The Multipotentialite Way of Life With Jude Schweppe


On today's episode of Uncover the Human we have Jude Schweppe joining us. Jude has an eye opening way of approaching her work life, the multipotentialite way, embracing all her passions and skills rather than choosing one and fitting into a one-thing box.  Her background is in performing arts, she loves being creative, and transitioned into advertising.  She finally blended coaching with a creative direction.  

Jude is a firm believer in having fun in the workplace, people learn better when they're having fun. They are able to engage and process things in a more profound way. Her goal as a coach is to laugh a lot. She will suggest fun challenges because that keeps her clients engaged. Sure, the goals might be quite big and grand but taking fun little steps along the way just makes the process more fluid and fulfilling. 

Credits: Raechel Sherwood for Original Score Composition.

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Website: https://www.wearesiamo.com/

Transcript

Alex Cullimore: Hello, Cristina.

Cristina Amigoni: Hello. It's been a while.

Alex Cullimore: It's been a minute. Yeah, we have a whole bunch of podcast recordings all lined up. But we just had a wonderful conversation with Jude Schweppe was our near Coach contact in the UK.

Cristina Amigoni: Yeah. It's nice to talk to people across the pond.

Alex Cullimore: Yeah. Jude just got such an interesting way of approaching work in life. She's definitely relates to us in having done a number of things as she settles into doing more people-based work and how that ends up requiring what she wisely dubbed the multi potentiate, which also has a great TED talk which is probably in the show notes here. But it's wonderful concept of doing the exploration and reconnecting to ourselves as wholes instead of trying to limit into one thing, and then find out that we're not happy with that.

Cristina Amigoni: Yeah, definitely. Which is, yeah, then the conversation was very much like that. It wasn't about one thing, it was about a lot of different large concepts and experiences that we're going through and how they are all connected, even though you could silo them all out as very separate things and topics.

Alex Cullimore: You can, but you lose all the juice. You lose all the fun stuff, which was another part of our topics, talking about how fun isn't a really important part of being incorporated into life, both at work and home and what that really does to really kind of create fulfillment, as well as all of the productivity that we've mostly shunned fun for.

Cristina Amigoni: Yeah, definitely crucial. So, the more laughter the better, all around.

Alex Cullimore: I think we had a couple good laughs on this one, too. I hope you enjoyed this conversation with Jude Schweppe. 

Cristina Amigoni: Enjoy. 

Alex Cullimore: Welcome to Uncover the Human where every conversation revolves around enhancing all the connections in our lives,

Cristina Amigoni: Whether that's with our families, coworkers, or even ourselves.

Alex Cullimore: When we can be our authentic selves, magic happens.

Cristina Amigoni: This is Cristina Amigoni.

Alex Cullimore: This is Alex Cullimore. Let's dive in.

“Authenticity means freedom.”

“Authenticity means going with your gut.”

“Authenticity is bringing 100% of yourself not just the parts you think people want to see, but all of you.”

“Being authentic means that you have integrity to yourself.”

“It's the way our intuition is whispering something deep-rooted and true.”

“Authenticity is when you truly know yourself. You remember and connect to who you were before others told you who you should be.”

“It's transparency, relatability. No frills. No makeup. Just being.”

Alex Cullimore: Welcome back to this episode of Uncover the Human. Cristina and I are joined today with our guests, Jude Schweppe. Welcome to the podcast, Jude.

Jude Schweppe: Thank you so much for having me. Looking forward to this chat. 

Cristina Amigoni: We're excited to have you.

Alex Cullimore: Yeah. We're thrilled to have you in. Thank you for dialing in across the pond. We are here at the very end of Jude’s week. So, thank you for giving us some of your last brain over a bit.

Jude Schweppe: Absolutely no problem. Hopefully you'll get at least an hour out of me before I wind down for my weekend. I should make some sense for at least another hour.

Alex Cullimore: Well, Jude, for those who don't know, what's your story? What's your background?

