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Sofia Bustamante
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The Courage Files: Ode to Piglet
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Who would have thought that little Piglet in Winne the Pooh would be a symbol of courage?

Benjamin Hoff wrote two beautiful books about the A.A. Milne characters. The first was called “The Tao of Pooh”. It takes Winne the Pooh and compares him to the “uncarved block” in Taoist philisophy. Pooh just is. He meets life with simplicity and a straightforward attitude. As a result he is able to be sponteneous and is essentially happy. A teacher for all of us!

‘When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,’ said Piglet at last, ‘what's the first thing you say to yourself?’ ‘What's for breakfast?’ said Pooh. ‘What do you say, Piglet?’ ‘I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?’ said Piglet. Pooh nodded thoughtfully.'It's the same thing,' he said.

In the story of Winne the Pooh, we get to know Piglet as a jittery, ‘Very Small Animal’. He seems quite insignificant compared to the other characters — an endearing frightened little thing. In his second book, “The Te of Piglet” Benjamin Hoff shows us how Piglet is actually the one who manages to go beyond his fears and limitations. Instead of regretting his smallness, he manages to apply it for others. He thus becomes a very different ‘Very Small Animal’.

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Coaching with Sofia: New offers
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During a recession there are always people who thrive. Adapting your career demands a very positive attitude, to be informed and to keep taking inspired action. It is very important to maintain momentum.

See the lastest coaching offers that include something for everyone, at different rates and prices, starting at completely free!

"One of my most rewarding decisions in assessing my career path was deciding to see Sofia at Turn Up The Courage. The techniques used by Sofia allowed me to develop a personal vision, identifying what is important in my life and then transforming this into career roles. Sofia used her great communication skills to listen then transform my thoughts and ideas into set goals.

I was able to confidently move forward in my search for a new career role - working with Sofia to identify new roles and promote my transferable skills – which has successfully led to new caeeer opportunities."

Andrew Douglas, April 2009

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The Courage Files: Today is for Quitters
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This is an article that I wrote a year ago but I remembered again. May you enjoy it!

We all know the bursting sensation of a new commitment; often euphoric, adrenelin-filled and fueled with the images of the new life, new us, new created world in that “future reality” that somehow we connect with at the time the commitment is born. The buzz that accompanies these instances can be addictive.

And we all know what it is like to break that commitment. Unless an ‘act of God’ occurs and we can, without a shadow of a doubt know that we cannot be held responsible, what usually happens is what i would label as ’some kind of fuzziness’.

I’m also not referring to a moment of revelation where you realize that the committment you made was inappropriate in some way and you have the sense or humility to pull out on time.

What i am writing about is the hundreds or thousands of grey-tone moments where you simply quit and then regardless of what you tell yourself, deep down you know the deal.

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The Courage Files: Warriors of Light Keep the Spark in Their Eyes
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The notion of the “Warrior of Light” has guided me through many darker moments when traditional definitions of leadership left me cold.

I now use the expression “Warrior of Light” as part of my “extended bio” on the internet because it expresses what I believe I am. The term comes from Paolo Coelho; an international bestseller — most famous for his book “The Alchemist”.

Below is an inspirational article on a more human definition of leadership in which Paolo Coelho introduces the notion of the “Warrior of Light”. To honour it, I thought I would portray his own human side by showing a video of him in an informal setting where he is singing (to his wife, Cristina) at a party. The song he sings is a classic Brazillian song “Manhã de Carnaval”… it is a sad song about the day after carnival. When he sings it I feel a connection to something very real and beautiful.


“In search of the perfect leader” — an inspirational article by Paolo Coelho

A reader sends me a questionnaire in which he presents the profile of three world leaders who lived in the same period of history, and asks if it is possible to choose the best one using the following data:

  • Candidate A was associated with witchdoctors and often consulted astrologists. He had two mistresses. His wife was a Lesbian. He smoked a lot. He drank eight to ten martinis a day.
  • Candidate B never managed to hold down a job because of his arrogance. He slept the whole morning. He used opium at school, and was always considered a bad student. He drank a glass of brandy every morning.
  • Candidate C was decorated a hero. A vegetarian, he did not smoke. His discipline was exemplary. He occasionally drank a beer. He stayed with the same woman during his moments of glory and defeat.

