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HVF013 – Jonas Altman

Happy Vs Flourishing episode 13. Jonas Altman is a speaker, writer and entrepreneur on a mission to make the world of work more human. He creates transformational learning experiences to elevate and grow leaders around the globe.

His new book “SHAPERS: Reinvent the way you work and change the future” was recently released.

We  discuss:

  • London and travel
  • Workologist!
  • The intricate dance between teaching, learning, giving, mobilising, and coaching
  • The work conundrum
  • Shifters and shapers
  • Curiosity

Favourite Book:

The Great Gatsby 
by Francis Scott Fitzgerald 

and

Man’s Search for Meaning

by Victor Frankl

Favourite Quote:

“No one is any one thing”

Martin Short

Book:

Shapers: Reinvent the Way You Work and Change the Future

Links:

www.Shapers.life

www.JonasAltman.com

Happy Vs Flourishing links:

Facebook Group
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LinkedIn
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How to leave a podcast review:

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Tony Winyard 0:00
Happiness versus flourishing Episode 13. Welcome to the podcast where we give you ideas on how to have a more flourishing life. Today's guest is Jonas Altman, who is a speaker, writer, entrepreneur, and he's on a mission to make the world of work more human. And so we talked about a number of different areas in this, this episode about working and the hours that people put into it and the meaning they get from it, and how that might change in the near future and in the long term as well. So we're going to be coming on to that very soon. If you do like this episode, why not share it with someone that you feel could get some real value from some of the some of the material that john has shares with us? why not subscribe, leave a review. That's all good material. It's all good stuff that helps more people hear about the podcast. Right now it is time for Jonas.

Tony Winyard 1:10
Happiness versus flourishing. My guest today, Jonas Altman. How you doing Jonas?

Jonas Altman 1:15
I'm doing great, Tony.

Tony Winyard 1:17
And you're in Canada?

Jonas Altman 1:20
I am in Vancouver, British Columbia, which you can tell that in the name is colonised and it's coast. Some people call it the end of the world. I think it's the beginning.

Tony Winyard 1:36
Why would people call it the end of the world?

Jonas Altman 1:38
We kind of you kind of are nestled in between mountains like pretty much Canadian rocky start. Yeah, and the Pacific Ocean. So going north, you hit Alaska, going west, you hit Hawaii, and feels not so much like the end, but very safe. It's one of the safest places on the planet right now. And it's deals such that it can't really grow bigger, right? You can only really go up like high and there's, there's that's starting to happen. Or you go east, which is also happening. But Vancouver proper is is sort of sitting at the same size as Paris. And we're between 800,000 to 2 million depending on how you measure it.

Tony Winyard 2:24
And is that where you grew up?

Jonas Altman 2:26
I was born and bred here. My family moved from Eastern Europe, my grandfather moved from London, to Winnipeg, which is even smaller and colder. And then he moved his family to get out of the cold to more mild climate here.

Tony Winyard 2:46
You've travelled quite a bit, and you spent spent some time in London?

Jonas Altman 2:51
Yeah, I guess what happened was I had itchy feet when I found out that there's so many other cool places to go. And I had been to London as a teenager, and I hated it. We went to Camden Market. And it was going for three days. And I was like this is terrible. And I didn't eat fish at the time. And then as I got older, I went back as a teenager, and I was like, Oh, I get I get why London was the swinging London and the energy and the people that creativity. So I find it a fascinating city and probably definitely one of my you know, favourite? And I'd say it's obviously a world class city.

Tony Winyard 3:30
Business wise, I've been looking over some of the stuff you do, you've got a very interesting approach. So would you like to describe to the listeners what it is you do?

Jonas Altman 3:42
I'm glad you use the word interesting. Because that's interesting that you use that. I wanted to work around people who were passionate. That was something I knew, because I wasn't really sure what it is I wanted to do. And I found the ability to work in the music industry scratched an itch because I was very passionate about music as I know you are. So just being around people who are fascinated by record labels and artists and old Motown Records and new acid jazz albums and Giles Peterson That to me was everything. And it was pretty much the beginning of seeing that you could marry your passion with your work, which is you know whole long literature of how to do that. And should you do that. And so since then I've gone through various careers and reinventions and now very similar to you, I coach. I train and I teach, and I happen to love writing as well. So I find most of my days are immersed in conversation, reading, learning, and helping and I feel very good Wait for to be able to do all of that.