Jude Schweppe: Oh, my goodness. That is the question. That is the question. So, my background is in the performing arts. So, when I left university, I went to drama school. So, had been dancing since I was four. I fell in love with the stage when I was about 12. I always wanted to pursue it as a career, but I think as many people do, you kind of hit 17, 18 and then there's pressure from teachers, and there's pressure from parents, and it's like, “Are you sure this is what you want to do?” So, I went and did a degree. I did a history degree in Dublin, which I loved, but spent most of my time in the theater and a little bit of time in the library. Then trained as an actor in London, and absolutely loved the experience, loved the craft, adored the whole process and craft of being an actor. But about two or three years into my career, I realized, I really sucked at being in the business, like really sucked at being in the business. And I think it's something that a lot of actors go through. It's that realization of I adore being on stage, but do I love the uncertainty and just the stress of constantly putting yourself up to be rejected and, you're too tall or you're too short, you're this, that or the other. So, I accidentally got myself a job working in advertising, which was like the biggest accident of my life. It was supposed to be like it was going to take a year out. I was just going to take a little bit of time sort of get my thoughts together and decide if I wanted to continue in the business of show, and I turned out to be really good at this. I had never any intention of working in the advertising world while. It wasn’t’ something that was even on my radar. I didn't even know what a copywriter did, but happened to come across this job ad. And I thought, “Oh, that could be quite fun. Maybe that's something that will get me out of waitressing for a while.” And that was the beginning of my advertising career. I stayed in agency life sort of for about another six years. I moved back to London from Dublin, then realized that I really, really missed performing and I missed just being with my people and around those creative minds, and the slight chaos and magic of being in rehearsal space. So, I decided to go freelance, and then sort of combined freelance creative direction and copywriting with doing my own theater work, which was a really good compromise for me, and loved it. And did some shows I'm really proud of. And then I fell pregnant with my first baby, and it was all changed again. So, it was like, “Right, off this, onto the next one.” As any parents will know, it's like, “Oh, this is different. This is in fact what you were expecting.” Everything changed. Everything changed again. I think if you're at a certain stage in your theatrical or musical performance career, before you have kids, it's probably a little bit easier to integrate them into your lifestyle. But what I found was that I was still at that kind of building my career stage, and motherhood just really knocked me for six. I really didn't know what I was doing. I was like, “What on earth do you do with this time human?” So, went back into the freelancing world where I kind of stayed doing various different bits and pieces, until I found coaching. And I think as most coaches will tell you, I'd always been that person who people would go to with their stories and advice of what you think, and I've got a naturally kind of problem-solving brain and I just loved it. I loved the humanity of coaching. I loved the connections. I loved, just really deep, powerful conversations with people that you might only have just met, and you suddenly find yourself being in this very sacred space, almost, with people who are sharing very powerful things about themselves and I loved it. I absolutely loved it. It ticks so many boxes for me, and really engage the creative side of my brain in a slightly different way, I think. That was five years ago. So now, I have the classic hybrid portfolio career, where I sort of blend coaching with creative direction and working with startups and anybody who's got creative sensibilities, and sort of doing my own little making, just keeping my creative brain ticking over and so far, seems to be working. So, a nice little melting pot of various different things, which really works for me.

Alex Cullimore: That's really cool. I think we can relate.

Cristina Amigoni: Yeah. We can definitely relate to the melting pot. Yeah, I remember, one of your posts that I really appreciated was around a similar topic of everybody keeps telling you have to find a one thing you're good at. And then well, what if I'm not just good at one thing? What if I want to do many things?

Jude Schweppe: That was the game changer for me, actually. It was really interesting. I was hosting sort of a group workshop in Brighton where I live, in Southeast Coast in the UK. And it was called The Space and it was essentially we'd meet together once a month, and whatever your creative practice was, you'd come into the space and you'd share if you were starting a business or trying to get back into painting after having your family, whatever it might be and it was a really interesting bunch of people. I remember one of the girls who came along, gorgeous girl, and she introduced the concept of being a multipotentialite, and there's a very interesting TED Talk about being a multipotentialite. And I heard this word, and I was like, “Multipotentialite?” This is the thing. This is me. This describes me perfectly. Because up until that point, I had really struggled. I mean, I'm definitely a hexagonal peg and trying to fit into a round hole, and I'd really struggled with this concept of, is there only one thing that you're supposed to be doing? And I read the book, The One Thing, and it actually made me really angry, because I was like, “But I'm not a one thinger. I'm just not.” I get the concept of just kind of pouring all your focus and attention into one thing, and I'm sure it works brilliantly for some other people. But when I watched this TED talk, it was like, forgiveness and it was like grace and giving yourself grace to be who you are. I'm now at a stage of my life and I've recently had an ADHD diagnosis, and I'm just like, “But that's who I am. I'm a person with lots of different strings to my bow. I'm curious about lots of things. I'm interested in lots of things, and I love learning.” I have that kind of brain that gets a little dopamine hit from creating new things and writing new stories and meeting new people. So, I think it's about giving yourself the grace to be who you are and allowing yourself to really embrace all of the things about you and every sort of shape and size that you have. Because I think it can lead to a great deal of unhappiness if you don't, and trying to sort of squeeze yourself into this mold, that you're just never going to fit and life is too short and too precious for that.

Alex Cullimore: I have seen that TED Talk. That is a wonderful TED Talk. And I felt exactly the same way. I was like, “Oh, my God, this validates my entire existence. This is everything I've been waiting for.”

Jude Schweppe: Yeah, so many people have probably watched that TED Talk and just felt like coming home in a sense or finding the language to describe how they are in the world, and just not feeling so like on the outside looking in going, “What am I doing wrong? Why can't I just focus on this one thing?” But we're not doing anything wrong. We're just doing things in a slightly different way. I think that's to be embraced and applauded and supported as well.

Cristina Amigoni: There's probably more people like this than we may know or think, because if we think of children, like I was thinking about my kids, they don't have one interest. They have multiple interests and we're not spending any time saying like, “Well, no, if you like basketball, then you have to spend 24/7 doing basketball.” There's, “Don't go bike riding, don't play soccer, don’t play capture the flag with your friends, don't spend time on video games. You got to find your one thing.” We don't do that with our kids. So, why would we expect ourselves as adults to then all of a sudden, funneled into, “Well, there's one thing and make sure you do that and you do so well, for the next 50 years, that then you retire and you can go back to doing whatever you want.” So, there's this middle funnel of life.

Alex Cullimore: Waste. Come back.

Cristina Amigoni: Exactly. So, we've got childhood and retirement to be ourselves, but everything in the middle.

