What happens when you really learn to trust yourself? Jo Simpson will take you on a journey that draws on her own experiences, offering you a way to let go and let life lead the way.
This talk was delivered at Edinburgh’s iconic Central Hall on Thursday, February 18th 2016 and was a part of series of talks given at the TEDxUniversityofEdinburgh 2016 Conference.
Jo Simpson is a leading authority on values based leadership, recently publishing her first book “The Restless Executive – Reclaim Your Values, Love what You Do and Lead with Purpose” in June 2015. It was Jo’s own restlessness, that inspired and led to the transitions and transformations she has experienced in recent years; developing a courage, clarity and consistency that she now lives her life by.
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at
what decision are you not making yes that one a few months ago I spoke at a Leadership Conference and I opened my keynote with that question and there was one of those artists at the back of the room you know the ones that capture everything the speaker says and make some lovely drawings of it great portrait they did of me as well and I did as most speakers would do and I thought this is brilliant straight on Facebook isn't this cool within ten minutes my phone rang and it was one of my dearest friends and also one of the most bluntest so what decision are you not making Joe don't you just love it when you get your own words back at you and something popped out something that I'd been nudged on for a while and perhaps wasn't listening to and I'll share that with you later but we get these nudges these nudges that might say do this do that slow down take action sometimes we listen and sometimes we don't but if we don't they won't go away they keep coming and coming until we perhaps get a slap around the face and you get a bigger nudge so maybe something drastic happens or a course of action that you are on gets sorted and if we don't listen to the slaps around the face then the steamrollers of life come to get us you may have experienced these yourself or certainly know of somebody else either a redundancy a health scare a relationship breakdown and at the time it's horrible it's messy it's dark and then people say that was the best thing that ever happened to me because it led to me meeting the love of my life or me changing how I was working because I was doing too much why does it take a steamroller to get us to change what if we were to listen to those nudges and really be proactive and act on them when we get nudged because there is a part of you call it your intuition your inner voice your gut instinct but there is a part of you that always knows what to do in any given circumstance I want to share with you today ways in how we can learn to trust that and encourage you to act on your nudges I visit my hairdresser once maybe twice a month and Alan had been moving house it seemed like forever but every time I went in feels like Joe we've got another problem with the house move so he and his partner had found the house of their dreams you won't believe this now is that the people that were buying from I've only gone and delayed it because they don't want to move out we haven't even got anything in writing we haven't even gotten exchanged oh it keeps moving I'm getting really frustrated and I said to him Alan we've been having this conversation for quite a while now do you really think it's the right house well funny you should say that I've got a feeling that perhaps not but it's beautiful and this is where logic defies what were being told inside hatred you know what I'm going to do something I'm going to put a stake in the ground and I'm going to tell the other party that if we cannot get an exchange date by the middle of December its off now the conviction and the clarity with which he made that decision I believe brought changes about because they didn't move into that dream home by him making that decision the other party said well we can't possibly do that it's going to be another three four months so he called it off he had the courage to call it off the next day he had a phone call from an estate agent he'd been in touch with a year ago the next day is that are you still looking for a house funny that yes we are I have one I think you might like she said they went to view it I was in their week or so ago they moved in within four weeks everything flowed from start to finish and he's very happy and this turns out to actually be their dream home now what if he'd gone for the other one we'll never know and we will never know what will happen if we'd have taken the other decision but that one that comes from within but within you got your heart your head that's the one that we need to listen to you there's a part of you that's bigger than you there's a part of you that knows the answers and a real way to harness that to trust on it on to act on it it's through your core values because your core values are at the heart of every decision you ever make every relationship you encounter and every goal you achieve whether you're consciously aware of it or not so when we make these things that drivers more conscious we can work with them let's just have a bit of fun with this so this is Richmond Park and I was facilitating a workshop not far from there year or so ago and I went for an early-morning walk this was about 7:00 in the morning it was summer and as I walked I got to the point in the woods in the words of the famous poem by Robert Frost where the two paths diverged one was wider and one was a little bit narrower and I hope I've got about half an hour which one shall I take I took the path on the left and the path on the left to me says mystery says adventure it says unknown it says exploration some of you might be thinking why on earth would you take that path when you'd only got half an hour and you may take the other one the one on the right that's wide open clear direction feels a bit more secure perhaps but we're all different and whatever it is for you when you look at those two paths what is it that comes up for you because there's a clue in there to what it is that drives you so now when I get those feelings of okay