Tony Winyard 5:03
How did that all come about? You mentioned about reading and teaching and coaching and so on. What did you get into first?

Jonas Altman 5:24
Well, I think everyone is I think all human beings are curious. But I think there's certain people who you meet, and no matter what you're talking about, whether it's high frequency training, or the dentist, or Pluto, they're, they're just interested to learn. And I think I got that instilled in me from my mom and my dad, from a young age, and I think I had that. So I think that helped me to be curious about a lot of things. It could also be a curse, because you could never stop and you don't really pick one thing, and you potentially run into a conundrum of being, you know, jack of all trades, master of none. Today, I feel like that actually could be a currency, if you can get really, really deep with behavioural psychology, and startup culture, and change management, quickly, though, certain things fall together. So mine would be philosophy, design, marketing, and education, both things I've studied, like, formally and both buckets that I really feel like I went deep enough, whether it's, you know, to the point of having a PhD, no, but to the point of being able to have a conversation with openness, and with some measured beliefs, then I think I could talk to you to each of those areas. Coaching is relatively new, I was a mentor and an advisor for a long time, I worked with a lot of incubators, I work in a think tank, I work with charities, but when I found out about the modality of coaching about four or five years ago, and then started training, as a coach, I understood the power of the the gentle inquiry, as opposed to, you know, why did you do this, both from a leadership point of view, in your family dynamics, and in anything really, as well as going with the assumption that people are naturally creative, resourceful, and whole, and can solve their own problems, and I no longer need to be the fixer, or try to be the fixer, and admitting that people don't need to be fixed. So that's been very powerful. So I think that's how I landed in this sort of current position. But I'm pretty aware that it's a waystation to somewhere else as well. Hmm.

Tony Winyard 7:52
Your book, shapers, when did that come out?

Jonas Altman 7:56
It came out two weeks ago in Canada, and it came out early August in the UK. So it's pretty new.

Tony Winyard 8:03
And so well, sort of, for people listening, who maybe don't know anything about the book. So well, it's called shapers reinvent the way you work and change the future. So what was your goal with the book when you first wrote it?

Jonas Altman 8:20
My goal with the book is everywhere I worked. I never felt like me. I always felt that I had to subordinate or stuff, or put aside parts of myself that I actually liked, just to fit in. So whether it was a creative company, or a university, or nonprofit or a startup, whatever it might have been. I didn't feel like I had the well, one, I maybe didn't get Microsoft permission, which is another story. But I didn't feel like I had the ability to be myself. And I wondered if I was just something was wrong with me. And that started a little bit of a journey in 2014, actually was 2012. And it really started in 2014 properly, where I was just curious about people who didn't conform to what they did for work, and in many ways, their currency was their uniqueness and their idiosyncrasies. So one of those worlds was at the advertising world where people were sort of paid for their ideas, a lot of sort of the ideas economy. And I found there was a whole bunch of people from independent workers and freelancers to startup founders to changemakers inside organisations that really didn't care about if someone didn't like their full self, and that was someone else's problem. And that was a exhilarating to me. So I started investigating that I started writing about it. More and more self management, and the practice of not having any bosses, teamwork that's more fluid instead of stable and permanent, different modes of leadership that are rooted in strength and abundance versus fear. And all these things, I started to sort of gather, and then I got offered a deal to write a book. And I was like, Wait, you're gonna pay me to write about this, and I'm in. So it's, it was a journey of me trying to find meaning in my work. And I thought by writing the book, I potentially could help others to discover the path for them themselves.

Tony Winyard 10:43
How long a process was that?

