From Above




I’ve developed a couple of pretty cool new habits of late.

The first one is all about PIES. And no, I’m not talking about the delicious, savoury pepper steak awesomeness of Oude Meul, Peregrine, or Houwhoek (the debate of who is best rages on). I’m talking about a check-in tool with people that are important to you but you don’t see often.

My mate Clive introduced me to this. So you have made a conscious effort to have coffee/lunch/activity catch up with someone that you value, and you are interested – really interested – in how they’ve been doing. So before you jump into the chaos of the conversation catchup, you do this:


First, check in on PHYSICAL. I’m feeling good, weight is coming down, the scar on my face is healing nicely, took up jogging again, shook off a bad flu just recently, etc. Then bounce. The other person does PHYSICAL, and goes on to…

INTELLECTUAL: Work, learning, stretching that noggin. What are you doing to grow some neural pathways, are you stimulated or not, are you busy enough/too busy? Have you got a new hobby, what are you learning? And then, bounce back, where partner checks in on the same, and then hits up on...

EMOTIONAL: Friends. Spouse. Kids. Own hobbies and pursuits, general sense of well-being and anxiety, how is the world looking from this angle these days? This gets bounced back, and then the check-in finishes on the arguably hardest topic.

SPIRITUAL: What’s my practice? Religion? Meditation? Surfing? And what contribution to the world am I making beyond myself, what is my selfless rhythm that will ultimately feed my soul?

I have a few friends that do accuse me, and not in a bad way, of asking deep questions. But I like them deep conversations, I blame it on my borderline narcolepsy, but if I keep it shallow I lose interest quickly. And using PIES for the check-in means that we actually do quickly run out of time because there is just so much to catch up on… but at least we covered the basics comprehensively.

Another fun tool, less intense but good value to start conversations or meetings with people that you know but are not close with, but it would be useful to connect on a deeper level: Holstee Reflection Cards. Love them, and have started using them as part of our icebreaker Shoshin Walks process when we go on long walks or do private facilitations!

Here are a few absolute gems from them:

  • What is one fear you would like to conquer?

  • What resonates more: life is long or life is short?

  • Do you believe that some things are too serious to joke about?

  • Do you find it hard to forgive people in your life?

My birthday is coming up (yep, I will be 48 soon) and I plan to celebrate the occasion by mixing it up with new(ish) friends that I see a lot and have a lot of fun with. I will also separately get the gang from the old days together and celebrate kids' chaos, getting older but feeling younger. One of the questions in Holstee is: Do you think people drift in and out of your life for a reason, or that friendships are worth fighting for?

I think that the answer for me is both. Is that a copout? Not sure, but I do want to fight for certain connections, and others I resign myself to just letting it go. Knowing which is which, of course, is the trick…

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