And what was the answer?

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The Courage Files: Lessons From Failure
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It never rains, it pours. The Inner Wealth Seminar did not get 1 booking. Not one. It is unusual for the things I do, and I take it as a reflection of this last month — April, which left me bruised. I believe very strongly that our outer world mirrors our inner world. After the initial disappointment, it became a great opportunity to look at the learnings, and also the inner workings of my mind and have a check-up ;-) Here is what I found.

The Importance of Comedy in Failure

My friend David Pinto has written a book about failure. When I shared the news that I was going to cancel the seminar, we ended up seeing the funny side and toyed with the idea of putting together an event on failure. You would only be able to come if you have failed at something. The idea would be to have a good chuckle. We entertained ourselves with the question: if no one showed up — would that mean the event is a failure or a success? We ended up in stitches — tears of laughter. Wonderful.

But aside from the relief that humour brings, some of the lessons learned can be uncovered through it. The joker is part of a family of archetypes that tap into humour as one of the keys that can unlocking the missing piece of the puzzles, that are perhaps difficult at first to see.

I always think things happen for a reason and a quote that guides me immensely is “Wherein you stumble — therein lies your treasure.” The harder the lesson — the more potentially valuable the wisdom.
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Inner Wealth Seminar: Cut Through Illusion and Create Wealth
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It is time to deal with the financial challenges as if we had capacity to influence — our own situation as well as that of the collective. The future is in our hands and it is also in our mind. This seminar is aimed at creating a sane way of being, right here, right now, so that we are ready and able to act with power and balance. It is brought to you by Turn Up the Courage and The Citi-Zen Foundation

This 4-page presentation describes the Inner Wealth Seminar. Just use the arrows in the box below to flick through at your leisure.

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Multi-Million Dollar Dreams or Nightmares?
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Something happened that led me to realise I must do something to address the insanity in the way that people are responding to the financial changes afoot. It was a moment with friends when I realised how easily perception flips from constructive to destructive and how people are simply unaware of their potential influence in what happens.

A muti-million dollar client of a friend wakes up every morning wondering if this is the day he wil lose all his wealth. It is not the first time I come across this phenomenon. I remember hearing that 70% of the wealthiest people of Switzerland felt finanically insecure. And this was before last year's prominent global changes in our financial systems. I don't think that money is his real issue. If it were, what figure do you reckon would bring these individuals real inner security?

I notice that despite my income being irregular since 2001 when I left the corporate world, I have a deep sense of trust in my financial future. It has enabled me to take larger risks than a lot of my contemparies and as a result I am able to do the work I love. I rarely look for work, it seems to find me instead. I notice that solutions come when one is in a certain mindset. And that you can create an upward-spiral of events just as if you are in the wrong mindset, the opposite can happen.

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Evolution Lounge: Urban Guerrilla Peer Coaching
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Wow — this is a week of launches! And I am thrilled to announce this one — nearly 4 years since it began in the very funky Dusseldorf airport, the Evolution Lounge is coming to London!

This pretty 4-page presentation describes the Evolution Lounge. Just use the arrows in the box below to flick through at your leisure. To book, go straight to the available dates and bookings. Or feel free to read the story behind Evolution Lounge.


Flick through the 4-page presentation above or to book, go straight to the available dates and bookings.


The Story Behind Evolution Lounge
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Evolution Lounge is a form of peer-coaching, guerilla-style taking place on Wednesdays in London. “Guerilla-style”, because it happens public spaces — usually associated with stress and craziness. Why? So that we can practice transforming chaos into answers in a very real setting; in the streets, on the go.

Evolution Lounge helps us to access the wisdom available from everyone and everything present. It establishes the collective as coach.
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Lilou, Making it Real, and The Challenge of Being Transparent
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Meeting Lilou Mace in London and her wonderful idea of bringing the 100 Day Reality Challenge to young people who are in difficult situations. Very exciting how this could help them! I also talk about how scary it can be to be transparent about the reality of moving ideas to action and of making things happen.