Jonas Altman 10:47
2016 is when I started in the spring, I thought I was finished in 2019, which was last year. And I got a sort of a newsflash that, like the hard work began in the final year of rewriting and really making it cohesive, as opposed to a lot of sort of related ideas that didn't really interlock with a common thread to help the reader go from A to Z. Zed. So I had a surprise, a rude awakening that I had a lot more to do. So from actually the end of 2019, until about spring of this year, I, I was in equal measure, pulling out my hair, and going to the coast to get into nature and go surfing to calm myself down. And found, I guess, the strength to push through, because I didn't think it was actually gonna happen because I, every time I thought I was done, I got a sort of input or feedback or myself said, I'm just not there yet. There's something not here. And Steven pressfield calls that the resistance, you're sort of stuck with your imposter syndrome or some fear that is totally human, but completely not serving in those moments, and you need to bash it over the head with a bat. So that's what I did. I think I did that twice this year, and then the pandemic came, so

Tony Winyard 12:22
You said it was released a few weeks ago. So how was the feedback been so far?

Jonas Altman 12:30
You know, I'm over the moon, really, I, I didn't really think that it would resonate with certain people that it has, from people who I've been in touch with, that I've worked with a younger generation, that sort of looking at Old World or a baby boomer generation, and saying, like, that's not our reality, at all, whether it's the Great Recession, whether it's pandemic, whether it's just the advantage of the internet. So yeah, so funnily enough, it's, it's been performing very well in the work life balance category, in America, and in Canada. And there's a chapter called work life blend, which I wrote prior to COVID. As you know, the distinction between work and life for many people, and for some time, has not existed. And so what's needed now is much more of healthy boundaries, and the ability to move between watering your plants and jumping on a zoom call. Yeah, and even now, as I watch what's coming up with, like, Ted Talks, they have a whole thing. That's about the environment. And, and David, Attenborough's new BBC, Netflix show, they're really talking about things that are as important to this, which is climate change, biodiversity, the way our system of work wasn't working, and could work to be much more sustainable, and kind to both people and to the world. That feels like the time is here. And it has been and now people are awake. So I'm hopeful that you know, a few parts of the book that talk about why work is so important so that we can be more active citizens and look at redistribution of opportunity to people, you know, don't have even the ability to entertain some of the ideas in the book is actually a viable path now.

Tony Winyard 14:42
What type of people would you say the book is aimed at?

Jonas Altman 14:47
Well, funnily enough, the target market was called shifters and shapers. So it was the shifters were people who were agitated, frustrated, or potentially You know, going through a mini existential crisis, and we're like, I got to do something different, whatever that might be, you know, the quintessential example is the investment banker, who is like two more years, and then I'll set up the spin studio, or whatever the thing is. So that was one. And the shapers were people who had a high degree of agency already in their work and could adapt or adopt certain things, immediately, whether it's a new practice or a new hack or a new technology, the publisher love the name shapers. So, in effect shifters, also become shapers, and they're more aspiring, so it's anyone who is crazy enough, potentially, to want to get joy out of their work. And this is a book for them. And my hope, to answer that, again, would be that if you do, it becomes like a butterfly effect in it. by searching for meaning and joy, you inspire and help others do the same.

Tony Winyard 16:10
I saw something mentioned about workologists, which I love that that word. So what would you define as a workologist?

Jonas Altman 16:21
Well, you know, I could be this I feel very, okay saying this, you know, when you're marketing other people, or other brands, it's a lot easier to just come up with something wild and not really care that much, when, and this is, in many ways, the first experience of marketing myself, I'm the can tuna, or the can of tuna. I remember coming across that name. And it was actually an article written for the New York Times called the ecologist for many years about work. And I just the name had, the word had resonated with me. And so when I was writing the copy for the publisher, I just slapped it in that in there to see if they, you know, were like what or if they flagged it, or if they wanted me to explain. And next thing I knew it was on their website, and it was on Amazon, and it was out in the world. So it was sort of a subconscious thing of what would what would happen if I just own that. And in many ways, if you think about an ecologist or an anthropologist, or someone who studies culture, what gives anyone the right to call themself anything I would say, is yes, degrees and accolades, but also a genuine interest and passion to make the world of work more human, has been my mission for the last six, seven years. So I don't need to justify it, I just do it. And if someone doesn't want to call me a coach, or doesn't want to call me, whatever, that's, I'm fine with that.

