Jeff initially followed the career path that was expected of him. “When I was growing up, I wanted to be an English teacher. I really love language. I love reading. I love teaching. That was from a very early age. But that wasn’t good enough for my father. You couldn’t make any money as an English teacher. And to him, money was success. And he expected me to be successful.” So Jeff went to business school and worked on Wall Street for 20 years.
Navigating Wall Street was “soul-sucking work… What I realized is I never really felt at home in that space. It was the land of fear and intimidation management, where you really tried to make people feel smaller than they were in order to get them to do what you wanted them to. And I just didn’t accept that.”
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While he was unhappy working on Wall Street, the idea of starting his career over again after 20 years was daunting. “It was a very challenging thing for me to go through because I had spent a career doing this. And the idea of starting over really wasn’t very appealing to me. It made me miserable just considering that. And that’s what really led me towards coaching.”
But, before Jeff went into coaching, he led a startup that “raised money to build affordable housing. I was the COO, which meant that I got to create my own culture. So I created an organization that was very flat.”
A flat organization gets rid of traditional hierarchical structures and middle management. He explains, “you’ve got people that are really client-facing that are doing all the work. And then you’ve got a very thin management layer over them, just making sure…the goals of the organization are being…addressed.”
One of the benefits of adopting a flat organization was, “Everybody had a say in what it was that we did. Everybody was respected for their opinion.”
This experience challenged Jeff to cultivate his skills to co-create with his team. “People are coming to me with questions that I have no experience from which to answer. So I became really good at asking them good questions knowing that they had the answers within themselves. So we co-created this organization between us where I’ve got entry-level folks that are really passionate… And you know, there are challenges all over the place. But we gave each other the benefit of the doubt that this was a growth opportunity… And it ended up being an extraordinary experience.”
One of the challenges Jeff faced in this leadership role was working with a parent company who didn’t share the same leadership philosophy. So he had to convince them the investments they were making in developing a culture remarkably different from their own, were worthwhile. “One of the many things I learned on Wall Street was how to tell a good story…You can paint them this picture of reaching goals and achieving the greatest things and having a very progressive outcome at the end of this. If you give us money now, then this story will happen.”
Not only was this work more rewarding but the experience changed Jeff’s life. He started volunteering in prisons to teach entrepreneurship. “It really changed the way I went out into the world and what I felt I could contribute to the world for this sort of ‘second career.'”
This leadership opportunity was a stepping stone for Jeff to marry his passion for the great outdoors with his love of helping people. He founded the Logos Group in 2014 where he serves as the Backcountry Business Coach.
Jeff brings clients on backpacking trips because being in the great outdoors offers a unique opportunity for transformational growth. When Jeff takes leaders “into the backcountry, I could really get them away from the boxes that are so comfortable in the devices, the relationships, I could get them out of that space where they only have themselves to rely on. And I could guide them through that sort of self-discovery of their own so that when I took them back into civilization, they would really understand who they were as a human. They would understand that we’re all humans, and then…they would start to treat everybody that they interacted with as humans as well.”
One of the benefits of Backcountry Coaching is “when you go back into the real world if you will, and you realize that you can do anything. There’s nothing to be afraid of.”
These trips also help clients become more aware of their different modes of thinking. Jeff explains, “One of the things I really try and help leaders understand is the difference between the thinking they do and the thinking that comes to them… We really have these two sources of thought, if you will, our experience of the world in and of itself is based on thoughts. One is our prefrontal cortex our intellect where we sit, we think, we turn. We’ve got this phenomenal analytical and computational tool at our disposal… And then there’s this other space of presence and consciousness where thinking just kind of comes to us… If we can back out of our thinking process, and sort of take a deep breath and avail ourselves to the present moment, these amazing things come to us.”
Jeff doesn’t just teach this work, he’s applied it to his own life and business. Differentiating between the two modes of thought also requires disentangling your ego. “When I first went out on my own as a consultant. It’s not an easy road being an entrepreneur; selling something called coaching. People don’t are used to buying coaching, they are used to buying pants, right?… When I would come across frustrating experiences, my ego would tell me, this isn’t for me, I need to go find another job… I would tell my ego just go sit over there, I’m okay. And I would just be filled with this rush of clarity of peace that I was making the right decision I was being true to myself just by having that little conversation around what my ego thought I should do to protect myself.”
We concluded the interview by exploring what co-creating means in his work now. “We have the choice from the beginning, whether to see ourselves as the victim of our circumstances or as a co-creator of our life…. I really try and help clients create for themselves as opposed to seeing themselves as victims…Most people come to me with a transformation for themselves in mind… It’s really a lot of working with them to help them create what that vision really is for themselves to get all the excess thinking, all the ego speak out of the way, so they can really get attuned to who they are and what’s really driving their internal why and then creating a life for them from that space.”
Jeff’s passion and wisdom in this interview is sure to inspire entrepreneurs and leaders to take action to free themselves of the thinking they do so they may gain insights from the thinking that comes to them!
Source: Rosabella Consulting