Jude Schweppe: And the middle bit is long, right? There's a lot of years to get through doing that one thing. And absolutely, I mean, if I think about my kids, I encourage them to do everything, to explore everything, and I'm always kind of looking out for the little breadcrumbs of what they are interested in and how you can support them with that. I mean, I think it's different if perhaps you identify, like a real talent for a particular sport, and your kid decides, “I want to go to the NBA or I want to be a professional tennis player.” Then I think your laser focus is absolutely necessary, and I think they will lead you and they will tell you if that's the direction they want to head in. Multifarious experiences make us the rich people, and the interesting people and the multifaceted people that we are. So, I totally agree. It seems sort of counterintuitive to me, to sort of force people into this singular, tunnel focused mindset around who they are or what they want to be and what they want to do, because we're constantly evolving, and changing and learning and discovering. So, I'm all for the multipotentialite way of life, as long as you can make it work for you. That's the other side of the coin, I guess.

Cristina Amigoni: It definitely is. I think there's so much wasted time thinking that we have to go limit ourselves, like wasted energy really, in trying to be like, “Okay, well, I'm going to cut off these three parts of myself that I really, truly enjoy, because what if don't get good at this one thing for 40 years.” There's one thing that, at best takes up a small slice of the pie of things that I'd like to be able to do. That's one thing that's been so relieving in the work that we've gotten to do, Cristina is just good. Okay, well, we're just here to help solve some problems. We'll go figure out as creatively and oddly and humanly as possible what's the answer here? What can be the answer? What can we try? And that is endlessly fascinating and fun.

Jude Schweppe: And fun, like such a key word, such a key word. I feel like it's a word that we're almost like not allowed to embrace as adults. Fun is kind of limited to Saturday and Sunday and then if you've got kids, it's like, kid fun. But in order to be the best that you can possibly be, and to do an amazing job, and to continue to sort of grow as an individual, what you do has to have an element of fun to it, because that sparks up the side of your brain that does think creatively and does think innovatively, and just ensures mental health and physical health and wellbeing and all of those things. There's a really interesting lady that I follow on LinkedIn and she has a podcast called How to Have Fun at Work, and I just love that concept, because I think we've forgotten how to allow ourselves to just be fun individuals in the workplace. And obviously, there is a serious element to work and there's things to be done in a job to be done and bottom line and shareholders and stakeholders and all of those things. But why can't we do what we do, and the serious things that we do, and just have fun while we're doing it? Bring laughter back into the office. Laugh as often as you can, as hard as you can during the day. I think it just, it makes life that little bit sweeter and it makes all those heavy burdens that we're currently carrying just a little bit easier of a load, because it's tough out there at the moment. It really is and we were just talking about that before we hit record.

Alex Cullimore: People lose that bit of fun and they start to decide that fun is just a little piece that might make some things easier. But I think it is the piece that maybe just now because it's so apparently missing, so critical, currently. Maybe it won't always be as crucial, but right now, it is a very crucial piece to allow things to be, just impossible in the first place. It's not just something that makes things easier. It's something that without it, but how do we continue? How do we keep going? Especially with something like COVID. We went and had to reorganize our entire lives and now there's a lot of demands, and asks to go back either into some similar patterns from before or wondering why we couldn't do things the way we did before. I think it's a fair question to look at what you want to pick up, but I don't think you're going to get the engagement if you don't allow people to have some of that life too, when we all just got a small flavor of a very shut down life and what else is possible. I think if we don't address that, we're just cutting off people's ability to engage in a much more whole life.

Jude Schweppe: I would totally agree. And I think also, if we go back to sort of the environment that children are in, people learn better when they're having fun. They're just able to engage with the learning. They're able to process things in a much more profound way, I think, and remember things as well. So, bringing fun back into learning. I think one of the things that people are kind of surprised by when they start coaching with me is that we laugh a lot. We have a lot of fun in the sessions and I will suggest fun challenges and fun things for them to do, because that keeps the engagement. The goals might be quite big and grand and broad. But taking fun little steps along the way, just makes the process so much more fluid and flowing, and you're kind of in it together and you can have a laugh while you're going through these big life changes. We take life very, very seriously and we make it very complicated for ourselves, I feel. I think one of the things that we've all learned from the COVID experience was that simple is good. Simple is really good and simple is powerful and we need so much less than we think we need in order to have a beautiful life. So, fun and simplicity and slowing things down and really appreciating the depth that you can go to when you have that space and that slower speed of life has been a revelation for me, for sure. I don't know whether that was my age, and I'm just worn out, or something that a lot of people have been coming to. But I felt this real call to simplicity and a slower way of life and reminding myself what fun used to feel like because it was such a big part of what I fell in love with, in terms of performing. Was just having fun, getting into a room with people and playing and I'd really love to see that, really, embraced in every organization, not just a creative one. I think it would be a really interesting experiment to do, to see how productivity and performance and efficiency increases as you increase the fun levels. So, maybe an experiment for you guys in your next project. It can be up the fun level.

Alex Cullimore: We actually just had this conversation, we were trying to figure out how to increase some engagement with various pieces of communication to large departments. And what started as a joke about like creating like New Yorker like cartoons has taken off into a full-blown brainstorming effort of like, “Hey, we can actually totally engage people this way.” What this storyline might look like and just getting some of that fun back in there. It's not that it's not doing the work, it's doing the work even better than before.