Tony Winyard 18:01
So when you've been coaching people, so typically, what would be the reasons they would approach you in the first place? Is it they realise that their work life is not what they want it to be? Or something different?

Jonas Altman 18:19
Yes, good question. I think there's definitely individuals who are quietly suffering, and are fed up and want to do something about it. And the first step, or one of the first steps is to get another perspective. So one of the top destroyers of meaningfulness at work are bad bosses, the common theme, another theme is job crafting, and people don't actually look at the tasks or the relationships they have, and that they have the ability to craft them or change them in some way, shape or fashion. So there's all sorts of ways of turning the job you have into the one you love, or at least a job that is bearable or more enjoyable. And there's also the admission that you're in the wrong industry, or you need to be in a smaller company to see the progress you're making. So it's Yeah, so work conundrum. And the other one would be leaders inside an organisation who are needing or craving a support system to give them confidence, resilience, support to be a grown up and treat people like adults and realise that they're there they can be selectively vulnerable and that they can show weakness in some cases in order to build resist. And save cultures. And that's an area that I love working in, that is a lot longer journey in that, that takes a lot of willpower and discipline. And a lot of times, it's just a select few leaders that really want to do the work, as opposed to, and I could be speaking very generally here, that British expression of lipstick, putting lipstick on the pig pig, and saying we want to develop our people and I want to develop as a leader or an emergent leader. But I really don't want to do what it takes. Because it's not easy. But I love that area as well. So that that that would be somewhere around, you know, transformational coaching, or executive coaching, which has a different motivation or incentive, because it's changing the culture from with

Tony Winyard 20:57
Since the whole pandemic situation and obviously the world of work looks quite different now to how it did in February. How do you think things will be when this eventually finishes?

Jonas Altman 21:15
I've actually answered this question, and I'm never satisfied with my answer. The first answer is, I don't know, I really have no idea. We can look to pat the past to try and, you know, look at anything from basically this our species is in jeopardy of not existing, and non in the next, you know, 10,000 years, but like thousands of years, or even hundreds of years. A pandemic like this is in many ways a gift. It's a wake up call cup, if we stick to work, because I can speak to that the change that we've seen in the last six months is so drastic that some companies have have been surprised, maybe pleasantly surprised to see that their resistance to flexible and working from home type situations was false or was was unnecessary. leads to some great things. People can be more present as parents, they can go for runs, and in the middle of the day, they can save money from commuting. That's all wonderful. There's lots of other things CFOs are cheering because they're saving money on on on rent or the mortgage of the, of their office. On the flip side is we have basically a huge tsunami of mental health disorders and isolation, unemployment and underemployment knocking on the door. And it's not pretty at all. It's, it's, it's something that we I don't think we can actually appreciate right now. But in a year, we can look back on this conversation and be like, Holy moly. And that's scary to me. In that one, I'm you and me are okay, like we can make a living on the internet. We've, in some ways been preparing for this. That's not the majority, we're actually a minority in that, in that regard. So it leads to great greater inequality gap with more people that have more access and more opportunity and more people who don't. And that leads to things like riots and other things that we know, happen when when there's too much disparity. that's a that's a concern. We're seeing it kind of in America, America's kind of epitomising the the baseness of humanity. And I'm hoping that this is there's a silver lining in that. Fundamentally, I believe humans are good. And that for the most part, people will do the right thing if given the opportunity. So, as an optimist, I'm looking at this as like it's gonna get dark and maybe even more darker, and then there'll be some light.

Tony Winyard 24:31
The combination of things that have happened this year with the pandemic, and the George Floyd thing, and now with the elections in the States, it's going to be interesting to see ..., depending on how the elections pan out how things will be over there

Jonas Altman 24:54
Exactly. It's like back to your original word. Interesting. It's gonna be very interesting.