The 100 Day Reality Challenge Hits South London
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I just met Lilou Mace at her fab gym in central London. It was great to meet her — she is absolutely the same off camera as on camera. Before I knew it I was recounting my whole life story. It had not been my intention but she is a great listener - genuine and warm. We spoke about the need for leaders to be more authentic than ever. That gone are the days when as coaches/mentors we can sit far apart from the people we are helping. Today it is about being real. Apart from the pleasant experience of meeting a super-positive woman who is on a mission to help millions of people to live their dream, a new idea was born out of our conversation. Here is how.

Lilou described her own challenges and how she is responding to them with huge zest and how the support from the Co-Creating Our Reality community is tangible during these kinds of times. Lilou was made redundant just last week and already she has bounced back. She mentioned her desire to contribute; to be present to the current economic reality in London and the rest of the world.

We discussed the need to carefully balance two distinct capacities:

  • being present to “what is”; not living in denial
  • hearing the call to our future — being able to respond to ‘what is’ with inspired action.

There are people who, despite their benign intentions, act as vessels for fear. So we must act as vessels for trust and courage. Hence we cannot deny reality. But we do not have to add more drama to the reality.

I spoke of my own vision, of how our communities can tap into vast resources at a personal and community level, building trust and collective capacity to respond. I shared with Lilou my challenges in getting the tools to do this out to lots more people. I also spoke about the project in Brixton that is focused on youth. Lilou was very encouraging and said "Sofia, really own your love for your work, and go out there and do it. Its amazing what happens when the commitment to your vision is stronger than your personal fears about making it happen" It's just what I needed to hear at this moment as I dither about whether my strategy is exactly right, and whether people might think I am just bothering them when I speak about community building. Thanks Lilou!

The New Idea

In Brixton, South London, a few of us have been working in different ways with young people who have been identified as being “at risk”. As I spoke of them to Lilou, she perked up with the idea that it would be fantastic to invite some young people into The 100 Day Reality Challenge. They could record their challenges as they make changes in their lives. We can pass them many links to the videos/teachers that have inspired us. Lilou could do a video for them… It could be the seed for many other young people to take up this challenge. The idea was born!

Lilou already offered concrete support and so now I am going to go back to my partners at Melanin Partnership about our next steps. I am very excited! Imagine young people from one of the tougher neighborhoods of urban London, taking up a challenge to alter their concrete reality in 100 days, sharing their ideas/challenges/feelings/realities and dreams. I am about to launch a set of peer-coaching/community collaboration tools and so there will be a context of support for young people to make their dreams a reality. And far from it being us helping them from a distance, we will be there as a community in the thick of it together.

Do I believe it is possible? Oh boy yes! Do I have doubts? Yes! And is that going to stop me? Not if i have anything to do with it :-)


Transparency, Creativity and Personal Social Responsibility
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First Video of The 100 Day Reality Challenge
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Video Announcing Re-launch of Turn up the Courage
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Turn up the Courage Blogging Comes to Life
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Changing Reality
“life, or something like it” by the half-blood prince

I am also now blogging!

For the last few months I have held back on the newsletter and have been wanting to start blogging but had not got round to initiating this. As is so beautiful when one sets an intention without needing to know HOW it will happen, along came along the perfect opportunity to do this in community.

I will be sending a newsletter out again in the next couple of months but in the meantime feel free to check out this blog that I am contributing to. It is great to be contributing to a blog with a few other committed people. It feels like we pass the hosting stick around. See how we do:

Idea for your community?

52 weeks in the year and more than 52 people in this network. So each person can agree to host the blog for one week of the year. Sharing, inspiring or informing. All are valid contributions to a community.

This concept emerged out of the vibrant community: IMAGINE Network

So, a few of us (myself included) have agreed to host this process, inviting people into it; cultivating the community. Ie we are editors but it is a very open system anyone can be an editor if they register on the blog and if they dont want to they can always send posting to us and we will upload it for them. I really have to acknowledge Frauke Godat from the We Are What We Do organisation for her incredible drive here.

Here is the link to the Imagine Blog. And here is the link to my own entries on this blog.