Jude Schweppe: Yeah, absolutely. And also, it's different, and it's novel, and it's engaging parts of the brain that maybe they don't get to use on a daily basis. I think, I'm probably looking through the lens of someone who's just recently been diagnosed with ADHD, but fun and novelty and new ways of doing things, helps to balance out the repetition that is an essential part of every life. There's always going to be things that just have to be done and have to be thought through. But having that part of me that sparks and gets really excited and I can kind of feel, feel the warm glow coursing through the veins, when it's like, “Oh, what's going to be on the other side of this. What's going to be on the other side of this experiment.” And just seeing people laugh together, it's so rewarding, so rewarding. I think I've sort of done a lot of work with people in financial services recently. And obviously, it's a really difficult time to be a banker, to be in financial services. So, it was just about how do we just take some time to be human with each other, and just really see each other and connect, and sort of forget about the spreadsheets and forget about, you know, risk assessment and whatever else that is kind of on their plate on a daily basis. But just storytelling, and it's amazing how you can sense the shift in the room, and you can sense that connection and the presence that people are feeling, when they just share really simple stories that mean a lot to them, that colleagues might never have had a clue, that this was going on for them or that they'd had this experience. And then to sort of put the same people back in the work environment and just see what the shift and dynamic is. That's the kind of thing that fascinates me about storytelling and creativity and fun and how you bring that into environments that they don't necessarily sit terribly well with on the surface of it. But there's always so much more bubbling below if you just allow people to come out with it.

Alex Cullimore: That is one of the exciting parts.

Cristina Amigoni: I love the element of bringing the fun, and making it human, because it's like, how do we spark the attention? And part of what Alex was mentioning is, when we're looking at communication, is how can we spark attention to the communication that's sent out? And attention is not sparked, I mean, at least for me, when it's just a bunch of bullet points that just lists, this is what’s done and this is what's next. I'm like, I'm not sparking anybody's attention, not even my own. So, how can we get that? And that's why there is a whole advertising and marketing industry out there in creative industry. When it comes to pretty much any information that's given out there, there's a huge element of sparking people's attention, because people are not just going to read something because they receive it.

Jude Schweppe: Yeah, absolutely. I think we're all a bit kind of overloaded with information. And I think there's something kind of really important to explore around that idea of slowing things down as well and how can you spark attention by something being really simple and uncomplicated and slow, and old school, maybe. I think one of the things that I struggle with the sort of TikTok world and Instagram Reels, is that it's like, our brains are just not developed to be constantly scrolling and sort of what's going on here. And then three seconds later, what's going on here, and that constant switching. I think that's why we're tired. But also, why our attention spans are really not what they were 20 years ago. Actually, Johann Hari has written an interesting book. I haven't read the book, but I listened to him speaking to Oprah about it, and it's called, I think it's called Stolen Focus. And he wrote the book because he went on a trip to Memphis, I think, or he went to Graceland with his nephew, I think it was, and I don't know which of them was a big Elvis fan. But he said, “Come on, we're going to go to Graceland. We've always wanted to go.” And when he was there, his nephew just could not put his phone down. And it was getting to the point where he was just like, “What is going on? We're here together, we're on this trip, we've always wanted to go to Graceland and you're literally glued to this tiny little computer.” And his nephew was like, “I don't know what's happening. But I know something's happening and it's not right.” And it's kind of sparked all of this research. I think Johann Hari went and he spent like, six weeks or something completely without digital, just to remind himself of what that world was like to not have any access to phones, to not have any access to emails, and what opens up for you. Your senses start to come online again, when it's not just this constant barrage of three seconds, 15 seconds, snippets of information, entertainment, whatever, whatever people do on TikTok. I think that's something that I really hope we start exploring a bit more in the years to come, particularly with the kids who are now coming into that age, where we have more awareness of how dangerous it is for them. I've already said to my kids, “Forget it. Social media is not happening for you.” So, we'll see how I get on with that one. That will be a challenge.

Alex Cullimore: Definitely feels like the right challenge. But that is definitely hard. I love that you brought up social media because thinking about this in terms of what we were just talking about, fun. A lot of times we associate the social media with downtime or we joke about like people aren't working, because they're on Facebook all the time. And I think there is an important distinction there, because being on social media is not the same thing as fun. This is not the same thing as creating joy, having creativity and having a moment where you're just playful and generative and just in a moment, it's addictive. It does have that tiny dopamine dose, but it's not actually the same thing as fun. So, when we create these ideas, like you can't have fun, they can't take breaks, and we associate breaks with social media, it can be easy to start to tie the two together as if social media is fun. But there's a huge distinction between the type of fun we're talking about here.

Jude Schweppe: I think it's terrifying. I really do. I think it's terrifying. And I am the first to put up my hand and saying, “When I get stressed, my brain needs that little dopamine hit.” And I seem to have programmed myself to think that I'm going to get that little dopamine hit, like going on Facebook, or by scrolling through Instagram, and it really scares me. It really scares me in terms of what it's doing to my brain. It scares me in terms of what it will do to my children's brain. We know attention spans are shot. We know that it is that addictive little hit that people are getting. You only have to walk past a bus stop, how many people are at the bus stop glued to their phones, sitting on the tube, sitting on the bus. We just don't seem to be able to be anymore and I find that really scary. What are we going to be like in 10 years’ time? I don't know what the answer is. I really don't know what the answer is. And I can't remember who said it, and it might have been Johann Hari, but he talks about how the only two industries that called our customers users are the drugs industry and the big tech industry. So, there's a connection there.

Cristina Amigoni: Okay.

Alex Cullimore: I'm never going to be able to forget that one.

Cristina Amigoni: That's glued.