Tony Winyard 25:04
I don't think we've had anywhere near as bad a situation over here in the UK. There were obviously some reactions as there were worldwide to the whole George Floyd thing and there was many demonstrations. But I think it was very different here because our demonstrations were more about the unfairness of how people are often treated, whereas our police, they're not perfect, but they're nowhere near the level of the police in the states. So it wasn't so much anti police or not the level it was in the states anyway.

Jonas Altman 25:47
I remember when I moved to London, there was a vote of should What do you call British police?

Tony Winyard 25:54
Bobbies?

Jonas Altman 25:55
Bobbies, shouldn't be allowed to wear that to possess guns? Yeah. And I was like scratching my head. I'm like, we like I was like, I didn't understand. I was like, So hey, you stop. And like, we're like, screw you. And you keep running right? down, you know, down Ladbroke Grove, or whatever. And then I realised after reading and talking to people, they're like, if police carry guns 100% and without a doubt, there'll be more deaths, the more deaths by police, and they'll be more deaths of criminals and or wrongly accused criminals. Yeah. And that brute force and that sort of authority that is wielded by carrying a gun is embedded in the American consciousness, both as a civilian and as a police, man or woman. And I know, that's just one aspect of it. But yeah, you're right. England versus America, in terms of police brutality, and all these things is, it's really not comparable.

Tony Winyard 27:00
Going back to talking about work. And I'm guessing one of the things you help people with, is to realise the importance of, life, not just working all the time as well. Is that something that you talk to your clients about?

Jonas Altman 27:19
Well, you know, coaches get they have, like, a consultant has ambiguity, and is opaque. So career coach, performance coach, mindset coach, relationship coach, and then there's this sounds like Maslow's hierarchy, the life coach. And it's like, What? What gives me? Or what gives Tony? The right to tell someone or advise someone or coach someone on their life? And I actually don't think that's the right question. I think, as therapy goes back into the past, and looks at unresolved issues, and your development as a child and your first experience of love, the modality of coaching is really about the hearing. Now, what's your perceived blocks? What are your limiting beliefs? What are your current patterns and neural pathways? And where are you going? Or where do you want to go? Or, you know, for Wu Ling Wu language, what do you want to manifest. And that, to me is a lot more exciting. And it happens to be that I love and experience in the area of work. But to think that work and life for personal and professional development don't meet or actually aren't totally in meshed is silly. And for a long time, I thought personal development was something you did like only in the Self Help section, and only by going on sort of, you know, the possum retreat or something. And now, my belief is that the two are completely united. And in fact, being a better person makes you a better leader. And being a better worker can make you a better person, and that they're all lumped together. So I don't really call myself a life coach, but I do believe that coaching can be instrumental in improving your life.

Tony Winyard 29:30
So again, looking through some of the stuff that you've done in your book, and I saw this the five different sections. I think the book is about the teacher, the learner, the mobilizer, etc. What, what area, would you say you find people struggle with the most?

Jonas Altman 29:51
that's a great question. I think in recent conversations, I would say the leader as coach And or the leader as giver. And starting with the leaders giver. You know, a lot of that there's a great book by Adam Grant called give and take. And, and the idea there is, givers are running a marathon. And takers are running the hundred metre dash. In a male orientated or in a, in a culture, a corporate culture where male values have been the way the cookies crumbled, or the ship has sailed. A lot of the times what looks like giving, is actually masked or manipulative of taking later on. No, be nice to you. I'll scratch your back. I'll do this, but I'll keep it. I'll keep tabs. And then you know, two years down the road, when it comes time for the promotion, I'm going to step on your face. Yeah. So I think there's been some there's been misuse or abuse of that. So when you say, giver, as coach, it is, starting with, how can I help? How can I empower you enable you support you to do your best work, no questions asked, I don't want anything in return. Because that's my job. I'm getting paid very handsomely and probably getting shares as well. So that's the one that I think can be, I don't know, challenging. And then the, the leader as coach is really switching back to sort of these powerful questions, and getting rid of the sort of AI versus you or, you know, me versus we. So some like, you come to me, Tony with some challenge or issue. And instead of saying, like, go back and do the presentation again, or go and do more research and come back to me. I could say, where do we think we're getting stuck? And what's another possibility that we haven't entertained? And now, you know, in many ways, I'm losing my positional authority for a moment. And relating to you as Yes, I'm still your boss, but we need to solve this for our customers, for our shareholders, for, you know, citizens, and that you're seeing more, and it's embodied in feminine values, transparency, collaboration, cohesion. And you know, the the entire Brittany brown movement of daring to lead is premised on leading from heart.