do I act on these nudges I check in with my core values now there are three very powerful questions that we can ask ourselves to highlight what our values are and the first one is what's important to you it stands to reason that if something is important to you it's going to be a value so what is important to you might be family might be your friends it might be team it might be freedom security adventure making a difference so what is it that's important to you number two what do you enjoy what do you really enjoy there's a clue in there to the things that drive you me I love skiing I'm not the world's best skier I love skiing but what I love more than skiing has been in the mountains being in the snow now what does that give me gives me energy gives me connection fun love I generally go with my partner and make a difference to my skiing mainly these are my core values the third question what frustrates you we need to do a little bit of a flip on this but what really frustrates you for me deceit don't lie to me they'll be trouble and the opposite of deceit for me is truth and it's a very high value of mine now most people don't truly know what it is that drives them but when we do we can link those nudges and we can check in and say if I make this decision is it going to give me energy fun connection love freedom whatever it might be I remember getting a sign from life the universe that when I acted on a decision that for me was very courageous at the time and it was just over 12 years ago and I've been working in learning and development for most of my career and I wanted to get into coaching so I just I knew it was the real way to unleash human potential so I went along for an open afternoon loved it knew this was my calling knew that I wanted to be a coach there was a catch was 3500 pounds to do a year's Diploma I didn't have 3,500 pounds and so I walked out and as I walked out it was in London and I was walking through Mayfair and I'm like 3,500 pounds oh you want to be a coach go back go back go back I went back I signed on the dotted line cuz I think you got four free books if you signed up that day and I gave over my credit card and I went home shaking and I had a sleepless night the very next day it was really early because I haven't slept I went into work and at the time I was a global Training Manager for a banking software company in London and an email dropped in that it said that we were being taken over by an American company and that every member of staff would be forced to cash in their shares so I added mine up and these were the shares that weren't really worth anything unless you were there for like seven hundred years guess what he came to three thousand five hundred and ten pounds something like that I thought oh that's a coincidence I really horn is that now do things happen that quickly and the decisions that I've made since no not all the time and it's they're not without their obstacles and their hurdles but if you were being true to you you were listening to those nudges and you're checking in with your values I'll give you a bowl guarantee that decision will work because it's right for you and I've made a lot of bold decisions since and when I first set up my business working as a coach I initially went out on a joint venture and I set up a business based out in the Middle East I was based in Dubai and I was there for five years and then went on to have my own business out there executive coaching and mentoring and one day in meditations was May 2009 and everything was going away it taken a while to build the business that been some obstacles as I'm sure you can imagine with anything but things were great things were good the business was going well I've got a team of coaches working with me I've got a pipeline of clients for the next year had a beautiful apartment overlooking the ocean and I'm in meditation and this voice comes from and where it's time for you to go back to your own country your work here is done it is time for you to serve the leaders in your own country this was a bit more than a nudge I think this was a calling so I'm there and I'm like having a chat with whoever's listening what you want me to go back there but it rains and they pay tax why am I going to leave to buy and move back to the UK and it kept coming and coming and it made no logical sense what so ever but I acted on it didn't tell too many people because I was still debating it myself but I acted on it and five months later I moved back to the UK two days after moving back I met my partner who I've been with for the last six years life had a greater plan for me and we have to learn to trust and the decision that I wasn't making was the decision to play big I speak I coach I mentor and my first book published last year and during the course of the past 18 months I'd call it suffering but I'd suffered with adrenal fatigue which took me very very close to burnout I virtually had no energy I could hardly walk to the corner of the street to the post box to post a letter without having to come back and lie down for three hours my body was telling me something because there's something I was not listening to and I knew it and I wasn't playing big enough I had a message a methodology that could help change the way people led the way people lead and live so I put my stake in the ground and I set the intention to act on the nudge and the said universe life God my message is bigger than me help me get it out to the world what happened next I actually got clients saying Joe we want to train in your methodology will your creditors I hadn't got an accreditation program at that time I do now I had other clients saying I would like your online learning program I didn't have one it's something I plan to do it's in progress right now I listened I'm now putting in the effort to deliver and it scares me it scares me the possibility of where this could go and it also excites me there's a fine line so what are your nudges telling you listen to them don't let the steamrollers of life come to get you check in with your core values get out of your own way let life lead the way and really harness the courage to trust yourself go on I dare you thank you you