Jude Schweppe: I was like, “Oh, my God, that is absolutely true. I am a user. I am a user of social media.” But on the flip side of the coin, I wonder how I would build my business or how I would connect with the people that I need to connect with without it? And that's not an answer that I have found yet or maybe I haven't sort of thought about it long enough. But I have noticed, ironically, on LinkedIn and my LinkedIn feed, and bigger brands, saying we're done. We're done with social media. They're taking the risk. They're taking the punt. They're going to see what happens in terms of bottom line and brand awareness and all of the things that we use social media for. But I'd love to see more people experimenting and getting back to just some key touch points in terms of how to communicate with people. And really interestingly, I saw a coach who I was in a business incubator with. She is now sending literal physical newsletters to her clients and I was just like, “That's amazing.” So, I'm going to get something through the post, something tactile, that I can sit down and read with a cup of tea or whatever, and just absorb the information in a completely different way. And I just thought, that's genius. Because we do absorb information differently when we're holding something in our hands, and I think if you think about how you engage with a magazine, I used to love going and sitting in a coffee shop with a cup of coffee and my favorite magazine and just going, “This is me time.” So, is that something that businesses and brands can start looking at in terms of how to communicate with people, as opposed to just the bog standard, what we think everybody wants and needs at the moment in terms of our connections. So, I think it's a really interesting time and I really hope the pendulum does start to swing back the other way. I mean, who knows? That's regret for minds greater than mine. But I think it's something to explore for sure.

Alex Cullimore: I love the brands, like the magazine idea that kind of reinforces like that one of the best things about a magazine is that you only have what's in between those two covers. It's not like, “Oh, also I can go on the Internet. Oh, also, I'm going to get pinged with a text message. Oh, also, I can check every email that I have right now and I can go play a different game or whatever.” That's what you have. There's immense power in having all those things in one thing in your pocket. That's not just good power.

Jude Schweppe: Yeah, absolutely. I think the way that I absorb information has been so massively affected by, like you say, all of the distractions that you have throughout the day because you probably got six or seven things, looking for your attention at any one time. And if you're like me, you've got 25 tabs open on your laptop at any one time because that's how you roll, it’s no wonder you get to the end of the day, or get to the end of the week, and you're just like, I'm good for nothing. I'm done. Where's the sofa? Where's Netflix? Because our brains are just completely drained of power and drained of energy. So, it's up to Gen Z to undo all the damage that we've done and I really hope that they – I really hope that they get on board with the idea that there's a different way to interact with each other. Is it changed forever? Are we never going to go back to how things were pre-2005 or whenever Facebook became like, really popular? I don't know. But I think it would be really interesting for educational institutions and organizations to look at 18, 19-year-olds coming into education, further education. What is worth experimenting with them? What are they seeing in their future? Are they over it? Are they already done with the kind of social media landscape? We don't know. But they're going to have to deal with so many different things. I think the answers are going to have to lie with them. The future depends on the kids, for sure.

Cristina Amigoni: It usually does. Somehow, every generation has to undo whatever the generations before have done.

Jude Schweppe: Yeah, absolutely. It's kind of depressing. We're still getting there as a human race. We're still getting there, for sure.

Alex Cullimore: There's an article I read recently, that was about the fact that like, we assign generations with a culture, we say Millennials were like this, or Gen Z's like this, but the kids don't have a chance to create this. They basically just walk into this culture, this was created by the previous generations, and then they have to figure out what to do with this. And so, it kind of put the burden of responsibility continually and necessarily just because how society is going to go on whatever you're experiencing, whatever you grew into, as an adult.

Jude Schweppe: So true. I think it's something that we don't maybe take enough responsibility for. We have handed them the world that they're kind of walking into growing up, and as you say. And the irony of all ironies, I bought my kids an iPad, I bought them an iPad, because when I travel home, see my mom and we were in the airport. I thought it'll just be handy for them to have some cartoons to watch in the airport. So, they're not screaming the place down when we get on a plane and it's delayed. And then, I wonder why the iPad has become such a feature of their life, because I gave it to them, and it’s mission creep. They're allowed to watch cartoons, and then it's games, and then before you know it, I'm completely dependent on them having it. To a certain extent, it's one of the symptoms, I think one of the issues of growing up in a world where both parents are working. I don't know any families that one parent is kind of the sole breadwinner. So, by necessity, Nanny iPad has become a thing. But I think it's just really about having that awareness around it, and really being kind of strong in your resolve that they get a certain amount of time, and then it's done. Now, it's time to go out and paint, or it's time to get messy or whatever. But it's really hard. It's really, really hard, particularly when you’ve got deadlines, you've got to jump on a Zoom call with somebody, and I've definitely seen the bad side of it this week with my kids being on holidays. But again, give myself some grace as a parent. We're all doing the best that we can with what's available to us.

Cristina Amigoni: Definitely. Well, and even if we were to stay at home, it's draining for us as parents, I mean, if we’re not working to be the iPad. So, it becomes like a, “Yeah, I don't have to work right now but I also need a break.” And becoming the entertainment is not a break. So, it's very easy to let that, where's that line? Because once you go down that path, it's hard to turn back or limited.

Jude Schweppe: Yeah, agreed. I've definitely seen the mission creep over the years, with my eldest son. But again, I think it's about, we're always trying to strike a balance, and sometimes we get it right and sometimes we don't. But as long as he's out playing football, and he's playing with his friends, and he's very creative. So, he spends a lot of time drawing. It's about sort of finding that equilibrium. But I definitely think the equilibrium, the scales are tipping slightly more to the iPad over the holidays. So yeah, thanks for that one, Steve Jobs.