Tony Winyard 32:41
You talked before about writing a book. Was there a period? Was there a catalyst where your thoughts really changed into the way they are now? Or was it just like a gradual change? Or, were you thinking along these lines, maybe say 10, 15 years ago?

Jonas Altman 33:10
10 or 15 years ago, I was thinking, why aren't companies working more like Hollywood and setting up an LLC, gathering together really great talent, doing amazing work and then disbanding? My company called social fabric is premised on that sort of way of working, which is fluid, and much more results oriented, oriented. So I think I was thinking about that, about how to structure and organise as a firm, and 2000 to 2003. When it comes to the individual, and how the individual works, you know, anywhere from when Tim Ferriss wrote the four hour workweek, all the way through to sort of the movement of location independent, or geo flexible workers or digital nomads. I was like, great work can happen everywhere, or anywhere with Wi Fi. Why are so few people doing it. And what I learned is one, there's a lot of people who have the opportunity to go and work anywhere and choose not to because they're not necessarily wanderers, or, you know, world travellers in the way that they, they, they want to take advantage of that. And there's an underside of never really staying in the same place and moving around all the time. And actually, you know, a lot people living in say, Thailand and not paying local taxes and having their company incorporated in Delaware. So all sorts of sort of questionable practices. So there's so many different sides as well as the precarious nature of gig work. Sort of joining this movement of people who could work from anywhere as as you've just moved out of London, and now, you know, I was trying to make sense of it of like, Okay, what do you need? You need the tools, you need the clients, or if you're a startup, you need the technology, or you need both, you need the discipline. And that's when I started, my thinking started to shift of like, Who am I? Who am I fooling? If, if I have a client call with someone in France, and they expect me to be in London? Does it matter? And if if they're not going to work with me, because I happen to be in a different city, than maybe they're the wrong client, but for a long time, I was catering to what I wanted. I thought people wanted the perception. You know, the quintessential example is the law firm with the big oak table and, and elaborate fixtures, which is in effect clients money. Yeah. And now you have paperless law firms that don't have an office and and it's very hard to charge 400 quid an hour and justify it. Right. So yeah, so I think to answer your question, I think my thinking was much more gradual. But there was a moment when I left London, and started to realise that London isn't the centre of the universe. And there are other news channels besides the BBC. And that was somewhat liberating, and disorientating and scary, huh.

Tony Winyard 36:33
Where do you see your business expanding to? Or how do you see things shaping over the next few years?

Jonas Altman 36:43
Well, I had this conundrum, which I haven't really articulated, but I accidentally deleted my MailChimp newsletter, which I've been working on for 15 years. And I had like, I didn't have a turnaround, it just, it was like, Oh, this is a new chapter. So I have a new newsletter called the shape of work, which I've cobbled together with the contacts that I have had subscribed for the last two years. So a couple thousand people. And then I have all the people who bought the book, which is performing well. So my first immediate thing is I'm collaborating with an organisational psychologist to create a deeper dive. So in many ways, group and peer coaching starting in January, and to take some of the ideas of leadership and finding joy in your work and working with band of creatives or freelancers, instead of necessarily hiring them and all sorts of different ways of approaching work as a course. So that's a lot of authors end up doing that, you know, a deeper dive. But I'm excited about it, because it's not just me talking. It's a bunch of experts. And in many ways, it's the participants that are going to make, make it what it is. So that's one thing. The idea as well, is to have a retreat, when the world will allow that and it will feel natural. So to get people into beautiful surroundings, like where you are. actually did that in Norfolk, or I can't pronounce Norfolk very well. That right? No, yeah. It was beautiful there. And that was in 2011, right after Arab Spring. So that's the immediate plan for myself. I think, when I think about coaching, I don't think I'm ever going to stop, I may not be as immersed in it as I am now. And I also, I'm aware that I want to continue writing, I don't actually have a next book in mind. But I do have an idea that the last few years have been very much independent, or a large part of my work has been me resting on my own shoulders. And I'm much more interested and open now back to collaborating with this woman on the course to start writing and or working in collectives. So I'm starting to do some group coaching for companies with other coaches and helping companies transform. And that, to me is a lot. It's a like a new energy of, really the collective. And what we're actually mourning a lot is group experiences and gathering, which is happening in a different way. I'm really excited about that, and doing that to help individuals and teams transform.

