful invitation to reflect. And as you can tell by not having heard from me since June (my birthday was in late July), there’s not been too much time to reflect and write about it, recently.

Again, I did that to myself, but I also consciously choose to have in my life what I have in my life, so I’m owning it, the good and the… challenging.

It wasn’t always like that. I used to just drift through life, saying yes or no to opportunities that floated by, and never really owning where I’ve gotten to, but always somehow at peace with whatever happened. I didn’t set out to do anything in particular, so it was easy to accept what happened. I remember waking up in my mid/late 20s and deciding in that moment whether I would do any work that day…

It’s a very different life now. I made a lot of things happen, and they are very good things indeed, mostly. But it’s not a better life, necessarily. I still appreciate “drifters”, and sometimes I think back fondly to the days where I had all this “freedom”… followed by deep gratitude for what I’ve actively created, and willed into existence.

I really don’t think there are better or worse ways to “do life” when it comes to the spectrum between drifting and actively-making-shit-happen. Around 10 years ago, I decided to make more choices, and to bear the weight of the responsibility they opened, and I only occasionally look back.

That’s the thing with choices: You can’t go back in time and choose differently, ever. So what’s left than to own them?! And we can only really own them when they’ve been made consciously and knowing what’s at stake.

I didn’t plan to arrive here when I started writing, but my own coaching played a huge role in owning those decision, and to be able to be at peace with them to the extent that I am now – as full as most of my days may be, and as much as I dislike that sometimes. I know I could choose a different, less full-on life going forward, and I’m deeply grateful for that awareness. But I don’t think I’d be teaching at Cambridge, giving key notes at conferences and, frankly, having SUCH an amazing wife and daughter, if I had continued drifting like I did…

Though the truth is: I’ll never know. Nobody will. That’s part of the human condition.


New content: Positive Psychology Symposium @ECPP2022, Reykjavik.


I’ve still got all this content sitting in my drive and a question from one of the Cambridge students last week reminded and motivated me to make this one available, finally. It was a milestone in my career to bring these powerhouses of positive psychology coaching together for a panel discussion, in front of a large room full of positive psychology researchers and practitioners at last year’s European Congress on Positive Psychology in Iceland. It’s a little niche and nerdy, but if you’re a coach and reflective on your approach, and you care about your field, then I think there’s something in this for you.

You can watch my talk here, and the full symposium (including the panel discussion) here.


Next event: Coaching Self Doubt with Olivia D’Silva


I’m happy to welcome Olivia D’Silva to the Lab. Olivia spend years exploring the benefits and pitfalls of self-doubt. After recently consulting her on her research into the subject and learning about her coaching methodology to “welcome self-doubt”, I got curious to see this work in action. So here we are!

More info and tickets via