Cristina Amigoni: Definitely. So, you bringing the creativity into the coaching and basically the business of human transformation and human exploration. How do you do that?

Jude Schweppe: Oh, my goodness. I mean, I think it goes back to what we were saying earlier about creating a safe space for people to have fun, to be creative, to explore, to ask the powerful questions of themselves and to figure out, where do they fit into this grand scheme. And there's sort of two strands to the work that I do and one is with people who are maybe sort of happy enough with their career. It's probably a J-O-B, but it pays the bills, it pays the mortgage, and they're quite happy to continue doing it. But what they're really missing is that creative practice in their life. So, I work with a lot of people who maybe loved painting, or they used to sing or they used to dance or creativity was a big part of their life. And then adulting happened, and children happened and responsibilities happened, and they've kind of lost that, and you can see it in people's light. You can see it in their energy, in their presence, when they're with you, the first couple of coaching sessions and it's about chiseling out that time. Because there's never time, there's never enough time. There's always enough time. That's what I say to my clients. But I think when it comes to things that are not necessarily essential, and are more for your mental wellbeing, your spiritual wellbeing, and your creative soul, it's so much harder to find that time and to prioritize it. So, the work that I do with clients is sort of reconnecting them to that side of themselves, so that they realize, I am not hold or complete, if I don't have this in my life. And that's where the transformation starts to become apparent. Because I think it just impacts every aspect of who you are, and how you are in your life and it's an energy to dynamo all of its own, when you connect it to that creative energy, because that's what the universe is, it's creative energy. So, when you're connected to that source, I think you can change how you feel about yourself, that can change how you show up for your work. It can change your relationships, and it allows you to keep replenishing. I think it's interesting how many people found time during the lockdown period to start making things and doing things and taking out the paint brushes that have probably been stored for the last 10 years and haven't seen any action. And just the questions that allows you to ask of yourself, what's important to me? What's important in this life and how I spend my time? What do I want? What do I want from this crazy existence on this spinning ball of rock? Again, I think that the sort of the pace of life that we've been living at, we had been living, I just didn't allow for those questions. So, I think when you work with a coach, you work with somebody that allows you to reconnect to who you are, and what's important to you, and if creativity is one of those things, you've got to do it. You've got to find the space and nurture that practice, because it's very much a part of who you are and that's where it can be life changing. It really can, to see people getting back to themselves, where they lost themselves along the way of adulting, which I think, some of us, we all go through at some stage. So, I lost myself being an adult. So, how do I find myself again?

Cristina Amigoni: Before retirement, hopefully.

Jude Schweppe: Yeah, exactly. Before retirement.

Cristina Amigoni: Yes. It's that squeezed in between again, it's like, “Okay, you can be yourself as a kid”, and then wait until you retire to be yourself again, but in the middle, not so much.

Jude Schweppe: Yeah. But the middle is where we have the experience and the learning are probably still fit enough and we've got our health. This is the time, this is the time to do it, and set yourself up for an amazing retirement. And I read a really interesting book really, recently, and I can't remember the name of the book because of a terrible memory. But it was essentially about the sort of going into the second phase or second curve of your life, and sort of setting yourself up investing now for the retirement that you want to have, in terms of, again, reconnecting to yourself, reconnecting to the things that are important, so that you don't kind of find yourself when you hit 65, 70, or whenever you retire and go, “Now, what? Now, what do I do with myself?” I've spent 50 years getting up at six in the morning, to go to this job or run this business. And I think a lot of people lose themselves when that happens. They just have been so defined by what they do for a living and the business that they've been engaged in or the organizations that they've been a part of, that's been a part of their identity, that they hit retirement and it's just like, “I have no idea who I am and what I do with myself.” So, if we can start laying the foundations now and investing for that golden period where it's like the world is your oyster now. Your time is your own. I think it's really important to start that, to sort of bring that awareness to the who you want to be at that point in your life.

Alex Cullimore: That’s a great way of looking at it. So, it's so true. I went through a period after a couple years into being career and where I get to weekends, and I had no idea even what to do. I wanted to rest. I didn't want to work, because I’ve just done whatever, many hours of the week, but there was no connection with like, “Well, what does it even mean to want anything anymore?” And it is actually a physiological thing, the same as any other emotion, any other feeling. It is something that we feel in our bodies that we want. But when there become other demands, we continue to prioritize those demands, and nobody helps us reconnect to what our internal demands are, we just get used to ignoring that pole to the point where we can't recognize it anymore. We can't recognize what's helpful, what's available, what we want, internally and losing that is, I think, common, and sad. It's awesome to see something like what you're doing, Jude, and helping people literally reconnect it. It’s like a wire that was pulled out at some point, and literally putting that back in, let those feelings back in and have them be valid and have them be treated as this is great input, and look what I get to do now, and this helps me feel full. This is life for me.