Tony Winyard 39:48
Do you think that will involve staying where you are or would you be maybe be looking to move to a different part of the world?

Jonas Altman 39:58
as I'm going to Now going back to the island, which I told you where I go surf, which the water is getting pretty cold. So I'm going there next month in November. I actually don't think I'm going to move from Canada until like move like travel. Until next year, I had plans to go to England and to Portugal, which has some great things happening in Lisbon, and so forth.

Jonas Altman 40:29
I don't I, I don't have the answer. Because I would say so. There's a part of me that loves Vancouver and wants to stay here. There's a part of me that also is excited about cities like Lisbon. I still love London, and I was travelling there twice a year. places in Spain that are more for visiting. So really, really, I'm happy to spend the majority of my time in Vancouver and then move to move to places for a month or a period of time to immerse myself more than what would be the the quintessential American, two week vacation for your, for your year of being employed. And really look at these as like mini excursions.

Tony Winyard 41:22
Do you think that you'll start offering things like courses online?

Jonas Altman 41:29
Yeah, it's all online, the physical face to face right now. Just seems not. It's not tone deaf. But the only thing I'm really doing our walk and talk one to one coaching. I'm not really getting into a room. And even when I teach at the university, it's all going to be virtual, at least until spring.

Jonas Altman 41:54
So I think the collective psyche is such that to gather workers into an office or a room to do training doesn't seem. And I'd love your opinion on this doesn't seem the highest priority when you could approximate it or evenbequal, deliver training equal to it by people staying safe or staying in their homes, or logging in from their cubicle or their office alone. So basically alone together. Yeah. So yeah, that's my current experience of it. But I'm sure different places have different ways of approaching it.

Tony Winyard 42:46
So for people who may be interested to learn more about the course that you're going to be doing and find out more about the book and so on where is the best place for them to look?.

Jonas Altman 42:59
The book and of course, they can go to shapers, dot life. coaching, they can go to Jonas altman.com. And for companies that want to have culture change, or group coaching, they can go to social fabric.com.

Tony Winyard 43:21
And for the coaching, what kind of people is it aimed at? Who do you think it is most helpful for?

Jonas Altman 43:28
Well, you nailed it with the other question around. The work conundrum, I like to call it transition. We're all merging. We're all evolving, but there are turning points in careers. I just finished this diploma or this degree. I've been at this company for two years, and I'm a bit itchy. I'm thinking of going to work for a startup, or I'm at a startup, I'm thinking of going and working for an end up. That's what gets me excited. So individuals that are navigating their career and want to shape it in a way that is energising and makes them come alive, then that's the type of client that I tend to attract.

Tony Winyard 44:15
And is your do you typically work with clients for just a sort of short period or is it ongoing for a few years or what's your opproach?

Jonas Altman 44:27
You know, the management consultancy model, McKenzie model is let's create dependency and continually to continue to rejig these Excel sheets. I know that's a generalisation. I think coaching or great coaching or effective coaching is about building capacity and self reliance. So typically, I won't really work with anyone for longer than a year. Six months is usually To the point of which we reassess and say, maybe you need a different coach, maybe press pause, and three months would be the shortest engagement.

Tony Winyard 45:15
Is there a book that you would recommend to people?