Jude Schweppe: And I think it's so true what you say. It is a wire that's disconnected and I think oftentimes, if I say to clients, are you aware of when you lost this side of yourself? They have no idea. It's a kind of a cumulative effect of just being in the world and the way the world is today. But there is something incredible when that wire is plugged back in, and it might be in a very different way. It might be in a slightly different way to how it was when you were small. But I've seen the impact with clients, when the wire is reconnected, and how they connect with every other aspect of their lives. And I think the most gratifying one has to be in how they are with their children, and allowing that creative experience to be a family experience. Obviously, there's times when you just want to do the thing by yourself and kind of take yourself off, and I just want to sit with my paint and make a mess. But it's just a delightful to sit with my paints and make a mess with the boys as well and sort of have them be involved in the process. So, I don't know when we started disconnecting or checking out. There are so many things that are contributing, I think, to this collective exhaustion and burnout, and I'm seeing a lot on LinkedIn, which is my platform of choice, just to get a sense of how people are doing and how people are feeling. And there is a lot of checking out and a lot of numbness and I think overwhelm. I think we kind of forget, because we seem to be on the other side of it almost. But the last five years have been crazy, crazy politically, have been crazy in terms of a global pandemic, and I think we forget that there wasn't a single country practically on the planet that wasn't impacted by this. We went through this collective experience, and our nervous systems were shot to pieces. And now, things have changed slightly in terms of people are a lot more conscious of what they want and how they want to live. But it's like, right back into the fray now, right back into it. Forget what happened and it's almost like we haven't really had time to process what we've been through and what we're continuing to go through. So, it's really gratifying to see, the organizations that are looking at, for example, four-day weeks, and the organizations that are really taking the health and the mental wellbeing of their people seriously. Because if we don't, I think we're facing catastrophe. I say, the collective nervous system needs a little bit of TLC, and I think we need to, we need to slow down and just recognize that it's not all about working. It's not all about profit and bottom line and I could go into a whole different discussion about capitalism, but just allow us to have that time in our lives to be human, and to have fun and to feel joy and to and to raise good human beings as well, because they are the future. So, the more time we can give them, the better the world is going to be in 20, 30 years.

Alex Cullimore: That is such an important piece of it, the ripple effect, like what you're saying, painting with your boys, like just when you can help somebody reconnect, they help other people reconnect and when those people reconnect, you literally can see and watch ripple go out. If you can instill those habits early, a lot harder to become disconnected later, and hopefully easier to reconnect, if and when you do.

Jude Schweppe: Yeah, I agree. I think the ripple effect can be profound. It really can. I can't remember who said it, but if you want to change the world, go home and love your family. I think it might have been Mother Teresa. And only enough before I had children, I don't think I really understood that concept. But I think my greatest achievement will be to raise two kind, thoughtful, respectable, decent human beings in a world that will do all I can to make them kind, thoughtful, decent. If we all kind of focusing on the micro changes that we can make, and the micro ripples that we can start rippling, it will be huge. Not to go back to the pandemic, but it all started with one plague. One tiny molecule, one tiny virus and look at the impact that had. So, if we could take that model and just translate it into love and creativity and hope and optimism, we'd be doing all right, I think. We'd definitely be doing all right.

Cristina Amigoni: Definitely. So, what have you seen some of the changes with your clients and how you work with them from going through the last two or three years of pandemic, slowdown, and now we're out, whatever out of the pandemic is, and we're trying to almost catch up from the last couple of years, and also finding ourselves and needing that connections. So, we were talking before we started recording about pulling teeth, and in some of the work that we do, how do you see that happening right now?

Jude Schweppe: The difference that I'm seeing in clients that I work with is that ambition looks very different. I think ambition has changed for a lot of people and I know this is something that's come up in discussion, kind of across the board. People want different things from life, people want to appreciate the time that they have with each other. And I think, if we look back from this perspective, and I had this conversation with somebody at the school gate, one of the moms at the school gate, and it was just around the fact that one of her colleagues was interviewing, I think, her position. And the company wanted him to travel into London every day, from the UK, from Brighton into London, is roughly an hour. But if you put like travel time in tubes and delays and all of that kind of thing on top of it, you're talking two hours to get from Brighton into London. So, that's four hours out of somebody's day, completely wasted, completely wasted. Because the idea that you can get any work done on a train is just crazy. It doesn't happen. So, there's this whole kind of argument around productivity, and we need people to be in the office and I completely get that. But it is absolutely madness, I think, to expect people to spend four and five hours of their day, either sitting on a train, sitting in a car. We don't need people to be traveling. If we think about that in terms of the environmental impact, we all saw how different the world looks when there were no planes in the sky, when there were no cars on the road. So, I think the biggest shift that I'm seeing is just people, there's been a real sort of sense of awakening to my ambition is very different now to how it looked five years ago. And there's like a reconfiguring, while also this sense of how do we kind of fire up the engines again, when people are so burnt out? It's an interesting time to be doing people work, I would say, to be sort of having these conversations that people were afraid to have a few years ago, people were afraid to push back. I mean, I remember before the pandemic, if you ask to work from home, it was like, “Well, we'll have to think about that.” You have to have a board meeting about it. And now everybody does it. So, I think there's going to be a really interesting period of possibly decentralization. We're already kind of seeing even where the area that I live in, this kind of little community of coffee shops and places to go for a sandwich and all of these things that sprung up around the pandemic, because people were working from home. And now in the cities, massive offices are just completely empty, because people are just seeing how unimportant it is to sit in these kinds of soulless, lightless, airless buildings, just for the sake of being stuck in your cubicle and clocking in, clocking out at a certain time. So, I think it's interesting. I think we're starting to see the world in a lot more flexible terms. I think people are starting to realize that we all operate differently, and expecting people to sort of conform to this nine to six or nine to five, is crazy, absolutely crazy. Because there are going to be people who are up at five in the morning, do their best work at six, and then are done by lunchtime. And then there's people like me who don't come to life until after lunchtime. I’m doing my best to work at 11 PM. So, I think that's really interesting. But I think what I'm also seeing and we talked about this, is just a real tiredness. There's a real tiredness and the conversations are kind of like, “How are you doing?” “I'm exhausted?” “How are you?” Particularly with parents. But can we sort of slow down to the point and recalibrate to the point where the juice starts to build up again? I think that's a big challenge for organizations is how do we kind of get back to pre-pandemic levels, when people just don't have juice in the tank. I think this is where the play and the fun comes in, and sort of getting to the productivity through allowing people to just relax that part of their brain and not constantly be in sort of gamma brainwave mode, and just access those slower brainwaves and that ability to process in a completely different way. So, I think it's a really interesting time, really interesting time, for the kind of work that we do and sort of getting a sense of where people are, and how do we kind of gear back up again, and face into this very, very challenging future, because it's not looking too bright at the moment. We're going to need all of our resources and all of our tanks are going to need to be full to really start tackling those problems. So, challenging and interesting times in equal measure, I would say.