Jonas Altman 45:23
I've got I'll answer this question. My first answer is fiction. And it's The Great Gatsby, which I've read for the second time, and it just gets better. If you've seen the movie, it may have tainted things, but that writing is just fantastic. And in terms of nonfiction, which I know is a separate book, I would say Victor Frankel's Man's Search for Meaning is for sure. A powerful book that can let people know how individuals how humans reveal meaning to themselves.

Tony Winyard 46:07
When you talk about The Great Gatsby, and I forget exactly how you worded it, said something about the writing. And early on in the episode, you mentioned that you really enjoy writing. So the writing that you are you doing on regular blog posts, when you say you enjoy writing, what is it you're doing?

Jonas Altman 46:27
Well, yeah. F Scott Fitzgerald can cook can have a narrative structure and paragraphs and metaphors and descriptors that make my jaw drop, because I you know, the way to tap into your brain and get your imagination going, I think is like almost like a paintbrush, whereas nonfiction business, self help writing. It's almost inappropriate to be that flowery. Yeah. So I don't I mean, I have written short stories. But when it comes to nonfiction, which is pretty much what I do, I'm now in effect, writing for hate to say this for a world or a reader or a generation that has no attention span, like not really Zilch. So 600 words, maximum 1000, tell me what I need to know working from home. Tell me what I need to know about the new modes of leadership. Tell me what I need to know about building resiliency. And that's been my life for the last three or four, three months of just churning out articles for magazines and the press that is kind of like a modernised version of what's in the book, or an COVID. friendly version. And I'm not I'm not upset about it, but I don't necessarily think that that goes to the craft of writing and getting necessarily deeper or better, but it does allow for like, you know, thinking aloud getting not caught up with the perfectionist. conundrum. So yeah, so short answer is I'm going to I'm continuing to write I'm not really writing in any way that is approaching what I would say is the stuff that, you know, can make me laugh and cry aloud. an equal measure. And so that to me, is just sort of it's entertainment. I mean, I'm reading a book, by Douglas Coupland right now. He's a Vancouver artists and I, every morning I'm laughing aloud. And I realised that I could be sound like a crazy person. I don't care. And you know that again, what is crazy? So

Tony Winyard 48:56
finally, john is is there a quotation that you particularly like?

Jonas Altman 49:01
Yes. is attributed to Martin Short, the comedian. And it is "No one is any one thing".

Tony Winyard 49:13
And why does that speak to you?

Jonas Altman 49:15
Well, Martin Short actually, is Canadian. He lost his wife to cancer. He lost a brother to a car accident and lost someone else to cancer. He never really broke in to the comedy world. Like Martin shored up like Steve Martin. But if you if you read about him and you listen, he is the master of reinvention, the master of improvisation. And like Seinfeld is one of those people who just had incredible discipline and resilience and mastery. So that quote, right resonates with me because when you think about his life and his career, he used his loss. At the end, he used the signals that the world was giving him as fuel to propel himself forward instead of saying still. And I resonate with that. Because if I had chosen a different career path that was more stable or more secure or perceived to be more secure, I don't think I'd be having this conversation.

Tony Winyard 50:29
Well, Jonas, thank you for the last 50 minutes or so it's been a pleasure speaking. Thank you for your time.

Jonas Altman 50:36
Thanks, Tony. It's been an absolute pleasure.

Tony Winyard 50:43
Next week is Episode 14 with Richard Burrows, and we're taking a trip to the Sunshine Coast in Australia. Just the name sounds amazing, doesn't it? Richard, moved to the Sunshine Coast about 18 months ago he was previously living in in Melbourne. And we discussed some of the reasons why he made that move. And it's a fascinating story. Richard has quite a combination of different skills. He's a strength and conditioning coach. He's a CrossFit coach. He's an instructor in a couple of proven techniques, including the Oxygen Advantage, XPT life. He's a PADI free diver, instructor, and all these different skills he has. He's quite unique in the way he's able to help people. So we find out a lot more about that in next week's edition. Hope you enjoy. If you enjoyed this week's edition, and anyone who you feel may get some benefit from some of the stuff that Jonas shared with us, why not share the episode with them? why not subscribe, leave a review for us and I hope you have a great week.

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