Alex Cullimore: I mean, the challenges, the interest, it's fun.

Jude Schweppe: Absolutely, absolutely.

Cristina Amigoni: It is fun. Well, and there is that element of being in the middle of this mess gives hope that you can get out of it, and it's exhausting at the same time. You have to be in the tunnel to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And so, it's part of that process of like, “Okay, now I'm tired of being in a tunnel, though.”

Jude Schweppe: Yeah, completely. And not knowing, you can kind of see the light, but not knowing how long it's going to take you to get there. I think that is the other really challenging thing is if you could say, “I can guarantee you by summer 2023, you're going to be firing on all cylinders. We’re all just going to be in a really good place.” As human beings, we need that certainty. We need that kind of sense of stability, and we just don't have it at the moment. So, it's how do you navigate those choppy waters, and what is providing the life raft? We saw difficult times, for sure. But we will prevail, because we always do and that's part of being human and part of the history of our race, is that we overcome, and we adapt, and we evolve. I just really hope that we start to really take the lessons on board, and that enough people start to make those changes and makes those shifts at a very organizational and sort of basic level, so that we do move on to the next level of our evolution, whatever that's going to look like. Interesting and creative, I hope.

Cristina Amigoni: Yes. Creative and kind.

Jude Schweppe: Creative and kind, two perfect words, for the future I would love to see. Creative and kind, values for humankind. Yeah, absolutely.

Alex Cullimore: Well, Jude, we have just two last questions for you and the first one is a little bit more intricate, but a fun one. So, what is your definition of authenticity?

Jude Schweppe: Authenticity? That is such a big question. I think it is embracing every facet and side of who you are, and making no apology for it while being kind, if that makes sense. And showing up with all your flaws and your color, and your humaneness and your creativity, and connecting with people in a way that they know that they are seen by you, and that they are understood by you and they are heard by you. That's a really convoluted answer. Be yourself.

Cristina Amigoni: But be kind about it.

Jude Schweppe: Be yourself, be kind. Yeah, be yourself and be kind. I'm sure there's a whole book on how to show up authentically. But it's been a real journey for me to embrace all of my foibles and my flaws and all of the things that drive people mad about me, and knowing that it comes from a genuine place, and if you can put that out into the world and all your craziness with kindness, I think you can't go too far wrong, hopefully.

Alex Cullimore: I like that.

Cristina Amigoni: That's a good definition.

Jude Schweppe: Thank you.

Alex Cullimore: And our last question, where can people find you? Where can people get in touch with you and figure out more about your work?

Jude Schweppe: Well, I think the best place to come and hang out with me is on LinkedIn. So, you can find me, Jude Schweppe on LinkedIn. You find me with the pink background. I show up there pretty much every day. I share whatever pops into my head when I've been on a walk that morning, or in the shower that morning. Love having conversations with people, love connecting with new people. So, to get a sense of my work, come and find me on LinkedIn, or you can check out my website, which is whathappensnext.coach, but slide into my DMs and let's have a conversation.

Cristina Amigoni: That’s a great title.

Alex Cullimore: I love the title.

Jude Schweppe: What happens next?

Cristina Amigoni: Really good title. Well, thank you so much, Jude. This was a really rich, full conversation.

Jude Schweppe: Thank you so much for having me. It's been a pleasure to chat to you and look forward to connecting again.

Cristina Amigoni: Yes. And now you can start your weekend.

Jude Schweppe: I can start my weekend. Weekend is calling.

Alex Cullimore: Take care, Jude. And thank you so much for joining us. And thank you everybody for listening.

Cristina Amigoni: Thank you.

Cristina Amigoni: Thank you for listening to Uncover the Human, a Siamo podcast. 

Alex Cullimore: Special thanks to our podcast operations wizard, Jake Lara; and our score creator, Rachel Sherwood. 

Cristina Amigoni: If you have enjoyed this episode, please share, review and subscribe. You can find our episodes wherever you listen to podcasts. 

Alex Cullimore: We would love to hear from you with feedback, topic ideas or questions. You can reach us at podcast@wearesiamo.com, or at our website, wearesiamo.com, LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook. We Are Siamo is spelled W-E A-R-E S-I-A-M-O.

Cristina Amigoni: Until next time, listen to yourself, listen to others and always uncover the human.

Jude Schweppe Profile Photo

Jude Schweppe

Creative Coach & Consultant

Jude is a creative coach, consultant and entrepreneur with a passion for helping people connect or reconnect to their creativity for better mental health and well-being.